Not my regular craft

We all know my default crafts are knitting, sewing, weaving & spinning. They each hold top spot in turn, depending on what wild idea has crossed my mind or article I have stumbled across.

Every so often, I need something different. Don’t get me wrong, I could spend an entire lifetime solely focusing in one just one of those areas (assistant to an experimental archeologist recreating Iron Age textiles comes to mind), but sometimes I want to try something new-ish.

323This bundle I picked up from the instructors of the snowshoe workshop my Mum & I took in November is just such a distraction from my regular maker schedule. A few years ago I took the winter moccasins course with the same couple who taught the snowshoe making course. My Winter moccasins are great, on cold days, but I wanted another pair that were better suited for warmer weather.

Between the pattern in the instruction kit & a few resources on line I was more or less able to make what I have seen called “Scout Moccasins”. I honestly have no idea if this is the proper name for this style or even if this would be considered a traditional moccasin design. I should probably corner one of the First People’s curators/techs (same knowledge, different pay rate) at work & ask them.

If you can stitch a rip, you can make moccasins.

Once you have a pattern for a design you like, moccasins are fairly straight forward shoes to make. Take a few measurements, transfer them to the leather, measure twice but cut the leather once then put in your tacking stitches.

374And start to gather & stitch (you need to use what’s called a Glover’s Needle, they have a 3 sided tapered point & artificial sinew, separate an arm length strand into it’s 3 plies)

376 The left 1/2 of the toe of my moccasin is always much neater than the right 1/2

377Repeat for 2nd moccasin

391I could have stopped here & punched holes for laces around the ankles but I wanted a wrap around the ankle.

My first attempt was….lets just say “ass”.

402I had to rip back the stitching around the wraps….I’m much happier with the final result and they are quite comfortable. I felted one of my spinning batts to use as insoles once the leather stretches a bit more.

432There are a few things I will change for my next pair (like add a crepe rubber sole so I can wear them on paved streets & not destroy the leather), but these are perfectly suitable.

Oh…I’ve been a busy bee

My plan to post more often went completely off the rails, but for good reason! I’ve been a busy little crafting bee!

It started with my turning 6 pairs of pants into knickerbockers. I’m planning on posting how I did this at a later date, but really it was pretty dead easy. I need to pick up some fun knee high argyle socks to complete my English Estate look and perhaps get a few Oxfod Cloth Button-down shirts & cravats so I can look like a complete Blue Blood tosser!

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Then I finished Innisfil. I wore it to the Knitters Frolic and received a few compliments which left me chuffed as it’s nice to have your hard work appreciated by complete strangers.

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On the tails of my knickerbocker success I set about sewing up some new spring frocks. Two have been finished thus far (one on black linen & one in red linen) using Sonya Phillips pattern from the 100 Acts of Sewing project she did last year. (not the greatest shots, I know, but my camera battery was dead and had to use the mobile camera.) Both dresses have already seen a lot of wear & I need to get cracking on the purple version. I can totally see this dress becoming a staple of my wardrobe and I have plans to sew a few heavier wool versions for cooler weather. This is a super easy pattern and really good for a beginning sewer as you just have 4 seams and a hem. If making your own bias tape is a bit intimidating, you can use store bought.

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I have also finished a Hugin & Munin shawl, there is no photo as it will probably become a Christmas present.

This massive upsurge in creative production has been the best therapy, things have been busy around here which has led to my not getting out to socialize as much as I should/need. Being able to hunker down in the Girl Cave and emerge a few hours later with a new dress or take to the couch with my knitting at the end of the day has given me a nice sense of accomplishment, some new skills and taken the edge off my lack of socializing. The only real down side from this flurry of activity is I’m getting more ideas for projects than I have hours in the day and with the Summer Break looming about 6 weeks off I’m going to miss this time…perhaps I’ll institute a Afternoons are for Crafting rule while the kids are at home…

 

 

Because I hate being cold…

Walking down the street after work the one day I overheard two fashionable 20-somethings chattering about clothes & the oncoming cold season. One of them whinged “I HATE Winter, it’s so hard to look cute in all those bulky layers” and I started to snigger. I remember those youthful days of fashion taking priority over function. That plan held until the day the bus was late…

It’s well known amonst my people that I grew up on a farm just outside of the city, this meant I took a school bus to get to well, school. Normally our bus picked us up at 7:45am, we would head down the driveway at 7:40 and the bus would pull up just as we got to the road…except for that one morning when I was in grade 11. The bus was late and not just a little late, 25 minutes late and I was not dressed to be out in -10· without the windchill weather. I FROZE my then skinny little 110lbs arse off & vowed to take a practical approach to my getting dressed from that point on, regardless of how dorky I looked just so long as I didn’t lose anything to frostbite.

Since becoming a knitter, the dork factor has been reduced considerably with the help of cute handknit hats, shawls, mittens & cowls. With my puffy down jacket, I might look like the Micheline Man, but I’m toasty warm.

My dislike of being cold however does not mesh well with my sense of fiscal responsability and I refuse let the house temp go above 20·, to quote Brenda Dayne “if you’re cold, put on a sweater.” This works great for my core, but there are not enough wool socks in the world to keep my feet warm…that is until I took a moccasin workshop with my parents in early November.

For the cost of a pair of UGGS (based on when I priced them a few years ago, freaked & haven’t checked since) my Mum & I signed up for the workshop at the Canadian Canoe Museum (this would be our third course there, highly recommend them). However as the time of the course drew close, a scheduling “mishap” at my Mum’s work place meant she wouldn’t be able to attend or drive non-driving me. My Dad suddenly found himself reluctantly roped in to cover off the Saturday workshop. I think he was a bit concerned that the workshop would be all women & him the only man, he relaxed when he saw the other guys show up.

After measuring our feet, selecting the type of leather/suede we wanted to use for the feet & uppers of our moccasins, we cut everything out & got down to the sewing.

 

By the end of Saturday, we had our feet sewn up and ready to have the uppers added the next day. My Dad was not overly happy with his stitching & wanted my Mum to pull them out & redo it. She said no! She like the less than perfect look of them as it showed his good effort and she appreciated that he had stepped up to help out and made a good show of it. Say it with me people “Awwwww!”

Sunday morning, bright and early my Mum & I headed out for Day 2…

We measured out our leg lengths & widths then got down to the sewing of the uppers.

 

By lunch time I was done with the first boot & well into my second.

 

The finished product is a leather shell that you wear over a felt liner (I found some shearling liners for ours, luxury!) with a felt insole between the liner & the leather that is held up my the lacing.

 

These puppies are super toasty! The course instructors actually wear theirs for traditional winter camping trips they offer through their company Lure of the North! I’m probably never going to use mine in such a situation, but they are great for around the house! As they were super easy to make and I have a Tandy Leather shop not too far from me, I will be adding them to my list of handmade gift options.

Complete side note: On the Monday morning after the workshop, I was wearing my new moccasins while tossing out the trash & ran into my neighbour. I proudly showed off my new creation to her, to which she asked “why would you want to spend a weekend making something you could buy?” To which I replied: “So I have a decent skill base to survive the Zombie Apocalypse”. She didn’t get it…which means her survival chances are really, really low!