Saturday, August 31, 2013

Process: Apparel Arts skirts

I've been doing this Apparel Arts thing since January and all I seem to post are unbleached muslin process photos. It feels simultaneously like the least fulfilling thing that I do and the most fulfilling thing that I do. Where is the finished product??? In my brain so far...

The first topic, skirts, didn't hold that much appeal for me before I started. I don't usually wear them. In the bare legs department, I usually prefer dresses because they are easy for work. Throw on one piece and you are done. Skirts have to be STYLED. Maybe one can wear a tshirt with them but it never feels quite put together. I tended towards jean skirts for many years and now I want to take it further.

My class is great. We work independently with a teacher, Heather, who comes around to talk to each of us individually. The goal is to work our way through a book that was written by the founder of the school, Suzy Furrer.

The pattern drafting course can take 2-3 years to complete. It's up to us how fast we move. Personally I have had to do most of my work in class, I don't have a lot of time for homework. But that's why I decided in the first place that this was a possibility, it's very flexible and there is no up front financial commitment. I pay as I go and it doesn't matter how long it takes. When I have time, of course I like to do work at home.

Anyway eight months (Aids/LifeCycle, a tour, and some family bombs later) and I'm onto my final two skirt projects, which I'm making in fashion fabric. Yeehaw! My first skirt is inspired by a JCrew skirt from their 2013 Spring collection. It's a pretty simple shape, one that we even did in an exercise: the inverted box pleat.

The first round of design needed more drama. I think I did pretty much what we did in the book exercise, 3" box pleat, and small extension for more of an A-line
shape. When I tried on the muslin, I wanted more. So I added a deeper pleat and more flare.

This also has a jump pleat lining, and the first muslin was a learning experience for how to neatly fit it in with the box pleat.

It's not supposed to look like this!

The second muslin also sort of sucked to put together, but I did it. Damnit. I now have a list of how to put together the final,

This is more like it. I know you people are like what is this? I promise to post the final skirt when it is done.

Jcrew box pleat skirt
Again, this is the inspiration.

Here are some drawrrrings and notes.

Drawings and notes for the second skirt, which is still in the works.

Inverted box pleat muslin.Process
Gathered panel skirt muslin.

marc jacobs skirt
This is my inspiration for the second skirt. I hope that it will look similar to this when it is done. Easy, breasy. A little volume and yet flattering for my curves. From Marc Jacobs Spring 2013 collection. Photo by the Satorialist.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Random Poseurs 200k Dart-xtravaganza

I met my team at the crack of dawn's ass last Saturday at the Safeway on 16th St.

We rolled down to the coast in fog and chill and eventually stopped for a quick break so that I could take a photo of Poteo-dotes, Juliayn, Jim and Ely the bagmaker.

#hoborando #scrdart#hoborando #scrdart

As it happens with long rides, a lot of things happened and a lot of things were discussed. Sitting on the couch a week later, I can't claim to remember it all.

#scrdart #hoborando

I had time to catch up with Ely and told him about AIDS/LifeCycle. We have not had as much time to ride together this year.

I found out about some of Juliayn's projects, she thrifted some merino sweaters and is making new things from them.

John told me some weird stories, many of which I didn't understand.

I got to hear about Jim's new baby and how he wants to craft a good space to make music. We also talked about getting parents iPads. They seem to dig the Video Chat.

We rode a lot, I saw some territory that we covered in AIDS/LifeCycle. I love hitting those sandy red colored cliffs outside of Santa Cruz. The clouds were really weird and dramatic that day. There were some beautiful parts of the coast with ice blue water reflecting the sky next to almost wheat color sand. I do really love that color combination.

We hit Stage Rd, which I had never been on before. We climbed up and over the bitchy Soquel ridge to Los Gatos. Thank you to Captain Potis for the steady push up that one hour climb so that I could enjoy the rest break you had planned for us at the top. I wish that I were a faster climber, and yet the stuff that needs doing to get faster is always sitting there. Maybe next year it will change. So many things have changed already. I do feel strong.

We had a great time that day. We got loopy and silly together and it was entertaining and fun.

Post soquel. Hardest climb ever #hoborando #scrdart

Some highlights for me were eating road side blueberries that Juliayn was smart enough to purchase on Hwy 1. The blueberries from the store are decidedly 'one note' in comparison. I have never felt like I could taste the Vitamin C in a blueberry before these.

While the beginning of the day was gray and foggy, the afternoon and evening yielded beautiful golden light and we had fun taking glamour shots on the bridge in Cupertino.

3 pelicans a winters and a trek. #hoborando #scrdart #hoborando #scrdartSanta Cruz Randonneurs Dart Poster

The Santa Cruz Randonneurs put together a fun Dart, Scott Brittle even had me design a poster for it. This is the second poster I've done for this event.

These photos from Juliayn make me laugh: Captain says heLLo, Ely inspects his bee stingduh... Captain is inspired by the spirit of Jane Heine to adjust Ely's crank for the photo.Our team, our bikes...

Friday, August 09, 2013

Astoria, Or ---> Seattle. Pt. 5. The End of the Tour

Zeke and I headed to Amtrak really early on Wednesday. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to disassemble the bikes and Jen and Mike told us there was COFFEE and stuff around the station should we find ourselves with extra time.

We popped down there pretty quickly, only to find UNION station, not KING St Station. Through the kindness of strangers, we found out that King St Station is just smaller, and right after (in other words hidden by...) Union Station. We had about an hour and a half to get our boxes, pack the bikes and wait.

We started on Zeke's bike first. The thing that I was worried about was the pedals, because I didn't have a full on pedal wrench, I had a 15mm wrench from the hardware store. I had to leverage my weight onto the pedals but eventually I felt the sweet sweet turn of the wrench. YES. What ended up being a bigger deal was turning his handlebars. The screws were rusted and it was difficult to wedge my small multi tool under the bars to get good leverage. Eventually again I felt the sweet turn of the screw.

Zeke's bars were too tall for the bike box so we took his front wheel off. They don't recommend this and I did not need to do this on my bike. Zeke's bike just has those tall extensions on the side and wouldn't fit.

My bike was a breeze. Pedals off, taped 'em up. Took off the bars, turned them and hung them on the top tube. Wheeled it into the box and GLORY was mine.

Amtrak coastal starlight #civilizedtravel

I believe that we may have cheered and taped up the boxes. So much easier than flying!

We dragged all of our crap to the ticket counter and checked it, stood in line for the ticket taker people, then stood at the gate for the Sleeper cars.

Gate 4

We climbed aboard and met our attendant, whose name I unfortunately forgot and he gave me champagne. So rad. Welcome aboard for real.

Dang airlines never give me champagne #amtrak #civilizedtravel

Our little roomette was pretty cool. We had two comfy seats facing each other, a picture window and enough room to store our crap. There were bathrooms and a shower pretty close by, and coffee and juice and stuff upstairs.

I think that I just enjoyed the novelty of it for a while and hung out in the room. We had to place a dinner reservation, so we did read up on that stuff. There is a dining car and a parlor car on the Amtrak Coast Starlight. One had to place one's dinner order for the parlour car when the person came 'round, but all one has to do for the dinner car is make a time reservation. So civilized. All meals with the roomette are included.

Parlor car is a renovated car from the 50s #amtrak #coaststarlight

Zeke started exploring immediately. I was relaxing and reading. It was really nice to have so much room to move around when I did get up to explore. The Parlour car had cool lounge-y seats, there was a car where you could hang out and get a good view. They had snacks, movies, drinks, a wine and cheese tasting, etc.

We had lunch with a Bay Area nerd couple, he was wearing a Utili kilt. She was a coder. You know who they are. We had fun talking about the Walking Dead and bikes. Our dinner companions were from LA, and they had taken the train to Seattle and were heading home. Breakfast was with an Australian couple who went to MONGOLIA last summer, of COURSE we talked about Ewan McGregor's the Long Way round. They were awesome.

Couple of notable things happened on the train. I started Ender's Game, which Zeke has read like 13 times. We went through the Cascades, which were beautiful. I got They Might Be Giant's End of the Tour stuck in my head and it never went away. Zeke had mixed feelings about the End of the Tour, and he was looking forward to planning his next adventure: riding the spine of the Sierras from Tecate Mexico to Sumas, WA. Let me just say I have already received an email asking me which part of the adventure I would like to attend. :)

Thinking about next year is challenging right now. The situation with my parents is RFC (really fucking complicated) and basically I was arriving Thursday morning on the train and leaving Thursday night for South Carolina. ugh.

Anyhoo we arrived in Emeryville and Zeke's dad and his younger brother came hurtling down the gangway in their fluorescent vests and carrying protest signs, I mean, climate change signs for Zeke. it was really cute.

On the way to Zeke's house

We reassembled bikes and headed over to Zeke's house for COFFEE and second breakie. It was so nice to catch up with Joel, talk about the trip and meet Zeke's rats. Mary Curie and someone else. Zeke took off with his maps of the Sierras, at which point I headed home to start the second leg of the week.

I'm not sure that I can write about that part. My therapist thinks I'm still in shock about the whole thing.

The quick version is two weeks ago there was an incident and the police were called. My dad ended up in the Geriatric Psych Ward which ended up being a very good thing. The determination came down that my parents should separate. Fortunately they live in a great facility with Assisted and Independent apartments and arrangements were made. My brother and I showed up and did what was needed. Thankfully we have a lot of help. It will take a long time to process.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Astoria, Or ---> Seattle. Pt. 4 Lots of things happened

On Monday, we had breakfast and set out in the dark campground. All the colors were saturated, again that dark redness to the earth which may have been a layer of pine needles but just looked brick red to me. It was foggy and gray again. A couple miles away from the campground we stopped at a history spot, the Jackson House. Here's a little history on the house from the Washington State Park site.

"Located nearby, the John R. Jackson House was the first American pioneer home built north of the Columbia River. It was constructed in 1845 by the man for whom it is named. The original house has deteriorated completely. The current log cabin was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The Jackson family has donated some original pioneer artifacts, which are on display at the cabin."

We met a fellow cyclotourist, Andrew, who was checking out the sign. He had camped locally at a 'non-traditional' camping spot. One of the interesting characters that we met on the trip for sure.
History #touring #washington #jacksonhouse

Fortuitously we stumbled upon an ESPRESSO shop right after this. Thank you, touring gods. By this time, Zeke probably knew that Alice stops for espresso. It's hard to get up at 5:30, with no coffee and no shower, and get happily on the bike. But my choice of stimulants sure does help. Good thing too, because we started hitting some lumpy bits after this. Hello Tauscher Wall. This is where we learned both of our climbing songs. Mine is 'Big Rock Candy Mountain'.

Tauscher wall

Eventually the sun came out to visit in Washington.  We crossed some lovely rivers, discovered that we both knew the words to most of the songs on They Might Be Giants 'Flood', hit some mixed terrain,  and had a lovely lunch in the yard of Gloria and Dave.

Singing tmbg on the Chehalis river #touring

Lunch time #touring #washington

Yesterday #hillborne #touring #washington
We enjoyed almost an entire jar of pickles here!

Somewhere before Shelton, we Scamped. Aside from the not having a bathroom part, it was nice. A very strange thing kept happening though, just about every hour two military helicopters appeared to escort a plane, right over our camp. It felt like the aliens were finally landing. I don't think that I slept that well, but I did not tend to think that raccoons  bears or mountain lions were going to get us in this spot.

The next day we were up and out of camp early. We had two goals: second breakie and making it to the Bremerton ferry by 1:45. I can't remember what happened for breakfast. Maybe that means we skipped it. Oh wait, Zeke remembers!

We did arrive by 1:45 and we ate ALL the food at a Frenchie café.

The ferry is awesome and free for walk or ride aboard passengers going to Seattle.

Oh wait, there is a whole part that I'm skipping. One riding around Mason Lake, which was super fun and full of roller(s) coasters. And the most stressful bit. SR3 from Belfair to Bremerton. If you value your life, I do not recommend this stretch of road. We were supposed to turn onto Old Belfair Highway, but missed the turn.

We ended up on a fast moving highway with big trucks moving at the speed of sound. Yuck.

This road sucks

Oh right back to the pretty ferry!

Zeke is excited

There was some well deserved sitting in the sun and relaxing done on the ferry, well for me anyway. Zeke was losing his sh*t looking at everything!

We arrived in Seattle.
Seattle! #space needle #bicyclerepairshopiswaesome

Honey purchasing in Pike place #seattle

I think I'll leave the train for another posting, it was pretty special.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Astoria, Or ---> Seattle. Pt. 3 Here we go yo

Once I got the bike together I felt a little more bad ass about this experience. I was on time, showered, packed, checked out and en route to Union Station in Portland at 8am. My bus to Astoria was at 9:30. I just wanted to give myself plenty of time so I wasn't stressed. Super easy to cross the bridge to Union Station and I had time to take photos and find a coffee shop. Finally got to experience Stumptown coffee and a delicious bagel.

Classy old train station #touring #oregon

The bus to Astoria was super pleasant, it's weird but parts of Oregon reminded me of the south of France. The wheat fields were the same color and there were similar enough trees around the fields to make it look the same. The landscape changed as we got closer to the coast, with more of the typical triangular shaped douglas firs that one ASSociates with Oregon. It was foggy and gray, not unlike San Francisco.

PNW #touring #oregon

Arriving in Astoria was super, the nice bus driver gave me a lead on a bike shop a couple of blocks away. I wanted to have them double check my work just to help me feel confident about the bike before we set off for 200+ miles. Fortunately Ben called and said Zeke needed a bike shop as well, and we met at Bikes and Beyond on Marine Street.

So I will tell you that I was not the only one who was moved by Zeke's story. The first time I got to witness his effect on people was at Bikes and Beyond. They had a two week wait on repairs but they somehow squeezed us in that afternoon. Luckily they were right next to a lunch place and I sat down with Ben, Zeke, Lindee and their 1 year old baby Jessica. Lunch was delicious and I got to know Ben, Zeke's 5th riding partner. Ben was a mountain biker and before this tour he had never ridden these kinds of miles. He borrowed a friend's road bike to do this trip. So he had a lot to say about riding for this kind of distance. This sort of conversation usually involves chamois butter.

I guess this might be a good place to start at the beginning of Zeke's story. Zeke started out with the idea of going border to border using the Adventure Cycling Association maps. He's very loyal to these guys, but while most folks go North to South to take advantage of the tailwinds, Zeke didn't want to end in dirty old LA. He wanted to end in the great Pacific North West (PNW), all up in that nature.

Right, so Zeke's blog is called Headwinds R Us because he's riding against the wind. Cue the music. His trip started in June at the Mexico border with his 1st riding buddy, Jonnie. I was his 6th assistant.

So anyway the dudes at Bikes and Beyond are awesome. I think I met Andy and Mike. If you ever find yourself in Astoria go there for bike maintenance!

It took us a while to get on the road, I had a false start and my fender bolt was rubbing. Later realized that the Bikes and Beyond folks pumped up my tires more than I usually do, so that's why it was rubbing. They cut down the bolt and all was well.

Eventually we got on the road, it was fine to have a later start because we were only going about 25 miles to a camp site called Gnat Creek.We wanted to get farther along so that Sunday would not be as long. We headed out on a gorgeous trail along the Columbia river and down some busy roads to Gnat Creek.

  Astoria #touring #oregon

That first campground was nice, minimal facilities and no water, and we were right next to a creek that provided some wonderful white noise. The only hard part about this camp ground was there was a killer steep pile of stairs to get down to our camp site. Dude. We were lucky there were no injuries or bike repairs needed after that one. It was my first night camping and I usually don't sleep very well the first night, we were up at 5:30 and on the road by 6:30-7.

75 miles today knappa junction to lewis and Clark state park #touring #oregon En route to Westport ferry #touring #oregon Hillborne on the ferry #oregon #touring

We took the ferry from Cathlamet to Pueget Island and had second breakfast at a place that served killer blueberry pancakes and eggs and coffee. We were joking that they should just close down the restaurant after we arrived as we were going to eat ALL the breakfast. I recharged my phone and we set off on a 75 mile day.

I feel like I get something like 'riding brain' when I'm riding day after day and experiencing the landscape. Afterwards, town names and the order of things become not so important and I what I remember more are instances of singing and joking and standout parts of the landscape.

I really loved the Oregon landscape. It was foggy in the morning, with dark earth and rich green trees. I enjoyed the hillside shapes, again covered in those distinctively Oregonian trees. One of my favorite landscapes was on the Columbia river, we came around the bend and could see light icy gray blue water reflecting the sky with a dark cliff at the corner. The cliff was a neutral block of navy. Very solid with triangles of trees on top. It was a very unique and distinctive shape. Something I felt like I had never seen before.

We did stop through Castle Rock for lunch and a woman named Nancy tended the flowers on Main St, she bought us lunch to donate to Zeke's ride! Thanks for the photo Nancy.
Castle rock nancy took this #touring #washington
Another strange Americana phenomenon: No words for this #touring #washington
Zeke on the other hand knew exactly where we were every stroke of the pedal. His ability to devour maps and mountain ranges and water passages is impressive. I kept joking that it was a good thing that I brought him along to navigate.

Right right so I do remember stopping in Toledo for groceries and landing in the Lewis & Clark campground that night. Another lovely site where we had dark red earth with a canopy of kelly green surrounding our site. It was quite lovely.

We discussed whether we were going to scamp/bandit camp/stealth camp the next night. I made a bargain with Zeke that if I could shower that night, I would likely be willing to scamp the next night. But if I couldn't get a shower, then I would be happier with a hotel.

I scouted out the bathrooms and success, there was a shower! But then…it only took tokens.

And by that time I was nakie and checking out the situation. It looked like it was going to be a cold shower. Ugh. Yes it was as bad as you can imagine. The worst part of it was that a lady came in when I was brushing my teeth and told me that I could get tokens right outside. Sigh. THEN I got a hot shower.

To be continued...

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Astoria, Or ---> Seattle. Pt.2 Bike freak out. I mean reassembly

I arrived in Portland about 10:50pm and my bike was in the baggage claim.

Where do I begin? I had two options at this point, 1) use the bike stand at the airport to put my bike together then take the train or ride to my hotel or 2) put the box in a taxi and put the bike together at the hotel.

I opted for number 1, because Joel told me it's easier to deal with the bike than the box and I figured that it would be easier to put it back together on the stand.

So I dragged the bike box over to the bike stand (they have one in the airport) and started unboxing. Good thing that I brought my Swiss Army knife because there was a ton of packing material and bubble wrap on the frame.

Putting the bike back together was the thing that I was most fixated on and likely I went into it with a certain level of anxiety. I tried to be systematic about and it and go with what I knew first, figuring that the rest would fall into place.

So I put the front rack on, then the fender, and pedals. No problem.

Then came time to deal with the handle bars. The wire looked a little twisted so I turned the bars until everything looked correct. Then came the first problem. I tried sliding the stem back into the headtube and it would not go. The cables were too tight. This is the point where I started to freak out. It was late. I was tired. I was sweating.

It was about midnight and two security guards came over to check things out. One of the guards knew what he was doing, so he told me to move the shifters until there was enough slack in the cable to put the bars on. WHEW.

So then I asked him about the brake because the front brake was off. Then he helped me sort out the back brake cable. Ok here we go yo.

The train had stopped running at this point. I decided in my overly tired brain that at this point I should leave off the front wheel and take a cab to the hotel. And so I dragged it over and did just that.

In between all the freak out I posted wildly to FB to see if anyone was up that could help. I also realized that my friend Alfie was in Portland also and I called him for a lifeline. He was very sweet and chatted with me after I was in the cab. Just hearing a friendly voice helped me deal with the situation. I got to the hotel, slept a little with major anxiety dreams, then woke up and spent about an hour on the reassembly.

The fender was not fitting properly which was driving me nuts, until I looked at it and realized that the front fork was backwards. YIKES. I guess I know what I'm looking at after all. At that point I got everything back together.

So this is where I started:    Beginning
And this is where I ended:End #whew

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Astoria, Or ---> Seattle. Pt.1 Planning

This story could take a long time to tell, I'm just warning you now.

It started in the Spring, when my team and I were out training for that big ride that I did back in June. Remember how I rode to LA? Right, that one.

So Team Unpoopular and I were out at Pt Reyes Station, right outside the Bovine-est of the Bakeries and we sat down next to Zeke and his dad Joel. Zeke is twelve and he immediate caught my attention because he is smart and funny and he was passionate about riding. We had a bunch of fun chatting with them about Randonneuring and Aids/LifeCycle and whatnot and before you know it we were exchanging information. Zeke told me he was planning to ride border to border this summer to raise money for the Sierra Club and for climate change.

They ended up donating to my ride and I in turn donated to Zeke's ride.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago and Joel emailed me to ask me a crazy question. They were looking for someone to ride one of two legs of the trip with Zeke: either Astoria, Or to Seattle or Seattle to Vancouver.

So I asked babycakes, is this crazy? Do you think I can do it? And he was like 'sure why not'? So I told my story at work and it turned out that I could get the time off. The timing was good too, 'cause it's about to get cray cray busy at workie.

Right so that worked out, I cleared the time and then I started talking to Joel about logistics. I held out for a couple of days before saying 100% yes because I had to do a little research to feel like I could handle the logistics of traveling with a bike. I've never boxed or unboxed a bike for air travel. I also couldn't figure out how to get my stuff on a plane, then tour and camp, then return.

With limited time, I couldn't do my usual reading and obsessing about details on the internets so I did the next best nerderific thing and I polled the SF Rando googly group. Super glad that I did because of course these people have experience with this sort of thing.

Best advice ever from the peoples who know:

  • Pull out your camping shit, lay it out on the floor, remove half.
  • Pack your stuff in a large duffle bag, when you arrive at the destination, mail the beforementioned bag to your final destination 
  • Get a bike box from your LBS, pack as much of your camping stuff in it as you can, including bigger tools. The airlines don't allow tools over 7" in carryon.
  • Take the train if possible, it is MUCH easier to deal with bikes on the train. Plus many folks have a deep love for the Amtrak Coast Starlight.
  • Leave the camp stove, pots and pans and all that crap at home if possible 
  • Get a small pedal wrench (I brought a 15mm wrench and it did the trick)
  • Did you know that it is possible to pack a bike in a plastic sheet?
  • Have your LBS pack your bike for air travel (my option)

Armed with all of this great information, I called Joel and told him I was in.

Unfortunately the train tickets were sold out from SF to Portland, so I ended up flying that leg of the trip. I immediately arranged for Box Dog to do the packing because I wasn't confident about it.

I can fast forward this part of the story. The good news was that when I arrived at the airport United's system was down and they could not charge me for the bike. I saved $100 and that was fab. Now arriving and putting the bike back together will have to wait until the next post. That was the part that I was most worried about and it proved to be exciting.

Oh one more thing, I was able to test ride my setup (and knee!) the week prior to leaving because I went with Box Dog Bikes to BDBSummercamp. I took the advice of the wise Randonnuer tourers and reduced my crap to what you see below. Two front panniers and tent/sleeping pad secured to the back rack. Tent was secured with straps to the saddle. Thermarest was secured to the rack with a bungee. I was inspired by this and it served me well and was a flexible setup. Things grew and I was able to bungee more groceries, etc. on top of the Thermarest. And I ended up not shipping my bags so I was able to strap them to the saddle with the tent.

All ready for #bdbsummercamp #rivendellbikes

Packing list for those who geek out about this sort of thing:

woolie bottoms
woolie hoodie
woolie cami
1 pair wool socks
2 tshirts
1 pair jortz (jean shorts)
1 pair bibs
1 rain jacket (never needed!)
arm warmers

sleeping bag
REI T1 Quarter Dome tent

Bike tools
2 spare tubes
small camp towel
bowl, cup, silverware
Swiss Army knife

What I do differently next time: I might lose the kitchen as we didn't cook. Might trade bibs for shorts and bring two pair so that one is always dry. I would love to get wool tshirts so that I can just bring one. Might leave the shampoo and conditioner. I see the wisdom of synthetic fiber clothing since it dries so much faster. I thought that I would use sandals in the shower but they were kind of a waste of space.