KAL - #191 Tabitha Cocoon Cardigan
Kathleen's Eternity Scarf

Koala Caddies - a Review and Giveaway!

Handled paper bags, plastic totes (my current fave from the Japanese Dollar store!), baskets, my purse, reusable grocery bags - these are some of the things I've used in the past to carry around my knitting. And all to varying levels of success. 

In recent years, it's become even more important that I carry my knitting when I know I'll be out with some bits of time on my hands. . . whether I'm being soccer or gymnastics mom, going on a road trip, waiting at a doctor's appointment, or sitting in the school pickup line, even getting a few rows in can help me keep up with all the knitting that I do. Plus, I love being productive rather than staring at walls or checking email.

Recognizing that many knitters and crocheters are productivity-lovers (AND like to protect their time and $ investment in their projects) like me, Mary Shooshan designed and developed these craft tote/storage bags called the Koala Caddie Knitting Bag Aprons and here is my official review!

Her design holds two U.S. Patents! IMPRESSIVE!Koala_Caddie8

She calls them the KOALA Caddie Yarn Craft Apron (aka KOALA Caddie Knitting Bag Apron) and she sent me 2 of them - one for review and one to give away (details on that later).

First impression: This looks like a nifty item that has lots of pockets and other features that were very well conceived! I LOVE pockets and own many pairs of cargo pants, though I have never stuffed my knitting in them (just cable needles, ha ha).

I was very impressed with Mary's website, as it has extensive photos on the many ways to use the Koala Caddie. This just proves how thorough she was in designing it, as the photos visually explain all the ways the tote can be easily converted for use in different situations and by different users. 

To be honest, the selection of fabrics she had on her site were not to my taste (I admit to extreme pickiness), but NO WORRIES! She PROMPTLY took my feedback on the fabric selection and went above and beyond most shops to allow me to pick fabrics I could be excited about!

That's the beauty of these items being hand-sewn. She is able to buy a small amount of fabric to make custom Koala Caddies and is now offering the same service she gave to me to all of her customers. Yippee! The first photo above is one of the fabrics I chose (and the one I'm keeping!).

So, fabric choice no longer a distraction, I was able to receive her samples and focus on reviewing their usefulness.

The workmanship on these Koala Caddies is gorgeous. I can barely sew, but I certainly can recognize a pro! These bag/aprons are meticulously cut and sewn together, with beautiful satin linings to protect your knitting and yarn. Mary uses pretty snaps and toggles that allow you to convert the bag/apron as needed. Koala_Caddie5

The bag is very lightweight, as I believe all tote bags should be (and cork platform shoes too, but I digress!). It cleverly uses snaps to go from fully extended tote (shown at right here) to shorter tote bag. The toggles make for quick adjusting of the straps, which can tie around your waist apron-style, or be tied together and used as a tote strap (cross-body or shoulder).

Koala_Caddie2Snaps at the top close up the bag part so your knitting can be safe and secure.

Is the bag big enough to hold much? Why yes! Surprisingly so, as the front is subtly pleated. When you carry a small project, the pleats stay nicely, uh, pleated. But if you need to carry around a larger project, the pleats easily push out to accommodate.

Fully extended, the tote/apron can also hold your PDF full-page pattern, although this is a soft bag, so some bending or folding might happen.

And unlike my plastic totes, baskets, and shopping bags, the soft fabric of these caddies, allows you to be wearing them as an apron and then just sit down to knit, while your project is safely nestled in your lap. Nice!

Mary explicitly designed her Koala Caddies to solve these issues:

  • Interruptions
  • Fuzz on my clothes
  • Fur in my project
  • Yarns that resist unwinding
  • Afghans with early rows already pilling and fuzzing from friction
  • Plastic grocery bags holding hundreds of dollars worh of fine yarn.

I'd say she addressed all of these issues in a very functional, stylish package!

Plus, she has a cute little Koala button accent on the inner pocket, which also includes some elastic loops (see them peeking through?) to help you keep your knitting needles and tools handy and safe.  Koala_Caddie6

For more information or to purchase your own, please visit www.koalacaddie.com.

KOALA Caddie are available in Mary's Etsy Shop at www.koalacaddie.etsy.com

If you're like me and want to pick your fabric, here is one of her custom listings.

*** SO, now for the GIVEAWAY! ***

I've got ONE Koala Caddie* to give away - $64 retail value! It's in the dark floral fabric (I hand-picked as well!) shown here.

HOW TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY: You can do one or more of the following to enter.

1) Make any pattern purchase from SweaterBabe.com from now until 7/31/14, 9pm PST. Each purchase counts, so multiple orders are welcome. Sorry, but free pattern downloads do not count as an entry. [IF you order by 7/6/14, use Coupon Code JULY4CPN for $4 off all orders of $10 or more.]

2) Post a comment on this blog post telling us what you think of these Koala Caddies and Pin this image 


Koala_Caddies_PinComments and pins must be entered by 9pm PST, 7/31/14. One comment per person please. 

Shortly after July 31, I'll randomly choose ONE entry to receive this pretty BLACK Koala Caddie. Sorry for the plastic, but it's so nicely packaged for mailing, I didn't want to take it out of the bag for the photo ;-)Blk_Koala_Caddie

THAT'S IT!  Good luck to all!*
* Giveaway prize can be sent to US or Canadian addresses ONLY. Winner will be notified by email. If winner does not reply by email with mailing address within 7 days, a new winner will be chosen.

*** August 2 winner announcement ***

And the randomly chosen winner of the black floral Koala Caddie is. . .  Charlotte Layton, who made a pattern purchase on 7/8/14. Congrats!

 

Comments

Janie Holley

What a great idea! It puts a whole new spin on portable knitting.

Mcclarey

Love the concept! I mostly use eco-totes (in various sizes) as project bags, which are OK, but do tend to let things spill out if they fall over in the car, and are yet another thing to loop over one arm or another (besides the purse and any plastic shopping bags from that day's errands) when I get out.
The only small problem I have with the current giveaway is the "pin this image" requirement, which apparently one is supposed to do in addition to a comment here to qualify under entry Option 2. I'm not signed up for Pinterest, and have no great desire to do Pinterest. I'd be happy to post a picture on my Facebook wall, however.

Arl Olster

Clever!
Much better than a tote bag that ends up on a dirty public floor - or takes up an adjacent seat ( yes, I sometimes do that, although I feel it is rude), or that I must hold on to and juggle on my lap (juggling takes away some of the pleasure of my yarn crafting).
Can't wait to see the reactions of family friends and Pinterest followers!

Christine p

Fantastic idea. Looks like one of those "how did I ever live without it" items.

Amy

What a nice adaptable way to carry a project.

DPadgett

Great idea! I do use shopping bags... have lost a few hooks and needles that way!

Elke

Interesting concept - worth to check out

Julie Chinitz

I love the idea. I almost exclusively make chemo caps on the go. I am also at the doctor's office a lot, so this would be so convenient. Thanks for this contest. Your patterns are awesome also!

Amy

These would be especially helpful to mothers who knit. I know that I'm constantly interrupted, so to be able to immediately get up without messing up your project would be fabulous.

Iris

Beautiful.. I hate to go somewhere and my knitting stuff is laying around everywhere. Then the yarn falls on the dirty floor. This way all is together and clean. Awesome idea. Plus as a craft teacher this would be perfect for my demonstration. Fabulous!!!!

Cynthia Wilbanks

What a wonderful idea! I would love one, unfortunately her price is a little high for me - no job, yada yada.

Wonder if I could figure out how to make one myself????

Melaine

Love this Idea. I like to walk around sometimes while I knit to get my steps in for the day (usually with the ball of yarn under my arm). This would make it a lot easier. I have to check these out. Thanks for the heads up!

Gloria Doyle

Oh, this looks wonderful. I'm always trying to find the perfect carry for knitting and crochet. Looks like the answer!!

Shirley McIntyre

Funny - I was just thinking about making something like this for myself! I guess now I don't have to!

heather

I love it! I will be asking for one of these for Christmas.

kathleen zapiec

OMG this is awesome! I hate those ugly plaatic shopping bags...they are eberywhere (especially in trees!). Time to be rid of them once and for all, lol.

Leslie

Wonderful idea ! On the go knitting or not it looks like a perfect solution to keep it all together.

SaLLy

Looks like it will hold everything in one place1

Joyce

What an interesting idea. Definitely better than grocery bags!

Catherine B. McDonald

Great idea. Glad someone fixed up something so clever.

Michelle Villanti

This is an interesting idea. I have a knotted bag which hangs on my wrist, and I love how that works, so I think this idea is a winner. And Sweater Babe has some great patterns, so if you're a knitter, check it out!

Gerry H

This is a super cool idea! The sewing is well done - I LOVE hand crafted items! I sure hope I win the apron for myself ;-)

Rose Davila

I am very impressed with the design. I wish I were clever enough to do this! I use a walker and come to work on the bus. I don't carry a project with me because it is to difficult to manage between the walker and my purse. This would solve the problem!

Elizabeth Hartsell

Beautiful! I love the black/floral fabric. PICK ME! One can never have too many bags.

Jennifer Dickinson

So cute and a brilliant idea! Perfect for long car rides and commuting on the train (I always end up having to wrap things up in a hurry and am paranoid about losing things).

Marie A Philippon

What a smart idea! This concept makes the walk about knit/crochet/tat about prospect exciting. Certainly distinctive in fabric choice. A fashion statement that is functional!

Jodie Champoux

This looks great, I currently use zip lock baggies, my needles pock holes in them and let's just face it, their ugly. I have several large stiff plastc totes that I don't use because they take up too much space. I hope I win this, it's my birthday July 15...hint, hint.

Sheryl

So clever and yet it is common sense. I love it.

Rose Scott

Such a clever way to quickly and safely tuck a project away for a break in knitting or crocheting. I would love to show this off to every one and am going now to show my pinterest followers.

Crysti Copp

So cute! I love the apron idea too, very clever! I use 31 bags for most projects but I love to portability of this!

shelly easton

I pin'd this contest to my Pintrest page! I think these are great, there have been a number of times i'm on the couch trying to knot or crochet and I will have to get up and carefully move everything, but if i have the apron on it'll be easty to just get up and go!

Margaret

What a unique bag! Who could resist it?

Marianne Boutet

This tote is a great idea! I am in a wheelchair, and most totes/shopping bags/purses get hung on one of the handles of the chair. This means that the container hangs off the back of the chair (out of my reach) and/or tends to snag in the wheel from time to time. Having a tote like this, tied around my waist, is not only a great practical solution (handy and hands-free) but pretty as well! As I am on a limited income the price is a bit beyond me (more than my monthly cash allowance at any rate), but I am going to snag friends/relatives who are good sewers and see if they can help work one up with me (with credit due to the designer of course).

Trailer Trash

This tote is just as cute as can be! I must admit that I feel about yarn bags the way I do about yarn, one is never enough. I have quite a few but would love to add this to my collection!

Elizabeth

That is so smart!!! For us busy moms (moms of kids, or moms of puppies LOL), when we constantly have to get up and intervene or help... at least the project won't come unraveled, or stretched, when we get up and run!

Such a genius idea!!! Thanks for telling us about it, and offering one to give away!

Doreen

What a wonderful idea! It'd be very handy for knitting on the bus and in waiting rooms.

Jeannie Otterness

What an ingenious idea!! I love the portability of the Koala Caddie as well as the different ways you can use it! Also, it is simply beautiful and classy. I seem to spend a lot of my time sitting in doctor's offices these days, and that would be a wonderful way to be able to take my knitting with me without taking up so much space with a large tote bag. Thank you for sharing such a tremendous idea!!

Adrienne

Great idea for the busy knitters of our times. Love the functionality!

Laura

I have several project bags lined in satin, and it REALLY does make a difference. I just wonder how the straps might fit around a more "healthy" waistline.

Deb

Don't know why someone didn't think of this before (myself included)!!!! Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

Abby Call

These are fantastic. They would come in handy when I walk daily then I can knit small projects as well. I must go check out her website now. Thanks for enabling us.

Jennifer Lefebvre

This is a great way for taking projects with me while my son is in hockey practice, and the time before games and during intermissions. Have been looking for a project bag like this for a long time. I am not a member of Pinterest, so I'm happy to post a picture on my Facebook wall.

Cindy Crooks

I love this idea! I am surprised someone hasn't thought of this before now. I would love to have one of these wonderful project bags!

Tara Wiley

Yep I'm poor but ingenious so I will be making one!

Ilehlia

Great design! I currently use a former diaper bag to carry my projects. It has lots of inner pockets for supplies, but the advantage to this apron design is the hands-free, right-there-in-your-lap feature. Smart thinking!

Jackie W

What an awesome idea!

Denise

What a great idea. You can tell a lot of thought went into this.

Kathlyne

That's a great idea. It would keep me (or my husband, or the cat) from sitting on my knitting when I leave it laying on the couch....

Gail Erdman

Love the idea of this bag. Very useful for all of us knitters on the go.

Patsy Coats

Interesting idea, like the snaps.

Karey

I love this idea! What an awesome way to carry your yarn around! Would be great when you go to knitting/crochet meet-ups so you don't have to put your yarn/bag on a dirty table or floor!

Melinda Baker

i wasn't going to post a comment until I checked out these bags -- They look adorable and very handy

Margo Lynn

I already walk around and knit (or knit whilst in walkathons), this will make it so much easier and prettier!

Barb L

Love this caddie...would also be great to use for my other needlework projects like wool applique, embroidery, etc. :-)

Karyn French

I LOVE this bag! It would keep my knitting safe and secure on the train.

Kathleen

I love the multi purpose design, being able to use it as a tote or wear it to walk and knit, brilliant! Gorgeous details and design.

Betty Kordos

This looks like the perfect solution for those of us who always wish we had an extra hand for carrying our work -- two hands are sometimes not enough! (One hand for the coffee and one for our purse; how to carry our craft?) This caddie is the obvious answer!

Anne Pugliese

love this solution to the "what do I carry my current "to go" project in -- I can wear it, carry it, fold it, secure it?! brilliant.. as a seamstress myself I can see the thoughtfulness that went into the design. LOVE the fabrics and ability to choose! Leave it to our Sweaterbabe, Katherine, to be in the know about great projects...

anne

Karen Ho

I'll have to check her Etsy store!
Thanks for sharing. I would love not to get fuzz all over me and to be able to walk around the house as needed chasing my lil' one.

Beth Rudo

What a great idea! I like small sock-project sized bags that hang from wrist or waistband to work on tiny items, but this is a good-looking solution for bigger projects.

LaVonne Rohde

This is a wonderful idea. I have multiple bas for multiple projects. I have made small bags for projects in the car and at dr. offices. None of my bags have worked this well. This lady is a genius!!!!

Nikki Lee

This sounds like a great product. I'd love having something to keep my knitting in as I tote to and from and from the review it sound like it addresses everything I need!

Nellie

Wow. What a great idea! I hope to get some "re-pins" from my pin.
Hope to win!

Quinn

I love convertible designs like this one - so useful! Pinned :)

NanaMamah on Rav

Oh my goodness! That's perfect!
Pinned!

NanaMamah on Rav

Kathleen Brulc

Ingenious! These cover so many issues. Will be pinning this for sure.

Zabbers

I pinned it! Zabbers on Pinterest

Pamela Crossett

Gosn I need this bag -- and maybe I could get organized about my knitting (finally)!?!?!!!!

lucky  to live at the lake

Love this bag and would have loved to have it for knitting while I was spending time with my Dad in the hospital. I, too, hate it when my bag hits the floor, or worse, the yarn falls out on the floor - especially at the hospital.
i don't belong to Pinterest or Facebook so won't be posting there - sorry.

Jodi Glover

Love the Idea, much better that the bags that hang on your wrist and make them tired. I want to save my wrists energy for knitting!

Beth W

They are adorable! I love to carry my 'stuff' in a stylish way!

Thanks.
yhime407 on Ravelry

Susan MacLeod

what a great idea! I could use this.

sheila e

I like the fact its an apron and also a bag,,, great idea

Brigid

Cute! I'm always trying to corral yarn.

Nigel Syin

Very cool...

Julia

Wow! I wish I were that innovative! Or that I could sew...

greta w

Great way to keep knitting close!

an

Yes! A bag with many pockets!

Emma

This looks awesome! I love the bird fabric it was made with :)

Simona Dedek

This is amazing. I will be getting one. Need to ask her to make a "sweater babe" sku because I really like your birdie fabric!

Eileen

I really like that bag! Thanks for the chance to win one.

Robin K-V

I really like the design of the caddie! Hope to win one!:)

mello

This is absolutely fabulous!!!!!! If I don't win, I'll probably buy one

Emjay

Great idea!!

Claudine Bernier

I like the concept. It seems easier than a shoulder project bag or a samll erist ibe as well. Egonomic comes to mind when I see this bag. The colors arr bright and the custom order will satisfy any picky and or unique customer. Although a hand made item, I think the price is a bit to high for starters. It should be affordable enough for more customers to give it a try and it is able to get more exposure as well. Overall, a keeper.

Patti Kane

That bag is wonderful, it would even work knitting in the car. Everything is right there, no more searching for things, keeps your yarn clean. I would love one of these bags.

Shirene Nourbash

I'm always so impressed by innovative ideas... And so beautifully executed! I currently use a torn gift bag to keep my project safe from my dog. This will make it much easier to walk around the dog park. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Jane Millette

Great idea. I'd love to have one. Thanks for posting this.

Brianna Nikolai

This is a very cool idea. I have a mini bag that I use when we go on trips but this just looks better! :) Thanks for sharing!

NANCY

MY FRIST TIME ON YOUR WEB I LOVE THE THINGS YOU HAVE

Marcia

I love this idea. I hate dropping my yarn all over when I stand up. And would love to have it while in the car traveling. Just an awesome idea.

Lydia Johnston

I knit mostly small portable projects with my SHORT needles (https://www.beffiesboutique.com/Bamboo_Short_Knitting_Needles/Short%20Bamboo%20Knitting%20Needles ). This looks like a great way to keep the project with me when I'm knitting "on-the-go". When I'm knitting on the porch and the phone rings in the house, this would be a safe way to grab & run to answer the call.

Paula Vail

What a great idea. I'm one of those "productive" gals who never likes to waste a minute. This would be so convenient!

Joday Joseph

Looks like my Peke can at least keep her head on my lap while I'm knitting --- Missy would really appreciate that!!!!

Patti Shaughnessy

I love it and hope I win it!!

Robyn

That's a fantastic idea! I just pinned it! Thanks for the giveaway!

Lori Bernards

This looks so cool hope I get a chance to use one of these. I love anything that helps me stay organized.

Teckla

I love this idea! I stuff my projects in my bag, a tote bag or plastic bag and this is so stylish and organized! Would love to win! I also love your patterns; they are so lacy, soft and feminine. I have several in my knitting queue. Pinned! I think my order went through. I'll watch it and if not, I will try again. Kudos for you for all your brilliant ideas!

Sheryl

Clever Idea! Help me be more organized.

eprieur@woh.rr.com

Super helper. For the many times I am waiting.

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