Is there such a thing as a knitting briefcase?
March 26, 2013 5:01 PM   Subscribe

I like to knit in meetings; it actually helps me to listen better! But the bag I have for my projects doesn't look particularly professional. Most craft bags are so cutesy, which is not at all my style. What can I get that would look simple & respectable?

I have a little soft canvas bag (from a conference) that I keep my current project in, which isn't really cutting it for me now. I don't need a particularly large bag, since usually I'm making scarves, hats, mittens, etc. But I would prefer something simple that I can have on my lap or next to my chair, preferably with some pockets for notions.

Budget would preferably under $30. Bonus points for being able to fit inside my (medium?) Timbuk2 messenger bag.

FWIW: I work in higher ed, in a marketing/technology function. It's not a formal environment, so it's as much about my style as the organization's.

I'm epersonae on Ravelry.
posted by epersonae to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've used a regular purse with a roomy interior and a wide base. Looks nice and I can throw my slimline wallet in it, so I'm good to go without needing another bag.
posted by runningwithscissors at 5:09 PM on March 26, 2013

I've been using the Land's End tote as a crochet project bag lately. It's a good size (I have the medium), and it has several pockets (two inside and one outside) that are handy. It's not going to fit inside your messenger bag, but it looks very nice on it's own. You can get it in a solid color or natural with contrasting trim.

Pro tip: sign up for Land's Ends emails, and you'll get 30-40% off coupons every few weeks.
posted by donajo at 5:18 PM on March 26, 2013

Best answer: The Tom Bihn Swift is indeed the knitting briefcase, but it's much more than you are looking to spend. It is a really nice bag though (and I admit to owning it and three other Tom Bihn bags).
posted by stefnet at 5:24 PM on March 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Namaste and Jordana Paige both do some high-end looking bags. Offhand is less professional, more funky looking.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:25 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Namaste. They have several bags that look just like a fine leather purse... perfect for "professional" knitting. :P
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 5:31 PM on March 26, 2013

I usually keep my knitting in a big ziplock bag (or a little ziplock if it's socks). I would just use any kind of relatively roomy briefcase and stick a ziplock inside it to keep your project contained. You can leave the ziplock in the briefcase and just pull the project out. The weight of the ball of yarn will generally keep it in place.
posted by duien at 6:52 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Namaste and Tom Bihn bags are well-made and not cutesy, but are going to run nearly 3 times your price range unless you find someone on Rav who wants to swap for yarn or something, just FYI.

I generally use a regular tote bag and make up for the lack of pockets by keeping my notions in a separate pouch. I also like to use little project bags like these Pretty Cheep ones from Blue Sky Alpacas (I'm having trouble linking directly to the Blue Sky website) or this one from DellaQ, because I always have several projects going at once and otherwise all my knitting totes end up occupied. (And buying multiple little muslin project bags is healthier for my finances than otherwise indulging my bag lust.)
posted by camyram at 7:25 PM on March 26, 2013

Best answer: As a dude who knits, I have also been thinking about non-cutesy project bags. I have come to the conclusion that I need to find myself a classic leather doctor's bag.
posted by usonian at 7:32 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

(the challenge of course being that I'd like to find one within the same $30ish dollar budget. It could conceivably happen at a thrift shop.)
posted by usonian at 7:35 PM on March 26, 2013

Best answer: You want a Tom Bihn Yarn Stuff Sack.

I have 2, a medium and a large. I LOVE them. They're sturdy, they have a clip inside to use as a yarn guide, and they're not cutesey.
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:47 PM on March 26, 2013

(oh, and I keep mine stuffed inside my Timbuk2, but I also have a small pencil bag for notions)
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:48 PM on March 26, 2013

I have this bag, which I bought off Woot for $3 last year. It actually fits inside a medium Timbuk2 bag, but there's not a ton of room left over. It has a rather less sexist black sibling, too, apparently. Google turns up a bunch of other 12 inch tool bags, so you can have your pick of which variety of somewhat ugly you'd like. (If you can get over the 'women only want lavender things' aspect of the bag I have, it looks quite tidy, particularly if you remove the thing on the outside that's for storing screwdrivers (or needles).) 12 inches is just big enough for my straight needles to go in.

That said, I often end up carrying my knitting in one of those drawstring sack backpacks that have become popular enough you sometimes get them for free because then it's relatively easy to stick in my bag with my school stuff (or leaves enough room for groceries, when I go shopping on the way back from knitting).
posted by hoyland at 8:27 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I'm working on a small project, I pop it in a toiletries bag. I recommend one with sides rather than the flat envelope kind; mine is about the size of a vintage paperback but several inches thick. Inside that, I also put a gift card tin (this tin, in fact) that contains my scissors, stitch markers, stitch holders, a small tape measure, and a little cardboard needle gauge that I cut down to fit.

I almost always use circulars, even on non-circular projects, which helps keep the size down. If you use straight needles, you might need a wider bag.
posted by Georgina at 1:00 AM on March 27, 2013

Response by poster: The Little Swift looks almost perfect...but there's no way I'm spending $80 on a knitting bag right now. Similarly, the Offhand bags are super-cool, but on the large side and expensive.

OTOH, the Tom Swift Yarn Stuff Sack seems good for something unobtrusive to hold on my lap in a meeting...and I'm wondering if I have something similar at home leftover from camping gear. (I might also have a spare tool bag!) Alternatively, I may start hitting sales & thrift stores for plain purses or doctor-style bags.

Thanks for the ideas!
posted by epersonae at 8:36 AM on March 27, 2013

For small projects, a lot of Etsy sellers sell knitting project box bags that might fit your needs. A lot of them are kind of garish fabrics, but there are some that are more conservative, since that seems to be the vibe you're going for.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:43 AM on March 27, 2013

Response by poster: Mr. epersonae spotted a Tom Bihn Swift in the wild & sent me a pic, not even knowing about this post. Then I met the owner and took a look in person. It's SO COOL. I'm going to keep casually looking for a little purse at thrift stores, but eventually I think I'll have to save up for the smaller Swift. Thanks everybody!
posted by epersonae at 3:23 PM on April 26, 2013

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