The silk sari crocheted purse
I had not intended to write a blog about this silk sari purse I finished last month, but every time I am out I seem to get compliments on it, so here goes.
I purchased five or six skeins of this beautiful yarn several years ago. My understanding is the yarn is a recycled product, made by taking scraps of the beautiful long dresses worn by women in India - called saris - separating the silk fibers into threads and spinning the threads into yarn. This is a cottage industry with the work being performed by women in Nepal. The results are stunning, and many color pallets are available. The silk sari yarn I purchased has many different colors - purple, hot pink, sage green, turquoise and red - but the overall hue is the gorgeous magenta you see here.
The yarn I used might actually be living its third incarnation, now as a purse, because at first I made a couple scarves out of the yarn. I unwound one scarf, which was really a wide shawl, and later stitched up this purse. I only know how to single and double crochet - any thing I have with scalloped edges was made after watching tutorials - but that's all you need to make a simple purse like this one.
To make the purse body I crocheted a rectangle, keeping the ends where I turned to go the other direction as square and even as I could. The dimensions of the rectangle were 9" x 18". When folded in half the purse becomes a 9"x9" square.
I crocheted a strap long enough so I can wear the purse across my body, with the strap resting on my left shoulder so the purse hangs on my right side.
For the flowers, I chose embroidery floss colors - perle cotton size 8 - which would compliment the colors in the bag. Using buttons for the base and the smallest crochet hook out there, I made the flowers. I know I have a link somewhere for the tutorial that shows you how to make these flowers, but I can't seem to find it. Anyway, they are very easy to make and if you fiddle around with a button, crochet hook and some thread you can probably figure out how to do it. I also beaded the centers with complimentary seed beads, which makes the flowers stand out a little better. The only thing I don't like about the flowers is the petals tend to curl up. I need to go back and stitch them down so they look bigger and not so rumpled.
And that's as far as I got with this purse for well over a year. It sat in my UFO (UnFinished Object) box for ages. As I have been trying to weed out my UFOs this year, I suddenly felt inspired to finish it.
To finish I simply machine stitched the sides together. I know, that's kind of cheating. A purist would probably have scavenged some yarn to do up the sides, but machine stitching was much faster and less of a hassle. In the end, it's probably more secure. I'm not exactly easy on my purses and bags. The strap is also machine stitched to the sides, very securely. I wasn't taking any chances of losing a strap.
If you're going to make a purse you may as well do it right by adding a lining fabric. And with something woven like this that has fairly large holes between the threads you just about have to. I found a scrap of purple Bemberg lining (very nice stuff with a silky feel to it), stitched it up to size including a finished double seam at the top and inserted it into the purse where it was machine stitched in place. I actually made the lining a bit larger than the purse. If I hadn't then the purse would have no give and not be able to expand if I placed something bulky in it. That may be good or bad depending on one's intentions for a crocheted purse. Crochet is forgiving and I kind of like it more flexible, so that's what I did.
I stitched the largest snap I could find in the center - which is really a medium/large size snap - and found the turquoise flower bead to cover the snap. Voila! I was done. The finish work - which I usually dread - wasn't hard at all. Thanks to the machine stitching it went by very fast and I am happy to scratch another UFO off my to-do list.
Just for grins I'll leave you with a pic of the Scottish tam and scarf I made using the same yarn.