One Ball Knits: Purses
by Fatema, Khadija, and Hajera Habibur-Rahman
Softcover, 128 pages
List price $18.95, currently available on Amazon for $12.89
When I first heard about this book, I envisioned big felted totes and tiny little clutches - the kind you'd use when wearing a cocktail dress; just enough to hold a lipstick, mirror, and your cell phone.
While there are a few project llike that in the book, there are also substantial bags ready to tote all the random things I inevitably pack in my bag -- a wallet, keys, magazines, makeup bag, a small knitting project, and the list goes on.
Before I continue I should admit I'm not a bag knitter. I don't enjoy felting, and the non-felted bags tend to look a little less fashionable than I like.
So, when paging through the book I was struck by the designer details in these bags. They're real bags. They have style and shape - with clasps, buckles, and metal feet. Not to worry though, the authors list all the resources in the back so you don't have to hunt for that perfect handle they pictured with your favorite bag.
The yarn fibers and weights vary from worsted wool, to sportweight linen, to dk mercerized cotton. Most of the skeins used for the projects are in the 150-250 yard range, with three projects under 100 yards each, and 4 measuring in around 350 yards each. Truly one skein projects.
Techniques vary too - this is not 20 ways to make a felted bag. Projects use texture, cabling, lace and other stitch patterns to create interest. There are 4 bags that use felting in unique ways - to stabilize the sides, to create a dense fabric that is pleated and as the base for two different embroidery techniques.
The first chapter - One Ball Basics - gives an overview of the basic knitting stitches used in the book, as well as finishing, sewing and embroidery stitches. Again, the authors don't leave us hanging trying to figure out how they heck they executed that beautiful detail.
The patterns in the book are categorized by season, with 5 bags in each.
By style, I count:
- 8 clutch/occasional bags
- 6 Small/medium hand bags
- 6 Larger satchel/carry alls
The directions don't disappoint either. They give detailed steps on making up the purses, with a lot of close up pictures showing the finished details. If the photographer isn't a knitter then she certainly did her homework. All the bags are photographed sitting by themselves; there are no hands, arms, or scarves to obscure our view.
The timing of the book is great too. With the warmer weather approaching, smaller projects are great for keeping your lap light and your work portable. And with all the fine details in these projects, I could even see making a few for non-knitters. They would make great holiday gifts, and the clutches would make a special bride's gift to her bridal party.
This book was a lovely surprise. I certainly did not expect to become a knitted-purse convert, but that's exactly what happened.
If you have a few lonely skeins in your stash (I think I may have one or two myself), or you've been eyeing that gorgeous, pricey hank at the LYS (you know the one), or if your purse collection rivals your shoe collection (yes, even the ones stuffed at the bottom of your closet count), then this book is for you.