In this post I will share a free fair isle knit purse pattern that I designed to carry an iPhone, a credit card, some cash, and a lipstick. This fair isle knit purse pattern will allow you to make a truly useful and creative purse in a color scheme that matches your own style.
As you know, I really enjoyed the Fair Isle Knitting and Steeking class that I attended at the Knitting and Crochet Guild Show last Spring. After making wristlets at that class I started looking for a new, small scale project that would be useful and cute but would also allow me to practice the lessons that I learned at the class. In particular, I needed to practice knitting with two colors simultaneously. I have chosen to knit with one color in each hand. This works well when you are concerned about keeping the colored yarns from overlapping too much and tangling. However, as I knit more Fair Isle patterns I find that I still have some trouble keeping the gauge correct and consistent throughout the entire piece that I am knitting.
When picking this project I also wanted to try out some new yarn colors. Small projects like this are great for both practice and for evaluating new patterns and color schemes before you use them on a larger, more time intensive project.
Materials needed for this fair isle knit purse pattern:
- Jaimieson’s Shetland Spindrift in the following colors:
- 342 Cashew
- 274 Green Mist
- 794 Eucalyptus
- 232 Blue Lovat
- 550 Rose
- 575 Lipstick
- 1260 Raspberry
- 688 Mermaid
- 375 Flax
- Cotton fabric lining with matching thread
- 7″ zipper
With cashew, cast on 20 stitches on your first two double pointed needles and 21 stitches on your third double pointed needle, using a long tail cast-on.
Round 1: Purl entire round
Round 2: Knit entire round
Round 3: Knit 1 stitch with cashew, knit 1 stitch with lipstick. Repeat to last stitch. Knit 1 with cashew.
Round 4: Knit 1 stitch with cashew, purl 1 stitch with lipstick. Repeat to last stitch. Knit 1 with cashew.
(When you have finished with a color leave a 2 inch tail.)
Round 5: Knit 1 stitch with cashew, purl 1 stitch with raspberry. Repeat to last stitch. Knit 1 with cashew.
Begin color work on chart starting with Round 6. All stitches are knit. When chart rounds are complete continue with Round 62.
Round 62: Knit 1 stitch with cashew, knit 1 stitch with raspberry. Repeat to last stitch. Knit 1 with cashew.
Round 63: Knit 1 stitch with cashew, purl 1 stitch with lipstick. Repeat to last stitch. Knit 1 with cashew.
Round 64: Knit 1 stitch with cashew, purl 1 stitch with lipstick. Repeat to last stitch. Knit 1 with cashew.
Round 65: Knit round with cashew.
Round 66: Purl round with cashew.
Cast of all stitches.
1. Reverse knitting (flip your round knitting piece inside out so that the inside is facing outward). Gently tighten all loose ends.
2. Trim ends within ~0.25″ of the knitting back.
3. Cut along the transition line of the circular knitting. This is where the first stitch meets the last stitch of each previous row. A few columns (3-4) should be used on each side of this transition before the pattern starts and after the pattern ends. The section is called the steek and should lock both colors in place. I have used a checker board pattern.
4. Identify were your pattern ends and the steek begins. Fold the edge of the knitting over so the pattern is facing the front and the steek is facing the back. Use a tapestry needle and some yarn to secure the steek down to the knitting. You may want to trim the steek area. A blanket stitch is a nice accent here. Before starting secure the end well. Be sure that your stitches split the yarn and do not show on the front of the project.
For more information on steeking with step by step photographs see my post, Steeking Tutorial for Fair Isle Knits
5. Block the completed knit rectangle.
6. Fold the knit piece in half, so that the cast on edge lines up with the cast off edge. This makes the top of the purse. With a piece of the cashew yarn sew up the sides.
1) Measure your steeked and blocked knit rectangle.
2) Cut your lining fabric 3/4″ longer and 1/2″ wider than your knit rectangle.
3) Trim the end off the zipper and separate the zipper sides. Sew the right side of the zipper to the wrong side of the fabric by lining up the zipper edge to the fabric edge. Sew with a straight stitch. Secure the fabric edge from raveling by sewing the zipper edge and fabric edge together with a zig-zag stitch.
4) Fold the liner in half so that the zipper sides line up and the wrong sides of the fabric are touching. Put the zipper handle back in place. With a straight stitch first followed by a zig zag stitch sew the sides together.
5) Turn the pouch wrong side out by reversing. Sew a straight stitch along the edges just far enough away from the first seam to enclose the fabric seam.
6. The pouch should be slightly longer than the knit pouch. Tuck the bottom of the liner pouch inside itself until it is slightly shorter than the knit pouch.
7. Place the liner inside the knit pouch. With the sewing thread used on the liner. Use a back stitch to attach the top of the liner to the top of the knit pouch. I used a pink thread and put my stitches in line with the pink knit stitches so they would be less visible. The stitches on front should be no larger than one knit stitch. This will also help hide them.
8. Optional: Add a crocheted handle. Do a single crochet through one side of the purse. Continue with a chain stitch until you have reached your desired handle length. Do two single crochet stitches through the opposite side of the purse. Turn back to the chain stitches and do one single crochet in each chain stitch until you have returned to the starting point. Single crochet one last time through the purse side. Secure yarn. Weave in ends and trim.
This fair isle knit purse is the perfect size for an iphone, credit card, some cash and a lipstick. I could not decide whether a handle was better, but it is convenient to have one when walking around. Use it and see which way is better for you.
Let me know how your project goes and what you think!