12/6/14

A Portland Bike Craft gift guide

by Jessie Kwak

If I was a better person I probably would have told you all about Bike Craft before the weekend it’s happening – but, really, if you’re still getting your news from me at this point then it’s your own fault.

Me, I get my bikey news from Twitter.

But, Bike Craft! It’s happening this weekend from 11-5, Saturday and Sunday at Bike Farm, a nifty volunteer-run bicycle collective.

Bike Craft 2014

There’s beer, jewelry, art, a craft station, clothes, books, free vegan tamales (oh, Portland) and Bike Farm even has volunteers teaching basic bike maintenance if you want to learn how to love your bike better.

There are about 20 vendors. I don’t see a full list on Bike Craft’s website, but here’s a taste of who you’ll find:


Helmet ear warmers from Gigi’s Handy Work

Bike craft ear warmers

Gigi uses recycled fleece and wool sweaters or suits to make her cozy ear warmer “Helmuffs”. She’s got a ton of colors and appliquéd designs. I love the skull and crossbones one! If you miss Bike Craft, you can find her online here

Bike craft ear warmers for helmet


Beautiful bike part art from Velo Gioielli

Bike craft upcycled bike art

Brian upcycles bike parts into some really stunning works of art. You can see his booth in the front left of the photo at the top of this post, featuring an amazing chandelier made out of gears. He’s also got etched barware, jewelry, and more. If you miss Bike Craft, you can find Brian at Portland’s Saturday Market, and online at velogioielli.com


REALLY lovely inner tube earrings by Laura TK

I’ve seen tons of inner tube earrings around the internets, but these were truly gorgeous. Laura paints the earrings with these vibrant, shimmering colors – she actually said that people have come up to her at craft shows to accuse her of murdering exotic birds for her earrings, only to realize that they’re actually inner tubes. If you miss her at Bike Craft, you can find her online at www.LauraTK.com

Bike craft recycled inner tube earrings

I couldn’t resist. I bought these:

Bike craft upcycled feather inner tube earrings


Cycling and running accessories from Clodine Crafts

Clodine uses scraps of wool from Pendleton’s Woolen Mill to fashion reflective pants cuffs, ear warmers, bookmarks, and more. Her stuff is so, so pretty! She’s just getting started, and planning to start an Etsy shop, adding top tube pads to her inventory. I’ll update this post if I see her shop go up.

Bike craft pendleton wool accessories 2

Bike craft pendleton wool accessories

Also, how many of you knew about the Pendleton Woolen Mill and didn’t tell me? I’ll definitely be checking that out this week.


Hats, books, belt buckles, and more I didn’t get photos of

I wasn’t exhaustive in my documentation of Bike Craft since I plan to go back tomorrow, but I just wanted to shout out to some of the other vendors.

Elly Blue Publications and Microcosm Publishing are both there. You’ll find handmade bike caps by DanaMade, Black Star Bags, North Street Bags, and a handful of other vendors.

Check it out!

11/16/14

Get Crafting with Inner Tubes in print!

by Jessie Kwak

You guys, Andrea Rangel (who you may remember from this post on knitting activewear for winter cycling and this post on choosing a knitting stitch pattern) just told me about MagCloud. It’s a site that lets you offer print on demand booklets and magazines, and it’s what she uses to print out her lovely materials for her knitting classes.

I’m using it to print out copies of Crafting With Inner Tubes – and I’ve listed the book for sale on their site. So if you’ve been wanting a physical copy, now’s your chance!

Crafting With Inner Tubes

By Jessie Kwak

28 pages, published 11/17/2014

You’ve been there, right? In the middle of a joy ride when all of a sudden:pssssssss-s-s-s…Puncture.As a natural packrat, I hate to throw anything away that could possibly be useful, so over the years I’ve developed quite the collection of busted inner tubes. Crafting with them has become an obsession – I’ve made reflective belts, jewelry, and even a macrame plant hanger.And now you can, too.You get a 27-page, full-color PDF…

By the way, I’m fully aware that it’s been ages since I’ve posted here. I have so so so much I want to talk about, and I plan to hop back on the blogging train now that it’s cold and dreary and I’m not out having fun all the time.

Hope you’re all well!

JK

08/1/14

Come hang out! Bike craft night at Bike Farm

by Jessie Kwak

Hey Portland and surrounding environs! What are you doing August 14th?

Nothing important?

Look, I made plans for you:

Bike farm bike craft night

From the event page:

We’re having the first of hopefully many craft nights at Bike Farm. Come cut up tubes and make bike bags with me. I’ll be there to help guide you through a sewing project, just like we love to teach mechanics at bike farm, we’ll all be teaching sewing!

If you know how to sew, crochet, knit, weave … come hang out and teach your skill. There’s a ton of fun material to work with in a bike collective, nuts and bolts, tubes for days, cog, gears and wire spokes.

Bring a project, or just show up empty-handed. We’ll have a couple sewing machines, a ton of inner tubes to play with (because me and inner tubes, right?), and other assorted sundries from the Bike Farm drawers and shelves.

Plus, I’ve got like 10 yards left of this neon yellow fabric that I thought we could make safety infinity scarves, etc, out of.

To come, RSVP here in the comments, on the Facebook page, or just show up. I can’t wait to see you all!


ABOUT BIKE FARM:

Bike Farm is an all-volunteer-run collective dedicated to every aspect of bicycle education, from safe commuting to repair. Our mission is to provide a space where people can learn about the bicycle and build community around promoting sustainable transportation. We strive to demystify the bicycle in order to impact the city in a healthy and positive way.

07/28/14

Craft Bomb Your Bike!

by Jessie Kwak

If you’re into bikes and crafts, you’ve probably already seen Craft Bomb Your Bike, 20 makes for you and your bike – it’s been getting some great exposure all throughout the internets since it was released earlier this month. I was out of town most of July and my contributor copy arrived while I was gone – so I had to wait in anguish while the everyone twittered about it.

(All right, not really in anguish. I was in Spain because my cousin was marrying a fantastic Catalan man, and I was having far too amazing a time to be thinking about blogging.)

Craft bomb your bike - cover

Now that I get to hold my copy in my hot little hands – and it is HOT right now, isn’t it Portland? – I can say that it’s a beautiful book!

My project is an oilcloth clutch that attaches to your handlebars (long time readers may recognize the hot pink oilcloth). Long time readers will also be totally shocked – SHOCKED! – to find out the straps are made from recycled inner tubes.

Craft bomb your bike - cycle clutch1

The publishers did a fantastic job with the photography and layout – overall it’s a very beautiful book.

Craft bomb your bike - clutch2

I’m a particular fan of this pretty tool roll by Katie of Swim Bike Quilt.

Craft bomb your bike - tool roll

You can get the book through Interweave or Amazon.

The projects are all fairly whimsical and girly – you’ll find things like buntings for your basket*, a crocheted helmet cosy, and embroidered “I love my bike” label.

* Or “nests,” as my new cousin-in-law from Catalunya called them when we went on a ride together last week. “Do you want to rent a bike with a, what is it, a nest?” Yes. I most definitely would love a bike with a nest.

Craft bomb your bike - table of contents

And check out these fun crocheted birds by Kate at Greedy for Colour:

Craft bomb your bike - birds

I don’t care if they’re functional or not – they’re totally adorable. They’ll go perfect on my nest.

Happy crafting!

06/10/14

The maiden voyage of the Sparkle Kraken, preceded by a manifesto which you may skip if you like.

by Jessie Kwak

Sorry for the radio silence around here – I stepped back from blogging for a bit in part because I was forgetting just what Bicitoro was to me.

SKIP THE BORING BITS AND SEE THE PRETTY BIKE

Sparkle Kraken closeup | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

As I dive further into a freelance writing career steeped in content marketing, lead generation, and returns on investments, I found myself thinking so much about My Audience and My Message and Engagement that I waffled on what to write here.

What does My Audience want to read? What will get the Most Shares?

(“The maiden voyage of the Sparkle Kraken, preceded by a manifesto which you may skip if you like” is not the most shareable title for a blog post, is it?)

Stupid shit, really, because what I was forgetting is that Bicitoro is a blog wherein I write whatever I feel like writing, and you can read it or not. I hope that I do provide helpful tips and tricks, I hope that I inspire people to reuse things rather than throwing them out, and I hope that you folks do find my musings entertaining and maybe even thought-provoking – but in the end Bicitoro is just a project of fun for me.

Really it’s a place for me to gush endlessly about the gorgeous bike ride I just took, or provide vague, rambling instructions about projects I just completed. I’m not trying to achieve pop star blogger status. I’m not trying to build an army of bike crafters. I’m just sewing things and riding on things, and typing words about it here.

So now I, Jessie Kwak, do solemnly swear to keep Bicitoro a sacred space for personal enjoyment, wonder, and community.

Back to the fun.

The Maiden Voyage of the Sparkle Kraken

It’s alive!!!

Sparkle Kraken | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

I’ve been dabbling with this thing for months and months, and this Saturday I finally got to ride the Sparkle Pony Kraken in the flesh. We’ve been slowly collecting parts and putting them on whenever we had a few minutes.

This is the first bike I’ve ever built up (mostly) myself – under the watchful instruction of my mechanic/husband. Rob is an insanely patient and thoughtful teacher – a talent I’ve always admired in him. Despite making my living as a writer, I can’t explain things verbally to save my life.

Sparkle Kraken in stand | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

Rob, on the other hand, has the perfect mnemonic device to help you remember which direction to tighten your bottom bracket. He’ll demo wrapping your handlebar tape, then take it all off and make you do it yourself.

Me: Meh, who cares that I wrapped the handlebar tape over the hoods? No one will notice it.

Rob: I’ll notice it. Start over, grasshopper.

Sparkle Kraken powder coating | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

The powder coating process left some ragged edges, which I filed down with sandpaper before pressing in the headset.

And what a headset! Rob picked it up at the Seattle Bike Swap in the spring, and graciously donated it to the Sparkle Kraken project. It’s from First Bicycle Components.

Sparkle Kraken headset | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

Based on the heavy steel mixte frame (underneath all that paint Kraken’s a Torker Interurban Mixte), both Rob and I were expecting this to be a fairly slow bike. I was thinking Sparkle Kraken would be a novelty bike that I’d take out on short, easy rides to the bar, or to meet up with friends.

But to my surprise, it turns out that Sparkle Kraken is fast, aggressive, and an amazing joy to ride. The steel frame is really plush, and I like the mixte shape quite a bit. The Torker Interurban Mixte only comes in a 44cm frame, but we spec’d it out so it fits me just as well as la Konita.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s got a killer wheelset and Shimano Ultegra. Oh, the perks of marrying a bike rep.

Sparkle Kraken in the wild | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

It’s so gorgeous!

And it’s a predator – if it sees another cyclist ahead of us, it just wants to stomp them. Go fast, go fast, go fast, it whispers.

And I do.