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An Easy Introduction to the Beginner’s Sewing Machine

An Easy Introduction to the Beginner’s Sewing Machine

Thursday, May 10, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

An Easy Introduction to the Beginner’s Sewing Machine

Sewing with a sewing machine is one of those things that looks complicated and some of the terminology makes it sound complicated, but with many sewing machines it really isn’t all that hard to actually do. With that in mind, I’ve put together a tutorial for how to use a sewing machine using a simplified Singer model sewing machine.

The first thing you have to do is learn how to thread your bobbin. The top of your sewing machine should look something like this.

  1. Slide the thread onto the thread spindle.
  2. Slide the piece that keeps the thread on the spindle on next to the thread.
  3. Pull out a piece of thread and push it through the thread holder.
  4. Put one end of the thread through the bobbin.  Wrap the thread around the little circle.
  5. Slide the bobbin on the bobbin spindle.
  6. Flip the switch that allows the foot pedal to put thread on the bobbin.
  7. Press the foot pedal until the desired amount of thread is on the bobbin.
  8. Cut the thread and your bobbin is ready.

Next you need to thread your machine.  This model has a diagram on the front that shows the direction the thread should go.  Follow those instructions or the one that came with the manual for your sewing machine.

  1. Slide the threaded bobbin into the bobbin holder.
  2. Close the cover.
  3. Drop your needle by closing the cover (be sure you flipped the switch back after threading the bobbin).  When the needle comes back up it will have the bobbin thread with it.
  4. Pull the bobbin thread through and you are ready to sew.

To start sewing place your material underneath the foot, using the seam guide lines for the proper seam width. Lower the foot, drop your needle into the fabric, and press the pedal to start sewing.

Pretty simple?  Yes the right beginner’s sewing machine can be that easy.  With enough practice on these simpler machines, one can master the fundamentals of sewing and move on to better machines.

Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

Thursday, May 3, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

I’ve been recently digging through various reviews on tech wearables and the future of tech clothing, and I found one item in particular that had some interesting facts about it.

This item in particular would be the Jacquard jacket by Google and Levi’s.

The Jacquard jacket is a version of Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket which has Google’s technology woven into the fabric.  This technology mixed with denim apparel allows the wearer to interact with their smartphone via the jacket by performing different touch patterns on the cuff of the jacket.

While this idea as well as many of the pioneering projects of smart wearable technology have the premises of heading into the futuristic crusade of conquest in the smart wearable technology market, the advancement of this technology appears to be evolving extremely slowly as well as not having anything new to offer the tech focused individual.  In many cases there are other devices currently on the market that provide the same functionality for cheaper.

The jacket itself is of very good quality.  It is mostly a top of the line pedigree of the Levi Commuter Trucker Jacket with a conventional “blue collar dark wash”, all-American color and style.  The Commuter Jacket, as its name suggests, is made with bicycle-riding city dwellers in mind.  It’s a nice fit too with a lot of flexibility in the arms and shoulders.  Jacquard comes in men’s and women’s sizes.  However, just like all Levi’s jackets of the past, it fits tight and snugly when closed and tends to be worn best open.  This may pose a problem for cyclists who prefer more loose clothing when riding.  Above all, it really just feels like you’re wearing a very well made, high-end Levi’s jacket.

There is one caveat: the smart cuff. This is where Levi’s has cleverly woven in the conductive threads, but it forms a flat surface that’s more rigid than the rest of the sleeve, something you do notice when moving your arms around. It also sticks out a little, one of only two giveaways that there’s any technology here at all.

The other is the Bluetooth tag that clips into the cuff. This is what transmits the information from the cuff to to your phone, and vice versa, but is also its ugliest feature. This tag needs to be kept charged up, and should you wash the jacket you’ll need to take it off first.

All of Jacquard’s commands happen in the sleeve, specifically the left-hand cuff, which works as a touchpad to communicate with the phone. But to get that working you’ll need to pair Jacquard with your smartphone; it works with iOS and Android, and both get the exact same experience.

Once paired through the Jacquard app you can start assigning your interactions to three different gestures: brush in, brush out and a double tap. Right now this list of commands is quite limited and centered mostly around music and navigation.  You can also answer calls and get notifications via phone speaker or headphones.  There is no sound that comes from the actual jacket itself, only blinking light on the cuff tag which lets you know if you have any notifications or calls.  There’s also a counter for keeping track of, well, whatever the hell you like, and a voice to tell you the time.

Oh, and you can customise the light and haptics too, so the jacket will ping you when select contacts (up to three at a time…so that you can keep you can keep your focus on the road) are trying to get hold of you.

So, what’s the big deal?  That’s the BIG question.  Unfortunately, we are handed an Apollo in the age of the Orion with a failure to launch into new and unknown intergalactic frontiers.  Jacquard just doesn’t do enough yet.  Especially for the asking price of a hefty $350.  Although, nowadays, $350 might not seem too ludicrously expensive in the market of high-end denim jackets.  And as for the dedicated techie, if you can go out and buy Levi’s non-smart equivalent for $200 less, you can start weighing up the value of this added technology.  Otherwise, you can probably buy a really nice jacket and several other items, including other individual accessories that do exactly the same things that you can place ergonomically on your body and bike for cheaper.

So, you may now ask me what did I find interesting about this particular item?

Well, here are the two kickers that drew me in to writing about this particular item in the first place.

#1: The jacket can only be washed 10 times in its entire lifespan.

WOW, did that really just make me crumple up that paycheck and throw it in the trash of mostly useless junk…..or what?  That’s a very good thing to reveal to your potential buyers ahead of time, I may add!  That is definitely the stuff I need to know before I buy.

#2: Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh said he’d never washed his jeans, and believes that’s the best way of maintaining quality.

Really?!?  A CEO of a HUGE name brand in fashion who never washes his clothes?  That’s not only really disgusting, but also not a good way to promote your clothing.  It doesn’t make it excusable that you can only wash the jacket 10 times, so you might as well be a grimy, smelly, scummy person and make no effort to better your appearance.  GROSS!!!!!

Interesting stuff, eh?  Come back again for other interesting facts about smart tech, fashion, and the figures who surround it.

Smart Tech for Fitness

Smart Tech for Fitness

Saturday, April 28, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

Smart Tech for Fitness

Smart clothes are the next step beyond wearables.  Although smartphones and smartwatches are becoming increasingly handy in the technology of exercise training, there still remains certain aspects of the body that need to be measured with technology that works directly with the body or in combination with your smart device.

So far there are already items of smart clothing available including t-shirts that measure biometrics and bras that adapt to support in certain situations. But there’s even more continually arriving on the horizon.

Here are some of the best smart clothes so you know what’s available, what’s coming, what you can use with the smart devices you already have, and how clothes can enhance your health.

A heart rate monitor built into a sports bra could be the ultimate simplicity in the path from sports clothes to smart clothes. The result should be a comfortable top that offers support as well as an ability to share heart rate data with a connected device. Coupled with the app this will train the wearer in their own heart rate zones, that adapt to fitness, creating a perfect push while still offering encouragement through success.

The MyZone Sports Bra can share data with a Bluetooth connected smartphone, smartwatches and even gym screens, meaning it can be used pretty much anywhere. It’s made from quick drying fabric, comes in three sizes and a range of colours. It was initially available in red or black, but MyZone has now added pink, yellow and aqua colours to the mix too. All versions costs £50. The heart rate monitor can be unclipped for charging after about seven months of use, as well as for washing of the bra.

The Lumo name was first associated with wearables that help posture. Now that smart body tracking has been put into a small sensor that you clip to the back of your short or leggings, so that it’s aligned with your spine.

The Lumo Run sensor measures a whole host of running metrics, including cadence, bounce, braking, pelvic rotation and pelvic drop. You can use it with or without a smartphone to hand and in either case, will sync your running data to the companion app. It gives you feedback on your form, both visually via the app and audibly through connected headphones and can offer personalised exercises based on your data.

The Lumo Run is available for $100.

The LikeAGlove leggings intelligently measure a wearer’s shape so they can shop for the ideal sized clothes. Not only do the leggings find all the perfect measurements but they work, via Bluetooth, with the app to filter clothing options down to those that are available in the wearer’s size.

The idea is to make shopping for clothes easier by getting the correct size every time, something which isn’t always easy online when you can’t try items on in the shop first.

LikeAGlove leggings are available now for $80.

Athos is at the forefront of smart wearable clothing. The Athos shirt and shorts are tight fitting sensor filled garments capable of detecting heart rate, breathing rate and even muscle activity thanks to EMG sensors.

The Athos line features a small core which works with the sensors to deliver data via Bluetooth to your smartphone. This 20g gadget slips into a pocket on the top of shorts and lasts 10 hours on a charge. But it’s not just for sending information it also features a 6-axis accelerometer for measuring movement as you workout.

These types of clothing are going to be brilliant for muscle focused gym workouts where recording anything more than heart rate, which isn’t that helpful for weights, has previously been reserved for professional athletes.

Athos caters for both men and women and the entire range of clothing can be found on the Athos website. 

The Hexoskin smart shirt, made with Italian textiles, is able to track the wearer’s heart rate, breathing rate and volume, steps with cadence and calories and even sleep. It uses a small device that slips into a pouch on the shirt. It connects via Bluetooth to iOS and Android devices.

Hexoskin’s second generation now works with third party apps like Strava, RunKeeper and Endomondo. It’s also got an extended battery life that can last up to 30 hours.

The Hexoskin is available in short and long sleeved versions for men and women. The shirt with device and cable is available to buy now for $399 which is about £255.

The Bionic Bra is still in development at the University of Wollongong in Australia. But the end result will be a smart bra that can offer support when needed and loosen for comfort at other times.

The Bionic Bra is able to tighten and loosen automatically allowing it to offer more support or breath room to suit the wearer. The result should be consistent comfort with support during sport, like running. It sounds like the bra is either tight, offering support during sport, or loose when the wearer is out relaxing, meaning it can be worn constantly. We wonder how many girls actually leave their sweaty sports bras on after training though.

The technology is still in development so don’t expect to see this too soon.

Adidas, sponsoring the Team GB cyclists in 2012, came up with its heated trousers. These tailor made, battery powered trousers heat up in order to warm the legs of the athletes ahead of exercise.  Heated trouser, or “Hotpants” as they were dubbed, allowed muscles to reach an efficient 38 degress Celsius. This meant less time warming up so they could save their energy for the competition.

We doubt these particular trousers will make it onto the market for non-professional athletes anytime soon but something similar may arrive in smart clothes in the near future.

Design Gloucestershire

Design Gloucestershire

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Design Gloucestershire

A private garden is a special place where nature is presented in all its beauty for the ultimate enjoyment and relaxation.  Your garden can be a setting for a quiet gathering with friends, a romantic candlelit meal, or an alfresco early morning breakfast to the sound of the birds singing.  Creating the perfect garden can be an artistic expression, combining practicality and aesthetics into the ideal outdoor space.

Humans have been creating ornamental horticultural environments since the dawn of time.  Egyptian tomb paintings from the 1500s BC have been found that depict lotus ponds surrounded by symmetrical rows of acacias and palms. Darius the Great of Persia was known to have a paradise garden, as many great and affluent leaders did at this time.  There have been many different styles of garden throughout history, such as the very geometric and formal French gardening style of the Gardens of Versailles.  In England, wild gardens and perennial gardens have also been popular in the 19th century.

Nowadays, you dont have to be incredibly wealthy or royalty to have your own garden, as most modern homeowners have this privilege.  Trends in modern gardening include a recent environmental consciousness and awareness of sustainable garden design, such as green roofs or rainwater harvesting.  A recent trend is also to grow fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs in ones own personal garden, due to a desire for organic produce and a global increase in food prices.

However gardens need not serve a practical purpose as some are simply decorative.  Your garden can be anything you want it to be, when you incorporate your favourite flowers, some attractive sculptures, lights, and outdoor furniture.

If you are planning a garden, think about how much time you will be spending there and what types of purposes you would like your garden to accommodate.  Do you want to have a quiet place to sit and reflect while you watch the birds and smell the flowers?  Perhaps you want a grassy area where your children can play, or a water feature such as a fountain, waterfall, or fish pond.  Do you want an open design, or a winding maze of small stone pathways and several beds of flowers?

Also, it is important to consider how a garden fits in with its surroundings.  A good garden design will blend seamlessly with the landscape around it.  Consider using plants that are native to your area, not only will they be easier to care for as they will thrive in the climate; they will also not look out of place next to the gardens surroundings.

Also, before you decide what type of garden you want, think about how much time you want to spend maintaining it.  If you love gardening and want to be out there weeding and tending to your flowers that is great.  If you are not so inclined, you might consider a more natural garden of hardy shrubs and native plants that do not require a lot of tender loving care.

There are many landscaping and garden design experts out there who can help you when it comes to determining what kind of garden suits your needs.  Enjoy the beautiful weather more when you have somewhere to enjoy it!  Get started on your dream garden today.

Stephenchristiegardens.co.uk has a reputation as a designer who creates beautiful gardens.  Visit the website today for more on Garden Design Oxfordshire and Garden Design Gloucestershire

 

Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 Has Arrived!

Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 Has Arrived!

Monday, April 23, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 Has Arrived!

Well, it seems that long awaited day has come.  Yes, Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 is now live!  The long awaited release of the official game contains Character Customization, Service Beacons, new ships and weapons, improvements to the system framework of the game, and a continually developing first person cinematic introductory storyline campaign.  Five new ships have been added to the update – the swift Razor, imposing Reclaimer, rough and tumble Cyclone, stout Terrapin, and slick Nox Kue variant.  The Aegis Vulcan, the only Star Citizen ship that can rearm, repair, and refuel ships in distress, via four remote-controlled drones, was a promotional ship that was only available throughout the month of March.  So, if you didn’t get a chance to secure your purchase of one and the limited customizable skin offer…..better luck next time!  Time to sharpen up those piracy skills and get ready for some hungry players out there who want your loot!  For the rest of you who are fortunate enough to purchase some of these lovely new space trophies, make sure to keep your peeled for bandits!

According to a newsletter dated April 6, 2018:

We successfully released Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 to the PU last weekend, adding the first iterations of Character Customization and Service Beacons to the growing ‘verse, along with new ships and weapons, and improvements to frame rate and visuals. Thanks to everyone in the Community that helped with testing.

You can get the inside story on everything our teams across the globe have been up to during March, from getting 3.1 out the door, to working on features planned for future releases, the development of Squadron 42, and more, in our monthly report.

With 3.1 in full swing, our developers now look ahead to the rest of this year’s quarterly releases, beginning with 3.2, which you can see reflected on our public Roadmap. To that end, the Roadmap will continue to be reworked, taking into account the feedback from last month’s backer survey, to better align with player priorities, and the flow of development. So, expect to see even more changes in the coming weeks. With focus on quality of life improvements and performance, the goal is to continue to make Star Citizen a more satisfying experience for players overall.

With every release, new ships are introduced into the PU, and 3.1 sees five vessels ready for takeoff. From the cyclopean Aegis Reclaimer to the nimble Nox Kue, these newly operable vehicles offer various ways to adventure through the universe. All five ships are being offered, along with some older favorites, with a special war bond option that lets you secure them at their original concept prices. This special only last through Monday April 9th, so grab one now and get flying.

Centurion Subscribers get a chance to chase the checkered flag this month, with access to the MISC Razor – March’s ship of the month. And Imperator Subscribers can try out all five of the ships debuting in Alpha 3.1, by taking part in the latest Test Flight. This month also sees the release of new Subscriber flair, beginning with exclusive finishes for the Gemini pistol.

CitizenCon 2948 is coming up in October, in Austin Texas. We’re currently finalizing venue details, but stay tuned, as more updates and ticket information will be coming soon.

Remember to check out this week’s shows. Around the Verse brings us a UK studio update, and an in-depth look into the mobiGlas and its evolving apps, Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy takes us to the Nul system, Calling All Devs answers questions about ship docking and scanning, and Reverse the Verse Live gives mad props to the props teams, as Ben Curtis and Cory Bamford join Jared to answer questions from the Community.

I look forward to begin playing the long awaited Squadron 42 intro campaign and I hope to meet you somewhere out there in the distant stars!  Remember I come in peace, unless you don’t…..well…..maybe.  Good luck and be careful out there!

London Gasholder to Apartment Reconstruction

London Gasholder to Apartment Reconstruction

Saturday, April 14, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

London Gasholder to Apartment Reconstruction

In London’s 67-acre King’s Cross regeneration area, the architects WilkinsonEyre have transformed a set of Victorian gasholders with exposed iron frames into 145 upscale apartments.  Modern silvery cylindrical buildings now fill the spaces within the frames of what was once occupied by huge telescoping cylindrical metal gas reservoir tanks (called “bells”) that floated on below ground cisterns of water, rising and falling on guide rails.  The new residences within the salvaged frames are designed, in their varying heights and aluminum cladding, to recall these vanished tanks.

The containers stored gas produced from coal, known in the UK as “town gas” and used for street lighting, industrial processes, cooking stoves, and furnaces.  Seldom encased within buildings, as was more common in the United States and Europe, they were once landmark features of most British towns and cities.  Relatively few survive, since manufactured town gas gave way to pressurized natural gas in the 1970s.

The town-gas plant here which was built and extended between 1860 and 1880, in the industrial zone behind the neighboring Victorian railroad terminus of Kings Cross and St. Pancras was dismantled in 2001 to make way for a new high-speed rail link to France.  But, by then, these interlinked post-and-beam iron frames, with their simplified Neoclassical details, had achieved official “listed” (landmarked) status.  WilkinsonEyre won the competition to reuse them in 2002, and the development consortium for the site carefully restored the iron frames, earmarking a new spot to re-erect them a few hundred yards to the north, on the banks of another industrial relic, the Regent’s Canal.

The frames then became the armature for a trio of freestanding apartment buildings in cylindrical drums of different heights.  Practice founder Chris Wilkinson explains that such aged cast-iron components originally carrying no weight, because the gas bells within them were self-supporting and could not be called upon to bear the loads of modern buildings.  Accordingly, the frames (now painted battleship gray) stand slightly proud of the three new drums, giving clearance for motorized perforated-aluminum shutters on the apartments to open.  In total, the conserved structure consists of an interlinked set of four gasholder frames, the fourth enclosing a small park designed by architects Bell Phillips.

Wilkinson, who has his own three-bedroom apartment in the complex, developed a scheme of intersecting circles that resembles the gears of a watch.  By removing a pie-slice-shaped piece from each of the three new cylindrical volumes, he avoided having them touch or block light and views in any of the apartments.  He designed circular atria for the center of the drums, enlivened by “scallops”—balconies that widen at different points to create the sense of spiraling, upward movement. And at the hub of the complex, where the three frames meet, is a circular courtyard, left open to the sky and landscaped with a shallow water feature at its base.  This new space is energized by the iron columns and latticework beams of the conserved—and now celebrated—original structure.

The walls encircling the central courtyard are clad in precast concrete panels, pale gray with fine vertical ribbing, relieved by walkways slung off the wall to connect the blocks on three levels.  These contrast with outward-facing elevations that are covered in silver-gray aluminum, with the perforated shutters continuing across openings for windows and balconies.  To complete the allusion to the old telescoping gas bells, the exterior skin is divided into horizontal bands by dark-painted steel ring beams.  Landscaped roof gardens occupy the top of each cylinder.

Within the buildings, the common areas have floors and stairs in smooth concrete, with delicate radial brass strips that were inspired by Wilkinson’s watchwork model and emphasize the circular geometry.  The apartment interiors, by Jonathan Tuckey Design, are highly crafted with much use of sliding room dividers in mid-brown stained wood.  Since each apartment is wedge-shaped, the emphasis is naturally on the views out, and the plan of the apartments incorporates the gentle curve.

Gasholders has the expected amenities for such developments, including a business center, a gym and spa, and rooms that residents can book for large-scale entertaining. Overall, however, the project is anything but conventional. And that derives largely from the geometry and expressive character of the preserved original structure, along with a thoroughly appreciative architectural response.

Here are some of the specifications of this innovative architectural marvel:

Structural System

Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project:

Reinforced concrete frame throughout, original gasholder frames made of cast iron. Restored by Shepley Engineers

Radial pin connected steel bridge to courtyard with curved glass balustrading. Manufactured by Frener Reifer.

Exterior Cladding to courtyard

‘Ductal by LaFarge’ ultra-high strength precast concrete cladding to the courtyard. Manufactured by Thorp Precast

Exterior Cladding

Metal/glass curtain wall:

Unitised façade with a perforated aluminum rainscreen and motorised sliding folding shutter system externally fixed.  Manufactured by Frener Reifer.

Roofing

Built-up roofing: American Hydrotech Inverted Roofing System by Alumasc

Windows

Metal frame: Schueco Triple Glazed Aluminium Windows Installed by Frener Reifer.

Glazing

Skylights: Double glazed stick system laid onto steel beams to falls with ‘butterfly’ configured motorised glazed smoke vents. Manufactured by Frener Reifer.

Doors

Sliding doors: Schueco Triple Glazed Aluminium Doors installed and engineered by Frener Reifer

Hardware

Other special hardware: Bespoke Brass Main Entrance door handles designed by Chris Wilkinson and manufactured by Franchi

Bespoke brass mailboxes, The Safety Letterbox Company

Interior Finishes

Ironmongery internals, including bespoke brass apartment door handles: Franchi

Floor and wall tile: Domus tiles to apartment toilets and bathrooms, installed by EE Smith, Natural Marble Stone tiles to Spa and large format panels to apartment bathrooms installed by EE Smith UK

Resilient flooring: Resin Flooring within apartments by Senso UK, Resin stone flooring to common parts by Avant Garde UK