another tale with two swifts

There are phases we go through. For many years I needed everything with me all the time. So I could be prepared for anything life threw at me. That was okay, but on many levels a bit absurd (though if you are in this phase of life yourself, I will not dissuade you). E tried many times to help me lighten up (see what’s in my tumi bag, planning or planned, and bag problem), but I wasn’t ready. Even through some excruciating neck and shoulder pain a few years ago, I still justified the kitchen sink.. and then some.

Now it wasn’t as bad as it could be. Since my first Tom Bihn bag in July 2010, I discovered that they are a bit of a real world interpretation cross of both Mary Poppins’ magical carpet bag and Hermione’s undetectable extension charmed beaded bag. I’m not sure at all how Tom does it, but I found that I could fit everything that I needed into a bag and it would fit and not weigh at all anything that I expected it to.

tombihn-copilot me & my tom bihn co-pilot & the cat

About two years later, my work needs changed as a hobby became a business (yes you deserve to be paid). I then needed to carry more oddly shaped objects and while the co-pilot was a wonderful bag for many things, a change was required. So after much internal debate, I acquired a Swift — the bag that first introduced me and many knitters to Tom Bihn‘s genius.

Surprising everyone, including myself, it wasn’t black. I bought the olive/linen combination so that I could use it year-round, not that I’ve ever cared much about fashion and the thought of a bag for a certain time of year seemed silly and frivolous (yet a bag for a certain use makes complete sense). Even more than the co-pilot, I found the Swift magical. It held everything, in just one bag. It looked amazing (even after I spilled coffee on it). It wasn’t heavy. It could handle both businesses and look good in all situations.


But it was a bit big. But that was ok. When I left the house in the morning I wouldn’t be back for hours and never quite knew what the day would throw at me.

sprossling at rhinebeck Tom Bihn Swift

Two years ago I transitioned to give my businesses my complete attention. That meant that most days, my commute no longer involved trains, but just a walk downstairs to my office. While I need to transport things within our house, in general I didn’t need to carry much outside and I was rarely gone the entire day. So I carried a mostly empty Swift more days than not. I had another tom bihn bag, a small cafe bag, that I tried to use for errands, but it doesn’t quite work for me. The proportions are just off a bit and it never felt right.

Last year at TNNA I finally saw the little swift in person and was amazed at the compact size, especially next to my behemoth (which at the time was stuffed past the gills full). I thought it might work for me as I was tired of schlepping, but was hesitant to spend money on something I didn’t exactly need. I waited. And waited. This very long drawn out never ending winter, after being tired of many layers and bulk and feeling that most of the bag wasn’t used most of the time, and learning that my colour combination is highly desired among knitters that I realized I should just try and see if the Little Swift worked for me. Only there was a problem. The combination I really wanted black/black/steel was no longer produced. I love purple, but the Ultra Violet is a colour I just really dislike on its own. So I was hesitant to have one with an interior that I found repulsive. I asked online. I begged in various forums and no one had one to offer, so I finally bit and purchased a black/black/uv little swift.

A week later it arrived and once I filled it I realized that the interior did not bother me at all. Even the little bit that peaks out doesn’t affect me. YAY! (Such a firstworldproblem, I know. It bothers me more that I was bothered by this.)

As for holding all I need? I emptied the Swift directly into the new Little Swift. A perfect fit. I’ve been experimenting with caring even less — I can now do most (definitely not all) work with the tablet thanks to advances in software and hardware. While the little swift can carry my 11″ Mac Book Air if it needs to, I likely don’t require that service. It holds my tablet, notebooks, and a project bag with a pair of socks with ease.

Little Swift

Tom Bihn Little Swift very first impressions...

The UV purple is bright but I think I'm falling in love with my @tombihn little swift.

What's in my Little Swift

Here are some photos I wished I had while debating between the two sizes. I’m holding the bags in as much the same way as possible and shown with two different angles. The swift isn’t filled completely properly (it’s actually just with the little swift stuffed inside) but I hope the comparison is useful for someone.

Swift & Little Swift Comparison

I’ve been using it for three weeks now and am still madly in love with it. I love the black exterior, the UV interior doesn’t affect me at all. I love how I’m not carrying extra baggage I don’t need. It fits perfectly on my shoulder and I feel more organized and more important happier.

What does the future hold for the larger Swift? I’m keeping it without question for the next 3 months. Then we’ll see what happens.

Swift & Little SwiftSwift
Dimensions: 7.5″ x 12.5″ x 13.5″ / 190 x 320 x 340 mm
Volume: 950 cubic inches / 15.5 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)

Little Swift
Dimensions: 6″ x 9.5″ x 11″ / 150 x 240 x 280 mm
Volume: 500 cubic inches / 8.2 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)

Next is to decide on a travel bag and designing (and stitching up) my perfect thin and lightweight wallet.

Please click here to read all my Tom Bihn posts. Note: I personally purchased all items reviewed and all thoughts are my own.

Reader interactions

3 Replies to “another tale with two swifts”

  1. Penny, I love your photos! I’m eagerly awaiting my Little Swift in the same colorway. They are wonderful and ever-useful bags!

    1. Thank you Jennifer!

  2. […] I wasn’t that into my Yarn Stuff Sacks, preferring box bags. Since the arrival of my Little Swift, I’ve been using them more frequently (mostly because the projects residing in my box bags […]

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