Ditch the Plastic: DIY Knitted Shopping Bag

“Hey, where’d you get that great shopping bag? Oh, it’s so cute. Can I touch it?” Did you ever carry a little puppy around? If so, strangers clamor for a touch and to ogle the precious pup. If you needed any more incentives for ditching the plastic bag (Melissa’s got a bunch of them here), this DIY knitted bag will elicit the puppy effect at the grocery store, farmers market and food coop.

Those of you who read my blog EcoNesting DIY know that knitting is my favorite DIY addiction. I have been following Mason-Dixon Knitting authors Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne since their first book came out. In an editorial review about the book at Amazon, the authors, are considered “the rock stars of the knitting community.” Kay and Ann are so witty, opinionated and chatty that I feel like I have a knitting group inside of my computer every time I click onto their blog. I highly recommend checking Mason-Dixon out. I suspect non-knitters would also find plenty of inspiration on this site.

I spoke with Kay and they have agreed to pass along the knitting pattern for a hand knitted reusable Monteagle Bag here. Kay says this pattern is one of their favorites, but they seem to coddle all their knitting patterns like puppies.

Kay and Ann encourage you to make a batch of these, which will accomplish several things:

1. You will learn some totally insane new stitch patterns.
2. You will use up some linen or cotton yarn that has been lingering in your stash.
3. You will wave goodbye to that drawer full of plastic grocery bags you didn’t much know what to do with anyway.
4. You will get to talk to people at the grocery store who envy your bag and want to know where you “bought” it (the puppy effect).

Kay says, “One ‘eco’ thing about the Monteagle Bag is that it can be made in almost any linen or cotton yarn (including the cheap-but-tough dishcloth cotton brands), and it looks great made of several leftover colors. So it’s a way of using yarn that would otherwise be wasted or (shriek!) thrown into the landfill. On our blog, we have posted links to YouTube demonstrations of the two novel stitches used in the bag, Veil stitch and a double-wrapped twisted stitch. These two stitches are new to most knitters, although they are not truly new at all.”

Want to join me in cranking out some reusable bags for groceries, laundry, gifts, the beach and maybe even to carry puppy food?

Photo by Gale Zucker.

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Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

thanks for sharing

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon2 years ago

I have a dozen calico bags I use for shopping, thanks :)

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton2 years ago


Carol B.
Carol B.4 years ago

Plastic bags cut into strips to knit or crochet with is called "plarn".

caterina caligiuri


Linking L.
Linking L.4 years ago

Brilliant idea and it looks absolutely amazing. You can find more Handbags NJ here.

Max Pak
Max Pak4 years ago

I would like to see those plastic bags turned into knitted shopping bags. There must be a way. I don't knit but I am hoping to remember how to do some hand weaving. Maybe that could recycle some of those plastic bags into fashionista fabulous. Very good idea to make your own. There are endless possibilities of ways to make them. You can fold a towel & sew the sides together. Make a strap out of another towel using a contrasting color. It can be washed along with your other towels. I don't knit but I do crochet. Thanks for the idea.
printed plastic bags

Jeanne J.
Jeanne J.4 years ago

Good idea..

Linda S.
Linda S.4 years ago

@trish K, they do turn plastic bags into "yarn". I've seen it being done online. they crochet the pastic into new bags

Jane W.
Jane Warren4 years ago

I really want to try knitting that. Will just have to find a yarn substitute.