Knitting pattern for Japanese Knot Bag

This is a knitting pattern for a bag inspired by the Japanese knot bag. It is a clever bag design that requires no extra accessories for closure.

A Japanese knot bag is a small roundish bag with 2 handles. It is frequently made with recycled kimono fabric. It is carried with one handle over the other to create an interesting asymmetry. The handles could be of equal length or one could be significantly shorter than the other.

japanese knot bag

My knitted knot bag complete with buttons


In this pattern, I have chosen to knit one handle shorter than the other. I have also decided to position the shorter handle in front of the longer one. The idea is to loop the shorter handle over the longer one to act as closure in front of the bag. The usual position is side by side.

I have also used smaller sized needles than was recommended for the yarn so that I get a firmer and sturdier knitted fabric.

Materials
1 skein Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Bulky Scuba (100% Peruvian Highland Wool)
Assortment of buttons

Equipment
3.5mm knitting needles (double-pointed or circular needles)
An extra pair of 3.5mm double-pointed needles.
Sewing needle and thread in matching colour

Directions for the body

  1. Cast on 72 stitches
  2. Bring the first stitch and the last stitch together
  3. Place a marker between these 2 stitches
  4. Join together and start knitting in the round by knitting the first stitch right after the last stitch
  5. Knit in the round until the piece measures 17cm. The body of the bag is basically a square. If the width of the bag is more than 17cm, then knit till the height is the same as the width.

 

body of the bag

Body of the bag

 

Directions for the Handles

  1. Adjust the first 18 stitches onto a single needle
  2. Then, knit these 18 stitches as follows: K2, P2, K10, P2, K2
  3. Turn and knit the same 18 stitches as follows: P1, K1, P1, K1, P10, K1, P1, K1, P1
  4. Repeat these 2 rows until the handle measures 25cm
  5. Using kitchener stitch, graft these 18 stitches to 18 stitches next to it.
  6. Once grafted, cut off the yarn and weave the ends into the bag neatly
  7. Start step 2 and 3 again with the next 18 stitches
  8. Repeat these 2 rows until the handle measures 13cm
  9. Using kitchener stitch, graft these 18 stitches to the remaining 18 stitches on your circular needles.

 

stitching the bag handles

Bring the two edges together for the kitchener stitch


The finished handles will look like this:

 

Knot bag handles

The handles, one longer than the other


Sewing up the bottom

 

Front view of the knot bag

Front view of the knot bag


  1. Position the bag so that the shorter handle is in front of the longer one
  2. Sew up the bottom using mattress stitch

Attaching the buttons
Using a sewing needle, attach assortment of buttons to the body of the bag.

Lining the bag
Line the bag and it lasts longer. I lined both the handles and the body.

Find any fabric that you can re-cycle. You can buy new fabric too but I think an old T-shirt works just fine. Measure and cut the fabric with about 1 inch extra for folding in. Two narrow strips for the handles and a long rectangle for the body.

Position and pin the narrow strips to the inside of the handles right side facing up. Fold the 1-inch border in and slip stitch along all the sides.

Fold the fabric for the body in half right-side together. Mark out the 1 inch border and stitch up the side and bottom. You can use the sewing machine for this if you have one. Turn it out so that the right side is facing out. Turn the knot bag wrong side out and slip the body lining in. Fold the 1-inch border and pin along the opening of the bag over the handle lining.

 

Lining for the bag

Lining for the bag


Remember, sew the buttons or any other ornaments that you like onto the bag first before you line it because you want to hide all the threads and endings underneath the lining.

I tried to be as clear as possible but if you still have questions, feel free to ask.

This is a free knitting pattern. I’ll be thrilled if you use it. Please link back here if you do. If you took pictures, I’ll be happy to upload it to the Knitting Pictures I like section.

Happy Knitting!

  • Jackie

    Is it possible to not make hte body of the bag in the round? Will it affect how it looks? I only have normal knitting needles, but I really want to make this.

    • http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com Phoebe

      Hi Jackie,
      So sorry for the late reply. My disqus was acting up. Yes, you can make the body in the normal way. Either make it long and fold it in half and seam up the side or make it wide and fold it in half and seam up bottom and side. If you knit it long, you should use a provisional cast on so that you get live stitches to make the handles.

  • http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com Phoebe

    Hi there, I’m too late to answer your question cuz you found the solution. :) Yes, show me the finished object. 

  • Ka_hillman43

    How would you make this Bag Bigger and how do you adjust your handles stitches??

    • http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com Phoebe

      Hi there, the bag can be made bigger in 2 ways. Using chunkier yarns or increasing cast on stitches. The handles are divided evenly, so any additional increases in stitches must be divisible by 4. If the handles are too wide, you can decrease some stitches when working on the handles. Make sure the decreases are evenly done for both handles. Hope this helps.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EUOKCRCAASV34VO3CD6Q6F7NDU Gillian

    thanks for sharing!! been wanting to get a small bag, but now i can knit one for myself! anyway, just to check, the 17X 17 square, do i have to roll out the end that curls up?? =)

    • http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com Phoebe

      Hi Gillian, you are referring to the bottom of the bag? What do you mean by rolling it out? I seam the end together using the mattress stitch. Then I line the bag.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/EUOKCRCAASV34VO3CD6Q6F7NDU Gillian

        yup, as in when im knitting in st stitch in the round, the end of the bag tends to roll up.. do i need to straighten out the base to measure the 17 cm before i start knitting the handles?

        • http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com Phoebe

          Hi Gillian,
          Yes, you should measure from the base end which do mean flattening the curls to get to it.

  • http://www.misfitgamerz.mp Maharet

    thank you so much! i can’t wait to try this out. i’m so excited!! :)

  • http://knitxthis.livejournal.com/ Amanda W.

    I really like this bag a lot! I made a tiny one to carry around poops bags when I walk my dog. I’m also making another small one (bigger than the first one I made) for my niece whose turning 2 on Friday. She has begun to carry around my sister’s purse so now she’ll have her own.

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I love it!

    • http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com Phoebe

      Hi Amanda, thanks for trying out the pattern. Glad that you like it. Do you think you can show me a picture of it? Are you on Ravelry.com?

  • Tere

    This is extremely cute. Thanks so much for the pattern! I’m going to knit it for my son’s girlfriend who is half Japanese. I was looking for a small purse or tote bag and this one looks perfect! I do have one question before starting: Does the lining show on the handles when you close the bag? Is there a definite need to line the handles?

    Thanks!!

    • Phoebe

      Hi Tere,

      If you look at the last picture you will noticed that the lining is only up to the stockinette part of the handle. The edge of the handle will curl and should cover the lining.

      I tend to overstuff my bag so I require extra support from the lining to prevent the handle from stretching too much.

      You can skip the lining if you want.

  • Okmypic

    This was the free pattern on Daily Knitter (dot com) today. I love the way this bag fastens and plan to knit it for myself (and possibly my granddaughters for Christmas). Checked out your site too. Very nice!

    • http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com Phoebe

      Hi there, thank you for leaving a note to let me know you like my bag pattern. I would love to see how the bag turns out in another knitter’s hand.