Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

Click here to learn more about Tanya Ilnicki, our guest teacher
for this month's Online Class

Basic Drawstring Pouch Pattern

I. Introduction

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 purse frame.)

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 AB Crystal).

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 ruffled lining).

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 beaded pouches.

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 knitting:

Double Pointed Steel Needles:
"0000" (1.25mm) ­ Tight stitches most commonly used
"000" (1.50mm) ­ Medium stitches, looser weave
"00" (1.75mm) ­ Larger stitches, relaxed, lacy look

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 own bag.

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 frays.

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.

III. Purses

1. Purse Specifics (Descriptions)
a. Narcissus
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
Tapestry Needle
Nylon Beading Thread (Victorian Lady Fringe)

3. Pattern

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
174                      Cast Off

Using the tapestry needle, sew in all loose ends and stitch sides together.


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 the bag.

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 of thread).
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
a. Finishing
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
a. Fringe
1) Thread beading needle with beading thread. Secure end with knot.
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

IV. Links

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

BeadCats Website:
Beads, beaded knitting videos, needles and other bead knitting supplies

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.

V. Suppliers

Beaded Knitting Supplies:

The Beaded Bag Collection
34917 Harris Road
Abbotsford, British Columbia
V3G 1R7, Canada
Phone: 604-820-5057
FAX: 604-859-5569 :

Heirloom Needlearts
Joan Wilson
Delta, British Columbia
Phone: 604-596-7655
FAX: 604-591-9870
Email: heirloom@bc.sympatico.ca

The Bag Lady Press
PO Box 2409
Evergreen, CO, 80437-2409
Phone: 303-670-2177
FAX: 303-670-2179

Beads ­ Mail Order
Shipwreck Beads
2500 Mottman Road SW
Olympia, WA, 98512
Phone: 1-800-950-4232

Bead Spinner
Bead Spinner Lady
1005 W. 17 Avenue
Spokane, WA, 99203-1106
Phone: 509-624-7938

Double Pointed Steel Needles ­ "00", "000", "0000"
Joan Boucher
684 Ash Street
Campbell River, BC, V9W 1E9
Phone: 250-923-0147
Email: bouch@online.bc.ca

About Tanya Ilnicki

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
e-mail: ilnicki@uniserv.com

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: None of these designs or instructions can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) without the prior written permission of Tanya Ilnicki.


© 1999 The Caron Collection / Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com