attached. tied. bound.
all such words appropriate for a post on valentines gifting! ha!
to sit alongside a new wrist wrap which i macrame’d out of coated cotton cord and the large dark chocolate Haigh’s frog (yum), i thought to replace T’s grossly deteriorating rubber grips on his bike, with new leather ones.
these would be the 3rd set i have made. the lessons i learnt from the previous sets were:
– measure the width of leather needed to wrap around the handlebar, then less 0.5cm to accommodate for the thickness of the leather (especially if you’re measuring with a tape rather than the leather itself) and the stretch. a snug fit is better than a loose fit, or even just a fit (i’ve learnt this by losing grips by having them fly off mid-pedal. no grip happening there).
– leather to metal does not grip as well as one would think. this also contributed to the flying lost grip incident above. a fellow cyclist commented on how cool those previous grips looked when i was stopped at the traffic lights (obviously before i lost them). i mentioned how they weren’t as grippy as they should be and he suggested i use cut up inner-tube as an underlay. genius!
– you need a sturdy lacing. even doubled leather sewing waxed cotton is not enough. i’ve gone for coated cotton cord, strong and actually looks good too.
so after working out the exact size of rectangle i needed for each grip, i ruled lines to ensure that my punched holes would line up. (tip: one of those plastic chopping boards is good to have under your leather when using a punch, resistant enough to make a clean hole while safe for the tool) make sure that your holes are a generous size for whichever lacing you are using, particularly if some fraying might occur on the ends (otherwise you can tape up the ends and trim after). after a good half hour of malleting (sorry downstairs neighbour!), i was ready to pre-lace. of course, you can lace them directly onto the handle bars, but for gifting, it needed to look a bit pretty so i threaded through the lace leaving a substantial amount of length at the ends to allow for loosening when the time came to put them on.
now i need to make a set for me!
so since my last little pochette that i made for myself, i decided to sew up a few more. this time in naked, natural vegtan leather so that over time and after wear, the man-pouches (ha!) develop their own personality or ‘patina’.
for T, who recently had to renew his passport and obviously needed a new home for it. trimmed with contrast black vegtan.
and for my cousin, who departed back to the land of frenchies before he heads off on a longer journey through Sth America. really curious to see how it changes. also if he discovers the chunk of my finger which i lost while cutting the leather for this!
it’s in the pouch/purse.
so despite taking the fall for that indian printed paper, i still haven’t touched it again for that book binding project. oops. or as T would spell.. oups.
instead i made T wake up early on a Saturday morning to take me to Birdsall Leather… so many tools, bits and pieces. i had been meaning to get down there to do a class for so long.. and still haven’t managed, but i had no problem with the task of spending. who knew there was a tool to make 4 stitch holes at once?! (nerd! in case you haven’t already worked it out, it’s the small things that count for me..)
and after online lessons in saddle stitching, burnishing leather edges and making/using a strop…
a single arvo project… a little pouch that fits the cards, keys and phone! woop!
tools. and the return of leather.
after my first post on leather, i had a bit more of a play, but was pretty much limited to using v-tools. the other carving tools weren’t quite the right shapes to cut into the leather enough to make defined lines. nice curves require a steadier hand and more patience. things i’m not always in supply of. anyway, this is one of my funny pieces.
one morning a month or so ago, coming down the stairs for breakfast, T surprised me with a whole set of leather stamping tools which he picked up from Birdsall. SO SO exciting! we didn’t have any appropriate tapping object in our house – besides heels of shoes (aplenty!) or a very rusty hammer which had been living under the sink for a while. i had to wait to actually tool anything, but wasted no time in making a cosy home for all the bits using some fun geo print fabric and linen that i had in my fabric scrap bag.
the mallet eventually came a few weeks later, so finally i got to have a proper go at stamping… yaaay!
paper is, obviously, my usual choice for cutting… but after spotting a beautiful hand carved leather bicycle saddle during a browser-window-shopping session, i was inspired… i picked up a basic and cheap-ish set of carving tools and had a play…. it’s very different, but definitely something i would enjoy playing with more.