Islamic-Patterned Shoulder Bag in Indigo and White by Chris Laning

Islamic-Patterned Shoulder Bag in Indigo and White

July 2014
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
24 stitches and 31 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
240 - 360 yards (219 - 329 m)
About 7 x 11 inches (18 x 28 cm), excluding shoulder strap
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This pattern is available in print for $6.50.

Note that this bag is worked from the top down in authentic fashion! If the colorwork looks a bit odd, that’s why. In Western Europe and the US we are used to seeing colorwork that is knitted from the bottom up. Here, the stitches are oriented with the point of each colored “V” pointing upward, because they were knitted from the top down!

This takes less than 1 full skein of dark blue, but more than 1 skein of the off-white (ecru), especially if you make a long shoulder strap.

I much prefer the color of “off-white” cotton that looks like unbleached white, but Lily doesn’t clearly differentiate this “cream” or “ecru” shade from the dyed color “ecru” which is more yellowish. I am hoarding my last remaining balls of the first shade, which I bought a number of years ago.

Be sure to treat the dark blue yarn with a dye fixer -- preferably a really good one, such as Retayne -- or else wash the bag in a detergent (in the US, something like Cheer or Tide) that says it has a “color fixer” added. Otherwise the dark blue is likely to “bleed” color across the white areas.

The original pieces of Islamic colored cotton knitting are tightly knitted in much finer yarn than this, about the size of a light fingering yarn. The blue-and-white color scheme seems to be fairly inflexible. If there are two colors, they will be dark blue and off-white. If there are three colors, the third color is a lighter blue. Unfortunately not all suitable yarns have a good dark blue and a good off-white, which is why I chose Sugar’n’Creme over other possibilities.