Play time

Scrabble and chocolate mousse

Since we can’t go out to play at the moment, I have been finding some indoor things to play with. As well as regular evening games of Scrabble and Jenga in the limery, I’ve been playing in the sewing room. I have taken the opportunity to make something that I’ve wanted to try for a while and to sew with a new material.

Both my projects resulted from not being able to go to Wonderwool this year as it was cancelled. I had a trip planned with friends and had even bought the tickets. Instead, there was an online event and the organisers invited the exhibitors to contribute links to their shops . I don’t really need any more yarn (still working my way through my stash), but I wanted to support some of the small businesses who are currently unable to trade. I found a lovely little fabric shop – Black Mountain Fabrics – that does not normally trade online and, after several messages backwards and forwards, selected two kits that interested me.

First, a Japanese knot bag. I keep seeing pictures of these and thinking that the construction is interesting. So, what better way to have a go than with a kit? I told the lovely lady who owns the shop what sort of colours I’d like and she sent me photos of fabrics to choose from. I was smitten by some with peacock feathers and we combined it with a teal lining. It was a quick and simple make and I think I’m likely to make more of these – they would be ideal for little gifts and only require the fabric – no interfacing, clasps, zips or drawstrings.

Second, a little kit that included cork fabric. I have been fascinated by the idea of cork for bag-making for a while, but wanted something simple to experiment with. This bag has a simple construction and the most wonderful octopus lining. The handle was easy to fit and it was another quick make. I was interested to discover how flexible the cork is and how beautifully it sewed (at least on my sewing machine). I would certainly consider using it for other bag-making projects.

I know that several friends have found their creativity lacking during this period of enforced confinement, whilst some people are flourishing. Have you been playing with new materials or media recently? Or have you simply wanted to crawl under the duvet and not come out?

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28 Comments

  1. Those bags are lovely! I haven’t seen a knot one before but it looks really simple and interesting. Cork fabric is new to me too. I have several not very exciting creative projects on the go and ideas for others but the fine weather means I am out in the garden a lot and then too tired in the evenings to tackle anything new or tricky! I am longing for rain both for the garden and so I have to stay in and start some of those new projects!

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  2. Knot bags are great, the ones I’ve made always sold quite quickly. Both your bags are great. I have bounced from duvet days to creative days, but we’ve just heard that we might be about to “advance” to Level 3 Lockdown – which is a positive thing. Not in time to save a lot of businesses and get everyone back to work, but better than nothing. Sigh.
    PS. Would love to have a game of Scrabble with you!

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  3. Love your Japanese bag, what an interesting shape. I have too many crochet projects I want to get on with bur poorly wrists (well I do have some osteoarthritis and then I over did it with making the succulents! silly me) So it’s sock knitting! always a good backup project.

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  4. I have a friend who uses a Japanese knot bag for her crochet on the move. You can stuff the whole thing in while you’re not actually working on it, and then take the piece and the hook out and hang the bag with the ball of yarn in it from your wrist, using the larger loop.
    I definitely haven’t climbed under the doona yet, I’ve developed a rotating cycle of activity: sew a bit on the machine, do something in the garden, sew a bit by hand, read a new book, take the dog for a walk, mend something, and so on. This only breaks down when I really, really don’t want to go out in the rain or repair three pairs of the Husband’s work pants at once…

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    • The bags added some variety to my activities… currently I’m just longing to sit down and drink coffee and have a chat with someone (other than Mr Snail) in the same physical space. Online chats are good, but not quite the same as actually being there.

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      • I’m so grateful we’re allowed out again in limited numbers. We went to our local coffee shop with Mouse; the tables were 3 metres apart and we had to give our names and addresses but it was just lovely to sit outside and have a coffee we hadn’t made, and for Mouse to have his lactose-free puppacino and receive admiration and strokies from passers by… I have three or four projects/tasks waiting for me and can’t seem to settle to any of them. But that might have something to do with the stack of 10 library books I picked up from their ‘click & collect’ service!

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  5. I love the fabric you chose for both your bags.
    I’ve made quite a few of those knot bags and they are really handy. I use one to take my minimal needs (purse/car keys) to my pilates classes and they are very useful for small projects as Kate has said.
    When we went to Porto a couple of years ago, they seemed to have things make with cork fabric everywhere in all the shops and market stalls although most of it looked more like actual cork – I didn’t see any with the colour and texture of yours, it’s lovely.

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    • The cork fabric had a sort of fleecy backing and was much more flexible than I expected. I’d really love to be able to go to a shop that sells various types, just to get an idea of what is actually available. It’s just not the same reading descriptions of the internet.
      The bag is currently in use for a crochet project, but I can really see its potential for all sorts of uses.

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  6. Lovely! The peacock fabric is certainly beautiful, and I love the simplicity of the knot bag. As for me – mainly drawing.

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  7. Oh my goodness the knot bag is stunning. The bag itself looks beautiful and you chose the perfect fabric and colourway to make it up in.. … And I haven’t even heard of cork fabric – it looks so pretty too – and that is an eye catching bag. You are clever and industrious! And creative! I got out the alcohol inks on a whim and got distracted by them. As my stash of expensive paper is running low I decided to use photograph paper but it doesn’t work the same so I’ve had more misses than hits.

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  8. I love that bag and its simplicity. I have been messing with fabrics and sewing and realized recently I needed new pillow cases. I’m currently deciding what fabric on hand to use for them.

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  9. I love that peacock feather fabric (no surprises there!) and the bag looks great. I haven’t seen them before. I have seen things made with cork fabric, but never thought about sewing with it. I wonder about it cracking.
    I bought a gelli plate for printing, and am loving it! In fact I have to stop myself from making more and more papers that might/maybe be used in future collage work.

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  10. that peacock fabric is properly droolworthy – and I love the bag. My pal has a number of items made form cork fabric that have seen heavy use over a number of years- it’s more durable than you’d expect.

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  11. Both bags are gorgeous. I have seen the knot bag before, and may even have the instructions somewhere …. Thanks for the reminder. I will try to remember to make one of these soon. I have a neice who would just love it!

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  12. oooh that peacock feather bag is so beautiful!
    I’ve had weeks of both doing nothing but knitting and not feeling like I wanted to do anything creative at all. I haven’t been able to think about new tasks or skills though!

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    • I have found it takes extra effort to start something new, but really enjoyed making the bags once I had found the motivation. I’m sure your creativity is lurking somewhere… and you are expressing it through your knitting, even if it’s not something new.

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      • Yes definitely! Slowly but surely I am feeling the call of the sewing machine. I have sewn in the past but it’s been about 10 years and I always did it with the support of my dad so it would be harder for me to pick it up. And then getting supplies was a problem for a while but now that things are starting to open up again it’s a bit less difficult.

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  13. http://snoot.org/toys/scribble/ – this is a slightly different Scrabble game (a guy made it for his Masters thesis decades ago). There are 10 letters on your rack and you play with others, so basically you get one play per time, until someone else comes along, which may not be for days…there are co-operative players and then plain idiots that muck around…no one wins of course, but we all try to go for decent words.
    http://cusmith.com/cgi-bin/tallyTiles.cgi – if you want some help for words, then here you can cut/paste your rack letters in and a range of words will arrive for you to select.
    If you try it out…you can either play anon or if you see someone name Catherine/NZ then you’ve got me…

    Back to the topic…
    I spent a few weeks completely overwhelmed, often under the blankets…I had gone from wandering down to the Mall on day and shopping to the very next day, because of my vulnerability locked in, unable to go out. I soon needed to resolve a lot of things…

    I then seemed to get my act together, enough so whenever I was overwhelmed I could find a way out…and then later, found arty things to do…then I took got into a ‘painting kit’ that I had bought years ago during art school years, and that had been put away…

    Now we have moved Level 2, but there is still lots of teething issues…and rules/restrictions. I wasn’t coping well, but getting my hair cut yesterday, feel more in control

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  14. Charli

     /  May 26, 2020

    I’m one of those hiding under the duvet… my kiln has broken and I can’t get it fixed without much travel, and as someone who usually does a lot of social exercise the restrictions have broken my routine utterly and I can’t find motivation to do anything.
    My garden is looking quite good though.

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