GAUGE: Working with knitted I-cord and larger needles, 5-1/2 sts and 9 rows = 4 inches. Slight variations in gauge will change the finished size a bit.

Techniques/stitches used: Refer to knitting/crocheting abbreviations below.

St st (Stockinette stitch):

  • Row 1: K across row.
  • Row 2: P across row.
  • Rep Rows 1 and 2 as directed.

DIRECTIONS: When cutting the I-cord or removing it from the machine or needles, use the tapestry or yarn needle and the tail end of the yarn to stitch through the loops to fasten off the stitches and prevent the I-cord from raveling.

I-CORD: Machine-knit: Using entire skein of yarn, follow knitting machine manufacturer’s directions to make one continuous length of I-cord. Fasten off stitches.

Loosely roll I-cord into a ball.

Hand-knit: Cast on 4 sts onto one double-pointed needle. K one row, without turning, slide all sts to right end of same knitting needle, k all 4 sts, pulling the yarn tightly behind the sts from left edge of the knitting to right edge as you begin the row (as you knit, the four sts will close and make a tube), slide sts to right end of knitting needle and continue to k each row in the same way, using entire skein to make one continuous length of I-cord. Fasten off stitches.

Loosely roll I-cord into a ball.

HANDBAG: Cast on:

  1. Referring to PurseFig1a, make a slip knot on larger knitting needle and hold it in your right hand, leaving a long tail of I-cord. Wind tail around left thumb from front to back. Wrap the I-cord from ball over your left index finger and hold ends of I-cord in the palm of your left hand.
  2. Referring to PurseFig1b, insert knitting needle into the loop on your left thumb and use the knitting needle to draw the I-cord from the ball through the same loop to form a stitch.
  3. Referring to PurseFig1c, remove your thumb from the loop and snug the stitch on the needle.
  4. Continue in this way until 12 sts have been cast on, leaving a 12-inch tail of I-cord for seaming later.
  5. Row 1 (WS): P across row: count 12 sts.
  6. Row 2: K across row: count 12 sts.
  7. Rows 3-11: Rep Rows 1 and 2.
  8. Row 12 (RS): P across row: count 12 sts.
  9. Rows 13-14: K across row: count 12 sts.
  10. Row 15: P across row: count 12 sts.
  11. Rows 16-23: Continuing in newly established St st, rep Rows 1 and 2.
  12. Row 24: K across row: count 12 sts.
  13. Row 25: Referring to PurseFig2a and PurseFig2b, bind off using crochet hk to pull I-cord through second st on knitting needle as if to knit. Then use hk to pull I-cord through first st on needle as if to purl. Remove first st from needle. Continue in this way until all sts are bound off. (This method will make cast-on and bound-off edges look the same.)
  14. FINISHING: Fold handbag in half with RS out, cast-on and bound-off edges even and side edges meeting.
  15. Use hk and I-cord tails to overcast outside side seams, leaving cast-on and bound-off edges open. Fasten off.
  16. HANDLES: Cut two 17-inch lengths of I-cord, finishing the ends so they will not ravel.
  17. Starting on the outside at right side of front, thread one of the 17-inch lengths through first and third stitches along top edge of front of handbag. Skip five stitches and thread same end of I-cord through next stitch and out last stitch along top front edge of handbag.
  18. In the same way, thread remaining 17-inch length of I-cord through stitches along top back of handbag. Tie ends of I-cords together at sides of handbag.
  19. CLASP: With thread, hand-sew button to center back of handbag along inside top edge. To close handbag, insert button through stitches in front.

FINISHED SIZE: Excluding handles, hand­bag is 6 inches high x 8 inches wide.


  • dec decrease
  • inc increase
  • k knit
  • p purl
  • psso pass slipped st over
  • rem remaining
  • beg beginning
  • lp(s) loop(s)
  • rep repeat
  • rnd(s) round(s)
  • RS right side
  • sl slip
  • st(s) stitch(es)
  • tog together
  • WS wrong side
  • yo yarn over
  • * or [ ] Instructions after * or ­between brackets are ­repeated a ­given number of times.
  • ( ) Instructions in ­parentheses are all worked in one stitch or space as ­indicated.

 Vintage Knitted Handbag from Jana Trent of Colleyville, Texas