I will never forget my first project bag.
It was a plastic bag from Ikea, with 2 seals. It seemed the perfect compromise between price and practicality.
My needles broke through it after 2 hours.
I still use those plastic bags: they are perfect for storing yarn. But I don’t bring them around with me anymore.
Because one day I began to design my own project bags for knitting.
At yarn shows I always see many different project bags, but all brought doubts:
- too heavy
- too light
- not all natural
- too much leather
- too stiff
- not foldable
- too many identical bags
- wobbly stitches
- too big
- too little
- and the worst: not washable!
All those doubts turned into an obsession with designing the perfect project bag for knitting and the start of La Cave à Laine, a company dedicated to providing small batches handmade project bags for the unapologetic crafter.
As the owner and designer behind a textile company the most frequently asked question I receive is are your project bags really practical? They totally are!
There is no interfacing (which is basically plastic) to make them stiff, and not washable.
There is no plastic that could melt in a washing machine or under a hot iron.
The thread I use to sew everything is also cotton.
There are no zip where your yarn can get tangled and ruined for ever.
Our special hand-dyed collection, made of hand-dyed organic cotton, is also washable and there will be no colour bleed, as every piece of cotton used to make the bag is washed several times.
Every new bag design I create undergo a testing period. I make a prototype and then I test it as my own project bag for knitting: it goes everywhere with me. By my side, in my bag, in the car, on the floor, on the plane, on holiday…
And when I abandon a knitting project (normally because I am angry at it!), it lies on my couch, making it a nice addition to our home decor. It keeps the yarn safe and dust free. And far from cat paws and children’s jammy hands.
The perfect addition to our grey couch.
My bags become so much more than a project bag. But we're not here to talk about my obsession with project bags for knitting.
We'll also discuss what to look for when buying a project bag, where to buy project bags, and all the things you need to know if you're ready to get started with your long lasting collection of handmade project bags.
First things first.
What is a project bag for knitting?
A project bag for knitting or crochet is a bag made specifically to host your knitting or crochet project, while being handy, useful and stylish. It’s light, roomy, with pockets. It’s beautiful to see and handsomely made. It’s durable, sturdy and, basically, your next best friend.
Now you know what a project bag for knitting or crochet is, and you know that the secret to a practical project bag is being made of cotton. But are all project bags the same quality? No way.
Quality varies from maker to maker and a higher priced bag doesn't typically reflects a higher quality product. The average price range for a quality project bag is 30€-195€.
You want to look for only cotton project bags.
Coated cotton and waxed cotton, as beautiful as they are (and I love to experiment with them!), they are not washable. You can clean them with a sponge and not much water, but they will never be *clean*.
Look carefully at the description of the project bag you want to buy. If you want it to last and be washable, but washable is not mentioned in the description, well, you won’t be able to throw it in your next wash.
Although my main tip is to wash your project bag gently, by hand, as you would do with you knitting, all La Cave à Laine's project bag are safe to wash in the gentle cycle of your washing machine.
Avoid extremely stiff looking project bags: they are made with waxed cotton or they contain interfacing, which will loose its stiffness with time and leave you with a lifeless bag.
We're all about professional finishings at La Cave à Laine and that's why we make every single bag we sell. I am the one choosing each supplier, from the fabric to the dyes I use, and I sew them all together by myself as well.
I make all the project bags, with the additional and random help form my mother, our quality control goddess. She doesn’t miss a single stitch!
Another common question I receive is "Are your bags long lasting?"
The answer is YES, but I totally get why you have that doubt. They look different than regular handmade project bags. But they will last for a very long time.
Here's how to take care of your project bags from La Cave à Laine:
- You can wash it in your washing machine, but a delicate hand wash is better. Treat it like one of your hand-knits or crocheted pieces: wash them in a warm bath with a natural detergent. And, of course, avoid bleach!
- Do not use a dryer. not because our fabrics won’t survive, but because you will get more wrinkles.
- You can also hang them to dry, even in the sun, which is so awesome. The scent of sun bathed cotton is one of the joys of life!
Sure, all project bags are all of those things. But what I love about our project bags isn't only that they make beautiful bags, it's how they make you feel.
It's the simple joy that our bags bring you.
After all, a project bag is a really personal belonging.
Think about it: you use a project bag everyday, multiple times a day, with your most beloved yarn. And because our project bags only get better with use (fun fact), they easily become a part of more than your knitting time. They become a part of your home, a part of your life.
More fun ways to use our project bags
How do you see yourself using your project bag? There are SO many ways to use them.
You can use them both as project bags AND normal bags.
You can easily use the same project bag for your knitting or crochet and for the library - because the style suits both settings.
You can use it as a travel bag because they're lightweight and easily fit in a carry-on bag while leaving room for clothes, shoes, and other travel necessities.
On the beach you can use it so sand doesn’t tangle with your precious yarn.
They can also help simplify your home, by replacing plastic bags and ugly shopping bags with a more refined bag, stylish and practical.
FAQ about project bags
Still wondering if you'll like a professionally made project bag? Check out these few frequently asked questions to make sure they're a right fit for you and your lifestyle.
How big are your project bags?
There are many sizes, depending on the project you are knitting: the Gioia bags are the ultimate sock basket, the Super Gioia are the bag to go for a sweater project, while the Origami are more for shawl lovers. We covered all the different uses in this useful post.
Are your project bags actually washable?
Yes! And with proper care they will last for ever. It is best to wash them by hand with a natural and neutral detergent, and iron them while still slightly dump.
What are the features of a high quality project bag?
A project bag should be roomy and light and stylish, all at the same time. It will slightly shrink in the wash but the threads should not pucker. It will feel thin and light but still have a substantial “feel” to it.
Are your project bags good for travel?
Yes! They are the best for travel! They are made from lightweight cotton so they roll up compactly and reduce bulk in your luggage.
What if I like to sew my own?
You absolutely can sew your own project bag for knitting or crochet! But why go through hours and hours of cutting, sewing, and ironing to end up with something that yeah, you like it but not so much, when you can buy a ready made professional project bag, saving you the hours of designing and making?
Do you still have questions about how to choose the perfect project bag for knitting?
Leave a comment below and I will be sure to answer you!