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Showing posts from April, 2019

We Are the Champions!

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The last Saturday in April is Independent Bookstore Day across the United States. In Seattle, it is also Seattle Bookstore Day, home to the Seattle Bookstore Challenge. Each of the past four years I have taken the challenge and visited each of the participating stores, passport in hand. The first year (2015) there were 17 stores on the list (two requiring 30-minute ferry rides), and my colleagues and I thought a handful of people might actually be crazy enough to finish the whole thing. Surely the only people out there would be book industry people. Who else would spend an entire Saturday visiting bookstores? Katie, our intrepid Penguin Random House sales rep, offered to drive at the last minute, when we heard that a couple of booksellers from New Jersey were flying out to participate. We couldn't let them show us up! Thus a tradition was born.
"...in our first year, we weren't sure if anyone would complete the full Passport Challenge, but we crowned 42 Grand Champions. I…

Learning to Sew (part 3): At Last, A New Sail Cover!

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As our month of house-sitting came to a close, we finally started the sail cover project. The old one had been patched so many times I had not realized what a simple pattern it was until I watched the Sailrite video. With a week left in a large space, we were eager to finish before time ran out. It was clear after working on the cockpit cover that doing canvas work of this size would be incredibly difficult on the boat.

After some research, we measured the boom and mast ordered a sail cover kit from Sailrite.  This included a 5'x21' roll of blue Sunbrella with a cutting pattern already drawn on it.

The assembly was pretty straightforward, especially with the cockpit cover repairs under our belts.  It had a few long seams, which we marked, taped, and creased with a bone folder before sewing. It took two of us to feed the material through the machine.  We had not anticipated the size and weight of the fabric. Twenty-one feet of Sunbrella is heavy and awkward. We had envisioned …

Learning to Sew (part 2): Getting Serious

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Once I felt comfortable with basic sewing skills, it was time to try something useful: winch covers! Winches are exposed to all manner of grit, grime, water, and salt, all of which will shorten their lifespan. They are also the smallest canvas project on the boat, and thus they made a good first project. We needed to test the Sparrow with heavier thread and canvas. Better to find out by starting small than launching into that sail cover project.

We ordered a winch cover kit from Sailrite. The cost was comparable to ordering all the supplies separately, and it came with instructions. If you are interested in do-it-yourself boat projects, their website is full of free video tutorials with explicit step-by-step instructions. Bonus: I find the narrator's voice soothing. This project (and others) would have involved a lot more swearing without the advantage of videos from Sailrite and the multitude of people who have posted instructional videos on YouTube. Thanks, internet!

I sewed the…

Learning to Sew: Portholes and Zippers and Pleats, Oh My!

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Last August we bought a sewing machine as a first step toward replacing all of our canvas and upholstery as well as making, repairing, and tailoring our own clothes.

Our levels of comfort and experience with sewing were similar. My mom had a home sewing business when I was little, and she taught me the basics. With her help, I made a couple of shirts from patterns in middle school, but I never progressed beyond that. Wayne hemmed his school uniforms and did basic clothing repairs. Neither of us had done any significant sewing in decades.

We registered for a "This Is a Sewing Machine" class at Drygoods Design, then showed up on the wrong day. Our second attempt found the class small and practical, the instructor patient, and the facility tidy and well-lit. This gave us a common foundation of skills and a refresher on best practices.

Wayne suggested that we start by making a new sail cover, but I was intimidated by the size and expense of that project. I insisted that small, …

Bikes and Boats, Better Together

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I have only sporadically owned and used a car for much of my life. Even when I owned a car, I generally preferred other modes of transportation for all the reasons. I never really wanted my driver's license in the first place.

Bicycles and boats are a match made in heaven. For starters, parking in marinas is painful on so many levels. Bremerton Marina, while an excellent marina and community, is doubly painful because they recently shut down the parking lot for construction. For at least two years. Parking has been moved two blocks away to the second floor of a municipal garage. Using a car for boat projects is literally painful because hauling supplies by hand is zero fun. Even when the parking was at the marina, it was a slog to move stuff from the lot to the boat. With a bicycle, parking becomes (mostly) a non-issue.

Another win is the convenience of bringing along your own transportation when sailing. On a weekend sail to quaint port towns, the bicycle is guaranteed usable tr…