Thursday, March 14, 2013

Birdseed Bag Sit-Upon

My crocus and earliest daffodils are up and blooming. Fall-planted garlic and shallots are up and growing in the garden, and just received a top-dressing sprinkle of bonemeal and a light mulch of shredded leaves from last year. The soil in the rest of the Early garden bed has been composted and raked smooth, now being watered to bring up the weed seeds for a final cultivating before planting later this month. It's starting to look like Spring is on its way!

But there's still a lot of snow in the higher elevations, just 10 minutes drive away. And that means there's still a lot of snow fun - snowshoeing and cross-country skiing - to be enjoyed. When on an outing in the snow, it's important to have some kind of waterproof seating for lunch and break times; preferably lightweight, easy to fit in or strapped onto your daypack, and with a bit of insulating thickness to it. Harking back to my Girl Scout days, I decided to make a sit-upon.

For those of you who weren't Girl Scouts, making a sit-upon is a traditional camping project. They're made by weaving strips of newspaper into a padded square, then enclosing in an envelope of vinyl tablecloth or other waterproof fabric, to sit upon round the campfire. I decided to skip the waterproofing layer, and just make my woven pad out of waterproof material.

I have a few wintertime bird feeders hanging in a pine tree outside my picture window. I love watching the variety of birds in our area, so even though it's quite expensive these days I find buying birdseed a worthwhile expenditure. It now comes in woven plasticized bags, that I couldn't see just throwing away, so I've saved them in the bottom of the birdseed cans until now. They'd be perfect recycled into a woven sit-upon.

Working outside on the deck, to keep the little fluff bits of seed hulls out of the house, I cut the bags to open them out flat. With careful measuring, I could get three 12" x 25" sections from each 40-pound bag, or one plus a scant second one from the 20-pounders. By creasing each section lengthwise, opening it up and folding each long edge to the center crease, and then folding the center crease to enclose the cut ends (like bi-fold seam binding), I made 3" x 25" strips, each four layers thick with all cut edges enclosed, and clipped each one with a clothespin to keep them from blowing off my table.

Traditional GS sit-upons are 4 strips by 4 strips, making a 12" square that can be folded down to a 6" square. But my sit-upon-er is a bit bigger than a 10-year old girl's (besides, I'm also wearing multiple layers out in the cold) , so I made my sit-upon 5 strips by 5 strips - using 10 pieces total. Weave the strips together, trying to keep them pretty much centered in regards to the crosswise strips. They're a bit slippery, so I used the clothespins to keep them from sliding too far out of alignment while weaving them together.

Once all the strips are in place, more or less, start with the center and middle strips. Measuring to make sure they're centered, fold an end up over the edge of the cross-wise strip and tuck it snugly back underneath the strip you just folded it over. Spin the square around, push the strips together tight, and repeat on the other edge. When all of the bottom strips are folded up and tucked in, flip the pad over and do the same on the other side, all the while making sure all the strips are tucked up tight against each other.

 For the corner strips, I folded them over but instead of tucking them back under the strip they'd just been folded over I tucked them under the edge of the next, adjacent, strip as I folded it up and tucked it in.

When all the strips are tucked in tight, you have a woven pad that holds itself together, and weighs practically nothing. I fold mine down into a 9"square and slide it down into my daypack between my water bladder sleeve and the rest of the pack contents. It works great! Snow gets into the weave if I spin around while sitting on it, but it's easy to shake out and wipe dry. I'm thinking this also will make a good garden kneeling pad, and probably make it into my summertime camping gear as well.


Annodear said...


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