There's nothing quite like a month of 40 below to motivate a gal to make herself a fur hat. Tim gave me a tanned fox last spring when I was designing minis, but I never found a use for it in my projects. My head's been freezing even with 2 hats on and lots of people around here have these beautiful beaver hats that I see and always wish I had one too. I finally looked at one closely and decided I don't need to wait to afford a 350 dollar hat (as if), I can make my own, for free.
The little felt bula hat I used for the liner has been on my head every winter since I started camping in 2002. It fits me perfectly but I did retire it last winter after Nordica complained she was tired of seeing me wear it. Can't wait to see what she thinks of it now! Heh. It turned out differently than I planned after I decided I like the felt on the outside too. Now it's reversible.
It took me a while to start cutting the hide. I've never done it before and I was worried I'd ruin it and dishonor the fox who gave his life to provide it. I cut the back piece first leaving the legs and the tail attached. This is a popular fur hat style choice in Alaska and I like the idea that it uses every piece of the animal skin except the head. Then I cut a circle for the dome area, sewed that, and next I cut a large back piece for the crown cover and sewed that. I cut the back legs off in 2 pieces and sewed the underbelly fur around the face.
I tied off every stitch on the hide with a double knot. I sewed the felt liner to the leather side of the fur with a hidden stitch, 5 stitches to an inch. I've been gagging up fur balls for days but it's finally almost finished. I can wear it the next time I go saw wood and it's warmed up to 24 below! Almost perfect mushing weather!
Also talked to Tim about him offering week long training expeditions out to the woods and the traplines. I've had several people mention they'd like to learn some Alaskan winter survival skills, and if anyone can teach that, it would be Tim Redington. He's been living and trapping on the back trails of Alaska with dogsleds and snowmachines since before he could walk. He said trapping ends March 15 and he could probably still take people on overnights until March 30. He said he'd charge $1000.00 for 60 hours and $54.00 a day room and board. I may put a schedule together for him and write a syllabus using Dean Wilson Sr.'s The Alaskan Trapper's Guide as the textbook. (Dean Sr. lives down the road too and could be convinced to visit. ) Tim'd include carpentry lessons in making traps and sleds, dog mushing skills, running traplines, skinning hides, building emergency shelters, and include one overnight in the woods. I could also give a brief introduction to building an emergency gertee if there's an interest.