Sunday, March 28, 2010

REVIEW: Tom Bihn Swift Bag

Tom Bihn: The Swift in Cork Bag
Where To Find:
Tom Bihn


As a busy, on-the-go, multitasking doggy Mom who always has several knitting projects on the needles (knitting is so not a monogamous sport), I've spent years looking for the perfect knitting bag. When the Tom Bihn Swift showed up on my doorstep for review, I knew it had found me.


The Swift is a just-right sized tote bag (not too big, not too small) designed in collaboration with the readers of Knitty through a 2005 contest. As part of the contest, readers were asked to tell Tom what they were looking for in their dream knitting bag. After being flooded with suggestions, he designed a few prototypes which were then reviewed by the editors for tweaks before the final design was released. As for the Lapdog household, some curious noses sufficiently inspected The Swift before allowing Mommy to rely on its ability to house the precious knitting projects...

TomBihnBag_Zeus TomBihnBag_LolaTut

The Swift has been available in several color combinations of both 1000 denier Cordura and 1050 denier ballistic nylon for some time and is now available in Cork fabric. What exactly is Cork fabric, you ask? It is a durable, gorgeous material made from real cork bark that holds up exceptionally well over time, though the patterns in it will deepen and become richer with age. Because of the variation in the Cork fabric, no two Swift in Cork bags will be alike. The Cork version is the one I received for review and I have to say, I adore it. The look is very unique and it goes with any outfit you could imagine. Plus, it is easy to care for and dog hair does not stick to the fabric - which of course, is a huge factor in my search for the perfect knitting bag! With four dogs (and their 16 muddy paws), easy care like being able to wipe the outside of your bag clean with a wet cloth is essential.

4Dogs_TBihnBag_31710 4Dogs_TBihnBag_31710b

Swift's spacious tote design was well thought out, allowing for easy access to what you put in - and want to take out without calling in the search hounds - the bag. Nothing is going to get lost at the bottom or in a tiny dark corner of this bag - not even the dog treats! The entire interior design has been devoted to space and organization - two more factors in finding my perfect knitting bag.


The Swift features two large clear zippered Urethane pockets on either side that are backed with a soft Dyneema ripstop fabric. Above one of these pockets is an "o-ring" with a key snap attached - don't waste time digging for your car keys again when you're rushing off to your LYS! There are two more "o-rings," one on each end of the interior, that are designed to allow you to easily clip the included Clear Bottom Yarn Stuff Sack to either side of the bag. You can also use them to clip in any of the additional accessories that you may purchase, including an extra Yarn Stuff Sack or Clear, Padded, or Cork Organizer Pouches.


Pictured above is the Swift in Cork with two Yarn Stuff

Sacks and two Clear Organizer Pouches.

The Clear Bottom Yarn Stuff Sack included with the Swift is made out of the same soft Dyneema rip-stop fabric that backs the clear urethane pockets of the bag. It can accommodate a large ball of working yarn or entire small projects (think sock bag). The Yarn Stuff Sack has a drawstring top and includes a snap open/close grommet through which you can feed your working yarn (a very useful feature in any small project bag). The clear urethane bottom allows you to easily see what's inside. Extra Yarn Stuff Sacks can be purchased with or without the clear bottom. I love that I can keep a few different small projects stored completely in seperate Yarn Stuff Sacks and then when its time to get going, I can just grab whichever project I want, snap it inside The Swift and be off and running in mere seconds! No more wasting precious time switching project bags or searching for the project you want with you for the day.


The Swift is even comfortable to carry, with handles made from the highest-quality Poron foam padding. They are an ideal length for tossing over your shoulder or carrying in hand. A button closure secures the top of the bag with three different fastening points.

A final factor in finding my perfect knitting bag? Made is the USA! The Tom Bihn factory is located in Seattle, Washington. Knowing that both Tom and his Vice President, Darcy Gray have both rescued shelter dogs is just icing on the cake!


The final verdict? Perfect in size, well designed, comfortable to carry, dog friendly and with all the wonderful custom organizational options available, The Swift in Cork is indeed my perfect knitting bag! Check one out for yourself... you won't be disappointed!


WonderWhyGal said...

I like it! You are right it is very stylish and I love that it' Made in the USA. Great review!

AllyB said...

I want one of these! Maybe those coins in the piggy bank...gonna have to put some stuff on CL so I can buy a new bag.

Sue said...

It looks like they thought of just about everything. I'm glad it passed the doggy test and received their seal of approval.

Spikey said...

Nice review, thanks.

MandyS01 said...

Great review! I've had one of these for about 1.5 years, and I love it. Its my main "dedicated knitting project bag".

Yolanda said...

I would love to have one. My birthday is coming up soon so maybe then.

Marjie said...

Ol' Tom Bihn there, he's a thinker. Not only is it properly dog colored, but it's patterned so the dog hairs that attach themselves to your bag will not show! And Made in USA? What's not to love?

moevans said...

That looks like an awesome bag! I've been drooling for one for a while, but the practical side of me wants it to be a regular everyday bag. Would it make a good purse? I like to carry a small project with me in my purse as opposed to carrying my purse and a knitting bag. Perhaps I will have to take the chance and get one and see. Thanks for the review! That may just be the push I needed!

Anonymous said...

I have two and I love them. I use them as large project bags. The nice thing is I can also stick my wallet and essentials in the inside pockets and not have to carry a purse!

Ellen said...

Great Bag..... Also have a BD coming up..... off to search the internet for the bag!!

Channon said...

Cool... I'm going to have to find one. I love the idea of cork as a bag surface.

Anonymous said...

I read the article and fell in love with this bag. The cork gives this bag an amazing look. You hit the jackpot when this product arrived in your mailbox. Unfortunately, this lovely bag is a bit out of my price range, but a must have if within your range. Nichole, I love reading your reviews - always keeping us informed of products that are new and inovative. Looking forward to a review on the next product.

Grace said...

sounds like a great bag!

G. said...

I have this bag, version 1.5 (vertical striping, cork all the way down to the floor). I love that it's not fussy, not girly, not a knitting bag but a shoulder-carry tote. Of the other colors, ballistic nylon is the way to go if you have hairy pets.