Sunday, August 14, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

In Support of Local Minor Transportation Betterments

This post is mostly for readers in Washington County, Oregon.  I've collected all the links and information here for easy access.

July 2016

Washington County Land Use and Transportation is collecting proposals for "small road improvements" - pedestrian sidepaths, better striping, etc.

Last year I submitted a proposal for a pedestrian facility on SW Walker Rd, from Hwy 217 to SW Canyon road.  Amazingly enough, it is on the map of candidates.

There are also proposals for a pedestrian facility on SW 107th from SW Walker to SW Hawthorne, and others throughout the neighborhood.

Small Road Improvements in Our Neighborhood
The county considers comments from the public.  I can't help but think that comments from our neighborhood would only be for the good.

From Victoria Saager, the Urban Road Maintenance District Program Manager:

"... if you would like to submit comments on an identified candidate, you can send them in an email to with the candidate number and road name identified in the subject line. Your comments will be retained and, if the candidate is a finalist for funding and public comments are requested, your comments will be shared with the project selection committee along with other comments received during the public comment period."

The candidates I am lobbying for are:

Candidate #430
Pedestrian walkway has been proposed on Walker Rd from Canyon Rd to 108th Av.

Candidate #476
Pedestrian walkway has been proposed on 107th Av from Walker Rd to Hawthorne Ln.


Candidate #306
Pedestrian Path has been proposed on Walker Rd from 108th Av to Hwy 217 (n-bnd Ramps).

Please fire off an email to: supporting any or all of these local improvement candidates.  They will collect comments all through the comment period, but getting your input in by Friday July 15 may improve the chances of any or all of these projects going forward this year.

Please note that while we pay taxes for our transportation system, our end of the county has not been getting much love from the transportation department.

Points I intend to make:

  • Improves safety for pedestrians along SW Walker Rd; currently there aren't viable places to walk, traffic exceeds the posted speed limit, and sightlines are bad.
  • Improves safety AND provides a way to walk along SW 107th to access SW Walker Rd, which does not impinge on private property.  The steepness and narrowness of SW 107th at SW Walker makes it precariously dangerous for pedestrians.
  • Will encourage more walking for short errands, such as to businesses and the library, all of which are in a 2 mile radius of SW Walker and SW 107th Ave, which will subsequently reduce motor vehicle traffic.

Please join me in supporting these local improvement candidates!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Lily Quilt

My nephew and his wife had a daughter, and I was trying to decide on what to give them for a baby present.  I've given up on knitting baby things - they are outgrown too quickly.

On the other hand, a quilt can last a very long time.  I used to make baby quilts - well, I'd make proper pieced quilts in a smaller size :-) - but when nieces and nephews stopped arriving, it fell by the wayside.

The first of those quilts is now 20 years old, the fabric is shredding, and it is still in use.

Given that this little girl is named Lily, I started hunting around for a Lily-themed quilt block.  I found this one, and thought it would work out.

Rummaged through the fabric stash and drew up the pattern.  It had lots of half-square triangles, which are kind of fussy.  The seams have to be perfect for the little points to come out correctly, and it is easy to make a mistake getting all the little bits assembled.


I pulled out all my pinks/purples for the flower and the greens for the stem and leaves.  I was trying to not repeat the flower color combination in any block, so eventually I raided another stash for more pinks and purples.  (What?  Buy fabric?  I have too much already!)

The original quilt plan looked like this (yay Visio!):

I was planning to have the blocks go from light flowers in the upper right corner to dark flowers in the lower left corner.  After making up all the blocks, I thought the pink blocks in the sashing and binding might be a little much, so went with solid green.  I did have to buy green fabric for the sashing, borders, and backing.

There was not quite enough green for the back, so I pieced it out with a few more quilt blocks.

Then there was the question of how to quilt it.  The design didn't lend itself to straight diagonals; sewing through the centers of the lily blocks wouldn't go well.

I started researching free-motion machine quilting, bought the 505 Basting Spray and sticky gloves, and took a side trip making a few potholders, which also meant buying some Insul-Bright batting for heat shielding.

Potholders - front view

Potholders - back view

So, after all this procrastination, I spent some quality time on the living room floor getting the backing/batting/quilt top ready for quilting.  That 505 Basting Spray is excellent stuff - no need to pin or baste at all.


First I quilted each block, then the sashing strips, then each border.  While it worked out, it did leave a lot of threads to hide afterward. (my sewing table surface has not been this uncluttered in years.)

After that I bound the edges with 200+ inches of binding (one side machine sewn, then the other side finished by hand).

200+ inches of binding to be sewn

And here it is:

Front of quilt

Back of quilt

Lily block quilting detail

Block and corner quilting detail

(this isn't a surprise; they know it is coming)

Learnings (a project should always have learnings):

  • Half-square triangles.  Probably more practice needed for absolute perfection.
  • Non-skid fabric rulers.  I had purchased one in a useful size I did not have, and then discovered aftermarket non-skid film for my existing quilting rulers.  Discovery: I have many quilting rulers, because I finally collected them into one drawer.
  • Used my aftermarket 1/4" presser foot.  Maybe my needle is off-center a bit.  Maybe I need the Bernina 1/4" presser foot with the fabric guide (#57).  Or I could wing it with my #030, which accepts a fabric guide (which I have).  Oops, presser foot shopping happening.  Also succumbed to the siren call of the button foot (#18) and the upgraded basic foot (#1), which will also accept the fabric guide. In case anyone is wondering, I have a Bernina 930 sewing machine.  Old.  Solid.  Dependable.
  • Free-motion machine quilting.  This is fun.  Purchased the 505 basting adhesive spray, which meant that when I got it all together, the layers of fabric stuck together in a unit, no matter how much I scrunched it all around to quilt.  Also got the sticky fingertip gloves, so as to be able to move the fabric around.  This also lead to...
  • Insul-Brite batting, which I used for the potholders I made for free-motion quilting practice.  I used one layer of the Insul-Brite and one layer of cotton batting.  Next time, maybe I'll up that to two layers of cotton batting.  And make slightly smaller potholders.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Well, I Got In A Couple More Rides

and then had some (planned) minor surgery which had been postponed due to the unplanned major surgery at the beginning of the year.  So, off the bike for three weeks, which just ended today.

Two more outings on the NP-Banks Vernonia Trail perm pop (read all about how very cool this route is in your most recent American Randonneur!), once with Ray and Steve, and once with Ray and Susan.

Ray and Steve

Great weather both times, and, for the June outing, my quickest time since last July.  Not clear if it is because I am feeling better, or because the Lake Vernonia detour is finally finished, but I'll take it.

Susan and Ray

On June outing, there was also a bike swap around Lake Vernonia, because I wanted to give Susan's Wicked a spin.  We are just about the same height, and wear the same size shoes, so it is easy to do that.  I was also trying out a new saddle, and stopped to adjust it a couple of times.  It wants more setback than my current seatpost, so today I got another seatpost out of the parts bin and installed it (see also: couldn't lift heavy things until today either).

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Adding another Hobby

Because I don't have enough of them!  One of my fiber group (mostly knitting, but we've got quilters and embroiderers in the group) is destashing, and besides ending up with more yarn, fiber, and fabric, I also got her 4 harness table loom.

Restored Leclerc Dorothy table loom

After careful examination, it appeared that the reed was rusted beyond recovery, plus it had no lease sticks, shuttles, or a raddle (you get to look up all these terms).

While I had to buy a new reed, all the other pieces are fairly basic rectangular/oblong pieces of wood, some with openings at each end, some with nails spaced every inch.  After consultation with the resident woodworker, and researching what each piece should look like, he found some nice scraps in the garage (fir, oak, and black walnut), and cut everything out.

Raddle and lease sticks - random fir scraps, I think

Stick shuttles, rough sanded.  Oak and black walnut

I sanded and finished (Deft spray on laquer.  Quick drying, looks nice).  Then holes were drilled for the nails on the raddle (nails in drawer in shop area), a bit more sanding and finishing, nail installation, and I had all the pieces for successful loom use.

In the time it took to get to this place, my SIL's friend told me I should take the scarf weaving class at Multnomah Arts Center.  It appears that one does not need to be a Portland resident, so I signed up.

Weaving class - sleying the reed

Weaving class - threading the heddles.

It was great fun!  We learned how to make a warp, dress the loom, and then, finally after all that (it took almost 2 3-hour classes to get there), weave!  The scarf is really a sampler, 9 inches wide, with different threadings for each 3 inches.  We'd weave for three inches, and then change to a different treadle order, so we could see the different weave structures.

First Weaving!

Moving along, first 15 inches

I had to go in a couple extra times to keep up - here I was thinking I was the slowest weaver ever, but it turned out my weft was thinner than everyone else's.  So I had to weave longer to get the same length of cloth done.

Playing Warp Chicken in weaving class

Woven sampler scarf

(Bicycle tie-in - I'd ride over to the Multnomah Art Center.  It is a fairly straightforward route, at least for me.  The center is a couple of blocks from the start of the Solstice Ride.  Multnomah Blvd is trivial to ride up when one doesn't have 200k ridden through the night, first.)

Now I am trying to figure out what to weave on the loom at home.  Dishtowels seem a good exercise, although my maximum weaving width is 15.75".  I think it will work.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Or a New Rivet Saddle...

The Rivet Imogene test saddle arrived a week ago.  I've been waiting on this saddle for probably a year.  Of course, I had tweaked my back and wasn't doing any wrenching at the moment...

Fast forward to today.  Swapping saddles is expected to be a relatively easy operation.  Put the bike in the stand.  Removed the saddlebag, Carradice Bagman, and spare tire.  Measured from stem to back of saddle, and top of saddle to bottom bracket, so I could reproduce the placement.  Removed the existing saddle.

Rough-installed the new saddle, getting the height and setback as close as possible - the Rivet is taller and a bit shorter than the Selle Italia Diva.  Took the bike off the stand to get the tilt set.

And that is where the "fun" started.  I'd get a tilt setting, crank down the bolt, and ride up the driveway.  No matter how tightly I cranked the bolt, the seat would tip back.  After a few go-arounds with this, I removed the saddle, and dissassembled the seatpost, a Nitto Dynamic 626.  After poking at it a bit, it seemed that the tilt adjustment was frozen.  There was a piece that looked like it should slide, but it wasn't moving.  A little Tri-flow, a big screwdriver and a rubber mallet were called into service, and I gently knocked it loose.  Lots of wiping, regreasing, and reassembly, and I again had a functioning seatpost.

A few more tweaks of the tilt and tightness (and trips up and down the driveway), and I called it good.  Time to reinstall the rear luggage.

Rivet Imogene prototype saddle installed

Got the Bagman and Barley back on, and happened to look at the bottom of the Barley bag.  The straps didn't look right, because they were hanging on by a couple of threads (!!!)

the straps are dangling by a few threads

Located the Speedy Stitcher Awl (I've repaired bike luggage before!), and removed the bag.  Emptied the bag (wait, no spare brake cable!  Fetch one from the parts stash!).  Vacuumed it out.

Repairing away with the Speedy Stitcher awl

Repaired the straps.

Carradice Barley straps repaired.  Glad I caught it in the garage, and not somewhere far away.

And FINALLY, after all that, reinstalled the bag and spare tire.

Longish ride soon to test it out.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Navigating through Beaverton

I live right outside the border of Beaverton, Oregon, and do much of my errands by bicycle or on foot.  East/west travel is a bit tedious.  No matter which road one chooses north of TV Hwy, one either gets on a rather major road passing large local employers (swoosh!), passes through a heavily trafficked shopping center (bad things happen there), and otherwise end up having to turn because the road doesn't go through,  because there's a shopping center, a creek, or just because.

And then there's Millikan Way.  It started out as a street bordering the southern edge of the (now much diminished) Tektronix Industrial Park, between Hocken and Murray.  All the roads around and through Tektronix are named after famous physicists.  Over the years, it was extended to Hall Blvd to the east, and, to the west it went out to the Tualatin Hills Nature Park, and then turned south to intersect with TV Hwy and join SW 160th.

It doesn't have much traffic, and is a fairly straightforward way to ride east and west just north of TV Hwy.  Did I mention that TV Hwy is a stroad; not much fun to ride along?

Metro just opened a really nice path along Hall Creek, between SW 117th and SW 114th.   You'd think there would be a connection, but Millikan Way dead-ends east of Hall.  So there's an unfortunate gap in the route.

One can (and there is a very definite desire path) cut across to SW Lombard from the east end of SW Millikan.  There will finally be a road extending Millikan to Lombard, but the project dates are unknown.

Desire path - SW Millikan Way to SW Lombard, Beaverton OR

Then, from SW Lombard, one can cross the street and cut through the Transit Center, over a bridge, and into a shopping center with well-behaved traffic.  I take the path continuing straight through to SW 117th.

And there we find another gap.  The path along Hall Creek is right there across the street.  But there is no crosswalk and no curb cuts on either side of SW 117th.  Fortunately, another lightly trafficked crossing, and a fun ride (with pauses to watch the ducks) through to SW 114th.

Hall Creek restoration looking toward west across SW 117th

At this point, the route really does come to an end.  I typically turn left, and then right on SW Center, so as to cross over Hwy 217 and head home.

Places of interest along the route:
Falk Hardware (Millikan and Cedar Hills) - my favorite hardware store.  I need a fastener, they've got it!
Edge Coffee and Cafe Yumm (Millikan west of SW Murray, north side)  Cafe Yumm.  Nuff said.
Beaverton Bike Gallery (Millikan just east of SW Hall) My LBS.
Portland Clinic - not that I like going there, but it is great that my doctors are so close.
Bogza Coffee in The Round
Tualatin Hills Nature Park
Joann's Fabric, Marinepolis Sushiland, Jim and Patty's Coffee
many useful small businesses south of Millikan and north of TV Hwy, like the Batteries Plus, Tom's Pancake House and the Brickyard Tavern