Grandma Knitty Home
Knitty®: little purls of wisdom
what's the editor up to lately?feature articlesKnitty's generous selection of patternsKnittyspinşarchive of previous issuesMeet other Knitty readers and chat in our coffeeshop!sign up for the free Knitty newsletterLooking for an ad fromone of our advertisers? Click here!Our tiny, perfect online shopping mallGet yourself a little Knitty treat!read the behind-the-scenes news at Knitty

Find exactly what you're looking for

The answer to your question about Knitty is probably here!

Take home something Knitty today

Advertise with Knitty

Get your cool stuff reviewed in Knitty

Full information about how  to get published in Knitty

Read exactly what FREE PATTERNS really means...respect our designers and authors rights [and thank you]

Knitty is produced in a pro-rabbit environment

© Knitty 2002-2008. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. This means you.


<click for more!
Yarniverse -- leather purse handles

I admire women who carry small purses, but I am not one of them. When I leave the house, even if it’s only to drop the kids off at school, I carry a satchel of sufficient size to see a more streamlined traveler through several time zones. (It’s my Eastern European heritage: every time we leave a place, we prepare to be away for several generations.) I console myself by trying to carry a bag that is stylish and interesting—and by reminding myself that women with small purses certainly do not have at hand the makings for several pairs of socks, a sweater sleeve, two scarves, a drop spindle, and yak down.

Brighton is knitted in a simple Shetland lace pattern, in the round from the top down, and ends with a gracefully shaped bottom gusset and a three-needle bind off. This bag will serve as a constant reminder of your spinning prowess. Imagine standing in line at the farmer’s market and saying, “Why yes, I did spin the flax for my bag, but it didn’t require a distaff. How astute of you to notice.” (Okay, maybe this is more likely to happen at SOAR.) Brighton will carry a whole summer’s day worth of supplies for whatever life throws at you, be it foreign invasion or impromptu knitting in the park.

model: Lee Juvan photos: Lee and Tom Juvan


Height: 13 inches
Width: 13.5 inches
Depth: 4 inches

Handspun sport-weight 3-ply linen yarn from Euroflax long line flax - 1 strick/7 oz, wpi 14-15; approx. 264yd/241m (5.3 ounces/150 grams)
See Pattern Notes re. yarn substitution.

Recommended needle size:
1 US #5/3.75mm 24-inch circular needle
1 US #6/4.0mm 24-inch circular needle
1 set US #6/4.0 mm double-point needles
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

Stitch Markers
Tapestry Needle
Approx. 1.5 yards lining fabric (Note: See Pattern Notes before buying fabric)
1.5 yards mid-weight fusible interfacing
1 piece Timtex stabilizer or plastic canvas for bottom, approx. 12 x 4 inches
Bag handles (I used Grayson E leather handles, large rolled 25 inches, sold in a set of two)
Sewing thread in colors to match both lining and bag
Heavy-duty quilting or buttonhole thread – used to attach handle
Sewing machine
Straight pins


17 sts/24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette st using US #6/4.0mm needles, lightly blocked
Note: Correct gauge is not critical for this project, but your final measurements and yardage requirements may vary if your gauge is different.


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

You can easily substitute a commercial sport or DK weight linen, hemp, or cotton yarn. Good substitutes include Euroflax Sport Weight, Hemp for Knitting Allhemp6, Berroco’s NaturLin, or Knit Picks CotLin. Remember that yardage requirements (and gauge) may vary with another yarn.

The size of the finished bag will also vary according to how severely you choose to block the lace. I preferred a lightly blocked, rustic look. It’s best to finish the knitting and blocking before buying the lining fabric.

While it’s possible to sew the lining by hand, doing so by machine will greatly increase the strength of the bag.

Bead Stitch (Worked in the round over a multiple of 7 sts):
Round 1: [K1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1] to end.
Round 2: [K2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk] to end.
Round 3: [K1, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1] to end.
Round 4: [K2, yo, k3tog, yo, k2] to end.
Repeat these 4 rounds for Bead Stitch.
Adapted for knitting in the round from Barbara Walker’s first A Treasury of Knitting Patterns

Three-Needle Bind Off
Hold both pieces of knitting with wrong sides together.
Insert needle into first st on front needle and first st on back needle, and knit them together. *Repeat this for the next st on the front and back needles. Draw the first st worked over the second st.*
Repeat from * to * until all sts have been bound off. Break yarn and draw through remaining st.


Using smaller circular needle, CO 112 sts. Place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.

K 7 rounds.

P 1 round. This round forms a turning ridge for the facing.

Using larger circular needle, k 5 rounds.

Work in Bead Stitch until work measures 13 inches from turning ridge or desired length, ending with Round 4 of pattern.

Next Round: K14, place marker, k42, place marker, k14, place marker, k42.

P 1 round.

Shape Bag Bottom:
K 1 round.

Decrease Round: [Ssk, k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog] 4 times.

Repeat these 2 rows 5 times more. 64 sts; 2 sts remain between each pair of markers.

Next Round: K2tog, remove marker, k to next marker, remove marker, k2tog, remove marker, k30. 62 sts.

Slip first 32 sts to smaller needle; 30 sts remain on larger needle. With RS facing, join bottom of bag using Three-Needle Bind Off, working 2 sts together at beginning and end of smaller needle. BO will form a ridge on RS of work.

Weave in all ends.

Hand wash in cool water and lay flat to dry. When the fabric is nearly dry, iron bag from the WS, gently stretching lace pattern to desired openness. The more pressure you apply, the flatter and shinier your fabric will be.

If you prefer a more textured, rustic fabric, press lightly.

Once the bag is blocked and dry, lay it flat and measure its height and width. Double the width of the bag to find its circumference.

Cut a piece of lining fabric with the following measurements:

Bag circumference + 1 inch

[2 x Bag height] + 3 inches

Cut a piece of fusible interfacing that is 1 inch smaller than the lining in both height and width. Apply interfacing to WS of lining, centering it so that the 0.5-inch seam allowances are not interfaced.

Fold lining in half widthwise with WSs together as shown in diagram. Press the fold; this fold will become the upper edge of the lining once it is inserted.

Unfold lining. If you wish to sew pockets and add them to the inside of the lining, do so now. Fold in half lengthwise with RSs together and sew along side edge of lining, forming a tube with the same circumference as the bag. Press seam open.

Fold half of the tube outwards along the pressed fold line, so that WS of fabric is completely hidden. Sew a seam close to fold line.

Lay lining flat and sew across lower (cut) edges, through all 4 thicknesses. Press seam open. Form gusset by opening bag lining flat, with bottom seam at center of bag bottom. Sew straight across “triangles” at corners, approx. 2.5 inches in from ends. Secure triangles on outside of bottom with a few stitches.

Cut Timtex or plastic canvas to measurements of bottom gusset, and cut two pieces of lining fabric that are 1 inch longer and wider than the plastic canvas pieces. With RSs together, sew pieces of fabric together along three edges, forming a pocket for the canvas. Turn pocket right side out and press seams. Insert plastic canvas and sew pocket closed by hand.

Place lining inside knitted bag and pin into place. Fold knitted facing to inside along turning ridge and stitch to lining through all layers by hand (use thread to match the knitted bag, not the lining). Sew through all layers around bottom of bag along purl round at beginning of gusset and across ridge of BO. This will ensure that the lining and knitted bag hold their shape. Insert base into bag and tack down by hand.

Sew handles to bag through all thicknesses using heavy-duty thread.


Lee Juvan lives with her family in Vermont, where she carries a large handbag and maintains a small shop at

She is the designer of Sugar on Snow, Unmentionables, and Emma’s Unmentionables. Her work has also appeared in Spin-Off. More of her
designs will soon be available on Ravelry.