Crocheted purses are wonderful accessories. They can be made as intricate or as simple as one would like. During Victorian times, virtually every woman knew how to crochet and knit. Crocheted or knitted purses became items that Victorian women used to show off their needlework skills and good taste.
The crocheted purse has been around for centuries. Long ago, purses were hidden in garments to prevent being robbed. As time progressed, it became popular to wear a purse hung from a belt. Although utilitarian, crocheted purses became fashionable and crocheters have been making and improving upon them ever since.
The following crocheted purse was commonly known as a Miser’s purse. The original shape of a Miser’s purse was in the form of a figure 8. Coins were inserted in the center and slid towards either end. The purse was closed at the center with rings. It obtained its name due to the difficulty of removing the coins inside. By the late 1890’s, Miser’s purses came in more than just the original shape. Below you will find original Victorian instructions for a Crocheted Purse / Miser's Purse that was published during that time.
Materials required: One 1/2 oz. spool Corticelli Purse Twist, or 1/2 oz. ball of Corticelli Crochet Silk, one No.9 Crochet Hook.
Any of these colors will make a pretty purse: Garnet, Gray, Fern Green, Peacock Blue, or Navy Blue. When completed this purse will measure about 7 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches wide. Abbreviation: p. c. = padding cord.
Wind silk ten times around three matches. Join in silk. Wind two or three times around, slip off, cover with 15 s. c., sl. st. in first. Join in 2 strands p. c. 12 s. c. over p. c. alone. Miss 1 s. c. over ring, 2 s. c. over p. c. in next 2 s. c. over ring. Repeat this 4 times, so there will be 5 arches. S. c. in s. c. at beginning of 1st arch, drop p. c. and fasten it with sewing needle. Slip silk up behind work to middle of arch.
Now work on wrong side, 12 ch., sl. st. in s. c. between 1st and 2d arches. Turn work on right side, 4 s. c. over 12 ch., 8 ch., turn on wrong side. Sl. st. in middle of 2d arch. Repeat this 4 times. When the last arch is reached, turn, work on right side. 6 s. c. over ch. of each of next 2 spaces. 2 ch., a Clone's knot of 12 throws over and under needle. 2 ch., 6 s. c. over ch. of next 2 spaces, finish the row in this way. Sl. st. in 1st s. c. of row. 5 ch., miss 4 s. c., s. c. in preceding row. 5ch., s.c.at same distance, 5 ch., s. c. in last st. of this group of s.c., 5 ch., s.c. in 1st s.c. on other side of Clone's knot. Finish this row of 5 ch. loops, sl. st. in first of row. Slip thread to middle of loop, 5 ch., s.c. in next loop,5 ch., s. c. in next loop, so on, making an extra 5 ch. loop in the one over the post midway between the Clone's knots. Be careful to put this extra loop in the extra loop each time in order to preserve the shape of the 5-sided figure. Make 9 rows of the 5 ch. loops.
Both sides of the purse are to be made exactly alike. Place the two sides together mesh for mesh at the edges, 1 s. c. through corresponding meshes, 3 ch., s. c. in next all around. For the loops across the top of one side: 9 ch., s. c. over 5 ch., turn, 4 s. c. over 9 ch., 5 ch., s. c. over next 5 ch. loop, turn, 4 s. c. over 5 ch., 5 ch., s. c. over next 5 ch. loop, turn, 4 s. c. over 5 ch. So on across top of one side.
After the last 5 ch., s. c. in 5 ch. loop, turn, 9 s. c. over this 5 ch., 5 s. c. over each uncovered ch. across the top of these spaces just made. Then 2 s. c. over first loop of 5 ch. of other side of purse. 60 ch., 2 s. c. over same 5 ch., 2 s. c. over next 5 ch. 60 ch., 2 s. c. over same 5 ch. So on; there must be same number of the 60 ch. loops that there are spaces across top of other side of purse. Fasten off and finish end with needle and thread.
Pass long loops through spaces across top of purse. Take an ivory or bone ring of desired size, cover ring with s. c. In covering this ring, take up long chain loops one at a time on corresponding number of s. c. on ring. A Clone’s knot is made thus: 2 ch., put the thread over the needle and under the chain alternately 12 times. This will nearly cover the needle and ch. with stitches. Now draw the thread through these windings. Draw up closely and take an extra st.
This crocheted purse would make a wonderful gift for yourself or some lucky young (or young at heart) lady. It would definitely be a gift that would be cherished for years. One suggestion: if you do give it as a gift, refer to it as a crocheted purse, not a Miser's bag - the recipient may think you are trying to tell them something! ;-)