And that’s why I should have learned how to use a sewing machine.

The camo netting I use as top cover for the Lair’s chicken yard is falling apart.


Couple of weeks ago a Generous Reader sent me a section of new camo netting. Not enough to replace the whole top cover, but maybe enough to replace the windward side.

It was kind of an awkward size, roughly 16′ by 4′. So I divided it in half, pinned the halves together, then cut them into two pieces.

Then this afternoon, with nothing else on my plate at all, I proceeded to v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y sew them back together with heavy waxed thread.

This isn’t the first sewing project of this sort I’ve encountered. It doesn’t happen often. But whenever it does, I wish I’d taken the time to learn how to use a sewing machine.

Still, at last it’s done. And if tomorrow doesn’t blow a gale – never a safe bet in Spring – I’ll see about fixing the top cover.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to And that’s why I should have learned how to use a sewing machine.

  1. terrapod says:

    Apologies for having to make you do that much work, but you never really gave us the dimensions of the ideal chicken pen cover. How big an area do you need to cover with some margin for drape over the sides?

  2. John says:

    A porcupine in a grille suit?
    It’s an Irish porcupine in a grille suit !

  3. Kentucky says:

    Well . . . of course you’d have to HAVE a sewing machine . . .

  4. Joel says:

    Yeah, and Monday I’m going to the local thrift store to see if I can correct that.

    But even so, here there be monsters. I happen to know, for example, that sewing machines contain a complex and mysterious gadget called a “bobbin,” whose inner workings are as alien to me as a barrel shroud is to Carolyn McCarthy.

  5. Joel says:

    Apologies for having to make you do that much work, …

    Don’t apologize, for god’s sake. You did me a huge favor.

    Scrounging is a good skill to keep sharp, and scrounging often means adaptation and improvisation. I’m never going to be a tailor but I’m not averse to sewing things together to make them fit.

  6. Robert says:

    I sense a business opportunity here providing tailoring to hermit/prepper/camo-wearing males: “Men, tired of having your cammies dragging in the mud on your recons? Let Joel hem your pants in true TEOTWAWKI fashion off-grid by hand with gen-yew-wine heavy waxed cord. Guaranteed zombie-bite-resistant or half your medium-of-trade begrudgingly refunded in four to six months via horseback rider. Act now, before all heck breaks out.”
    We have a windchill of FOUR with rain right now and I’m bored. How can you tell?

  7. Cookie says:

    For most of my heavy duty sewing I use spiderwire braided fishing line.

  8. Ben says:

    I agree that sewing machines are very mysterious devices, but they seem to give up their secrets easier to females than to us guys. Yes, I know that it somehow involves that all-important bobbin thingy, but also you must thread the thread just so (whilst mumbling the proper incantation). There must be loops in the proper place, and don’t forget that tensoin adjustment!

  9. Judy says:

    There are tons of videos on You-tube about sewing. Plus if the machine you buy doesn’t have the owners manual with it check the internet for PDFs.

    Look for one that has metal gears. Singer and the bunch went through a plastic gear stage and those machines will not hold up to serious sewing. Take your multi-tool with you and look at the guts. Plug it in and run some fabric through it. Mine is two speeds so I can sew leather/blue jean hems with it as well as silks and lace.

    If you guys think the ‘bobbin thingy’ is tricky, have your child dismantle the upper-tension assembly. Even Dad tip-toed around Mom until the sewing machine mechanic got it put back together.

To the stake with the heretic!