Kaleidoscope Houndstooth Bag

This stylish bag shows an oversized classic houndstooth check in a lively rainbow gradient yarn. The bag is begun by knitting a rectangle for the bottom of the bag, picking up stitches around the other three sides of the piece and joining to work in the round.

Time: 2 Week Project

Skill Level: Intermediate

Size: 17.5” wide and 13.5” tall

Gauge: 18 sts and 20 rows = 4” [10 cm] in St st after wet blocking



Medium weight yarnKnitwhits Freia Wool Worsted Semi Solid (100% wool; 170 yards [155 meters]/100 grams): Ecru (MC, 2 balls)

Knitwhits Freia Handpaints  Ombré (100% wool; 127 yards [115 meters]/75 grams): Hard Candy (CC, 2 balls) 

Needles: US size 8 (5.0 mm) 24” circular needle, US size 6 (4.0 mm) 24” circular needle

Notions: Markers, removable markers, stitch holders or waste yarn, tapestry needle, plastic canvas sheet to reinforce bottom of bag, optional grosgrain ribbon.


kfb – knit into the front and then the back of the same st (1 st increased)

Special Stitches

Houndstooth Colorwork Pattern (multiple of 8 sts + 1)

Rnds 1-2: With MC k1, *with MC k2, with CC k2, with MC k4; rep from * around.

Rnds 3-4: With MC k1, *with MC k2, with CC k6; rep from * around.

Rnds 5-6: With MC k1, *with CC k6, with MC k2; rep from * around.

Rnds 7-8: With MC k1, *with MC k4, with CC k2, with MC k2; rep from * around.

Rep Rnds 1-8 for pattern.

Pattern Notes

This pattern is worked by knitting a rectangle for the bottom of the bag, picking up stitches around the other 3 sides of the piece, and joining to work in the round.

Handles are knitted as continuous extensions and then grafted together in the middle.

Hint 1: Be sure to keep your “floats” loose, or the bag will bunch up.

Hint 2: For long floats, twist the 2 yarns together after 3 or 4 stitches so they don’t snag.


With MC and larger needle, CO 64 sts.

Bag Bottom

Knit 16 rows in St st, ending with a RS row.

With RS still facing, pick up and knit 16 sts along first side edge, then 64 sts along CO edge, and 16 sts along second side edge. Pm for beg of rnd and join to work in the rnd. (160 sts)

Bag Body

Knit 5 rnds.

Next Rnd: K2, kfb, k to end of rnd. (161 sts)

Next Rnd: Knit.

Begin colorwork

Join CC and work Rnds 1-8 of Houndstooth colorwork pattern 7 times.

If working from chart, work first st of each rnd in MC then work 8-st pattern rep 20 times around. Work 8-row chart 7 times for 56 rnds.

Cont with MC only.

Knit 3 rnds,

Rejoin CC at a color of the gradient that provides a nice contrast.

Rnd 1: *K16, k2tog; rep from * 7 times, k15, k2tog. (152 sts rem)

Rnds 2-3: Knit.

Rnd 4: Purl.

Rnd 5: Knit.

Rnds 6-7: Rep Rnds 4-5.

Rnd 8: BO 6 sts, [p1, k1] 5 times, BO 27 sts, [p1, k1] 5 times, BO 29 sts, [p1, k1] 5 times, BO 27 sts, [p1, k1] 5 times, BO rem 23 sts. Place each set of 10 sts on hold for handles.


Place first set of 10 sts on smaller needle.

With RS facing, rejoin CC.

Row 1 (RS):  Sl1, p1, [k1, p1] to end.

Row 2 (WS): Sl1, p1, [k1, p1] to end.

Rep last 2 rows until handle measures about 10” [25 cm] or desired length (handles will stretch with use). Leave a tail long enough for grafting. Place sts on hold.

Repeat for rem 3 sets of 10 handle sts.

Graft handles using Kitchener stitch.


Weave in ends. Block piece to required measurements. If desired, sew matching grosgrain ribbon along inside top edge of bag to reinforce edge. Place plastic canvas (cut to fit) along bottom of bag for reinforcement.

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  • Not sure what plastic canvas is or where to find it, but there is a good alternative. Flexible plastic cutting boards from the dollar store (usually 2 for a dollar), cut to size with scissors and with rounded corners should work. I’d double layer the bottom for stability. I’ve done this with other handbags – to replace the cardboard that comes in the bag – and it’s worked nicely.


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