The Knitter’s Tote

By Julia Hilbrandt


Our Knitter’s Tote is a special thing, a design exclusive to MDK, made one at a time in Rhinebeck, New York by Julia Hilbrandt. It’s a tote that will last through many years of knitting adventures. We’ve been carrying ours for years.

Just in time for the holidays, a limited edition of our most popular bag—in stunning Vermilion.

Read the story of the Knitter’s Tote below.

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Materials. Like all Julia Hilbrandt bags, the Knitter’s Tote is made of industrial wool felt, with leather handles and hand-hammered metal rivets.

Shape. The Knitter’s Tote is a three-dimensional rectangle.

Dimensions. 15″ wide by 12″ high by 8″ deep, which is to say: the Knitter’s Tote can handle a boatload of WIPs.

Weight. We haven’t weighed one, but it’s light as a feather. Lighter than a leather bag, for sure.

Details. Two inside pockets are big enough to hold a MDK Field Guide (and your cell phone or pom pom maker); a single dot is needle-felted onto one side.

How the Knitter’s Tote Came to Be

We met Julia Hilbrandt a number of years ago, in a barn at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. It was the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.

Julia is a maker of handmade bags, designed using a very specific palette of materials: leather handles and felt. Black leather handles. Wool industrial felt, to be specific.

So modern, so sturdy. So lightweight. These bags, and Julia’s quiet good humor, were instantly memorable.

The bag of our dreams is of a very specific size and proportion, one that we have both loved for decades. For years, Kay has lugged around a beloved and frankly ratty-looking Tesco shopping bag from England. Ann’s version, from the decade that she worked in book publishing, was rectangular, deeper than average, with straps long enough to fit onto her shoulder. Made of heavy leather, it was good for two 500-page manuscripts. It weighed a ton unloaded, and two tons on a bad weekend.

This very specific shape—this rectangle—has always been The One, for both of us. And from our endless market research (aka watching bags go by at fiber festivals), we think a great knitting bag is one that sits on the floor, is wide at the top, and is generous in capacity.

Kay shipped off her precious Tesco shopping bag to Julia as the template for the bag we’ve been dreaming of. Soon we had Julia’s interpretation of the tote that we’ve always craved: the Knitter’s Tote.

The Knitter’s Tote has the design elements that Julia has perfected over her years of making these extraordinary bags.

The sturdy seams are sewn on her sewing machine built to stitch sails. The leather becomes supple very quickly, and the rivets are made to last.

It’s so light to carry. Even stuffed with Field Guides and multiple knitting projects, you hardly know it’s on your shoulder. And at 15″ wide by 12″ high by 8″ deep, it can easily hold a weekend’s worth of clothes.


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