My Japanese Knot Bag Knitting Pattern – Free and Easy! | The Knitting Librarian

japanese knot bag
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A Japanese knot bag is a small roundish bag with 2 handles. It is carried with one handle over the other to create an interesting asymmetry.

japanese knot bag

It is frequently made with recycled kimono fabric. It is carried with one handle over the other to create an interesting asymmetry. Of course, the handles could be of equal length but I find that when one is shorter than the other, it makes an interesting closure feature.

Knitted Japanese Knot Bag

Another way of making the Japanese knot bag is to knit it.

I have chosen to design one handle shorter than the other. I have also decided to position the shorter handle in front of the longer one. The idea is to loop the shorter handle over the longer one to act as closure in front of the bag. The usual position is side by side. It means no extra accessories for closure is required.

Finally, I have also used smaller sized needles than was recommended for the yarn so that I get a firmer and sturdier knitted fabric.



  • 3.5mm knitting needles (double-pointed or circular needles)
  • An extra pair of 3.5mm double-pointed needles.
  • Sewing needle and thread in matching colour

Instructions for the body

Cast on 72 stitches

Bring the first stitch and the last stitch together

Place a marker between these 2 stitches

Join together and start knitting in the round by knitting the first stitch right after the last stitch

Knit in the round until the piece measures 17 cm. The body of the bag is basically a square. If the width of the bag is more than 17 cm, then knit till the height is the same as the width.

Body knitted in the round

Instructions for the Handles

Adjust the first 18 stitches onto a single needle

Then, knit these 18 stitches as follows: K2, P2, K10, P2, K2

Turn and knit the same 18 stitches as follows: P1, K1, P1, K1, P10, K1, P1, K1, P1

Repeat these 2 rows until the handle measures 25cm

Using Kitchener stitch, graft these 18 stitches to 18 stitches next to it.

Once grafted, cut off the yarn and weave the ends into the bag neatly

Start step 2 and 3 again with the next 18 stitches

Repeat these 2 rows until the handle measures 13cm

Using Kitchener stitch, graft these 18 stitches to the remaining 18 stitches on your circular needles. Bring the two edges together for the Kitchener stitch

Attaching the Handle to the Body Using the Kitchener Stitch

The finished handles will look like this:

Handles long and short

The handles, one longer than the other

Sewing up the bottom of the Japanese knot bag

Position the bag so that the shorter handle is in front of the longer one. After that, sew up the bottom using mattress stitch.

Front view of the bag

Attaching the buttons

Using a sewing needle, attach an assortment of buttons to the body of the bag.

Lining the bag

Line the bag so that it lasts longer. I lined both the handles and the body.

Find any fabric that you can recycle. You can buy new fabric too but I think an old T-shirt works just fine. Measure and cut the fabric with about 1 inch extra for folding in. Two narrow strips for the handles and a long rectangle for the body.

Position and pin the narrow strips to the inside of the handles right side facing up. Fold the 1-inch border in and slip stitch along all the sides.

Fold the fabric for the body in half right-side together. Mark out the 1-inch border and stitch up the side and bottom. You can use the sewing machine for this if you have one. Turn it out so that the right side is facing out. Turn the knot bag wrong side out and slip the body lining in. Fold the 1-inch border and pin along with the opening of the bag over the handle lining.

Lining the bag of the Japanese knot bag

Remember, sew the buttons or any other ornaments that you like onto the bag first before you line it because you want to hide all the threads and endings underneath the lining.

I tried to be as clear as possible but if you still have questions, feel free to ask.

This is a free knitting pattern. I’ll be thrilled if you use it. Please link back here if you do.

Some pictures of another knot bag I made using brown worsted weight yarn.

If you prefer the instructions downloadable and print-friendly, consider spending $1.00 SGD for it at Ravelry.

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