Miracle Fabric

I love my easy chair. It’s comfy. It’s made with microsuede that cleans up with a damp cloth or baby wipe. It’s lovely. Cat hair wipes right off. Stains? Baby wipe or a damp cloth with a bit of diluted dish soap. Lovely.

So what’s the problem? It doesn’t breathe in 100F weather. Sitting in the easy chair in shorts for any duration of time and I feel like I’m suffocating. I start to sweat. At least, I don’t stick to it like I would with leather. But it’s still not comfortable in the heat.

As the weather climbed into the 90s again this weekend, I looked around for something to put under it. I thought about a cotton towel but eyed a piece of fabric that I wove 18 months ago* for a bag to put into the CNCH 2014 gallery. It never screamed bag to me so I never did anything with it.

SeatCover

Yup. It’s fabulous as a seat cover. I was really surprised. The wool and alpaca weft were not itchy in the head at all! Wool really is the original miracle fabric!

I will line the fabric so it looks a bit more finished but I have found a winner! I may even decide to put a bit of batting in for use as a meditation cushion.

* This was supposed to be part of a guild project/display for CNCH 2014. Each stripe of the fabric consists of yarn spun by a guild member and dyed during one of the guild’s natural dye baths (save one commercially purchased yarn). For the most part, these were indigo dyed. There is a bit of walnut in there too. The orange separating stripes were dyed in madder that we dug out of Phyllis’ yard. Each guild member would bring their own weft. My warp was from some grey alpaca roving I had (dyed with logwood grey, I believe).

Handlebar Bag

HandlebarBagFront
Front view. Velcro attachment for the handlebar.

Work is trying out a new ebike program and I won the lottery to try one out for commuting. I decided it needed a new bag for the handlebar. I looked around and decided to make one of my own based on a hybrid between the Timbuk2 Colby, the Pocampo 6 Corners Bag, and some features of my own.

I made my paper pattern, picked up some cotton ticking and went for it over the Independence Day holiday.

HandlebarBagSide
Side view. Detachable shoulder strap.

Check out the shoulder strap! It is a John Mullarkey original. He threw down the gauntlet to see what I can make with it. I made the strap detachable so I can move it from bag to bag — especially since this is just the prototype.

HandlebarBagInside
Top/Inside View. Double zipper, fully lined with 2 inside pockets.

Now, having used the bag for a week or so, there are a few changes that I would like to make.

  • I thought the fabric was stiff enough by itself and would not require a stabilizer. I was wrong. It’s perfect for a purse but doesn’t have enough body to hold it’s shape on the handlebar. It droops over the headlight. A stiff interfacing would help. I don’t want to use a plastic insert because I still want the softer look of a fabric bag.
  • I forgot to add an inside key clip. My bike/house keys get lost into the bottom of the bag.
  • I worry about the longevity of the velcro attachment to the bike.  Velcro loses it’s “magic” after a while and I want the bag to last. However, I can always continue to use it as a shoulder bag.
  • The attachment point was designed to be about 1.5″ below the top of the bag. Unfortunately, without the stiffener, it meant that the bag droops from that point down instead of sitting taller than the handlebars. Again, I think the stabilizer will help.

Two weeks into riding the ebike, I’ve learned a few things about using an ebike:

  • Pedelec is a pedal assist. You still need to pedal for it to work. You can’t just use the battery power to coast along. I was worried that I wouldn’t get my usual workout if I used an ebike. I had been riding my bike 3 times a week before the ebike. Now, I aim for 4 days a week to make up for the battery assist.
  • My average speed went from about 10 mph on my normal hybrid city bike to about 16+ mph. It did not half my commute time as I had hoped. My typical bike travel time of 40+ minutes each way (unassisted) dropped to just under 30. (Car time averages about 20 minutes.)
  • I still need a shower when I get to work. It takes a lot of work to keep that pace with a 50 pound bike.

Weaving Beginnings

Still here. Still alive. Life and work just got in the way. In fact, I haven’t done much of any fiber-ing since end of June, so I really have nothing to report here. One of these days, when I have time to work through them, I’ll post pictures from Complex Weavers Seminars and the Complexity Exhibit.

My favorite aunt has been in town the past few weeks. Tonight, we were just sitting around and chatting when I asked her about one of her boyfriends from when I was growing up.

Why is this significant?

I told her that it was the visit to his family home that set me down the path as weaver. I remembered that he lived by the seaside and we went out for a weekend. It was before I started kindergarten so I must have been around 4 or so. I remember “swimming” amongst the fishing boats, with the boyfriend holding me up in the water as he swam. That was scary and fun.

But what I remembered most was the big giant loom in the living room. I remember sitting in their living room, completely in awe of this machine and knowing that one day, I want to do THAT. How big was the loom in realty? I have no idea. I was 4. What sort of loom? I have no idea. I just remembered thinking “YES! I WANT!” To this day, I can still picture the room, the loom, and that sense of awe. Vividly.

I’ve shared this story with weaving friends, my guild, but I never told anyone in my family about this, never mind the aunt that made this happen. I’m glad I had a chance to do so.

What’s your weaving story?

Silver Lining

It’s been a hell of a week. Each day presented new challenges. This morning’s challenge was backed up sewer lines through the toilets. Both toilets.

20120307-135246.jpg

So, while waiting for the plumber, and while he did his thing *, I pulled out the big drill (pre-drill the holes) and the materials for the new raddle that I have been meaning to make for the Gilmore Gem II. It will have 1/2 spacers. I am using screw eyes for my spacers so I can slide a rod through the eyes to keep all my threads in place. I’ve even sanded down the piece of wood, rounded out all the sharp edges and put a boat of orange oil wax on it.

It’ll take me a while to put all 45 screw eyes in. So, for now, I think a margarita lunch is called for. No?

* It was a giant root ball in the main line to the street.

Thailand

Click through to see the full album

I’m back! Fabulous Trip. Catching a cold half way through the trip? Not so fabulous. But wow, it’s gorgeous out there!

Remember the Monk’s Bag? Perfect. It became my day bag while I was on the boat. It held all the little stuff that you need through out the day: lip balm, hair clip/band, Kindle, dive notebook, camera and swimsuit wrap. It allowed me to  carry it around in a nice neat package instead of stuff hanging out all over.

It also saved me because I made a slight miscalculation in my packing and needed to check my carry on rolling bag. I was able to pull a few necessities out of the bag before checking it and put it into the Monk’s Bag.

And a slight clarification on the length of the strap…it’s too short to wear it across your chest, a la messenger bag, but perfect length when just slung over one shoulder.