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!