The year of unfulfilled promises – arm bands

I’ve got 12 drafted blog posts sitting in my queue of things I randomly promised …

One of them is a set of the weaker scrap burgundy #8 arm bands that I started backing with furniture grade upholstery leather in order to practice using larger thread in a smaller chisel.

The project was very problematic.  Much like our relationship before we ended it.

That’s why I’m writing this now actually.  I don’t even want her to run around in public in these things because I don’t want anyone to know I was that bad years ago – even though I’m finishing it anyways now.

The excuses are numerous …

  • The leather was spongier than expected.
  • The leather came from the belly which is softer to begin with & takes the Horween hot wax stuffing process in very unexpected ways sometimes
  • The leather was 2nd’s which means it was from the pile that the maker knew was not as good it could have been.

The whole first part was rushed & the stitching lines don’t line up as I free handed without a guide then intend to go back and cut away the rest.  That hasn’t happened yet.

I’m doing saddle stitching.  I am using a set of muxi/chong japanese style hybrid pricking irons / chisel for ~3mm spacing or just about 9 stitches per inch.  I was shoving a 1.2mm white poly braided style ritzga “tiger” thread through on some english harness needles in the smaller size I could.

I made a series of horrible design decisions the worst was the over sized thread for the punching hole … though in many ways I love the effect, I hate working with it …

  • Over stuffing the thread size – using thread larger than recommended – is difficult …
    • It takes more force, even with gloves you develop blisters and sores faster
    • The stitches in general are less uniform as being tighter it takes more for the thread to uniformly spread out if you over tighten.
    • The ritzga braided thread unlike a cotton also shows the uneven stitching far more prominently.
    • It takes more time due to taking more force, like 2 or 3 times longer
    • Back stitching is incredibly hard, possibly even unnecessary since the stitches are locking in so tight already.  Any back stitching I do with this size combo requires a pair of jeweler’s pliers to pull the needle through due to the amount of force required.

As a test I back stitched & then did a third time, broke the thread 3 times & 2 needles pulling the thread through with the pliers…but I didn’t need to tie a knot, just heat sealed it with a lighter and smooth it out as it cooled.

I hate this particular piece of work.

So here’s the piece from years ago with my just adding in the metal d-rings to act as the sizing & attachment.  You can tell the old stuff from the new, because the stitching quality is slightly better & the color is dirtier / darker on the older stuff.

The triangular edges will be cut off later.  The piece needs a white or black edge paint applied to it too.

I do not have either of the hides used anymore, so I’m stuck with the cuts which I made.

Much like the other decisions.

Below is the Mac Tannery straps which are not as soft and much easier to work with for crafting.

You can see the rush job there.  As the quality of the project declined and I realized my original design was flawed, my rushing to get finished and closure to it was causing an accelerated downward spiral of flaws, each making it less likely that I produced a quality project and far longer that the project took.

Along with my will to complete the project until one day years ago I just stopped.  We fizzled and despite my best efforts to complete it right away – forcing it failed – made it worse even.

Side views and arrangement can make almost anything look good.  From a distance these pieces are pretty decent looking.

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