Sewing miscellaneous

2016-Dec-05, Monday 02:16 pm
chebe: (WhoWouldHaveThought?)
No make to report this week. But the past couple of weeks I've been on an organisational binge. It started with getting the Colette Sewing Planner. It not only enabled me to collect all my projects and notes in one place (that conveniently fits in my handbag), but it also forced me to think about what it is I actually wear, and what I want to focus on.

But of course, it only lead onto other undertakings; like sorting all my patterns (upgrading to clear envelopes because I had a right pain opening up all the opaque ones when looking for the right pattern), and finally taking on sorting through my fabric stash. Every length is now measured and tagged. ... But then, I figured it would be beneficial to create my own swatch book. So I found a PDF template, customised it, and now I've sent it off to get printed on some nice card stock.

I've also ordered a bunch of needles I'm missing (like twin stretch), some nifty tools (like twin pattern wheel), and some new cases/boxes to help me tidy up my overflowing sewing box. It's a deep rabbit hole, but I think I'm close to the end. And I've rediscovered quite the collection of projects that I already have all the fabric and thread for, so hopefully I'll be able to tackle the really long list swiftly. ... Oh, ribbons and elastics! ... Tidying up, who knew it was so helpful?
chebe: (Spools of thread)
This weekend I began the journey towards trousers. I'm taking the long route, so I started with some pull-on knit shorts. Simplicity 1429, view E; long (knee-length) shorts, with acres of material. I can't quite figure out why this pattern is knit-only. Nothing stretches (except the elastic wasitband). I could have made this in a lightweight non-stretch woven and only the drape would have been affected.

Otherwise though, cute lounge shorts. There are soft pleats in the front, darts in the back, and a blind hem, of which I will only say that I need more practice. A lot more.

I also added the waistband to the wrong side, and had to unpick it. A narrow zigzag stretch stitch on a thin rayon. It took a very long time. And then, I put it back on inside out, and could not face unpicking it again. Most people don't go around inspecting each others wasitbands though, so it should be okay.

I made it in a featherweight jersey called Fushia Dakota knit, 95% rayon/5% spandex. (Which made machining the blind hem extra fun.) Comfy, light; I can see the full length trousers working well in hot weather.

Loungey )
chebe: (GirlDayDreaming)
This weekends make was Seamwork's Oslo; an oversized, slightly boxy, long cardigan. I made it in a Medium, and there is still oodles of room there. Definitely comfy.

I left off the buttons. And went with sleeve option 2 (the non roll-up kind) because when working with computers I find it easier to have my wrists accessory free. Although they are still long enough to cover the knuckles. I did have the seam ripper out for this one. It took me way too long to understand the cuff instructions. (Turn half inside-out to right side out.)

I made it in a nice polyester Ponte de Roma (quickly becoming my favourite fabric) with just a touch of spandex (4%). The colour is officially 'Petrol', which is like a darker, more blue teal? I'm pretty sure it will go with almost everything in my wardrobe.

Slouchy )
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Seamwork's Aberdeen is a v-neck, batwing sleeve, t-shirt. The front is one piece, so no need to worry about matching patterns. The back is two pieces, and also features a v-neck, which I think is a nice touch.

I need to practice adding v-necks. There's a little bubble at the front point, and the back ones didn't quite line up. Also, because I hate hemming, I half-assed the hem with just a single turn and zig-zag stitch.

But, it's cute and comfy. I made it up in a light t-shirt weight stretch jersey. I picked up this fabric as a remnant while on holiday in Vancouver years back. The print is busy, but monochromatic, so sufficiently moody for my tastes.

Ta-da! )
chebe: (Spools of thread)
Version one were made up in the green-blue spotty fabric. I told you you'd seen the last of that fabric, and I meant it. This version is done up in a plain plum-purple, medium weight stretch jersey. Otherwise; I tweaked the pattern to widen the calves, and take out some fabric from the stomach.

These are deliciously comfortable. The lower legs fit great. This material is less stretchy than version one, so has shown that adding a bit of length to the rear would be good as well. Next time Gadget.

Couple of pictures )
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
I'm feeling a little despondent over things I have no influence over. So I'm distracting myself with blogging. Here's something I made earlier in the year.

Remember the Butterick 6031 slip sew-along? (Here's version one.) Well, I finally got around to making it up in the kit fabric and notions.

It's straight forward, easy to put together (even with the slippery fabric). The lace straps are a little fiddly, but otherwise it's a joy to make and wear.

Photos )

4x4x4 LED Shield

2016-Aug-15, Monday 09:32 pm
chebe: (WalkSign)
You know the story; you go into Maplins for solder, and you walk out with an LED Cube Shield. (It can't be just me.) Anyway, building one of these yokes seems to have become a kind of rite of passage for the makery sort. So, I made one!

Couple of photos )



Not so straight LED Cube, completed
Photo by chebe



Pretty!

EMF 2016

2016-Aug-10, Wednesday 10:46 pm
chebe: (Default)
EMF happened last weekend. I went, with some of the tog people, but not with tog. It was a really good weekend.

It's difficult for me to describe what EMF is. Because it is simply too big now. There was somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 people, camped in one large field. With five stages, several workshop tents, villages, bars, food vendors, and a giant beanbag-filled lounge tent. Every person attending will have had different experiences, some even seeming to be from completely different events. It's large. There's a lot on. And it's utterly surreal.

If you've been to any of the maker faires, then EMF can be described (as one of the other attendees said) as a large faire, only instead of explaining your ideas and projects to regular people you're showing them off to other makers and hackers. There's a level of engagement, of enthusiasm, of sheer energy, that is difficult to gather in other places. It's a bit like a temporary Never Never Land, full of grown-up techie toys, organised and run entirely by volunteers. Large inflated bunny filled with neopixel strips that you can change the colour of by tweeting it. Really tall LED tower game. Pong made physical, with giant paddles and fire. A podium that made fire dance to music beats. Bbqs, fire pits, self tending bar robot. Amazing micropython badges. An incredible wifi network with over 64 access points, a beautiful dashboard, and nearly two terabytes of data transmitted. Electricity to your tent. Hot sunny days, clear starry nights.

Reality is proving just how hard an act EMF is to follow.

You can check out photos, and watch the talks. It will give you a flavour, but it isn't the same as being there.

An aside )

It was a replenishing weekend. Fun, energising, and completely exhausting. I want to go back.
chebe: (Default)
This post is going to be a little out of character for this blog. For one, it's an actual update (yes I'm still around), but two, it's autobiographical. This friends is the story of how I came to leave the hackerspace.

It started just over a year ago. And by started I mean it all fell off the edge of the cliff it had been tottering on and the end had begun. And by just over a year ago I mean 12th May 2015. (I know this date because I have the emails, all the emails.)

Ireland was having itself a little vote. One of the things up for public decision was a referendum to remove the distinction as to gender/sex from the articles for marriage. Basically, it was a marriage equality referendum, to allow any two people to marry, irrespective of their gender/sex. A short time previously we had gained 'civil partnership' for same-sex couples (as distinct and not equal to different-sex couples) and the sky hadn't fallen in. So it was time to push for full equality.

This was a very emotive issue. The No campaign were making a lot of noise, using scare tactics, threatening all kinds of irrelevant outcomes. Crowds of volunteers organised to travel the country advocating for marriage equality. Thousands of people told their intimate stories again and again to strangers. Essentially pleading, even begging, to be treated equally. Some well received, others not.

In order to get volunteers around the country, and to get brochures, leaflets, posters made up the Yes campaign were fundraising. Part of this was selling Yes/Tá badges, tshirts, etc. These items actually became quite coveted. Seeing a stranger wearing one in the street made you smile, feel comfortable, accepted.

I bought a big bunch of badges. I brought them to Craft Night in the hackerspace to give them away to whomever wanted one. They were eagerly snapped up, but I had many so there were some left over. I said I'd leave the extra in the Swag box (full of badges, stickers, pencils, etc from random companies and projects) for people who I knew wanted some but weren't able to make it in. And I was told that if I did they would be thrown out. I'm sorry, what? Apparently the hackerspace was to remain completely apolitical. Rather stunned and taken aback I saved my badges and redistributed them manually.

Another woman at that Craft Night later on that evening emailed the fullmembers mailing list to have a discussion that sometimes, on an individual case-by-case basis, we should take a stance.
"In particular, I'd like to see TOG as a group being pro-Yes for the upcoming marriage equality referendum. I'd like to see YES badges and leaflets available in the common room, and for NO leaflets to be unwelcome."


If you are familiar with mailing lists you'll know what happened. The ensuing shitstorm resulted in the majority of the membership saying "we don't want to be unwelcoming to No voters", or, saying nothing at all. Several members, did as the volunteers did, and opened their private lives, their soft quishy insides, to the scrutiny of the group. They asked to be seen.

It's at this point that several people will want me to point out that any group, especially a hackerspace, is not a homogeneous whole. That some peoples' opinions do not represent the group. Except, thing is, we work by Consensus. So when we decided that we'd rather protect the feelings of hypothetical potential members (who don't see their fellow human beings as equal) rather than support a significant chunk of the existing membership, it did actually speak volumes about the group as a whole. It told us that we were not welcome. That the realities of our lives were disruptive (in the bad way), and something not to be talked about in polite company. We were rejected.

On Friday 22nd May 2015 the country voted. On Saturday 23rd May 2015 the country partied. The result was 62% Yes. (Only one constituency had a majority No vote, and even that was by a tiny margin.) Nearly a 2:1 ratio. We became the first country in the world to pass marriage equality by popular vote. We were ecstatic. We were deeply, deeply relieved.

The hackerspace went on saying nothing.

Things continued on as usual. Our lease was being terminated, we had to find a new space. Then we had to do up the new space. We were also changing legal structure from a club to an actual company (one of the 16 new definitions that had just become law that Summer) with limited liability. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing, lots of discussion about direction, ethos, and internal wall layouts.

The landlord was putting in new toilets. In the old space we had two separate toilets, gender neutral. We asked one to be made wheelchair accessible. (In the end he didn't make the door wide enough.) The other he put urinals in. So now we had a Mens toilet, and an Other toilet. This did not sit well with many of the membership. But it wasn't seen as a real issue by many others. We were pushed out again.

Around this time I started being harassed by another member. (For reasons as yet unknown.) Counter to some stereotypes, and playing into others, this other member was/is female. Verbal harassment, accusations, following me, making me leave rooms, not leaving me alone as I repeatedly asked. Which several months later escalated to her trying to get me thrown out of the building for simply showing up.

You probably have guessed the pattern already. The hackerspace did nothing but bury their heads in the sand. When it escalated many months later, it made the rest of the membership uncomfortable enough that the new Board of Directors decided we should seek independent arbitration. This is a fair idea, except that in the meantime I was so scared of this person that I self-selected out of physically attending the space, expect when I knew there would be many other people there as well.

I'll never know how the arbitration would have worked out as the first session would have been next week. But that all seems a bit redundant now. Also, at time of writing, they are still discussing whether or not they need a Code of Conduct, what should go into it, if it needs to be enforceable, and how. A discussion which has been going on for over a year. They (baring a few trying to push it to happen) just don't see the need.

To wrap up this long tale, yesterday a Consensus Proposal arrived on the mailing list. Two of the Board were supporting a new member's request to have their probationary period shortened (the usual period is three months) to less than a month. I asked why. I wasn't told. I said that it wasn't fair, it looked like favouritism, and that more justification needed to be given. Mailing listness happened, and I was forced into an official objection. To many I suppose I won the battle. But that's only if you completely miss the point.

I received the most condescending email I have ever received (and there's been a few) privately from one of the Board. I realised that I couldn't deny it anymore. Despite the best efforts of a great many people over the years, despite blood, sweat, and tears, my beloved hackerspace had abandoned their own ideals and become just another boys' club. Which broke my heart in ways I didn't think possible. So I quit, with barely a peep. And the (near) silence I got in return is proof enough that I did the right thing.

I truly, deeply, desperately, hope they can turn it around, that they can make it better. But I've no energy left to fight for something it appears nobody wants.
chebe: (Default)
DeepVR is this amazingly beautiful and serene underwater virtual reality that some very talented and extremely dedicated people have been working on for a while now. (It is seriously astounding, check it out if you can.) You are immersed in this other reality with the Rift, or now also the Vive. You navigate the world by controlled breathing. There isn't yet a popular controller to do this, so they have been trying various different configurations and learning from each iteration.

One such type of belt )



Finished belt outside
Photo by chebe



Apologies for the poor photos, I was so focused on finishing them that I forgot to get decent photographs. The rush was because the belts have flown off with the team to Tribeca, where they will surely be put through their paces. I look forward to finding out how they held up and what didn't work so well.
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