Don't Knock the Moc- Moccasin Basics
The word moccasin can be traced back to the year 1612 and originated from a Virginia Algonquian language. Moccasins are footwear (low tailored shoes) that are constructed from soft leather (generally deerskin) and were at first the predominant footwear for hunters, traders, settlers and the North American Indian tribes. Moccasins are soft, and very quiet to walk in which made them an excellent choice of footwear for hunters to get around in without being detected by their prey. As well, since they are constructed from leather, they have good traction and easily soak up liquids.
In the beginning different tribes of Indians decorated their moccasin footwear differently depending on its specific use. The most commonly used items were beads and shells. Some tribes' preferred decorative tongues while others went in for pieces of leather hanging from the heel of the moccasin, and still others, tiny tails that dragged behind as the person walked. A wearer's tribe could often be determined simply by taking note of the footprint's shape. For example, the Great Lakes tribes favored rabbit-nose shaped toes, the plains Indians, flat toes, the Iroquois relished the look of moccasins that were wide on the bottom and finally, the Eastern Forest Indians tribes enjoyed very thin ones.
The decorations of moccasins differ from purpose to purpose and tribe to tribe. For example, most tribes had their own version of marriage moccasins and these were beaded all over the top of the moccasin. Hunting moccasins on the other hand were no-nonsense as they had no decorations and were constructed with a piece of leather wrapped around the foot. Many tribes had special moccasins for death (what they called the journey into the afterlife) and they were adorned with beads on the top, sides and soles. The patterns of moccasins included everything from religious symbols to spiritual symbols to floral patterns to geometric shapes to zoomorphic designs. Some tribes went for an added elegant touch by including a piece of velvet on the cuffs.
Moccasins shoes fall in separate groups- the hard-sole and soft-sole groups. Hard-sole moccasins began as Native American moccasins and were generally made from two or more pieces of hide with the hard sole of shaped rawhide and the fitted leather upper needing more complex tailoring than other types of moccasins. Hard-soled moccasins were very protective to the feet when an individual walked across rough terrain such as ground covered by prairie grass, sharp rocks and harsh cactus plants. The Apache tribe wore two-piece moccasins that featured a turned up toe. This toe worked as a preventative for sharp objects running into the seams of the moccasin and hurting the foot. Soft-soled moccasins on the other hand were popular in the Eastern Forest tribes and were fashioned from one piece of leather. The moccasin was constructed by bringing up the sole around the foot and then proceeding to patch or pucker the material around the instep. Soft-soled moccasins were made with a soft-soled center seam and a pucker- toe and were excellent for treading through woodlands that were covered with pine needles and leaves.
The soft-soled moccasins that were worn in the Plains and the Northwest Coast were constructed from one piece of tanned leather but were sewn along the side rather than the center of the moccasin. There were variations to the soft-soled moccasin, which included a vamp (or u-shaped piece of leather) being added and another piece at the back, known as a cuff was also added. Many of the Iroquois and Great Lake tribes constructed their moccasins with a wide vamp in such a way that it covered over the majority of the upper front of the shoe. It was other Eastern Forest tribes that fashioned moccasins with a shorter, narrower vamp that connected up with a central puckered seam that ran down the length of the shoe.
The defining characteristic of a moccasin is the unique way the material is sewn together. Moccasins are made inside out and a last (or permanent form) is not used. The bottom seams of these shoe face toward the foot when the shoes are turned right side out. The seams are trimmed and there are removable lambswool pads, which are to be found in the bottom part of the moccasin. The moccasin is designed such that the seams never come in contact with the foot.
Do it yourself: how to make your own hammockInstructions for making your own hammock for relaxing in the back yard, with only some fabric, rope and a little time.
What's more relaxing that lying around in your backyard in your hammock, napping in the summer breeze? Oh, you don't have a hammock in which to relax? No problem. You can make a hammock very easily out of some fabric and rope. You'll need 3 yards of some type of very durable fabric, at least 36" wide, needle and thread or sewing machine, and 50" of 38" diameter polypropylene rope, scissors and measuring tape. When choosing a fabric, select something that is breathable.
Choose a fabric that when wet, dries quickly, or your hammock could mildew if accidentally left out in the weather. Remember, dark colors attract the heat more, so if you'll be using the hammock mostly in the hot sun, you might want to choose a light color of fabric instead. When possible, select a fabric that is wider than the 36" if there will be couples using the hammock. For the rope, choose a type that specifies "working load" and check the weight warnings. Select a weight that will hold at least the two heaviest people in your home. Since polypropylene rope won't mildew, it is recommended for this project. If you'll be using poles or posts, set them before beginning the hammock. Some people set the posts with eye bolts, but whether you decide on poles or trees, make sure it is sturdy enough to hold the weight of a couple of people. And remember, the further apart your poles, the higher up you'll have to tie the hammock to keep it from dragging the ground when you get in it. To make the hammock, hem the fabric on each end, and the sides, if necessary. Cut the rope in half and thread half through one end hem and half through the other end hem. Use a clothespin to help thread the tope through the hem. Gather the hem on the rope by scrunching it together, then tie a double knot to secure. Repeat for the other end.
Some hammocks are secured to the poles or trees with one rope that is tied around the support with a bowline or several half hitches, but you can also take both rope ends, loop them around the support and tie them to each other. Pull one end of the rope and wrap it twice around the support, then tie one end of the rope to the other using the Josephine knot, also known as the Carrick bend, which is easy to untie when taking down the hammock. To make the Josephine knot, take the two ropes on one end of the hammock, form one into a loop and place the loop on top of the other rope. Now take the end of the second rope and lay it over onto the bottom of one end of the looped rope, slightly below where the loop begins to form. Now take the second rope piece and place it under the other end of the looped piece, just under where the loop begins. Now bring the second rope piece around, over the top of the loop. Continue to move the second rope piece until it is now underneath itself and has formed a loop of its own. Pull both loops tight until they form a knot. This should hold your hammock in place.
You can purchase mosquito netting to put over your hammock, before attaching it to the poles. It can be sewn to three sides of the hammock with a zipper on the fourth side, or it can be sewn to one side, and made to pull up over yourself while you're in the hammock. You can also sew a pocket onto the side of the hammock for placing glasses or a book. This can be made from the hammock fabric or another piece of lightweight fabric. Even an old craft bag makes a great pocket for a hammock, just remove straps and sew onto the side of the hammock. If the pocket swings while you're in the hammock and this bothers you, you can instead make a pocket underneath the hammock for sliding in magazines and such. If you want protection from the sun, you can make a makeshift roof for your hammock by tying a tarp over the top. Another hammock accessory is a rope which you can tie above the hammock and use clothes pins to hang a flashlight or other necessities.