Two of Wands

Thistle Market Bag

CollaborationsAlexandra Tavel2 Comments

Spring has finally arrived here in New York and with it a serious excitement for all kinds of outdoor activities. Splitting my time between NYC and upstate NY, I get to experience the best of both worlds - hikes and lake trips in the mountains, and sidewalk cafe dining and rooftop parties in the city. But one thing both places have in common are the farmers' markets. Upstate where I live is pretty remote, so there aren't the typical "grocery stores" one would imagine in a more populated area. In fact, most of the little markets where I buy my groceries are basically permanent farm stands, selling fresh local produce, meat, cheese, and bread.

In the city my go-to is the Union Square Farmers' Market, which funnily enough has vendors that are largely from the area where I live upstate, haha. Luckily both places are very eco-conscious and the majority of shoppers are carrying reusable bags, passing on the plastic produce bags, and some even bring their own glass jars for grains and bulk items. I've actually spotted my crochet French Market Bag a couple times at the Union Square market! With so many wonderful crochet market bags out there, I teamed up with LoveKnitting this time around to create a knitted bag that could be used as a grocery tote, beach bag, or (of course) yarn bag. Using their MillaMia Naturally Soft Cotton, I designed the lovely Thistle Market Bag. Continue below for the free pattern, purchase the printable, ad-free PDF here, and shop all the yarn you need from LoveKnitting here.

While most of my most popular totes are crochet, including the French Market Bag, Day Tripper Bag, Capri Circle Bag, Red Hook Afternoon Shoulder Bag, the new Janey Basket Bag, and others, the first bag I ever designed was actually knit. My Farmers' Market Tote is stretchy knit bag that's probably the closest to the crochet French Market Bag. In 2015 I also designed the Arrowhead Tote, a knit bag with lacework on one side that added a bit of a feminine touch. I wanted to take some inspiration from the design when creating the Thistle Market Bag as I loved the elegance and romance that the lace brought. 

Once I had chosen a lace stitch, I worked up a couple swatches and realized that I preferred it on a larger scale, so I chose to hold the yarn doubled on a larger needle. MillaMia Naturally Soft Cotton is a sturdy but soft yarn, and it was lovely to work with on this bag. I wanted the bag to be functional as well as attractive, so a yarn that could hold a decent amount of items and be comfortable at the same time was essential. 

While the stitches used are fairly easy, there are a couple of tricky techniques involved, so I created a series of tutorial videos for the different parts that you can find on LoveKnitting here. The base is worked in a rectangle, and then stitches are picked up on all four sides and the rest of the body of the bag is worked from the bottom up in the round. Then stitches are bound off, leaving only those for the straps remaining, which are then worked in back and forth rows. Finally an attached i-cord is worked all the way around the straps and bound off sts at the top of the bag to add strength and a bit more cushion on the strap. 

This is an intermediate level knitting pattern and the techniques involved are the knit and purl stitches, K2tog, SSK, and S2KP decreases, the yarn over increase, working flat and in the round, picking up and knitting stitches, and working an attached i-cord. For video tutorials of each technique visit the LoveKnitting site here.


4 skeins MillaMia Naturally Soft Cotton in Mid Grey (301)
Size US 8 (5mm) double pointed needles
Size US 8 (5mm) circular knitting needles, 24”/60cm long
Stitch marker or scrap yarn
Stitch holder or scrap yarn
Tapestry needle


Width: 13”/33cm
Length: 16”/41cm
Strap Length: 20”/51cm


19 sts + 23 rows = 4”/10cm in stockinette
15 sts + 24 rounds = 4”/10cm in lace stitch

Lace stitch: (multiple of 6 sts worked in the round)
Round 1: *K 3, YO, S2KP, YO, rep from * around.
Round 2: K.
Round 3: *YO, S2KP, YO, K 3, rep from * around.
Round 4: K.


*All Two of Wands patterns are written in standard US terms
CO – cast on
K – knit
K2tog – knit 2 together
P – purl
Rep – repeat
RS – right side
S2KP – slip 2 together knitwise, knit 1, pass slipped sts over
Sl – slip
SSK – slip, slip, knit
St(s) – stitch(es)
YO – yarn over

Notes: Bag begins with a base that is worked flat. Sts are picked up and knit around perimeter of base and joined in the round. Bag continues from the bottom up to the straps. Two strands of yarn are held together throughout. To do so, pull in the inner end out from the center of the ball and hold it together with the outer end.


Using either needles and yarn held double stranded, CO 15 sts.

Row 1 (RS): K.

Row 2: P.

Rep rows 1 and 2 until work measures 12”/30.5cm.

Bind off, but do not cut yarn.


With right side facing, turn work sideways and pick up and K 39 sts evenly along side of base onto one double pointed needle, then pick up and K each of the 15 sts along the CO edge onto a second needle, then pick up and K 39 sts evenly along other side of base onto a third needle, then pick up and K each of the 15 sts along the bind off edge ont a fourth needle for a total of 108 sts. Join for working in the round and place marker for beginning of round.

K each round for 2”/5cm, changing to circular needles when there is enough flexibility.  

Begin lace rounds:

Round 1: *K 3, YO, S2KP, YO, rep from * around.

Round 2: K.

Round 3: *YO, S2KP, YO, K 3, rep from * around.

Round 4: K.

Rep rounds 1-4 until lace work measures 4”/10cm.

K each round for 1”/2.5cm.

Rep lace rounds 1-4 for 4”/10cm.

K each round for 2”/5cm.

Continue for strap:

Next round: K 9, bind off 21 sts, K 32, place the 33 sts on the right needle onto a stitch holder, bind off 21 sts, K to beginning of round marker, remove marker, K to bind off.

The 33 sts on the needles will now be worked in back and forth rows to form one half of the strap.

Next row: P.

Next row: K 2, SSK, K to last 4 sts, K2tog, K 2. (31 sts)

Rep last 2 rows until 11 sts remain.

Next row: P.

Next row: K.

Rep last 2 rows until strap measures 8”/20cm from last decrease row.

Bind off.

Place 33 sts on holder onto needles and rejoin yarn in order to work a P row.

Beginning with the first P row, rep all steps for second strap.

Block both sides of strap so that it lays flat. Seam ends of strap together.

Attached i-cord edging:

Using double pointed needles, CO 4 sts.

Slide sts to other end of needle (working yarn will be at the bottom of the sts). Bring the yarn around the back and K 3 sts. Slip the last st purlwise with yarn in back.

Insert the needle containing the stitches into the first bound off stitch along the top of the bag and K it. Pass the slipped st over the picked up st.

Slide the 4 sts to the other end of the needle. K 3 sts and slip the last st purlwise with yarn in back. Pick up the next bound off st by inserting the needle into the st and knitting it, then pass the slipped st over it. Continue this process, working into approx. 3 out of every 4 sts along the top of the bag, until you reach the strap. Continue in this process up the angled decrease edge of the strap, working into approx. 3 out of every 4 rows of the slanted edge. Then continue up the straight edge of the strap, now going into each row of the edge. Continue around entire strap, then down the slanted edge of the other side.

Bind off and seam to cast on edge of i-cord.

Rep all steps on other edge of bag/strap.

Secure and weave in all ends.

Purchase the printable, ad-free pattern here.

Purchase the yarn from LoveKnitting here.

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