Lion Brand “Outside-the-Lines” Freeform Crochet Purse

Lion Brand “Outside-the-Lines” Freeform Crochet Purse

I’ve  commented in previous posts that I designed this purse for Lion Brand back in 2006 and didn’t see a published pattern until some time in 2010. Yes, I know, freeform crochet is supposed to be a “patternless pursuit,” but Lion Brand wanted me to create an easy project that crocheters who are new to freeform crochet could easily make.

lion brand outside the lines freeform crochet purse

A purple and yellow version of Lion Brand's Outside-the-Lines freeform crochet purse

I made a purple and yellow versionof the purse in 2009, but I didn’t assemble it according to the pattern, so it looks more like a wallet than a bag with a strap. And I used worsted weight wool so I could felted the purse as an experiment to see how a freeform crocheted piece would felt.

My “True-to-Pattern” Version of this Freeform Crochet Purse

I recently started teaching a freeform crochet class at YarnStory in downtown Honolulu and decided to try my hand at making the purse again, so I can have a sample to show students, but this time following the pattern assembly instructions. The Lion Brand version of this purse is monochromatic, but it uses three yarns of different textures.

For this purse, I used smooth yarns in several, different colors which I hoped would make the purse “pop.” These are the yarns I used:

  • A variegated (pink, white, and mint green) Berroco Cotton Twist yarn
  • A mint green Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece 80% cotton/20% merino wool blend yarn
  • A lavender Plymouth Galway Highland Heather 100% wool yarn.

All of the yarns are available at YarnStory.

Crochet Four Freeform Motifs Three Times Each

lion brand outside the lines freeform crochet purse

These four motifs, when sewn together, will constitute one section of the purse.

The purse consists of four “motifs” that are sewn together to create the purse body and flap. This style of freeform crochet is called “organic patchwork” by James Walters, who I like to call the “Godfather” of freeform crochet. It involves creating small pieces or motifs which are sewn together to create the freeform fabric. Scrumbling, on the other hand, involves continuously adding stitches onto one piece of fabric.

For this pattern, you have to crochet each motif three times, for a total of 12 motifs, because the four unique motifs are sewn together to create one third of the purse – the front, back, and flap. I used at least two, sometimes three yarns to create each motif (which meant a lot of weaving in of ends!)

lion brand outside the lines freeform crochet puse

This is what the four unique motifs should look like when sewn together

I have to use a photo of the purple and yellow purse motifs to show you how a section looks because I forgot to take a photo when I got to this stage. As you can see, the flower, spiral, and “leaf” are sewn around three sides of the mitered square. I usually sew on the flower first, then the spiral, and then the leaf which is attached to the bottom and curls around the side. The challenge is to sew the pieces together so that the stitches don’t show. On the other hand, you could have them show on purpose to incorporate an extra design element into the fabric. It’s freeform, so the choice is yours. For the most part, I use a”whip stitch” to sew the pieces together.

Here I go again. I didn’t remember to take a photo of the three sections sewn together before I sewed the side seams, but the pattern includes a very nice schematic that shows how the three sections fit together.

Completed Lion Brand Outside-the-Lines Purse

lion brand outside the lines freeform crochet purse

he front of the Lion Brand Outside-the-Lines Purse

Seems like I took a thousand photos of the completed purse. The challenge with this purse is sewing the side seams because the edges aren’t straight. As you can see from the photo, one of the “leaves” extends beyond one side seam.

lion brand outside the lines freeform crochet purse

The mitered square that makes up part of the back section of the purse helps define the left side seam; the spiral on the right helps define the right side seam.

You have to do your best to sew the outer most edge of the sides where you can and not worry too much about how straight the seams are.  You’ll get enough interior space for a small cell phone.

lion brand outside the lines freeform crochet purse

The back of the purse with the flap open

I sewed the purse, wrong sides facing. It’s hard to sew a purse this small with the right sides facing  because it would be difficult to turn inside out.

Purse Strap

Finally, for the strap, I used a strand of the lavender wool and a strand of the variegated Cotton Twist to crochet a long chain (which I wish I had made a little longer), slip stitched back over it, and attach the ends to the sides of the purse at the opening.

Let me know if you give this project a try. I’d love to see the results. And ask questions in the comments section. I’ll answer them as best I can.

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6 Responses to Lion Brand “Outside-the-Lines” Freeform Crochet Purse

  1. YvonneInTheMiddle

    All of your work is beautiful, but I just love the purple and yellow!! Would love to take that Baby to a gathering of women and have them go “ooooh and aaah” and “where did you get that?!!!” It would drive them crazy to know that it is a “one of a kind.”

  2. Thanks so much for your positive comments YvonneInTheMiddle! Yes, that’s what I love about freeform crochet; each piece is unique. And the freeform purses work up quickly. As for the purple and yellow purse, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t felt it. The felting took some of the color out of the yarns so they aren’t as bright as they could be.

  3. Looks really good and I agree that FF and some patterns are not mutually exclusive, especially for someone to get started. I remember the same discusssion when Margaret Hubert did a FF booklet for Annies Attic. I hope your class is enjoying the project

  4. Hey Jorel, thanks for checking it out. Yes, I remember that discussion about Margaret’s booklets, both of which I own :-). The class is doing well. It’s an intro to ff crochet; the LYS owner and I are thinking about adding a second, more advanced one that focuses exclusively on creating a freeform piece.

  5. First of all, let me just say, I LOVE your blog. I randomly came across it while looking for a shrug pattern online, and I’ve now been reading through your various posts for hours. Thanks for all the advice, tips, pictures and links! The freeform crochet idea is new to me, and I think it’s absolutely fantastic. Quick, easy, unique and looks really nice.

    • Hello Amanda! Your comment is music to my ears! I’m so glad you are finding this blog so useful. I tend to be wordy in my posts, so I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the information. And yes, freeform crochet is so much fun. Having done it for several years now, it has made it a lot easier to experiment and bend the rules with regular crochet. Hope you subscribe to the posts. I’ve promised myself to do more posting in 2012. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

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