Plarn Projects: Reusable Grocery Bag - Free Knitting Pattern

Print Plarn Projects Reusable Grocery Bag Pattern Now

Plarn Projects Reusable Grocery BagI am super-dee-duper into environmentally sound living.  I have to remind myself, sometimes, that I am a human living in a very, disposable world.  While I want to do everything, I have to admit I can't.  BUT...I do as much as I can to support the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle movement.

Unfortunately, if I am honest, sometimes I use paper plates and plastic spoons.  For me, it is a RARE occasion.  Like a 50th anniversary party, and I am the host.  That doesn't tend to come around too often.

But, like most people, I also often buy jars and tubs of foods at the grocery store.  Ketchup, chocolate syrup, salsa...these things come in containers that could potentially be recycled (though, for us, glass takes a little more work than it used to).  However, often times, they are so caked with goo I just don't take the time to clean and recycle.  (It seems nearly impossible!)

Additionally, I have an affinity for burning candles in the evening before bed.  I almost ALWAYS try the fill-with-water-and-refrigerate method to remove the excess and save or recycle the (often lovely) glass jars.  But about 1/2 of them have wax that just refuses to budge, and I feel I have to reserve my energy for other battles (like 4 kids and 2 jobs aren't should see our suburban farm in the backyard!).

The current events aren't helping our environmental situation much.  This is a growing and infuriating trend I am seeing 👈.  So...I've been taking this time of "work from home" to up my game a bit on the environmental practices in my own, small attempt to balance the major influx of disposable litter.  For example, I've made unpaper towels.  (LOVE them!!)  I've also started making more foods from scratch.  (Alfredo sauce is really easy, it turns out!  And there are a lot more uses for my sourdough starter than I ever imagined.)  Also...I am super excited...I have the items in my cart to start my next project: reusable diy dryer sheets!  Yay!  (The felted wool dryer balls I made work, too, but I find they leave fibers on darker clothes.  So, I reserve those for whites and towels only.)

Anyway...back to the topic, my main effort in combating the environmentally unfriendly, was to figure out how to make plastic yarn from grocery bags (ie "plarn") to save these little puppies from ending up in an ocean somewhere.  (*I realize it may confound the super environmental heroes that I even receive plastic bags.  However, I am not a big shopper.  I save time, energy and frustration by using online order apps.  Thus, I am not able, in certain situations, to provide my own reusable bags.  Also...I am considering expanding my "tiny plarn industry" to receiving donations from less proactive citizens.  So...  doing what I can, my friends.)

My first attempt was a little frustrating. I had not figured out the easy method for making plarn.  I was just cutting a long, continuous strip, which took like FOREVER.  And I wasn't reducing bags fast enough.  I actually caught my husband trying to sneak and throw them away!  (To his credit...the overabundance was getting out of hand, and it didn't appear I was going to be containing it any time soon.)  So...I started hiding them in my trunk.  😂   

Plarn Projects
That said, I finally got a project completed.  It turned out a little small for "reusable grocery bag" use.  It IS cutesie, if I do say so myself, and I have enjoyed using it for other knitting projects (I need plenty of bags for those!) or as a purse.  

With my first plarn projects bag complete, I started using the quicker method for making plarn.  Seeing a finished product and a quicker reduction in grocery bag storage space needs finally got my husband on board.  He quit doubting me AND quit throwing away bags.  Yay!  🙏

So, I quickly started in on a second, bigger bag that I could use for actual groceries.  I modeled it after a free gift bag from our local, Kansas City Royals.  I love the size and shape of that bag and can fit so much in it.  However, it may be a little big for one of my plarn projects, and I will likely reduce the size a tiny bit on the next one I make.  This one, though, can definitely fit plenty of bread, chips and other light purchases. (In fact…I’ve been to the beach enough to know it would probably make a great beach bag, too!  Towels fit right in, and the plastic should be good on the sand.)

Also, the handles on my first reusable bag were a little thick, and I overcompensated on this grocery bag.  My plarn is thinner this time (I cut my loops about an inch wide) than it was with my freestyle version.  Thus, the handles on the bigger plarn projects bag are a little too thin and stretchy.  I added a few stitches in the pattern to combat this a bit, but you may want to make the handles out of an alternate material.  ??  

Alter it however you like, here is your free knitting pattern.  Enjoy!

Print Plarn Projects Reusable Grocery Bag Pattern Now


3 skeins of plarn  (I used 40 bags per skein, which came to approximately 220 yds.  I cut my plarn into approximately 1 in strips.)

US size 11 needles

Gauge: 13 ss = 4 in

Measurements  = 14in  x 14 in x 9 in 


Front and back (Knit 2)

CO 45 ss.

K to 14 inches 

Bind off.

(Should measure 14 in x 14 in.)

Plarn Projects Reusable Grocery Bag
Sides and bottom (knit 3)

CO 45

K garter to 9 in

(Should measure 14 in x 9 in.)

 Sew together front, back and bottom using remaining plarn.

Sew side 1 (placed sideways so garter look is up and down) to front, bottom and back.  Repeat for side 2.


CO 5 stitches and knit in garter for 9 inches (or your desired length). Bind off.

Mark several inches from each side of the bag and sew in place.

This plarn projects bag saved approximately 120 plastic grocery bags from a landfill.  It may not be much of a dent in the abyss of waste we create, but it is one person's part in reducing.  That's all I can do.  

Thanks for checking out my free knitting pattern.  Happy knitting!


  1. I LOVE the plarn project! Thank you for the pattern.

    1. I'm so glad you like it! When I get the chance, I am planning to get my original bag (which is smaller, more like a handbag) pattern up, too.


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