How to install a zipper.

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I was browsing some patterns on Ravelry (knitters heaven) I clicked through to “the easiest knitted sweater zipper install ever” and found indeed the easiest install ever.(Who wants to spend time sewing when you could be knitting?)

The brilliant thing about the internet and a site like Ravelry is that you find a wealth of information that’s actually relevant, you’re never stuck on how to do something,and everybody is friendly! They also post some amazing handmade projects, and it’s all there for you to use and buy,adapt and enjoy.

And then I saw this:

Zipper install

What is that little ear doing there?

Not only is it amazingly useful, trackable and good, there is also a little intimate glimpse of someone’s life, someone who took the time to photograph all this, is very capable, and also has at least one ginger cat who likes to be near her and warm knitted items. I love it!

Snowflakes Snawheid

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I feel a little bit bad, as I’ve obviously not made any shoes recently; I’ve diverted my creative urges to other area’s, mostly knitting. It’s meditative for me) and you can redo as much as you want/need :-)

Knitting is even better when you’ve made the item yours by adapting the pattern (to fit better, different colours) and it’s better still when someone requests an item, and you know they will be happy with it.

Snowflakes Snawheid by Avila Janssen

My friend wanted his name on this one, so I had an excuse to work out how to knit some letters into a pattern.

Grant

Designing a knitting pattern is easier than you think

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Designing a knitting pattern is all about calculations. First you measure the body, then decide on the measurements, materials and size of your needles, and then the calculations begin! All these things,and shaping affect the number of stitches. Some knitters get frustrated by the knitting results not matching the promise of the pattern, but I don’t understand how they don’t constantly check everything is progressing correctly… I enjoy these calculations :-) Again, the reward is wearing something proudly, something you made yourself.

Clarks Fargo Lace

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Congratulations Clarks! You have produced a flat, unstructured shoe, that is more suited for autumn weather than the flip-flop and canvas stuff we’ve been wearing all summer. Since Toms’ rise to fame we have a whole nation used to wearing thin, flat, thin soled shoes. Compared to those these black suede lace ups without heel or toe reinforcements feel positively cosy and comfortable. (And Toms’ soles are very cushy compared to the sandals I see most of the girls wearing!)

To stop the upper from collapsing, and add some waterproofing, Fargo Lace only have a tiny rubber edge around the sole. They feel like wearing your comfy slippers.
The toe shape and the black suede remind me slightly of the Eighties, but nobody cares as long as we all wear them;-)

I only wish they came with alternative quarters….I’m against the hunt of wild jaguars….
Buy them! I did. I’ll probably copy them at some point;-)

P.S. Don’t worry; “Ponyskin” is not really made from ponies! They just leave the hair on the usual ol’ cowskins, and they die anyway, right?!

(Disclaimer!! Anybody who knows me will tell you I love cows, and I haven’t eaten any since I watched “Fast Food Nation” by Richard Linklater in 2006)
If you’re thinking of becoming a vegetarian, and just need a little more convincing, check it out: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460792/

 

The fabric shoe band wagon

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You know something is big when the big boys want a piece of the market.

Over the course of the summer I have seen a big rise in “flimsy” footwear, in the shops and on people’s feet. Let’s face it; canvas and man-made materials are cheap, and unstructured holiday footwear is cheap to produce. (Who cares if it wears out after 2 weeks, they’re cheap to replace too, right?)

 

 

What the trainer-producers don’t want you to know, is that trainers are cheap too….It’s the brand name that makes them covetable and expensive.

But since Toms’ rise to fame and their obvious popularity, big brands want to join in, and they’ve come up with a whole new price range in between “sport” and “flimsy holiday”.

 

And people love it; they are light, funky, well-designed, and perfect for summer. And we’re all bored of the Crocs shape!

They use sports wear technology with flip-flop materials; washable, rotproof, and unfortunately not as biodegradable as canvas and leather…

I think there should be a movement back again; flat sole units made out of leather with a pre-cut stitch channel, a sewn upper made from strong biodegradable fabric (invent! recycle!) and the two pieces to be combined in one action: using a sole stitcher/ sewing machine (or even hands:-) No glues, no big factories full of machinery, no rubbish.
Ahh, I can dream, and keep sewing…

Finishing the soles

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EVA is a great material; it’s light, soft, doesn’t stretch, comes in all kinds of colours and densities, and let’s face it: it’s cheap. The good thing for me, and people making footwear from home, is that you can cut the thinner layers with scissors, though it’s near-impossible to get a continual smooth edge.

If you are particular about finishing the edges of the soles quite neatly- or it’s just too tiring to keep your feet moving- have a look at my portable set-up: Welcome to the balcony workshop:-)

It’s a drill clamped in a workbench, with a drum sander attachment. Even this one, which is a cordless, doing only 700 rpm, works well enough to tidy the edges up. I’m quite pleased!

Ideally, I’d walk into a fully kitted out workshop where a multitude of tools and machinery is laid out ready to use of course, and even  a more powerful drill that has a locking mechanism for “on”, so you have your hands free (or don’t use up so many zip ties) is an improvement, but you have to admit this is a pretty sweet deal: Small, portable,sufficient, not very noisy, and assuming you have a drill and a workbench already, cost me £7.54.

An important factor for a lot of people these days…