Needlecraft Magazine: A Bag for Knitters to Knit

The November 1924 issue of Needlecraft magazine featured “Bags for Many Uses, Desirable and Different” by Addie M. Bodwell. Instructions for making six bags—an embroidered homespun satchel, an embroidered raffia bag, an embroidered “envelope of matting,” a knitted bag, an ecru satin bag with crochet trim, and a melon-seed handbag—are included.

The following is from the designer’s introduction to the instructions:

“Among the most useful of gifts is a bag; it serves a thousand and one purposes, and one may well rejoice in the possession of a goodly number of such receptacles.”

Debbie O’Neill knitted our bag from the original instructions, which are below exactly as they appeared in Needlecraft. She used two skeins of Brown Sheep’s Waverly Wool, 100% Persian wool yarn, in #5113 Light Green ( and size 9 needles to make the knitted bag. Happy knitting!

Needlecraft Magazine

The page from the November 1924 issue of Needlecraft magazine, showing the knitted bag (center).

A Bag For Knitters

A knitted bag is sure to interest those who enjoy plying the knitting needles. Navy-blue yarn was used for the model, but any preferred color may be substituted. The knitting is loosely done, and the work elastic.

Cast on 59 stitches, knit 6 rows plain, then knit forward and purl back for 6 rows. For the openwork pattern, * knit 7, (over, narrow) 3 times, repeat from * 3 times, knit 7; purl back; repeat last 2 rows 5 times more, making 12 rows of the pattern in all, then knit 6 rows plain, knit forward and purl back for 8 rows, knit 16 pattern rows, as before, then knit 6 rows. This completes one half the bag; for the other half reverse directions, knitting
16 pattern rows, 8 rows of knit forward and purl back, and so on, until you finish with 6 rows plain at the top; bind off loosely.

Sew up the sides of the bag to within three inches of the top and line with a prettily contrasting color, matching the yarn flowers; deep rose was used for the model. Catch the lower corners up to the sides and finish with three flowers, made as directed [see below], with black centers, the pendants formed of two strands of the rose yarn, each tipped by a black wooden bead. Work double crochet, blue, into each stitch at top of bag over the celluloid handles. Such a bag may be made of jute, if liked, or of any heavy cord or thread, such as perle crochet cotton.

Needlecraft magazine

The knitted knitting bag. We used the instructions published in the November
1924 issue of Needlecraft magazine and Brown Sheep’s Waverly Wool, 100% Persian wool yarn. Photo by Joe Coca. Faux tortoise knitting needles, boot-shaped silver knitting guards, embossed metal tape measure, and cornucopia-shaped knitting gauge courtesy of Loene McIntyre.

Flowers for the Bag

In the original instructions for the bag, there is a notation saying that the flowers should be “made as directed.” The directions are in the instructions for the embroidered raffia bag (No. 2594 N. in the right column of the original page from the November 1924 issue of Needlecraft). They are printed below exactly as they appeared in the original. No information on the tassels or beads was provided.

  • A raffia- or basket-bag of heavy weave has a decoration of prim, upstanding posies, also of wool. The stems are in long outline-stitch and the leaves of loop-stitch, using two strands of green. For the flowers wind the yarn around a smooth stick or pencil, five-eighths inch in diameter, seventy times; then with yarn threaded into a needle, slip the windings off the pencil or stick and tie loosely, forming a complete circle of loops—which represent the petals of the flower. For the center of flower wind the yarn around the finger fifty times, slip off , tie tightly in the middle of loops with a small piece of the yarn, put in place in the center of the circle of loops, and catch securely to the bag, clipping evenly to form a pompom.

Abbi Byrd made the flowers for our bag. Her instructions follow:

  • Cut 6 circles, 5 to 6 inches (12.7 to 15.2 cm) in diameter, out of chosen fabric to make six yo-yos. In the center of each yo-yo, with gathered side facing, sew on a large fabric-covered button. Cut a length of suede cord, about 11 inches (28 cm) long, and place a wooden bead on each end and secure with a knot. Fold this fringe in half and sew one to the back of each yo-yo. Sew three yo-yo flowers to each side of the bag as shown in the photograph.

This was originally published in the March/April 2012 issue of PieceWork. For another free project from Needlecraft magazine, check out “A Vintage Tatted Edging from Needlecraft Magazine.”

Find more historically inspired knitting projects inPieceWork!


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