Saturday, July 26, 2014

LL + lemurs

Some friends of mine recently took a trip to Madagascar and spotted some furry li'l animals.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Kite time

Just made my first kite since I was a kid. It's a rokkaku, which is an old Japanese design: a center spar with two bowed cross spars, no tail. Depending on how the cross spars are tuned it's a very stable flyer or a little squirrely and can be used for kite fights.
I'd like to thank Andrew Newton for the inspiration, tips and links. There is an overwhelming amount of information about kitemaking on the internets and it was nice to have a starting point. Check out his blog to see his rok builds.

The rok pattern is built around ratios so you can easily make whatever size you like. This is a 3,4,5er. The unit is the distance from the top cross spar to the top point of the kite. In this kite it's 11 inches. It's 4 units wide, 3 from x-spar to x-spar, and 5 for the spine. So the kite's about 55x44, which, from what I saw, is about a medium rok.

Got some inexpensive kite nylon from emma kites.

You want the warp of the fabric to border the kite, otherwise it'll stretch out (since the diagonal edges would be on the bias), or that's what I hear. In any case, it's what the pros do.

Used some x-pac (laminated sail cloth) for corner reinforcement. Here it is before I attached the spar pocket. Flat felled seams with rolled edge. Used G├╝terman Mara 100 for the seams and top stitching, T70 nylon for the pockets.

I got the spars from Kites & Fun Things. There are about a million options. After a while I got tired of looking at kite spars and ended up ordering a selection ("1/4-inch sounds about right"). Originally I was going to make a smaller kite with a 48" center spar, but when I got the spars I realized I could mate the two Sky Shark II 5PT wrapped tapered rods to make a 56" spar, like with a fishing pole. I guess that's okay to do with these. We'll see. The cross spars are fiberglass with some carbon on 'em.

The bridal contact points are spaced one unit from each side of the center, so they're 22" apart here. Put in grommets reinforced with 1000d Cordura.

Looks pretty snazzy.

Here's a spar pocket.

And one from the other side...

The cross spars are always in their pockets, but the center spar needs to come out so you can fold the kite down. Here's what that looks like.

Sewed the Velcro a little to close to the edge of the reinforcement...getting some pressure points there. Whoops.

This is where the spars meet. Probably should've just done a simple tie, but I was feelin' fancy.

Here's the kite with bowed spars.

A couple of the other roks that I've seen use a little slider to tension the line. I thought I'd go super simple with a loop and knot. The knot is kept next to the loop with a couple half hitches.

Here's its first time up in the air, for a short bit. At this moment the wind's dying. Closer to dusk I got it up high enough to catch some consistent wind and it flew like a champ.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Skewer bag

Just made a quick bag for my barbecue skewers. I got some new (to me) fabric I'm testing out: a 300d polyester (coated on one side). It's called Odyssey and is from the same company that makes the acrylic-coated poly that I use for my bag liners. This is lighter and has a nicer hand feel. If it holds up well, I look forward to using it more. You can get it from Rochford.

I like to put my male snaps on a bridge so you can close the snap without putting pressure on the bag. (I used a piece of leather here.) I see so many designs where you have to press into the bag to close the flap. That's not good for your Twinkies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Finally made some more wallets for Maude Vintage, downtown CoMo.
These also make nice little accessory pouches since they close up. People use them to carry thumb drives, bike parts, lady products and, of course, change.
I've been working on some designs that have a bill pocket, since that's what people want, I guess. Tried some designs with leather but fell back to a design I made a few years ago. I'd never been that pleased with it since the extra layer bulked up the seams too much, but I've been working with difference combinations of lighter fabric and I'm liking it better.
This one's 500d Cordura nylon.
The bill pocket wraps around the front to make another card pocket. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I just made a handful of large rough totes for my underhouse excavation project. These will be used for haulin' crawlspace dirt.

They're made outta 22oz vinyl-coated polyester. A lot of bagmakers use this as their liner material, but I much prefer acrylic-coated polyester, as it doesn't stink as much and is easier to work with (isn't as sticky). But VCP fit the bill for this project, given its stiffness, toughness and relative cheapness. The grey handles are folded seat belt webbing. Bottom dump handles are regular ol' one-inch nylon webbing.

Good times.

Leif Labs abroad

My friend was in Costa Rica recently, looking at soy beans. He snapped this photo of his waxed bag.
Thanks, Dennis!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


My first project of 2014: a bed for my friend Gus. 40x24x8.5". 1680d ballistic nylon.

The bed is made of one piece of fabric (about two yards). There's a seam underneath with a Velcro opening, two side seams, and the corner seams. Real easy to make.
It's filled with an old memory foam mattress top folded to size. I've heard that old clothes make a good dog-bed filler, too.
The bed is fairly airtight so adding some grommets might be in the future. Apparently it's pretty loud when he jumps on it.
Thanks, Ben, for the great photo.