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Japanese Knot Bag Knitting Pattern – Free + Simple

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS THAT SUPPORT HANDY LITTLE ME CONTENT AND FREE PATTERNS.

In this post, you will see a Japanese knot bag knitting pattern that is created using the woven knit stitch pattern.

The benefit of making a Japanese knot bag is that you can make one over a weekend, using worsted-weight yarn and 5 mm (US 8) knitting needles.

Please scroll down to view the free knitting pattern online or grab the inexpensive ad-free printable PDF in my shop here.

Japanese knot bag

What Is The History Of The Japanese Knot Bag?

The Japanese knot bag, also known as the Japanese knot purse or Azuma bukuro, is a traditional Japanese-style bag with a unique design that allows it to be closed and carried by looping the longer handle through the shorter one.

This creates a charming knot that secures the bag’s contents.

While the exact origins of the Japanese knot bag are not well-documented, it is believed to have a long history deeply rooted in Japanese culture.

Historically, Azuma bukuro bags were made from traditional fabrics, often using kimono fabric scraps or other textiles.

These bags were a compact size commonly used to carry small personal items, such as cosmetics, handkerchiefs, or sewing materials.

The knot design made it convenient to keep the bag securely closed while also offering easy access to its contents.

Japanese wrist bag knitting pattern
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How Does A Japanese Knot Bag Work?

A Japanese knot bag is a stylish and functional bag known for its unique design and simple closing mechanism.

It consists of two handles, one longer and one shorter, attached to the bag’s body.

To understand how it works, follow these steps:

  1. Bag Structure: The Japanese knot bag is typically shaped like a soft, unstructured pouch or tote bag. It can vary in size, from small to medium, and has a round or rectangular bottom.
  2. Handle Configuration: The bag has two handles – a longer handle (a large loop) and a shorter handle (a short loop). The longer handle is often used to carry the bag over the shoulder, while the shorter handle is meant to be held in hand.
  3. Opening and Closing: To open the bag, you lift the shorter handle, which loosens the knot, creating an opening at the top. This allows you to access the bag’s contents easily.
  4. Placing Items: Once the bag is open, you can place your items inside it, much like any other bag or pouch.
  5. Knotting: To close the bag, you take the longer strap and pass it through the shorter strap. This creates a loop, and the longer strap is pulled tight, securing the bag shut with a knot. The closure is flexible enough for you to access the contents by placing your hand underneath the shorter strap.
  6. Carrying: With the knot tied, you can hold the shorter handle in your hand or slide it over your wrist (as a wristlet). Alternatively, you can carry the bag over your shoulder using the longer handle.

The knot design is not only functional but also adds a touch of elegance to the bag’s overall appearance.

It is a distinctive feature of the Japanese knot bag, setting it apart from conventional bags with zippers or clasps.

Keep in mind that modern variations of the Japanese knot bag might have slight design modifications or additional features, but the basic principle of opening and closing the bag with a knot remains consistent across different versions.

Overall, the Japanese knot bag is a versatile and aesthetically pleasing accessory that appeals to those seeking a unique and practical alternative to traditional handbags or purses.

Japanese knot bag knit with cotton

What Size Is A Japanese Knot Bag?

The size of a Japanese knot bag can vary, as it comes in various dimensions to accommodate different needs and preferences.

Generally, the size of a Japanese knot bag is classified into three main categories: small, medium, and large.

  1. Small: Small Japanese knot bags are typically more compact and designed to carry a few essential items. They are ideal for holding small personal belongings, such as cosmetics, keys, a phone, or a wallet. The approximate dimensions for a small bag could be around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) in width and 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) in height.
  2. Medium: Medium-sized Japanese knot bags offer a bit more space and versatility. They can hold a variety of items, including a small notebook, a tablet, or a water bottle, in addition to the usual personal essentials. The dimensions for a medium-sized Japanese knot bag might range from 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in width and 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in height.
  3. Large: Large Japanese knot bags provide ample storage and can hold more substantial items, such as a book, a light jacket, or a larger tablet or laptop. These bags are suitable for those who need a roomier option for everyday use. The dimensions for a large Japanese knot bag could be around 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) in width and 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) in height.

Keep in mind that these size ranges are approximate and can vary depending on the designer or maker of the Japanese knot bag.

Additionally, some bags might be specially customized to fit specific needs or preferences, for example, making a project bag or a market bag for a quick trip to the grocery store.

Japanese knot purse

Japanese Knot Bag Knitting Pattern

Grab the ad-free printable version of this pattern (1 x PDF digital download) in my shop here.

You can also grab The Muses Collection with 12 x Knitting Patterns including this Japanese knot bag in my shop here.

Notes

  • This gorgeous simple knot bag is easy and fun to create.
  • This knit purse pattern is the perfect project for an advanced beginner.
  • The woven stitch pattern is a great choice for this kind of bag, as it gives texture and strength to the design. 
  • Using cotton yarn makes it light weight and a great reusable bag.

Copyright Info

  • Please do not copy, sell, redistribute, or republish this pattern. 
  • If you wish to share this pattern, link to the pattern page only.
  • You may sell items produced using this pattern.
  • Do NOT use copyrighted photos for your product listing.
  • For the copyright T&C please read my Terms of Use.
Japanese knot bag knitting pattern

Skill Level – Easy (Advanced Beginner)

Gauge – 18 sts/32 rows in 10 cm/4 inches in the stitch pattern.

Measurements/Sizes

Finished measurements

  • Width of bag = 28 cm/11 inches.
  • Height of bag = 18 cm/7 inches.
  • Height of longest handle = 16 cm/6 inches.
  • Height of shorter handle = 10 cm/4 inches.
  • Width of handle = 8 cm/3 inches.
Knot bag pattern

The supplies you need…

Yarn

  • 1 x The Pima Cotton from We Are Knitters (Sand).
  • This cotton is 100% Pima Cotton / 100g/3.05oz/232 yds/212m.
  • Use my code – MGM4VHHAT – for 10 off on your WAK yarn order.
  • This is an Aran/Worsted weight yarn/10 Ply yarn.

Needles

Notions

Easy Japanese knot bag knitting pattern

Abbreviations

  • CO – Cast on
  • Cont – Continue
  • K – Knit
  • Patt – Pattern
  • P – Purl
  • Sl1PW – Slip one stitch purlwise
  • St(s) – Stitch(es)
  • Rep – Repeat
  • RS – Right side
  • WS – Wrong side
  • WYIF – With yarn in front
  • WYIB – With yarn in back
The woven stitch pattern knot bag

Japanese Knot Bag Pattern

Please note: For this stitch pattern you will cast on multiples of 2+1+2 (edge stitches), for example, 2+10=20+1=21+2=23

Video Tutorial

You can view a video tutorial showing you how to knit the woven stitch on my YouTube channel here.

Worked flat knitting back and forth on two needles:

Worked in one piece and then seamed.

Cast on 53 sts.

  • Row 1 (RS): K1, *K1, WYIF Sl1PW* – Rep from * to* to the last 2 sts, K2.
  • Rows 2 and 4 (WS): Purl.
  • Row 3: K1, *WYIF Sl1PW, WYIB K1* – Rep from * to * to last 2 sts, WYIF Sl1PW, WYIB K1.

Rep rows 1 – 4 until your piece measures 36 cm/14 inches.

The Bag Handles

  • Next RS row (Row 1 of patt) – Work in patt over the next 16 sts, cast off the center 21 sts, and work in patt over the final 16 sts.
  • Next row – Cont to work on the final 16 sts only and place the other 16 sts onto a stitch holder.
  • Cont to work in the stitch pattern (Start and end each RS row with a K1 stitch ) on these 16 sts only – until the handle measures 32 cm/12.5 inches.
  • Cast off.
  • Place the other 16 sts from the stitch holder onto the needle and work in patt (Start and end each RS row with a K1 stitch ) until the handle measures 20 cm/8 inches.
  • Cast off.

Please note – you may wish to make your bag handles shorter – work fewer rows in order to do this.

Japanese Knot Bag Knitting Pattern diagram

Making Up

  • You may wish to block your bag before seaming.
  • Fold the main body of the bag in half (with the right sides facing out) and seam each side (the straight edges and side seams) using the mattress stitch.
  • Then fold over and seam each handle to the other side of the bag.
  • Weave in all loose ends.

Finishing and Blocking

Tutorial – Blocking Knits – How To Block Knitting Guide

You may wish to block your own Japanese knot bag before seaming, you can do that as follows:

  • Lay the item out on blocking mats, lightly stretch it into place and pin it with blocking pins.
  • Spray with cold water.
  • Allow to dry completely.

You May Also Like…

This Japanese knot bag pattern is knitted with raffia and made using a slip stitch ribbing stitch pattern – Raffia Japanese Knot Bag Knitting Pattern.

Raffia bag knitted

Share your work with us…

I love seeing your finished projects on social media.

If you enjoyed making the free pattern, I’d love to see yours on Instagram, be sure to tag me @handylittleme.

If you are on Facebook, stop over to the handylittleme Facebook page and share a photo.

I’d love to see your work.

Happy Knitting!

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2 Comments

  1. Hi there!
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful inspiring work. This bag is beautiful as is the top the model is wearing! Do you have a pattern as well for the top to purchase? I’d love to make both!

    Thx again and take care

    Carol 🙂