The Hippie Shoulder Tote

Catherine Pyle-Raffle



I happen to have a love affair with vintage pillow cases. It's runs nearly as deep as my love for knitting. I collect them and keep them until I find some project where I can bring them out and give them a new life. I create dresses for my daughter from them, bags, totes, aprons, etc. I found this vintage 70's pillowcase last summer and I have been waiting for the perfect fun and funky project to come around. The Hippie Shoulder Tote was inspired by the fabric of that pillowcase.


Finished Measurements


Height: 11 inches

Width: 9 inches


After Felting

Height: 8 inches

Width: 7 inches



Cascade 220 [100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards/198m per 100g skein]: Color #9325, 2 skeins

1 set US 13/9mm double-pointed needles

1 24-inch US 13/9mm circular needle

Tapestry needle

2 stitch markers

1 safety pin

1 sewing needle

sewing thread to match

1 button of 1.5 inch size

1 vintage pillow case; king or queen size



Approx. 10sts/14 rows=4 inches in St. st. with yarn held doubled



Using circular needle, loosely CO 46 sts. Divide these stitches evenly over three double pointed needles. Place marker for beginning of round.

On the first row, knit 23, pm, knit to end.

Continue knitting around until piece measures 10.5 inches, slipping markers as you go.


Begin decreases:

Next row: *Knit to two stitches before marker, k2tog, slip marker, ssk. Repeat from * around.

Next row: Knit


Continue decreasing EOR in the manner above until 34 sts remain on the needles.

Divide the remaining stitches evenly onto two double pointed needles (17 stitches on each needle) and remove stitch markers. Carefully turn bag inside out and use a three-needle BO to close the bottom of the bag. Bag should measure about 11 inches.


Applied I-cord Edging

Using circular needle, return to the beginning of the CO edge of the bag where your thread tail remains. With RS facing, pick up and knit 23 stitches along the back edge of the bag. Break yarn. You can leave these stitches on the needle for now.


CO 3 sts onto a double pointed needle. Knit one row. DO NOT TURN. Rather, push your stitches to the end of the needle, pull yarn around the back and knit a second row. This time, pick up one stitch from the bag's edge after the yarn break. Push yarn to the end of the needle, pull yarn around back and *knit 2 sts, k2tog, pick up 1 st from bag edge. Repeat from * around. When you reach the stitches being held on the circular needle, break yarn and place remaining three stitches on a safety pin.



Pick up the circular needles and rejoin yarn. Beginning with a purl row, knit the flap in St. st until it measures 9 inches from pick up edge. Place stitches on a double pointed needle. Break yarn.


Return to your three stitches being held on the safety pin. Continue knitting the applied I-cord in the manner as written above up the right side of the flap. When you reach the top of the flap where the stitches are being held on the double pointed needles, continue with the applied I-cord across 11 stitches. Knit a 3 stitch I-cord for 7 inches. This will be the hook for the button. You will now continue with the applied I-cord along the top of the bag, skipping the twelfth stitch and beginning by picking up the thirteenth. Continue with the applied I-cord across the rest of the flap and down the left side.



When you have reached the beginning of your applied I-cord edging again, BO your remaining three stitches. Sew these stitches to the beginning I-cord. Don't worry if it looks a little messy as felting the bag will hide this.


Secure your ends. You can either weave them in or tie them and cut them to 1 inch lengths. The ends will felt to the side of the bag. Any that don't can be cut off without unraveling the bag.


Felt your bag

Place your bag in a zippered pillowcase. Put into the washer with a pair of jeans or a bath towel. Run through a HOT wash/WARM rinse cycle. When the washer is agitating, watch your bag closely. It may shrink faster than you'd think! Mine went through two complete wash cycles on the shortest time setting before I was happy with it. Lay your bag flat on a dry towel and allow to air dry completely. This may take a couple days.



Using a soft measuring tape, measure diagonally across your body from your left shoulder to your right hip bone. Multiply this length by two and then add two inches of ease. This will be the length of fabric needed for your shoulder strap.


Take your vintage pillowcase and cut up one side seam and across the bottom edge. This will open it into one long piece. Cut the length of fabric needed based on the measurement you just took. Make sure that it is 5 inches wide. You may need to use your sewing machine to sew several pieces together to get your desired length. You can patchwork these pieces, if you so choose. You could patchwork together different pieces of fabric or use whatever you have in your stash! Make it fun!


Fold the fabric length wise so that the WS is facing you. Gently iron and pin along the open edge as necessary. Machine stitch along the length of the open edge so that you now have a tube. Carefully turn the tube so that the RS of the fabric is now facing you. Gently iron. Fold under each open end by .5 inches and sew. Now your strap is complete.




Turn your bag inside out. Using the sewing needle and matching sewing thread, sew your strap onto each side of the bag near the flap using a backstitch.


Turn your bag so the right side is now facing out. Sew your button to the outside. You can use the sewing needle and matching thread, or you can choose to use a tapestry needle and yarn. Ta-da! You're done! Fill her up and take her out on the town.

2005 knittingmama