Updated: Sep 15, 2022
Pattern available on Ravelry.
This design has been gathering dust for six years. Literally. Six. YEARS. O.O Possibly even longer than that, but Ravelry tells me that I started my prototype in September of 2012. It was an extra large size and took more than one cone of yarn, which was the original purpose: to create the strongest bag I could by using a single strand of yarn with no seaming or joining to cause weak spots. I wanted this thing to be TOUGH! And boy is it ever!
I've been toting groceries (and other things) around in that extra large bag for six years now and although it's definitely stretched a little taller, ha ha, it has held up to as many canned goods as I can carry and more - like when I put it on the back of the stroller for the half mile walk to the grocery store here in Williamsburg and then I can't even lift it up off of there when we get back home!
Now WHY this pattern has been gathering dust for so long is truly beyond me. It was all but written already. I just needed to clean it up, add some chatty details, make a new chart, and take some photos. Oh and finish the bags. Ooops. Yeah, those have been gathering dust, too!
I started all three of these bags around the same time and worked them simultaneously so that I could take pictures at some of the earlier stages to illustrate the size differences. Like this one that was taken on January 11th of 2013. 2013!
I'm not sure at what point I stopped working on these, but I know for sure that they moved with us from Colorado (where they were begun) to Alabama to Texas to Virginia, where they were all three made up to the last couple rounds before the handles began when I dug them out of the box. That's all I had to do! The handles!
Now, it's true that my hands (more specifically, my old lady joints) wear out pretty quickly working dense stitches like these anymore. I can only do about 30 minutes at a time now. So that can be frustrating when I just want to get them DONE. So I can move on to more relaxing crocheting, like a nice easy scarf or even a cowl. But I get comments on this bag almost every time I'm out with it and so it was high time to put the pattern out there for all the folks who want the ULTIMATE market bag, too!
And what better day to do that than on Earth Day!? Yes, it's true, these bags are pretty much the opposite of the color green, two of them being RED. But I made a green one once and it was just sort of boring! So I wanted to do these in a fun, bright color. Well, except for the middle one, which is in a nice off white sort of color, which I also like. I also did a bright white sparkly one that was lovely for the holidays, but it lives in Australia now!
Here's what you'll need to make your own bag!
Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Cone Yarn, 14 oz (400g, 706 yds) in Red or Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (400g, 710 yds) in Off White or any Worsted (4) Weight Kitchen Cotton type yarn (the small bag was made using Bernat Handicrafter Holiday Sparkle (280g, 470 yds) in Red Sparkle and I was unable complete the sixth round on the handles - but I got seven rounds on a different skein in white, so I just wanted you to be aware of that!)
F/3.75 mm Crochet Hook or whatever hook you need to create nice, dense stitches
Skills you’ll need to know or learn:
First 10 rounds with suggested yarn and hook should measure approximately 4” in diameter.
S: approx. 8” in diameter across the bottom when rounded out and 13” wide across the body when laid out flat.
M: approx. 10” across bottom (15” wide across body)
L: approx. 12” across bottom (18” wide across body)
Following above gauge, all bags will measure approximately 18-20” in height when empty and laid flat, not including handles, BEFORE use. After use, they will stretch some, but they maintain their shape quite well because of the cotton yarn’s strength.
The large size is my favorite because of that whole single skein (or cone, whatever) thing plus the volume - although I haven't had any issues whatsoever with my extra large bag that is NOT just one strand. So if you like the color change for the handles, I did add a note where I suggest making that change - just make sure you secure your ends really well! Unless, you know, you DON'T want to fill it capacity with all the heaviest things you can find.
This also works up really nicely in Hampton by Cascade Yarns, which I did for my LYS Yarn Matters following the size large instructions but with a D hook for the smaller yarn weight. Hampton is a cotton and linen blend and the bag looks really great in it. Smaller! But still sturdy and just a little bit prettier. Here's my project page for it on Ravelry if you'd like to know more about the modifications I made.
I really can't describe just how much of a sense of closure publishing this pattern (finally, ha ha) gives me. It was one of my first design ideas and it's been (very) quietly nagging at me to finish it for SO long. It feels good to finally be able to let it go out into the world!
You can save 10% for the pattern launch now through the end of April (2018) by using coupon code GOGREEN in my Ravelry Store, so go check out The Ultimate Market Bag for more pictures, show it a little love, and be sure to tag me @crochetcetera when you share pictures of YOUR Ultimate Market Bag online!