Thursday, July 24, 2008

Victorian Miser's Purse

This is based on the dozens of miser's purse patterns I've seen and collected. It was adapted to the yarn and beads I had on hand. Miser's purses were used through most of the 19th century to hold coins. Some purses had different colored silks or beads on each end to differentiate what coins were in each pouch, others had a round pouch on one end and a square one on the other.

Materials: Approximately 3500 size 11/0 black beads, 40 size 6 amber beads.
Size 1.50 mm crochet hook or the size that works with your silk thread.
2 short sections of 3/8" copper pipe.
60/2 superfine silk weaving yarn.
Beading needles.

Finished size: 2 1/4" x 11"

Stitch gauge: 16 stitches per inch (single crochet)

The silk weaving yarn (60/2 means 60 threads per inch, 2 ply) was purchased from Woodland Woolworks several years ago and may not still be available. Silk beading cord in different sizes and colors are also made by Gudebrod. Silk sewing thread may also be substituted. I doubled my 60/2 thread and it was still small enough to fit through a size 8/0 bead, if that helps sizing at all. There is also a colored polyester thread called Jean Stitch that is being used now for bead crochet.

Monogram uses the font Nasty. I enlarged the letters until they fit centered in a 40 x 40 pixel space and charted them on graph paper. Remember to make your monogram a reversed image because you will be dropping your beads on the wrong side of the work.

In bead crochet the hook is inserted in the stitch, yarn over and draw the yarn through (two loops on hook), drop bead, yarn over and draw yarn through both loops completing single crochet. The bead should be lying with the hole vertical. Crochet tightly!

Note: Animated bead crochet lessons can be found here.

String half the beads onto your silk and carefully wind into a ball or a spool. Chain 80 and join into a ring, being careful not to twist stitches. Single crochet 15 plain rows, then crochet monogram on both sides of bag following your chart, then crochet 15 plain rows. Work 4 rounds of 1 double crochet, 1 chain. Crochet back and forth 20 rows to make the mouth of the purse. Resume work in rounds for 4 more rows. Break thread and put on rings. Make a second bag in the same way using other monogram but stopping before the double crochet mesh. Sew second bag to mesh. Sew bottoms of both bags.

Fringe: 4 double crochet, chain 4, repeat across bottom of bag. 2nd Row--7 double crochet in chain 4 loop, 1 single crochet between 2nd and 3rd double crochet of last row. Repeat across row. Using beading needle string 14 black beads and one amber bead, then return needle down black beads to purse. There are 4 strands on each scallop.

Finishing: The original silk yarn was a light natural beige so I soaked the bag in strong tea to give it a light brown color. Squeeze out excess water by rolling purse in a towel, then stretch purse lightly to even out stitches. Silk will stiffen when it gets wet but handling it once it is dry will soften it up.

Pattern (c)Severina/A Murphy 2008


Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOOOOVE the miser's purse. I don't have very much crochet experience. I have made two sweaters and have made squares and rectangles with various patterns. Do you think I can make the miser's purse?

Severina said...

The stitches themselves are pretty simple, just single crochet and double crochet. The only problem I see is using a really tiny crochet hooks and what is basically sewing thread and getting used to crocheting with beads on the thread.

The materials are cheap, I say go for it!

Obsidian Kitten said...

holy cow--that is *gorgeous*.

i'm a miser--i may well need one of these.

you never cease to amaze me, milady.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I wish I could find a knitting pattern for a miser's purse. This one is so lovely -- could you translate it for us knitters?

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