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Amulets have been in used for thousands of years and by many civilisations. They were worn for a number of reasons - to ward off evil spirits or as protection from disease and curses. The amulet bag evolved to carry a number of talismans and charms. Today, these little purses make distinctive necklace pendants.

Pictured here is an amulet pendant necklace made by Mary Fraser, a Halifax-based jewelry making enthusiast. I recently met her at a beading party. She brought along many of her creations which she kindly let me photograph.

Mary is self-taught, borrowing heavily from our local library and purchases many books and magazines. She is an active member of the Metal Arts Guild of Nova Scotia, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to stimulating and developing interest in this craft. She has also taken classes from other members.

I picked this piece because Mary has clearly been enjoying knitting amulet bags recently. This one is her interpretation of the original pattern by S. Debra Santaniello who developed it as a teaching tool. One nice individual touch is Mary's spiral stitched strap.

The knitting needles used are very skinny (#0000) and the thread has to be thin enough to string up seed beads - 10/0 or 11/0 sizes. The beads usually are all prestrung on the thread which then has to be rewound into a ball before you can start knitting and incorporating the beads as you go along. However, here is a nifty tip that will save you from that tedious chore. FluffyknitterDeb has a great tutorial on how to use a fine crochet hook to add a bead to your knitted project only when you want to. No more prestringing!

Many thanks, Mary for letting me take so many photos that afternoon!

Other Free Patterns and Tutorials

This gorgeous Victorian Style bag necklace by Coy Roberts is a stunner. The ornate metal frame has attachments for metal chains.

Denise Trudell's Loopy Amulet purse also has old-fashioned charm.

The Bead Lady has four free patterns worth checking out. A couple of them will require frames.

Scallop and sunburst purse patterns from Sew Unique are more unusual ones.

Suzanne Siegel's page has inspirational amulets to ogle over and the beading patterns to figure out.

Anne Yotter's crochet bag tutorials may appeal to those who don't knit.

And if you really can't be bothered with knitting needles or crochet hooks, then try simple netting and add some fabulous fringing. See the basic instructions and the inspirational bag by Whimbeads.com here.

Tutorial Links Reminder : If you'd like to refer back to other tutorials I have mentioned, a "hub" of my major blog posts containing tutorial material can now be found on the right side bar of my home page. It is an alternative to just typing tutorials in the search box.

Canadian Museum of Civilisation's Historic Inuit Art
Virtual Egyptian Museum

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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