Free Knitting Pattern: How to Knit and Full a Short-row Textured Purse

comments (4) February 22nd, 2016     

Pin It

smcfarland Sarah McFarland, associate editor
Love it! 11 users recommend
The flap of this easy-to-knit handbag has a rippled texture created by short rows. The purse was featured in Threads no. 177; heres how to make your own.
This hand-knit purse can be carried as a clutch, or you can add a chain strap to use it as a shoulder bag. The bag is knit with wool, which is then fulled into a dense felt. 
This is what the bag looks like before fulling. The short-row columns create a rippled texture.
The flap of this easy-to-knit handbag has a rippled texture created by short rows. The purse was featured in Threads no. 177; heres how to make your own.

The flap of this easy-to-knit handbag has a rippled texture created by short rows. The purse was featured in Threads no. 177; here's how to make your own.

Photo: Jack Deutsch
1 | 2 | 3   All

In addition to sewing, I love to knit and make up new knitting designs. In Threads #177, February/March 2015, we featured the story "Explore Felting" by Judith Neukam. To illustrate some of the wool fulling techniques Judy wrote about, I provided some knitted samples, including a purse with a textured flap. The "ripple" was the result of short-row columns.

Short rows are not complete knitted rows, hence they are "short." Instead, you knit back and forth on a specific number of stitches within the work. Short rows are handy for shaping and, in this case, they added a ripple effect to the bag flap.

Here's the knitting pattern for the bag, including how to make the short-row columns, plus some advice on lining the bag.

Ripple purse with strap

The flap of this easy-to-knit handbag has a rippled texture created by short rows. The purse was featured in Threads no. 177; learn how to make your own.

"Ripple" Knitted Purse

Finished measurements: 11 inches long, 8 inches wide, and 1/2 inch deep. Note that your results may be different due to variables in the fulling process.

Materials: 2 skeins Patons Classic Wool, each 3.5 oz/100 gm; 223 yd/204 m, or equivalent amount of any worsted-weight, 100-percent wool yarn.

One pair size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles

Stitch markers

Gauge: 4 1/2 stitches per inch

Notes: Traditionally, short rows are "wrapped" before turning. The yarn is looped around the next stitch to prevent holes in the work. Since this design is fulled and any small holes shrink and effectively disappear, it's not necessary to wrap the short rows.

The purse is knit in one piece, beginning with the flap. The flap has three short-row columns framed by a garter stitch. The purse body is stockingette stitch with garter-stitch edges.

Key: K= Knit.


RS=Right side.

WS=Wrong side.


Purse flap

Cast on 60 stitches.

K 6 rows.

Odd rows (RS): *K6, place marker, K12, turn work to WS and P back to marker, K12; repeat from * twice, K6.

Even rows (WS): *K6, P12; repeat from * twice, K6.

Repeat rows until the work measures about 8 inches from cast-on edge (about 9 inches at the center of a short-row column). End with a WS row, and remove markers. This completes the flap.

Flap fold

K 24 rows. End with WS row.

Bag body

Odd rows (RS): K6, place marker, K48, place marker, K6.

Even rows (WS): K6, P48, K6.

Repeat rows until the work measures about 26 inches from the cast-on row.

K 12 rows.

Bind off.


Full the purse

Ripple purse before fulling

This is what the purse looks like before you "full" it in the washing machine.

Machine-wash a test swatch for an idea of what shrinkage to expect, and plan accordingly. This bag was knit about 30 percent larger than the desired finished dimensions. Set the machine on the hottest wash cycle and the coldest rinse cycle. Use just enough water to cover the project, and place it in a fabric lingerie bag to trap lint.

Check the bag between the wash and rinse cycles. Make sure undesirable creases aren't forming and the fulling is progressing as desired. If necessary, repeat the wash cycle on the hottest setting until you are happy with the amount of fulling. The project may shrink more in one direction than in the other. Then, continue the rinse cycle with the coldest possible water.

Once the bag is fulled and rinsed, pin it flat on a blocking mat or towels, and let dry it thoroughly. Next, you'll be ready to line and finish the bag.

Ripple purse after fulling

This is what the purse looks like after the fulling process, and with the side seams sewn.

Lining tips: Create a shaped facing for the flap. I found this was the best way to support the scalloped flap. Trace the flap, then cut and sew a facing from the lining material.

Next, sew the purse side seams. Fold the purse body in half, wrong sides together and edges aligned. Hand-stitch through the felt with a matching sewing thread. The felt is usually too thick to machine-stitch. The raw edges won't ravel, and hand stitches won't show in the thick felt.

Create a purse lining. Through trial and error, I've found it's best not to try for a perfect fit the first try with the lining. Cut your lining too big, sew the seams, and test it in your purse. Remove the lining and increase the seam allowance width wherever the lining feels too big. Finish the top edges of the lining by folding them to the wrong side and edgestitching.

Sew the flap facing to the upper back edge of the lining. Insert the complete facing/lining in the purse, and whipstitch the edges to the purse.

You can leave the purse as a hand-held clutch, or add two grommets through the lining and purse along the flap fold. Thread a chain strap through them.

Ripple purse with chain strap and grommets

The finishing touch: After you've faced the textured flap and lined the bag body, you may install two grommets. Thread a chain through the grommets and, voila, you have a shoulder strap for your purse.

1 | 2 | 3   All
Did you make this?
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
posted in: handbag, yarn, purse, clutch, knitting, wool, felting, fulling, short rows

Comments (4)

lazybear861 writes: I love to knit, since I am 15. It's such a good entertainment. This article is really helpful and I definitely will use your advice.
Posted: 11:00 am on March 29th
RobertSmith82 writes: I love to knit and this design is absolutely amazing! Do you guys think that it would be good thing for a gift?
Posted: 1:29 am on March 2nd
genalorainne writes: Very stylish, I agree with @kingcole.
Posted: 2:52 pm on April 23rd
kingcole writes: Great ripple texture.
Posted: 9:44 am on March 19th
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.