Title:
PORTABLE STORAGE DEVICE INCLUDING AN INTEGRAL YARN MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A yarn management system for storing, managing and transporting yarn and in-progress work pieces including a storage device or knitting bag sized to accommodate a variety of projects, for example, a full-sized project bag configured to hold multiple skeins of yarn and the associated in-progress work piece. The storage device is configured to protect the yarn and the work piece while allowing the user to periodically remove and work on the work piece, for example, to knit tangle free with multiple skeins of yarn. The storage device or bag includes an interior compartment having at least one of a divider panel which creates a first and a second storage compartment. The divider panel further includes a plurality of guide apertures through which yarn can pass from the first storage compartment to the second storage compartment.



Inventors:
Garson, Elizabeth (Olympia, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/102840
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
04/14/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/392
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHEUNG, CHUN HOI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PERKINS COIE LLP - SEA General (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
I/We claim:

1. A yarn management system for storing, managing and transporting yarn and in-progress work pieces comprising: a bag having a bottom panel and a plurality of interconnected side panels configured to define an interior storage space in the bag; a divider panel in the interior space of the bag, the divider panel positioned substantially parallel to and spaced apart from the bottom panel and attached to the side panels, the divider panel configured to define a first storage compartment and an adjacent second storage compartment in the interior space of the bag; and a plurality of guide apertures in the divider panel configured to allow yarn to pass from the first storage compartment to the second storage compartment without leaving the interior space of the bag.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the first storage compartment further includes an access aperture.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein the first storage compartment is removeably attached to the second storage compartment.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein the guide apertures are grommets.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the guide apertures are tubes.

6. The system of claim 1 further comprising a window contained in one of the side panel, bottom panel and/or divider panel, wherein the window is configured to provide visual access to the interior space of the bag.

7. The system of claim 1 further comprising a secondary guide aperture.

8. The system of claim 7 wherein the secondary guide aperture is one of a circlet, a tube, a panel and/or a tab.

9. The system of claim 1 wherein first storage compartment is sized to hold a plurality of yarn skeins and the second storage compartment is sized to hold an in-progress work piece.

10. The system of claim 1 wherein the bag is a bucket shape and the bottom panel is round.

11. A storage device such as a bag or backpack having an integral yarn management system contained therein comprising: a multi-compartment bag including a first storage compartment sized to receive multiple skeins of yarn and a second storage compartment sized to receive a work-piece made of multiple skeins of yarn; and an integral yarn management system including a divider separating the first storage compartment and the second storage compartment, wherein the divider is configured to separate the skeins of yarn from the work piece, wherein the divider panel includes a plurality of yarn outlet guide apertures configured to allow at least a single strand of yarn to pass from the first storage compartment and the second storage compartment.

12. The device of claim 11 further including a partition configured to divide the first storage compartment into a first and a second section, wherein the first and the second section are sized to receive a skein of yarn.

13. The device of claim 12 further including a second partition configured to define a third section in the first storage compartment, wherein each of the first, second and third sections are sized to receive a skein of yarn.

14. The device of claim 12 wherein the partition is a mesh panel.

15. The device of claim 12 wherein the partition is a rigid panel.

16. The device of claim 11 wherein the bag further includes a clear panel configured to provide visual access to the interior cavity.

17. The device of claim 11 further comprising a handle.

18. The device of claim 11 wherein the yarn management system is contained in the interior space of the first storage compartment and the first storage compartment is removeable.

19. The system of claim 11 wherein the guide apertures are grommets.

20. The system of claim 11 wherein the guide apertures are plastic tubes.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/911,856, filed Apr. 13, 2007, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure is directed to a portable storage device including an integral yarn management system, such as for use in knitting or craft projects.

BACKGROUND

Traditionally, it has been difficult for knitters and other craft persons using yarn or yarn-like material to easily store, organize, manage and transport skeins of yarn and the associated in-progress work piece during the duration of the project without tangling the yarn or otherwise compromising the in-progress work piece. Many attempts have been made to alleviate the problem and find a workable solution.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,827,654 issued to Armstrong discloses a rigid yarn caddy that holds a skein of yarn in each of several upright tubes for paying yarn out of the open top ends of the tubes for multi-yarn, manual knitting. The tubes are supported on a flat disk that is preferably mounted for rotation on a support for twisting the yarns as they pay out of the tubes. Although this device includes a handle for moving the yarn caddy, it does not include a storage compartment for the in-progress work piece.

Another example is U.S. Pat. No. 5,544,499 issued to Boggs which discloses an apparatus including a plurality of yarn storage containers which receive skeins of different yarn. The yarn containers include a removable top which contains a yarn outlet guide hole. The yarn storage containers are mounted on a rotatable platform to allow the user to rotate the device during use. This device also does not include a storage compartment for the in-progress work piece.

Another example is U.S. Pat. No. 4,008,806 issued to de Paez which discloses a device for the sorting, storage and transportation of yarn-like material and a sorting member to allow the yarn to pass from the interior to the exterior of the bag separated from each other and readily available to the user. The finished work piece may be stored in a side pocket of the bag. Although this bag includes storage for the skeins of yarn, it does not include an interior storage compartment for the in-progress work piece contained within the bag such that the yarn is not exposed during transportation.

Yet another example is U.S. Pat. No. 6,357,497 issued to Frase which discloses a knit crochet bag having an interior storage and a plurality of exterior pockets for receiving yarn. The yarn skeins are stored in the exterior pockets and fed through openings in the top of the exterior pockets and then fed at a right angle into the central storage region of the bag. Although the central storage region of the bag allows for the in-progress work piece storage, the configuration of the yarn feed through the top of the exterior pocket and into the central storage region at a right angle creates problems with yarn tension while the user is working on the project. This and other design flaws render this knit crochet bag undesirable in operation.

Existing yarn caddies and storage devices fail to provide the combined benefit of allowing the user to store unused yarn and the in-progress work piece; providing a yarn management system that prevents tangles during operation while providing unobstructed yarn feed in order to avoid issues with yarn tension and the like; and protecting the yarn for the duration of the project by keeping both the unused yarn skeins and the in-progress work piece contained in an interior of the storage device during transportation. Therefore, there is a demand for a portable storage device that includes a yarn management system which allows the user to easily store yarn, dispense yarn and transport yarn during the duration of a craft or knitting project. Accordingly, there exists a need to improve existing yarn storage and yarn management devices.

SUMMARY

A yarn management system for storing, managing and transporting yarn and in-progress work pieces is provided. The system includes a storage device or knitting bag sized to accommodate a variety of projects, for example, a full-sized project bag configured to hold multiple skeins of yarn and the associated in-progress work piece. The storage device is configured to protect the yarn and the work piece while allowing the user to periodically remove and work on the work piece, for example, to knit tangle free with multiple skeins of yarn. It will be understood by one skilled in the art that the yarn may include any yarn-like material such as cord, thread, line, twine, yarn, and the like and that the project may be knitting or any other type of craft project.

The storage device or bag includes an interior compartment having at least one of a divider which creates a first and a second storage compartments. The interior compartment of the storage device is defined by a bottom panel and a plurality of connected side panels configured to form an interior compartment. The bag further includes an opening, for example a top opening. Alternatively, the opening may be a side opening. The divider may be spaced apart from and generally parallel to the bottom panel. Alternatively, the divider may be spaced apart from and generally parallel to a side panel. According to aspects of the invention, the first compartment is separated from the second compartment by the divider and the second compartment is open to the top opening of the bag. According to further aspects of the invention, the divider further includes a plurality of guide apertures through which a yarn can pass from the first storage compartment to the second storage compartment. The guide apertures may be grommets, sewn button holes, slits, gaps in the divider, or the like, as further described herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic front view of a system for managing yarn in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2A is a schematic cross section view of the system illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2B is an alternative embodiment of FIG. 2A in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic front partially transparent view of a system for managing yarn in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a schematic top view of the system shown in FIG. 1 for managing yarn in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 5A-5B are schematic views of the first storage compartment of the system for managing yarn in accordance with embodiments of the invention.

FIGS. 6A-6S are schematic views of alternative bag designs for use in combination with the integral yarn management system in accordance with alternative embodiments of the invention.

In the drawings, identical reference numbers identify similar elements or acts. The sizes and relative positions of elements in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, and these various elements may be arbitrarily enlarged to improve legibility. Further, the particular shapes of the elements as drawn are not intended to convey any information regarding the actual shape of the particular elements, and have been solely selected for ease of recognition in the drawings. Also, the headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not necessarily affect the scope or meaning of the claimed invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A. Overview

The following disclosure describes several embodiments of systems for managing yarn. One aspect of disclosure is directed to a storage device having an integral yarn management system. The storage device has a bottom panel, side panels and a divider panel configured to define interior first and a second storage compartments. The first storage compartment is sized to receive and store skeins of yarn and the second storage compartment is sized to receive and store the in-progress work piece. According to further aspects of the disclosure, the bottom panel and side panels of the storage device are constructed of a material and configured to retain flexibility while being able to stand open and retain the general shape of the storage device during use. The divider is positioned between the first and the second storage compartment and substantially separates the first and the second storage compartments. A surface of the divider further includes a plurality of yarn outlet guide apertures to allow yarn to pass from the first compartment to the second compartment. An access opening in the first storage compartment provides access to allow the user to load yarn in the first storage compartment. According to further aspects of the disclosure, the guide apertures may be grommets, eyes, sewn button-holes, perforations or other openings in the divider, flexible fabric tubes extending from the first storage compartment to the second storage compartment, or the like.

Another embodiment of the disclosure is directed to a system for storing and transporting yarn during the duration of a project. The system includes a storage device having a bottom, a plurality of interconnected sides forming an interior cavity, and a divider positioned within the interior cavity to separate a first compartment and a second compartment. The divider is substantially parallel to the bottom panel and is connected to an interior side of the side panels. The divider includes a plurality of apertures sized to allow yarn-like material to pass from the first compartment to the second compartment. According to further embodiments, the first compartment includes at least one of a partition orthogonal to the bottom panel extending from the top of the bottom panel to the underside of the divider. The partition may be a mesh material or any other fabric material. Alternatively, the partition may be a rigid or semi-rigid material configured to provide support and structure to the storage device. The partition separates the first compartment such that a first skein of yarn can be stored in a first section of the first compartment and a second skein of yarn can be stored in a second section of the first compartment. Each compartment would have at least one of a corresponding apertures to allow yarn to pass from the first compartment to the second compartment.

Another embodiment of the disclosure is directed to a system for storing, managing and transporting yarn during the duration of a project. The system includes a multi-compartment bag having an integral yarn management system contained therein. The bag includes a bottom panel and a plurality of interconnected side panels configured to define an interior region having an opening at a top portion of the interconnected side panels. The interior region includes a first and a second interior compartment divided by a divider panel. According to aspects of this embodiment, the second compartment is detachable from the first compartment. According to further embodiments, the bag may also include a false-bottom panel partially attached to an interior of the bag and positioned above the divider panel and below the opening of the bag. The partial attachment allows the false-bottom panel to be retracted into a stored position when not in use. According to further embodiments, the false-bottom panel is held in a stored position by a retention device such as a tab or band. In use, the panel may be extended to cover the stored in-progress work piece during transportation, or may be extended to separate additional skeins of yarn contained in the second interior compartment.

According to further embodiments, the interior of the bag includes a removable notions bag for storing knitting needles and the like. According to further embodiments, the interior of the second compartment of the bag includes additional yarn guides. The additional yarn guide in the second compartment may for example be at least one of a flexible fabric tube extending from the divider panel to the opening configured to allow yarn strands to extend there through. The tubes may extend the entire height between the divider panel and the opening or may extend a partial height between the divider panel and the opening. The tubes may or may not be continuous along the distance between the divider panel and the opening. According to further embodiments, the tubes may be clear tubing. Additionally, the tubes may provide structural support to the sides of the bag, similar to stays, in order to maintain the bag in an open upright position during use.

According to still further embodiments of the disclosure, one or more circlets may be included in the interior of the bag to provide further guidance to the yarn strands through the interior of the bag to the opening of the bag. The circlets may be vertically aligned or may be positioned along a top portion of the interior of the bag near the opening. According to still further embodiments of the disclosure, a secondary yarn guide in the second compartment includes a panel, band, tab or tube secured to an interior surface of second compartment of the bag to keep the yarn proximate to the side panel of the bag when the yarn is being fed into the in-progress work piece. This allows the interior cavity of the second compartment to remain free of yarn strands and further prevents yarn tangles.

In yet another embodiment, portions of the bottom, side panels, divider panel, and/or yarn guides include a clear plastic window to allow the user to see for example the amount of yarn remaining on the skein. The window can incorporate the yarn outlet guide apertures or may be included in areas of the storage device that do not include the guide apertures, for example, at the bottom of the storage device. Further, the window may be sized to include the entire surface, or any portion of any surface contained in the yarn management system. Alternatively, the entire yarn management system may be a clear material of construction.

Specific details of several embodiments of the invention are described below with reference to yarn management systems, multi-compartment bags, and guides. Several details describing well-known structures or processes often associated with yarn management systems, multi-compartment bags, and yarn guides are not set forth in the following description for purposes of brevity and clarity. Also, several other embodiments of the invention can have different configurations, components, or procedures other than those described in this section. A person of ordinary skill in the art, therefore, will accordingly understand that the invention may have other embodiments with additional elements, or the invention may have other embodiments without several of the elements shown and described below with reference to FIGS. 1-6S.

Where the context permits, singular or plural terms may also include the plural or singular term respectively. Moreover, unless the work “or” is expressly limited to mean only a single item exclusive from other items in reference to a list of at lest two items, then the use of “or” in such a list is to be interpreted as including (a) any single item in the list, (b) all of the items in the list, or (c) any combination of the items in the list. Additionally, the term “comprising” is used throughout to mean including at least the recited feature(s) such that any greater number of the same features and/or other types of features and components are not precluded.

B. Embodiments of a Yarn Management System

FIG. 1 is a schematic front view of a yarn management system 100 for storing, managing and transporting yarn 107 and in-progress work pieces (not shown for purposes of clarity) in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The system 100 includes a bottom 102 and a plurality of interconnected side panels 104 to form a storage device 106. The interconnected side panels 104 form an opening 112 in the storage device 106. The bottom panel 102 and the side panels 104 have an exterior surface 103 and an interior surface 105. A divider panel 120 extends substantially parallel to the bottom panel 102 and affixes to an interior surface 105 of the side panels 104 to create a first storage compartment 108 and a second storage compartment 110. The first storage compartment 108 is sized to receive and store skeins or balls of yarn 107. The second storage compartment 110 is sized to receive an in-progress work piece (not shown for purposes of clarity). An access device 130 such as a zipper or the like is provided to allow access to the first storage compartment 108 to allow a user to load yarn 107 into the first storage compartment 108. According to alternative embodiments and as discussed further with reference to FIGS. 5A-5B, the first storage compartment 108 may optionally be detachable from the second storage compartment 110.

The yarn management system 100 is configured to protect the yarn 107 and the work piece (not shown) while allowing the user to periodically remove and work on the work piece, for example, to knit tangle free with multiple skeins of yarn. It will be understood by one skilled in the art that the yarn 107 may include any yarn-like material such as cord, thread, line, twine, yarn, and the like and that the project may be knitting or any other type of craft project.

The divider panel 120 includes a plurality of yarn outlet guide apertures 122a-c. Examples of guide apertures include but are not limited to grommets, eyes, slits, punctures, gaps, passageways, flexible fabric tubes, and/or other suitable guide apertures. One skilled in the art will appreciate that a greater or lesser number of guide apertures may be used than the number of apertures illustrated in FIGS. 1-6S. Furthermore, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the guide apertures may be positioned other than illustrated in FIGS. 1-6S and still be within the scope of the disclosure.

As shown in FIG. 1, an optional handle or strap 114 may be affixed to an exterior 103 of the storage device 106. The strap 114 may further attach to a drawstring 116 to provide partial or full closure of the opening 112 of the storage device when not in use or during transportation. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, alternative closure devices as are known in the art, for example, zippers, snaps, buttons, flaps, and the like, may be employed in lieu of the drawstring 116 shown in FIG. 1 and still be within the scope of the invention.

FIG. 2A is a schematic cross-sectional view of the system illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 2B is an alternative embodiment of FIG. 2A in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 2A, they system 100 may further include a yarn retaining tab 135 and/or a yarn retaining panel 136 permanently or releasably affixed to the interior surface 105 of the second storage compartment 110. According to still further embodiments, a circlet 132 may be included to guide the yarn 107 as it exits the interior cavity of the second storage compartment 110. Alternatively, a plurality of linearly aligned circlets, tabs or panels may be used to guide the yarn through the interior cavity of the second storage compartment 110.

As further shown if FIGS. 2A and 2B, a false-bottom panel 140 may be retained in a stored position by tab 142. Accordingly, the false-bottom panel is provided between the divider and the opening of the storage device. The false bottom may be attached at one side of the interior surface 105 of the storage device 106 to allow the user to roll it up and out of the way when not in use, as further shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B. In operation, false-bottom panel 140 may be unrolled into an extended position to provide a separation within the interior of the second storage compartment 110. Thus, the false-bottom panel 140 allows the user to separate interior yarn skeins from the in-progress work piece, or to provide a barrier between the work piece and the opening in the storage device.

As further shown in FIG. 2B, and in accordance with a further embodiment of the disclosure, the interior of the second compartment of the bag may include secondary yarn guides 138a-c. The secondary yarn guides 138a-c in the second compartment 110 are shown as at least one of a flexible fabric tube extending between the divider panel 120 to the opening 112 and are configured to allow yarn 107 strands to extend there through. The tubes 138a-c may extend the entire height between the divider panel 120 and the opening 112 or may extend a partial height between the divider panel 120 and the opening 112. According to further embodiments, the tubes 138a-c may extend directly from the first compartment 108 into the second compartment 110 and may further extend directly from the first compartment 108 to the opening 112. Alternatively, the tubes 138a-c may or may not be continuous along the distance between the divider panel 120 and the opening 112. According to further embodiments, the tubes may be clear plastic tubing, opaque tubing, or fabric tubing. Additionally, the tubes may provide structural support to the sides of the bag, similar to stays, in order to maintain the bag in an open upright position during use. As will be understood by one skilled in the art, a single tube or a plurality of tube (as shown in FIG. 2B) may be provided in accordance with the disclosure.

FIG. 3 is a schematic front partially transparent view of a yarn management system 300 for storing, managing and transporting yarn 307 and in-progress work pieces in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. The system 300 includes a bottom 302 and a plurality of interconnected side panels 304 to form a storage device 306. The interconnected side panels 304 form an opening 312 in the storage device 306. The bottom panel 302 and the side panels 304 have an exterior surface 303 and an interior surface 305. An optional handle or strap 114 may be affixed to an exterior 103 of the storage device 106. A divider panel 320 extends substantially parallel to the bottom panel 302 and affixes to an interior surface 105 of the side panels 304 to create a first storage compartment 308 and a second storage compartment 310. Alternatively, the divider panel may extend substantially orthogonally from the divider panel or at any angle in-between. The divider panel 320 includes a plurality of yarn outlet guide apertures 322a-d. The first storage compartment 308 is sized to receive and store skeins or balls of yarn 307. The second storage compartment 310 is sized to receive an in-progress work piece. An access device 330 such as a zipper or the like is provided to allow access to the first storage compartment 308 to allow a user to load yarn 307 into the first storage compartment 308.

As further illustrated in FIG. 3, the first compartment 308 further includes at least one of a partition 334a, 334b orthogonally positioned relative to the bottom panel 303 and extending from the interior surface 305 of the bottom panel 302 to an underside surface of the divider panel 330. The partition 334a, 334b may be constructed of a mesh material or constructed of any other fabric material. Alternatively, the partition 334a, 334b may be a rigid or semi-rigid material configured to provide support and structure to the storage device 306. The partition 334a separates the first compartment 308 into sections such that a first skein of yarn can be stored in a first section of the first compartment 308 and a second skein of yarn can be stored in a second section of the first compartment 308, and so on. Accordingly, each section would have access to at least one of a corresponding aperture in the divider 320 to allow yarn to pass from the first compartment 308 to the second compartment 310. Alternatively, the partition may include a passageway to allow the yarn to pass through, thus serving as the yarn outlet guide aperature.

As further illustrated in FIG. 3, a plurality of circlets 332a, 332b may be included in the interior of the bag to provide further guidance to the yarn strands as the yarn passes through the interior of the bag to the opening of the bag. For example, the circlets 332a, 332b may be vertically aligned or may be positioned along a top portion of the interior of the bag near the opening to allow the interior cavity of the second compartment to remain free of yarn strands and thus further prevent yarn tangles during storage, management or transportation of the yarn. Accordingly, the system 300 provides benefit of storing, management and transportation of yarn and an in-progress work piece in a protected manner.

FIG. 4 is a schematic top view of a yarn management system for storing, managing and transporting yarn in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. FIG. 4 is substantially similar to previously described FIG. 1, therefore, only additional features will be described herein. According to an embodiment of the disclosure, an additional tab 420 containing secondary yarn outlet guide apertures 422a-c is affixed to the interior side 105 of the side panel 104. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the additional tab 420 is off-set from the guide apertures 122a-f, thus allowing additional yarn skeins stored in the second storage compartment 110 to use the secondary guide apertures 422a-c. Alternatively, the secondary guide apertures 422a-c may be aligned with the primary guide apertures 122a-f to allow the yarn 107 contained in the first storage compartment 108 to be further guided.

FIGS. 5A-5B are schematic views of the first storage compartment of the system for managing yarn in accordance with embodiments of the invention. The first storage compartment is optionally removable from the second storage compartment discussed above with regard to FIGS. 1-4, thus allowing the first storage compartment to be used independently of the second storage compartment. For example, the first storage compartment may be used in combination with a separate knitting bag or may simply fit inside the storage device discussed above with regard to FIGS. 1-4. The system includes a bottom 502 and a plurality of interconnected side panels 504 to form a storage device 506. The interconnected side panels 504 may include an opening (not shown) in the storage device 306 for ease of loading the yarn skeins. The opening can be positioned at a top, bottom or side panel of the storage device 506. The bottom panel 502 and the side panels 504 have an exterior surface 503 and an interior surface 505. An optional handle or strap 550 may be affixed to an exterior 503 of the storage device 506. The storage device is sized to receive and store skeins or balls of yarn (not shown). According to alternative embodiments of the disclosure, the storage compartment 506 may include an attachment device 530, such as a zipper or the like, which is provided to allow the storage compartment to attach to the lower part of a second storage compartment in accordance with the disclosure herein. According to still further embodiments, the storage compartment 506 includes a snap in/snap out notions bag, four side pockets and/or one large pocket that can hold 9 inch knitting needles (not shown for clarity). Thus, the storage compartment may also be used as a portable project bag for smaller projects such as baby items, socks, hats, etc. The storage compartment 506 is sufficiently sized to allow enough room inside the compartment to house the yarn and the small project.

As illustrated in FIG. 5B, the yarn outlet guide apertures 562a-c are contained in a clear vinyl window 554. The window allows the knitter to see into the compartment and monitor yarn use. In yet another embodiment, and as further illustrated in FIG. 5A, portions of the bottom 552, side panels, divider panel, and/or yarn guides may include a clear plastic window to allow the user to view, for example, the amount of yarn remaining on the skein. The window can incorporate the yarn outlet guide apertures as shown in FIG. 5B or may be included in areas of the storage device that do not include the guide apertures, for example, at the bottom of the storage device as shown in FIG. 5A. Further, the window may be sized to include the entire surface, or any portion of any surface contained in the yarn management system. Alternatively, the entire yarn management system may be constructed of a translucent or clear material.

As further illustrated in FIG. 5B, a plurality of yarn outlet guide apertures are provided to allow yarn to pass from the first compartment to the second compartment. For example, the guide apertures 560a-d are illustrated as openings or gaps in the divider 520. The guide apertures 564a-b are illustrated as sewn button-holes and the guide apertures 562a-c are illustrated as grommets. In other embodiments, the guide apertures may be eyes, perforations in the divider, flexible fabric tubes extending from the first storage compartment to the second storage compartment, or the like.

In operation, yarn skeins or rolls are placed and stored in the first storage compartment. The user threads the end of the yarn skein through the guide aperture into the second compartment to allow the user to access the yarn through the opening in the bag such that the yarn travels from the skein in the first storage compartment through the second storage compartment and out the bag for easy access during work on the work piece. When the user is finished working on the project for any given session, the user stores the unfinished work piece in the second storage compartment thus advantageously keeping all portions of the knitting project in an interior space during the duration of the project.

According to further aspects of the invention, the second storage compartment may further include an access aperture in a side of the bag to allow the user to load yarn into the second storage compartment. The access aperture includes a closure device such as a zipper or hook and loop or snap as is known in the art to prevent the yarn from falling out through the access aperture once the yarn has been loaded. Thus, the first storage compartment includes an access zipper and is separated from the second compartment of the bag. In operation, the operator unzips the access zipper and loads yarn into the first storage compartment. A plurality of yarn skeins or balls may be loaded in the first storage compartment, for example, four balls of yarn can be loaded into the bag. Yarn from the first storage compartment is threaded through the grommets in the lid to the second storage compartment of the bag. The access zipper is then closed to secure the yarn in the first storage compartment, thus keeping the yarn safe and clean from the contents inside the bag as well as keeping the yarn tangle free during storage, use and transportation. According to one embodiment, yarn is fed up the sides of the bag interior and kept in place by a circlet positioned near the top of the bag. In accordance with this embodiment, the circlet is a fabric tab sewn into the bag that snaps into place around the yarn.

According to yet another embodiment, additional balls of yarn can be loaded into the second storage compartment of the bag. Yarn loaded into the second storage compartment of the bag is kept separate from yarn loaded in the first storage compartment. Yarn loaded into the body of the bag can also be guided through the same circlet, a separate circlet, or an alternative yarn guide as described generally herein and particularly with regard to FIG. 4.

According to still further embodiments of the disclosure, a snap in/out notions bag as is know in the art is also included. The removable notions bag may include a zipper opening and may further be large enough to hold a variety of knitter's tools including double pointed and circular needles. According to still further embodiments, a plurality of additional pockets may be added inside the bag. The pockets are large enough to hold an MP3 player, cell phone, or other similar sized objects and provide further organization and multipurpose use for the user.

The materials of construction for the base and sides of the storage device can be many materials of construction as will be understood by one skilled in the art. For example, cloth such as cotton or wool or cloth made from plastic fiber or a mixture of plastic fiber and cotton and/or wool can be used. Alternatively, rubber, vinyl, plastic, leather, wood, neoprene and the like could be used as part or all of the materials of construction for the base and sides of the storage device. Furthermore, the weave can be a loose weave so as to allow air circulation within and through the storage device, or the weave can be a tight weave such as to prevent water entering the storage device. According to further embodiments, the first and the second storage compartments may be made of the same material, for example, a waterproof material and lining, or may be made of different materials.

The materials of construction for the handle, divider, panels, circlets and any other elements of the storage device may be the same as the materials of construction for the base and sides of the storage device, or may be different. According to further aspects of the disclosure, the combination of the selected construction material and the structural bag design for the storage device provides a semi-rigid or stiff storage device that accounts for and reduces the possibility of top-heaviness. For example, when yarn is inserted in the bottom compartment of the bag it adds to the stability by filling the first storage compartment. However, as the user knit from the yarn, the finished project gets larger and the yarn in the bottom of the bag gets smaller resulting in less stability in the bottom of the bag as the project grows. Thus, according to one embodiment of the disclosure, the materials of construction for the base and sides of the storage device include a heavy, vinyl fabric to help guard against this problem. According to still further embodiments of the disclosure and as will be understood by one skilled in the art, a more flexible material of construction may be used in combination with additional structural reinforcement in the sides and/or bottom of the storage device to prevent the bag from collapsing on itself during use. In alternative embodiments, a liner, such as a nylon or other light weight material, is included in the interior of the storage device.

One aspect of the present disclosure includes a yarn management system integral with and contained within the interior compartment of a portable, hand-held storage device such as a hand-bag. An advantage of this design in that all of the yarn feeding functionality is inside the bag so the yarn is never exposed outside the bag. According to aspects of this embodiment, a plurality of yarn guides such as grommets are contained in the top of the first storage compartment or in the divider between the first and second storage compartments. Additional yarn guides may be includes in the interior of the second storage device to guide the yarn out of the opening of the storage device and allow the yarn to remain untangled. As described further herein, yarn guides may include grommets, flexible fabric tubes, plastic straw-like tubes, circlets, panels, bands, flat tabs and the like. According to one embodiment, circlets (fabric tabs that snap around the yarn to keep it in place) are positioned inside the bag at the top on each side. The circlets help keep the yarn organized inside the bag as it feeds up the interior side panels.

C. Alternative Embodiments of the Yarn Guide

Still further embodiments include alternative grommet functionality, including flexible, rigid and/or semi-rigid fabric tubes. According to some embodiments, these fabric tubes may be used in operation to feed the yarn from the bottom compartment to the top of the device. According to still further embodiments, circlets could be used to feed the yarn from the bottom compartment to the top of the bag. In addition, any shape of grommet may be used in accordance with the disclosure. For example, square, oval, round grommets or other geometric shapes may be used.

As further discussed above, a flat panel could be used to feed the yarn from the first compartment to the second compartment of the storage device. The panel may be removable, or may be fixed in position in the interior of the storage device.

According to one embodiment of the disclosure, a snap in/snap out notions bag may optionally be added to the inside back panel of the pod. The notions bag may be large enough for circular and double pointed needles, or may be configured to hold a user's keys and cell phone. The notions bag may include a zipper at the top and may snap or otherwise affix directly to the inside of the storage device. According to other embodiments, one or more pockets may also be added to the inside of each of the short sides of the storage device. For example, a long pocket may be included along the inside of the front panel of the pod to allow for storage of needles and other knitting or craft tools. In an exemplary embodiment, one notions bag and five pockets may be included in the storage device.

D. Alternative Embodiments of the Storage Device Design

In the illustrative embodiment in FIG. 1, the storage device 106 has a generally backpack shape, in the illustrative embodiment in FIG. 3, the storage device 306 has a generally bucket shape; however, the storage device may include other sizes or configurations to support the yarn management system 100. Specifically, the storage devices 106, 306 may include all of the shapes shown in FIGS. 6A-6S and further described below.

FIGS. 6A-6S are schematic views of alternative bag designs for use in combination with the integral yarn management system in accordance with alternative embodiments of the invention. As illustrated in FIGS. 6A-6S, nearly any recognized and potentially unrecognized form of handbag could be adapted to support the yarn management system including the grommet functionality of the bag disclosed herein. Furthermore, according to still further embodiments of the invention, any of the industry recognized type of handbags listed in the Amethyst Handbag Library, for example, could be modified to include features of the yarn management system described herein. A partial list of the handbag styles as known by those skilled in the art includes, for example; FIG. 6A illustrates a backpack bag design, namely, a shoulder bag with double handles, designed to be carried across shoulders, may have a draw top with a flap-over or a dome shape with zip top closures, also known as a rucksack. FIG. 6B illustrates a barrel bag design, namely a horizontal cylindrical purse shape with a zip top closure, also referenced as a ‘roll bag.’ FIG. 6C illustrates bucket bag design, namely, a roomy bag shaped like a bucket usually with an open top shoulder strap. FIG. 6D illustrates a camera bag design, namely, bag typically shaped to carry camera equipment. FIG. 6E illustrates a clutch bag design, namely, a smaller purse type bag. FIG. 6F illustrates a double handle bag design, namely, a small to medium size bag with double handles that are worn over the shoulder; duffel, cylindrical bag with short handles carried horizontally. FIG. 6G illustrates a drawstring bag design, namely, a bag with a drawstring-gathered closure, drawstring may form straps or it may have a separate strap. FIG. 6H illustrates a facile bag design, namely, a covered frame that snaps together as the closure; feed, drawstring bag, usually with a shoulder strap, shaped like a horse's feed bag. FIG. 6I illustrates a flap bag design, namely, a bag that has a flap-over as its closure. FIG. 6J illustrates a frame bag design, namely, a bag that has metal top fastening with a snap, knob, or clasp closure. FIG. 6K illustrates a hobo bag design, namely, a soft, large bag that usually has a zippered top and shoulder strap. FIG. 6L illustrates a luggage frame design, namely, top fastened bag with a frame of metal like a suitcase and was popular in the 1950's. FIG. 6M illustrates a luggage handle bag design, namely, a bag with covered hard structured cut-out handles originating in the 1960's. FIG. 6N illustrates a satchel bag design, namely, a bag with a wide, flat bottom, zippered or clasped top, two handles or straps, adapted from luggage, may be of any size, generally a variation of the traditional ‘doctor's bag.’ FIG. 6O illustrates a shoulder bag design, namely, any bag with a shoulder strap; structured, a hard constructed bag. FIG. 6P illustrates a structured bag design, namely, a rigid or semi-rigid bag. FIG. 6Q illustrates a tote bag design, namely, a bag adapted from the paper shopping bag sturdy and rectangular with an open top and two strap handles, the inside may further include zippered compartments. FIG. 6R illustrates a trapezoid bag design, namely, a bag with an A-line shape inverted either way, sometimes called a ‘four-poster.’ FIG. 6S illustrates a wire frame bag design, namely, a zip-top bag with wire piping running along the top to hold its frame-like shape.

In addition to these illustrative embodiments, still further alternative design embodiments for the storage device containing an integral yarn management system may be used as will be understood by those skilled in the art. For example, the following include additional bag designs that are within the scope of the invention: an athletic bag design—a soft roomy bag used to carry sports gear and apparel; box—rigid bag shaped like a square or rectangular box with a variety of handle treatments; canteen—round, stiff bag (usually with a shoulder strap) that looks like a traveler's water flask; carpet—large satchel-like bag, originally used for hand luggage and sometimes made out of carpet fabric; convertible—bag with a handle that can be tucked or folded inside turning it into a clutch; fishing creel—woven basket with a flap top and shoulder strap, one design may conform to body contour for comfort, originally used by English fly fisherman to keep the day's catch fresh; flight bag—large bag sometimes with the insignia of an air carrier, originally used by passengers and crew to carry light belongings aboard a plane; half moon—any bag shaped like a half moon with or without a handle; pouch, gathered or straight bag with a top closure usually including a frame, may be large, small, clutch, shoulder, short handled, sporty or dressy; safari—soft leather bag with curved shape, a top zipper, two top straps handles and two outside pockets with flaps and buckles; schoolbag—roomy bag with a snapped clasped or buckled top flap and one wide shoulder strap, often a thick variation of an envelope bag; swagger—roomy, framed bag with two strap handles, open outside pockets and zippered, clasped or open top; and quilted bag, may include a chain handle and of quilted construction.

E. Conclusion

The yarn management systems provides the combined benefit of allowing the user to store unused yarn and the in-progress work piece; provides a yarn management system that prevents tangles during operation while providing unobstructed yarn feed in order to avoid issues with yarn tension and the like; and protects the yarn for the duration of the project by keeping both the unused yarn skeins and the in-progress work piece contained in an interior of the storage device during transportation. Thus, the portable storage device including an integral yarn management system allows the user to easily store yarn, dispense yarn and transport yarn during the duration of a craft or knitting project.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words “comprise,” “comprising,” and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense, that is to say, in the sense of “including, but not limited to.” Words using the singular or plural number also include the plural or singular number, respectively. Additionally, the words “herein,” “above,” “below” and words of similar import, when used in this application, shall refer to this application as a whole and not to any particular portions of this application. When the claims use the word “or” in reference to a list of two or more items, that word covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list, and any combination of the items in the list.

The above detailed descriptions of embodiments of the invention are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed above. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described above for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize. For example, the yarn outlet guide apertures may include grommets or may simply be perforations in the divider. Additionally, the arrangement of guide apertures in the divider may form patterns besides the patterns shown in the Figures. The guide apertures may be arranged on two or more panels, rather than the single panel described herein. The teachings of the invention provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system employing multi-compartment storage systems described in detail herein. These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the detailed description.

The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the above U.S. patents and applications and other references are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.

These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the above detailed description. In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above detailed description explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses the disclosed embodiments and all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention under the claims.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that although specific embodiments of the location system have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except by the appended claims.