Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How-to: Make a Fleece Seat Saver for Figure Skating Competitions

I went to a synchronized skating competition a few weeks ago. The rink stands were packed. Like most spectators, we'd brought our no-sew fleece blankets and spread them out carefully over our bench seats. It's a smart thing to do because the folded blankets keep your rear end from freezing to metal benches and the blanket saves your seat if you have to grab a cup of coffee or run to the restroom.
The competition was so packed, though, that other spectators had a hard time leaving and returning to their seats. The folks behind us must have had very small bladders because they kept coming and going, each time crossing over our blankets.
These people stepped all over our blankets, trod on our coats, and nearly upended a cup of hot cocoa on me.
Competition lesson #1: Never wear anything in the stands that won't look good with a splash of someone else's coffee on it. Ice Grandma? This means you. Do not wear that fur coat, Mom. I don't care if you've just fed it and walked it. Someone's going to spill on it and you'll be loud, obnoxious, and telling everyone in a 50-foot radius how mink looks lousy with mocha. Leave it at home, Mom. Yes, the hat needs to stay home, too.
Competition lesson #2: Make cool no-sew fleece seat savers. (It's the same for a big no-sew fleece blanket, just smaller)
The synchro team next to ours had a very smart bunch of parents. These people brought no-sew fleece blankets like the rest of us, but theirs were narrow and perfectly sized to fit the bench seats and accommodate two people sitting on them. The blankets had their synchronized skating team colors - one color on each side - and were embroidered with the team's name. Alright, the embroidery was kind of over the top, but I guess the embroidery prevented others from taking them. At least, it prevented me from taking one.
  • 1 1/2 yards double-sided fleece - any color
  • 1 1/2 yards double-sided fleece - another color
  • sharp shears
  • ruler
  1. Wash and dry the fleece fabric
  2. Lay the fleece fabric on top of one another, wrong sides together and edges squared up
  3. Make a straight line from selvage edge to selvage edge, 15 inches from the cut edge. (The selvage edges are the machine-finished edges of the fabric that run perpendicular to the cut edges.)
  4. Cut along that line
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 so you have three pieces of 15" wide fabric
  6. Cut off the selvage edges of the fabric, making sure that the edges of the layers are even
  7. On each corner, measure in three inches and draw a line. You should have a three-inch square at each corner. Cut out the three-inch square and discard
  8. Lay your ruler along one of the cut edges of the missing squares. Make sure that the ruler is straight across the square and parallel to the long edge
  9. Make cuts every inch along the ruler to make the ties. Your cuts will be spaced one inch apart and will be three inches long. Move the ruler as necessary
  10. Once you've finished cutting all the blanket ties, tie the front and back together in a double knot, skipping every other tie
  11. Flip the blanket and tie the remaining blanket ties with a double knot
  12. Look very smug when you put the seat saver blanket down on your bench seat
My plan is to make a couple of these for the next competition. If someone steps on my fleece seat saver, I'll just flip it over. And plot ways to trip those people if they stomp on my stuff again. Maybe I'll spill my hot chocolate on them, accidentally-on-purpose.

How about you? How do you survive all day at a competition on hard, cold bench seats? How do you keep your mother from embarrassing you in front of everyone? How do you keep your husband from working the crossword puzzle? Do you have any other competition day tips? Share 'em!

As always, please let me know if you have a question for me or the Advisory Board. If you have an idea for a post, or you'd like to write something yourself, that's cool, too! E-mail me at icemom.diane@gmail.com.

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Kate said...

Cute idea! Thanks for sharing! Of course, I think I'm so bad at sewing that even a no-sew blanket wouldn't turn out right. So, let me know when you start taking orders. ;)

I guess I should plan on taking something to sit on when we go to that competition this weekend. I never would have thought about that! Where would I be without you IceMom?

Denise said...

Is your daughter skating synchro now?

Xan said...

I keep one in the car too, to wrap up in on the cold, early mornings!

Ice Mom said...

Hi, Kate!

I would bring something to sit on for two reasons:

1. Sometimes rink designers install metal bleachers. Very stupid, but very cold. A blanket is awesome to keep the permafrost out of one's rear end.

2. Save your seat. Folks will swipe your seat when you're taking photos of your skaters.

Make sure it's a blanket you don't care about because folks will step on it, spill on it, and knock it to the floor.

Have fun at the competition! Good luck to your skater!

Ice Mom

Ice Mom said...

Hey, Denise.

Ice Girl skated synchro on a team that we thought would be purely for exhibitions. The girls ended up competing twice.

Um. They were O.K.. Very, very recreational.

However, the drama was professional. What is up with synchro drama, anyway? Future post on that, I tell you. Have you had synchro drama, Denise? E-mail me at icemom.diane.@gmail.com.

Ice Mom

Denise said...

I hear you on the synchro drama. Spent last weekend volunteering/watching the US Synchro Nationals. On Sunday morning I had what resembled a hangover from all the sensory over stimulation--LOUD music, bright costumes and so much energy. Don't get me wrong, it was fun but a bit over the top. (But hats off to our LOC for hosting a great competition!) Also on Sunday, I had to chaperone my daughter's synchro team at a competition. I couldn't believe how dramatic they were (Juv level). I think it is a combination of hormones and group hysteria--they feed off each other.

On a related note. I love synchro but I think if they want to be seriously considered as an Olympic event, they're going to have to lose the Cat Woman eye makeup and false eyelashes. Apart from maybe ice dancers, I don't recall any Olympians who compete in false eyelashes. I know it's part theater but at the Olympic level it should be all about the skating (and a loose lash could be potentially dangerous). Just my opinion.

Ice Mom said...

Wow, Denise! US Synchro Nationals must have been a blast!

Interesting perspective about fake eyelashes/cat-girl makeup. I don't understand that, either. Don't they do something similar with synchronized swimming? Not sure.

Ice Mom

Anonymous said...

As for the makeup and false lashes, probably more skaters than you would realize wear false lashes. I'm pretty sure Tanith Belbin wears them. But yes, some syncro makeup is wayy over the top.

Anyway, thanks for the post! We have the same problem! Haha

Anonymous said...

Oh woops I'm sorry, I realized you mentioned ice dancers! My bad! What I meant to say is it's not really that big of a deal. I wear them at competitions and I'm not an ice dancer.

jumpingbeanmom said...

Cool idea! I didn't realize you were a synchro mom too- my girls skate synchro and my youngest skates freestyle too. What I want to know is how you don't get so darned nervous for them???

jumpingbeanmom said...

Denise, my daughters skate on juvenile level too and goodness help me on the drama!! It has actually made my youngest (only 9) kind of like it much less than she used to like it.

Ice Mom said...

Hi, jumpingbeanmom.

Yeah. Ice Girl was on an open juv team this year. Drama got v. ugly once. Not sure I want to pay for that again next year.

It was my first year as a synchro mom and I'm not great at it. I don't do make up, I don't do hair, and I don't do drama.

Got a synchro story? E-mail me at icemom.diane@gmail.com!

Ice Mom

Ice Mom said...

Hey, jumpingbeanmom.

How do I keep from being nervous? I sit next to Ice Dad, who says inappropriate things. I also hang out with Synchro Friend, who suggests creative ways of sabotaging other teams.

Of course, we would never shoot white bobby pins through a straw onto the ice. Well, I wouldn't. Synchro Friend might.

Ice Mom

jumpingbeanmom said...

LOL Icemom!

Denise said...

Jumpingbeanmom, thanks for saying your daughter isn't as fond of synchro because of the drama. That has been our daughters reaction this year as well (this is her 3rd year in synchro). Other parents on our team haven't mentioned any issues, so I thought it was just us who were struggling with it. After chaperoning on Sunday I had a discussion with my daughter about believing in herself and not getting distracted by small issues. I tried to reinforce that coaches (teachers and parents too)appreciate maturity and composure. Tried to encourage her to lead by example and not follow the drama queens. We'll have see if this made an impact on her.

Ice Mom said...

Denise and jumpingbeanmom:

We need to form a synchro recovery group!

E-mail me with your stories and I'll include them in a synchro drama post with problems and solutions.


Ice Mom

Anonymous said...

Hello IceMom!

Thank you for the compliment on the Madison Energy Synchronized Skating Team's seat savers! They were thought up and created by one of our wonderful synchro moms, whose daughter, close friend, and teammate of ours, Lacey Meinel, was killed by a drunken driver last year, coming home from our first synchronized skating competition. Lacey's mother did the custom embroidery herself, and also embroidered all our team jackets, sweatpants and team t-shirts.

The seat savers would work perfectly at both synchro competitions and individual competitions, and are so much nicer than those awful metal bleachers! Kudos to Lacey's mom for the awesome idea!

Congratulations to the Synchronized Skating Team that IceGirl skates with. Our team (Madison Energy) got a chance to watch their performance and they did a very nice job!


Ice Mom said...

Hey, Atrev├ęte!

Not sure which Madison Energy mom you are, but thank you for the kind words about Ice Girl's synchro team. They were, um, adequate. :) Recreational.

Madison Energy was fun to watch and - love the dresses! You're lucky to have such a nice seamstress. Way, way nicer that I will ever be. Patient. Kind. I would have come after folks with my shears, but she just kept toiling away.

As you know, I fought the temptation to swipe those seat savers. I did not do it. Don't leave yours lying around on those stupid metal bleachers, though, because that puppy's mine.

Ice Mom

jumpingbeanmom said...

Hey Denise-

It really seems to depend on the child. My 10 year old seems to just let it fly by, not caring what drama is taking place with the others, but it seems to really upset my 9 year old. Up until late this season, she adored it, now she is on the fence.