Spring Scoot, At Long Last

Pardon me while I stray far from sewing on this post.

First, a little backstory–many, many moons ago, I was married to a guy who had a love for Vespas. We discovered them together in the first year we were married. Having grown up on the back of my dad’s motorcycle, the love for two-wheeled travel ran deep in me and I was more than happy to encourage a foray into the scooter world. He bought one Vespa, then another, a Lambretta or two, and even a Harley Davidson Topper. He taught me how to ride, but by then I was pregnant and he didn’t want me to ride. Meanwhile, he was making friends with the local scooter people and going on long rides with them. I stayed home, wishing I could join in. And once, he let me.

In May 1992, we drove up to Seattle and I rode on the back of his P200. I was nearly six months pregnant, but not yet showing much and could still easily sit behind him. I had a ball and couldn’t wait to get my chance to join in the fun after the baby was born. But that isn’t what happened. I never got the chance to ride again, though we had nearly two dozen bikes at one point. I was the stay-home mom and stay home is what I did.

Years later, in 2005 in fact, I dated a fellow who’d joined the scooter scene just as my ex-husband was leaving it. They didn’t know each other, but there were mutual friends and I became friends with several. But he didn’t have a scooter and either did I. I knew scooter people, though I never rode.

Then I met P and when we lived together, he bought a scooter–a little Honda Ruckus.  Not only did he let me ride it, he encouraged me to do so. I loved it and took every opportunity I could while I was there (and since!).

Ruckus Duo 2012

We broke up, life moved on (and a million things happened in between), then this last March a friend of the second scooter guy invited me to Spring Scoot 21.  Someone wanted me to join in?! I was thrilled and asked P if I could borrow his bike for the ride. He happily said yes.

And so twenty-three years after my first scooter rally in Seattle, I joined the long-established scooter rally in Portland. And it was more fun than I had ever expected.

We started out at Club 21 in NE Portland.  When I arrived at 6:30pm, there were a few dozen scooters of all sorts (though predominately Vespas, of course). The little Ruckus I rode is right there in the front left.

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By the time we left to ride to Mad Son’s, I’d counted 52 bikes, including several more Ruckus riders, a couple motorcycles, mopeds and lots of Vespas.  I did the ride, in the cold rain then decided to take the bike back to P for the night.

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We met up again at noon on Saturday in North Portland and took off for another ride. I have proof–that’s me in the video of the ride. I know it’s hard to recognize me, but I promise, that’s me in the big coat and knit skirt!

Spring Scoot video still

It was, to be honest, not the best weather for riding. We took off in dry weather, heading out toward Hayden Island, then turning and driving through St. Johns. By the time we had reached N. Fessenden the rain was falling and when we crossed the St. Johns’ Bridge, it was coming down hard enough to make visibility difficult and there was no way I was stopping for pics in that mess.

We rode up and through the West Hills and across the Ross Island, over to a bar and then on to a barbecue at Vicious Cycle. I headed home soon after and crashed hard.  (I woke up the next morning still fully dressed–I’d managed only to remove my boots before I fell asleep!)

The next day we met up at Catalina’s for a bit of brunch and giveaways before heading out once more, this time in a crowd of around a hundred bikes.

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There is something so awesome about driving in a huge group like this and reminds me fondly of riding in Vietnam. I can see how it might unnerve some, but I loved every second of it as we headed out around the airport and then eastward.

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As we drove past the Troutdale airport, I realized where we were heading and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It didn’t matter that my little bike was a half mile behind the pack, we were going on my favorite local drive… out to the Columbia River Gorge.

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We made it out there, twisting and turning along the Old Columbia River Highway with a stop at the Vista House before continuing on to Multnomah Falls. It was amazing and wonderful and so much fun to just ride and ride.

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Over the three days of the ride, I put more than 200 miles on the little bike. I couldn’t have been happier, honestly. It was wonderful and I am eternally grateful for P encouraging me to keep riding and for my daughter being independent enough for me to be gone so much.

This… this is my happy place. 20150411-182409-66249570.jpg

How to: Make a Needle Book

Crinkle Dreams Needle Books
photo credit: Robert Hart for Fabric Depot

For the Sew Mama Sew needle testing blog post I made up a few little needle books. They’ll be giving ten of them away, filled with the eight different needles we used in the testing. Go comment over there for a chance to win one for yourself.

In case you don’t win and want to make one up for yourself, I thought I’d let you know how I made them.  They are pretty quick and a  great way to use up some scraps.

You’ll need:

  • 4” x 7” piece of outer fabric (I used the Tula Pink Elizabeth collection)
  • 4” x 7” piece of inner fabric (I used RK’s Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Chambray)
  • 4” x 7” piece of batting
  • 3” x 6” piece of wool felt
  • hair elastic cut in half or 2” piece of elastic braid
  • 3/4” button
  • coordinating thread

Mark center of one short end of outer fabric. This will be the back of the needle book.

Baste elastic at center point, creating a loop.

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Layer batting, then outer and inner fabrics (RST) and pin at corners.

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Sew around edges with a 1/4” seam, leaving a 1 1/2” to 2” gap on one long side.

Trim batting close to stitching line around entire rectangle.

Trim corners.

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Turn inside out, using a point turner and press.

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Using a ladder stitch, sew the hole used for turning closed.

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Press again and top stitch, if desired.

Mark proper button placement by pulling elastic band around to front.

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Sew button in place.

Fold felt in half and press to mark stitching line.

Fold needle book together with outer fabric touching itself. Mark center with pins.

Place felt on unfolded needle book, matching stitching line with pins. Pin in place.

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Stitch along fold line, from top to bottom and back-stitching at each end.

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Trim threads, put some needles in the felt, fold in half and button to keep it closed.

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I decided to add a little tape measure ribbon, muslin for holding buttons and/or safety pins, and a pocket to the back for my own, but you can make it as simple or complicated as you’d like.

needlebook measuring tape

needlebook pocket

Don’t forget to read the post and enter to win, if you’d like one already made and with a trial array of needles!

Playing with color

I’ve made at least a dozen of the Circling Geese Pincushions now, sticking with the black Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen for the background fabric.  I just love the way it looks with the pops of color against the black and white threads of the linen.

I wanted to make another for a swap that I miserably failed at last year. If you follow my blog at all, you know at last year was a tough one with lots of health issues plus a heaping of personal/family stuff that didn’t make it on to the blog. I’ve had a tremendous amount of guilt for not following through as I had wanted with that swap and it torments me.

But now that life is starting to have some sort of normalcy to it, I’m trying desperately to make up for last year’s failings. One of the members of the swap is a real Carolyn Friedlander fan, so I knew I  what to use her  fabric, but didn’t think I wanted to stick with the black background with these. I decided to give the chambray color a try instead and loved it.

20150403-103642-38202620.jpgIt can be a bit messy along the way, pulling out all those papers, but the final piece  never fails to make me happy. And I absolutely how these play together.

20150403-103643-38203005.jpgNow to finish it up and get it in the mail. Better late than never, right?

 

 

 

From Idea to Quilt

I’ve been wanting to get back into the teaching game since I returned to Portland, but first I had to find a place to live and a job. Now that both those needs are satisfied, I can start teaching again, at last!

I’ve long-loved curve piecing and while the Winding Ways block is clearly my favorite, I knew I wanted to start with a simpler design to teach. Something that was slightly out of reach for some people, but didn’t seem impossible.punchdrunkquilt_draft

Hence, the quarter-circle (aka Drunkard’s Path) block.

I am just learning Illustrator and not very good at it yet, but I did manage to make this little mock-up for the quilt I wanted to make.  I’d already picked out the fabrics (a bunch of polka dots from Michael Miller Fabrics).

Then I made it up with the EZ Quilting Drunkard’s Path templates (but Jen of Betty Crocker Ass offers them in a few other sizes if you want to give them a try).  It turned out pretty well, I thought.
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Until Charlene quilted it up and then I loved it. :)

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It’s been kinda fun seeing it hanging up in the store the last couple weeks and I’m trying to get over the couple of misalignments that I left in there. You know… trying to accept my faults, even in quilting.  Who knew it could be so hard?!

 

 

cozy textures & uncommon mirth