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Garter Stitch Tote Bag






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How to Buy


Garter Stitch Tote Bag


RELEASE DATE:  March 1992, Revised July 2002.

DESCRIPTION:  This a two-handled, open-top, shoulder tote with optional button loop to close the top and an optional pocket on the outside center front. The garter stitch construction makes the bag stretchy enough to hold most any cargo. The design has two choices of bottom style – rectangular or envelope style. It can be made in 2 sizes. If constructed of an animal fiber yarn, it can be fulled (felted) in your washing machine. Both of the models shown in the photo are the smaller size with the rectangular bottom – one fulled version (left) and one unfulled version (right).

SIZE:  Two sizes, both of the same height but different widths. The unfulled versions are about 13.5 inches tall at the side seam, about 15.5(25) inches wide, and have 28-inch shoulder straps. Before fulling, the fulled version is 17 by 18.5(28.5) inches and about 15 by 15.5(24) inches after fulling, with 31-inch straps.

SKILL REQUIRED:  Intermediate or advanced beginner.


  • YARN:  Heavy worsted or chunky weight yarn or 2 strands of thinner yarn (I used 1 strand of Tierra Wools "Apparel Fine Wool", a 100% wool in natural white and in colors I dyed with unsweetened soft drink powder). The yarn can be of wool, cotton, or other fiber. For a fulled bag, the yarn MUST be 100 % animal fiber that is NOT a machine washable yarn (those are already preshrunk). A yarn for fulling should also NOT be a pure white yarn because the bleaching process for white yarn often makes the yarn unshrinkable. Be aware that the degree of shrinkage can vary significantly with different brands of yarn, and sometimes even with different colors of the same brand. I’ve also found that the bag may shrink more lengthwise then widthwise or vice versa (I’ve had bags made of different yarns full into very different shapes).

    • Main color – About 400 (620) yards for unfulled bag, 500 (775) yards for fulled bag

    • Contrast color – (optional) Making the straps, bag bottom, and pocket requires about 170 (190) yards for unfulled bag, 210 (235) yards for fulled bag.

  • NEEDLES:  Needles can be straight or circular, but must be long enough to hold up to 320 stitches. A 29-inch circular needle is a good choice.

    • For unfulled bag – U.S. Size 10 or size to achieve gauge.

    • For fulled (felted) bag – U.S. Size 11 or size to achieve gauge.


    • Darning needle to weave in ends

    • For the buttoned bag you will need a button about 2 inches in diameter (purchase one or make one yourself out of polymer clays that you bake in your oven).


GAUGE:  Not critical, but mine are as follows 

  • For unfulled bag on smaller needles – About 17 stitches per 4 inches.

  • For fulled (felted) bag on larger needles – About 14 stitches per 4 inches.

Close-up of handle, edging, & button loop on unfulled bag

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 Last update:  December 31, 2007

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