Fatema, Khadija and Hajera Habibur-Rahman are knitting sisters who also brought us One Ball Knits Accessories, and they've teamed up again, this time on One Ball Knits Purses.
The idea is to take a single ball (or hank or skein) or yarn and turn it into a great, fashionable bag, along with some fun techniques, purse hardware and other tools.
The finishing of some of these projects look like it might take longer than the knitting itself, but at the end you're sure to have a lovely, one-of-a-kind purse that will draw lots of attention.
The book opens with a section on different types of yarn, gauge, necessary knitting tools, tips for reading knitting patterns and instructions on the basic knitting skills needed to navigate the patterns, complete with drawings to refresh your memory or help you learn.
But the bulk of the book is focused on the knitting patterns, 20 in all, five for each season of the year (because the emphasis here is on being fashionable, and of course you'll want to change your bag with the seasons).
The knitting itself is pretty easy in the projects, with one rated for beginners, nine easy, seven intermediate and three experienced (those all involve cables and some interesting knitting and finishing techniques).
Some of my favorites include the Spring Green Clutch, knit with a parallel herringbone stitch pattern and closed with a cool frog closure; the Turquoise Duffel, one of the projects for experienced knitters, which includes a cabled body and felted base and sides; the Orchid Drawstring Pouch, shown on the cover and featuring a great smocking stitch; the Blue Spruce Tote, using a honeycomb cable stitch and a pretty mercerized cotton yarn; and the complex but lovely Moccasin Bag, which requires almost as much skill in leatherwork as it does in knitting.
Fun with Finishing
One of the really fun things about this book is the liberal use of purse hardware including interesting handles, latches, feet and findings, which in some cases make the bags a lot more interesting.
The only downside is often you need a lot more materials (and sometimes skills) to finish the projects than you would if they were less adorned, and there aren't any instructions in the book for things like adding a snap or installing corners, feet or other pieces that knitters might not be familiar with.
The bottom line is this book is a lot of fun for knitters who enjoy knit bags and would like to make fashion forward pouches to hold their necessities or to give as gifts.
While these projects may be more complicated in terms of hardware than some other purse knitting patterns you might have seen, One Ball Knits Purses is sure to open your eyes to new construction methods and details you can bring to your own designs or add to other knit purse and bag projects to make them look a little more glamorous.
Publication date: March 2009.