Funky, Chic and Cool Knitting Bags
Keep your needles, yarn and patterns organized in a cool knitting bag!
It's time to get your knit on! Knitters and other crafty-types have made suggestions to laptop bag designers and other manufacturers to create bags and totes that are knitting-friendly.
We're excited to add this lens of knitting bag reviews to the Funchico bag review family! It's actually written by Creampuff who does, in fact, knit whereas I am more an appreciator of knitting.
Designers: if you would like your bag reviewed, please check this out first.
I've always gazed longingly at Jordana Paige's knitting bags from afar. I think her line offers a lovely mix of fashion and function. And I've secretly always wanted a butler. So you can imagine how chuffed I was when Jordana Paige offered me a review copy of her new Crafter's Tool Butler to try out and love forever. Dreams! Coming! True!
The Butler got its own photo shoot as soon as it arrived, before it was even out of the box - the box gives you a keen preview of Butler's functionality, as you can see on the left. The case is a little bigger than I was expecting (it's L 10.5" x W 2" x H 6.5") - but that just means I can fit more in there. Score! The case is made of vegan pebbled "leather" and has a nice sheen to it - mine is Black Onyx, which is great. Black goes with everything.
The Tool Butler features two zippered compartments. The one at the front opens to reveal six different sized slots for your double-pointed needles, crochet hooks and scissors. It also features a little mesh pocket for notions - your darning needles, cable needles, etc.
I particularly love the knitting needle inventory chart in the front compartment - what a great idea! It's happened a couple of times now that I've accidentally purchased the same size needles just because I couldn't remember if I had them already (or worse, couldn't find them among my huge piles of yarn).
The inventory chart is incredibly handy for keeping track of these things. I have my needles recorded on Ravelry, of course, like any other self-respecting nerd, but sometimes you need a little something written down so you can take it with you to the local yarn store. You know - when your butler doesn't have time to go to the yarn store for you.
The second zippered compartment springs open to reveal an accordion-style set of four zippered pouches for your circular needles, along with handy little cardboard inserts for you to write your needle sizes on. Plenty of room in there for circular needles of all sizes. No more tangled piles of needles in your stash drawers! Plus, by creating tags for my various circular needles, I can finally get rid of the original packaging I've been hanging on to.
The Crafter's Tool Butler isn't just for knitters but for any crafters who crave a little more organization in their lives. Order your own Jordana Paige Crafter's Tool Butler ($55 USD) in Black Onyx (pictured), Bronze, Deep Red or Eggplant Purple - at JordanaPaige.com.
Bag designer and knitter extraordinaire Lexie Barnes sent me the Coco, her keen new circular and interchangeable needle case, weeks ago and I'd been looking forward to finally giving my various circular needles a home - the ones that weren't currently engaged in neverending WIPs, that is.
But then the Olympics happened and then we bought a new place and then we went on a trip and it wasn't until yesterday, when I was packing for our precipitous move, that I remembered the fabulous Coco. I remembered it because it was time to pack my stash and thankfully Coco was there to bring a little order to my total knitting chaos.
I managed to destash quite a lot of yarn onto our amazing crochet-lovin' hairdresser and all I had left were the contents of our ottoman and whatever was scattered throughout my various knitting bags. Just when I was despairing over how I would be able to get all my knittery together in an organized fashion, my eyes fell on the Coco, sitting top the pile of Sundara Yarn, or, as I refer to it, "knitter's heroin". I unzipped it and let the glory wash over me.
On the inside of the cover of the Coco, you'll find one large hidden sleeve (right up against the cover) and series of little tool pouches; I'm not really sure what tools they're for - maybe cable needles or other notions? Small scissors? I'm sure you'll find something good to do with them.
I left them empty because I was eager to get to the main event - the circular needle sleeves.
I use circular needles a lot (less stabby than straight needles) but I do find them hard to keep track of, since they don't sit nicely in my needle carrier. I also have a set of interchangeable needles, which I tend to keep in their original case to save confusion. BUT I did recently pull out an interchangeable circular needle to use with a specific pattern and I knew that if I put that needle back in the case, I would forget which size I meant to use. So my first circular needle sleeve was graced with my interchangeable needle AND the one page pattern it's meant to go with. Handy!
Some of the circular needles don't have the size printed on them, which is annoying. So I keep them in the original packaging. Fortunately, there's plenty of room for both in the sleeves.
I tried not to pack larger size needles together, to keep the sleeves from getting too bulky. No one wins when needles chafe.
The back inside cover is a clear zippered pocket big enough for some double points or for your notions. My crappy plastic notions kind of lowered the tone of the Lexie Barnes - perhaps they need upgrading...
The Lexie Barnes Coco is a really great (and a very stylish looking!) way to keep all of your circular needles organized and secure. It pops nicely into any knitting bag (has no sharp edges to snag on tender yarn). When you run out of needles, it's also a great place to tuck those patterns you're always printing off of Ravelry; and it certainly has made my knitting stash move far more manageable. Thanks, Lexie Barnes!
Get your own Lexie Barnes Coco needle case in one of three fetching prints (including Leopard, ladies and gents!), at lexiebarnes.com
An assortment of knitting and crafting bags
The Swift Knitting Bag by Tom Bihn
Designed by knitters, for knitters.
Update: OMG. Now the Swift comes in cork! CORK!!
Designed in collaboration with the readers of KnittyÂ® magazine, the Swift Knitting Bag by Tom Bihn may be the ultimate knitting bag.
My eye was drawn to its unique shape when I saw it in the Tom Bihn showroom in Seattle and my knitter's heart nearly burst when the lovely Darcy at Tom Bihn suggested I take a copy to review. I tried to refrain from petting the bag during the rest of our visit. I did not succeed.
With its clever construction, myriad organizational options and action-oriented name, I predicted that the Swift would take me from knit klutz to knit kninja in seconds. That's right! Knit Kninja! Hear that wooshing sound? That was me, finishing a whole sock before you could turn your head!
Okay - the Swift does not *technically* make me a faster knitter. But it makes me a much more organized knitter, so that I can get to the knitting faster and that's the first step.
My Swift is made of light, sturdy ballistic nylon with nicely padded handles. It has an adjustable button closure at the top, so that you can button it up tight or leave it loose when you're carting a sweater around (the Swift is extremely roomy).
I made off with the last of the pink and black Swifts (apparently all you knitters are clamouring for a pink and brown combo, which I believe is in the works) but it comes in many other fetching colour combinations sure to please kninjas of all genders.
The interior of the Swift is made of Dyneema ripstop fabric and includes two large, clear, zippered vinyl pockets - perfect for your personal stuff (cellphone, wallet, flask, etc.) and for your knitting notions. The Swift also comes with a clear-bottomed, drawstringed Stuff It! Yarn Stuff Sack that you can clip right into the Swift.
I love the Yarn Stuff Sack - you can knit right out of the sack and thus keep your active yarn from rolling all over the bottom of your bag. And the new Yarn Stuff Sacks have a snap grommet to feed the yarn through, instead of the older plastic one. With the new snap grommet, you can switch yarns easily (or feed two or more yarns through at once, if you're doing a lot of colour-work). Brilliant!
The Swift has four small, strategically placed O-rings inside; one for a key fob (handy for a perpetual key misplacer like myself), one for the yarn stuff sack and two more for organizer pouches or anything else you want to clip to them.
If you're like me and currently keep most of your knit tools in Ziploc freezer bags, I would recommend investing in a few Tom Bihn organizer pouches. They're sturdy, nearly impossible to puncture and come in a four different sizes. I got a Pen/Pencil one for my dpns and crochet hooks and a medium clear pouch for my patterns. Between those and the clear vinyl pockets built into the bag, I can carry around my entire knitting arsenal.
Speaking of my arsenal (kninja!), given the unusual shape of the Swift, I was a little worried that my beloved straight needles might not fit nicely inside. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. As you can see, the Swift accommodates my knitting needle holder easily.
The Swift also holds my Stitch n' Bitch book (my almost constant companion), several balls of yarn and my three current projects - a soon-to-be sweater, socks and a baby hat. I expect all three of these will be finished shortly - the Swift certainly puts me in the mood to knit!
Most of the knitters I know have the Swift on their wishlist and I can see why. Knitter expertise combined with Tom Bihn's fantastic design have created a beautiful, functional bag any kninja would be proud to swing dangerously at Knit Night.
For more knitter feedback on the Swift, check out Indigo Dragonfly's excellent, detailed review of the Swift. And, of course, you can find more information, pictures and tech specs for the Swift Knitting Bag on Tom Bihn's site. The Swift retails for $70 USD.
Sock Patterns, Get Your Sock Patterns!
My favourite thing to knit are socks. Who doesn't love a hand-knitted pair of socks?! They are pretty straightforward to do, once you get the hang of turning the heel. Plus, I love all the fun vintage sock patterns. These books have some of my fav sock patterns.
Knitting Bags that Give Back
Great knitting bags for great causes
I have a fantasy about sewing. The fantasy is that I can do it - that the skill lies dormant within me and that given the right tools, I could whip up several outfits out of a pair of curtains faster than Maria von Trapp.
The reality is that sewing is a thing beyond my ken - but I still love hand-sewn items.
This time of year, I'm also looking for ways to support local commerce and give back when I can. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered the following three ways to get gorgeous handmade knitting totes AND contribute to a cause. Score!
The Darfur Project is a tremendous initiative. Project creator Joyce's unique, handmade bags are made of mainly reclaimed materials (vintage and donated fabric) and then auctioned off on the site. Each bag is its own kind of fantastic - just scrolling down through the most recent bags, I found several I coveted deeply.
The best part of the Darfur Project bags that "the proceeds of the project are intended for food aid to people in camps in Darfur, Sudan via the United Nations World Food Programme."
Bidding on each bag starts at $45 and there are always luscious new bags to bid on. Get your bid in at www.bags4darfur.blogspot.com
Jennie C. from Bags for Zaza was inspired by Joyce's Darfur Project (Joyce is Jennie's brother-in-law's mother's cousin). The proceeds from Bags for Zaza go towards adoption costs - Jennie's sister is adopting a little girl (Zaza) from Colombia.
Bags for Zaza are made by a core team of sewers and the occasional kindly random sewer - all the bags are made of primarily reclaimed material, so they're eco-friendly as well as gorgeous! Each bag is a different size, shape and design but they all have one thing in common - awesomeness.
The bags are auctioned off one at the time and the bidding generally starts at $25. Check out the hot auction action at www.bagsforzaza.blogspot.com/
If you don't click on The Hunger Site every day to donate free food, start now! And if you want to do even more, The Hunger Site has a wide variety of bags and totes that not only make great knitting bags but that also support The Hunger Site's efforts to end hunger worldwide.
This Vietnamese Messenger Bag caught my eye as I was perusing the site recently - these fair trade bags are hand-made using traditional Vietnamese textiles. Plus, the Hunger Site donates 50 cups of food for every bag you purchase.
Beautiful knitting bags contributing to great causes - I love it when everyone wins. If you know of other ways to give back with the knitting bags, let me know in the comments!
Silk Knitting Bags
Keep Your Yarn Serene
I saw a show at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden the other night and the beautiful serene surroundings made me wish the light wasn't fading so that I could stick around and knit a spell. Since it's only a 15 minute walk from my house, I'm thinking of getting a membership. But if I do, I'll certainly need a new knitting bag. A special Chinese Garden knitting bag. Made of silk. Because nothing makes me feel more at one with nature than a new bag.
Here are a few of the top contenders for my silk knitting bag affections.
They're not kidding about brown being the new black! The 100% silk Venus Knitting Tote caught my eye right away. The brown silk help keeps your knitting grounded in the earth, while the beautiful leafy embroidery on the creamy front of the bag helps your knitting grow! At least, that's *my* interpretation.
I could see myself gliding into the Garden with the sleek and lovely Venus, settling by pagoda and knitting away on a flowery shawl while contemplating the mysteries of the universe.
Until I got hungry. Fortunately, it looks like the Venus would fit both a shawl and a muffin.
The Venus goes for $70USD on della Q's site.
There are several gorgeous silk knitting bags at Milistyle, which made it hard to choose a favourite. But these days I'm all about colour coordination and there's no doubt that the Mili Jade Silk Knitting Bag is a perfect match to the jade green water beneath the willow tree in the Garden.
The Jade Silk Knitting Bag is hand-made, using hand-dyed and hand-woven silk. It has a zip pocket and an open pocket inside for storing circular needles and accessories. The bag fastens with a magnetic clasp.
I love the touch of sky blue at the top, just below the round handles. Circles represent heaven in Chinese cosmology - coincidence? I think not. The Jade Silk Knitting Bag is Â£27.50 at Milistyle.
If I really wanted to go all out with my silk knitting bag purchase, I'd go with the Naomi Quilted Silk Knitting Bag by della Q. I adore the unusual shape at the bottom (perfect for straight needles) and that quilted silk just mades me want to stroke it lovingly (which may slow the knitting).
Much as I admire the Naomi, I do worry that its extreme chic-itude has the potential to destroy the peaceful balance of the Garden. Would it make the bonsai jealous? Hard to say.
The Naomi retails for $144USD on della Q's site.
I know what you're thinking - only three silk knitting bags? And two from della Q? I know! I was surprised to find such a dearth of silk knitting bags myself. Fortunately, the ones I did find are pretty lovely. Which will I ultimately choose? I will seek my answer in the Garden. Or perhaps in the Garden's adjoining gift shop.
Knitting Bag Round-up
Knitting bags that caught my wandering eye
Okay, I admit it. There are days when I spend far too long whispering sweet nothings to knitting bags I see online. Here are a few knitting totes that caught my wandering eye.
I think this is a great idea. How many times have you been caught without your knitting in line at the DMV or waiting for your parents to post bail? Too many times! Keeping this Emergency Knitting Bag handy would ensure that you could use your time wisely. Pair the Emergency Knitting Bag with a Knitting Tool Kit and you'll be ready to squeeze off a couple of rounds on that sock wherever life takes you. Also? The "emergency knitting" logo on the bag? KILLS me.
The Emergency Knitting Bag goes for $14.95 (and the Knitting Tool Kit is $5.00) at Illiane's Corner.
This is an unusual design - it reminds me of those folding fabric chairs you bring to folk festivals...but for your knitting! It's quite clever, really - in repose, it makes a nice stand to knit out of and when you're done, just pull the handles together and go! Of course, when you're not carrying it, the top stays open, so it may not be the best choice for knitters with yarn-lovin' cats.
The Lantern Moon Folding Knitting Bag retails for $40.00 at KnittingBag.com. Also, from the site: Income derived from sales of this item provides income, education and self-reliance for Vietnamese women and their families and revitalizes the traditional cultural handicrafts of Vietnam. Who doesn't love that?
I stumbled across Green Mountain Knitting Bags quite by accident and totally fell in love with their vintage-style carpet bags. Carpet bags always remind me of Anne of Green Gables arriving at Bright River with her "very old carpet bag" and stunning Matthew Cuthbert with her endless chatter. Ah, Anne - 100 years later, you still delight me.
Green Mountain Knitting Bags are all hand-made and come in a variety of styles and fabrics. Prices range between $140 - $155 and vary according to the style of bag.
For an extra $25, you can pick the style and fabric and they will custom-make the bag for you. Anne would definitely approve.
Great cases for your knitting needles
I'm not going to lie to you - sometimes, knitting makes me tense. I love it, but my knitting projects (or my "yarn experiments", as I often refer to them) can occasionally frustrate me to the point of weepery. Then I have to take a deep breath - and an Ativan - before I can find my knitting groove again.
Ativan's surprisingly easy to come by in my neighbourhood, but I suspect that I may not need it much longer, thanks to the knitting bag - The Lady B Knitting Tote by Lexie Barnes - that Lexie sent over for review.
There's something very zen about the Lady B Tote. I'm not really sure how the Lady B does it, but this bag calms me. Soothes me. The Lady B says to me "Hey, hey. Relax yourself. It's just knitting." Aaah, Lady B. So true.
The Lady B is as good looking as she is wise. The bag's exterior is made of water-resistant taffeta and comes in three prints - Utopia, Diablo and the Pacifica. The Pacifica is my hands-down favourite of this year's prints. Its vibrant blue, pink and brown palette reminds me that there is still hope, even after dropping a stitch or realizing that I've counted wrong - again.
Then there's the shape. The Lady B has a nice, wide bottom and curves up around the top, like a delightful, oversize bowling bag. The bag has excellent balance and structure - no matter how much or how little I have in it, the Lady B never wobbles or tips over.
When I'm out and about with the bag, the non-slip shoulder straps fit nicely over my shoulder (and if they fit over my arms, they'll fit over yours, trust me) and the Lady B tucks snugly against my side. Its durable zipper closure protects my yarn from the elements - this is key when I'm heading out to Knit Night in rainy Vancouver.
The Lady B is also extremely light. And roomy - the Lady B is the last word in roominess. I wondered if I would be able to fit the chunkiest of my WIPs in the bag, but the Lady B said to me "Hey, hey. Don't worry. That'll fit in here, no problem." and it DID, along with everything else I needed - needles, notions and oodles of back-up yarn.
Starting from the top - the Lady B has a zip pocket at the top of bag that is big enough to fit my glasses case and cell phone comfortably. Below the zip pocket is an exterior pocket perfect for patterns, books or (my latest weakness) knitting magazines.
When you unzip the main compartment of the Lady B, you'll find side wings that prevent the yarn snagging when you zip the bag open or closed. The side wings also keep those wiley balls of yarn from spilling out when you're rooting around in the bag.
The nylon interior of the Lady B is lined with different sizes of pockets - some large enough for notebooks and sewing kits (or PDAs and passports, if you're travelling), some slim enough to slip your DPNs into. The bottoms of the pockets are reinforced to keep your needles and pens from poking through. There was nowhere to stash my straight needles, but my needle holder fit in the bottom of the bag with no difficulty.
The pockets of the Lady B should hold every thing you need, but if you're looking to further organize your knitting notions, Lexie Barnes also makes three sizes of matching mini pouches. These are especially handy for stitch markers, measuring tapes, tapestry needles and all the other little things I'm always misplacing.
All of Lexie Barnes' bags are designed to be multipurpose - the Lady B would also make a great travel tote, diaper bag or, if you pair it with her Cricket laptop sleeve, an eye-catching laptop tote. Me, I think I'll keep mine as a knitting bag; I trust that Lady B's calming influence will spur me on to even greater heights of knitting achievement! And for those moments when I still need to shed a knitting tear, I know she'll have plenty of room for Kleenex.
For more knitter feedback on the Lady B, check out this Lady B Tote video review from CraftyCrafty. And to create your zen knitting experience, you can find the Lady B Tote on Lexie Barnes' website. The Lady B Tote retails for $130 USD.
Video Review of Lexie Barnes Knitting Bag
British gals from Crafty Crafty and Catwalk Queen review the Lexie Barnes knitting tote. Great look inside the bag, plus these gals are fun to listen to!
Our Favourite Knitting Blogs - There are some amazing knitters out there!
Books about Knitting Bags
Want to "roll your own" so to speak? These books may help!
We'd love to hear your thoughts on knitting bags! Is there one here we haven't listed? Do you carry your knitting projects around in a ziplock bag and that works just fine?
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