Sewing With Hemp #2

I just finished sewing a batch of sprout bags for a soon-to-be non-profit organization that I love, Plenitud PR. To see the story on how I got involved in this and the prototype bags of hemp cloth, go to my prior post https://jenyjenny.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/sewing-with-hemp/. We went through several styles and tags for the sprout bags, and finally settled on this:

shows their website, plenitudpr.org

shows their website, plenitudpr.org

The folks at Plenitud in Puerto Rico hold workshops on sustainable living, and sometimes put up displays at events like Earth Day celebrations. They demonstrate how to grow sprouts by putting seeds in the hempcloth bags and watering them a few times a day for about 5 days, resulting in a harvest of fresh green salad fast food. Perhaps you’ve read that a bill has recently passed in Colorado, making hemp-growing legal in that state. Here’s an interesting article by a proponent of hemp as a sustainable building material, Jason Lauve, “Team Hemp House.”

I used the hemp 7 oz. summer cloth from Hemp Traders, the one that Plenitud staff members like best, and made a drawstring for the bags out of 100% hemp twine 3 mm thick. On the website, hemptraders.com, I found that one can order scrap hemp cloth by the pound, so being the remnant-seeker that I am, I asked for a pound of scrap. What they sent me was a heavy, long, skinny canvas-like piece of hemp cloth that had what looked like burned-off ends. No problem. I eventually decided it looked like the right size and shape to make a yoga mat carrying case.

I usually keep my yoga mat in the car so I don’t forget it, but this one was in the bathroom since I brought it home from the gym the other day after having smashed a cockroach on it during practice (so much for ahimsa, eh?) and I wanted to rinse it off in the shower before using it again. I wrapped some of the hemp scrap around it to get a rough measurement, cut a rectangle that seemed fitting, and machine embroidered a border motif on it (from Embroidery Library). Then I cut some circles that roughly correspond to the wound-up ends of the mat, and sewed them on. I put a little hem on the unfinished ends in case they want to unravel some day.

snap closure

snap closure

I left most of the hemmed edges open, they’re just sewn together at the ends where the circlepieces connect. After breaking a couple of needles, I switched to one for sewing leather, with better results. I really hope I didn’t screw up the alignment on my needle sewing through thick layers of this very heavy, but seemingly breathe-able cloth. One of the properties of hemp cloth is that it’s supposed to resist mildew. Sometimes after practice I wipe the mat with those wet-wipes they dispense at the gym, to get the foot-germs off, but it’s never soaking wet after practice.

The mat fits very snugly in this bag, so I don’t think it would ever fall out while carrying it, but I sewed on one snap in the center. My DH felt that velcro would have been a great closure, but oh my goodness, no. You just don’t know the overall demeanor of my group. The sound of someone ripping open a velcro seal in class, shudder! It is not welcome, as they’ve been known to announce. Ditto, the sound of someone snapping their mat out of its roll and flopping it casually on the gym floor. We’ve been asked not to make unnecessary noise when coming in to class, especially if we come in late and everyone is already sitting in a meditative pose with their hands folded in prayer position or facing up. And don’t leave your smelly tennis shoes on the floor anywhere near the nose of your neighbor, put those bad boys over by the wall. I think it’s funny, every time they announce that, my eyes involuntarily roll up into my head and I try to guess which of the ol’ ladies it originated with. I know it’s not the tall skinny lady with the Eleanor Roosevelt hair-do because her trainers are more often than not right there next to her mat. And I refrain from adding loudly to the announcement, “And for heaven’s sake, don’t fart! Don’t even think about farting!”

Ahem. I digress.

I added a strap to carry it on my shoulder. I’ve seen lots of bags with various kinds of straps, and I think they are pretty cool.

all bagged up and ready for down-doggin'

all bagged up and ready for down-doggin’

off to the gym

off to the gym

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