What makes a good knitting bag?? That depends on the knitter. Some like the granny-style standers – those bags on a frame. Some like backpacks. Others live and die for the absolute latest Vera Bradley?design. While I’m probably closest to the backpack set, I have my own ideas. For me it’s about minimalism and function, not style – so a parade of freebies has mostly been what I’ve used.

I’m thinking about this today because The Resident Male just returned from a conference at which he received an excellent bag. I snarfed it up immediately. He didn’t stand a chance.

What I want to find:

  • Ample, roomy interior deep enough to hold a large project
  • Pierce-proof sides
  • Sturdy bottom square enough to sit up on its own
  • Wide enough to accommodate long single points
  • Light weight
  • At least one large width zippered pocket for safe pattern stowage
  • Comfy handles long enough to sling over my shoulder
  • A zippered top, so that when the thing is tossed in the back seat of the car, nothing tumbles out
  • Additional inside pockets to hold notions
  • Not looking like a knitting bag (no prissy, cutesy or country-kitchen themed patterning)
  • Low cost.

Here’s my (very boring) new bag:

It hits all the high points – lacking only interior pockets, plus it’s mostly waterproof/water resistant. It may be boring but it’s 99.5% perfect as a knitting bag. I’m delighted.

Here are several others from my collection.

The red velvet one covered with embroidery and bits of wedding saris is beautiful and capacious. It was also a highly appreciated gift. It’s extremely fragile, as the sequins and jewels have a habit of shedding. Plus it’s very floppy. Too beautiful and too delicate to schlep around, this one lives in the living room, lounging around on display and holding my upstairs project of the moment. (Yes, I have different projects in different rooms, and often work on what’s closest rather than my primary project.)? Gorgeous, but a B- mostly?for limited utility.

The little green canvas tool bag was one I went out and bought. It’s rugged, with lots of pockets around the outside. I loved the style, but didn’t think hard about how useful it would actually be. Unfortunately it’s too shallow for a big project, the splayed outer pockets spill their contents, and the handles are too short to make carrying it around comfortable. As a knitting bag it rates a C-.

The small blue embroidered bag was a find at the Gore Place Sheep and Wool Show. For the past several years there has been a Hmong family from Viet Nam displaying and selling hand made items? – bags, pillow covers, hangings and other pieces decorated with traditional cross stitch and quilting. This little bag is just big enough for one pair of socks in progress. It’s quilted, so it (mostly) resists needle point penetration. It’s got a small zipper pocket on the outside that holds notions. The straps are long enough that I can sling it over a shoulder and knit directly from it while standing. I’ve got a couple of these, each holding socks in progress. One lives at home and one lives at work. They’re ideal take-alongs for doctors appointments, the infrequent lunch break, waiting on post office lines, and knitting during other bits of found time. A solid A-. A specialty bag, excellent for socks or other small projects;?downgraded a bit because I tend to use ridiculously small (and sharp) steel DPNs that can stab through both it and me.

And the last bag – the woefully dirty el cheapo cotton trade show special is the type of bag I use most often: souvenir nerdbags from technical conferences. ? No pockets, no sturdy bottom, no zippered top, no point-proof sides, but ultra abundant. This particular one might be considered a Geek Collectible. It’s from the very first release of Oracle for the Macintosh. It was already old when I began using it to pack extra clothes to accompany The Older Daughter to day care, and she’s now 14. This type of bag merits a solid B+. Not the best by far, but serviceable, and best of all – free.

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