Knitting An Heirloom (in just two weeks!)

Note from Sandi: The staff projects are always one of my favorite parts of the new issue! I love seeing how each staff person takes a single idea and interprets it in her own way. In the Summer 2009 issue of Interweave Knits, the assignment was to "knit an heirloom"–not an easy assignment! The first of these staff heirloom projects is today's Bride's Sachet Purse, designed by Laura Rintala, Knits' managing editor. Here's Laura to tell you the story behind her family's new heirloom: 

Bride’s Sachet Purse
by Laura Rintala

When the “Let’s do an heirloom knits staff project” request came just days after the “I’d like to marry your daughter” phone call, my brides-and-babies vision of heirloom, and conflict of which to focus on, was already settled. As the “something old, something new” verses rolled through my mind, along with visions of gossamer and slightly iridescent lace shawls, a new challenge was added to the project.

The U.S. military’s personal request to have our future son-in-law comfortably stationed on a base over 5000 miles away, and on another continent, expedited the engagement to a fraction of what any knitting mother should have to work with. The wedding date was set a scant 2½ months after the engagement—those 2½ months being the busiest in our year: the Christmas holidays. Considering several other deadlines, my knitting time was about two weeks.

So the ideas of a lovely knitted lace shawl for the bride, phfft! Out the window—along with any notions of something for the bridesmaids. But it had to be lace! It was for the bride, on her wedding day. The only girl we’d be giving away, ever. How fair was two weeks—particularly when you’re already over your head with impending Christmas projects?

But there are two things in life that just don’t wait… love and the U.S. military’s personal requests to its employees.

My shawl ideas turned to lace: lace that would be necessary for the wedding day, and still feasible within the time constraints. A little pocket for the bride in which to carry those few little necessities (something old, something new at least!) on her wedding day. The knitted lace purse (complete with beaded cinching wrist strap and iridescent beads at the tips of the lace edging) is worked in the round from the bottom up to the lace edging and features all the elements of the shawl I’d have liked to make. This heirloom came together in a fraction of the time and went down the aisle tucked into her hand, under a bouquet of stargazer lilies and a radiant—nay, dazzling—smile. Ah … young love.

— Laura

Download the free pattern for the Bride's Sachet Purse

Sandi Recommends: Knitted Lace of EstoniaWant to make your own family heirloom, and have a bit more time to plan ahead?


There are few books better for creating your own lace heirlooms than Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush. Each shawl and scarf in this book is rooted in generations of tradition from the Estonia people, and Nancy brings them to life vividly, with gorgeous color photographs, extensive step-by-step instructions, and an entire illustrated section on the techniques that make these shawls so special. Since getting my own copy of Knitted Lace of Estonia, I have already completed one of the beautiful stoles for my mother–the Leaf and Nupp Shawl–and have started on a second. (My sister is not-so-subtly hinting that maybe she'd like one too.) Knit the bride in your life the shawl of a lifetime; or a new babe a christening blanket to pass down through the generations.


Ask for Knitted Lace of Estonia at your local yarn shop, or purchase it online here. 


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.

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