Simple Color-Patterned bag with Islamic motifs by Chris Laning

Simple Color-Patterned bag with Islamic motifs

August 2002
Aran (8 wpi) ?
20 stitches and 29 rows = 4 inches
in no stitch specified in pattern directions
US 6 - 4.0 mm
200 - 300 yards (183 - 274 m)
7 1/4 X 6", or your choice
This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download

This is a pattern I give to people who already know the basics of knitting when I teach a “historical knitting” class. While circular needles were only invented in the early 20th century, knitting “in the round” is probably the earliest form of knitting, dating back to the 1200s in Europe and at least 200 years earlier in the Islamic countries around the Mediterranean.

The color patterns given here are all simple patterns with short repeats that use only two colors at a time. I charted these patterns from actual pieces of historical knitting, mostly from fragments found in Egypt that date back to the 11th to 15th centuries. I’ve taught this class a number of times, and while people may start out feeling a bit timid about knitting with several colors, almost all of them do very well once they try it. A common comment is that this is “lots easier than I thought!”

I published a slightly different version of this pattern in Tournaments Illuminated, issue #165, in January 2008, and in Piecework Magazine in September 2002. Feel free to use and pass on this pattern for any educational or nonprofit purposes, as long as my copyright notice is attached.

The pattern includes color charts for two variations. More color charts can be found at: