Master Purser by Frances McCarthy

Master Purser

June 2011
DK (11 wpi) ?
5.5 stitches and 7 rows = 1 inch
in stockinette stitch
US 4 - 3.5 mm
250 - 400 yards (229 - 366 m)
Any size from small
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This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download

This little bag, with a firm top edge and a shaped, almost tailored body, came to mind after I had been looking at pictures of medieval money-purses. These purses, tied to the belt, were often brightly coloured and adorned with tassels, embroidery and beads to draw attention to them. To carry the purse was a sign of status and honour, and they often carried money, documents, or keys in these bright little pouches.

This bag is based on a late medieval design, and adapted to be worn over the shoulder with a strap that you can knit to any length. I have given instructions for a fairly small purse, but you could adapt the length of the short rows and pleats and the depth of the bag body very easily to give a larger size – even up to a very large tote bag!

The shaping of the bag uses two techniques – short rows and pleats – and two textures of fabric – rigid and stretchy – to create a purse with a soft, malleable, saggy compartment and a strong, semi-rigid core structure. The two shaping techniques are outlined at the start, along with instructions for the ‘woven’ pattern which is used to give strength and durability to the edges of the fabric.

The design can be knitted from any yarn from DK upwards.
The finished size for the small bag (pictured) is 16cm height, 24cm width.