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Reindeer Tote Bag

Christmas knitting Nicki Trench

Is this, or is this not, the most beautiful knitted tote bag you have ever seen? Nicki Trench has a great way of using colour in her knitting patterns and this bag takes inspiration from Nordic themes. With knitted reindeers, hearts and a Fair Isle design, as well as a lovely lining and sturdy handles; this is the perfect bag for the winter. 

Fair Isle Knitted Reindeer Bag

How to knit a reindeer tote bag

This is such a fun design—reindeers and hearts seem to go together in many Nordic designs. This is a good size bag featuring a traditional Scandinavian-style pattern.


Yarns and Materials

Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky (100% extra-fine merino wool) bulky (chunky) yarn

  • 4 x 1¾ oz (50 g) balls – approx. 66 yd (60 m) per ball – of shade 003 Ecru (white) (MC)
  • 2 x 1¾ oz (50 g) balls – approx. 66 yd (60 m) per ball – of shade 022 Storm (gray) (A)
  • 1 x 1¾ oz (50 g) ball – approx. 66 yd (60 m) – each of shades 007 Gold (yellow), 018 Teal (blue-green), 015 Ruby (red)

US size 9 (5.5 mm) and US size 10 (6 mm) knitting needles

Moda Domestic Bliss 100% cotton fabric, 20 in. (50 cm) of Floral Kitchenette Blue code 18072-17


Needles and Equipment

Yarn sewing needle

Sewing needle

Matching sewing thread


Gauge (Tension)

18 sts x 24 rows over 4 in. (10 cm) square working st st using US size 10 (6 mm) needles.



14¼ x 11 in. (36 x 28 cm)

Fair Isle Bag Knitting Chart

Click chart to see a larger version and save to your device.


Key to colors

Ecru (white)

Storm (gray)

Gold (yellow)

Teal (blue-green)

Ruby (red)



Chart is read right to left on odd-numbered (RS) rows and left to right on even-numbered (WS) rows.

Strand colours not in use loosely on WS of work.

Knit tightly in one-color sections to balance out the gauge (tension) difference with the stranded colourwork sections, which should be knitted loosely.

Knit the Reindeer using the intarsia technique (see page 123) rather than Fair Isle to avoid the “bleed” of gray into the white background.

Knitted Reindeer Tote bag close up Debbie Bliss Lining

Front and Back

(make 2 the same)

Using US size 10 (6 mm) needles and A, cast on 65 sts.

Working in st st throughout, follow the Chart.

Next 5 rows: Using MC, work seed (moss) stitch as follows: [k1, p1] to last st, k1.

Bind (cast) off.



(make 2 the same)

Using US size 9 (5.5 mm) needles and MC, cast on 7 sts.

Work in seed (moss) st for 114 rows or until work measures 17 in.

(43.5 cm).

Bind (cast) off.



Measure Front knitted piece. From the lining fabric, cut two pieces the same size as Front knitted piece plus ⅝ in. (1.5cm) extra on each edge for seam allowances.

Measure Handle knitted piece. From the lining fabric cut two pieces the same size as Handle knitted piece, plus double the width and with extra ⅜ in. (1 cm) at each end.



With RS together, pin and sew Front and Back lining along two sides and bottom, leaving top open, taking a ⅝ in. (1.5-cm) seam allowance throughout. Cut across bottom corners diagonally, being careful not to cut through stitching. Press seams open.

Fold ⅝ in. (1.5 cm) over to WS along top edge and press.

Fold both long sides of one piece of Handle lining over to meet at the center, with WS together, and press. Pin lining to knitted Handle, with raw edges of lining facing the knitting. Repeat for the other Handle and then sew lining onto each Handle using whipstitch.


Making up

Sew the Front and Back of the knitted bag together using mattress stitch. Fit fabric lining inside knitted bag with WS together and pin around top edge.

Insert about 1 in. (2.5 cm) of each end of first Handle between Front and Front lining about 2½ in. (6.5 cm) from side seams, and pin in place. Repeat for second Handle on Back. Hand sew lining to top of bag, securing Handles in place by stitching twice across the top of each end.


Hygge Knits by Nicki Trench

This project is taken from Hygge Knits by Nicki Trench, coming out in January. 


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