Two Victorian Purses
Many museums have examples of Victorian knitted purses in their collections, many of which at first glance look incredibly complicated and detailed. Whilst it is true that often they use fine needles, smooth silk thread, and beads and other embellishments, quite frequently they are much simpler to knit than they first appear.
This is in part because small items such as purses were considered ideal portable projects to work on when visiting friends, and as demonstrating a graceful hand and fine taste in choosing yarn shades was as important as the finished product, the patterns are frequently based on series of one line pattern repeats, simple to memorise, and easily executed whilst being otherwise sociable.
Our pair of purses are both based on original patterns from the 1840s with reference where possible to extant purses. As few alterations as possible have been made to make them work easily with modern yarns and needles. We have standardised and updated the language used for ease of use by modern knitters, added additional instructions where the originals lacked clarity, and modified the suggested needle sizes to allow the pattern to work well with modern 4ply or sock weight yarns.
Each source pattern is also available online in its original format should you wish to compare your results to the Victorian texts.
Yardage is not specified as it will vary depending on yarn chosen, but its not much, you only need for example about 25g of fingering to work the miser’s purse.