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The Great Frugal "Shoe Down": 36 Unique Ways to Lace a ShoeBy Vicki McClure Davidson
Learning to tie your own shoes was a huge deal when you were little. Learning how to actually lace a shoe was a celebrated feat (not feet, although the temptation to pun here is strong), especially if you could master it before kindergarten. Mathematically, there are said to be 2 trillion ways to lace a shoe using six pairs of eyelets. Wow... really hard to wrap your mind around 2 trillion. The website Ian's Shoelace Site analyzes, illustrates, and demonstrates a more realistic number of different ways shoes can be laced—36 ways, in fact. The first time we saw this site, we loved it because of all that it has to offer for families, students, or youth leaders on a tight budget. It can be a cheap, intriguing youth activity or a cost-free fashion statement for money-strapped college students. This unusual site embraces our frugal philosophies while stimulating our imagination.
And, well, it makes us grin. Broadly. Because it's just plain cool.
Lacing methods have a variety of descriptive names, such as double cross, display, shoe shop, ladder, spider web, footbag, riding boot, hash, train track, bi-color, and Army. Who knew?
The demonstrated shoe-lacing methods on the site are a cross-section of the most popular, traditional, and alternative of methods found by the site's creator, Ian Fieggen. Ian, who lives in Victoria, Australia, is sometimes referred to as "Professor Shoelace," and has a deep passion for math, science, and efficiency methods.
This site, an obvious labor of love, offers fascinating information about the history of each style of shoe lacing and detailed instructions with photographs showing the steps and end results. The site's tag line is "Bringing you the fun, fashion & science of shoelaces."
For older children, this is a fun site that incorporates beginner-level scientific methods. It provides a frugal craft activity (but, is it actually a craft? Or, is it a skill?) for youth leaders, child care givers, or homeschooling parents. Ian's instructions are easy to follow, so spending an hour in a workshop or youth meeting, replicating Ian's creations, should be fairly stress-free and a blast for everyone. The activity could evolve into a competition or a training session for older kids to later mentor to younger ones or to other children at a community youth center or shelter.
In addition, it ought to be a successful way to spend a rainy or snowy afternoon indoors with your children or grandchildren or entertaining a bed-ridden child. Many of the lacing examples appear to require minor skill levels, so even preschoolers could try a few lacing methods. And, unlike so many other craft projects, this doesn't present any safety issues or mess cleanup. We see a lot of quirky possibilities here, all virtually free.
Another section of the website that parents may want to explore offers valuable teaching tips and advice for younger children to tie their shoes. One of the suggestions, when teaching a youngster to tie his or her own shoes, is to replace thin shoelaces with something that is easier to grip. Soft, wide, but not too fat, shoe laces are a much better choice. There are tips for teaching left-handed children as well.
A lot of kicks and excellent information are at Ian's Shoelace Site, for just the price of a pair of humble shoelaces... not bad. Not bad at all.
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