Tuesday, December 15, 2015

DIY Fleece Stocking Cap

DIY, outdoor, clothing, gear, fleece, sewing, stocking cap, mill yardage, kwik sew patterns
DIY Fleece Stocking Cap

This is an easy project and took me just under an hour to complete from start to finish. The original design doesn’t include tassels, but since I made this for my youngest granddaughter, I added tassels to the top and she loves it! For this project I used Rocket Red Polartec Classic 100, but Polartec Classic 200 will work fine just as well. 

Supplies used:
½ yard Polartec Classic 100 Fabric
Kwik Sew #2527 Pattern
½ yard Tracing Material -I use Sew-In Interfacing (Optional)
Ball point pen or marker
Scissors or rotary cutter
Cutting mat (for rotary cutter)
Ruler or Tape measure
Suggested Needle: Schmetz Stretch Needle 90/14
Suggested Thread: Maxi-Lock Stretch Serger Thread
Household Sewing Machine
Walking Foot attachment (Here’s a video on what a Walking Foot is/operates)

**This DIY project assumes you already know how to use your sewing machine and have basic sewing skills. If you don't, contact a sewing store for basic sewing lessons.

My Sewing Notes:

This project is of View C from the Kwik Sew #2527 pattern. Like most of my Kwik Sew patterns, I’ve had this pattern for years. It’s really easy to follow the instructions for this pattern. The pattern also includes different styles of hats as well as socks, headband and Balaclava. It's comes in Adults and Children sizes. JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores carries a limited supply of Kwik Sew patterns. Follow pattern instructions carefully.

Tracing Pattern pieces is optional. I trace pattern pieces because the patterns include different sizes. If I cut out just one pattern size, then I won’t be able to use the pattern pieces in the other sizes. If you don’t plan to use the other pattern sizes, just omit tracing and cut out the pattern piece. This will save you the time from tracing as well as the cost of tracing material. I used a ball-point pen and a marker to trace my pattern onto Sew-In Interfacing. While some seamsters prefer to trace their pattern pieces directly onto the fabric using a tracing wheel and tracing transfer paper, I personally prefer to trace the pattern pieces onto Sew-In Interfacing. I use Sew-In Interfacing for tracing because it’s inexpensive and very easy to see through.  Also, when using a tracing wheel to trace patterns, over time the pattern will tear along the traced lines.

Adding tassels to the top of the cap:
#1 Cut out 2 or 3 strips of fleece
#2 Before Step 2 of pattern instructions, pin tassels.
#3 Stitch and trim excess.

#4 Turn right side out
#5 Cut strips into narrower strips, then knot the ends.

**I know, in some of these photos the cap looks pink. But bright orange is its true color.

Maxi-Lock Stretch Serger Thread
Works perfectly with Fleece and knits. It’s stretchy and will have more “give” in stretchy and knit fabric than polyester threads. If you don’t have a serger/overlock machine, you can still use this thread. Just buy one cone and wind some thread on a bobbin to use in your regular sewing machine. If you’re finishing off the hem edge with double stitch, then wind the thread onto two bobbins.

Walking Foot
The Walking Foot  (aka Even Feed Foot) is an amazing sewing machine attachment! It equalizes the feeding of upper and lower layers of fabric so that the layers of fabric are evenly stitched with no uneven stretching or puckering. Not only is this attachment great on stretchy knits, but on slippery as well as heavy fabrics.

Suppliers/Resources & Notes:
Polartec Classic 100: The Mill Yardage LLC (New Hampshire)
For those of you who used to purchase cut pieces from the Malden Mills retail store in Lawrence, MA, this store provides cuts of Polartec Fabrics without the big minimums on runs. Only online sales are available, but you may pick up your order in person if you are local. And the owner, KK Gregory, is a former rock climbing competitor!

Kwik Sew #2527 Pattern: Kwik Sew (Kansas)

Apparel Sew-In Interfacing:  Joann’s Fabric & Craft

Maxi-Lock Stretch Serger Thread: Wawak Sewing (Washington)
Orders shipped from either their east or west Coast warehouses.

Schmetz Sewing Machine Needles
Any sewing store will have sewing machine needles.

My Sewing History
I spent many years sewing my own clothes….that’s what you did after your mom sent you to sewing lessons for the summer when you’re 14 years old. Over the years I handmade Halloween costumes for my daughters as well as prom dresses and figure skating costumes complete with beadwork all done by hand. Living just 12 miles from Malden Mills, I outfitted my family with handmade polar fleece jackets, pullovers, hats, gloves and pants. We still use polar fleece blankets that I had made years ago! And I even had a small biz selling Polar Fleece Skatewear to figure skating teams – I contracted a small manufacturing company in New Hampshire do to all the sewing in order for me to focus on the sales end of the business. I stopped sewing for several years but now am back at it again. This time for making my own outdoor gear to be used while out climbing and hiking!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Mt. Willard - Solo HIke

Mt. Willard summit
Willey's Slide (ice climbing) on the right

Mt. Willard (2,865ft)
Elevation Gain: 900ft
Trails: Mt. Willard
Difficulty: Very Easy

Did a short hike today and the cool temps were invigorating and just wonderful! 4 years ago I hiked Mt. Willard and it was a different scene. Check out my blogpost here from that hike. 

Although there was much less snow today, I still needed my microspikes! Some parts of the Mt. Willard trail were very slushy, muddy and icy! There were a lot of hikers who weren't prepared with some form of traction, and I saw many slipping and falling. 

Centennial Pool

This section of the trail was especially icy!

Summit view of Crawford Notch

On my way back down to the trailhead I 
took a detour and hiked down the climber's
path to the top of "The Cleft" ice climb. 

Not much ice for climbing!
This is a pretty cool ice climb once all 
the ice is in. See my blogpost here for 
my January and March climbs on The Cleft.

I was tempted to descend through the Cleft
but there were too many leaves and loose
rocks for my liking and comfort. I tried another
path off to the side to descend but it led 
to nowhere. Probably a "pee-pee path". 
So I backtracked and finished my hike. 

Near the trailhead and just off the trail at the first water crossing, someone
realized it wasn't a good idea to continue the hike with a baby stroller!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Alex Honnold Book Signing

book signing, alex honnold, climbing

Free soloist Alex Honnold was in town for a free slide show presentation and signing for his new book “Alone On The Wall.” The Central Rock Gym in Watertown, MA hosted 500 fans for the evening of November 13, 2015. Enjoy the few photos I took of the book signing.

Watched a slideshow presentation and 
then some Q&A from the audience members.
book signing, alex honnold, climbing, slideshow presentation

book signing, alex honnold, climbing, slideshow presentation

book signing, alex honnold, climbing, slideshow presentation

book signing, alex honnold, climbing, slideshow presentation

Then in line around the lead wall to get our books signed

I told him that I enjoyed reading his book and that I had
one more chapter to go, and he graciously thanked me.

Thanks for signing my book Alex!
book signing, alex honnold, climbing, slideshow presentation

My review:
Alex Honnold is an amazing climber! Before his presentation and book signing here in Watertown, MA., Alex was interviewed by the Boston Herald. It was a good interview and I'm glad that he cleared up the fact that he doesn't free solo all the time. Up until I started reading his book, I too thought Alex free solo climbed all the time. But that's just because his free solos get more publicity than his multi-pitch climbing. His book is fantastic, co-author David Roberts (also a climber) does an excellent job of writing! In the book there are many descriptions of all Alex's climbs which I found really interesting. And all is climbing adventures and stories on YouTube videos and climbing films are finally, in one spot! Very inspirational, I highly recommend this book.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Books & Movies Library Management - iPhone App

book buddy, library, iphone

To all my climbing and hiking bookworm friends!

If you’re like me, you love to read and watch movies about all things climbing and hiking! I don’t have a large library of books and movies, but it’s large enough to keep me busy! I found it easy to keep track of all my books and movies using two library management apps called “BookBuddy Pro” and “MovieBuddyPro” by Kimico, Ltd.

Both apps are sleek indeed and it’s easy to use! Cataloging is made easy and I have access to my entire library so I don’t have to worry about buying double copies of books and movies. Both apps pretty much have the same functions so I’m just going to include photos taken from my BookBuddy app to describe its features and functions.

    The scanner makes it easy to add books and movies into your library. If for some reason you can’t scan the codes on the back of your book or movie, you can either add the title manually or do an online search. In this case, I personally find it easy to just enter the ISBN number in the “Search Online” field. When the title comes up, then I just “Save” it to my inventory. It’s that easy!! 

      Use the scanner to scan books while at the store and add to your “Wish List”. You can also use the app’s search online feature to add books to your wish list. This way folks know which title to gift you.  ;) 

     If there are no title photos in the database of your book that you scanned, you can simply add a photo yourself by tapping the “+” while editing.  Then choose "Take Photo", "Choose Online Photo" or "Choose Existing Photo" from the menu. I personally like to take the photo of the book cover as sometimes covers may change with each re-print. 

       After a book is added to your library database, there is a link to the book online as well.  This is a great tool as it provides summaries as well as reviews. You can also use it to get additional background on authors. And there are links to purchase additional copies of the book.

      By far, my favorite feature on this app is the “Categories” feature. You can create your own categories and move each book into its own category. It makes for easy cataloging and quick finding too.


    The "Loan Book" feature keeps track of which books you have loaned out and to who.


     The "Borrowed" feature tracks books you are borrowing from your buddies!


      “Unread”, “Being Read” or “Finished” status. Who else here is reading more than one book at a time? I love to read different genres at a time!


    The "Tags" feature is the bomb in this app! You can easily add tags to each book (or movie) in your Buddy Library. Using tags, you can sort and search very quickly.

    Sharing is caring! You can share you favorite books using social media like Facebook, Twitter and email!

     Easy to sort your library by title, author, genre, rating, date added, published, finished, purchased and more!

      This app does everything I need and so much more! So glad I purchased it and hope you enjoy using it as much as I do. You can download free versions of the BookBuddy Library Manager or MovieBuddy Library Manager separately. Or you can purchase the “Pro” versions separately as well. The free version has a 50 book limit while the paid version has no book limit. I bought both library managers as a bundle and saved $1.98 (see link). https://itunes.apple.com/us/app-bundle/book-and-movie-library-bundle/id1013483453?mt=8

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 12, 2015