Friday, February 08, 2008

Make Gear, Not Art....

Luckily, my artist's block hasn't extended to my sewing machine. Due to the two weeks of -20F to -40F temperatures we've been having, I haven't been skiing a lot. Of course, I am thinking about skiing a lot---hence the new project of outfitting Fromage and I with some cold weather gear. I can't afford to buy this stuff, so I've been clever and enterprising and made some stuff, myself. Above is a picture of ski overboots I made to fit my boots----out of a lightweight coat scavenged from the Transfer station and a felted wool sweater (also from the TS). Of course, I bought the pom poms.... The velcro flys are made from the collar of a raincoat....from the TS, of course.

Second pair of ski overboots, made from military insulated lining clothes. (Nice, because they have shell material on both sides, and they're quilted already...) These are for approx. size 10 man's boots, but with a lot of elastic, they actually fit boots a size on either size of that. Unfortunately, they seemed to be too roomy, too puffy. I was concerned that when one would ski with these on, when the foot is flexed, the boot would pooch out and rub......

So I added velcro on each side of the foot, as well as 2 pieces on the back. This really makes the overboots more.....tidy.

All of the boots have a strap underneath the heel to keep them on. I'm thinking they'll need a second strap of some sort to keep the toes from slipping up and over the boot... But I have to actually field test them to find that out....

Knowing that I wanted to make ski pole pogies and also more boots with more insulation, I invested in a sleeping bag from Value Village for $10.00.

The lining of the sleeping bag was flannel, and in cold weather, Cotton Kills! I took out the flannel and replaced it with taffetta. The nice thing about the sleeping bag is that the filler was already a little compacted, making it much easier to sew.

Here are the ski pole pogies, all done! I finished the edges with strips from the aforementioned raincoat. A bit of velcro on the pole opening makes it so one can snug the pogie in place.

Also, being the female of the species, I was driven to make some fancy designs---just some free sewing with yellow thread. For a pair of pogies for Fromage, I'll make some designs that are less....cute.

And here's the shot to describe how one actually uses ski pole pogies! And why am I modeling this stuff indoors? It was -24F this afternoon, and my digital camera would be unable to work in that temperature.....freezes up immediately!

Fromage took the pogies on a ski this afternoon and proclaimed them "Freakin' Awesome!" except for a tendency to slip a little, which a little elastic cord will fix.

So far, so good.

I'm going to make a lot more.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Frozen Birthday

My 36th Birthday today! I wake to -33F, sunrise just starting on the horizon. I stoked up the wood stove, got my coffee.....

Of course, I must count my blessings. The rest of the town down in the vally is enjoying -47F and a thick blanket of ice fog.

Regardless of the cold, (or perhaps in challenge to it?) we're still going ahead with our ski expedition plans. 2 trips in the next month. Although my Artist's Block is holding steadily---and painfully---the creative freeze doesn't extend to my sewing machine. I've found several coats at the Transfer Station and have been using them to make insulated ski overboots and next, some ski pogies. The coats are an excellent idea, as they have shell material, insulation and lining all layered and ready to go.

I worked at Apocalypse Design, an outdoor gear manufacturer for awhile this winter, so I learned how all of these things were made. I am NOT copying their designs, I assure you! Firstly, I just don't have the sewing skills, or the tools to make the garments they do. (I also don't have the $$$ to buy their stuff...) I am making my own patterns by carefully measuring all of our various ski boots. Also, the coat material doesn't allow for generous cutting...I have to fit the pattern into the fabric, not the easier vise-versa. On my first pair of overboots, I cut the toe wrong, so when I sewed it and turned it right side out, I ended up with little pointy toes, like elf shoes! Allowing this to be a happy accident and willing to be bizarrely cute out there in the frigid ski trails, I sewed pale blue pom-poms to the toes. I am so funny!

So that is what I am doing today, my birthday....working on some fun sewing projects. Fromage says I need to leave some time free in the middle of the day.....but won't say what for. Hmmmm!