Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pineapple Purse

When Knitty is published I am always looking forward to seeing what Franklin Habit has in his historic knitting bag. This time, Spring 2012, he had adapted the popular pine apple purse from Jane Gaugain´s book 1840. His purse looks gorgeous. Scrumptious Silk, excellent choice. I had  to find out which yarns was available those days, and here is what I found out. Is it still possible to get, yes, however, there is not much left out there.
And I found this interesting blog: Two Nerdy History Girls. They write so well about this reticule fashion. And here is a photo from
Kyoto Costume Institute:
The pattern calls for either purse twist or Berlin wool.
This is what purse twist looks like. PatternsAlaCarte blogs about it in 2008. I was more interested in working the bag in wool and visited this shop, Broderi Moderne for a little talk with Pelse about vintage wool.

Zephyr wool is closest to the old brand, 4-plied merino, very strong, almost impossible to break. I have used it earlier to work this shawl. However, it is not produced anymore. Some shops still has some left and I found a place where I could have a closer look. It is only 8 meters per skein. DMC has taken it ´s place. The colors are almost the same but it is thicker.
After this research I wanted to test knit the pattern. It calls for 320 stitches, I only cast on 120 stitches. In stead of a 16 stitches repeat, I worked the stitch pattern over 8 stitches like this: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl1-k2tog-psso. I collected some different  green yarns from my stash, linen, and cotton, and worked the stalks. I found a fine pineapple color here and held it double for the body of the bag, the. The stitch pattern is so easy. If you memorize the pattern repeat you do not need a written pattern. Perfect if you are left on a desert island.
The drawstring reticule bag was a hit in 1840 where this pattern is from. I found a picture of the Danish King Frederik the 6th strolling with his wife Marie Sofie Frederikke and daughters  in Frederiksberg Garden in 1813. It was the year of the Danish national bankruptsy. However, it  is all very idyllic and I noticed that two of the women are bringing their redicules. Are they pine apples, I don´t know, but they look very much like it!
Here is my bag. It almost designed itself.
As an ipad sleeve:

Now I wonder if pine apple bags will be a hit 200 years later? Perhaps, I saw this bag in the local HM shop today.

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