I’ve always had a thing for unusual purses and I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to make a wooden one. Not one with wooden handles, but one with actual wooden elements to it. Well, the wait is over, because I finally put my creative know-how to the test and came up with what I’m calling my Boho Chic Basswood Purse.
Here’s how I brought it all together using two Walnut Hollow Basswood Panels and a lot of imagination!
- 2 Walnut Hollow Basswood Panels 8″x10″
- 2 skeins of yarn
- 30 yards of leather or suede cording
- wood stains and/or paints
- Walnut Hollow Creative Versa-Tool®
- Crochet hook, drill, paint brushes, iron, and ironing board
The first step is to drill holes around the edge of both panels. They need to be around both short sides and one long side of the panel; basically 3/4 of the panel, 1/2″ from the edge, 1″ apart, and made with a 1/4″ drill bit.
Next you’ll need to decorate your panels. If you are artistically inclined you can free hand your design and then use the Versa-Tool to burn it into the panel. If you’d like you can also use graphite paper and a stencil to draw on a pattern and burn it into the panel.
One thing to note, if you decide the create your own design, similar to the one on the left, the Versa-Tool has three patterned tips that are perfect for projects like this one. You can see how I used them to fill in my design in the image below.
Give the panels a bit of color by staining or painting them. We chose to use Clearsnap Crafter’s Ink and set the color by dry ironing it. You can also use any stain or paint of your choosing, just be sure to set and seal it.
Are you ready? Because this is where it starts getting fun!
Now we’re going to put a blanket stitch around the panel. This will create the base, off which you will crochet. Yarn would undoubtedly wear and break if it were used next to the wood so instead reach for leather, or suede, cording for this portion of the purse.
Skip three holes, and weave the cording up through the fourth. Move the excess cord to the side, while you feed the end through the fifth hole (top right), and then pull the cord tight against the wood (bottom left). Repeat the process, leaving the last three holes empty. Tie the cording off (bottom right) and trim.
SIDE TIP: If you ever want to add strength to your knots use a tiny dab of glue.
The first crochet row will work off the suede cord and connect the two pieces of wood together.
Row 1: *In the first blanket stitch Single crochet, chain 5, single crochet. Repeat across the wood panel. At the end of the panel, chain 10 before repeating * across second panel. When you reach the end of the second panel, chain 10. Put the panels together, with the designed sides facing outward, slip stitch into the first single crochet on the first panel.
In the image above, the panels are laid out right before being folded together, and in the image below, #1, the first row has been completed.
Row 2: *Chain 5, single crochet onto the loop created by Row 1, repeat across panel (image #2 above). When you reach the chain 10 from Row 1: chain 5, single crochet into the 5th stitch, chain 5, and proceed to * around the loops on the second panel (image #3 above).
Row 3: *Chain 5, single crochet into the loop created by the previous row, repeat around purse.
Rows 4-10: Repeat Row 3. Tie off at the end of row 10.
Line up the loops from the front and back panels. Using clips (image #4 above) helps hold them in place.
Row 11: Stitch the front and back loops together with 5 single crochet stitches in each loop. Repeat across the bottom of the purse.
Next up, adding the strap.
To make the strap you’ll be working off the chain 10 from Row 1.
Single crochet into one of the stitches attaching the yarn to the suede, chain 5, single crochet into the stitch in the middle of the chain 10, chain 5, and then single crochet into the stitches attaching the yarn to the suede on the opposite panel.
From there: chain 5, single crochet into the loop, chain 5, single crochet into the loop. Flip it over and repeat, going back and forth across the two loops until you create a strap the length you desire.
To attach the end of the strap onto the purse: chain 3, single crochet into the stitch on the suede cord, chain 3, single crochet onto the #1 or #2 loop of the strap (depending on which direction you crochet), chain 3, single crochet into middle stitch on the chain 10 from Row 1, chain 3, single crochet on the second loop of the strap, chain 3, and finally single crochet into the stitch on the suede cord. Tie off your yarn, and tuck in any loose strings or cord.
In the photo above the arrows are pointing to where you’ll single crochet, the blue numbers are the strap loops, and the pink numbers are the original loops created on the chain 10 made on Row 1.
At this point if you try to use your purse you’ll realize the wood has made it a bit top heavy. To remedy that use the suede cording to attach the strap itself to the wood through the top three holes on each side of each panel. You have a couple options as to how, depending on the style you are trying to achieve.
On the left in the picture above I used multiple pieces of suede, woven through the hole in the wood and the holes of the strap, and then tied off. It created a kind of fringe effect. On the right, I used one piece of suede as I would a needle and did a simple stitch woven through the wood and the strap.
Personal Note: I’m left-handed and I tend to stick to crochet patterns and stitches that are easy to figure out regardless of the direction you crochet. However, this is the first time I’ve really written crochet instructions. If at any point you are confused please leave a comment so I can better explain it.
This was one of those projects when I started I thought to myself, “What was I thinking?” Now that it’s done I’m really excited about how it turned out and I hope it inspires you to look outside the box for different ways to get creative!
If you’ve ever been curious about working with Basswood now’s the time to give it a try! Walnut Hollow is celebrating the Fourth of July with a 20% off Basswood Sale. Visit them today!
Erin is a writer, crafter, and homeschooling mother of four based in rural Missouri. On her blog, My Very Educated Mother, she shares projects, crafts, recipes, family activities, and household tips, aimed at encouraging readers to foster creativity in their lives and homes.