I've been making these market bags, both to use myself and for Christmas gifts. They're done in cotton yarn and are absolutely super as well as very attractive. Since you can use them in place of plastic bags at the supermarket, they also help the environment, so it's a win-win all the way!
And, for your purposes, they're no-brainer knits! The pattern is just complex enough to keep you interested but not so thought-intensive as to distract from a really juicy conversation with other knitters!
They're particularly nice in ombre yarns. Also, I altered the pattern to make a smaller one, something I could use for those small or very fragile items at the supermarket that you don't want to get damaged in the larger bag.
For the smaller bag I cast on 66 stitches (instead of 88 for the large ones) and did 12 repeats of the net rounds rather than 20. The remainder of the pattern remains the same. For the handles I made two, about 14" long, rather than one long one like on the large bag. Either is OK, it's your choice.
At any rate, this is a great project, makes a wonderfully useful gift and is easily worked watching TV or chatting in a group!
Hope you like it!