Done, done and done

First of all, congratulations Jen!  I challenge anyone to find a mum with more strength of heart and fabulous sense of humour than you.

   Tilted Duster is finished!  I like it better with the collar folded over like this.  I want to get a hook to hold it closed.  Apparently living in the textile district and working a few blocks away from here, is not enough incentive to get my butt into a fabric store to pick one up.  Is this the kind of thing I can send my staff to do??  (imagining the blank looks with expressions ranging from “like a cup hook that you screw into the wall?” to “and what exactly does this particular errand to do for me?”) 

Many requests for these…

The Tom Bihn on a real person:


The stats:  I’m 5’0″ tall and am wearing a few layers, including a sweater and fall jacket…a combination thicker than my winter coat.  The bag fits very comfortably over my shoulder.  I can also carry the bag in my hand and clear the floor.  To be able to do both at 5’0″ tall??  THAT’S good design people! 


…enough room for the “one-handed-scoop-the-bag-up-onto-your-shoulder” move!


it’s all about the (new) bag…

I have a thing about things to hold my stuff.  Baskets, boxes…and bags…lots and lots of bags.  And finding the perfect bag for a specific purpose that has a look I like AND functions well is my holy grail.  The search for the perfect knitting bag has been a long one and although there are some really great ones out there, none were just right…until now.  I have finally found the perfect knitting bag for me:  lightweight, able to fit both my everyday stuff and my knitting and adaptable to my changing needs!  The new knitting bag from Tom Bihn…the Swift!  

Notice the adjustable (3 settings)  button closure that holds everything in.  And the padded handles…a very nice and comfortable touch.

My version is made of 2 different colours of cordura — steel on one side, plum on the other.  Love these colours!  The bag is also available in ballistic nylon.  There are pros and cons to both materials.  The cordura is light which adds little weight to the whole bag.  Important to me because I tend to fill my bag up with everything I need for a busy day.  But this also means the bag is quite slouchy, something that doesn’t bother me at all.  If you want a stiffer bag, try the ballistic nylon.

The rough side of the cordura (on the outside of the bag) attracts fluff, which means if you’re knitting with mohair or angora or you own a cat, you’ll have a furry bag in no time!  Having said that, I have a dog who has spent the better part of the past 2 weeks rubbing up against the bag, and his fluffiness hasn’t rubbed off on the bag at all.  Even the tumbleweeds of dog fur that hug the base of my spinning wheel have managed to keep from sticking to the bag.   

Other considerations:  The ballistic nylon is more waterproof and is a sturdier material than the cordura.  The cordura comes in more colours.  It’s a matter of taste.

But what I really love is the inside of the bag and the multitude of ways I can adapt it to suit my needs.

This bag holds A LOT!  To give you an idea of how much, I’ve filled the main compartment of the bag with 8 balls of yarn, the finished Tilted Duster and a copy of Knitting Nature, along with everyday things like my wallet and glasses.  The bag is fill about 2/3 of the way to the top.  I wouldn’t want to put much more in it, because it would make access to the pockets a little difficult. 

Yes!  The pockets.  The bag has 2 big zippered pockets with a clear vinyl front so you can see what you put in them.  The back of the pockets are lined with the Dyneema nylon which has a dark grey background and white grid.  Very easy to see what’s in the pockets.  I use one pocket for everyday items like my glasses and cell phone…  


…and the other one for my knitting tools: tape measure, my Harmony knitting needle set, needle case, scissors, crochet hooks, cable needles and needle gauge.  Definitely not every tool I own, but pretty close! 

Keep in mind that the heavier the items you put in the pockets, the more top-heavy the bag will be.  If I’ve got a pattern book or extra balls of yarn in the bottom of the bag, that helps keep gravity in check.  I still prefer having the pockets near the top of the bag for easy access and visibility.

Another standard part of this bag is the Stuff It! Yarn Stuff Sack…a removeable project bag.  It’s a drawstring pouch with a hard plastic tab to guide your yarn through so the ball stays nice and neat and contained inside the bag, while you knit away outside of it!   The project bag has a key snap attached so that it can be clipped to the inside of the main bag to one of the 4 d-rings. 


The d-rings are indicated by x’s in this photo.  One is located inside one of the zippered pockets, which makes it a perfect place to use a key snap to attach your scissors.


And as an unexpected bonus, there are 2 slash pockets formed at the bottom of the inside, where the 2 colours of fabric cross over.  Just the perfect size and shape to slip my wallet or other items, keeping them separate from my knitting, but in a place I can easily reach without putting the bag down and digging through it.

In addition to the knitting bag itself, I treated myself to some organizer pouches to help organize my stuff:



Mini pouch for business cards and subway tokens, attached to my key snap…right at my fingertips whenever I need them





My Harmony knitting needle set and a needle gauge slipped into a medium pouch that fits neatly into one of the zippered pockets





The tools I use most, in a small pouch, attached to a d-ring so that the pouch can hang over the side of the bag…easy access at knit night 





A key snap to hold my scissors and a medium pouch for a pattern.  Both are attached to a d-ring for easy access on knit night or for subway knitting.




For the past 2 weeks, this bag has not left my side.  I love the look and the function.  The bag will be available on the Tom Bihn website  anyday now, so keep checking! 

5 minutes in Norah Gaughan’s brain

After 2 false starts (did I mention swatches: not so forthcoming with the good information?? ) that included 2 changes in needles, the Tilted Duster is moving along nicely. Between last Wednesday and Saturday, I managed to finish both sleeves and both front pieces, leaving me completely baffled as to why on earth the back took almost 3 weeks.

The top pieces, basking in the sunlight…

I HATE seaming and try to get through it as quickly as possible. But I love to knit. I love to wear handmade clothes that are well made. Since the quick finishing method usually leaves me with tight bumpy seams and garments I resist wearing because I know where every error is, I’ve decided an attitude adjustment is in order. And so I sat down Sunday afternoon to sew together the bodice and sleeves of the Duster and really got into it. Trying to find the exact right tension for every stitch. Aligning every angle. Zen-seaming. And I loved the process (which makes me love this sweater even more).

Love the slightly angled curve of the sleeve.

And then on to the skirt:

With this brilliant shaping:

Ok, you can’t see the full effect, but the way she’s shaped the skirt is so simple yet so perfect. A plain stockinette wedge pushes sections of rib away from each other. Sharp angles creating a soft silouette. I want 5 minutes in Norah Gaughan’s brain.

So…2 repeats of the pattern left and it’s on to the home stretch: the collar. To button or not to button? Or maybe a shawl pin as closure…