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the boulevard bag

I love a cute bag and I (obviously) love to wear handknits, but until recently I hadn’t combined the two. Knitted fabric is soft and floppy, which is lovely to wear, but not so ideal for a bag that will stretch out of shape! So whilst I’d loved the idea of a knitted bag, I hadn’t thought of a solution that didn’t involve lining. Until… I was messing around with a swatch, added a knitted tuck (one of my favourite details ever), and had an AHA moment. Poke something through the tuck! Something sturdy! I can’t say I often look in the garage for knitting project supplies but on this occasion, plastic cable ties tucked away with the Christmas decorations did the job perfectly. My excitement levels over those pieces of plastic were somewhat ridiculous but it seemed like the perfect solution to a problem I’d been scratching my head over for a while. It worked perfectly, and here we are.

Meet the cutest yet sturdiest knitted bag you ever did see. Thanks to plastic cable ties hidden inside neat tucks, the Boulevard Bag holds its shape perfectly without the need for a lining. It’s a robust little thing!

Scroll down for details and to purchase the Boulevard Bag knitting pattern

If you follow me on Instagram or YouTube you’ll have seen that the Boulevard bag joined my friend Kyliana and I on our recent yarny trip to Copenhagen. It made the perfect city break companion – enough space to carry lots of bits and bobs during the day, but looks pretty as an evening bag too. I like wearing mine fairly high across the body, but you could easily make the strap longer for a more traditional crossbody or shorter as a little shoulder bag.

The Boulevard Bag knitting pattern is designed to work in all manner of yarn combinations. It works great as a stashbuster using various strands of scraps held together, like in the pink sample above. I used 4 strands of stash yarn at once, which made for a super dense fabric with an interesting texture. On the other hand, it can be a nice opportunity to use a special skein of fluffy or loopy yarn like the undyed boucle used in my white sample. Or use something novelty like fun fur, glitter, or anything as ridiculous as you like!

test knitter roundup

I always love working with test knitters, but on this occasion it was especially fun to see how the bags knit up in so many different yarn combinations! The general theme is ‘grab a handful of random stash yarns and see what happens’ 😂 Thank you so much to all my wonderful testers!

YARN A: chunky weight yarn, OR a combination of yarns that adds up to chunky weight (see Notes on choosing yarn). Approx 85-90m per yarn for main bag. Sample used 1 strand of Bluefaced Undyed Yarns Chunky Mohair loop (88% kid mohair, 8.4% wool, 3.6% nylon, 100m per 100g skein) held together with 1 strand of Fyberspates Cumulus (74% baby suri alpaca, 26% silk, 150m per 25g ball) in shade Natural.

YARN B: aran weight cotton. Approx 85m. Sample shown used Rico Creative Cotton Aran (100% cotton, 85m per 50g) in shade Black.

GAUGE: 15 sts and 20 rows to 4 inches / 10 cm in stocking stitch. Suggested size 4mm.

NEEDLES & NOTIONS: 4mm needles of any length // Zipper (approx 10” / 25 cm // Cable ties (aka zip ties) for structure. Sample used 12 cable ties of width 4.8mm and length 380mm. You will also need matching sewing thread, a tapestry needle (for weaving in ends) and a sewing needle (for assembling bag).

SIZING: finished bag measures approx 10.5” / 27 cm wide and 5.5” / 14cm deep.

CHOOSING YARN: For the white sample, I used 1 strand of chunky boucle held with 1 strand of alpaca (linked below). On a 4mm needle, this knit up to a dense yet flexible fabric.

For the pink sample, I used 1 strand of DK weight cotton, 1 strand of DK weight mohair, 1 strand of laceweight mohair, and 1 strand of alpaca all held together. On a 4mm needle, this knit up to an extremely dense fabric (literally like carpet), that made for a slow knitting process but a very sturdy bag. I used 2 strands of DK cotton held together for the strap.

There is lots of flexibility with yarn choices for this design, depending how firm you’d like the fabric. It could be knit with oddments of random yarns held together, using a regular boucle, or all kinds of fun yarns. I would definitely recommend using a fluffy / textured / loopy yarn of some description as these yarns ‘compress’ whilst on the needles then ‘expand’ to fill the gaps.

CHOOSING NEEDLES: 4mm needles are suggested for this pattern, which may seem extremely small for chunky weight yarn but is necessary to create the dense fabric. Gauge isn’t too critical so long as your bag isn’t too big for your zipper, but it is important to have a firm fabric.

CONSTRUCTION: The Boulevard bag is worked in 3 pieces: 2 identical bag halves, and 1 strap. Short rows and decreases are used to create the 3D shape of the bag, and the two halves are joined with a 3 needle bind off along the centre of the gusset.

Tucks are used to create channels through which reinforcements are inserted. Samples used plastic cable ties for this purpose, but other strong yet flexible items (such as corset boning) could also work.

The strap is worked in double knitting, which creates a strong & reversible fabric. Once all 3 components are knitted and the ends woven in, the zipper is handstitched in using matching sewing thread. The strap is then sandwiched between the gusset and the top of the bag and handstitched into place. The pattern includes a video tutorial for assembling the bag.

The Boulevard Bag knitting pattern is also available via Ravelry and Etsy.

Lily Kate x

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