Another purse endeavour

Before the Doctor Who purse, I had already been mulling over a design for a purse for myself. Not being a very girly-girl in general, I lack… well… any purses in my house. Back in college I quickly found that I would forget my purse under cafeteria tables or in the library and decided I shouldn’t be allowed to carry one. Now that I am not so forgetful and like to wear skirts, I realized I should have something small to hold my things when I have no pockets (not to mention they don’t really make girl-pockets big enough to hold anything).

I will eventually make another Scarf Purse for me (the first one being bound for Desert Bus), but this week I decided to work on a simple, small, purple purse. I’m not claiming this pattern to be particularly original, since the design is real simple. Any beginning knitter who knows stockinette stitch and seaming could make one.

I figured I could make a small strip, like a scarf, and fold it over so that it had front, inner pocket, back, and closing flap – all in one piece. Next, you can either seam up all the edges and make a handle, or knit a long, inch-wide strip to seam to the sides and continue as a handle. At this point, I am almost finished with the body and haven’t decided on the handle design yet. I used a nice worsted-weight yarn, switching to a thinner yarn for the inside pocket so that the purse would not end up being super thick, then back to the worsted.

Photos to come, but here’s the basic idea in a poorly-drawn Paint sketch:

Behold, the amazingly complex purse design!

Once done, it will be just large enough to hold a cell phone, wallet, keys, etc, with a (most likely frivolous) zipper pocket in the middle. I’m also going to try my hand at beading and work the VNV Nation logo into the closing flap.

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The 4th Doctor’s Scarf made into a handbag

First, I would like to state that I’ve already proved I cannot consistently update a blog. Hopefully I can fix that.

In this post, I would like to take you through the creation of a handbag to be donated to Desert Bus for Hope for this year’s Craft-A-Long. I made another huge scarf, like last year. Then, as I was dabbling in making a tiny scarf, I got it in my head that I was going to make a handbag. This was definitely a learning experience for me.

*Edit 8/21 – I have instructions below for the stripe pattern I used for the base/strap, but I forgot to add that for the rest of the body, you can take the original scarf pattern from the Doctor Who Scarf website and divide the rows into smaller sections. I think I did 1/4 scale rows (which would mean dividing all of the numbers presented on that pattern by half, since the numbers on that pattern are for garter stitch ribs, which come in pairs).

The 4th Doctor’s Scarf Purse:

The completed bag.

This project is knit flat in 4 pieces and seamed together using mattress stitch. Requires quite a bit of assembly/accessories. This is my first pattern ever, so bear with me if the instructions are vague. Feel free to use this pattern for gifts or charity with credit to me. Please do not re-post without my permission, sell purses made with the pattern for profit, etc.

Yarn used: Lion Brand Wool-Ease
Needle size: US 8 (5mm) or whatever size needed to match gauge, straight or circular
Gauge: 18 stitches x 24 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch

Accessories needed:
One 4″ zipper
2-4 toggle buttons (size is up to you, depending on your i-cord)
Darning needle
Fabric for lining
Needle & thread for sewing on lining and zipper
DPN of any size for i-cords

Finished project should be approximately 10.5″ across (at base) by 8″ tall by 3″ wide (at side). My handle was 43″ long.

Abbreviations:
SKP – Slip one stitch knit-wise to the right needle, knit one, pass the slipped stitch over the knit one
k2tog – Knit two stitches together
kfb – Knit into the front of the stitch, (do not slip the stitch off the needle) then also knit into the back of the same stitch. If you are more comfortable with a different M1 method, feel free to substitute.
BO – Bind off
CO – Cast on

Front Piece:

CO 50 stitches
Knit in stockinette stitch (knit odd rows, purl even rows) using whatever stripe or plain pattern you desire, as follows:

  • Work 6 rows
  • Row 7 (this will be used for all Decrease Rows from here) k1, SKP, knit to 3 stitches before end, k2tog, k1
  • Work 5 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 5 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 5 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 1 row
  • Row 27: k 12, BO 18, k 12
  • Row 28: purl 12, CO 18 using backward loop method, purl 12
  • Work 2 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 5 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 5 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 3 rows
  • Next Decrease Row as follows: k1, SKP twice, knit to 5 to end, k2tog twice, k1
  • Work 5 rows, BO all stitches (52 total rows)

Back Piece:

  • CO 50 stitches
  • Work first 52 rows same as above for Front Piece
  • At row 53, work 18 rows in stockinette stitch.
  • For the following 24 rows, I worked in stockinette stitch, however, in hindsight, I feel it would have been better to work these rows in either garter stitch or with a garter stitch border on the outer edges, so that it will lay flat. I ended up having to knit another round of these 24 rows and seaming it to the inside of the flap, as you will see in the photos:
  • Work 6 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 7 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 5 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 3 rows, BO all stitches (total 94 rows)

Base/Sides and Handle:
For this entire piece, I worked the Tiny Posh Season 12 pattern from The Witty Little Knitter’s site.

Or work in whatever pattern you choose.

  • CO 14 stitches
  • Work 12 rows
  • Row 13 (this will be your Increase Row): k1, kfb, knit to 2 to end, kfb, k1
  • Work 19 rows
  • Increase Row
  • Work 103 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 19 rows
  • Decrease Row
  • Work 12 rows
  • Next Row (row 169): BO 2, knit to end
  • Row 170: BO 2, purl to end
  • Continue to work these 10 stitches in garter stitch until desired length. For me, it was until the end of the scarf pattern (a total of 43 inches of garter stitch). BO all stitches after desired length is achieved.

Pocket:

Knit a 5″ wide by 4″ tall square of your choosing.

Assembly:

Weave in all yarn tails and block your pieces, if desired.

Using mattress stitch (you can find tutorials online or in knitting books, usually, if you haven’t done this before), seam the front and back pieces to the base/sides with a long piece of yarn. I found it easier to use safety pins to line everything up and removed the pins as I went. This also helps to pace your stitching so that rows are lined up fairly evenly. Also use mattress stitch to firmly attach the handle to the other side of the purse.

Showing Front, Back, and Base/Side/Strap pieces.

Showing the inside of the bag, with yarn ends woven into the seam.

Take your zipper and pin it to the inside of the opening in the Front Piece, then sew it in place. You want to sew the edges of the opening about 1/4″ away from where the zipper opens, or whatever makes you feel comfortable that the yarn won’t get stuck in the zipper.

Turn the purse inside out. Take your 5″ by 4″ pocket and position it over the back of the zipper opening, with the purl side facing you (i.e. matches the rest of the purse interior). Using a long piece of yarn, stitch the pocket to the interior of the purse. I simply stitched back and forth through a purl-bump on a row, then into the pocket, through the purl-bump in the next row, and so on (hope that makes sense).

On the front flap, take two double-pointed needles and pick up 2-3 stitches on the outer-corner. Knit for i-cord about 1 inch long, then secure as a loop back onto the spot you started from. The size of your loop will depend on what buttons you want to use. Repeat for opposite outer-corner. Pull the flap closed and, looking at where the loops fall, estimate where on the Front Piece you will want your buttons, then attach them. I also added a second set of buttons for the flap to close with when the bag is more full. You can test this by putting some things in it and seeing how it closes.

Securely weave in all yarn ends.

Now, keep in mind what I said about the last 24 rows of the Back Piece. I made a separate piece by working those 24 rows again and attached it using mattress stitch to the inner side of the flap. This was because my closing flap would not lay flat when knit in stockinette stitch (beginner’s error).

Optional lining:

I sewed a lining into the bag because I did not want items to poke through the knitting. The gauge of this purse is not very tight, so a lining is nice to protect your work. I do not claim to be good at sewing, so I apologize if my instructions for this part are kind of vague.

Pick your fabric and matching thread. Measure and pin the fabric into a pocket shape that will fit comfortably down into the purse. Stitch the sides of the pocket (if necessary). Now that you have your pocket, stuff it down into the purse and pin the top edge along the top opening of the purse. Sew securely along the top opening (again, as for the zipper pocket, I recommend sewing each stitch of thread into a purl bump on the inside of the purse as you go).

This pattern © Kristin Lewallen (Arafly)
For questions/info contact thatcatinblack@gmail.com

Figuring where to add the i-cord loops and attach the buttons.

Showing the finished zipper pocket, from the outside.

Showing the inside of the bag after sewing in the lining.