For the body of the tote I used thick maroon yarn. I did the modified shell stitch (as in my Big Pink Blanket). This stitch gives the bag a chunky look.
For the mouth of the tote, I used thin black yarn and single crochet stitches to make it firm and strong.
For the handle of the tote, I used it from an old handbag and did spaced single crochet stitches way around the belt.
I took the tote out with me over the weekend and am extremely pleased with the result. I may add a zipper or button to the tote mouth some time later.