Meet The Magnolia Tote: Or Why I Make My Own Luggage

The Magnolia Tote

It was over twenty years ago when I saw a knitted and felted purse on the counter of the yarn shop where I worked at the time. It was quite small–big enough for a wallet, keys, a few other items. In spite of its diminutive size, it had a big impact on me . . . I had never seen the way that knitting could become a three-dimensional object with structure, architectural integrity, durability, and style. I wanted that. It was in that single moment that knitted felt became a canvas for my creativity.

I love making my own fabric. I love that I can design and make my own bags, and totes, and make purses that are exactly what I want: understated and neutral, or vibrant and whimsical, covered with flowers, or bold with sleek hardware, tiny and romantic, for my own secret pleasure, or, like these bags, big and roomy, ready for any adventure. 

And I really loved designing, making, and now carrying the Magnolia Tote. It is a roomy tote, perfect for an I packed light overnight with a dear friend, or a trip to the farmer’s market, or a trip to the mall. I use it as a shoulder bag, a knitting bag, my put everthing in it when I am shopping bag.

And check out these three different ways to style the bag, depending on your mood and the way you are using the bag . . . today.

Lately, I have been working on a new colorwork bag: this new one, The Magnolia Travel Bag (you can pre-order both the pattern and the complete kit now), is the friend of the Medallion Travel Bag you see in the picture below. The Magnolia Travel Bag wears the same large medallion shared by both the Magnolia Tote and the Medallion Travel Bag and it will be a large bag, perfect for adventures, for traveling. I will carry it as my carry-on luggage. And sometimes it will be my only luggage.

The Medallion Travel Bag

I can’t tell you how great it feels to make my own luggage. Now, even my carry-on bag is an extension of my creativity.

Making these big bags is, however, a bit stressful. What if . . . something goes horribly wrong?

Don’t let fear or trepidation stop you.

I have a solution.

Making these big bags is, however, a bit stressful! All that knitting and what if the felting process goes horribly wrong? What if it is distorted, or won’t felt, or felts too much, or felts wacky? I have not had it happen . . . because I stand over the washer and baby these big colorwork bags through the whole process. I jimmy the top-loader door open so I can mess with it while it is felting (possible video . . . do you want to see what I do? Let me know in the comments).

I have a solution: my Felted Colorwork Tote class.

My Felted Colorwork Tote class is your opportunity to make one of these beautiful felted totes with the benefit of all the knitting, felting, and finishing tips and tricks I have learned over the past 20 years. In 12 hours of instruction, I will tell you all my secrets.

We begin with a new way of picking out colors, proceed to casting on, review chart reading, go over the unique requirements of knitting in two colors when you are going to felt, preview the challenges of felting large totes in either the top loading washer or the clothes dryer, then felt together via a zoom, block our bags together, then cover and practice professional fine finishing, make linings, and finally plan artful embellishing.

In this class, you get to make all the decisions when it comes to the Magnolia Tote, Magnolia Travel Bag, or the Medallion Travel Bag you carry: you choose the colors, how long the handles are, whether it is lined and how many pockets the has, how it is decorated, and whether there are matching accessory purses for all your must-have possessions.

What You Will Make

You get to choose from one of three patterns to make your own fabulous, felted, colorwork bag. Choose the soon-to-be released Magnolia Travel Bag, the recently released Magnolia Tote, or the classic Medallion Travel Bag. These gorgeous bags demand attention. And admiration. And now you can make one that is uniquely yours. . . The first component of your own luggage set!

What You Will Get

  • The pattern for the Magnolia Tote or the Medallion Travel Bag
  • 12 hours of hands-on, student-focused instruction divided between four 2-hour instruction and practice-focused meetings and 4 1-hour “check-in” meeting
  • $15 store credit you can apply toward anything in the Noni Store – this credit it placed on your account as soon as your class registration is confirmed by Noni
  • Access to the recordings of our zoom classroom sessions
  • Small class size that allows for personalized attention, including 1 thirty-minute personal meeting

What You Will Learn

In this class, consisting of 12 classroom hours of instruction, plus personal help when you need it, you will learn new skills and refine existing ones:

  • Use color theory and some unique strategies to pick colors that work together (or pick from Nora’s selection of curated colorways),
  • Learn how to read a color chart,
  • Learn different techniques to knit with two colors flat, for the bag bottom, and in the round in order to make either the stranded colorwork Magnolia Tote or The Medallion Travel Bag,
  • How to maintain the even tension required for stranded knitting that will subsequently be felted,
  • How to felt a large bag in the top-loading washer or the clothes dryer,
  • How to block your bag for a beautifully smooth felted fabric and crisp silhouette,
  • How to finish your bag so that it looks sleek and polished: learn how to apply bag feet, stiffen the bottom of the bag, use different types of magnetic snaps for the closure you want, apply a turnlock, set in a zipper, apply custom-made leather handles, and use other premium bag hardware for a beautiful finished product
  • Decorate your finished bag to take it from fabulous to art: short tutorials on knitting flowers, embroidering on felted fabric, beading, and more.

Class Dates

Dates of the instruction and practice classes: 2-hour meetings from 9 – 11am every other Saturday (to give you time to knit!):

May 8, May 22, and June 5 and June 19.

Dates of check-in meetings in the evenings from 7 – 8 pm on alternate Thursdays: 

May 13, May 27, June 10, and June 17.

Class Size

The class is limited to 10 participants so everyone gets individualized attention during our meetings. Each participant also receives 30 minutes of individualized meeting time and “emergency” support when needed.

There are still some spots left!

Through Sunday, I get a 10% discount on Noni classes. Use the code 10offclasses at checkout. Don’t forget to press apply to activate your discount.

Join me in class!

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