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?

Thanks, dad

Earlier this year my dad died. He wasn’t an acquisitive man, so he didn’t leave possessions to inherit, but I do have some objects around the house that came from him and one in particular has been getting¬†plenty of use recently.

When I was about 14 I became very keen on patchwork and I wanted a board on which to pin out my designs. In those days blocking boards were unheard of and I guess that most people just made do. My dad, being happy to make a variety of things for us (I have very fond memories of our sledge, which he made from old timber and which had metal curtain-track runners and his homemade table tennis table) agreed to make me a cork board for my crafty endeavours. At the time he’d just laid a cork floor in our kitchen and he had a few tiles left over. Those along with a piece of hardboard and some tile adhesive allowed him to create¬†a board for me.

My patchwork board

My patchwork board

As you can see, he was using up scraps of tiles, so it’s a bit of a patchwork itself. Plus, to begin with it was a bit smelly because of the adhesive, but that has faded with the years. When I’m blocking crochet or knitting, I have to cover it with a tea-towel because otherwise it stains my work slightly. However, in combination with some map pins, it is still doing a great job… I’m sure my dad would be pleased.

In use for blocking some bunting

In use for blocking some bunting

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