Tuesday, April 03, 2007

First Step: Prototype

I've been mulling over an idea in the dark recesses of my brain. It's been percolating and evolving for quite some time. I'll find myself in the shower, say, thinking about it and go deep into my idea and before I realize it I've been standing in the shower for 15 minutes wasting all that hot water. Or I'll be dwelling on it as I'm in bed trying to fall asleep, and I end up delaying sleep because my brain is churning over ideas instead. My idea? A tote for my yarn projects (full disclosure: all rights to any expressed ideas for design of this bag are reserved by me. Play nice now - it's not nice to steal.)

For awhile now, everytime I take my knitting or crocheting out with me to work on somewhere other than home (or even AT home) it can be a pain. I ball my yarn, so it tends to roll if left unsecured in some manner. Plastic grocery sacks are too flimsy to adequately contain my yarn at the playground, for example, or the school library while I'm waiting for a speech or Spanish class to finish. Plus, knitting needles tend to poke through the plastic. I have a larger canvas tote bag, but it's not designed for knitting and my yarn tends to get all tangled up and I constantly "lose" my notions in the void that is the bottom. And, patterns get crumpled, etc. So I've been designing the perfect knitter/crocheters project tote in my head. Today, I made a newspaper prototype to give my idea a 3-dimension shape.

What I find I really want in a project tote is the ability to contain yarn yet not have it tangle, and have it accessible from the outside of the bag so you don't have to flash all your gear and crap in order to get to your yarn. I'd like to be able to open up my tote, grab my project, and be able to thread my yarn while still keeping it active with the project through some sort of hole and then close up my bag again and just be able to pull my yarn as I need it for my project with my bag sitting nicely and neatly at my feet or on the table or what have you. Then, when I'm finished for the day I can open the flap, unthread my yarn, and tuck everything back inside the bag. I want pockets inside for patterns and scissors and needles/hooks, etc. I want it to look cute and hip. I want a semi-rigid bottom to give it some structure and shape. I want a pocket or two on the outside for items like a cell phone or keys.

I've looked at various existing craft tote bags. Some are cute, but I haven't found one yet that meets all of my needs. I've seen one that lets you thread the yarn from an individual pocket to the inside of the bag, but I want my yarn to thread to the outside. I don't want to have to have the bag open in order to knit. I don't want my stuff open for the world to see. I don't want to risk spilling it, either. My friend and neighbor is also a knitter/quilter. I took my silly little newspaper prototype over to her house earlier this morning to get her thoughts on it. I wanted to pick her brain, fellow crafter that she is. She seemed to really like my idea and offered me the suggestion of having a clear, plastic window/pocket on the outside of the tote for patterns so they could be seen easily. Good idea! I'm not sure how to best attach a clear plastic to a fabric, me being only a very novice seamstress, but I'll do my best to figure it out. Also, she suggested a way to bisect the pocket for the yarn so that you could have two colors being used at the same time without the yarn getting tangled up. Also an excellent idea that I'm going to try to incorporate.

So I'm off! I'm heading out to the fabric store this afternoon to take the next step and buy the materials I'm going to need in order to assemble and sew up this bag. I'm excited about it! I know it's going to be rough-looking, but I'm shooting for functionality first and foremost. Something for ME, not for commercial use, so it doesn't have to be perfect. I can make any modifications and improvements after I get the first one done.

So, does anyone out there need a cool, unique knitter/crocheter project tote? Know someone who does? I'll post some pictures of my creation after I get it done. I hope I stay on this roll I'm on and crank it out quickly...

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