Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hanging around

Term-time life with children seems to involve a great deal of hanging around.  At ballet.  In the playground (sunning myself on a bench). At various sports events.  While there is a birthday party on.  Waiting for an after school club to finish.

Hanging around is boring, and I need something to entertain me and keep me occupied.

I always have a book in my handbag.  Currently I'm reading Treasures of Time by Penelope Lively, which is part of a new series called Penguin Decades.  I love these new covers - all of them - and it is always good to rediscover old books that are new to me.

But I can't always read a book when I'm hanging around.  Particularly if I have one of the children with me, or there is good people watching to be done.  Instead I need something to occupy my hands.  A portable craft that can be stuffed in a bag and brought out when there is time to be killed, and then stuffed back in the bag until next time.

I like sock knitting for its portability, and simplicity.  Apart from the heel and toe, it is just a whole load of knit stitches - round and round.  Easy to manage while talking about goodness-knows-what with the children.

But I find sewing is often less portable.  I need to get a good collection of small hand-sewing projects that I can have on the go.  I am hand quilting Livvy's strawberry quilt at the moment, which is a good pick-up-put-down job, but not portable.  Embroidery is a good hand sewing project.  And suffolk puffs are simple and mindless once you've cut up a whole pile of circles.

But what else could I do?  What fun, portable, hand-sewing projects can you think of, which I could carry around with me?


  1. I've found your blog recently. I spend a lot of time waiting for children to finish activities. Too short a time to go home. I've recently discovered crocheting. It is perfect as I'm doing granny squares, so it is small and I can stop at any point. Less needles to carry round than sock knitting.

  2. Doodle line drawings? Especially fun with nice toothy paper. Bonus, you get to people watch and record! And it entertains the children too.

    (I can't knit or sew so have to rely on the foibles of my pen).

  3. One of my most portable crafts has been tatting. Once you have the bobbins full, a change purse holds it. One year it was all snowflakes, one year it was miles of simple trim, which I cut up and used as I needed it. White only. I tatted on plane, bus and just sitting in the park.

  4. Have searched in vain for the same thing, and came up with crochet. But that was after I realised that the thing I liked about sewing was it taking me away from life, into another room, where I could lose myself in it and emerge refreshed.

    Maybe I'll be thinking about it differently when Fitz is older...

  5. Hmm. No idea. Embroidery? or we are definitely talking Sewing Sewing?
    Maybe you should just take a family size bar of Green and Blacks in your handbag instead, eat it and daydream. No other equipment required!

  6. I take some felt shapes and some embroidery threads with me - you can do simple running stithces round, join pieces up or do some fancy stitching - something for every occasion.

  7. I always have a sock in my bag ready for spare moments. That came in very handy when I was summoned to casualty in the wee small hours because my daughter had appendicitis. I had just cast on a new sock. By the time her appendix was out and I left the hospital, the sock was all done bar the toe.
    For portable sewing, how about English patchwork? Hexagons are good and not easy to do on a machine. You could either do tiny ones and make a doll's quilt, or larger ones. The basic Grandmother's Flower Garden rosette can be used to decorate cushions etc or joined together to make something more ambitious. It's a good way to use up offcuts too.

  8. I always have a book with me, too. So thank you so much for alerting me to the Penguin Decades series. Not sure how I missed this!

    And still trying to teach myself to knit socks...

    K x

  9. Smocking is going to be my new sitting on the sofa, sitting in the pub waiting for friends activity- I am going to try a bit next week at my sewing class if I get Florence's little bug frock finished.


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