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Archive for January, 2010

My husband said that I should call these the Hershey Kiss stockings. I’m still trying to decide if they sufficiently satisfy my chocolate cravings.

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Schoolhouse Press publishes a pattern packet called “Arch-Shaped Stockings” (if you follow the link, you’ll need to scroll down a bit) that contains 6DSCN1027 variations on a sock shaping that sucks itself right up against the arch of the foot. As my arches are quite high (plantar fasciitis, anyone?) I found the premise to be interesting; most of my socks are a little baggy under my arch. Lo and behold, the finished stockings fit my arches (and the rest of my foot, and my calves) perfectly!

The pattern was mentally engaging and lots of fun, although my somewhat extensive sock knitting experience was extremely handy; I wouldn’t recommend this pattern for beginners. They knit up much faster than stockings usually do; colorwork, in my experience, always goes faster than solid color knitting. I think that it is because the stitches in colorwork have more vertical height. Fewer rows are required to knit a given length, yielding a faster project.

DSCN1019 I used the Vuorelma Satakieli yarn which is suggested in the pattern and also sold by Schoolhouse Press. Although the yarn was wonderful to work with, I wouldn’t use it for stockings I planned to give to anyone, or at least anyone that I wanted to still like me: it’s a bit itchy. I can and do wear uber-scratchy Shetland wool right next to my skin on a regular basis, so I’m OK with itchy. I think that I’ll have to wear them the next time I ride my bike to church!

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Bike trailer rehab.

My big project for Christmas vacation this year was, surprisingly enough, not knit. Instead, I completed an over-due bike trailer rehab.

DSCN1013 Last summer, I bought an aging bike trailer for very cheap on Craigslist. Originally sold as a Papoose Caboose, it had languished in a backyard for an unknown number of years. The seller rescued it, cleaned it up, made repairs, replaced a few missing parts, took off the canopy and built a wooden flatbed. I bought it from him in May with the idea that it would be nice to ride our bikes to the grocery store, or even haul home awkward loads from Home Depot that wouldn’t fit in our Honda Civic.

While the wooden flatbed is quite nice and sturdy, the crate that we put our groceries and other things in was much more stable when we set it down inside the old cloth trailer bottom. The problem here was that after so many years, the nylon cloth was rotting. So, I decided that over Christmas break I would design a new bottom for the trailer.DSCN1014

After five weeks and numerous trips to both the crafting and hardware stores, not to mention the bike shop, I have a great trailer! I won’t say that I saved much money doing this; new flatbeds on Amazon are only about $50 more than what I spent for the trailer plus parts, in addition to several extra carshare rentals to get groceries while the trailer was off-line. However, I’m very pleased with my finished product.

I had to first cut away the old nylon liner, and then unbolt the 20-odd fastening points where the nylon was bolted to the frame. I gave the frame a good cleaning, and also took apart and greased all of the moving parts while I was DSCN1016at  it. The frame is in solid shape, and I think that it will last for many years.

I sewed the canvas lining and originally thought to secure it to the frame with  Velcro straps. However, the Velcro that I was able to buy was not strong enough to hold anything other than the lightest load. I eventually came up with the idea of putting carabiner clips DSCN1017through the place  where the old corner posts of the trailer canopy had been, and clipping them to additional straps that I sewed on to the underneath of the canvas. The Velcro straps still provide a bit of additional stability. I also added new tires and tubes. The old tires were dry rotting and refused to hold air. I’m still contemplating what to add by way of reflectors. (Not that I ever plan to haul at night! But, it’s good to be prepared.) The original reflectors were in rough shape, so I threw them out with the old liner. A “slow vehicle” triangle could be problematic to attach. I might go with a combination of reflective tape on the exposed frame parts and a rear blinky from Planet Bike. I already use that type of blinky on my bike at night; it is insanely bright. I’d love to figure out how to attach one of those 6-foot poles with the orange flag on the end. Other suggestions welcome!

The wooden flatbed will come in handy at times, I’m sure, but for most of the hauling I do, I expect to use the sewn canvas liner in combination with a crate or two and some bungee cords.

Now I can go to Home Depot and buy that extension ladder we need!

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