Carpet Bags and Project Bags Handcrafted at the Knitting Ranch

I, at the Knitting Ranch, am not terrific at keeping up on blog posts but I have vowed for my New Year’s resolution to post at least once a month, so here we go!

Knitting and Project Bags, that also double as great travel and weekender bags, have been my sole concentration here at the Knitting Ranch over the past year.   My own designs have lead to the hand crafting of several variations all in which I use only the most luxurious upholstery fabrics, high quality leather hides and sturdy hardware when creating these one of a kind  project, travel or weekender bags.  My inspiration draws from the quintessential simple, sturdy, and spacious carpet bag that has proved to hold strong since the beginning of the 19th century.

My inspiration lies not only in the bag itself, but in the strong legendary women behind the bag.  Most of my life I have lived in Colorado and have come to know, admire and cherish the stories of the legendary women of the “wild west”.  My new line of bags pays homage to women such as Annie Oakley, Belle Starr, Miss Kitty and Calamity Jane.  Keep reading for more information on this new travel and weekender bag line, a line where luxury and durability compliment each other, much like that of the western land.



Offhand Designs new summer fall 2012 knitting and crochet bags are ready for pre-order at the Knitting Ranch.  Offhand Design makes custom, limited edition knitting and crochet handbags in many sumptuous textiles.  Here at the Knitting Ranch, we are going to highlight a different style each day.

Offhand Designs Scottie

Dr. Watson

Offhand Designs’ new leather scottie, “Watson”

This is a great bag for carrying medium size projects. The Scottie measures 10″H x 18″W x 6″D  has 20″ double strap handles, and a detachable, adjustable strap that will easily stay on your shoulder.  She features six interior pouches to hold you yarn and other essentials as well as a zippered pocket.  A 13″ doctor’s frame allows this lovely bag to open wide so you can see everything inside.  The magnetic flap closure keeps everything inside safe and secure.  All Offhand Designs bags are custom, limited editions made in the San Francisco Bay area.

We love the Scottie for it’s light, easy to carry, go anywhereness! Is that a word?  It is now!

Offhand Designs has come out with some amazing fabrics this season, including leathers as featured here.  Pre-ordering now will  ensure you get the style and fabric your heart desires.  My favorite is the… Well they are all my favorites.  I just might need to get one in each, because they are all so beautiful.

trim brown trim
trim Honey lining
taking orders
trim brown trim
trim Honey lining
taking orders
trimbrown trim
trim Honey lining
taking orders
trimbrown trim
trimHoney lining
taking orders
trimgrey trim
trimHoney lining
taking orders
trimbrown trim
trim Honey lining
taking orders
trimgrey trim
trim Honey lining
taking orders
trim brown trim
trim Honey lining
taking orders

The Knitting Ranch

Knitting Ranch held their first annual knitting retreat.  It was totally amazing.  Women traveled from all over the United States to attend.  Ten of the ladies were fellow ravelers from the Knitting, Bag, Love group on Ravelry.  They also belong to the Knitting Ranch group.  Everyone had gotten to know each other through these groups, but had never met each other.  When everyone came together, it was as though we had all know each other for years.

Two of the women, I met at my booth at Stitches West.  And the other two were Sivia Harding followers.  Although it was a diverse group of women, everyone got along swimmingly.  Of course being in such a beautiful setting doesn’t hurt.

Thursday, was the day of arrival.  I arrived early to set the mood.  (Should have arrived a day early!!)  Offhand Design, graciously made one of a kind Tonyas in Adelaide, Isabelle…

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Offhand Designs brings trunk show to Napa Valley Knitting Retreat

Knitting Ranch held their first annual knitting retreat.  It was totally amazing.  Women traveled from all over the United States to attend.  Ten of the ladies were fellow ravelers from the Knitting, Bag, Love group on Ravelry.  They also belong to the Knitting Ranch group.  Everyone had gotten to know each other through these groups, but had never met each other.  When everyone came together, it was as though we had all know each other for years.

Two of the women, I met at my booth at Stitches West.  And the other two were Sivia Harding followers.  Although it was a diverse group of women, everyone got along swimmingly.  Of course being in such a beautiful setting doesn’t hurt.

Thursday, was the day of arrival.  I arrived early to set the mood.  (Should have arrived a day early!!)  Offhand Design, graciously made one of a kind Tonyas in Adelaide, Isabelle, and one of the 2012 fabrics, Chabot.  To everyone’s delight, they were glamorous!  Each one was filled with Luxurious yarn from Sincere Sheep, and a custom stitch marker (hat, horse, horseshoe, boot, or saddle) from Knitting Ranch.  And of course “Sister Joan”, Sivia’s new pattern that she debuted for the retreat.

Friday morning we started out knitting Sister Joan, a crescent shaped shawl.  Sivia spent some time showing several shawls she brought along and discussed the different shapes.  She is currently working on crescent shapes because she loves them for their versatility. There are various ways you can where them.  Draped across your shoulders, as a scarf, or my favorite, with the crescent on one shoulder and clasped with a lovely shawl pin at the opposite shoulder.


Sister Joan by Sivia Harding

Sivia is an awesome instructor.  She is very patient and is happy to incorporate her teaching style into any group.  The knitters at the retreat varied in skill levels from intermediate beginners to advanced knitters.  Everyone was successful at beading and knitting the shawl.


Sivia makes beading seem very easy.  Knit the stitch indicated, place back on the left hand needle, put your bead on a #14 crochet hook, pick up the stitch from the left hand needle onto your crochet hook, flick the bead over the stitch, and place on the right hand needle.  She demonstrates this beautifully in all her patterns that require beading.  I had never beaded before this and wanted to give it a try prior to attending the retreat.  I followed her instructions in the “Ophidian” shawl pattern and it was really quite simple.

Saturday morning was reserved for knitting and massages provided by Desiree Miceli.  What a treat this was.  A very soothing, therapeutic massage is sure to make anybodies day!  In the afternoon, we were picked up by our very own limo bus and went off on an excursion to an Olive oil tasting followed by a visit to a winery and a picnic.  Larisa and Heather from Offhand Designs joined us for the outing.  I don’t think anyone could have asked for a more beautiful setting to knit, have a glass of wine and get to know new friends.



Saturday evening, back at the Blue Oaks Estates, Larisa and Heather set up their showroom in the wine tasting house where we gathered each evening for dinner.  We were treated to a preview of Offhand Designs 2012 Fall/Summer lineup.  Larisa designed three new bags for the season, Marcella, Iris, and Watson.  The fabrics and colors are amazing.  I’m sure there is something for everyone.  Marcella, Audrey, Scottie, Zhivago, Nina, Circular Clutch, Switch Clutch, Iris, and four different leather styles to choose from.  (Watson, Suzannah, Claudel, Claudelle.


Marcella — This classic design, detailed with sophisticated pleats, makes the Marcella the perfect go-anywhere bag you’ve been looking for.
Marcella features comfortable handles stay on your shoulder, lots of pockets for essentials, yarn, and so much more. She stands wide open on her own so you can see everything inside easily. Sleek, secure closure – nothing falls out. Available in many plush, beautiful, limited edition textiles. 15.5″W x 13.5″H x 6 “D, 26″ straps, 3 inside pockets, 3 inside pouches and zippered pocket, 2 exterior pockets, 13” doctor’s frame closure.



‘I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life.’
Sherlock Holmes Quote, -The Reigate Puzzle
How fitting to name this leather Dr’s bag after such a famous sleuth as Dr. Watson

The house, 10,000 square feet, with several areas to meet and knit in, did not disappoint!  Each morning we all gathered around the kitchen where breakfast (fresh fruit, bagels, cream cheese, and lox, eggs, coffee, tea, and juice) was served.

Napa Valley Knitting Retreat with Sivia Harding

The Knitting Ranch is hosting a deluxe knitting retreat from May 3, 2012
through May 7, 2012.  Sivia Harding, Knitting, Offhand Design Tonya bag filled
with all the necessary ingredients one would wish for at any knitting retreat!
Wine tasting, yarn tasting, and knitting galore with Sivia to guide you.
What more could you ask for?

Sivia Harding
Sivia Harding learned how to knit in 2000 and has been

churning out patterns since 2003. Her work has appeared in publication

under her own name and has been featured in Twist Collective online

magazine,, various subscription clubs, and in many knitting

books.  Sivia is known for her work with exceptional beaded knits.

Her self-published designs are found on Ravelry and her website

( and recent updates can be found on her

facebook page.  For this retreat, Sivia is designing a new shawl in honor

of one of her closest friends.  Brooke, from Sincere Sheep is dyeing an

exclusive color way just for this shawl.

Blue Oaks Estate EntryBlue Oaks Estates Pool Area

Blue Oaks Estates Winery

Blue Oaks Estate is situated in Napa Valley.  This 12,000 square foot

house has 5 bedrooms with private baths and a loft area. Each bedroom has

a queen size bed and the loft has 3 queen size beds.

The Estate usually rents for $500/night/bedroom.  Because this is Knitting

Ranch’s first retreat, we would like to make this incredible opportunity a

reality.  There are plenty of places to knit, relax, and have a great knitterly

time!  Click either of the above photo’s to see the entire gallery of photos

of Blue Oaks Estates Winery.

 What’s included: 
~4 nights and 3 days room & board
~6 hours of instruction on Sivia’s new shawl design,
   3 hour class on a knitted jewelry technique,
   and a 3 hour question and answer session.
~Sivia’s exclusive shawl pattern
~Sincere Sheep’s exclusive yarn, plus beads for the
~Exclusive Offhand Design Knitting Bag “Tonya”
   filled with Knitting Ranch Swag
~Olive Oil Tasting
~Wine Tour
~Trip to Muench Yarn
~An opportunity to knit with old friends & new in a
   beautiful setting
~Sunrise yoga on the deck offered daily
~Massage can be scheduled on the pool deck to start your day.
   An additional $60/hour charge will  apply
Thursday, May 3,2012
Arrive at Blue Oaks Estate
Meet and Greet
Gourmet Dinner with wine tasting
Friday, May 4, 2012
We will spend 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon with Sivia
learning about the structure of sideways-knit crescent shawlettes, and
especially the exclusive pattern designed for our retreat.
To keep your project safe and clean, Offhand Designs is bringing their exquisite
“Tonya” out of retirement just for the Knitting Ranch retreat in the Catherine,
Adelaide, and Isabelle fabrics.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
In the morning, Sivia will be on hand for a 3 hour question and answer session
to help with your shawl.  For the afternoon Knitting Ranch plans to tour a
little of Napa’s finest.  First on the tour is a stop at an olive oil tasting. Next,
we will travel to a beautiful winery where we will have lunch and the
opportunity to knit in fabulously serene surroundings.  Afterwards we return
to our very own winery Blue Oaks Estates, where dinner will be served, after
which we will have time to leisurely knit and hang out with friends.
We will be with Sivia for the knitted jewelry class in the morning for 3 hours.
In the afternoon, we will travel to Muench Yarns, where all participants will
have free reign of the warehouse and be able to shop to our hearts content.
Muench is the distributor of Lana Grossa Yarns.  They have some very lovely
yarns, lace to worsted weight, that will do any shawl justice.
If time allows, we can stop at other marvelous fiber arts destinations.
Cost of Event:
The Blue Oaks Estate is booked, but there is a beautiful B&B five minutes
away. Silverado Country Club.  I am working on rates.
Retreat without Room and Board (for those that live in the area and
do not need lodging).
 50% deposit due at signup.  Balance due May 1, 2012
This is a luxurious knitting event that should not be missed. Spaces are limited
and filling up quickly.  Please contact Suzi at the Knitting Ranch to reserve now
or with any questions.
Phone: (970) 260-7643

Suzi Brown
The Knitting Ranch

50% nonrefundable deposit required at time of registration.
Balance due May 1st, 2012.

Offhand Designs New Spring 2012 Vintage Knitting Bags

Click on image to go to Knitting Ranch Website

The new Spring 2012 Offhand Designs Vintage Knitting/Crochet Handbags are in production and scheduled to be released late January.  Knitting Ranch is taking orders and they are going fast!  Several have said, “This is the best Offhand Designs’ have ever offered”!  Twelve irresistable sumptuous new textiles.

Offhand Designs prides itself in creating handbags, totes, knitting bags, and needle clutches in limited edition exquisite  vintage velvets, brocades, and chenilles.  The Spring 2012 line-up will surely not disappoint.  There are nine new color-ways smashingly made into Scotties, Zhivago Weekenders, and yes, the Audrey and Zelda Grande are back!  There is a style and fabric for everyone.  Maybe two or three!

Vogue Knitting had to say about Offhand Designs, “Sumptuous textiles and hand-craftmanship are the hallmarks of Offhand Designs line of knitting bags.  External pockets hold essential items.  Roomy interiors let yarn glide smoothly”.  “Featuring decadent, vintage-y velvets and decadent piping, they are an elegant cocoon for your knitting.”

They are durable with numerous interior pockets of varying sizes, snap shut frame closure, and a tight magnetic snap closure.  These bags will shoulder all your needs including that knit/crochet project you just can’t leave at home.

You are done making all your Christmas gifts, now get a gift for yourself.  Merry Christmas today; Happy Valentines tomorrow.  What a sweet present to look forward to!  Get to the Knitting Ranch before they are all gone.

Click on image to go to Knitting Ranch Website

~~~Knitting Ranch’s take on the New Spring 2012 Offhand Designs~~~

“These are some of the most amazing fabrics I have seen Larisa use in her designs yet.  There isn’t a fabric that I don’t like”!

~Adelaide~ Purple, gold, and green velvet.  Rich and regal.  Available in Audrey, Zhivago, Scottie,  Zelda Grande, Nina, Switch, & Circular clutches.

~Charlotte~ Black and White geometric print possibly chenille, with grey velvet accents.  Snaz up any outfit.  Available in Audrey, Zhivago, Scottie & Zelda Grande, Nina, Switch, and Circular clutches.

~Isabelle~ Burgundy on creme, vintage velvet with brown velvet accents.  Another regal accoutrement.  Available in Audrey, Zhivago, Scottie, & Zelda Grande, Nina, Switch, and Circular clutches.

~Eleanor~ Blue Velvet Stripe with Blue velvet accents.  A smashing fabric that appears shiny and rich. Available in Audrey, Zhivago, Scottie, & Zelda Grande, Nina, Switch, and Circular clutches.

~Catherine~ Burgundy, creme, and olive brocade tapestry fabric, with brown velvet accents. Elegant and stunning.  Available in Audrey, Zhivago, Scottie, Zelda Grande, Switch and Circular clutches.

~Marie~ Deep pink with Orange flowers.  Brocade with grey velvet accents. Sure to be a hit this spring.  Just in time to help you get over the winter blues. Available in Audrey, Scottie, & Zelda Grande, Switch, and Circular clutches.

~Joan~ Red and tan velvet with brown velvet accents.  This print is fun and vivacious.  It will go with anything.  Available in Audrey, Scottie, & Zelda Grande.

~Margaret~ Creme with peach vintage velvet.  Brown velvet accents.  I think this fabric is fabulous and very Vintage-y.  Available in Audrey & Scottie.

~Eugenie~ Gold, olive on creme vintage velvet.  Brown velvet accents.  This fabric is regal, rich, & definite to turn heads.  Available in Audrey and Scottie.

~Mallika~ Browns, olive, and black vintage tapestry with some raised velvet. Brown velvet accents.  2012 Line available in Audrey.  Also a few left at the ranch in Gatsby, Nina, circular and switch clutches.

~Isha~ Orange, pink, and green velvet stripes on a brighter pink background.  Orange velvet accents.  This bag is so much fun and brightens up any wintery day.  Will surely keep those winter blues away, and would be the perfect accent to any spring outfit.  Available currently in the Scottie, Zhivago, Gatsby, Nina, Switch & Circular clutches at the Ranch. Is available in the  Spring 2012 lineup in Audrey.

~Zarine~ Pink with orange fabric, throw in a little gold threading.  Another bag to keep those winter blues away and will accent your outfits throughout spring and summer.  Available now in Scottie, Gatsby, Zhivago, Nina, Switch & Circular clutches.  Available in the Spring 2012 lineup in Audrey.

The Knitting Ranch’s take on the Offhand Designs Spring 2012 lineup is based on photos provided by Offhands Designs.

Orders of current stock if ordered by Tuesday, December 20, 2011 will arrive in time for Christmas.

Spring 2012 Lineup is anticipated to be ready to ship the end of January.

To order and or see any of the Offhand Designs click on the photos above.

Offhand Designs

Offhand Designs Knitting Bags are in stock and ready to ship for Christmas.  We have all the designs in stock and they are just as lovely as ever!  And to make everyone’s list for this Christmas, the Knitting Ranch has a coupon for 25% off.  Just enter coupon code “offhand design” when you check out at the Knitting Ranch website.

The Scottie, Zhivago, and the Gatsby were luxuriously made in four different fabrics.  The Malika, Isha, Reva, and Zarine.   They are all beautifully lined and Offhand Designs made a few changes to the design, making them more functional and easier to stand up and open when you are knitting out of them.  The frames come together and close with a fabric magnetic snap closure.

It is Knitting Ranch’s hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!


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