Purse Pocket Tutorial
(also works for sweaters, socks, hats… anywhere you want a pocket)
It’s really very easy to insert a pocket into your knitting. You might have the perfect cardigan pattern, but wish it had a pocket. Maybe you’d like to have a little pocket for your mP3 player on the shoulder. Or maybe a pocket for coffee money hidden on the side of your beanie would make that morning stop easier. Whatever your secret pocket wish is, here is the solution. Take the basic instruction here and adapt it to fit your needs – wider, narrower, longer, shorter, with a flap, or without – whatever works.
I have demonstrated this process on a Sophie Bag. This is a free downloadable pattern by Julie Anderson of Black Sheep Bags available from www.magknits.com. I have also done the same thing on Julie’s Elizabeth Bag. Please visit www.blacksheepbags.com for that and more. Of course, you can add a pocket to anything.
If you have never made a felted bag before and would like the full inside scoop, Norma, http://nownormaknits2.typepad.com/now_norma_knits_2/ has made the definitive tutorial. Look on the right side under Patterns and Tutorials and download the pdf file.
Get out your sticks and string – wool string, NOT superwash. Cast on and start knitting the bottom of the bag. Garter stitch. Easy Peasy. Done yet?
Now pick up around the other 3 edges of the rectangle and remember to mark the corners. Knit around and around and around decreasing like Julie says. I find it helpful to place a removable marker on each decrease row – makes keeping track easier. Stop when you are 10 rows from the top. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see a full size image.
Here’s where we start with the pocket.
Take a look at your
bag. It’s a rectangle. We’re going to put a pocket on one (or both)
of the long sides. Count the stitches
between the corner markers on the long side then divide by 2 to find the
middle. Decide how many stitches wide
you want the pocket to be. Remember that
when you felt this bag it will shrink in all directions, but more in length
Starting at the corner marker knit across to the first pocket stitch. Switch to a scrap of yarn the same weight as your main yarn, and knit across the pocket stitches. The marker line at the bottom is a reference point for later.
Slip these stitches back to the left hand needle.
Pick up the main yarn and knit across the pocket stitches and continue with your round. If you want a pocket on both sides then simply repeat this process.
Continue knitting as directed. Cast off.
Take a deep breath and dig out some double pointed needles the same size, or a half size smaller then you used to knit the bag.
Carefully pick up the loops above the waste yarn. Make sure you get one leg from each stitch and try to get the same leg from each stitch, although this is less vital.
Now do the same with the stitches below the waste yarn. Look carefully to make sure that you have one loop above and below for each stitch.
Here’s the wrong side view. You can see the top and bottom needles and the waste yarn still in place.
Sorry for the blurry photo. Remove the waste yarn. Be careful, just in case you missed picking up a stitch.
The next step is to knit a flap which will form the pocket itself. You need to knit the flap of the pocket from the TOP needle. You need to slide whatever into the pocket from the top so the pocket flap has to continue in that direction. Knit the flap as long as you like. In this case I have marked a line, 20 rows up from the bottom, where I want my flap to end. Now you know what the marker line was for.
Tuck the flap to the inside. Knit a few rows of garter stitch up from the bottom to form a placket. I made 3 garter bumps – 6 rows, then cast off. Don’t worry about stretchy stitches since this project is being felted. If you’re doing this on a sweater or something that won’t be felted it is a good idea to use a needle ½ to 1 size smaller to pick up the stitches.
That’s it. The knitting part is done. Just seaming now.
Sew the flap to the inside using the same wool you knit with. Try to keep it straight. I sometimes thread a vertical marker line to help with this. Sew it flat. You don’t need to leave ease.
Sew the edges of the placket down on the right side.
That’s it. Done. This is the back side of the Sophie bag. You can easily see the garter stitch placket near the top and if you look a little closer, you can see the seam line where I’ve sewn the pocket in place inside the bag.
Go back to the pattern for instructions of felting and finishing the bag. I’ve done this 4 times, and the pocket has never felted closed. The seams become part of the fabric but the pocket stays open.
This is the front side, pre-felting to show you the flap. I just cast off on one long side instead of all the way around, then knit in stockinette on the remaining stitches until the flap was the same length as the bag. I did a shaped cast off. I won't bother doing that next time - just cast off straight across and cut it to shape after it's felted.
New bag on right, model on left, Pippin in the back. The new one is indeed a bit larger, although still a small handbag. The flap also covers the whole top now.
I have shaved this bag using hair clippers, both inside and out, because I like it that way. I have also cut the flap to a much more pleasing shape. It is thoroughly felted and will not unravel, ever. I need to get a magnetic closure for the flap, then will add the butterfly applique.
Finished back. The bright white bit is the top of my cell phone in the pocket. It extends to just below the beaded handle.
Variations on the pattern:
1. pocket on back side of purse.
2. flap closure on front
3. bead handles instead of twisted i-cords.
4. about 20 rows longer, because I wanted it to be a little deeper.
This version was made using 1 and about 1/3 balls of Patons Classic Merino.