My order of sugru arrived earlier in the week, and I had SUCH a good time playing with it last night. Sugru is a DIY silicone that arrives soft and ready to mold like modeling clay, but air dries into a tough, resilient silicone that can permanently enhance or repair the project you use it on. I just love the “hack things better” ideology behind this material’s development and marketing, and I couldn’t wait to get a chance to see what stuff around me could be improved by a little bit of thoughtfully placed putty.  Of course, most of the projects that came to mind were craft-related!

I have this beautiful yarn bowl made by my friend Kirsten of Long Dog Yarns, but the slot in it was pretty wide, so that the fingering- or laceweight yarns I favor would easily escape the orifice when I would pull to draw out more yarn. A little bit of sugru means that the bowl is now more customized for my own yarn tastes and projects… since yarn is squishy and hardened sugru has a little bit of give to it, I’ll still be able to squeeze any yarn through the slot, but now they’ll be a lot more likely to stay in place when I pull, and the yarn will keep feeding nicely out of the hole in the bowl, the way they’re supposed to. I already know I’ll get more use out of my yarn bowl this way, which is part of the point of sugru. Why buy new things when your existing stuff can be made better and more useful?

This second sugru project is another version of the same concept… customizing my crafty tools to make them more useful to me. I totally fell for this Fiskar’s model when I was in the market for a craft knife- it might have been the bright orange color that I love, or just the promise of a more ergonomic knife handle, but I bought the “finger” knife instead of the regular cylinder handled ones. This was kind of one of those better in concept than in practice designs… using the knife on the end of my index finger is great, but the backs of the handle dig uncomfortably into the top of your finger if you have to apply any significant amount of cutting pressure.

Enter sugru! I used the squishy clay to add padding to the parts of the handle that were uncomfortable, and the wide pad of sugru helps distribute the pressure over a larger area, making the strain less acute. The leverage of the knife still requires using pressure on the back of the finger, but now it’s just useful pressure and not two plastic prongs digging unforgivingly into my flesh. This sugru hack is more about quality than quantity in making my stuff better. With the yarn bowl, I know that I’ll use it more often now with the repaired design, but with the knife, I imagine I’ll use it the same amount, for the same craft tasks I used to, but the uses will be much more enjoyable now! Isn’t sugru neat? I’ve already started a list of things to hack next time I open a package… probably more crafty things, knowing me! My spinning wheel is next.