Four years ago, my sister gave me a mesh tote
bag she had made for me for my birthday. The bag is purple (yay!), made
out of sturdy acrylic yarn, expands to hold several wet beach towels or
a day’s worth of groceries, and folds up to fit in my pocket.
The bag that Liz made
This tote bag is one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. Every time I
use it, I think of my sister Liz and imagine her making it for me. It’s
a little bridge over the miles, is that bag, expanding over time as
well as over a bottle of wine, some bread, and a few apples. Um…Except
that I was fresh out of wine when I took that photo, so the part of a
wine bottle is being played with Oscar-worthy style by a bottle of
gourmet olive oil.
The original bag is crocheted, but I was curious to see if I could
come up with a knitted stitch pattern that would make a similar knitted bag.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, as I appear to have all
kinds of voices in my head (ahem) wishing to advise me on the subject
of The Perfect Mesh Tote Bag:
Rule 1: The bottom has to be solid, so things won’t fall out; but
not so solid that you can’t fold it up into a reasonable,
Rule 2: The sides have to be stretchy and meshy enough so that they
can expand to surround lots of goodies, but the mesh has to be small
enough so that said goodies won’t fall out.
Rule 3: The handle has to be strong, yet flexible.
(I’m starting to sound like a paper towel commercial here. Quick:
Where’s Fabio? I need a shot of him holding up a mesh tote bag, his
hair fluttering in the wind...).
I started sketching, and realized my sketch was looking eerily
familiar...like something I might have seen in a past issue of Knits
magazine, maybe. A few minutes of searching, and there it was, in all
its bag-ly glory: The Hemp Market Bag.
Hemp Market Bag
It has a solid, flexible bottom, the perfect meshy sides, and a strong,
flexible shoulder strap. Plus: hemp. I love hemp, the kind of hemp spun
specifically for knitting, anyway. It’s strong, the texture softens as
you use it, but it stands up to use and spills like a champ.
Ya gotta love it—you start out thinking you’re going to have to
invent The Perfect Bag and someone else has already gone and done all
the math and swatching and ripping-out and muttering and starting over
again and yet more swatching for you. Such a deal.
So, here it is, Jane Fournier’s Hemp Market Bag. Make one for your
own sister, maybe (after you make one for yourself, of course!). And
don’t forget to get a bottle of wine for when you want to take a photo
for all of us of the bag full of goodies.