1. Briefly about Tanya Ilnicki
I have been creating patterns almost as long as I have been
knitting (about 2 years now). I enjoy the whole creating process
from first visualizing what I want the purse form to look like,
to calculating the number of stitches and beads that are required
to achieve the look I am going for.
2. Briefly about Beaded Knitting
The art of Beaded knitting, which has been done since the
1800's, was most popular in the 1920's when the "knitted,
crocheted or woven beaded bag was a necessity for both formal
and informal wear" 1. Almost every woman owned a beaded
bag and it was especially popular for the woman to have made
the bag herself.
For collectors and historians alike, the beaded bag has always
been a favorite, but only in the last few years have beaded bags
become "must haves". This resurgence can be owed partly
to the popular movie "Titanic" with its historical
depiction of Titanic-era type jewelry and accessories. But mostly
the popularity of beaded bags can be owed to the publications
of beaded knitting books by authors such as Theresa Williams,
of Bag Lady Press and historical reprints of the Hiawatha Books
and other books of the 1920's by Lacis Publications.
3. Purses and what they can be used for
Beaded bags can be used as an every day accessory or as a
finishing touch for a special outfit. Whether it be a change
purse for my handbag or an evening bag for a special occasion,
I like having stylish, unique accessories and when I design a
beaded bag, I always make sure that I will be able to use it
as a functional accessory. When I go out for special evening
or occasion, I do not leave home without my car keys, my driver's
license, lipstick, compact, and a few extra dollars,.(I would
like to carry my cell phone too, but sometimes you just have
to leave that in the car). And I make sure that the purses I
design can fit the "necessities" of life.
This purse design (Basic Drawstring Pouch Pattern) works in
that way. Not only does this pattern create a unique and beautiful
finishing accessory for your outfit, but it also serves to hold
your necessities while out enjoying the special event.
Functionality and fashion make the Basic Drawstring Pouch
Pattern a wonderful accessory that can be for any special occasion.
4. Brief Purse descriptions of two Purses
The Basic Drawstring Pouch Pattern is a very adaptable pattern.
Not only can this pattern create a simple evening purse (see
photo of The Narcissus), but the pattern can also be finished
off to create a beautiful and elegant bag to be used in a wedding
or for a graduation prom (see photo of Victorian Lady). (Although
not shown, the pattern can also be adapted to add a metal sew-on
The Narcissus and Victorian Lady are beaded knit pouches made
with "Snow" thread from the Caron Collection. The thread
is white polyester with an iridescent polyester filament. The
filament reflects the rainbow glints of the aurora borealis crystal
beads (this particular type of bead finish is commonly called
The Snow thread creates a stiff, structured beaded fabric
the structure is ideal for a drawstring pouch, allowing the bag
to keep its shape while being used. To maintain continuity throughout,
Snow is also used for the cording in the drawstring. The completed
bag measures approximately 4.5" wide and 6" long (Including
The Basic Drawstring Pouch Pattern is an easy, simple pattern
to follow. Knowing the basics of knitting, any novice knitter
can create their own beaded pouch. The more experienced knitter
can do more intricate embellishing and finishing pattern adaptations.
Knitters of all experience levels will enjoy creating their own
II. Basic Instructions
1. What First Supplies to purchase
To begin knitting your own beaded bags, only a few tools
are necessary. Knitting needles, scissors, pliers (for breaking
a stubborn beads), beading needles and beading thread are the
most important tools required. The list below shows the different
sizes of knitting needles that are most commonly used in beaded
Double Pointed Steel Needles:
"0000" (1.25mm) Tight stitches most commonly
"000" (1.50mm) Medium stitches, looser weave
"00" (1.75mm) Larger stitches, relaxed, lacy
Once you have the tools, you can begin to look for thread
and glass beads.
Glass seed beads, thread, lining material, finishing beads
(beads used for the finishing touches on the pouch) invisible
thread (plastic or clear nylon thread used to stitch the purse
to the lining), and a tapestry needle (used to stitch the sides
of the purse together. A regular needle would pierce and split
the threads) are the few supplies needed to begin to make your
Glass seed beads come from many different countries, in a
variety of sizes and are presented in a variety of different
ways. Just a few countries that produce seed beads are Czechoslovakia,
India, Taiwan and Japan. (The highest quality (most uniform in
size) comes from Japan). Glass seed beads can be purchased loose
in tubes, vials, and plastic bags or temporarily strung on thread
(called hanks). There is no set international standard to bead
sizing; however, there is general standardization to bead sizes.
See the list below to correspond thread sizes to bead sizes:
Caron Threads Cotton Size Equivalent
Snow Size 5 cotton
Impressions Size 8 cotton
Wildflowers Size 12 cotton
Seed Beads Will Fit on Cotton
Size 6 and 8 (Hex Cut included) Size 5, 8, and 12
Size 9, 10, 11 Size 8, and 12
Size 12 Size 12
2. Preparing the Threads Stringing the Beads
Once you have found the thread and beads the next step is
to get the beads onto the Caron Thread. If the beads were purchased
temporarily pre-strung (hanks), transferring the beads on to
the thread is relatively simple. If the beads were purchased
loose in vials or bags, then the job of threading the Caron Threads
becomes much more involved.
To transfer a hank of beads onto Caron Thread, first begin
by carefully pulling one strand of beads out of the hank. Tie
off one end of the strand (so the beads do not slip off the end).
Take the Caron Thread and make a loop. Take the unknotted end
of the strand and tie a single knot around the Caron Thread.
Carefully slide the beads onto the Caron Thread. Repeat this
process until the hank is transferred to the Caron Thread. Slide
the beads down the Caron thread leaving gaps in the thread. (Thread
is needed to knit plain for 6 rows at the beginning of the pattern).
Threading loose beads onto Caron Thread is a more time consuming
project. A shallow bowl, beading needle, Caron Threads and beading
thread are used in this method. Begin by threading a beading
needle with the beading thread and tie the beading thread around
the Caron Thread as explained above. Pour the beads into the
shallow bowl and scoop the needle and threads through the bowl.
Slowly the beads will be transferred onto the Caron Thread.
Another method to string loose beads is to purchase a Bead
Spinner. This remarkable piece of equipment is made up of two
pieces and has a long thin needle. The base has a rod and a free
spinning bowl sits on the rod. Beads are poured into the bowl
and the needle is threaded with beading thread, which is tied
on the Caron Thread. The bowl is spun on the rod and the needle
is placed inside the bowl in the beads. As the bowl spins, the
beads travel up the needle and are pushed along the threads.
The Bead Spinner is a very quick way to string loose beads.
3. Ready to Knit
Once the beads have been strung the next step is to get the
pattern, get comfortable and begin to knit. The Garter stitch
is the only stitch required in beaded knitting. Abbreviations
and definitions to the pattern are as listed. Happy knitting!
Cast On Casting on required stitches
K1, K2, K3.- Knit 1 stitch, knit 2 stitches, k3 stitches
SL1, SL2, SL3. - Slide 1 bead between the stitch. (Example- Knit
3 stitches, slide 1 bead, knit 3 stitches). The beads are between
the completed stitches. The Bead Knitting Technique knits each
bead into the stitch.
Cast Off - Binding off or removing the knitting from the needles.
4. Useful Tips and Hints
Wash your hands frequently when working with the threads.
The natural oils in your skin will dirty the threads.
Before stringing beads (as you use them), unwind and rewrap
each skeins of thread onto a roll. This will prevent the thread
from getting knotted or tangled when stringing beads or knitting.
Always buy more beads than you think you'll need. If you have
too many, you can always use them in another project. If you
see a particular colour that you love, buy it. You may never
see that particular shade again, as dye lots constantly change.
(I have learned this the hard way)
Likewise when buying threads, make sure to buy the same colours
all at the same time and get an extra skein or two just in case
you get a creative flash and decide to change your project
When choosing beads for your beaded knitted project, make
sure that the beads do not have sharp edges (these Czech beads
are commonly called "cuts"). These sharp edges will
wear the threads, eventually cutting them over time.
On your double pointed steel knitting needles, put corks,
or glue beads on one end of each needle. This will prevent the
knitting from sliding off and save you from poking yourself if
you leave your project on the couch!
When working with Impressions ®, (50% Silk/50% Wool) only
string 1 2 hanks at a time. (Impression® is a beautiful,
delicate thread). Stringing too many beads at a time, the thread
Knitting Tip: Always complete the row you are working on before
cutting the thread to restring more beads.
Finishing Tip: Use clear plastic or invisible thread for any
stitching that will be visible. You can purchase clear or transparent
thread for lighter coloured fabrics or a transparent black or
brown tinge for darker fabrics and frames.
When making the lining make sure to cut your template a little
wider at the sides and shorter at the bottom. The wider sides
of the lining will give the purse a fuller (puffy) look, but
the shorter lining will not allow the contents to stretch out
the bottom of the purse.
1. Purse Specifics (Descriptions)
Completed Bag Dimensions: 4.5" Wide X 3.5" Long
Completed Lining Dimensions: 8" Wide X 4.5" Long
Drawstring Cord 2 20" Twisted Cords
b. Victorian Lady
Completed Bag Dimensions: 4.5" Wide X 3.5" Long
Completed Lining Dimensions: 8" Wide X 4.5" Long
Drawstring Cord 2 20" Twisted Cords
Loopy Fringe: 3" long
2. Specific Purse Supply Lists
Basic Drawstring Pouch Pattern Supply List: (Unless otherwise
specified, the supply list is for Narcissus and Victorian Lady)
"00" or 1.75mm) Double Pointed Steel Needles
7 8 skeins SnowTM by Caron Threads
200 Grams Size 8 Hex cut Crystal AB Seed Beads (250 grams for
Victorian Lady Fringe)
9" X 15" piece of lining material
Invisible or Plastic Thread
Nylon Beading Thread (Victorian Lady Fringe)
Basic Drawstring Pouch Pattern Instructions
Cast on 28 stitches
1 2 Knit plain
3 6 K2, SL1, K4, SL1, K4, SL1, K4, SL1, K4, SL1, K4, SL1,
K4, SL1, K2
7 10 K2, SL2, K4, SL2, K4, SL2, K4, SL2, K4, SL2, K4, SL2,
K4, SL2, K2
11- 14 K2, SL3, K4, SL3, K4, SL3, K4, SL3, K4, SL3, K4, SL3,
K4, SL3, K2
15 160 K2,
SL4, K4, SL4, K4, SL4, K4, SL4, K4, SL4, K4, SL4, K4, SL4, K2
161 164 K2, SL3, K4, SL3, K4, SL3, K4, SL3, K4, SL3, K4,
SL3, K4, SL3, K2
165 168 K2, SL2, K4, SL2, K4, SL2, K4, SL2, K4, SL2, K4,
SL2, K4, SL2, K2
169 172 K2, SL1, K4, SL1, K4, SL1, K4, SL1, K4, SL1, K4,
SL1, K4, SL1, K2
173 Knit Plain
Using the tapestry needle, sew in all loose ends and stitch
IV. Finishing Off
Drawstring Pouch Lining
The right side of the fabric will be the interior of the
drawstring pouch. (I.E., if you are using a velvet material,
when you open the bag, the soft side will be the interior of
1) Take the 9 x 15" lining material and on the long sides
fold over and press _" to the wrong side. Stitch each side
2) Fold in half length ways with right side in and on each top
edge fold down 2.5" to the outside (wrong sides facing in)
and pin (these are ruffles so right sides will be facing outwards).
Make sure that the ruffles are the same size.
3) The fabric should now measure 10" in length and 8.5"
wide. On each top edge stitch the fold just above the raw edge.
To make the casing for the drawstring measure _" from that
stitch line and stitch again.
4) Finally fold the fabric in half with right sides facing in.
On lengthwise _" seam stitch, stitch the sides together
until reaching first casing stitch line. Trim off all loose threads.
Twisted Cord Drawstring
1) Using 1 skein of SnowTM Thread, fold thread in half and cut.
2) Fold each piece in half and in half again (should have 4 strands
3) Secure one end to table with tape.
4) Twist other end of strands until strands twists on itself
(Twisting will take a while. Take care not to let the end go
or you will have to begin twisting all over again).
5) Once the strands are twisted enough, stretch the cord out
and place your finger in the center of the cord. Grasp both free
ends and remove your finger from the center. The cord should
now be twisted together. It will not be even, so carefully pull
the cord until all the bumps are gone and the cord is even.
6) Repeat again for second cord.
1. Narcissus/Victorian Lady
1) Insert one the cord into the casing on the drawstring
pouch. Tie or sew the end together. Move the sewed or knotted
end to the inside of the casing. Do the same with the second
cord. The pouch should now open and close with the drawstrings.
2) Place the drawstring pouch into the beaded bag shell. Pin
the shell to the bottom stitch line of the casing taking care
not snag the cord with the pins. The lining will be much bigger
in width than the shell. Pin the gathers evenly.
3) Using invisible or plastic thread, carefully hand stitch the
bead bag shell to the lining.
4) Sew in all loose ends
2. Victorian Lady Fringe
1) Thread beading needle with beading thread. Secure end
2) On top edge of casing sew line , make 3 stitches to sew knot
in place, making sure to finish with needle to the outside
3) String 6" of beads onto thread. Sew beads into top casing
line, being careful not to snag cord.
4) Repeat this process until fringe is complete.
5) Sew in all loose ends
The Beaded Bag Collection Website:
Original patterns, Vintage and Reproduction Purse Frames, Pattern
Kits, Beads, Knitting Needles, Threads and Beaded Knit Evening
Bags and Purses.
The Bag Lady Press Website:
Beaded Knitting Series Books, Kits, Reproduction Purse Frames,
Needles and Beads
Beads, beaded knitting videos, needles and other bead knitting
Jackie Smith with Arhyonel Beadworks and Restorations Website:
Beautiful Beaded Knitted Purses, Bead Knitted Purse, Peyote Stitch
Purses. A wonderful site full of inspiration to create a full
size evening bag or purse.
Beaded Knitting Supplies:
The Beaded Bag Collection
34917 Harris Road
Abbotsford, British Columbia
V3G 1R7, Canada
FAX: 604-859-5569 :
Delta, British Columbia
The Bag Lady Press
PO Box 2409
Evergreen, CO, 80437-2409
Beads Mail Order
2500 Mottman Road SW
Olympia, WA, 98512
Bead Spinner Lady
1005 W. 17 Avenue
Spokane, WA, 99203-1106
Double Pointed Steel Needles "00", "000",
684 Ash Street
Campbell River, BC, V9W 1E9
Tanya Ilnicki's needlework odyssey began while she was searching
for a special gift for her soon- to-be sister-in-law, Crystal.
What she found was perfect - a beaded necklace pouch. There was
one not-so-small catch; it was not for sale but was a sample
for a beaded knitting class. Even though she had not a clue how
to knit, a basic requirement, Tanya enrolled. Her first needlework
experience consisted of knitting with size "0000" (1.25mm)
needles on size 8 cotton - a far cry from the large knitting
worsted that most others use for a beginner's project. After
3 long and frustrating weeks, her pouch was completed and contrary
to being deterred from pursuing this craft, she became entirely
obsessed with it. From then on, she continued not only making
knitted beading purses, but was soon designing them as well.
Next, she made the bag which would be Crystal's wedding purse.
It was 7 times the size of her first project and contained 11,000
seed beads! After finishing it in 2 weeks, she designed her own
purse for the occasion, as she was to be the Maid of Honor. Little
did she realize that this would be the first in a series of original
purse designs. After her own bag was completed, Crystal's mother
made her a proposition; she would sew Tanya's Maid-of-Honor dress
in exchange for a custom designed beaded purse to compliment
her outfit as the Mother-of-the-Bride. Tanya was only too happy
to comply. After that project there were other requests: a purse
for Crystal's stepmother, 2 for cousins who were to be bridesmaids
and 2 necklace pouches for the flower- girls. At this point,
Tanya's own sister was the only female in the wedding party not
to have one of Tanya's one-of-a-kind accessories. Needless to
say, she designed and stitched one for her as well.
A total of 10 purses were made by Tanya specifically for her
brother, Jason's wedding, in a 7 month period. By then she was
pretty much addicted to beaded knitting! Tanya now runs her own
mail order business called the "Beaded Bag Collection"
(BBC). The BBC carries completed purses and beaded knitting supplies.
Also offered are Tanya's original beaded bag knitting patterns,
glass seed beads, reproduction purse frames, threads, needles,
bead spinners, pattern kits, and a unique inventory of vintage
beads and antique purse frames. Currently, 6 styles of purses
are available with another 6 designs in progress. We are thrilled
to have Tanya as our Online Class teacher debuting an original
purse design, "Narcissus," for our web visitors. Narcissus
is a drawstring pouch using Caron "Snow," but Tanya
has gone even a step further by presenting a variation on the
design, Victorian Lady, which sports an added embellishment of
fringe. Needleworkers who attempt it may never settle for a ready-made
purse for any extra special family celebration again!
To view Tanya Ilnicki's Beaded Bag Collection go to http://www.globalairphotos.com/thebeadedbag/
For more information contact Tanya Ilnicki at
34917 Harris Road, Abbotsford. B.C, Canada V3G 1R7
phone: (604) 859-6696
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: None of these designs
or instructions can be reproduced or distributed in any form
(including electronic) without the prior written permission of