While many patterns are available, paid and free, I found the following link from Knitting Universe to be an excellent option. The written directions are clear, and the diagrams help you along. See: www.knittinguniverse.com/japaneseknotbag. The pattern calls for medium weight yarn to be crocheted in a Half Double Crochet Stitch with an H (5.0) hook. You will need 240 yards for the solid bag.
Basically, you start with an expanding crocheted circle. When you reach the desired diameter, keep the same number of stitches and build up the sides. At the top, you divide the number of stitches in half and crochet several rows on each side. Then you crochet the first strap. while the body of my purses were done in HDC, you may wish to switch to SC for the the straps. Your first strap will be 12 stitches wide by 39 rows long The diagrams show you how to attach the strap to the other side of the purse. The closure will be 12 stitches wide by 19 rows long. Again, you attach the shorter crocheted piece to the other side of the bag. The finished bag is shown below.
Leave the purse open to fill with your belongings. Then slip the long handle through the shorter loop. Fit your hand through the open loop, and you are ready to go. You have an intriguing, flirty purse, ready for spring. You do not need a separate closure since the purse is completely closed when you slip the longer handle through the smaller loop. I just aded buttons for accent.
A striped version starts with the darker color and alternates each row with a contrast yarn until you get to the handles. As noted above. you will need 140 yards off the darker yarn and 120 yarns of the lighter yarn to complete the pattern. This purse came out a bit larger with a circumference of 20 inches and a height of 9 inches. I used Sugar and Cream white cotton yarn for the light color and Premier red for the darker red. If you crochet the striped version you will need 140 yarns of darker yarn to include the longer handle and 120 yards for the contrast yarn for the loop close.
Cotton yarn is a excellent choice these bags. Usually, I select Sugar and Cream, Lydia, or Premier yarns when I work with cotton. However, Christmas Tree Shops had a surprise seasonal section this year. When I visited the store I found a different selection. The Summer Kiss Yarn by Lion Brand came in neon bright and white variigated colors. Although the labels stated that the yarn was a #4 worsted or medium weight, I found that the yarn was more like a light #3. Therefore I doubled my strands to get the desired thickness and stiffness for my bags. Here I used a I (5.5mm) hook with the two strands. Each skein weighed 3.5 ox. or 100 grams and contained 262 yards.
The Low Tide cotton yarn also by Lion Brand, came in softer shades. I chose a dull rose for this bag and a sage green for a purse for a future article. Again, I doubled the yarn to get a stiffer body for the Knotted Japanese Purse using this yarn.
As spring continues, I have two types of purses planned for future articles: A Crocheted Bento Bag and Crocheted Bags with Varying Closures. As always, I welcome your feedback and reflections. Please join me on my stitching journey.