I have been knitting some cotton mesh bags lately. I use them for shopping, but I also use them at camping events. They are very handy for visiting the merchants and I especially love using them for storing snack items or other dry goods in camp. I can fill them up and hang them around and people can mostly find what they are looking for easily.
I'm still playing with the pattern, so bear with me.
Cotton market bag
Any type of cotton yarn will do, Lion Brand cotton or something similar is just fine.
2 skeins of solid or multi color.
size 15 circular needles
size 11 dp
large sewing needle for securing the ends
Starting with the large needles cast on 15 stitches and work in garter stitch for 32 rows. (the base can also be knit using 2 strands of yarn to reinforce it). Once 32 rows are complete, pick up 15 stitches on the 3 sides until you have 60 stitches total, place a marker at the beginning of your round. Work 4 rows in garter stitch (you will need to purl every other row since you are working in the round). Start pattern stitch.
Row 1: [K2Tog, YO] repeat to the end of the row
Row 2 and 4: Knit
Row 3: [YO, K2Tog] repeat to the end of the row
Continue this pattern until the bag reaches the desired length (I make approx 7 repeats).
Knit 2 tog 8 times, knit 14 stitches, knit 2 tog 8 times, knit 14 stitches. 44 stitches remain. Knit garter stitch for 8 rows.
Make carrying strap:
Knit 8, loosely bind off 14 stitches, knit 8 and loosely bind off 14 stitches. You are left with 2 sets of 8 stitches which will become the carrying strap for your bag. Change to smaller needles and knit the first 8 stitches in garter stitch until your strap reaches the desired length and join to other 8 stitches using a 3 needle bind off.
The cotton will stretch a lot so knit your bag smaller than you think you need. Secure the ends and stash one in your purse/ briefcase/ car/ etc. for quick trips to the market.