Saturday, December 31, 2022

Warping Back to Front, for PHG Workshop

Herewith follows a short pictorial on warping a loom back to front, up to just before threading.

The loom is a Leclerc Dorothy, quietized by replacing the side levers and shaft lock with flippy levers.

The warp was to be 103 ends, 1 yd long.  I wound the warp twice as long, placing a cross at both ends.

The SMART weaver (which I wasn’t yesterday) would put the counting thread (or tie a knot around each bundle at the turning peg) in units of the raddle spacing. My raddle for this loom has 1” spacing; the sett for my choice of warp yarn is 12 epi, so I should have put in a knot or counting thread every 12 threads.

Here I am getting started, with useful things: scissors, cord, lease sticks, the warp, measuring tape, warp sticks (brown paper or a cereal box/cardboard also works well), and the instructions.

The raddle at the back of the loom.  I use rubber bands to secure it to the back beam.  The warp stick (metal) awaits the warp.

Here’s the warp in the lease sticks, ready to go on the warp stick.

Warp is on the warp stick, all the ties have been removed.  I then flipped the whole assembly up, with the warp now coming out the front of the loom.  I also tied the lease sticks to the castle, so they’d stay put when beaming.  There are many ways to do this; they all work (as in how one secures the lease sticks)

Brief pause for calculations - width in reed, to work out raddle spacing.

The warp is spaced out in the raddle.  As the warp was wound twice as long, I essentially had 2 bouts, and started spacing out 12 ends per raddle dent from the middle.  This is where the thinking ahead of using a counting thread in raddle thread count units pays off.  I had to count threads.  Not hard, and there’s only 103 of them, but tedious.  You can see the lease sticks secured to the castle.  I also removed the two remaining choke ties, and cut the warp in half; 1 yd each half.

Snugged up the warp a bit and started inserting warp sticks, so as to cover over the bumps from the cords, sticks, and knots on the warp beam.

Beaming on.  I am holding the warp tight from the other side of the castle.  If it was a longer warp I’d use weights.  Continuing to add warp sticks so the entire first revolution of the warp beam is covered.

And there we go.  Done.  Tie slip knots in the warp so it doesn’t escape.

I removed the raddle, and tied the lease sticks up to suspend the warp behind the heddle eyes, for easier threading.

Lease sticks suspended.  Awaiting the workshop with deep anticipation.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Weaving a Denim Rag Rug, Part 2, Weaving

(it occurs to me that I never followed up...)

After all that making balls of denim strips, the actual weaving was pretty uneventful.  The warp was rug warp, 10 epi (ends per inch), super easy to thread (straight draw) and sley (1 per dent in a 10 dent reed).

The weaving was pretty uneventful, as well, except that I brought the Fireside loom to its knees.  The high tension was over the top, and I actually caused the back beam to bend downward (it is bolted on, so technically it COULD, but it shouldn't!).

Loosened up the tension a bit and kept weaving.  The instructor has a friend who Fixes the Looms, and someone on Ravelry had shared that HER Fireside had some wood pieces on top of the back beam arms that kept it from rotating downward.  He came by, we looked at the other, properly-equipped Fireside loom, and a few weeks later I came in and found them installed.

The weaving went SO QUICKLY!

Then I wound a warp for another rug, for the downstairs bathroom.  That was quick, too.

For the headers, weave with the carpet warp held double, otherwise it will pull in, no matter how hard you try for it to now.

Maybe don't weave rugs on a jack loom that has a hinged back beam.  :-)

That said, the rugs have been in use for months now.  I toss them in the washing machine from time to time.

Friend P got a HUGE stash of denim strips.  She gets to skip all the hard parts.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Weaving a Denim Rag Rug, Part 1, Stripping

For a really long time, there was a moving box full of old jeans in a corner of the weaving studio at the Multnomah Arts Center.  (That room has EVERYTHING). I’d look at it and go... “I could weave a rug”.  I didn’t do anything, though, and one day, I watched the box leave the building with someone else.  Ah, beat me to it, I said.  Her: “J wanted it GONE.”

Then, maybe a month later, there she was, weaving a couple looms away, on a denim rug.  And then she said: “I don’t want to weave any more rugs, and there’s lots of denim left, you want it?”  Oh yeah!  So, in came a paper box (the ones that hold a dozen reams of paper) of denim.  And “I’ve got more, let me get it for you”.  Two paper grocery bags of old jeans.  Took it out to my car.  Friend and fellow weaving student P: “I wanted the denim!”.  She’ll get what’s left after I’m done :-)

So, after much measuring, reading the Rag Rug book by Janet Meany (repeatedly), viewing other denim rug projects on Ravelry and Pinterest, I designed a warp.  In the re-use theme, I decided to use cotton rug warp from the closet at the weaving studio (yarn there is sold by the ounce.  Smoking deal.), and use all the partial cones of blue, for a random warp effect, but for the three stripes on each side.  I’ve designed and wound warps before, so you aren’t going to hear any more about that.

Ah, yes, the jeans.  All the research suggested 1” strips, joined together in a variety of ways.  Some cut them in a spiral around the leg, which does yield a longer strip, but incorporates the exquisitely bumpy seam.  No lumps in my rug, thank you very much.  Not to mention that would be cutting with scissors.  None of that, either.

There were many whole pairs of jeans which needed deconstructing to get the fronts and backs of the legs. That did require scissors, and it is a great project to do while watching tv.  Some of it was already deconstructed, some partially deconstructed, and there were some balls of strips, but most of them weren’t usable - bumpy flat-fell seams left in.  A couple were recoverable; I cut them apart into proper strips.

Now, with all those flat pieces of denim, I pulled out the cutting mat, long quilting ruler, and rotary cutter and sliced into 1” strips.  Bought a new ergonomic handle rotary cutter :-).  The most efficient way for me was to stack two pieces (sometimes they needed ironing to lay flat, but mostly not), and start cutting into strips from the outside leg seam side, as that was the straightest.

I did not worry about being perfectly on grain.

If you think this took rather a long time, you’d be right.

After cutting them ALL into strips (If I don’t use them all, P will be a lucky woman), I dumped them out on the floor and mixed them up, as no pair of jeans is the same color as any other pair, and I wanted a somewhat random mix.  Scooped them back into the grocery bags and box.

I then sewed the short ends of strips together on the bias (mostly) right sides together, rather like making quilt binding.  I’d sew until there wasn’t any room left behind the sewing machine, then start a new one.

Next - turning the very long strips into balls, which is another good tv-watching task.  For each seam, cut apart, and cut off the “ears”.  Repeat until there’s one looooooooog strip, then roll into a ball, finger pressing the seams.  My strip balls weigh about a pound each; it just worked out that way.

Next up: weaving!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Mondial - Nevertheless, She Persisted

I discovered Randonneuring back in 2006, and officially joined up in 2007.  It has been the best 12 bicycling years of my life.  Many great rides, and many great friends.  I still ride with folks I met on my first 200km!

This past September, my cumulative RUSA kilometers rolled over 40000, which qualifies me for the RUSA Mondial Award, the circumference of the earth being roughly 40000 km.

It wasn't easy.  There were a couple of major health setbacks, one which put me off the bike for 6 months and another knocked my annual distance totals way down (still recovering from that one).

But here I am, and here it is:

By the numbers:
40028 km, ridden in a total time of 2393:54:00

30 ACP brevets
3 ACP fleches
4 RUSA brevets
3 RUSA dart populaires
21 RUSA populaires 
182 RUSA permanents

Ride distance
135 100ks (populaires and permanent populaires, 9 longer than 110km)
97 200ks (loosely speaking.  15 rides were in the 210-218 km distance)
10 300ks
3 360ks
3 400ks
2 600ks

Awards accumulated along the way:

Some rides on my Lemond Zurich.  Not many, and not longer than a 200k.
2007- August 2010 - the Rivendell Bleriot
August 2010 onward - the custom Sweetpea.  I've worn out and replaced all the components at least once.

(a few names from the cast of thousands)
Cecil, Michal, Ray, Susan O, Kevin L, Kevin B, Jeff A, Lesli, Jason, Peg, Narayan, Keith M, and RB

Saturday, October 26, 2019

SIR Fall 2019 Dart Pop - Team Shaodach

Friend Susan noted at some point this summer that I’d better cross over my Mondial distance while the weather was still nice, if I wanted people to ride with me. She did have a point.  Looking at the calendar, I couldn’t find a good weekend to invite folks to join in, but the SIR Fall Dart Populaire was at about the right time/distance point, and there would surely be a lot of folks I had ridden with over the last 12 years at the finish.

I mentioned this to Ray.  He secured approval (and transportation) for the venture, so I set about recruiting some others to fill out our team.  Michal, of course, because we did a lot of riding together before he decided to be fast and longer distance and I got slower.  And RB, because we’ve been riding together with Ray.  Mind you, I met Ray on my Very First 200k back in 2007 (The Birkie, original route).  We rode along together for awhile, and have been riding together off and on since then.  Michal became a riding partner in early 2011, when he rode up to Cecil and me and asked to follow along, because we looked like we knew where we were going.  He encouraged me to go for the Super Randonneur, something I thought I’d not be able to accomplish.

So.  Foraged around for something to create a route from, shortest viable distance of course.  I borrowed Michal’s fleche route, trimmed off the ends, moved the finish to the event finish point, and started casting around for a start.  Found the Carnival Market, a convenience store in the Westside Hwy, sitting all by itself, and, on Susan O’s advice, moved the route to Military Rd, rather than going through Vader.  Something about Pleasant Hill Rd, Berry Rd, and loose dogs.  There was a steep climb at the start of Military Rd, but it wasn’t long.

Haunting Epic Ride Weather, the forecast finally settled on a very small chance of very light rain and a tailwind or quartering tailwind the whole way.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

Michal and Cyndi drove up the night before, RB showed up bright and early on the day, and we were loaded and on the road by 7am, arriving at the Carnival Market before 8am.  Ray and Barb pulled in right after us.  As we could not start riding until 8:30, there was a lot of standing around, kicking the tires, some spirited discussion on tubeless tires, clipless pedals vs flat pedals (me, aside to Barb: “gonna be a long 8 hr ride”), clothing rearrangements (warmer? Need the rain gear?) and such. (For the record, three riders with flat pedals, one with clipless pedals and hotfoot issues, one rider with tubeless tires and a slow leak).  Michal, who holds that there is never a wrong time for ice cream, bought and consumed an ice cream sandwich.

By Cyndi Wenks

Finally, time to go.  Starting photo taken and off we went, into the light fog and mist.  First stop was 1.5 miles along, for a bathroom break, as the Carnival Market does not allow use of their bathroom.  The Westside Hwy rolls along, and the traffic can’t said to be light.  However, just about everyone was respecting everyone’s right to a relatively unstressful use of the public right of way.  We followed the Cowlitz River for most of the way, skirting around the west side of Castle Rock, and, just after 18 miles in, started the steep climb onto Military Rd. I did walk, but it wasn’t long.  Military Rd was wonderfully wide open, the mist had cleared away, and the views were fabulous.  On my first STP I’d ridden the northern stretch from Napavine to Winlock HS in 2003, but I was really tired at that point and not properly appreciating the view.

Ray: “Do we get a trinket for this ride?”  Me: “I get a trinket!”

Eventually we ended up in Napavine, where we briefly paused at the convenience store for snacks and beverages.  Continued on north, arriving at our first info/photo control at the corner of Rush Rd and Newaukum Valley Rd.  We took a selfie, not without a lot of snarking from Ray and RB.

Newaukum Valley Rd and Rogers Rd was another super peaceful bucolic section of the route.

We then merged onto Shorey Rd, which led us onto Riverside Dr/Louisiana Rd, just south of Chehalis, which was not nearly as pleasant, to put it mildly. We were to go around the back of the airport.  I was last in line at this point, and everyone else went straight, rather than turning left.  I couldn’t even see them ahead, and certainly couldn’t chase them down.  Called Michal’s cell (and HE was riding with a GPS, go figure), left a message.  Called Ray’s cell, and surprisingly, he picked up.  He reported that Michal and RB were headed back, and he’d be right along.

After regrouping, we proceeded along the supremely peaceful and untrafficked Airport Rd, to our second info/photo control at the golf course.  By now, Michal’s tire was making him a very bad ambassador for tubeless tires; it had a slow leak and he had to keep pumping it up. Ray and I offered him tubes, but he thought he’d keep on the same path unless it got rather worse.  (see earlier note about flat vs clipless pedals and tubes vs tubeless.  Post ride note: a week later, it did seal up.)

We then had to turn left onto Airport Rd, which was very high traffic and no signal.  Michal noted a bike path on our side of Airport Rd, and “let’s take THAT.”  We did, and it was much nicer.  However, we were entering Centralia, graveyard of empires (as in, I'm not sure I've ever ridden through it without getting a bit confused), and the bike path took us up to Mellen, which was past where we wanted to turn to be on the other side of I-5.  They’ve rearranged the roads into one-way streets, so, technically, we couldn’t turn right into Centralia and get onto Ellsbury.  However, there were several handy crosswalks and a sidewalk, so we did work our way over to Ellsbury with less trouble than we might have had.  I’ll remember this for the future.  Maybe the Airport Rd routing is good in the middle of the night, but not midday on a weekend.

Misplaced RB; he eventually showed up.  By now we were headed through Centralia, and Factory Outlet Row, home of many fast food establishments.  I wouldn’t have minded pausing at the Burgerville, but it was now only 12 miles to our 6 hour control, and we all had enough food with us to get there.

Riding past the Factory Outlets was rather not fun, too many entrances and exits and junk on the road, but once past that, it wasn’t too bad.  I have a fairly high tolerance for heavier traffic, but don’t like debris on the road.

Again, falling off the back, found RB at the Great Wolf Lodge with a flat.  Michal and Ray were stopped a long block ahead; we waved them back, and had a bit of a break while RB fixed the flat.

We ended up on Case Rd, which is just not a favorite stretch of pavement for me.  Riding it in a downpour, wearing all my wool gloves and hats, in the middle of the night, staving off hypothermia, solo.... yeah.  This was the first time ever I’d ridden it with company.

However, right around mile 57.1, I did roll over 40000 cumulative RUSA km; all of us but for Ray, who was ahead, stopped for a commemorative picture.

A few miles later we were at our 6 hr control, with 15 minutes before we could depart.  Michal had tweaked the cue sheet to show time checks at each cue, and according to that, we could leave at 6:20 elapsed and, riding at minimum pace, still finish in time.  Which was good, because the Farm Boy service seemed a bit overwhelmed. Michal and I split a burger and fries.  I also had a Pepsi (the blue ambulance), and inhaled my half of the cheeseburger in about 2 minutes.  Six minutes after the control opened, we were back on the road.

There was a brief discussion on “we have to stay together now”, “together” being defined as we can see each other.  So we did stick together more than we had earlier, although we really hadn’t spread out all that much before.  There was also actual navigation required, so we definitely had to stick together because not everyone had a cue sheet visible.

The tailwind decided to make itself noticeable and useful, and we zipped along at a consistently higher pace (for me, anyway).  Once we got into Tumwater/Olympia proper, and I realized we had less than 10 miles to go, and a lot of time left, I relaxed.  We rode into downtown along the Deschutes Parkway, which was a better and more scenic entry than on Capitol Blvd/Capitol Way, and then proceeded to hit just about every red light through downtown.

One last hill (Puget St), and a bit more go to (by now, out of downtown), and there we were, at 4pm.

By Cyndi Wenks

Several teams were already there.  I promptly scored a beer and chips, and eventually started in on the food.  And visiting.  Found many people to catch up with, and met several new riders.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Brief Cycling Gear Review - iSSi Thump Pedals

Some of you might know that I finally had to ditch the clipless pedals - I was getting breathtaking hotfoot, even with the Cyclesoles custom orthotics.

I tried the MKS Lambdas (Riv GripKings) - too long, and my shoes wouldn’t stay stuck on them, especially when wet.

Then moved on to the VO Sabots (oh SO pretty).  My shoes stuck much better, but my feet still hurt.  I had been riding with Five Ten shoes, and decided they were too flexy, so I reattached the cleat mount cover to my PI X Alp shoes, which I’d bought a few years back, and promptly shelved because hotfoot.  That helped.  Some.

Then I watched a review of the iSSi Thump pedals from the Path Less Pedaled folk.  The “concave” design caught my attention - less pressure on the part my feet which suffer from hotfoot.  Bought a pair, size small.

Went for a 100km ride.  It was a very hot day.  My shoes did not slide.  My feet did not hurt.

Winner.  They’ll be promoted to the usual long ride bike for further review.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Perm Pop in Tucson

Being as we were going to be in Tucson for a week, I started looking around for a RUSA perm to ride.  Michal’s excellent map provided a list of perm pops (typically just over 100k, about all I’m up to at this time), and John Lee’s #3752 Rillito - Pantano - Saguaro Sashay showed only 1600 vertical feet and a lot of separated bike path.  And a National Park (gotta exercise that Senior National Park Pass sometime).

Excellent.  An exchange of email, including a scan of the required signed release and a general range of days I might choose to ride during (LOVE the new “slippery perm start time” rules, I DO.  Especially during vacation, when one isn’t all that super detailed about daily plans.)

We drove down to Tucson from Portland, so I did’t have to disassemble and pack a bike; brought the Lemond Zurich, with the Specialized Power Mimic saddle I am trying out.

So, after a careful study of the weather (there’s altitude and heat here, which I am not really accustomed to), picked the least hot day.  The plan was that I’d start around 9am; Fitz would drop me off at the start and play a nearby round of golf, as these activities consume about the same amount of time.

Got to the Jack in the Box, unloaded the bike, said goodbye and had my traditional pre-ride orange juice, breakfast being consumed previously.

Started out, and quickly realized that I didn’t need to navigate the first 2 miles, because all the cyclists were headed to the Loop, just like me.  The outgoing leg of the first out and back (after a bit of off-course, caused by turning immediately left onto the first bridge I saw, rather than the one just a bit up on the right) flew right along.  It is spring, and Tucson is blooming.  Passed a couple of parks with restrooms to remember for the return.

Got to the turnaround, snapped a picture of the info control and headed back.  Wait.  There’s a headwind.  Not supposed to have a headwind.  It wasn’t that bad, but it was more fun zipping along at 18-19mph.

I was using RWGPS to direct me along.  It seemed a bit confused after the turn until a good mile past where I had gotten on the Loop at the Mountain Ave Bridge.  I was “off course”, which it claimed was 8.6 ft to the right.  Or, in the Rillito River Wash.  Go figure.  Anyway, as I was to be on the Loop for awhile, it didn’t much matter.

The Tanque Verde crossing was interesting, in that I had to cloverleaf up to the road, cross the wash, and continue on the other side, to transition to the Pantano River Path.  A bit drier out this way, and some super trippy trail decorations - painted rocks around plants, glittery stuff, and so on.

The Loop is essentially a 2 lane road, but for non-motorized transport.  Nice 2 lane road.  It was fabulous to ride on.

Leaving the Loop at mile 27.7 to get onto Golf Links Rd, heading out to Saguaro National Park.  If you are looking for services of the food variety (you’ll find restrooms and water along the Loop at several points; not marked, but you’ll see them off to the side), Golf Links Rd is where you’ll find it.  There’s a shiny new Circle K on the right, and various fast food options on either side; you’ll be returning this way, and there’s another Circle K at Harrison and Golf Links.  That’s about all there is to recommend about Golf Links, but it does get you where you are needing to go.  After a brief stretch on Houghton, you turn onto Old Spanish Trail, which has considerably less traffic and pristine pavement.

And then, not quite 3 miles along, you’ll come to the Saguaro National Park entrance.  There are restrooms, a bottle filling station, and a nice covered area with more water, if you want to pause to reapply sunscreen, refill your bottles, and eat your banana.

If you’ve not got a National Park pass, there is a fee to enter.  The ranger said “you know the drill” (MANY MANY CYCLISTS HERE), and I said “nope”, and she immediately warned me about the first descent, which is super steep and has a hard right at the bottom.  It comes right up, too.  I really  appreciated that warning.

So, the Cactus Forest Loop (the road in the park) is ranked one of the top 15 National Forest roads for a bike ride.  As it was still early enough in the spring, everything was green and flowering.  The number of saguaro cacti was staggering.  Apparently they grow here in greater numbers than anywhere else.  Wish I’d had a proper camera.  I took pictures, but they don’t really capture it.

The route is one-way until the Tanque Verde trailhead access (also signed “Picnic Area”), so you can enjoy the first 3.4 miles of delightful roller coaster riding without worrying about oncoming vehicles.  The speed limit is 15mph, so the chances of unpleasant vehicle interaction are greatly reduced.  I was there on a weekday; it might be more crowded on a weekend.  Lots of pull outs if you want to take pictures.

After the first info control at Loma Verde, the road does start a reasonably steady climb with not as many bits of downhill.  Not depressingly steep, though.  Be sure to keep pushing the water and electrolytes.

After the Tanque Verde info control, it is downhill for miles.  Old Spanish Trail rolls a bit, but then Golf Links Rd rewards you with a downhill all the way to the Loop.  The turn to get back on the Loop is a left at Pantano Parkway.  I kind of spaced there, so did a Copenhagen Left at the crosswalk after the turn.

Then it is just 13 miles back on the path/Mountain Ave/Ft Lowell Rd.  You can cut into the parking lot at the Sketchers and get back to the Jack in the Box (if that is where you are choosing to finish) without having to go all the way to Campbell Ave.

It is a delightful ride, and I’d recommend it if you are planning to be in Tucson.