Despite being what my husband would call obsessively tidy in my day to day life, I have somehow evolved as a ‘messy knitter’ and it’s only relatively recently that I’ve started to tidy up my knitting habits.
Moving house at the end of last year presented the ideal opportunity to sort out my yarn stash; previously no more than a haphazard pile in the corner of my living room, spilling from a couple of overflowing wooden boxes. The luxury of now having enough space for a whole shelving unit dedicated to all things woolly makes it surprisingly easy to keep everything stored neatly and I love the sight of all my yarn on display: stacked neatly, colour co-ordinated, each ball and hank with its own place, with my granny’s wooden knitting needle box taking pride of place on the top shelf alongside my wool winder, yarn swift, and sewing machine.
My messy streak has, however, continued to thrive; albeit now hidden within the depths of my project bag. My old John Lewis knitting bag with its familiar but faded floral pattern and wooden bamboo handles is littered with old yarn labels, scrap pieces of wool, random sheets of wrapping paper (I’m not sure why), and various knitting and sewing implements; with my current project stuffed in on top.
Aside from the fact that it’s totally out of place in my otherwise extremely organised life, the problem with this is the fact that it makes my project bag somewhat less portable than I would like it to be. I want to be able to grab my knitting and take it wherever I go, knowing that I have everything I need to just pick up my needles and knit the odd stitch here and there; but also knowing that I’m not carting everything but the kitchen sink around with me.
A recent Instagram picture of a woman happily knitting in the labour room drew my attention to this fact; and the project bag she had in tow – Fringe Supply Co.’s Field Bag – caught my eye. It was compact, and yet she obviously had everything she needed right there with her.
Further research uncovered plenty of knitters who were firm supporters of the Field Bag, and what’s not to like: the sturdy cotton canvas and leather carry loop mean the bag looks stylish, and although it looks compact, there is plenty of room inside to store all the essentials. Then there are the pockets which are, in my opinion, the best part: with one side divided into one medium sized pocket and three smaller pockets which are ideal for needles, crochet hooks, scissors and pencils; and the other side one large pocket which is ideal for a notebook and also, ingeniously, includes three punched holes which can be used as yarn guides to avoid tangling.
Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Fringe Supply Co. is run by Fringe Association blogger Karen Templeton. With the tagline ‘nice things for makers’, Fringe Supply Co. is all about creating the most beautiful accessories and tools, which are built to please as well as to last.
So, after much thought, and with a slight twinge of regret at abandoning my trusty knitting bag which I’ve had for many years, I decided to go ahead and order myself a Field Bag. I reasoned that, if it lasts as long as my previous knitting bag and becomes the trusty project bag that can be taken anywhere that I was hoping for, then the extra cost of shipping from the USA would be worth it.
Well, mine arrived on Saturday. I opted for grey: I have a thing about grey, which I realise makes me sound dull and boring, but there you go… I do like colours too! I spent this afternoon going through my old knitting bag: tidying, organising, throwing away the rubbish, and storing things that don’t need to be in my project bag. Then I arranged everything neatly in my new Field Bag, and sat down to knit with a satisfied feeling of everything – everything – being in order.
So, what’s in my project bag? Well, here it is:
From left to right:
- Pony knitting needles in 3mm and 3.5mm – including my current project on one of the needles.*
- Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in citrus, black, and ecru, bought from my local yarn shop, Wool for Ewe – for working my current project.
- Handmade wooden beehive needle gauge from Loop London – I love this, it’s so pretty!
- Pink KA row counter from Loop London – I much prefer this to the counters which go on the needle.
- John Lewis haberdashery tin with odds and ends such as row counters, needle point protectors, row counters, tapestry needle, cable needle.
- Pony ruler and needle gauge – I already have the beehive gauge, but I like to keep this handy for the ruler, I got it way back when I learned to knit.
- Pony DPNs in 3mm and 3.5mm – for working my current project.
- Yozo antique bird scissors from Loop London – I had my scissors taken off me at airport security recently for stupidly forgetting to remove them from my hand luggage, so I bought these cute ones as a replacement.
- Knitpro Symfonie crochet hook – for picking up dropped stitches!
- Moleskine square paper notebook – for planning projects, making notes etc.
- ‘Hand Knitted by Hannah’ printed cards – for attaching to finished items.
- ‘Hand Knitted by Hannah’ stamp – from A Hue of Duck Egg Blue on Etsy.
- Love + Leche Lotion Bar in citrus-rose – my hands can get pretty dry and chapped when I’ve been knitting loads, and this helps!
- Cat and Ladybug project bag by German company, Pleased to Meet, from Loop London – I bought this a while back so that when I’m working on a smaller project like mittens or socks, I can just tuck the essentials away in this and pop it in my handbag, which makes it easier to take everywhere with me.
Even typing it all out now, I can’t quite believe just how much stuff I’ve got in there – and it’s all in there comfortably, with plenty of extra room leftover.
As an added side note, as well as my project bag, I also use a have this lovely Yarn Bowl, handmade in the Scottish Highlands by Lochbroom Pottery, that I regularly use when I’m knitting at home. It’s so pretty that I felt that it was worth including:
All in all, I’m really happy with my Field Bag. I love how tidy and organised everything is, and I’ve actually enjoyed taking the time to sort through everything in my old knitting bag; dusting off memories buried at the bottom, finding tools I thought I’d lost.
What’s in your project bag?
*As you can see, I’m currently working on a new project, but it’s likely to be a gift for a friend so I can’t share too many details about it for now – I’ll save the story for when it has been cast off and safely passed to it’s owner, hopefully in a few weeks’ time.