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! 


24 thoughts on “it’s all about the (new) bag…

  1. One of the best-quality reviews of a bag I have ever read – thorough, detailed, specific, thoughtful – you covered every question I could imagine asking. THANK YOU!!!

    (oh, and, yeah, kick-ass bag! can’t wait to order one.)

    ~ hb33 ~

  2. Thanks for the review (and the heads-up on Ravelry), I missed the whole Knitty contest thing and wasn’t aware of this company at all. I’ve been thinking all fall about making a plain, workhorse knitting bag, but buying one is a much better option, in that I’ll actually end up with a bag! 🙂

  3. yeah, i’d never heard of this company, and i saw two posts on ravelry forums about, so i had to go check it out. i’m curious about the length of the handles, whether it’s usable only as a hand-carried tote or whether i might be able to slip it over my shoulder, even if only when i’m not wearing a coat. i loved your review–so helpful!!

  4. OMG! The green monster has attacked! Daddy I want one right now! I have to have one! Daddy!!!! Except well I guess my Dad is kind of past doing this stuff. Honey I want one right now! lol! I miss being Daddy’s little girl. I could usualy get anything I wanted. boohoo I guess that’s the price you pay for growing up and having kids now I have to listen to the “I want it right now.” tirade.

  5. I second what Lisa said – can you take some pictures of you wearing it over your shoulder so we can see how long they are? I’ve heard of Tom Bihn before, they make fabulous laptop bags – I have one of them I use all the time! This one is definately going on my wish list!

  6. Thanks for such an awesome review. I too am all about storage and … BAGS!

    Does it have that “Our president is an idiot” label too? LOL

    (…”Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n’avons pas vote pour lui.” translates to “We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We did not vote for him.”…)

  7. I’m a veteran fan of Tom Bihn products (and the washing labels)–but this knitting bag is the piece de resistance!! Thanks for the review. Now I have to justify buying yet another Tom Bihn bag. But it’s not for me–it’s for my knitting 🙂

  8. I’ve been using the Tom Bihn medium sized cafe bag for my purse for the last two years. The workmanship is fabulous. It doesn’t show any wear at all. It is so well thought out. This looks like a must have bag.

  9. Pingback: zella » Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jog

  10. I just received my Swift on Friday and I’m extremely pleased. The bag is very large and will work for my intended use. I was looking for something that would hold my knitting but could also double as a purse/laptop/briefcase. I ordered several of the organizer pockets and I’m happy to say this is going to work beautifully. I’m able to fit my knitting, a small laptop, my noise cancelling headphone case, cords and a book and there’s still room. I will invest in the soft sleeve to protect the laptop, which will take up some of the room. The only thing really missing is some outside pockets for a cell phone and water bottle, but otheriwise it’s great. I got the crimson/steel in the ballistic nylon. I’m sure to get many years of use.

  11. Beautiful bag. Thank you for the review and the pictures. I was contemplating whether to get a Jordana Paige Bella, Namaste Malibu or Laguna bag. But now I think I will get a Tom Bihn Swift.

  12. I think this bag is great. I thought about Namaste too…I made the right choice…lightweight, interior pockets…the Stuff It Bag…love the color I picked…and wish bright yellow had been a color option.

    Thank you Tom Bihn

  13. Pingback: The Little Swift |

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