Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stick Bags

My sister received her Second Degree Black Belt last night. This is a Big Deal. She's 47 and was by no means an athletic person. Growing up she was the very definition of accident-prone. She used to describe herself as being "completely without grace." No longer. She started karate at 42, very stiff, very awkward, but she loved it, and stuck with it.

The Advanced Black Belts train with a pair of sticks. Essentially these are dowels between 26 and 28" long. Hers are just under an inch in diameter. They come wider, for folks with bigger hands. Problem with the sticks, though, is they're too big for the average athletic bag, so they end up sticking out, getting caught on things, and two of them are hard to carry around in one hand.

When she saw my little skinny bags, she asked if I could make a bag for her sticks. No problem.

Then she asked for a strap, so she could carry it over her shoulder. Tricky problem, given the bag would be very long and very narrow.

I'd been thinking about how I would make the bag. The bag didn't need a zipper its entire length, but because the zipper would only be 1/3 the length of the bag, I wouldn't be able to cover the inside seam the way I do in the skinny bags. Finally, I had to work out the size. After a bit of math and graph paper, I set to work yesterday.

My sister had given me some upholstery grade fabric she had bought as a remnant to use for the bag. I used the standard nylon webbing as a strap and I added a gold tassel as a zipper pull.

I made one bag, and didn't like the way the strap attached to it, so I made another bag, slightly longer. Both bags are 3" wide, 2" deep. The short one is 28" long, and this one is 30" long.

These photos are of the second bag. (Here I need to tell you my nephew is also a Black Belt, also trains with sticks, but his are longer than his mother's.)

I wasn't sure which bag she would like, so I brought them both to her house. As soon as she saw them, the room exploded with a high-pitched SQUEEEEE, as she ran to her athletic bag, grabbed her sticks, zipped open Stick Bag #1 and put them inside, zipped the bag shut, then grabbed her son's sticks, and inserted them in Stick Bag #2.

All in about 15 seconds.

I guess that means she liked them.


Margery said...

Now, which family member was it who wanted to take up pole vaulting...

Derby said...

I think she liked them VERY MUCH!

GloJoeSews said...

Wow, what a wonderful story! I've been keeping track of ur developing skills with ur zipper bags and now this. I can just see ur sis's face when she saw what u made for her. Awesome!

Sharon said...

Great story! And a great job on the bags - obviously! The one you show looks waaay better than an old athletic bag. *grin*

Selvage Fairy said...

And when Mr. Karate starts working with a sword. will there be a really long bag for that?

Millie said...

Actually, SF, he already has a wooden sword to practice with. It's a bit more decorative, though, and he doesn't cart it around anywhere.