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« Molly's Sketchbook: Finishing a Needlepoint Pillow | Main | Molly's Sketchbook: Back to School Lunch Bag »

Whit's Knits: Crocheted Linen Grocery Tote

It's always a good time to eschew the plastic bag in favor of an earth friendly one. My favorite choice is the netted grocery tote. It has all the conveniences of a plastic bag and none of the detriments. I love that it scrunches up into a tiny ball inside my purse, weighs nothing, and fits more groceries than I can even carry - magic!

Our knit version of this bag has been a perennial favorite at Purl (check out Elisa's Nest Tote), so here, finally, is a crocheted option. It's made out of Louet's Euroflax Linen, which is as durable as it is beautiful. My favorite summertime yarn, the Euroflax has the rawness of a hardworking natural linen, balanced by a delicate luster and a graceful drape. Buying groceries will never be the same!

The Materials

The Pattern


 5 1/2 single crochets = 1 inch

Finished Size

Approximately 17 inches tall x 11 inches wide and very expandable.

The Bottom

Chain 6 and slip stitch into the first chain to form a ring.

Round 1: Make 11 single crochets (sc) into the ring.

Note: Mark the first stitch of the next round with a removable stitch marker, safety pin or paper clip.

Round 2: Make 2 sc into each stitch of the round. (22 stitches)

Note: You can now remove the stitch marker because through Round 6 the end of the round is obvious, and after that the end of the round won't matter.

Round 3: *Chain 2, 1 sc into next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (22 chain loops)

Round 4: *Chain 4, 1 sc into 2 chain loop, repeat from * to end of round.

Round 5: *Chain 6, 1 sc into 4 chain loop, repeat from * to end of round.

Round 6: *Chain 8, 1 sc into 6 chain loop, repeat from * to end of round.

The Body

NOTE: As you begin this section you may worry that your bag is really more of a flat doily. But as you continue, the slack of the center bottom increases will eventually be taken up, and the doily will, in fact, become a tube!

*Chain 8, 1 sc into 8 chain loop, repeat from *, spiraling up until bag measures 16 inches from the center bottom to the top edge. (Tug the bag in all directions and lay it flat to measure.)

The Handles

Note: Mark the first stitch of the next round with a removable stitch marker. Reposition the marker at the beginning of each round to mark the first stitch of the new round.

Round 1: Continuing in the same 8 chain loop, make 6 sc. Then make 7 sc into each 8 chain loop to the end of the round. (161 stitches)

Round 2: 1 sc into each stitch.

Round 3: 1 sc, chain 50, skip 25 stitches, 1 sc into next stitch...

... 1 sc into next 54 stitches, chain 50, skip 25 stitches, 1 sc to end of round.

Round 4: 1 sc into next stitch, 50 sc into 50 chain loop,...

... 1 sc into each stitch until next handle, 50 sc into 50 chain loop, 1 sc into each stitch to end of round.

Round 5: 1 sc into each stitch to end of round.

Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round, cut the yarn and pull it througn the remaining stitch.

Weave in the ends and toss your tote into the washer and dryer. The more you wash it, the softer it gets!

Reader Comments (74)

Does one bag use the whole skein or could you possible squeeze two bags out of one?
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeri
what is the weight of the finished bag?
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbadlandsquilts
This looks like a wonderful bag! Would it be possible to use fabric to reinforce the handles? I'm wondering if they would stretch out when the bag is filled...or another way to prevent that?
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
whit' ... bravo ... perfect project for those single skeins of linen stashed up ... happy days and a kiss to the wee one ...
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertantesophie
Hi Keri -

While you probably couldn't get two bags out of one skein, you should be able to make a second, smaller bag. If you eliminate Round 6 of the "Bottom" section and Chain 6 (instead of 8) around and around, you'll end up with a cute bag for smaller loads!

Thanks for your question -
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPurl Bee
Great pattern :) I *never* complain about anything on a blog, but I was wondering if y'all would consider making printer-friendly versions? I went to print this, it's 15 pages long, eep!
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
whit' ... two dilemmas ... the linen has knots in it every so often ... how do you deal with those in an open crochet project like this ... and then having dealt with a knot ... it would be easy to change colors and use up leftovers non?! ... thanks a bunch!!!
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertantesophie
Hi Aimee,

If you look at the writing underneath the last photo, there is text that says "Print Article" This cuts out the photos and makes the pattern a bit more easy to deal with!


The Purl Bee
September 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjen
jen' ... it defaults to printing 15 pages including all the beautiful big photos ... happy weekend!!!
September 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertantesophie
I love this bag! I made one last night - and fell in love. The instructions were excellent and it didn't take too long at all. I'm going to start handing these out for birthdays! Love it :)

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Now THIS I really like..................hope I will be able to crochet it. I haven't crocheted for many years. I will really try because I want one. Thanks for the tutorial.
September 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercharlie
Finished mine last night, used rainbow colored Sugar'n Cream yarn. Simple and quick pattern. Only problem I had was at the top, seemed like my bag was too big so instead I only did 2 sc in each 8-chain segments. Then of course, I had to count a different number of sc for spacing the handles out evenly, but it went fast. That made it much better, smaller opening, but still plenty of room when the body stretches out.. Did anyone else have trouble w/ the opening being too big?
September 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
Oh, this brings back memories: my mom had one of these when I was a kid, but it folded up into a little pocket located on the bottom...she would always carry it in her purse. I'm too much of a newbie to figure out the pocket thing, but I think I can crochet the bag! Thanks for the pattern!
September 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
Thanks sooo much for sharing this pattern and tutorial !
October 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMy 1st Bambina !
I love this post! I just finished a cotton version and will be giving it away on my blog next weekend. ( Thanks for the tutorial!
November 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie of EarlyBirdCrafts
Thank you - I was just thinking about how to do this.
November 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDebra Storr
I have a question. In the beginning of the piece, when doing the rounds, did you do it in a spiral (no slip stitch join at the end of each round)?
November 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara
LOVE THIS PATTERN!! Love the project, love that it's easy, love that it's a grocery bag, love everything about it. LOVE. I'm making this with cotton yarn because that's what I had handy and it's working like a dream. Thanks for the amazing patterns. I love this site.
December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTreva Colton
As a beginner and a UK crochetier, please could you give details of the yarn weight.
I am trying the bag in a Double Knitting weight unbleached cotton with a larger hook but I think it will be too bulky.
February 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Hi Sarah,
You can find complete details about the yarn used for this project right here:
it's a sport weight which you may not have in the UK sizes, it's thicker than a 4ply and thinner than a DK... hope this helps!
February 24, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you for sharing this pattern! I've made one and will show it, with a link, on my blog . Regards from Holland, Sandra
February 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhandysandy
Hello All. I made a cotton one this week in dish cloth yarn (£1.29 a ball) so have ended up with very cheap and fab looking bag that I've been using with pride ever since! Have now splashed out on slightly more expensive cotton to make a coloured one for a pressie. Thank you.
March 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
i have the same question as sarah... in the beginning, how are the rounds completed? are they slip stitched closed or done in a spiral? i'm very confused. also, relatively new at crocheting so that may explain my confusion. thanks in advance for the help!
May 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercorlee
What a great pattern. I'm glad to find this!
July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Leschke
I also had problems with printing, even after clicking the "Print Article" button I still get 15 pages WITH pictures. So I copied the entire tutorial, pasted it into Word, and deleted all the pictures. Another few clicks of the mouse to delete unnecessary line spacing, and I ended up with 2 printable, picture-free pages of instructions. This sounds like a lot of work but only took me maybe 2-3 minutes. Hopefully this will help others.
August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeggi
Hi, I've made a couple of these totes as gifts, but have found I like to make it shorter because of the stretch factor. One lady I gave it to sewed a lining into it to stabilize and shorten. I also reinforced the handle by running a row of single crochet around the inside of the handle, and along the top edge of the border. It gives the top of the bag a more uniform appearance as well.

I started a bag for myself this week, but I switched to Solomon's Knot (a stitch I found in a book) which I think will go even faster, I am not sure about the durability of a more open stitch, but time will tell.

Thanks for this great pattern Whitney.
August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay
I love this pattern and made one out of bamboo/ cotton. Then I thought I'd lash out and buy the linen yarn from USA ( I'm in Aus) Louet's Euroflax Original. The beautiful hunter green is a dream but I had much trouble with the skein. Even when draped around 4 chair legs it knotted up terribly. Had to ditch one skein :(. Is there a secret to using a skein, all the yarn you show seems to come this way....but after my experience I am only buying balls from now on.
September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
Hi Julie,
When yarn comes on a skein you have to wind it into a ball before you knit with it so hopefully you weren't trying to knit with it directly from the skein? The linen can definitely be unruly until you have it in a ball (and even while you're winding it into a ball). It's a yarn worth getting a second pair of hands to help with winding. For the future, if you order skeins from us online you can request that we put your yarn into balls for you in the special instructions box, but just keep in mind that once they are wound they can't be exchanged.
Hope this helps!
September 23, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this one too! A perfect tote for the farmers market. :)
February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Have any tests been done to see how much weight this bag can reasonably and safely withstand? I am making my second now, and I would hate to overload it and break it after all that work. I LOVE the pattern! :)
March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
I just love this! I have been wanting to crochet a bag like this for years; it just seemed so dang logical. Glad I finally sifted through your entire archive and came across it. :)

I posted about my finished object here:
March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay
Hi Kristen,

Linen is so strong I can't imagine it breaking, but I suppose there is a limit - I just haven't found it! If you're concerned, you could crochet a few extra rounds on the handles. I actually did this on the second one I made because I thought it would be a little bit more comfortable on my hands, and it is!

Thanks for your question!

March 30, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I came across this pattern a couple of months ago. I was unsuccessful at finding linen yarn to work with but I really wanted to try the bag. I tried it using baby weight yarn and a size F hook (I usually have to go up a size anyway). Since then I just keep using up the yarn I have and have made at least 7 of them. I have been using them instead of plastic bags when shopping for groceries. I have even been complemented on them by the cashiers. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I am really enjoying getting back into crocheting.
June 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
I also love this as a beach bag!
January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
what does make 3 sc,... mean, Please
February 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMardie
Hi Mardie,

"Sc" means single crochet. You may find our tutorial of crochet basics helpful! It shows how to make a single crochet: .

Thanks for your question and good luck!

February 10, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love this pattern....I'm going to try making this with the plarn I made with old grocery bags.
February 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
Nice tutorial, I linked to it on my blog. Thanks!
February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Graef
I'm having the same issue as Mardie. Under the handle instructions...round says make 3 sc...

and then ends. There seems to be something missing.

I've started the bag but am not sure where to go from here. So far...I love it. And I'm sure it will be very convenient...once I have this mystery explained.


Carol in Canada
February 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMinniesgirl
Hi Carol,

Round 1 continues after the photo with "... make 7 sc into each 8 chain loop to the end of the round. (158 stitches)".

I hope this clears things up for you!

Thanks for your question!
February 29, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm having the same problem with round 1 of the handle. There are only 3 sc in that one section? ...and then you do 7 in each of the next chain loops on around.... so when you come back around you have this weird section with only 3 sc?
March 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah
umm, all I am ending up with when i get to the chain 8 spiraling up is a wavy doily looking thing. I have redone it 4 times and it is always flat (I made it out to 24inches once). anyone have any idea where I may be going wrong? Thanks
March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKellianne
Hi Deborah,

It's been a few years since I wrote this pattern, and I can't honestly remember what I was thinking with that "weird section". Reading it now, I agree that it doesn't make much sense! I have now changed the pattern so that there are 7 single crochets in each loop.

I'm really sorry for the confusion and thank you for pointing out the funny-stuff. I cringe to think of the people before you who may have wondered!

March 23, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Kellianne,

The reason the bag doesn't lay flat when it's properly crocheted is because the number of 8-chain loops stays the same. You should be essentially crocheting a tube. But it sounds like you may somehow be increasing the number of 8-chain loops as you work around. Are you making one single crochet into the loop and then chaining 8 to the next loop where you make one single crochet?

I'm sorry I don't know exactly where you're going awry, but I hope this overview might straighten you out. If not, please write back and we'll figure it out!

Thank you for your question!
March 23, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks for sharing this pattern. I just finished making one for myself the other day. I used 100% cotton yarn from Lion Brand and let me tell you...this is one tough grocery tote! :)
May 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Lynn
When the time comes for me to measure and put handles on, I have almost a perfect circle. I followed the directions and it just keeps getting rounder and rounder, the picture however looks like a tube. What could I be doing wrong? I love the pattern, but I must have missed a page..
May 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeanie
Hi Jeanie,

Another reader named Kellianne seems to have had the same problem as you. You can read my answer to her question above, or here it is again:

The reason the bag doesn't lay flat when it's properly crocheted is because the number of 8-chain loops stays the same. You should be essentially crocheting a tube. But it sounds like you may somehow be increasing the number of 8-chain loops as you work around. Are you making one single crochet into the loop and then chaining 8 to the next loop where you make one single crochet?

I'm sorry I don't know exactly where you're going awry, but I hope this overview might straighten you out. If not, please write back and we'll figure it out!

Thanks for your question, Jeanie, and good luck!

May 24, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks so much for answering my question. I guess I will have to count each round of 8's.
I did make one before, and it was also a 16 inch circle. I will not give up....plastic grocery bags are on their way out, here in Calif, so I am making all my adult kids and the grandkids one, and some to sell, and some to give as gifts.
May 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeanie
I tried the pattern again, and end up with a large pizza cover..
Is spiraling a crochet term? If so what does it mean that I have not donw.
June 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeanie
HI Jeanie,

"Spiraling up" isn't an official crochet term, but what it means is that you just continue to work around and around without paying attention to the end of the round. Sometimes in a crochet pattern, you make a slip stitch at the end of the round, chain an appropriate number of stitches, and work another round. But in this case, you don't have to worry about any of that!

Keep trying and good luck!
June 4, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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