Balaclavas & Baklava: DIY Winter Bike Accessory Workshop

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Last night, the folks of the #bikedc community blew my socks off! BikeArlington was lucky enough to host 45 people for an evening of DIY excitement and sweet treats.  The results of which were a dazzling array of new winter bike accessories– from full-head balaclavas to cozy ear and neck warmers– which people made by themselves or with the help of some rock star volunteers.

This event recap post comes from guest blogger and all around awesome person, Elizabeth Denton. When she’s not helping businesses implement excellent transportation programs with Arlington Transportation Partners, she writes for her own blog, Tin Lizzie Rides Again, where you’ll find all kinds of creative ideas for fashionable biking. A HUGE thank you to Elizabeth for sharing her thoughts on the evening and for being an excellent volunteer. And without further ado, Elizabeth’s post!

event table

Last night I volunteered to help out with BikeArlington’s “Balaclavas and Baklava” winter accessories sewing event, and had a blast! Erin Potter, the Events & Outreach Coordinator, arrived in Arlington last spring with winters of Chicago biking under her belt, and took inspiration for this event from something she had participated in back in the Windy City. Needing extra sewing hands, she recruited a few of us from the office, and organized an awesome event!

pattern station   elizabeth helps   sewing station

Erin did an amazing job of wrangling the 35 attendees who RSVPed, the 20 on the waiting list, piles of fantastic polar fleece, several volunteer sewing machines (mine are still “in hospital,” alas), thread and pins, baklava, mulled cider and even a fire in a fireplace! Okay, that was on the computer monitor above us, but was the perfect thing for a cozy cold weather craft night. Everything was organized into stations: pick your pattern and fabric; cutting out your fabric; pining; sewing; admiring your mad sewing skillz! Seriously, she thought of everything, even a large framed mirror to check out your new bike accessories.

roomshot   stylin   station1

It seemed like everyone had a really great time! Many people had never sewn before, and I helped several men pin and sew, which I thought was really inspiring. I enjoyed troubleshooting a range of sewing machines, from a super old Singer to a fancy computerized one that kept giving me an error message and we finally had to reboot it!

Given the popularity of this event, I’m pretty confident Bike Arlington will do something similar again. Maybe we can convince them to repeat it in January or February – we might all need new accessories to perk up the winter doldrums by that point. If you think you’d like another night like this, or have other suggestions, email them at, Tweet to them at @BikeArlington or leave them a love note on Facebook.

I am happy that I was able to help so many people with their winter biking accessories, and that I was able to sneak a bit of that pink polar fleece to make a neck warmer for me. Hey, it matches my gloves! Successful evening all around!

**Editor’s note: Click on Elizabeth’s fantastic matching photo below to get to her blog AND check out BikeArlington’s Facebook Album for more great photos of the event! See y’all next time.

Elizabeth Pretty in Pink

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