Tips: A Basic Knitted Beaded Amulet Bag





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© Hannah Rosner, 2006

Please note that this kit is for basic bead knitting, but it does not teach basic yarn knitting. It assumes you are comfortable with basic knitting, casting on and casting off BEFORE you try this technique.

Before you get to work, please take the time to read the tutorial thoroughly. Please do not copy this tutorial, or distribute it in any manner. (This does not include printing for your own personal use.) The design for this piece is based off of ancient techniques. Most importantly, please have fun! Feel free to contact me with any and all questions regarding the information below, and for sources for any of the materials mentioned. I'll do my best to help you track down whatever you'll need!

Seed Beads - Size 10/0 or 8/0
Knitting Needles - Size 0
Crochet Cotton - Size 8

The hardest part of this is using the tiny thread and the needles. Before you get to the beads, try using the thread and the knitting needles for a little while until you are comfortable casting on, knitting, and casting off. This design does not use purl.

Thread on some beads, just to practice. Knit a few stitches. Slip a bead into place, next to your beadwork and IGNORE it! Now, knit two stitches. The bead should be in place, between the two stitches of beadwork. Try this a few more times, until you are comfortable with the technique. Now… try slipping two beads into place.

If the bead isn't held horizontally, but instead turns vertically or diagonally, then you've actually knit the bead into the stitch. This shouldn't happen in this kind of beadwork - instead the knitting stitches should fall on either side of the bead. You are probably knitting too loosely if this happens on a regular basis - try holding your loose thread a little tighter.

Cast on 16 stitches.
Row 1 Knit 16
Row 2-7 (Knit 2, slip 1 bead; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 8-13 (Knit 2, slip 2 beads; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 14-19 (Knit 2, slip 3 beads; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 20-27 (Knit 2, slip 4 beads; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 28-33 (Knit 2, slip 5 beads; 7 times) Knit 2

You are at the bottom of the bag here. There will be a fold and you will work your way back up the back of the bag now. To do this, follow the instructions, backwards, to the top and cast off. If you don't want a flap or frame, then just sew your piece together and add the strap.

If you don't want to add a frame and want an envelope "look" to your bag, you can add a flap… Otherwise, you can just cast off. I am going to start renumbering here, but don't get confused - the flap is attached to the second side of your bag (so you'll just continue where you left off above).
Row 1-2 Knit 16
Row 3-4 (Knit 2, slip 1 bead; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 5-6 (Knit 2, slip 2 beads; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 7-8 (Knit 2, slip 3 beads; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 9-10 (Knit 2, slip 2 beads; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 11-12 (Knit 2, slip 1 bead; 7 times) Knit 2
Row 13 K2T (knit 2, slip 1 bead; 5 times) K2T
Row 14 (knit 3, slip 1 bead; 5 times) knit 3
Row 15 K2T (knit 2, slip 1 bead; 3 times) K2T
Row 16 (knit 3, slip 1 bead; 3 times) knit 3
Row 17 K2T (knit 2, slip 1 bead) K2T
Row 18 knit 3, slip 1 bead, knit 3
Row 19 K2T, knit 2, K2T
Row 20 K2T, K2T
Row 21 K2T.
Finish by threading end of thread into loop… Hang a pretty bead on the remaining thread.

If you want to, you can add looped fringe at the bottom of your amulet bag by simply threading a needle and attaching it to the side of the bag. You'll then add loops of beadwork, attaching them to the knit ribs between the beads. I like to add multiple rows, to keep the beadwork looking rich and layered.

If you want to attach the purse to a frame (not included in this kit, but available at, you will have to fit each set of rows to the frame. Your work is in sets of 2 rows, always so that the inside and outside of the purse is even. Cast on as many as you need to fit the top of the frame, then knit at least 3 more rows of plain that can be sewn to the frame before beginning to add beads. Consider each set of two rows for the amount of beads you'll need to fit your purse to the frame. You'll have to play it by ear. When finished, sew the purse into the frame. Crochet or sew up the sides last, but leave some room below the hinges. Now, block your purse if you need to.

The purse should already be sewn together when you do this. I never do this… but, if you'd like to stretch your purse a little bit, you can soak it in warm water until it is completely saturated. Place is on a bit of foam core or Styrofoam and pin it in place. Leave it to dry. This will take longer in the summer than the winter, but don't put it out in the sun since it will bleach the fibers. I generally suggest putting it on top of the dryer.

After your purse has been blocked, you can add the lining if you'd like. Place your purse on some brown paper. Draw around it, then add ½" or more for the seams. I usually put a fold on the bottom, unless the purse has a rounded bottom.Cut your fabric, sew up the sides, baste the top edge in place, and place it into the bag. Sew in place. Sometimes when I have a frame, the lining looks poor where the two are attached. Some ribbon over this area will aid to hide this.

There are loads of ideas for adding a strap - my three favorites:
1. Beads on flexwire - this is great for both a frame, and attached directly to the bag
2. A twisted fiber strap - I'll probably try to demo this in class
3. A crocheted & Beaded Strap - I love to begin at the bottom of the bag, crochet up the side, then crochet the strap and then crochet down to the bottom of the bag. This gives me less "loose ends" to tie up.

Wear and Enjoy!


Good River Gallery
Taos, NM

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