19 March, 2008

On track (bike)

Well I haven't done my taxes yet, but I've gotten transcripts back from 2 of the 4 colleges I've attended now. I got my UMD transcripts in the mail today, so I'm halfway there for when August rolls around and I'm able to apply for T4A again.
The painting for Joe is also coming along fairly nicely. I worked on it for a couple hours today and though I hated how it looked while I was working the paint, when I let it alone for a while and looked at it again, it actually is starting to look pretty good.
I didn't finish my burdastyle sewalong skirt in time because things I was doing with the fabric was a little too ambitious for the allotted time and the percentage of that time I was able to spend on it, and being I have to finish this painting for Joe by Saturday, it has shifted into the top priority. After Saturday I will spend my daylight hours working on the skirt to get it done and probably a couple nights before work working on bikes (being that for the rest of the month I am covering for Lynn so I am getting up at 4 or 5pm and going into work at 9pm).
I also bought a socket wrench set ($10!) that will likely fall apart after repeated use (but $10 so who cares?) at, of all places, Walgreens today. This means I got the break levers and the back wheel off of Tim's bike so I can fix them / replace them AND my new wheels came today for my bike.
Tim's bike still has a lot of work on it before it's ridable, but he'll hopefully be in the saddle at the end of the month if I end up being able to use his back gearbox on my old wheel or somehow rigging his rear derailleur to deal with an extra cog. However, if I can't get his cogset on my wheel, I'm going to end up having to buy either a new wheel or a new cogset, and since cogsets are generally extremely pricey, I'd probably end up trying to find a wheel that is compatible with his perfectly usable cogset. The teeth on my cogs, however are chipped and worn, so I would not want him to have to ride on them; they cause all kinds of autoshifting problems for me, and being his bike uses friction shifting as opposed to indexed like my bike, it will only get worse for him.
His cotters came today though along with handlebar tape. Now all I have left to order for him is brake cables, a new saddle and possibly a rear wheel / rear cog. If I do end up getting him a new rear wheel, I am definitely taking the tire and tube off of my old one to put on the front because they are almost new. If anything, I might order a new tire for that front wheel because it is starting to deteriorate a lot (the back one was completely cracked and had to be replaced) and replace its tube while I'm at it. If it comes to doing this though, I will do this order with one for tubes for my new wheels since they are skinnier than my old ones.
I am both apprehensive and excited about my new wheels. They are completely hand-built alloy wheels. They are almost as skinny as Zac's, which makes me worry about maneuverability and the increased likeliness of getting a pinch-flat. Being they are skinny also means that I will have less contact with the ground which has the dual consequences of being able to go a lot faster but also having less traction in wet conditions (which I do ride in—I am not a sunny-day rider). I might have to look into the possibility of getting nobbies for this tire width if only for my own sanity.
My new wheels are also track wheels which means no quick-release which means if I get a flat, I am walking. The back wheel is a flip-flop (fixed on one side, free on the other), so I am going to be going single speed. I am likely not going to be using the fixed side at all simply because I live on a sorta-big hill, and I don't really trust myself with having to peddle-brake and only having a front brake going down it. Maybe if Tim and I end up moving to a flatter district will I start using it on the fixed side, but as it is, I like having the option of doing back-peddling to keep gyroscopic motion in play when I'm idling waiting for traffic lights.
But I am mostly really looking forward to getting Tim's bike up and running. My bike is a back-burner project right now as far as I'm concerned until his bike is done. Once his bike is up, I am really looking forward to being able to ride around with him and our other bikerly friends because then maybe he'll gain the confidence to finally TAKE THE LANE. Because if you'd ever ridden with him on the tandem, in the city, it is terrifying. He rides too far to the right and weaves in and out of parked cars which is far far less safe than just taking the lane. Really if people need / want to pass a biker, they will do it even if you're riding in the middle of the lane, but at least if you're in the middle of the lane, they are forced to recognize that you are there and exist and are squishy and if they hit you, there are huuuge consequences (esp. in SF).
On Sunday I will probably take apart our back wheels and see if the parts are compatible. I am debating whether I want to order the brake parts I need online or if I want to go somewhere local. I really don't like the snobby bike shops that are largely prevalent in the mission, and even buying used parts there makes me nervous enough that I end up getting the wrong shit (I did this actually with the peddles I got to replace the crummy plastic ones on his bike). But I will probably be back at BoxDog on Friday to get drop bars for my bike and try to find matching peddles for his, so maybe then I will muster the courage to ask for brake cable and brakeline stopper widgets.

11 March, 2008

Summer's Hot Colours

From research I've done, three of this summer's hottest colours are going to be silver, white and deep, ocean or mediterranean blues. I took this to heart in two elements of my summer line, the first of which involves the refashioning of a thriftstore buttoned shirt (the shirt is a thicker duck cotton which bodes well for using boning) into a boned halter. This paired with white linen shorts accented by silver buttons and silver shoes (and a silver beret when I get around to making it!) is both stylish and practical for the hot months ahead. Being I am more, erm, well-endowed than many of my female friends, I am opting to use boning in the top rather than just giving it princess seams and a sweetheart neckline because this way I don't have to wear a bra with it.

The shorts are care of a pattern from BurdaStyle; the top, I d on't really have a pattern for, but I am not even going to dare it until I have my dressform because there are just too many things that can go wrong. I plan on having it open backed and with a zipper, so it has to be very well-fitted because there will be no wiggle room if I make it too small, and if I make it too big, I'll just be falling out of it all the time.

The top is going to be made into a halter care of some white stretch lace from a thriftstore dress, and I think I am altering the shorts pattern by adding a back pocket as I think the original pattern has no pockets, which is completely unacceptable.

Another using this season's colours is using the top bit of that white dress to make one of those sort of pillow-case billowy shirts that beg to be cinched that have been in style for the last couple of years (and show no signs of slowing down in popularity). Cinched with a silver belt made with satin and a metal ring and snaps which shines even in comparison to the bright, mediterannean blue skinny jeans made from light summer weight twill, highlighted with silver overstitching, buttons and rivets. I could not find an adaquate swatch for the hat as it is silver brocade silk (from Britex at a fell $35/yard on sale), it is by far the most luxe item in this outfit.

This is another outfit that will likely see a lot of play, particularly because it is something I could actually wear to work and ride my bike in. Also the long pants bode well for SF nights when it does get considerably chilly. I might throw together a bolero or a quilted wrap to go along with it for such nights. Not only that but brightly coloured pants are so in vogue, and at $90 a pop at American Apparel, I think I can take a couple of days to make my own without feeling like I'm wasting my time.

What exactly have I been working on?

Well, aside from a variety of shopping bags and an apron for Robyn's birthday, I've been dedicating a great deal of my free time recently to two sewing projects, one of which is for a contest on BurdaStyle: an alteration or permutation of the Sidone Skirt.

This is part of my spring/summer '08 line I've been working on which I will (hopefully) be making a couple more posts with my paperdoll (I am horrible at doing fashion croques because of all my training in drawing realistic figures, they always look mutated to me, so I try to leave them as sketchy as possible as if I clean them up too much, I get the proportions to be "too realistic") and the other elements of my line.

When I started laying out this skirt, I realised I had a lot more of the red satin that I bought (at a steal of a price, and almost 3 yards of it!) than I had originally thought, so I am definitely going to make this matching slinky red top along with opera-length gauntlets that have (granted I have enough of it left) stretch mesh fingerlets and lace at the top. Overall, a bitchin outfit for shows or freaking out old folks. The piece du resistance on this outfit being 3 silver buttons I found and fell in love with.

The lace and the mesh which are elements of the skirt and gauntlets are from two shirts that I thrifted for much less than the fabric would have cost me new (lace is obscenely expensive, especially for lace that has a finished, scallopped edge like the ample amounts that are on this shirt I got).