First off hello!
I am so happy with my Tom Bihn bags and I haven't even had them for 24 hours yet! I have never purchased an actual knitting bag before today because I knew in my heart that I didn't want some trendy (fall apart) made in China fashion knitting bag. The one bag I had considered was heavy and I'm pretty sure could kill you if you fell on it wrong.
So about a month ago I started trying to nail down the color I wanted. Of course I wanted a color that wasn't available any longer, so I just kept thinking about it. Which led me to thinking about all my bags. I use a giant heavy awkward backpack for college, and a couple of purses- which have quality issues and don't seem to last or be quite as ergonomic and utilitarian as I am. I'm a quality junkie. I don't care about tags and labels and brands- I just want to use the heck out of what I buy and not have it fail after one season.
When I came to look at the Swift colors I noticed that there were...other bags too...after seeing the Ristretto which just happens to fit the exact laptop I have and also serve my school needs, I was certain I needed one.
Because of my trouble wondering if something better was in the works (waiting for newer models/colors), I decided to go to the store and choose from stock on hand and just get happy.
I walked into the Tom Bihn store, and was met with a view of busy skillful sewing experts making the very bags I was about to purchase. That made me happy. I like how open it is and how you can truly see exactly what sort of a company you're supporting.
I found the large Swift, and the Ristretto bags I had my eye on and then hemmed and hawed over whether I wanted my bags to match or not. Or if I should get the endangered Nordic. I finally decided that the navy with solar insides made me feel happy and I fell in love with it at first sight, so I got both bags in that combination. I added a pouch with two zippered compartments (Double Organizer Pouch I think it's called) to use as a flat wallet to clip into either bag. I also upgraded and got the Absolute Shoulder Strap because I'm small and tend to overpack so I wanted to be comfortable even if I was weighed down.
I packed my Ristretto for school this evening with my large 3-subject spiral notebook, my keys clipped to a strap, my ID, debit card, insurance card, and cash in the Double Organizer Pouch clipped to an O-ring inside the small zip compartment on the front of the bag, and inside that pocket in the built-in organizing area I placed a pencil, a pen, a highlighter, a compact, a small knife, gum, eye drops, and post-its. In the outer pocket that faces your body I placed a pack of travel tissue (allergy season!) and my small bottle of hand sanitizer. On the shoulder strap I threaded my Gerber multi-tool in it's black pouch. It looks very stealth and like it was made to go there. That is a MUST have item for me. I can saw a tiny tree down, perform small surgeries, and fix mechanical problems with my multi-tool. I never leave home without it. I may or may not bring my laptop to school- normally I don't since I just listen to lectures and then go back home. Right now my Ristretto is modestly packed with plenty of room for other things. I could easily take my medium stuff sack that came with my Swift and pack my socks I'm knitting along too. I have inside my Ristretto what I would say are the bare necessities for me. Feels light as a feather. Even when my macbook is in it it's quite lightweight which is a big change from my thuggish backpack.
I haven't gotten to pack my Swift yet because my cat came over right when I set it down and nested on top of it.
I am VERY pleased with my bags and for anyone who's on the fence about Tom Bihn- I can say that if you appreciate fine tools and high quality you've met your perfect bag maker.
Beware though- you will fall in love over and over again. I can't wait to replace all my bags with Tom Bihn bags.