I will admit that there are times, as I plow my way through returning to college at the age of nevermind, when I am lacking in inspiration for subjects to bring to you here on the blog. For the most part, I write about what I am doing. Unfortunately, when my brain is taken up with Italian verbs or English grammar or algebraic equations, there aren't many brain cells left over for knitting at the end of the day. I have found myself deliberately doing projects that don't challenge my brain--quite the reverse of my usual modus operandi.
So when I am at Kiwi on alternate Friday's to play Knit Doctor, I like to trawl the shop with my camera, looking at what's new, and what's inspiring. I always find something. This week's find, however, is especially exciting!
If you have spent more than five minutes at Kiwi Knitting in the last 4 years, you know Marianne. Teacher extraordinaire, designer, brilliant technician. Marianne and I first met when we worked together years ago at another shop that has long since closed. When I found Kiwi Knitting just after Lynn opened, I called Marianne and told her to come on down and talk to Lynn about working and teaching here. Marianne had been very generous to me and I wanted a way to pay her back for that great generosity. I also knew that future Kiwi-ers would benefit greatly from Marianne's font of knowledge and experience. She would have found Kiwi on her own, I know, but I like to think that in some way my phone call has repaid a little of that generosity. But what I write here and show you today has nothing to do with debt, and everything to do with delight.
You may already know that Marianne has been designing and teaching under the umbrella of her mac knits label. Now she brings wonderful knitting bags to the mix. I've sewn since the age of five so I appreciate great craftsmanship, and you wouldn't expect anything less from Marianne. "Good enough" is never good enough for her, she only turns out "perfect" products, no matter if it is knitting, sewing or designing, and these bags fall right in line with that philosophy.
First of all, who better to design knitting bags than a life-long knitter and seamstress? Take a look at this first bag here, the messenger bag.
Really pretty, right? Fresh-looking fabric, contemporary design. Then, as I always do, take a look inside. That is where you really see the quality of a product. These bags are not only lined, but the linings coordinate with the outer fabrics in a really lovely way. Marianne says, "I am...striving for function. There are pockets in all the bags and a piece of elastic tacked down to slip your needle tips into: no more poking needles thru the bag!" The pockets faces are thick and cushy. Instead of just a single layer of fabric as with most bags, these are not only double layered, but also have a layer of batting in between to make them very sturdy and solid. The insides of the bags are finished beautifully, I know I'd be showing them off to everyone who admired my bag.
I asked Marianne to tell me more about her bags and what inspired them. "One of the reasons I am doing this is because I see many great choices online for bags but not available locally. So, I thought I would make them myself."
mac knits bags come in a really nice variety of sizes and styles, and I suspect we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg. "I am focusing on lots of little sock bag types that are fun to carry. So far, every one that I've carried has gotten tons of compliments."
Marianne tells me, "I don't like bags that look like old sofa cushions!" [Lynda's note: I find that a really funny comment. I hadn't thought about it, but she's right!] "There are so many great fabric designers out there to choose from. I am trying for the middle of the road but I will definitely do quirky or kitschy such as the one with dogs or an upcoming design with pigs."
"I also know that I get bored quickly with my project bags (and sometimes my projects) and I just want a little something new," Marianne says. Personally, I think knitting bags should be like any other accessory--you should be able to change them out not only from project to project, but also depending on what you're wearing that day, if you want to. Why should they be non-fashion? Clearly, Marianne agrees.
"Additionally," Marianne says, "seasonal fabrics. We used to change our purses with the seasons when we lived in colder climates. No rattan in mid-December, so I will be offering styles in wool fabric and linen as an example. For interest, a little appliqué or hand embroidered design will appear!"
Marianne also tells me that "I really want these bags to function so am open to suggestions or wishes." She is also open to doing custom designs at her discretion.
In addition to styles found at Kiwi Knitting, mac knits bags will also be available at Marianne's etsy site.
It's hard for me not to be selfish when I look at wonderful bags like these, I want a fistful for myself! But I also know a few knitters that I buy birthday and holiday gifts for. And I know what they are getting this year!