Knitting on the bias is a great technique that is really easy to do. Knitting like this means you can use ANY YARN to knit these bags, from thin to thick, commercial or handspun.
I've written the instructions for two sizes of bags - the handbag is 36cm (14in) square and the tote bag is 54cm (21in) square. But because the bags are knitted on the bias, you can make them any size you want once you've learned the technique.
Cast on, garter stitch (knit every row), decreasing - k2tog, k2tog tbl and sl 1-k2tog-psso (diagrams), increasing - knit into front and back of stitch.
Any yarn you choose - I worked the handbag in two Magic Ball Yarns made up of odds and ends of DK-weight yarns from my stash (one pink and one green). The tote bag is worked in four chunky-weight wools which I then felted.
Needles to match your yarn.
Lining fabric and handles. I used green petersham and black cotton webbing for these handles. You could use ready-made handle