Somehow, in spite of being on Ravelry and looking somewhat obsessively for a purse that would also serve as a knitting bag, I managed to miss the existence of Namaste Bags. Oops? When I saw the Zuma I sort of sat there yelling “ZOMG” at the screen for a few minutes. This is because if I invented a handbag, it would be 90% similar to this one. I’d probably add an interior divider and maybe a couple more interior pockets, but really, that’s easily remedied through the clever use of zippered pouches and whatnot. So I deliberated carefully for a few days, knowing full well this would be one of the things I would buy for myself, and then I went ahead and bought one (in Peacock) from the Loopy Ewe.
Sheri at Loopy Ewe must have like a shipping ro-bot or something, because my order arrived within three days, which is crazy fast. Just thought I’d mention that, in case you’re contemplating an order. I spent about ten minutes squealing with delight at the bag, because it’s just as fabulous in person. The vegan leather-substitute is really soft and has a nice hand, and I say this as someone who adores real, actual leather. The color is nice: It’s bold enough to be a statement, but muted enough to wear with pretty well anything. If you’re me, anyway. I am not good at matching. Plus it’s so utility-laden. But that part requires photos.
Here we have the front zipper pocket, which was possibly the thing that made me happiest. It actually will accommodate quite a lot of crap, as it’s gusseted. Plus? Accordion-style dividers, which means I can file everything in there in a way that is pleasing to me. You can see the annotated version of the photo on Flickr by clicking on it, but basically, I’ve got correspondence I need to return; knitting patterns and stitching charts; tea (you never know); my size 2 circulars for the socks I will knit with my poor tangled Casbah; and my iPod Touch, the USB cable, and its headphones and cleaning cloth. I feel the cleaning cloth has me covered as far as always carrying a towel, since it will cover both my eyes and hence protect me from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal. Don’t Panic!
Moving along with our tour, here we have a rather poor photo of the inside of the Zuma, along with some random envelope on my floor. Again, an annotated version is available by clicking the image. The bag is like… bowling bag sized, which means it can hold a lot of stuff and still close. Plus, the snap is magnetic, and the two side wings also feature spiffy magnets, which means it pretty much closes itself. There are two open inner pockets; one is cell-phone-sized, but as I don’t have one I keep my knitting row counter in there. The other is slightly larger and may be handy for index cards with… I don’t know, stuff, on them. The other side has a zippered pocket, which is a bit shallow but holds pens, chapstick, gum, and other sundries. I put a bunch of stuff in it, and it accomodates it all without looking bulgy or stupid. I’ve got a scarf in progress there (the purple bit); there’s a set of Q-snaps and a stitching project I’m working on as well (the Ziploc bag), along with all its threads and charts. The shoddily sewn blue floral thing is my coupon file, which is in serious need of a redesign. I’ve also got my entire KnitPicks Options binder, the black zippered item, which provides further pockets and organization for knitting needles, patterns, a pen, etc. A few weekly sales flyers and shopping lists, my sketchbook, and a Namaste Buddy (on which more anon) are also in there. I could still easily add a book, magazine, outgoing mail, and perhaps a very small kitten with no problem. It does get a bit heavy but it’s got metal feet on the bottom so it sits nice and level when I put it down rather than flooping every which way because of the uneven object weights.
Once I get the projects into zippered or snapped fabric bags, it will be even more awesome. My only complaint is that the straps sliiiiiide off my shoulders. I may try removing some things from the bag that I don’t actually require for, say, a trip to the grocery store, to see if that alleviates the issue. Otherwise I’ll probably sew some grippy stuff onto the handles and attempt to camouflage it.
This is the needlework side of the Buddy case, which you can see in the photo above. Also my spiffily-lacquered robin’s egg blue nail polish. The case is magnetized on the outer sides, which is super fantastic handy for, you know, needles and other metal stuff that gets lost all the time. So here I have an o-ring (from the hardware store) with the strands of floss I’m actively using for my stitching projects, and it sticks to the case! This really minimalizes tangling as it doesn’t bounce all around. Then we have, well, a Needlework Threader, and two petite tapestry needles. Then there’s a removable divider, which, if we move like so, reveals the knitting side of this clever device.
Again, the exterior wall is magnetized, which means maybe I won’t lose every large tapestry needle I ever buy. Probably not, but a girl can dream. It’s also large enough to hold a tiny pen, my stitch holders, cable needles, Options cable caps, stitch markers, and Options needle tighteners. I had heretofore been keeping my knitting things in a very, very cute frog case from Clover, but stuff tended to fall out and otherwise generally become inaccessible. He’s too cute to retire so I think instead I will now use him for… um… medications, mineral makeup, and chapstick? I’m sure I can find something.
One thing I forgot to mention about the Zuma is that it has an exterior zippered pocket on the back as well; handy for keys, wallet, and anything else you might need to access without digging through the month’s craft projects.
In case you can’t tell, Zuma and I are going to get married and run away to Fiji with El, the Migun massage table, and anything else we decide we like. If you need a purse anyway, and you want one that will hold your knitting and not look like some old lady faux-tapestry thing of horror, check these out. Yeah?