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!
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.
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).
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:
- 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.
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! ***
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.]
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 ;-)
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!