While I take my knitting with me everywhere, I don't actually knit while I'm on the go. Lacking the ability to focus simultaneously on safe navigation and proper stitchwork, I tend to wait until I've found a comfortable spot—and then I pull out my knitting.
So you'll understand why, when a friend gave me this bag in January and excitedly showed me how it lets her knit while walking, I wasn't entirely sold. I thought it was cute for those who like to walk and knit, but I questioned its utility for the rest of us.
Ideal Test Scenario
I was traveling at the time, so I tossed a scarf project in the bag and put it in my carry-on luggage for the long flight home. I'll pause here to describe a recurring nightmare of mine: I'm jammed in an airplane and drop my ball of yarn during takeoff. As the plane tips upward, I can feel the ball wind its way irretrievably through row after row of bags and feet until it finally bumps into the back wall of the airplane, rolling to a stop in front of the toilets.
To guard against this nightmare scenario, I tend to pack my knitting in small Ziploc bags. But they're not a perfect solution. The tips of my needles inevitably poke holes in the plastic, and the yarn tends to jam at the mouth of the bag. Frustrated, I usually give it a harsh yank and the whole thing pops out of my bag and spills out onto the floor. As I said, not a perfect solution.
Jennifer Lippman-Bruno was inspired by a similarly unruly plane trip two years ago, during which her yarn repeatedly went astray. "Needless to say I made many friends," Lippman-Bruno told me, "but was frustrated with the yarn everywhere and potentially getting dirty, so off the plane I strolled with the concept of the small GoKnit Pouch which created the company KnowKnits."
On my own flight home, I abandoned my Ziploc bag and took my new GoKnit pouch for its maiden voyage.
How It Works
The GoKnit pouch is a very simple drawstring bag made of ripstop nylon. It comes in several sizes including the size reviewed here, which measures 6" in diameter and 8" in height and is perfect for socks, scarves, shawls, or smaller components of a sweater. It comes in many colors including lime green, purple, turquoise, hot pink (shown here), and camouflage (perfect when you're on safari).
Inside the bag, a thin fabric strap wraps around your working yarn and snaps onto the inside wall of the bag, forming a loop through which your yarn can travel without tangling or jamming at the mouth of the bag.
Outside the bag, a larger strap with a snap on it allows you to secure the bag around your wrist, a belt loop, the arm of a chair, the leg of a coffee table, or—as I discovered during my flight—the arm of the tray table in front of my seat.
A drawstring closure lets you adjust the size of the bag's opening as needed—perhaps you'd need to keep it tightly shut while on that safari. The key point is that the bag is anchored to a nearby surface, while the yarn inside is anchored to the bag. Once you've secured both loops, you can let go of worrying about your yarn and focus on your knitting without interruption.
The bag is soft and lightweight, certainly not made from the kind of industrial-strength ripstop nylon you'll find in rugged camping gear. But it has proven itself surprisingly puncture-resistant. My bag has endured extensive travels with a project that uses some notoriously sharp-tipped lace-weight needles, but not once did the tips rip through the fabric.
You pinch an oblong clear plastic device to secure the drawstring closure. For some reason I still find myself squeezing the wrong ends of the device by mistake. But it is sturdy and serves its ultimate purpose of not budging unless instructed to do so.
Whether you're walking, jogging, riding an elephant, or simply sitting still, knitting poses certain logistical challenges. You have a ball of yarn that must be able to move freely as it unwinds while staying in one general area and never getting tangled up in itself. A handful of products exist to address these logistical challenges, among which the GoKnit pouch is the most portable and functional I've tried.
The GoKnit pouch comes in three sizes: small (reviewed here, measures 8" high x 6" wide, SRP $20), medium (11" high x 8" wide, SRP $26), and large (13" high x 11" wide, with a drawstring that doubles as a shoulder strap, SRP $34). All bags are made in Brooklyn, New York, using supplies made in the U.S. The GoKnit pouch is made and distributed by KnowKnits. You'll find a list of retailers on the KnowKnits Web site, or you can go directly to Scout's Swag to buy online.
Those of you who are handy with a sewing machine may have already fabricated your own alternative—or may be inspired to do so after this review. Regardless, if you tend to take your knitting out and about, and if you're running low on Ziploc bags, consider saving up for one of these.