It’s raining in Seattle, or, a long ramble about Lopez Island, wet feet, and dollmaking

In which our heroine rediscovers craftiness

If you’ve been reading along lately, you may have been wondering whatever happened to the second part of my blog title. I’ve been blogging about bike rides and bike camping, but have said nary a word about crafting.

Well, dear readers, It’s actually been a long time since I’ve sewn anything for fun. I’ve done a few jerseys for clients, but I haven’t had much desire to create something just for the joy of creating.

It wasn’t for lack of projects—every crafter knows that there’s ALWAYS a wishlist of projects—rather, it was a complete lack of desire.

I’d wander about aimlessly, poking around in my sewing room for something to do, only to come up blank. I would watch movies without anything in my hands. It was horrifying.

I started an X-Files binge during a week when Rob was traveling for work. I’ve had a lot of wrist pain since I started waiting tables again, so I would ice my wrists while watching in order to pretend I was doing something with myself.

When Rob got back I felt guilty about just sitting around watching X-Files, so I took my computer into my sewing room in order to pretend to sew something. I puttered about for a bit, eventually organizing my scrap heap basket while Mulder and Scully took down the bad guys.

As I began to organize scraps, an idea took hold:

I would make a doll.

Ladies and gents, I’d like for you to meet Carmine.


She’s made of scraps from my old red coat, with black fleece hair from a hoodie I made for Rob. Her dress is made from scraps of brocade fabric Rob got me for Christmas, with a bodice of silver silk charmeuse from a dress I made for myself.

I love her.

I sewed her entirely by hand, because for some reason that seemed appropriate—spiritual, even. Her dress fastens with snaps in case I get another fit of doll-making and want to sew her another outfit.

Although it’s kind of hard to match colors with her skin tone….

At one point over the week it took me to make her, Rob commented that I was a really dedicated aunt. “There’s not a chance my niece is going to get her grubby toddler fingers on this doll,” I said, instantly defensive. “Carmine is for me.”

He gave me an odd look.

Sewing Carmine was a creative release for me that I can’t quite explain, but I’m glad it happened. I feel like my old self again—ready, even, to tackle a long-needed cycling sewing project

In which our heroine gets caught in the rain

Bike camping on Lopez Island should technically be considered cheating, if you do it like Megan and Jason and I did, and drive to the Anacortes ferry terminal. From the terminal, it’s only a 5-mile ride on fairly flat roads to Spencer Spit Campground.

Because we’d never want to be considered bike camping cheaters, however, we decided to choose the stormiest most rainiest weekend in September to go.

Megan_sad Jessie

I finally have a good rain jacket, and my fleece tights keep my legs toasty, but I discovered one very weak link in my rain gear: my Dr. Martens.

The rainstorms came and went, but within minutes of the first deluge my feet were soaked. Megan and Jason had their fancy gaiters, but I’ve never gotten around to buying any—mostly because I’ve always planned on making some.

Obviously that had not yet happened.

At Shark Reef Park. Tons of seals, absolutely no sharks eating them. A huge disappointment, despite the spot's stunning beauty.

At Shark Reef Park. Tons of seals, absolutely no sharks eating them. A huge disappointment, despite the spot’s stunning beauty.

It was an amazing trip despite the wet weather. We managed to get some good riding in during the dry spells, and to enjoy wine tasting at Lopez Island Vineyards and delicious wraps at Vortex during the deluge. If you want to see more photos, head on over to the Flickr.

I came back to Seattle with renewed creative energy—and an intense desire to have toasty feet on future rides.

In which our heroine makes herself some gaiters

So this weekend, I put aside all the other random things I should probably be doing, and sewed something just for me:

Cycling gaiters tutorial - finished2

They’re made of neoprene from Seattle Fabrics, with a reflective strip up the back and a buffalo nickle buttons to close them up.

They’re rad, and I can’t wait to wear them in the rain!

Cycling gaiters tutorial - finished3

I took photos as I went, so I’ll have a full tutorial up in a few days. I’m planning on another long ride on Vancouver Island this week, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it rains. Just a bit.

I know I’m not the only crafter out there who’s experienced a creative slump. It was Carmine the red wool doll that got me out of mine—what’s the weirdest thing you ever crafted to get you out of your slump?

9 thoughts on “It’s raining in Seattle, or, a long ramble about Lopez Island, wet feet, and dollmaking

  1. Super cute gaiters and I love love the buffalo nickels — I’ve got patterns too for gaiters but have bought a couple versions from our Columbia outlet for super cheap (I can’t help myself). . . Adorable gaiters, really. Hang in there your sew-jo will come back!

    • It’s definitely not cost-effective to make your own gaiters. The neoprene, buttons and sealant was about $25, plus the hours I spent making a pattern. But no one ever said sewing was supposed to be cost-effective. 🙂

  2. I wander around my sewing table, looking at fabric, thinking…Usually it takes a string of bad weather days for me to start sewing again. Like you I have many ideas, just need to sit down…

    I love your gaiters. Stylish and very practical. I used neoprene socks (that I never wore) and cut a slit on the bottom then reinforced the edges of the the cut away with zigzag stitches. I can pull them over my biking shoes for colder weather. I never thought about them as rainproof gear. Yours are definitely more functional and could possibly fit a variety of shoes.

    Here are mine:

  3. the gaiters look awesome. Looking forward to seeing the tutorial (though based on your comment above, maybe I should buy instead of trying to make my own).

    • Thanks, Jessica! As with any sewing project, whether you want to invest the time is completely based on what you want to get out of it. Do you just want a standard pair of gaiters? Buy some–they’re not expensive. Do you want a kickass pair of gaiters that are customized to your specs and style? By all means, make some! I’ll have the tutorial posted in a couple days. 🙂

      Oh–and check out this guest cycling booties tutorial that Bethany wrote a few months back.

  4. Pingback: Tutorial: Steampunk neoprene cycling gaiters | Bicitoro: bikes and crafts

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