As a knitter, totes have always been a great way to transport projects sometimes more than one at a time to a friends house or a knit meet up at a local yarn shop. My Mom made a semi-polka dot tote for me a few years ago and has since made me another one, which I received on my birthday this year.
Both totes have unique qualities like grosgrain ribbon on the handles, which is carried around the top of the outside pocket and the back of the beige bag. Mom shared her tote making secrets with me this past fall when we made eight, yes eight tote bags to be given away as raffle prizes for the Autumn Yarn Crawl. The bags were a huge success and each one was unique.
With the holidays quickly approaching and the desire to give quite a few handmade gifts, I decided to make two more totes. This time around I made a few more modifications and improvised a bit on things like closures, interior/exterior pockets, knitting needle holders, and handles.
My MIL is quite the crafty person with knitting, crochet, sewing and throwing clay so I knew she would appreciate a tote. Leftover fabric from the yarn crawl was put to good use with this brown and red pebble fabric tote. Having never made an exterior pocket before, I used the red pebble fabric at the base to form a very shallow pocket. The learning here was to make the accent fabric length longer to create a deeper pocket.
In the past, we’ve used magnetic closures but I didn’t feel like traveling to JoAnn Fabrics while in the middle of sewing so I decided to improvise a bit and created a button and loop closure. I’m very happy with the way it turned out.
Previously, we’ve used webbing for handles and again I didn’t feel like heading to the fabric shop so I made handles out of the brown fabric and reinforced them with some heavy duty interfacing. I like how they look, and feel they give the bag a higher quality look over the webbing. I’m curious to see how they last. Of course they add a little more time. Instead of two hours from start to finish for one of these totes they take more like 3 hours with the exterior pocket, button closure and handles.
This next tote is for a good friend who I taught to knit while on a trip with her and her husband to St. John, USVI in September. St. John is special to her since it’s where they got married three and a half years ago so I decided tropical fabric would be ideal. This tote uses two complimentary accent fabrics and one beige neutral to tie everything together.
Having learned from the previous shallow pocket, I made sure the exterior pocket on this bag was deeper. I didn’t add a closure mostly because the pocket sits flush to the side seems. For the interior, I added a very simple pocket on one side and some knitting needle holders on the other side.
This time around I decided to change things up a bit and made one half of the handles out of the flowery tropical fabric and the other half out of the beige. Then I attached them so that the beige would be opposite of the flowery fabric when held against the other handle.
I’m very happy with the way both bags turned out and hope they bring their new owners some joy. As with any project, any learnings and there are usually more than one are applied the next time you make the same object or something similar.