Hang on to Your Ego

A friend of mine, bike snob, mechanic, old-timer wannabe, sent me this link. It will take you to a little article called "Tips for Happy Riding" and I happen to think it's pretty cool, pretty funny and a sassy reference for checking our bike egos now and again. The author of the article is Grant Petersen, former head of Bridgestone USA and founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works, an all around good-guy shop out in California that specializes in made-to-order, everyman bicycles. The article is perhaps geared more toward the distance rider than the city commuter, but even city riders could benefit from a once over.

Photo courtesy of www.pushbuttonfor.org

Grant writes:
Our mission is to make things that wouldn't be made if we weren't here, to offer an alternative to racing-centric bikes and parts, and to espouse a different approach to riding. And to resurrect and keep healthy many of the better ideas, designs, and styles of bicycles, clothing, and accessories that we personally like to use or wear.
Which we here at Fabric Horse can definitely get behind! Rivendell makes and sells some pretty awesome, highly useful stuff. If you haven't seen their website, it is definitely worth the visit. They use a historically comprehensive philosophy in the design of their bicycles, which in turn carries over to the products they recommend. Their love of cycling comes across in every detail of their business model, which is really admirable and something we too strive for when making all of our crazy stuff. Even if you don't agree with everything he says, Grant has a dedication to all things bike that is as infectious as pedaling itself. So go read it already! Go!


Pre Holiday Consciousness!

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

I know it's only October. Pre-Halloween even...but I saw this website recently and figured that the holidays are really just around the corner. I'm not trying to push any sort of excessive craft consumerism down your throat, but I'd venture to guess that you are probably going to buy at least one little something for some lovely person in the next couple of months. Statistically, it seems pretty likely in light of all those scorpios and capricorns in your life on top of all the holidays in the next eight weeks. I'm just saying that you seem like a nice enough person, which means you probably have a friend that will probably get you something totally awesome and if you don't reciprocate you'll look like a pretty big jerk.

The thing is, I actually love Christmas. I am a huge sappy dork about it all and anyway, I'm just trying to impart some pre-holiday spirit on you people by asking that you give some thought to this little pledge. With all these people reclaiming and recrafting and just plain old making some really great things, the holidays are a perfect time to introduce your squarer friends and family to handmade goods. One-of-a-kind gifts win you 100% more brownie points, I can assure you. The growing magnetic field surrounding the American Craft movement is pretty staggering and it would behoove you to add yourself to it. Even if you can't put your name down in internet writing, wander over to this website, check out some of the sponsors and learn a little something. The pledge serves as a cheerful reminder of all the myriad ways in which holiday consumption can manifest itself. So give it a little thought before the chaos really hits. Conspicuous consumption never felt so good.


Carrie Nominated for A City Paper Award!

Woot, Woot! We're not really sure how these things work, but Carrie has scored herself a place on the Philadelphia City Paper Ballot for Best Local Designer. And we are very proud of her! And so should you be! Follow this link to cast your precious vote. You have to scroll down a bit (to award #32, to be exact) and simply click the circle next to her name. On your way down there, you might stop over to vote for your favorite Bike Shop...(ahem, VIA), Beer Distributor or Florist. Follow your fancy!

**Update: Carrie totally won! Thanks to all of those who voted!


Hot Wax Canvas

We've been using waxed canvas for a while now, primarily to make the beloved little spats we debuted over a year ago. We soon realized what an awesome material it is and incorporated it into some of our utility belts. Most recently, we began using it for the 59-Fanny.

Waxed canvas, also called Tin Cloth, is one of the oldest materials in the world of baggage and outdoors equipment. It was developed intitially to help sailors keep moisture off the skin during time at sea. Linseed oil would be rubbed onto their clothing to help repel moisture. Today, the manufactured version of the stuff is just canvas that has been "impregnated" as the kids like to say, with a blend of wax. And as the canvas ages, the fibers' oiled coating only gets more water repellant, which is why it is still used in the manufacturing of camping packs, military equipment, messenger bags and even shoes.

So waxed canvas rules for several reasons. From a stitching perspective, this stuff folds and sews up really easily. We use a medium weight, which has proven really durable. And as soon as you touch the stuff, the texture and heaviness will make you positively swoon!

You'll want to make yourself some booties! It is luxurious like leather without the sometimes creepy associations of death and animals, less expensive, and classy!


Things We Are Proud Of

As one of our very first posts here on the FH blog, we’d like to give you a better idea of what this company actually looks like, every day, and why we feel pretty good about what we are doing here. Six months ago, we moved into a beautiful studio space that we share with R.E.Load at 310 N. 11th Street in Philadelphia.

Here we are most able to pool resources like space and equipment with a slightly larger, though still small company like R.E.Load, while maintaining separate goals and products and energy. Fabric Horse values cooperation and collaboration with local artists and local companies. Following this suit, we really thrive on the mutual inspiration that results from our proximity to other creative endeavors. Plus, we have a killer view of the city and get to work alongside our friends every single day.

In turn, the utility belts largely responsible for our growing recognition in the handmade and cycling communities are produced using some of the materials scrapped by our neighbors.

This makes us happy! Not only does it help offset the high labor costs of making our belts, it's also environmentally beneficial, as we can help R.E.Load cut down on some of the fabric waste that would otherwise head over to landfills.

And sewing stuff we like is fun!

And when a person decides to purchase a utility belt or a pair of spats or even a little lock holster, he or she invests in their community by supporting a local business that provides a positive work environment. If all the people who shopped at K-Mart adjusted their consumption toward quality, locally produced products, our fair city would be a better place. And we’d all live in tree houses and ride lightning bolts and wear sparkles!...

We are really excited about how Fabric Horse has grown over the past few months and wanted to bring you up to speed on some of these developments. So thanks for being FH fans! Seriously, you’re doing the right thing. Read us often! More to follow…