After I have the initial idea, I ruminate on it a bit. Sometimes I do internet searches to see what already exists. I want to make something original. I consider things like construction, shape, size, what yarn I want to use, etc. Should the purse have one handle or two? Does it need a flap? What about pockets? Sometimes I do sketches at this point to help me visualize different ideas. I decided with this purse to make it more of a book tote bag (she can still call it a purse if she wants) with a zipper pouch on the inside for her library card. I imagine it being the perfect bag for a trip to the library. She can bring books with her to return and take new ones home, all with her library card safe in the little pocket. Once I had the idea, I made a sketch with all of the things that I would like to incorporate into the design.
Before making the sketch, I went through my stash and found a yarn that I thought would work well for this project. It is, of course, hot pink. It is also washable, one of my requirements for children's items. This particular yarn is Swish Bulky from Knit Picks (still available in white only.) I had a couple of skeins that I got on sale when they were discontinuing the colors, which should be plenty for this project. I like the idea of using bulky yarn because of how quickly it will knit up, especially since I'm on a deadline. For the flowers I will probably use various shades of pink in other yarns.
I also looked through my fabric and found some to line the bag with that I think my niece will like. To help me choose a stitch for the main body of the bag, I flipped through my Harmony Guides. I decided on Double Moss Stitch. It is simple, but will add texture and a little bit more interest and hopefully a bit of thickness to the bag. I will probably use a needle size smaller than recommended to make a more solid fabric that will be more durable.
The next step is swatching. If I like the way this stitch looks with this yarn, I will move forward with the project. Sometimes I have to try a few stitch patterns before deciding. This can be because the stitch I chose looks different with the yarn I'm using compared to the yarn pictured in the book or because I want to see some options before committing. After I swatch, I will do a bit of math and cast on! Now I will see how my ideas translate into yarn and make adjustments to my design if needed.