Sunday, June 16, 2013

Moccasins...soft...

Nature has a course from water, dripping off an aspen, gathering as it moves, collective drops of wet saturate and liquid, picks up momentum as dancing streams from mountains and slips over sand and rocks to become...creeks, rivers and possible ponds and lakes. Its a beauty to think about its path. Makes me think about my path, how I take that step on sand, rocks and meadows of wildflowers than fill canyons where winds pull and toss around. 

Our first steps barefoot and careful was most probably carpet, wooden floors, tile until parents trusted sandy beaches, grass and if not blankets tossed down to protect us...from what!?  Shoes, we get shoes, sandals, keds, boots, flip flops and barefoot. City life and population causes us to be concerned of our toes...toes!? Footwear now has individual places for our toes...but I don't have toes shaped like the masses. Flintstone feet, shaped like a duck, tough as nails, rough heels and not attractive in my opinion. Some slather nail polish and feet have spa treatments, but I found them painful and the fumes obnoxious. 

I wanted another solution, my feet get smelly, tight, squished or are swimming in shoes and I am just trying to get some kind of fit going on.  I always like leather over plastic or cork. Things between my big toe I find irritating and cramp my upper foot and arch...I feel pain just typing about it. But my favorite leather sandals vanished in the move here and I'm not going to Maui any time soon to have hand made ones again.  What are my options...Zappos....nope, nothing looks comfy or is flat, another issue I have, no heels, not healthy for me.

I found one alternative, make my own or have a shoe maker make them. However, again, a hard sole is not what I want, it's the barefoot experience that I want to find. Moccasins, but they wear out so quickly. So the material is the problem, and I hunt and search around about leathers. I came across several sites, the history of mocs and the styles from each of the tribes and uses. Reusing parts for new mocs and again, the different types of leathers for hunting, gathering, marshes, rocks and I'm exhausted from reading about all this movement of feet. 

I purchased three leathers over twelve months, all deerskin, not suede, from a wholesale marketplace of leathers. I know I wanted thick, 6 ounce, but have used 3.5, 4.5 and now 6. My sewing skills pointed me into cutting them out on the bias for flexibility and movement. It takes a whole hide for one pair, cutting around arrow or bullet holes and spending considerable time mapping out the pattern onto the available space on a deerskin. Also a budget is considered when you have options of elk, bison, moose, cow and color and shipping costs and waiting for your shipment to arrive. Okay, it can be time consuming too!

Skills, you decide if you can tackle that in a project. Tools, rotary blade works best in cutting out a pattern. Paper pattern you are going to have to figure out yourself. Now sewing thread, that needed to be very strong and yet sturdy and flexible. Sailors sew with excellent types of tools and twine threads, so that is the path I picked up on. If it can endure salt waters, wind and stress, it should work on mocs.


 Deerskin selections

Pattern making, blue lines for the bias direction on the skin

 Layout ready to cut with the rotary blade and mat

 Weaving pattern for the top toe piece

Cuts for the weaving of colored sheepskin design 


 Tools: Sharp scissors, rotary blade, Xacto blades, dental tools, puncture tools


 Sheepskin colored strips cut for the weaving decoration


 Weaving started with dental tool is very helpful


 Flossing threaders are very good tools for weaving


Center piece is done first then outside weaving is easily woven

Extra fine sharpies work well on sole design for totems and symbols

Rolled moccasin to show the flexibility of sole

Inside out moccasin shows the same flexibility of the moccasin

Opposite rolled, same flexibility....packs well too

Springs back into shape, design totem and symbols

First Pair: Made on March 2012


Same First Pair: Photo taken 6/16/2013
 Golden deerskin, 3.5 ounce
Used around the house and sometimes I forgot they were on my feet when I went to work...love 'em!

Second Pair: Made on April 2013
Chocolate brown deerskin, 4.5 ounce

Third Pair: Made on June 2013
Golden deerskin, 6.0 ounce
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