Monday, August 8, 2011

the bikes, the sewing, and the border collies

Yesterday instead of practice, we performed at a demo for a brand new dog park out in Snoqualmie, WA, which is near North Bend and in the shadow of Mt. Si as seen in the photo above. It was a beautiful afternoon, with sunshine and mid-70s, and although we had a lot of effort to go through to set up for such a short time, the event went very well. We had sixteen trained dogs participate in the two 15-minute demo shows that we did, and several of our dogs-in-training got some valuable experience in a new situation. The organizers of the event did a very nice job, with some of the best snow fencing for a flyball demo that I've ever seen, and it was a very nice way to spend part of our Sunday afternoon.

My bike turned over 32,700 miles last week, meaning that I have now put on 30,000 miles since I purchased it in February of 2008. I got a new back tire last month and on the recommendation of my riding friends at Ars Technica I got a Pilot Road 3, and it's amazing - I had no idea how much of a difference a really great tire could make! I definitely have a larger safety margin (which I'm trying to not eat away by riding like a hooligan), and overall feel much more stable on the bike. Chris' bike just went in for its 36,000 mile service on Saturday, and it came home with a new full set of Pilot Road 2 tires, and hopefully he will end up with a favorable opinion of them as well. Both of our bikes are paid off now, and they are certainly racking up the miles to earn their keep as we both continue to commute by motorcycle every day. The Subaru is used mainly for running errands these days, although I will be taking it to Bellingham in two weeks, and of course the truck is our vehicle of choice for flyball and dog-related trips. So every time I want to scream at the expense of maintaining the bikes, I try to remember how much it costs for new tires on the Subaru or the upcoming 20,000 mile service on the truck, and that makes it more bearable!

On the sewing front, I can rack up two completions for this weekend. One of them is a gift so I won't post about it until it's been received, but the other is this simple slipcase that I made for my Nintendo DS Lite system. I pretty much winged it to make this, by measuring the DS itself and then cutting fabric to match, and it ended up turning out reasonably well. I selected a black fabric with white and lime green spirograph designs on it (one of the half-yards I picked up on shop hop in June), and cut a long strip for the case and two shorter pieces for the sides. Each piece was put onto a strip of batting and free-motion quilted in loops and swirls as best as I could (I need more practice!), then put together to form the case. I made a lining from a bright green abstract flower print, and used a bit of teal fabric binding left over from my most recent baby quilt. The only real problem I ran into making this was getting the lining attached to the outer sleeve, and then getting the binding tacked down - I need a much smaller freearm than even my Janome L-108 can manage! A Featherweight 222 freearm would be great for this...but I don't have and certainly can't justify the thousand dollars it would take to buy one these days! I hand-stitched the binding down yesterday, and just need to use the mini-iron that I have on loan from a friend to put the label in today and it's done.

And of course, what else have I done? I've cut fabric strips for my new iPad sleeve, and picked up a heavy twill fabric that is printed with Viewmaster slides to make a bag for PAX...and haven't actually worked on any of the quilts that are planned out in my head! I really need a few weekend days where I don't have anything else that needs attention, like the house, or the yard, or the border collies....but that doesn't seem to be in the cards, so I'll just have to deal. The picture on the right shows the fabrics I've cut for the iPad sleeve, although I'm not sure that is the final layout. The final layout will definitely be diagonal, however, no matter what fabric order I end up going with. And I just checked and my order of FABULOUS border-collie print fabric is due for delivery today, so that might end up being the lining!

Restraint with regards to fabric...what's that? :)

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