Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Of Mice and Corn

This past weekend our church had an open gym outreach event: inflatable bouncy things for the kids; volleyball, basketball, and corn hole for the adults. Earlier in the week I went to check on my bags to see if any needed to be repaired. I took one look in the bag and now I had the answer for the question from the previous weekend: "Why is there popcorn in my boots?"

Fortunately there was some time to handle this. Online I found corn hole bags at a local retailer for $20-$25 and thought for sure that I could make them for less (plus I was very particular in wanting orange and blue). As luck would have it the local fabric store had multiple 40% off coupons that week.

One of the problems I encountered with my earlier sets of bags was that I had to keep repairing the seams. Anyone that has played cornhole (or bags in my part of the country) know that the bags take a beating. While an exploding bag is fun to see, it is less amusing when you have to play a bag short. When I made this set of bags, I wanted to prevent catastrophic failure. I used a triple stitch for all my machine stitching. In addition, there is a backup row of triple stitches for when the primary one fails. This way an unstressed seam now takes over and no corn is lost. btw this blows through the thread real fast. (The one side that doesn't have the second row of stitching is where the fabric is folded)

Filling the bags provided another opportunity in problem solving. Corn jams up the funnels in our kitchen too easily. The ones I have in the garage weren't much better. The funnels we use for canning are too big mouthed. At first I tried creating a cone with a piece of paper but it was hard to handle. I finally cut the bottom off one of the ubiquitous water bottles. The corn flowed quite nicely (a 2-liter bottle would have worked better, but we didn't have any).

After filling the bags with a pound of feed corn (I have extra if you want some), I wanted to machine stitch the backup row before hand stitching the gap. With a full bag, this is difficult to do as the now three dimensional bag gets in the way. I finally figured out (after making a number of the bags) that what I really needed to do was leave a tab where I turned the bag. I could then easily stitch the reinforcing row of stitches and then tuck it into the bag before hand sewing.

Still being paranoid, I had one more trick up my sleeve. Make an extra bag. Who wouda thunk? Cornhole is played with 4 bags for each team. My sets have 5!

The bags should now be able to survive much playing time. Now to get those stupid mice.

1 comment:

MakeSense said...
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