I finished knitting a beaded long purse. It's based on a crocheted purse in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but since I don't crochet and knit purses existed, I modified it for knitting.
Here's the original:http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/157823?sortBy=Relevance&when=A.D.+1800-1900&ft=miser%27s+purse&pg=2&rpp=20&pos=21
Here's my version:
I made it with size E silk beading cord and somewhere between 3500 and 4000 size 11/0 seed beads. It's knit on size 5/0 needles (period size 19). The ends are knit in stockinette, and the center is "A Long Purse Knitted from Side to Side" from page 189 of Esther Copley's The Comprehensive Knitting Book
of 1849. (https://books.google.com/books/reader?id=lFkEAAAAQAAJ&num=13&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA189
In the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that I haven't seen any heavily beaded knit
purses from the period or patterns for them. I have seen patterns for less heavily beaded knit purses and have seen both patterns for heavily beaded crocheted
purses and pictures of extant heavily beaded crocheted
purses. Additionally, I have generally seen the beaded knit patterns worked flat rather than in the round, but I have read recommendations to knit purses in the round in books (including the one I took the center pattern from), though the advice doesn't mention beads one way or the other.
After finishing the purse, I suspect that women put the rings on the centers of these purses as they were working them. If you wait until the end, rings that are big enough to fit over the beadwork are too small to stay put in the unbeaded center section, and rings that are small enough not to shift around a lot are too small to fit over the beadwork. Since I've never seen any pictures that make the rings look like they're split, I conclude that they may have been introduced while working the purse. This would be particularly easy with crochet. I'm not thrilled with the rings I found (and put on after the fact), which are in fact spring clip earrings. The other suggestion I saw of adjustable toe rings didn't work out very well for me. I'm greatly hampered on this purse by wanting something with a gold color rather than a silver color. Silver is much more popular at present.
Does anyone know whether there's anyone making reproduction purse rings?
Ravelry page: http://ravel.me/MCBurbage/m1clp