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Sion Inspired Relic Purses:
A Study of Color and Gauge
By THL Lucia Thaylur

From the treasury of an ancient cathedral in western Switzerland (Sitten or Sion) come five purses or bags which held relics of Saints. The pouches are dated to the fourteenth-century but are of unknown origin. (Rutt p 50).

Knitted in the round from spun silk in stranded stockinet stitch the pouches are knit at a gauge of 7 stitches to the cm. (about 18 stitches per inch). The original pouches measure 8 1/8th" to 13 3/8ths" long and from 6 1/4th -10 3/8" wide. The bottom edges of the pouches have 9-14 tassels about 6 3/4" long. A drawstring closure is present on each pouch and usually has two tassels. (Rutt, p. 50)

As described by Rutt "46 Sion relic-purse pattern I:
green-and-beige or blue-and-beige on red ground." p.50

As described by Rutt "47 Sion relic-purse pattern II:
blue-and-white and green-and-white on red ground." p.51

As described by Rutt "48 Sion relic-purse pattern III:
beige-and-blue checks;
red rosettes on green and green rosettes on violet." p.51

My Pouches:

Zephyr (Jagger Spun) 50% Chinese Tussah Silk, 5O% Merino Wool

Needle Size:
1.75mm (00000)

Stranded Stockinet

# 46 = 12 sts. per 3/4"
#47 = 10 sts., per ½"
#48 = 10 sts per 5/8"

Finished sizes ( excluding tassels):
#46 = 6"x7"
#47 = 5.25"x 6.75"


Chris Lanning (after Schmedding) has provided a color graph for Sion Purse #1.

Works Cited:

Rutt, Richard. A History of Handknitting. Interweave Press. Loveland, Co. 1987

Lanning, Chris

Last updated: 7/8/2006