Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Felted Wool Huarache Laces Take 2

After some trial and error I think I've finally got my perfect huarache lace. Simple, Soft, Strong, and beautiful. I changed the way I made them slightly, and I think I prefer the look of them this way, not to mention how much quicker they come together and it uses less yarn. A win in all categories.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Iron Horse Trail and Cedar Butte

The view from the summit of Cedar Butte

We headed out this weeekend with intentions of hiking rattlesnake ridge, but when we got there it appeared a million and a half other people had the same intention. Since standing in a solid line and walking isn't our idea of enjoying a nice hike, we continued up a little bit and came upon Iron Horse Trail. Iron Horse trail used to be the site of old train lines which is still evident along parts of the trail.

Iron Horse Trail


Salmonberries line the path along with the occasional small water falls. This trail is used by bikers looking for a nice leisurely ride with beautiful scenery.

After walking the Iron Horse Trail for a bit, we came upon the trail head for Cedar Butte and decided to give it a go. It's a trail surrounded by lush forest area, not another soul in sight and ground that would be perfect for trail running.

This hike would be perfect even on sunny days with all the shade that's provided by the landscape.

After we made it to the top, ate a snack and sat for a bit, we headed back down the trail and continued on the Iron Horse Trail. Small offshoots of the trail also offered some stunning views of nearby mountains.

It was an enjoyable hike and I'm glad we went. We'll probably head back to this area to do some additional exploring.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Felted Wool Huarache Laces



Wool is one of my favorite things. I admit, I love the stuff. When I was visiting the Luna Sandals  'warehouse' the other day I got to take a look at the hemp laces they offer. They were really just a simple icord. So I went home and gave it a go. I opted to use a single ply merino wool for a few reasons. For starters, a single ply will be the easiest to felt. Perhaps more importantly, it will also be the softest.

There's a common misconception that wool is itchy and it's simply not true. Wool is actually considered hypoallergenic by the medical community. It's actually the chemicals used in the garment industry and the stripping of the naturally occurring lanolin from the wool that makes it itchy. All wool is not created equally. If you don't believe me, I'll send you a piece to prove it.

Felted wool icord - estimated thickness same as the hemp laces offered

  The first thing you'll notice is that knot on the end is tiny compared to the knot of the leather. I'm sure this makes a huge difference for people who complain of the 'pebble' feeling under their toes. The knot in this pictures hasn't even been smashed down with a hammer yet.

 I got to wondering though, if maybe a thicker cord would be better. After all, the leadville leather laces they offer are meant for the more rugged terrain, and are 10mm wide. I also began to think that the more surface area the lace was hitting between your toes, the less pressure it would create in a single area. To accomplish this I decide to try double knitting the yarn.

 Knit things have a lot of stretch to them. Even this  icord- which I knit to 40 inches long, can be stretched to 50 inches. A little give may not be a bad thing with laces but too much is definitely a bad thing for running. That's where felting comes in. I only lightly felted this one - so if less stretch was desired it could be easily achieved by more rigorous felting - as it is currently this now measures 45 inches long when relaxed, 50 inches stretched.

I went back and forth on how to tie the bottom knot for these, and next time I make them I will start out with a smaller needle to create a slightly smaller cord that can be easily knotted to be an even less noticeable knot. I thought about knitting the end flat, and then perhaps applying some hot glue to make it hard enough to hold, but in the meantime I opted to fold it over and sew it back into itself. Smashed it with a hammer a few times, and beautiful. I'm sure it will flatten out more with walking.

It felt very secure, maybe even more so then the equus but wasn't even noticeable between the toes. It's definitely softer then the hemp laces felt. I'm curious how well/long they will hold up compared to what can be expected of the hemp laces. I'll definitely be making more and I'd be lying if I said I was just a little excited about being able to make them any color I want.

Tomorrow is the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, and I'm planning on going and sneaking a peak of it even though I won't be running (this year!).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Luna Sandals

On the left is the Recyclado on the right is the original Luna
(Yes, my skin really is that fair)

Today we went to pick up our Luna Sandals. I had mentioned in my previous post that I ordered a pair for myself and for my two year old son. Well, it turns out there was some confusion when the orders went through and they had made both pairs (one was the original luna with 1/2 inch equus elasticized laces for me and the other was a Recyclado with 3/8 elasticized laces for him) in my size. They won't be offering the Recyclado version of the Lunas any longer. 

They were very nice and simply offered to make it right then while we were there, and so we went for a little stroll around the neighborhood. Their sale was apparently a big hit, and they were currently out of supplies and awaiting the arrival of their shipment to get working on the hundreds of orders they had to process, but able to make his tiny sandals out of the left over scrap pieces. They also let me take the extra pair that they had made custom to my feet.

The littlest Lunatic?
While there at the front were the first pair of sandals that Barefoot Ted Mcdonald made in the copper canyons (as told in the book born to run). I can't even imagine the amount of running you would have to do to wear those things out, but one thing is for sure, you wouldn't be getting poked by any rock through those.

The 'factory' is located in a beautiful space with a lot of natural light. It's a simply room that  consists of little more then some tools for cutting and gluing (which include a tree stump), a few computer desks, a rack for raw supplies, and a table with a fruit bowl in the center.

My first impression of the sandals were that they were different then any sandal I had ever worn. They hug your feet and continue to when your foot bends. The leather almost immediately begins forming to your foot. When I took them off after our short walk around the neighborhood, you could already see the indentations from my big toe, and my forefoot. The toe divider is going to take some getting used to for me, but after some fiddling around with it this afternoon, I think I have figured out my comfort zone.

Original Luna (left)  Recyclado (right)
Also, notice the ever so slight difference in the arches of my right and left foot.

The knot underneath the original lunas didn't bother me at all. I can feel the one under the recyclado more, but even so, not really bothersome. The different thickness in laces makes a huge difference in the feel of the sandals and makes me want to experiment with different types. I was thinking of making some out of a felted wool icord - I think that would hold up fabulously, be cheap, easy and any color I want. Wool has the benefit over other materials like hemp in that as the fibers break, friction and heat will make them fuse together (felt) and become stronger. Its’ often said that a single fiber of wool is stronger than a single fiber of steel of the same diameter. 

My tendons have been feeling 100% better for the past two days so tomorrow I am going to go for a short (very short) run. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fremont Solstice Parade

Seattle is a rather eclectic and eccentric city. Yesterday was the annual Fremont Solstice Parade (Fremont is one of the districts here in Seattle). Though an unofficial part of it, the headlining point of this parade is always the naked bicyclist (hundreds of them) that take over the street immediately before the parade begins. They are painted in body paint to degrees of barely painted, to fully painted.. to fully bare, to somewhat bare. That's not the only part of the parade that's a little ......different than 
parades you'll find most places.


Parade participants consist of community groups and there's everything from drag queens, children on stilts, a geoduck float, a giant dung beetle float, floating spaghetti monster, lots of belly dancers, a giant beach ball, people giving out free hugs, marching bands, kickball teams, some others that honestly I have no idea even what they were supposed to be and of course zombies.



Fremont is also home to the troll that lives under the bridge and a statue of Lenin.

The Troll

If you like to view more photos of the Fremont Solstice Parade they can be found here and here