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Pink Needles
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spacer photos: Angela Sixian Wu


The idea of making this purse originated with my study of improving and enhancing the stiffness of knitted fabric with lining and interfacing fabrics.

You might not think of using a kid-silk blend yarn to make a purse, but with lining and interfacing, everything becomes possible.

Knitted in the round, with two different sized and coloured beads threaded onto two separate balls of yarn, you will enjoy learning the little tricks and techniques of making a special clutch handbag for a special party or wedding. Try it!




Height: approx. 7 inches
Width: approx. 11.75 inches


spacer The SRK Collection Ovation Kid Mohair & Silk [75% kid mohair, 25% silk; 186yd/170m per 20g skein]; color: #2123; 2 skeins
Note: Rowan Kidsilk Haze [70% superkid mohair/30% silk; 229yd/210m per 25g ball] is a suitable substitute.

Recommended needle size:
spacer Two US #2/2.75mm circular needles, 24 inches or longer

Underlining fabric: 0.3 yard ivory silk dupioni
Lining fabric: 0.3 yard petal pink silk dupioni
Interfacing: 0.3 yard heavy weight sew-in interfacing

spacer One steel purse frame, approx. 2 inches deep and 7.5 inches wide
The purse frame shown was purchased at a bridal shop. Purse frames are also available at many craft stores, and some craft supply websites.

chart aspacer 20g size 6/0 Mill Hill pony beads in shade #G16608 Amethyst Ice
spacer 25g size 8/0 Mill Hill pony beads in shade #G18081 Jet
spacer Sewing thread
spacer Fabric marker
spacer Straight pins
spacer Beading needle
spacer Yarn needle
spacer Sewing needle and thread
spacer Strong glue: purse shown used E6000 Clear Medium Viscosity Multi-Purpose Glue
spacer A sewing machine is handy but not necessary


28 sts/50 rows = 4 inches in beaded stockinette st pattern

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

chart aThis purse has four layers: a beaded knitted exterior shell, an ivory silk dupioni underlining to show off the knitted fabric, a heavy-weight sew-in interfacing to shape and support the purse, and a pink silk dupioni lining for a clean interior finish.

Place bead:
Bring yarn between needles to front of work, slide bead up yarn so that it sits directly next to right needle, slip next st to right needle, bring yarn between needles to back of work. Once the following st is worked, the bead will be locked in place in front of the slipped st.

Directions for Judy's Magic Cast On can be found here.

Pattern for fabric pieces

Print pattern pieces A and B - each will fit on a single sheet of letter-sized paper.


chart aStep 1: Prepare Pattern and Cut Fabric

Print pattern pieces A and B. Tape together along the bold line as indicated, to produce a symmetrical pattern. The solid outer line indicates the cutting line; the dotted inner line indicates the seamline. Check the shape of the purse frame against the paper pattern; the frame should be the same shape as the upper edge of the seamline, between the edges of the purse opening. If necessary, adjust the shape of the pattern before cutting it out.

Cut 2 pieces each from underlining fabric, lining fabric, and interfacing, transfering the markings for the edges of the purse opening.
If desired, cut seam allowances from pattern piece along seam lines shown, and use washable markers to trace seam lines onto fabric as guides for sewing. Marked seam allowance is 1/2 inch, except at gusset edges (short edges marked with asterisks), where it is 3/8 inch.

Step 2: Attach Interfacing and Underlining
Pin interfacing to WS of underlining, matching edges. Baste together around edges, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Repeat for other pieces of interfacing and underlining. This forms the front and back panels of the purse body. The RS of the underlining fabric is the RS of the panel; the interfacing forms the WS of the panel.

Step 3: Form Purse Body and Lining
Pin panels together with right sides together, carefully matching edges.
Working downward from marked edge of opening and using the marked 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew panels together along curved side edge, ending at corner where side edge meets gusset edge (short edges marked with asterisks). Sew other side together in the same way.
Sew panels together along straight lower edge, leaving gusset edges open.

Fold corners of bag, pinching inner corners of gussets so that gusset edges meet; pin together. Sew gusset edges, using marked 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Trim seam allowances along curved side edges, clipping every inch or so to reduce bulk and smooth curves. Turn right side out, checking to ensure that corners are turned properly and edges of opening are even. Press if necessary.

Pin lining pieces together with right sides together, carefully matching edges. Sew together in the same way as the body panels. Do not turn right side out.

Step 4: Attach Lining to Purse Body
Insert purse body into lining, so that RS of body faces RS of lining. Carefully match edges of upper opening, and pin in place. Sew purse body to lining along edges of opening, leaving a gap approx. 3 inches long. It will be easiest to finish the bag neatly if this gap is left along the straight upper edge of the opening.
Turn lined purse body right side out by pulling carefully through gap. Sew gap closed by hand. Press if necessary.



Using Judy's Magic Cast On, CO 73 sts onto each of two circular needles. Working back and forth over the sts on one needle, work 19 rows in stockinette st, ending with a RS row.

Continuing from last row worked, pick up and k 10 sts (approx. 1 st for every 2 rows) along one short edge of piece; using second circular needle, k all sts on second needle, then pick up and k 10 sts along remaining short edge of piece. Divide sts between needles so that 5 sts from each short edge are placed on each needle. K 1 round, ending at end of second needle (last 5 picked-up sts are on first needle and  remain unworked for this round). This point will be beginning of round. 166 sts: 83 sts on each needle. Break yarn.

Thread large beads onto one ball of yarn, and small beads onto the other ball of yarn. It is not necessary to thread all beads at one time. You can always break yarn during knitting and thread more beads. When working the charted bead pattern, some rounds will be worked with one ball of yarn, and some rounds with the other ball, depending on which beads are required. For rounds that do not require beads, use the ball that was not used for the preceding beaded round.

Work Rounds 1-52 of Chart A, decreasing as shown. Chart A is worked twice in each round, once over sts on on first needle, and once over sts on second needle. Outlined pattern repeat is worked nine times in each half of the round. 118 sts when Round 52 is complete: 59 sts on each needle.

Divide for Opening:
Work Rows 1-22 of Chart B back and forth over sts on first needle, leaving remaining sts on hold on second needle. Outlined pattern repeat is worked 7 times in each row. When Row 22 is complete, 51 sts remain on first needle.

Bead placement for this panel is complete.

Shape Upper Edge:
Row 1 [RS]: Ssk, k to last 2 sts, k2tog. 49 sts.
Row 2 [WS]: BO 2 sts, p to last 2 sts, p2tog tbl. 46 sts.
Row 3 [RS]: BO 2 sts, k to last 2 sts, k2tog. 43 sts.
Row 4 [WS]: BO 3 sts, p to last 2 sts, p2tog tbl. 39 sts.
Row 5 [RS]: BO 3 sts, k to last 2 sts, k2tog. 35 sts.
BO remaining 35 sts purlwise.

Join yarn to sts on second needle with RS facing. Work as for sts on first needle.


Weave in the ends.
Soak knitted shell in water with a small amount of a gentle soap. Rinse, and squeeze gently to remove excess water. Block shell, stretching slightly. Allow to dry completely.

Insert purse foundation into knitted shell, carefully matching and pinning edges and corners of opening. By hand, sew edges of foundation to edges of shell, approx. 1/8 inch from edge.

Very carefully apply a small amount of glue to purse frame to edges of purse. Insert purse edges into frame. Allow to dry completely.

Angela Sixian Wu enjoys knitting, sewing, and other crafty activities.

She blogs here.