Make Summer Camp: Linen Bag

Linen bag

Hello, readers! Are you Making stuff yet? Taken up the Challenge?

According to Western occult tradition, only linen and silk have the power to stop aetherial forces from gradually mucking up the energies of magical tools.  Sooner or later, tools that aren’t stored properly lose their juju; and to be properly stored, they need to be stored in linen or silk.

So I needed a linen bag. Two, actually, but I’m only counting this one toward the things I’m making for summer camp (my three things will likely be paintings). You can deride me all you want for believing that tools have to be stored properly, but there’s rules in this sort of work, and it’s best to be following the long chain of accumulated knowledge at times.  So.  Linen bags.

Except that linen is fussy.  And heavy, and hard to work with. And hard to find, and expensive.  And silk is even more of all of these things. Will a blend work? Like this 70% linen/30% cotton combination (except it really hangs like it’s 60/40% linen/cotton.  Hmmm.

Better make it with a lining, just in case.

Those bags I made a few months ago helped. No, they didn’t come to life, to cut and measure fabric.  It’s just that, having made those bags, I had a pretty good idea what the limits were on the size and shape of a bag were that I could produce by machine.  And I had a pretty good idea how to make the cord that would close up the bag with some of the trimmings. And I had a pretty good idea how to construct a lining.

There’s this body of accumulated knowledge that comes from being a Maker, particularly within a particular craft or set of crafts. If all you do is work with wood, pretty soon you have a whole stable of tricks and tips that guide and govern how you work, and at what speed.  I came across one just today on a woodworking site, which said that if you have to drill a hole through a wooden sphere to make a bead… first make a hole in a scrap piece of wood for the bead to sit in, so it doesn’t roll around.  Put a line of blue painter’s tape right over the line you intend to cut in a piece of plywood; that way the edge won’t shatter.

One of my bits of insight from sewing is, “remember to change the thread to the color of the fabric before you sew. No matter how much you think, “Oh, it will be decorative!” that line of stitching simply won’t be as pretty as you think it will be.  Take the time, change the thread color.  No matter how tedious the task, change the thread, top and bottom, even if that means filling a lower bobbin.

Meanwhile, I was alternating between making the bag and checking out some stuff on Pinterest, which is a great crafters’ resource. Except mostly what I was experiencing was sewing machine envy.  There were a lot of cool feet for the Bernina sewing machine line. I have a Singer from the late 1960s, and it’s an awesome machine, except it has one foot, and that one foot is a substitute for the real foot, and basically I can do a straight stitch and not much else.  Oh, well. So there’s no point in getting excited about new tools for your craft. Work with what you have, to produce what you need.  And along those lines…

Insight For You

Ivy of Circle Thrice made a great point in her comment, which is that there’s a great chance that you have a number of projects that you’re putting off already; and that you may even have the materials to build already.  Don’t discount the possibility that the things that you’re going to Make this summer are things that you;ve already identified as things you want and need, and that you have the skills to create for yourself.

Second, recognize that you have the tools already.  Identify one project or maybe two that you’re thinking about maybe, maybe doing, and then look around your house to see what you could build it out of. You may find that the materials for Making, and the tools, are already there. Even if you can’t Make the real thing, maybe you can build a paper prototype. Or create a drawing of the thing, and Make a materials list for your project.  Or Make an inventory of the tools and skills you want to practice with.  Move your project a little way down the curve toward “complete” today.

And tell me, and the other Readers, about it!

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  1. I processed and canned nearly a full flat of strawberries (pie filling, using ClearJel, a new product for me) and strawberry butter. Plus a few pounds of white peaches into jam.

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