Saturday, July 9, 2011

DIY Poncho Improvement: Side Ties

What I used:

-- a Cascade II backpacker poncho,
-- (1) 36" shoelace,
-- (4) eyelets from a 5/16" (8mm) eyelet kit by Prym Creative, part #14015, US$2.97 at Wal-Mart,
-- a hammer,
-- a measuring tape,
-- the scissors on my SAK Classic,
-- disposable lighter.

Contemplating for what else I might use the eyelets mentioned in my last post, it suddenly dawned on me that they're perfect for keeping my poncho from flapping in the wind. As mentioned in a previous post reviewing the Cascade II poncho, I stitched a few heavy-duty Velcro coin sets in mine. Since then, high winds once separated them during a storm. Sure, it was such bad weather I wondered why I wasn't safely indoors, but considering I was already out, there was no reason for me to get wet if it could be avoided.

Following the rule of "measure twice, cut once," I put eyelets in my poncho near the knees, left and right sides, front and back. The cutting part of the eyelet tool didn't cut as well as the enclosed instructions portrayed or maybe I didn't hit as hard with my hammer as I should have. I used the wonderfully sharp scissors of my Swiss Army knife Classic model to complete the holes.

Finishing the rest of the eyelet installations was easy.

Next came deciding what to use as ties and what type of knots would be best.

Settling on a 36" shoelace leftover from a pair bought to make a fore-and-aft cord for a hat, I cut it into fourths and sealed the cut edges with a lighter to prevent fraying.

After tying a double overhand knot on one end, I threaded each piece of shoelace through an eyelet ensuring the knot stopped it from going all the way through.

After each quarter-shoelace was in an eyelet, I tied another double overhand knot in the opposite end to prevent it from slipping out of the eyelet.

Finally, I tied the pair of front and back quarter-shoelaces together on the left side using a slipped reef knot to make it easy to untie if necessary, then repeated with the pair on the right side.

If I didn't pull the poncho on over my head from the bottom like a T-shirt, if I ducked into it from an open side, for example, I'd have to leave the tie(s) undone until after I had the poncho on. Either way is possible since this modification provides the options of tying before it's put on, tying after it's put on, or leaving it untied altogether.

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