You know what Monday needs? A giveaway. That’s right folks, it’s trick-or-treat, knitting style. The lovely folks over at Jordana Paige designs have given me the chance to host a giveaway for one of their beautiful bags, and were kind enough to send me a Rio to road-test (or knit-test?) on my own.
I’ve owned a few knitting-oriented handbags in my time, and I have to say I really tip my hat to companies who take on the task. Handbag shopping is a minefield of personal preference and style, lifestyle and cost, and when you add in knitting to the mix, well. I’m glad it’s not my job to try to make those decisions. The Jordana Paige bags are striking a balance between knitting carryall and stylish handbag – they’re made with vegan-friendly faux leather and finished with careful details.
So far, I like the Rio. It’s a sizeable bag – at 14″ x 10″ x 6.5″ it’s larger than a purse, and a bit larger than their popular Satchel bag. I gather that it is designed on purpose to be able to accomodate larger amounts of knitting (or whatever) on the inside. For me this is a big bonus, because I’ve never been a person who can manage to travel very lightly. I like having things on hand to busy myself with for whatever place or scenario I’m in, and while that includes having a minimum of 1 knitting project with me, that’s really just one piece of the puzzle.
This is the empty bag (feet included for scale), so you can see the internal division in the middle. The little side-pockets are nice for small, frequently-reached-for items. I have my pocket camera and keys in one, and iPod tucked into the other. There is a zippered pocket (I stuffed my Altoids tin knitting kit in there, along with pens and a calculator – it has been fashioned my knitting notions pocket) down the middle which divides it into two purposeful sections. You can also see that there are no exterior pockets except for the two at the sides. At first this threw me off, because I’m used to having a pocket at the front below the clasp, or at the back on the section worn close to the body. However, I like this better because it ends up adding less pocket bulk that would make it awkward when you hold the bag around your shoulder.
Even when the bag is stuffed full, it still sits on my shoulder comfortably. That is pretty darned cool. And how ‘full’ is full? Well, here’s a shot just as I departed Starbucks’ after a couple of hours of cafe time last week. I treat Cafe time like a mix of work and play time, so I come with everything. Here, along with wallet, sunglasses, and cell phone, I’ve got my novel, notebook, 11″ Macbook Air, two knitting projects (gloves and socks – this weekend I traded out the socks for a scarf-in-progress on its 4th skein of Ultra Alpaca, so that’s a bit bulkier), and even a pound of coffee that I bought that day because I remembered I was running out of espresso for the machine at home. This bag is not fooling around.
I’m curious to swap in a sweater project in the knitting half of the bag, to see how that sits. I think it’ll do fine, though I might have to leave the super-bulky knits at home. The only downside I’ve found with this bag is figuring out a place for the cell phone. My Blackberry usually sits in its own holster, so its found a home clipped to one of the inside flaps. I believe the outside pockets are intended for this purpose, but for me, I like the easier access on the inside of the bag.
In any case, the happy news is that one of you dear blog readers can have a Rio of your very own! To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post sometime between now and Noon (Toronto time) on Wednesday, telling me what your “must have” items are in your handbag. What are you unable to leave the house without? OR, even better, tell a story about how taking your knitting with you turned out to be a really great decision.
Happy knitting today, and Happy Halloween!