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Barefoot trail running: a local-inspired skirt

September 7, 2013

An excellent book that details our native People lifeways is Survival Skills of Native California. Everything in our local landscape was useful to the earlier People who made this their home for thousands of years; there is much to learn from their skill with our native plants. I’ve been interested in running skirts for some time, and after seeing another runner wearing one this morning . . .

IMG_6016 (480x640)

. . . I was inspired to complete the one I had begun last week. Instead of using yucca or or elderberry fiber (traditional materials from native plants), for my first attempt I used a recycled “local” fiber: men’s wool dress slacks from a nearby thrift store.

IMG_5990 (640x615)These waist-size 58 (?!) pants were less than $2; another pair was under $5. I already had a scrap of velcro, so the total cost was under $7, with the money going toward a good cause, the charity that runs the thrift store.

IMG_6018 (640x480)Adapting the directions in the Survival Skills book, I stretched the waistband from the smaller pair of pants between two pipe clamps fastened to my kitchen table. While watching America’s Got Talent this week, I had already torn the legs of the pants into narrow (1/4 to 5/8″) strips, from the hem to the waistband.

Today I draped (and pinned) the torn pieces over the waistband, alternating colors randomly, until I had enough to go around me.

IMG_6024 (640x480)I used to have a sewing business (back in the 1970s . . . seems like yesterday), so I got out my trusty Elna sewing machine and stitched the strips to the waistband, using three rows of stitching. Then I tried it on, and trimmed away . . .

IMG_6040 (480x640)until it seemed the right length:

IMG_6026 (640x480)I made a thread loop to catch the metal hook that was already part of the waistband, with a piece of velcro where it overlapped by a few inches.

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Voila–a light-weight, natural-fiber, native-inspired skirt to try out on my next trail run (the above photo was taken by my kind-but-perplexed husband in our back yard . . . he never knows quite what to think about my barefoot escapades).

Under my new skirt: a pair of bicycle style shorts. (Definitely not something I would wear as an outer layer . . . I’m a granny, and have my reputation to consider 🙂 )

hiking spandexIn other news: this morning’s dawn-patrol-to-beat-the-heat run was a lot more low-key than last Saturday’s triumphant two-hour canter up and down the hills of Barham Ridge. My calves really got worked over last week; I’ve been taking it easy since them, and appreciated a good bout of soft tissue work at the physical therapist’s yesterday (along with work on my upper back; it’s all linked together, I’m learning).

Some morning images:

River-rock cobble, high above the floodplain. These hills are on the move . . .

River-rock cobble, high above the floodplain. These hills are on the move . . .

Not too many cholla to be found in Orange County; here's one along the Chutes Trail.

Not too many cholla to be found in Orange County; here’s one along the Chutes Trail.

The Willows Trails just outside of Irvine Park: shady and inviting all year long.

The Willows Trails just outside of Irvine Park: shady and inviting all year long.

Popcorn flower in the early light.

Popcorn flower in the early light . . . these flowers bloom during the dry season, long after the spring wildflowers have dried up and disappeared.

They may be "biodegradable," but peanut shells out on the trail are still TRASH. "Leave no trace" -- pass it on.

They may be “biodegradable,” but peanut shells out on the trail are still TRASH. “Leave no trace” — pass it on.

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