Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Secret Hobby

Not many of my sewing and knitting friends know that when I'm not doing those activities I'm a "long distance" walker. By "long distance" I mean anywhere from a half marathon (13 miles---I've completed 12) to a whole marathon (26 miles---only finished 3 so far).  I started this activity when I turned 60 (4 years ago) and it's made so much difference in my life.

Now, don't think I'm some kind of super athelete, cause I'm not! I've discovered that all sorts of people participate in long distance events and they have age group prizes up to "over 80". The marathon event planners know they will make more money if they allow enough time for walkers to participate, along with the prize winning runners, so some are now allowing 7 hours for a marathon and 4 hours for a half. Many have a Party atmosphere, with bands playing and spectators cheering for everyone, even the last person.

And don't think I walk a huge amount every day either! Marathon training plans call for you to just go a "short distance" (in my case 3-4 miles) several times a week and then on one day of the week (usually the weekend) you go increasingly longer distances til you've reached the distance of your planned event. Right now I am training for a half-marathon in August and am up to 8 miles on my "long day".

I'll get to "clothes" to wear for long distance walking in a minute but first, here are some of the things I discovered I need to have or take along for that increasingly longer day of walking:
A bandana to wipe the sweat away or wet it for coolness, a sports bra, a water bottle holder that has room for keys, phone and bandaids, socks that are made of something besides cotton so they won't get wet and cause blisters, my Garmin forerunner watch that has a GPS to tell me how far and fast I am going, protein bars to replenish yourself after several hours on the road,  GOOD shoes that have been professionally fitted at a Running Store, hat and sunglasses (plus plenty of sun lotion)    PHONE and MONEY for TAXI if you get too tired or dizzy (this has happened)

Now about the clothes (this IS a sewing blog).  The important rule is that everything next to your skin should be polyester with spandex in it. The big companies all have fancy words for their fabrics such as "wick-away" or "cool-something" but we fabric people know it's really just polyester. I know your first thought is that cotton would be cooler, but when it gets wet (which it will even in cooler weather after many hours of activity) it becomes coarse and chaffs the skin.  As a sewer, I've recently realized that I can easily acquire the right fabrics to make my own "work-out" clothes that are much better fitting than the ones I can buy (and cheaper too).     So on my last trip to Fabric Mart I stocked up on ITY knits and other fabrics with spandex in them to start making my own.    I made the top that's in the picture at the first of this blog and using the same fabric I made some pants and a black poly/spandex top.
             These are so much more comfortable than any I"ve been able to buy and I love wearing bright colors.   
    I'd love to get these shoes and make some walking outfits to go with them! (of course I already know that this brand and make is good for my feet.)Keep on walking and sewing is my motto!

Monday, June 6, 2011

FABRIC MART and memories

Several of you asked who the "special friend" was that gifted me the wonderful designer tee-shirt in my last blog. It was none other than the delightful Shams of communingwithfabric when she visited me from the West Coast in April.  One of the many high points of that visit was when we drove to the famous Fabric Mart, along with Carolyn( sewingfantaticdiary) and Noile ( It was a very special time for me and I really missed them all when I made my first trip since then back to Fabric Mart today, though not enough to keep me from buying enough fabric for all of us! The owner Robert remembered our group well and said to say HI--he also mentioned that after they blogged about his linen knit it sold out quickly----BLOGGERS have POWER!

FM started a special sale this week that they have for in-store customers only (might be worth making a trip to Pennsylvania for).  They have a whole front room full of fabrics on round tables (which they call "the rounds"), some of which have been on-line and some of which haven't, either because they didn't have enough to sell it on the web or didn't think it would show nicely when photographed.  Anyway, there is some seriously good stuff there and it's always at pretty good prices BUT from now til June 17 it's 50% off that already low price.   Do you wonder why I stocked up??

I wore the top that I made from their fabrics that I entered in their Julie's Picks Contest:
The rules of the contest were to use some of the fabric from their sample mailers . I did order the basic blue knit fabric from this selection but then sewed together all the little samples and used as strip "piping" in Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8671 top. It was fun to make and all the workers at Fabric Mart came out to see it today since they recognized all the 70+ fabrics in it.

I'll be blogging soon about the new fabrics I bought today and my plans for them. Til then keep on sewing!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My First Designer Top

Nope, I didn't make this wonderful designer top (from Helia's in Old Town, Alexandria, VA). It was a gift from a special friend. I had seen it and wanted to knock-off the pattern but it was one of those that would be almost impossible to copy just by looking at it in the store (and places like that seem to get suspicious when I turn it inside out to see how it's put together).   I was complaining about this fact and she totally surprised me with this gift.    It's definitely a memory of a special time and I  will LOVE wearing it this summer.  I did make the pants to go with it. They are Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8712 which are my new favorite to make for summer.

I lost a little of my sewing MO-JO after finally completing the "knock-Off" dress for the PR contest but am getting it back now.  I want to make up some of the latest Vogue patterns in the next few weeks before the new ones come out in July.  Happy sewing!