MKB 40: A Pence Jug, or Purse

Wahoo! I have reached the 40th pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (1843, First Series)!The pattern is for A Pence Jug or Purse. A pence jug is a small knitted purse that was used for storage of coins. These little projects were common in the Victorian era and patterns for pence jugs can be found in many publications at the time. Pence hugs experienced a revival during the First World War in the UK for saving coins to support the war effort.

This pattern has been interpreted (or translated?) from Miss Lambert’s words into modern knitting language by the inestimable Franklin Habit (Pence Jug). In his article, Franklin provides a lovely description of his view of Miss Lambert, which I have reproduced in part below.

Miss Lambert (as she was known to her public) was a leading light among the first wave of needlework writers who began to publish in the early 1840s. She comes across in her works as devoted, above all, to the twin Victorian virtues of Order and Method.

(Franklin Habit,

I was curious to see how my interpretation compares with Franklin’s so I gave it a try directly from Miss Lambert’s wording in the book, with the goal of comparing my finished object with Franklin’s when I’m done.

Miss Lambert calls for “five needles, No. 20, with claret and green German wool.” In my experience with this book, German wool (or Berlin wool) was roughly equivalent to what we would call fingering weight yarn today. She also suggests that the pattern may be knit up in silk but does no specify whether she means netting silk or a heavier weight of silk. I decided to stick with wool and used 2.0mm needles and the magic loop method.

When I compare my project to Franklin’s interpretation, the neck of the jug seems longer and it looks like we interpreted the spout portion of the pattern a bit differently. Other than that it looks pretty similar, although in my version the body of the jug is a solid colour as I didn’t see instructions to change the colour in Miss Lamberts pattern. Since it’s basically the same so I will direct you to Franklin’s interpretation instead of rewriting it here.

The jug doesn’t stand well when it’s empty but looked great once I filled it up with coins. It sits on my windowsill, a nice piece of history I can see every day.

Have you ever made a pence jug? I’d love to hear about your experience!


Lesley O’Connell Edwards, Oct 18, 2017, A Passion for Pence Jugs, Piecework Magazine.

Franklin Habit, Winter 2008, Stitches in Time, Knitty Magazine.

Knitting Now and Then Blog, Dec 15, 2014, A Victorian Pence Jug.

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