The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Getting Creative

Last evening, with 60 hours remaining before we set out (on foot) for Scotland, and having finally got all my gear out and had a practice pack, I decided that I’d quite like a new stuff-sack to go with the new quilt (the quilt being bulkier than my down bag and thus it’s a squeeze to get it in my usual stuff sack). Not having time left to source one, I went and dragged some fabric out of the cupboard and got creative.

A while later, I had produced this – a square-bottomed stuff sack, weighing 21g:


I stuffed the larger half of the quilt in to check it for size…


…and decided that it was a bit too long and thin.

So, I measured, marked and cut some more fabric and returned to the sewing machine. A while later, I had a mis-matched pair, both weighing in at 21g, but one being shorter and fatter than the other.


As it goes, the second one is a bit too short and fat, but I haven’t been moved to make an inbetweenie.

Continuing the stuff sack theme, this morning I returned to the sewing machine with the ‘kitchen’ bag, which got gnawed by a rodent on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2012. If I continue to use it in its holey state then the spoons are bound to fall out unnoticed sometime, and that would not be a happy scenario.

The bag was duly patched (perfectly functionally so), yet I then decided to replace it instead. An old silnylon stuff sack was canibalised for the fabric and, for this one, I simply duplicated the design of the old one:


Old one (patched and inside out) on the left; new one on the right

I’ve not sewed a round bottom into a stuff sack before. It probably gets easier with practice, but I found that three hands were useful to get it into position. I’m rather pleased with the result (even if I did get one accidental pleat underneath, thanks to a small mis-sizing of the base).

With time having been frittered away making a bag that wasn’t strictly necessary, I finally turned my attention to the final sewing chore, which really did need doing. With our switch to a quilt, I thought it would be wise to make a couple of insulated hats. The problem is that I don’t have a pattern and I’ve never made one before, so it deserved a little bit of thought (not a lot, mind, what with time marching on!).

My old Paramo Velez (with detachable hood) provided a rough pattern and a couple of hours later Mick and I were both looking truly ridiculous modelling this exceptionally warm head-gear:


The second one (the one I’m wearing) was a better design than the first. If I was to make a third (which I’m not planning on!) then it would be even better. As it goes, they may not be works of art, but they are functional.

I think I ought to go and put the sewing machine away now, before I decide to make something else!


  1. Has Mick really got a pointy head?

  2. All the best for your start tomorrow. I am off to do Seatallan in The Lakes, an unclimbed, for me, Marilyn.

    I will be interested to see the route you have plotted. If you find there is anything you need at any time I am around until the 25th of April and would have no hesitation in tracking you down if needs be.

  3. All the best. It looks a grand walk

  4. Have a nice lie in on Tuesday, you two. Yes, I did work out the fact of your very elaborate hoax, you really had me hooked for a while, until I saw Mick's pointy head!

  5. Love them! I do have the pattern for the Ray Way ones if you want though? Mighty fine it is :-)

    1. I would be most interested to see Ray's design (although thus far, such has been the warmth of the quilt, even in temperatures cold enough to freeze the water bottles, we've not had to reach for the insulated hats).