Something Everyone Can Answer…

The Anniversary Contest is chugging along.  Five more days of questions to go, so lots of chances to enter (scroll down for full details).

Wednesday’s answers:

My grandfather, Harry McBrien, was inducted into both the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame for his work in football at all levels.  He’s most known for his work with the Canadian Football League.  Both my father and my uncle also worked with the CFL as officials for most of my childhood.   Harry was nicknamed as Mr. Grey Cup. He spent a good chunk of his life elevating the event to a week-long festival that accompanies our national professional football championship every November.  Usually outside.  (Have you been to Saskatoon in November?  BRRRR!!)  And if you’re ever watching the Grey Cup on TV, they will always show footage from the famous Fog Bowl (the year a thick fog rolled over the field and they had to suspend play), you will see my grandpa cloaked in a trench coat and smoking a big cigar.

He owned a coffee company in Toronto.  Why on earth would this be ironic?  I don’t drink coffee.

Thursday’s answer:

The Boy is distantly related to — h)  Michael J. Pollard

The Anniversary Contest Question O’ The Day

As a change of pace, we decided to save you from random obscurity and sherlock-google-ness.  Today’s question is one you can ALL answer.

What would your dream knitting bag be like?

Why do I ask? Darby Bayly, maker of these fantabulous project bags, also runs a program in Haliburton called Sew Resourceful.  She teaches women how to sew and how to market their handmade goods to supplement their income and improve their livelihood.

Darby wants to design a knitting bag (tote, not project bag) for the group to reproduce.  And we want it to be REALLY great.  So please help Darby out, and leave your wish list in the comments.  Tell us about pockets.  What you need it to store.  How big or how small you’d like it to be.  Don’t hold back!

Each idea will get an entry (up to 5 ideas/entries per person).  Don’t be afraid to duplicate answers.  That lets us know which features are important to the largest number of people.


If you’ve arrived here for the first time and have no clue why we’re asking these crazy questions, you should know that we’re running an Anniversary Contest!

The Anniversary Contest runs until August 4, at which point we will have a very unique drawing for the prizes. There are four prizes available:

1. The last remaining first Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination Club package

2. A cable mug by Susanne James and a skein of either silk lace or merino sock yarn(your choice of in stock colours)

3.  A Darby Bayly project bag chosen by Otis, a skein of MCN Sport (in your choice of in stock colours) and a Storm Water Cowl pattern.

4.  A Tom Bihn Little Swift and 5 skeins of your choice of Indigodragonfly Yarn.  (Thanks Darcy, Tom and crew!)

So how do you enter?

Lots of ways.

1. Leave us a comment, and you get an entry (1 comment per day per person)

2. If you were the very, very first customer, you get an entry. (I know who you are, you don’t have to. )

3. Answer weird quiz questions. They will be random, both in their timing and their content. We will give entries to the first 1-5 correct answers (depending on how we feel that day…we’ll give you fair warning), either in the comments or by email. (If you leave them in the comments, quiz answers count as an entry in addition to your comment entry…are you confused yet? Good. We like you that way.)

4. Buy stuff. Heck, why not? For every $25 purchased, you get an entry.



38 thoughts on “Something Everyone Can Answer…

  1. padded/ reinforced/ adjustable strap. big enough for full page patterns without being folded, but not big enough for my 8 yr old to sleep in. Messenger style- pretty AND durable. more pockets inside than slots. (Not a fan of the slot type pocket things that don’t really hold anything…

    over-all non-yarn snagging design (especially the closure and top edges.) Love it if I can knit rt from the bag.. but don’t like being locked into knitting w yarn through a grommet…

    LOVE it when a bag includes a couple of matching accessory bags. A yarn holder and a project size slip out and in type bag would be perfect….

    possibly beautiful, but simple (I don’t like my knitting bag to clash with mah clothes…) upholstery type fabric that can be easily cleaned and is durably lined. (is that even possible?)

    ummm we’re talking dream here.. so I’m really being detailed:P

    easy to clean, but I’m not a fan of vinyl.

  2. I agree with a padded strap, and would like to add –
    sturdy D-rings I can clip carabiners to to attach the bag to my belt. Sometimes the only way I can carry things without too much pain is by getting the weight off my shoulders.
    Interior rings for clipping pouches to so that they don’t fall out.
    Pockets 🙂
    A top that opens wide, yet closes completely when I want it to.
    My current great desire is for a padded netbook-size pocket.

  3. I like to have two different kind of knitting bags: project bags and tote bags, the latter of which needs to hold a number of the former.

    Project bags need to be compact, absolutely free from velcro or anything catchy, open with a sturdy zipper, ideally have a couple of interior pockets for notions that close securely, and have an outer handle or loop for carrying (bonus if the loop is recloseable with a button or caribiner so that it can be attached to something else).

    Tote bags need to be roomy enough to hold at least two project bags and sundries – which for me typically include my lunch, a water bottle and extra shoes, but then, I’m a schlepper of “just-in-case” goods. Straps need to be long enough to go comfortably over my shoulder without binding (19″ on the current one, but that need changes in winter with bulkier clothing), but not so long that they slump off (more than 24″ for short me). Bonus points for padded straps (but not those stupid sliding shoulder pads – ick!), and triple backflip bonus points for exterior water bottle pocket and cell phone holder.

  4. Hm. For a project bag, I guess it would have to be, as others have said, obviously free of snaggy things. It should be able to sit steadily and be knit right out of, and perhaps have a belt clip for knitting on the go. I think it might need a separate compartment at the spot where you’re knitting out of it, in case one has multiple balls of yarn in there, just to keep things untangled (Or maybe a detachable inner bag for this purpose, so you don’t have to have the whole thing clipped to yourself). An extra pocket for scissors, markers, needle, crochet hook, whatever, that you also don’t want tangling up your yarn – and that you want to be able to find easily. Maybe it could have a slot type pocket for a pattern (although as a general rule, I agree with traceysolomon – slot “pockets” are largely useless).

    All of which sounds way more awesome than the ziploc bags I usually use…

  5. I love large bags. Maybe one that has a smaller removeable bag for small projects. Nothing snaggy as said before. Padded strap as suggested. Abundant pockets of varying sizes. Great fabrics and or colors(think rich like Namaste’s eggplant or peacock). Top needs to close in some manner; snaps, magnets, zipper – one of our cats is an alpaca thief! An interior clip for keys 🙂 Feet on the bottom so bag may be placed on the floor w/o getting to icky.

  6. I am all about easy access to things. It would be a messenger type bag with adjustable strap. The flap would have inserts for needles in different sizes that could be protected in some way so all the needles don’t go flying when you flip over the flap. A spot for the yarn skein you are presently using where it could feed the yarn out without the bag being opened (or where just that section could be opened) and a separate section to contain the other yarn for the project so it can all stay protected in one place. A slot for full page patterns. Maybe something on the outside of the bag to hold a scissor and tape measure just while you are knitting so they will be easily accessible (but not necessarily to keep there all the time like little storage pockets because stuff always falls out of those if you brush against something with your bag, a simple pocket inside for scissors and tape measure, markers, etc.) ABSOLUTELY NO VELCRO (Knitpicks had a bag a few years ago that was great except the center closed with Velcro, what were they thinking??) I prefer heavy duty snaps to zippers because my yarn always catches on zippers somehow. I would like Heavy Canvas in lieu of quilted as it seems for me to be more durable. That would be perfect. Of course, it would be ultimate if it included a stash for cupcakes and a cappuccino spigot but I know that is approaching dreamworld.

  7. There are some geniuses who comment on this blog. Excellent bag suggestions! I’d want metal feet on the bottom and magnetic snap enclosures for the main sections as well as for the pockets on the inside. My current bag is great except the fabric pockets sometimes catch items I’m trying to put in the main portion of the bag–which makes me afraid that I’ll rip out the pockets someday in my zeal. I’d love it to be stylish enough I want to carry it for a purse, so it can’t be gigantic, and it needs a zippered section that’s big enough to fit a big wallet and checkbook that also has a cell phone pocket.

    If it comes with a small matching bag inside for scissors, tape measure, stitch markers, etc, then great, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. I imagine most of us already have a bag we could throw in. If it DOES have an accessory bag, it would be great if that attached to the inside of the purse so it was easy to find and didn’t end up at the bottom… as they always do.

  8. Not that I much use a knitting bag other than some suitable sized tote hanging around.

    But it seems to me that a dedicated little pocket for stitch markers would be a good addition. Something sewn on the inside near the top, with a zip or some other closure that keeps those little bastards from falling out and getting lost at the bottom of the main compartment…

  9. Pockets inside and out
    Zipper closure
    Handles long enough to go over the shoulder
    Small matching accessory pouch

  10. 1) outside pocket for cellphone
    2) yarn guide on the top of the inside
    3) pockets of various sizes on the inside, with a top pleat so they will hold something
    4) padded straps- long enough to put over your shoulder, but not so long that it hangs to your butt
    5) no zippers or velcro- maybe a cool button closure instead

    Can’t wait to see the results!

  11. There’s only one thing I don’t like about my dream knitting bag, which is the Lady B style from Lexie Barnes. I have the Viona fabric which is fairly weatherproof. However I really wish the material used for the bottom was also weatherproof and easier to clean, especially since I’m a city gal and the bag in placed on the floor or ground about 20 times a day.

    The inside has 6 pockets that vary in sizing. There is a wide side pocket on the outside of the bag. And there is a small zippered secret pocket that is well concealed. Oh, and the straps have a light padding.

    Looking forward to seeing more Darby bags!

  12. WOOHOO! I guessed right about the Hollywood celeb! YAY!

    About the bag, I second a lot of the things earlier mentioned. Especially the shoulder-length strap, nice fabrics, and lack of velcro.

  13. Wow there is no shortage of suggestions. I’m hoping to have a few different bag prototypes put together for Kim’s Fibre Fling on the 14th. So there will be even more opportunities for feedback. Thank-you all so much! I will do my best to transform your wildest knitting tote dreams into reality!

  14. my knitting bag would have a light colored lining inside with a slot for full page patterns, no zippers, couple of project bags, the outer fabric would be an ultra suede or some other nice fabric, not nylon.

  15. I agree with the above commenters who stated that they need separate, smaller project-bags to put inside of larger tote-bags (something that Tom Bihn got exactly right!). The Tom Bihn stuff-sack with the clear bottom would be my ideal project-bag if the dyneema nylon wasn’t quite so butt-ugly (a creative gal needs color and pattern in her life and grey windowpane ain’t cuttin’ it!). For the larger tote, I actually need two: One smaller for just jetting about town on the evenings and weekends; and one humongous, sturdy, totally waterproof bag for the daily-grind commute. Pockets in both are de rigeur and they should be relatively shallow. And for gosh-sake, PLEASE don’t give us those useless 14″ straight-needle pockets that scream “Grandma’s Knitting Bag!” Nobody knits with straights anymore and even if they do, they don’t tote multiples around town!!! (*harrumph*)

  16. Great question!

    I’m a wider versus taller type of girl. I find that wider (16″) by about 10″ tall bags work best for me, with a good depth of at least 6″. I usually knit adult sweaters and get frustrated when bags can’t hold one in progress.

    I want the bag to stand up all on it’s own. I want the opening to open wide and stay open. I want to knit from it easily and keep my yarn within the bag. A bag that will sit firmly on the floor, doesn’t scrunch down, doesn’t tip over, and remains wide open.

    A nice full length slip pocket deep enough to hold patterns and magazines, and front or side gusset pockets to hold cell phones, keys and grab quick items with a closure on the pockets.
    The inside should have lots of organizational pockets. Pockets on one side large enough to each hold yarn when you’re doing colorwork. The other side with pockets for tools, notions and small items. I like everything in it’s place. A center divider to separate purse items from knitting. And an included removable comfortable shoulder strap. This is to me a real bonus in any bag.
    Feet on the bottom of the bag to protect it…. a real must.
    Linings that are light colored. Hate having to rummage through a black abyss to find something.
    A bag that is light weight. It’s frustrating to order and receive a bag and find that it’s heavy to carry before you even put anything in it. I’ve destashed a lot of different bags for this very reason. A bag that is too heavy can make your day miserable.
    A bag that comes in contemporary as well as the classic colors like navy, red and brown.

  17. Oh… forgot…. definitely NO velcro. Not too fond of zippers either. Much prefer magnetic snaps. I would like to see bags offered in different types of fabrics besides nylon like ultra suede.

  18. Ok, I have to weigh in here on the type of bag. Should be tote-type, not messenger – they end up too heavy with that useless flap on the front. However, yes, should have a pocket big enough to hold 81/2 x 11 pattern pages, needs to be waterproof on the bottom, and pockets, not slots. If a divider it should be fairly rigid (not the floppy thing like in my Namaste bag that just gets in the way). And an adjustable strap that can be long enough to fit diagonally across the body.

    Oh, and pretty fabrics, preferably bright colours 🙂

    It’ll be interesting to see what you come up with!

  19. I agree with Linda’s points. If we’re talking tote, not project bag, as per your instructions, then my wish list is:
    – a bag that doesn’t scream “cutesy/craft/knitting/novelty” bag. I may be at community meetings, coffee shops, waiting for kids at school, concerts and I want it to fit in everywhere I go- chic, not kitschy. Something classic – when I go for the day/night the bag might also be holding my book, wallet, water bottle, cell phone, notebook. It must be tall enough that my bamboo needles don’t stick out of it, yet I don’t want to lose my magic loop travelling sock in its depths . . . .
    – MANDATORY that it stand up on it’s own – easy clean, durable bottom that has a wide base (washable bag?)- love the idea of the metal studs on the bottom to help it stay clean. Nothing see through though.
    – wide shoulder strap with bag that ends at my hip, but the opening is wide enough to grab something easily yet when over my shoulder/under my arm I don’t constantly worry that I’m gonna be pick pocketed. (Dratted knitting thieves are everywhere)
    – pockets big enough to be useful, not so big as to encourage being so jammed packed they make me look like a bag lady. Love the light interior idea.
    – must admit that Tom Bihn’s Lil’ Swift comes pretty darn close to my perfect ideal . . .
    – thanks for the opportunity – love actually being asked for my opinion:-)

  20. A tote bag that zips at the top ( so nothing can fall out and is big enough to fit on a shoulder without being a bottomless pit is key. Points for the bag standing up on its own and having an outside pocket big enough to hold a pattern. The inside needs to have several zippered pockets in a range if sizes — big enough to hold a crochet hook, small enough for only a dozen stitch markers. A separate division for yarn or a built-in stuff sack would be great but I’d hope that a yarn guide could be included that isn’t a solid ring so that the yarn and project can be removed from the bag without having to cut the yarn.

    All these are finicky details but my most important need is that the bag have a choice of a neutral or dark colored exterior. Pretty prints have their place but a bag that is subtle for more daily use would be great. If there is a nice print and a solid color choice, I might just buy two!

  21. Let’s see… it should stand up on its own with maybe a hinge (?) kind of frame around the top that will stay closed and remain open as needed. Lets face it, this bag will sit on the floor so it needs to be made of durable material along with feet. I would like lots of pockets both inside and out (cell phone size and pattern size). But most of all it needs to stand out and not look like just any old tote.

  22. The previous comments are thoughtful and brilliant. Right now my tote bags are tool bags purchased at the diy/lumber store. If I was designing my ideal tote bag it would have inside and outside pockets in a variety of sizes that hold my phone, my ipod, my hand cream, my wallet and my sunglasses. A few of the outside pockets would have flap closures. I could do without the velcro please. It has to have feet to keep it off the wet/dirty floors at the arena, the rugby pitch, the dance studio and the car/bus. The main compartment would have a zipper closure and a hinged opening to it can handle socks or a sweater if need be. There would be a clip on the inside for my keys and one outside for my water bottle or my empty travel mug. It would have a long strap to fit over my shoulder for ease of schlepping. It would be available in a colourful material that could withstand the lovely weather. Thanks for letting me dream a little.

  23. For the tote bag:

    Adjustable strap so it can be carried in hand, as shoulder bag, or as messenger, depending on how much stuff is in it and how many small children you have with you. Strap needs to be sewn on in a very sturdy way–I’ve had so many bags, even expensive leather ones, where the strap came unstitched or wore out because of shoddy work.

    Divided areas, so ou can keep your knitting stuff in one section, and personal in another.

    Outside pockets–one for a cell phone, one for a water bottle, and a nice flat one that will accomodate a pattern, a magazine, or something similar size.

    A d-ring to clips keys or a tiny flashlight to.

    Made out of something you can either wash, or wipe down the bottom with a clorox wipe occasionally without harming it. Water resistant would be nice. Lining that is sturdy stuff (not cloth) would help bag stand up, and be easy to wipe down in the event that a person (or more likely, their children!) spills something in there.

    NO velcro, only buttons, non-snaggy zippers (Tom Bihn’s are awesome) or magnetic closures. And the pockets need to have closures too.

  24. My ideal tote bag would have
    – a nice sturdy bottom (that continues up the sides a bit) that could be easily wiped off – feet optional since they can get broken off and then you end up with a hole in the bottom panel

    – an outside slip pocket to hold patterns and/or magazines

    – a water resistant outside pocket for a water bottle

    – a small pouchy outside closed pocket for cell phone and/or sunglasses

    – inside D-ring for keys on a 3-4 inch (7.5- 10 cm) strap (purse side)

    – 2 inside compartments – one for knitting and one for wallet etc….. one of them closed with a zipper to protect contents and minimize migration….. (the knitting side should be about twice as large as the purse side)

    – a center added slip pocket for a netbook

    – on the knitting side, at least two snapped yarn guide straps and another D-ring or carribiner strap to hold a small matching or blending accessory bag for notions

    – fabric should be easy care and elegant since this will be used a lot and for many types of occasions I love the idea of ultra suede with a leather bottom ;D

    – Straps should be lightly padded and comfortable for over shoulder wearing

    – bag should be able to stand on its own

    – please NO velcro!

    I think that does the perfect bag ideas ….for now….

  25. I think Joanna has just about all of my ideas –
    pockets or pouches are good to separate knitting from other necessities;
    smaller side pouches for cell phones, pens, smaller knitting tools;
    I’d love a waterproof water bottle pouch on the outside;
    I like magnetic closures;
    clips inside to keep accessory bags, keys, etc. handy `a la Tom Bihn
    and shoulder straps that are padded, and (my personal preference) could convert from shoulder to backpack (frees your hands up for yarn fondling purposes)

    how much fun is this!

  26. A bucket shape, plenty of pockets, including one with a zipper. Adjustable straps or a long strap and something that works when you want to carry it over your arm. Material that wouldn’t snag, or let the needles poke through. And it has to be cute!

  27. Adore my swift, dying to try the smaller one too!! Fabulous contest!

    The ONLY thing that would make the swift more “ideal” is an inside or outside pocket for my cell phone and a pen slot or two. I use it as my every day bag and stopping to unzip an organizer or dig in the large side pocket for things can be irritating if I’m on the subway, running for the bus, etc. Other than that it’s perfect!

  28. Ideal project bag wishlist:
    – pockets around the inside that are big (in all three dimensions) to hold a cell phone/ipod and other similarly-sized Bits that otherwise float around in the bottom of my bag.
    – outside pockets suitably sized for water bottles and umbrellas (and make ’em waterproof!)
    – rings or other attachment points for carabiner/go-knit bag/other project bags with similar styling, both inside and outside the bag
    – large enough to carry a project & all of my stuff for the day
    – both an across-the-body or over the shoulder strap and a handle – I knit on transit, and trying to deal with my across-the-body (or over the shoulder) bag when getting on crowded buses and trains is always a pain
    – if over-the-shoulder style, straps long enough to be carried over a winter coat
    – outside pocket large enough for a book
    – Feet!
    – Light-coloured interior – possibly removable for washing? (zipper?)

  29. – something I can carry multiple projects in (maybe one that can fit multiple little project bags)

    – a bag that can stand up on it’s own. with purse feet to keep it off the dirty floor.

    – a place to keep magazines & patterns in

    – a wide & deep zippered pocket & a matching accessories pouch

    – if it’s not closed with a zipper then it should have more than one snap/magnetic closure

    – something big enough to carry my project that’s on straight needles

    – a bag I can carry in my hand & not have it drag on the floor. and also carry on my shoulder (I’m of average height)

    that’s all I’ve got for now

  30. Many already suggested:
    – a bag that stands up on it’s own
    – a bag with a durable/cleanable bottom (purse feet just won’t cut it)
    – make sure those straps are sewn on good and tight – agree with commenter complaining of straps coming off – I carry a ton of stuff!
    – a few smaller pockets inside, but don’t need that many – have pouch for knitting supplies
    – a magazine/pattern pocket
    – no velcro!!!

  31. Oh, and fabric that’s not too old-fashioned, not too cutesy and not too sporty – something I can carry to a casual workplace (not looking for a briefcase or anything…)

    And while I’m making an outrageous series of demands: it should do my dishes!

  32. My ideal knitting bag:
    – would be sturdy enough to stand up on its own.
    – would be washable (hand wash only is fine, but I wouldn’t want something I’d need to dry clean).
    – would have a secure closure that didn’t catch on things (I like straps and buckles, but buttons or some kind of magnetic closure would also work).
    – would have inside pockets that could also be closed securely.
    – would have a reinforced pocket big enough to carry a pattern.
    – would be big enough to carry a few extra things (book, lunch, water bottle) in addition to a knitting project.
    – would be easy to carry while walking.

  33. Now that I am more awake….. the center packet for the netbook should be PADDED….. ;p

    I also like the idea for homes for small items in the purse side and the addition of another waterproof pocket for an umbrella. Having the extra pockets (bottle and umbrella) on the side gussets would also help with the stability of the bag.

    The knitting section should close with 3 or 4 of the magnetic closures so nothing else escapes easily and the yarn can come through the spaces and you can knit with everything else safely contained. This is especially important when traveling with high school band and wind ensembles……. ;D

  34. I agree that my Lady B is darn near perfect.

    It just needs a few features from the Swift, like a yarn guide on the top of the inside and multiple D rings for clippage

    Also, a water bottle pocket (inside or outside, as long as it didn’t get other items wet)
    and feet on the bottom

    Lightweight is a must.

  35. 1) the knitting bag should have straps that fit comfortably over my shoulder and allows rooms for either my big arms or a bulky sweater. :o)
    2) it should be of a fabric that does not rub off on your clothes and that does not itself catch all the lint or cat hair it can find.
    3) it should NOT have any zippers or velcro that snag yarn
    4) i would like it to be stylish yet simple enough that i can use as an everyday bag that goes with everything – whether to the office or to the park.
    5) i would love if it had room for a large or 2 small projects, room for my various everyday bag items (makeup, pen, writing pad, nook, cellphone, etc) and room for my lunch!
    6) the project bags should be similar to the above but that should have drawstrings since these are the easiest to hang off your arm and carry around if necessary.

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