How to Choose a Project Bag for Knitting & Crochet – Project Bag Buyer’s Guide

by | Oct 23, 2023

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Whether you want to travel with your knitting & crochet projects, or just need to keep them organized, good project bags are an essential part of a yarn crafter’s toolkit. These tips will help you find the right project bag for you.

While you technically can store your knitting & crochet projects in plastic grocery bags, it is much more convenient to have dedicated bags and pouches for storing your projects.

However, different types of bags are designed for different purposes, so it’s important to know how to choose the right project bag for your needs.

A good project bag does not necessarily have to be designed specifically for yarn crafts, nor does it have to be expensive. There are many types of regular bags that can work very well for yarn crafts, as long as you know what to look for.

I have accumulated quite a few project bags over the years, and I have found some features that I love, and others that I find unnecessary and inconvenient.

Let’s look at some of the most important things I look for when choosing a project bag.

What makes a good project bag for knitting & crochet?

Well, it depends on the purpose. If a bag is needed just to keep small projects separated and organized, often nothing is needed but a simple bag that can close. This can be a drawstring bag or a simple zipper pouch that is large enough to hold the project and the yarn that goes with it. I use a lot of cotton drawstring bags and large zipper pouches in my yarn stash for keeping my projects organized.

If a bag is intended for traveling with your project, you may want more features, like pockets, comfy straps, or more durable materials. You may also want to consider the look and style of the bag if it is important to you that the bag coordinates with your wardrobe.

I also really like it when my project bag can double as a regular travel bag or purse, so that I can get extra use out of it, even when I am not carrying my crochet project with me.

When I am choosing a travel bag for my projects, here’s what I look for:

Large Inside Compartment

Depending on the size of your project, you may need to have room in your bag for your project and several skeins of yarn. It’s important to make sure the bag is large enough to easily carry the types of projects that you typically like to make.

I like to choose a medium-sized bag for my main travel project bag, as I don’t usually travel with large blankets that require a lot of yarn. (For larger projects, I will often just grab a simple tote bag that is big enough to carry the project.)

Interior Pockets & Exterior Pockets

Even though I like to keep my notions, knitting needles, and crochet hooks in small pouches inside my main bag, I like bags with several extra pockets on the inside and the outside. When traveling with a project, I prefer to carry just one bag, rather than a knitting bag and a separate purse or backpack. If the project bag is large enough and has enough pockets, I can often consolidate all the stuff I need to carry into one bag, which I find more convenient.

Lighter-Colored Lining

One thing I find particularly annoying in a project bag (or any bag for that matter) is a black or dark-colored lining. Darker-colored lining fabric makes the inside of the bag darker, so it is much more difficult to find what you are looking for. I always prefer bags with a lighter-colored lining so it is easy to see what’s in your bag.

I also like to look for bags that have a cotton fabric lining rather than nylon, polyester, or another slippery type of material. I once had a bag with a black nylon lining that, over time, my knitting needles tore holes through. After awhile, the seams started coming apart in the lining, and my tapestry needles and other small notions were starting to slip through the holes and getting stuck in between the lining and the outer layer of the bag. Since the lining was black, I didn’t even realize the holes were there until I started losing stuff!

Comfortable Straps & Handles

I consider the straps and handles of my knitting and crochet project bags to be pretty important. The straps should be strong and durable, while also being pliable and soft. The place where the straps are attached to the bag can tear or come unsewn over time, so take note of where and how the straps are attached.

Things I DON’T want in a project bag:

Grommets to Guide the Yarn

Many generic project bags have a grommet somewhere in the bag so that you can feed the yarn through it. I find this to be pointless and inconvenient. Once you feed your yarn through that closed grommet and start knitting with it, you cannot get the yarn back out of the grommet without cutting the yarn. So now you have a partially-completed project on your needles, and the yarn is threaded through to the outside of the bag. If you want to put that project back into the main compartment of the bag, the yarn going through the grommet will be sticking out to the outside of the bag, and now has to run along the outside of the bag and back into the main compartment when you put your project away.

Slots or Pockets for Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks

I do not find it helpful to have slots inside the bag for a bunch of crochet hooks, as I typically only carry one or two projects at a time, with just the hook or needle sizes that I need for those projects. My complete knitting needle and crochet hook sets have their own dedicated cases that I keep with my yarn stash at home, and I prefer not to take all my hooks and needles with me when I travel. Plus, my ergonomic crochet hooks have very large handles that don’t fit in normal-sized hook slots.

I might like to have one or two slots for a pen or pencil, but not for a bunch of hooks or needles. I would much rather have removable pouches for small craft items, and be able to easily move the pouch to another bag, than to have a bunch of pockets for craft tools built into one bag and have to unload every little thing to be able to switch bags.

Pockets Without Zippers

Many knitting & crochet notions are fairly small, so I don’t really like it when all of the interior or exterior pockets on a bag are open on top. Without a zipper to keep things from falling out, all it takes is for the bag to tip over, and your notions in the pocket either spill onto the floor or into the main inside compartment of your bag. I don’t mind having one or two open pockets, but I prefer most or all of the pockets to close securely.

Scratchy Metal Zippers

While I love to see a thick, durable zipper on a project bag, I prefer it to be plastic or nylon. Metal zipper teeth, if they are not smooth enough, can get caught on your yarn more easily, and cause large snags in your yarn or your project. I much prefer a large plastic or nylon zipper on my bags.

Types of Project Bags I Recommend for Knitting & Crochet

I’ve curated a list of my favorite types of project bags, handmade by sellers on Etsy. I have ordered from several of these shops, and own some of these bags myself. You may already have some bags like these at home that can work for your craft projects. But if you’re in the market for a beautiful new project bag, check these items out and support a small business with your purchase. Some of these are designed specifically for yarn crafts, but most of them are not. A bag does not have to be marketed as a ‘project bag’ to function as a project bag!

My Favorite Backpack Project Bag

I have this canvas backpack from HannahCanvasStore in the Latte color, and I love it! This sturdy bag is a great size, and can be carried with the backpack straps or the handles on top. All of the materials and workmanship are excellent quality. The straps are made of a soft webbing (appears to be cotton), which is not stiff and scratchy like many synthetic bag straps. This bag has plenty of pockets, most with zipper closure, and even includes a laptop slot on the inside. The lining is a lighter-colored cotton fabric, which I love. If I need to take a project with me on the go, this is the bag I will most often reach for.

Medium to Large Tote Bags

I like to use durable, sturdy tote bags for carrying and organizing larger projects. A tote doesn’t need to have a lot of knitting- or crochet-specific features to work well as a project bag. If you have a couple of smaller pouches for organizing small craft tools, it’s easy to slip them into a tote with your project and keep everything organized. A high-quality material like canvas or denim is sturdy and durable, easy to clean, and won’t flake or peel like synthetic leather often does.

Drawstring Project Pouches

I have a bunch of small cotton drawstring bags like these. They’re great for keeping smaller projects separated and organized, so your projects don’t get tangled up with each other in your WIP pile.

Pencil Bags & Crochet Hook Pouches

Pencil case-sized pouches are great for keeping crochet hooks, double-pointed knitting needles, and other small notions you may need from getting lost in the bottom of your craft bag.

Small Zipper Pouches for Notions

It’s always handy to have a small-ish zipper pouch to keep all your small craft items in, especially if the main bag you’re carrying your project in doesn’t have many pockets. I use pouches like these to keep my measuring tape, yarn needles, a small tin of stitch markers, and scissors handy.

Mini pouches, or coin purses, work great for holding stitch markers, knitting needle point protectors, and very small, easy-to-lose items.

Medium Zipper Pouches for Projects

I have a few of these types of project bags as well. These medium-sized zipper pouches are flat on the bottom, so they can stand up neatly. They’re great for holding smaller projects like hats, scarves, socks, and shawls.

I recently purchased a custom order from Wool & Grey for a flat-bottomed zipper pouch in a print I loved, with matching accessories. I am very happy with the bag, and love that it has a metal ring on the inside! If you are using stitch markers in your project, you can clip them onto the ring so they won’t get lost while you’re not using them.

I also ordered a unique fabric yarn bowl, which I have been using and loving. It easily holds a full-sized 100g cake or skein of yarn, and keeps it from rolling around, just like a yarn bowl… only it folds flat and doesn’t take up space in your bag! This is way easier to travel with than a regular yarn bowl.

To complete my matching set, I ordered a scissor pouch in the same fabric print. I think it is always important to keep your scissors protected from your project and the rest of the stuff in your bag, so you don’t have to worry about the scissors getting caught on something and tearing or cutting through it.

Other Handy Accessories

These items are not necessities, but can be very helpful for keeping the stuff inside your project bag tidy. I love this DPN holder (below, far left), which you can slip over the needles on a project you’re working on with double-pointed needles. (This would be great for socks!) You can then close the snaps and keep your project from slipping off the needles between knitting sessions. I also like these yarn cozies (the other three items to the right), which slip around your skein of yarn to prevent the skein from falling apart as you use up the yarn.

This small tote (below, far left) slips over your wrist, making it easy to carry your project and knit or crochet while standing or walking. I think it would also work well for when you don’t have a good place to set your project bag down while you knit or crochet.

Next are these little yarn needle cases (center left) that look like yarn skeins! These can unscrew so you can keep your yarn needles safely inside.

These scissor pouches (center right) zip closed to protect your stuff from getting poked or torn by your scissor blades.

And if you really want a grommet to feed your yarn through, this removable yarn tender (far right) has multiple grommet holes that can keep multiple strands of yarn feeding smoothly out of your bag. Plus, it attaches to your bag strap, so you can easily remove it when you’re not working on your project, and tuck the yarn tender and your project inside the bag. No more yarn running along the outside of your bag when your project is inside!

I hope you’ve found this post helpful! Do you have a favorite type of project bag? Let me know in the comments!

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1 Comment

  1. Cynthia Breton

    Great tips! Thanks for the warning about not using grommet hole bags for stranded knitting. I bought one but have not used it yet. I guess it will go to the Good Will. Or better yet, store a WIP inside it!


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