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 » photos: Karen Juliano & Marlaina Bird

Mommy Messenger

By Marlaina Bird

The inspiration for this bag came when I saw a quilting magazine with a stunning quilt on the cover. I loved the colors of this one quilt and knew I had to make a bag with those colors.

For quite a while I have wanted to design a diaper bag for my friend Tonya for her to use when she goes to China to get her little girl. Well, I finally did it! Comes complete with matching changing pad.


One size

Pre-felted: Width: 26.5 inches; Height: 18 inches
Post-felted: Width: 16.5 inches; Height: 12 inches


Kraemer Yarns Mauch Chunky [60% New Zealand Wool 40% Domestic Wool; 120 yards/110m per 100g skein];

#y1010 Walnut (MC); 3 skeins
#y1006 Kiwi (CA); 3 skeins
#y1030 Rhubarb (CB); 2 skeins
#y1012 Butternut (CC); 1skein
#y1009 Pumpkin (CD); 1 skein
#y1024 Cotton Candy (CE); 1 skein
#y1007 Strawberry (CF); 1 skein
#y1013 Water Chestnut (CG); 1 skein
#y1017 Cucumber (CH); 1 skein
#y1026 Apricot (CI); 1 skein

Recommended needle sizes
US #13/9.0mm 40 inch circular needle, single straight needle for 3-needle bind off
US N/9mm crochet hook


Stitch markers
Yarn bobbins
Tapestry needle
16 inch Heavy duty zipper, or size to fit
9 inch All purpose zipper, or size to fit
2 magnetic snaps for flap(optional)
2 yards fabric for lining
1 heavy duty shower liner
Matching thread
Invisible Thread
Sewing needle


12 sts and 14 rows = 4 inches in St st pre-felt


Body of bag is worked using fair-isle technique.
Flap of bag is worked using intarsia technique.


Bottom of Bag

Using MC, cast on 60 sts.
Work in garter stitch for 40 rows (20 ridges).
Bind off all sts knitwise.

Body of Bag

Using MC and beginning on long side of bag, * pick up 60 sts, pm, working across short side, pick up 20 sts, pm; repeat from * once more: 160 sts.
Working in St st, follow Chart A.

Chart Image
When last round of chart is complete, using MC knit 5 rnds.

Zipper Pocket Opening


Rnd 1: K15, bind off next 30 sts, knit around.
Rnd 2: K15, cast on 30 sts, knit around.
Rnd 3: Knit around.
Rnd 4: Purl around.
Bind Off Rnd: * With CB, cast on 3 sts and place on left needle; [k2, K2tog (last st of CB and first st of MC from bag); slip the 3 sts just completed back onto the left needle] across to marker (I-cord bind off); bind off I-cord sts; with MC, bind off all sts to next marker; repeat from * once more.


Using MC, pick up 54 sts in purl rnd, centered on long side of bag above zipper pocket opening.
Working in St st, follow Chart B.

Chart Image

With MC, knit 2 rows
Bind off all sts knitwise. 
With MC, work a single crochet edging around flap.


Using CC, pick up 20 sts along bottom edge of one short side of bag. Work in St st until piece measures 15 inches or until 3 inches shorter than bag, ending with a WS row.
Next Row: K2tog, knit across to last 2 sts, K2tog.
Bind off all sts knitwise.
Using CC, stitch the pocket to the side of the bag.
Repeat on opposite short side.


Using MC, pick up 20 sts along the top of the short side where bound off.  Work in Garter st until strap measures 40 inches; set aside.
With second strand of MC, pick up 20 sts along the top of the opposite short side.
Next Row: Knit one row.
Use 3-needle bind off to join ends of strap.

Felting Preparation

Weave in all ends. 
Use scrap cotton yarn to sew the top of the bag under flap together to help prevent over-stretching in the wash. Sew the pocket opening in the back of the bag. Do not sew side pockets to bag.

Changing Pad

Using double strands of any left over color, cast on 50 sts. Work in St st, changing colors every 5 rows until the piece measures 30 inches.
Bind off all sts knitwise.
With MC, work a single crochet edging around flap.



Place bag and changing pad in separate mesh laundry bags or pillows. Set washing machine to hot wash, cold rinse, and longest cycle. Add small amount of mild detergent. Place bags and a pair of jeans in the washer. Run through wash cycle until pieces have felted to desired size, checking frequently. Run rinse cycle then remove the tote from washer (DO NOT USE SPIN CYCLE). Remove cotton thread from bag openings, cutting if necessary. Shape bag by placing dry towels on the inside or over something of similar shape and size. Shape side pockets with water bottles. Allow to dry completely.


Bag Lining

When bag is dry, lay it flat on a double thickness of fabric. Leaving a 2 inch seam allowance on all sides, trace around the body of the bag (the body is the only portion being lined). Cut both thicknesses of fabric along tracing line. At this point you may want to add pockets to the lining.

Pin the two fabrics together with right sides facing. Using matching thread, seam up the sides and bottom of the lining leaving the top open and un-sewn. Press seams open.

Square the bottom of the lining by setting the lining down on its bottom end, allowing the corners to be pushed out. With a measuring tape, measure 3 inches (or the width of the base of your bag) across the bottom part of the triangular corners. Press the corners along this line, then fold them to bottom and press again. Tack to the bottom.

Fit the lining to the tote. With the tote wrong side out, place the sewn lining over the body of the tote with the right side facing out (like putting a pillow case over a pillow). Fold the top edge of the lining down to the edge of the i-cord bind off and pin the wrong sides of the lining together along the fold. Remove lining and press the folded edge together along pinned line.

Mini Pocket


Cut a piece of fabric 12 inches long and the 1 inch wider than the width of the pocket opening at the back of the bag. With right sides facing, fold fabric with one side 1 inch longer than the other. Seam the sides of the pocket. Fold the opening of the pocket down one quarter of an inch with the wrong sides facing and press the folded edge. With the bag wrong side out, pin the pocket to the opening of the bag with the longer edge to the top of the pocket.  Using matching thread and needle sew the pocket into place.

Once the pocket is in place, put the lining back over the bag and pocket.  Pin the lining to the bottom edge of the I-cord bind off. Using invisible nylon thread and a sewing needle, backstitch the lining to the edge of the I-cord bind off of the bag. Turn bag right side out.


Pin the longer zipper to the I-cord bind off. Using invisible nylon thread, backstitch the zipper in place. 
Pin the shorter zipper to the inside of the pocket opening. Use invisible nylon thread and backstitch the zipper in place.

Lining Changing Pad

Fold the shower curtain liner in half twice (quadrupling the layers). Place the felted changing pad on top of curtain and mark 1” extra around the pad. Cut out the rectangle from the liner. Fold each side of the liner in approximately 1.25 inches towards the wrong side. Then pin the wrong side of liner to the wrong side of pad. Using sewing needle and thread that matches the pad, sew the liner to the pad. The pad is now water-proof.

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Katie Park

Marlaina “Marly” Bird is a crochet and knitwear designer as well as a popular podcast host of the Yarn Thing Podcast. She has been teaching knit and crochet classes for the past five years and has regular classes at her LYS in Arvada, CO. She is also a mother to three small children and a wife to one very understanding husband. Knitting and crochet are her true passions. She loves to make all things but really loves to create bags and has a website dedicated to teaching knitters and crocheters how to make a purse that will be exactly what they want.

Pattern & images © 2009 Marlaina Bird. Contact