Archive for August, 2011

This is the Lisianthus shawl. The pattern was written by Rosemary Hill, who also makes fabulous shawl pins.

This pattern was a real treat to knit. Just challenging enough to engage my attention, but not so difficult that I couldn’t have the TV on. Actually, I watched a lot of Battlestar Galactica on Hulu while knitting this, at least 20 episodes. I feel like I should name the shawl after one of the characters at this point.

The yarn is Love Potion No. 3 from TheGossamerWeb, on Etsy. I got two shawls out of this skein! Although, I did run out of yarn while binding off this one. I had to pick out 3/4 of the bindoff, tink back two rows, and then bind off after the next-to-last purl side row. I did a little rewriting of the chart in order to do this, but it worked out just fine. If anyone reading this has the same issue, leave a comment and I’ll scan and email my revised chart to you.

Because I knew that yarn would be tight, I subbed size 6 silver-blue beads for the nupps called for in the pattern. In addition to saving on yarn (nupps use a ton of yarn, beads do not) the beads also weigh down the shawl a bit. This is a good thing. This yarn is so light and airy that it doesn’t really want to drape; it floats around in the slightest puff of air. The beads give it just enough weight to drape nicely without stretching out the pattern, and as you can see from the photos the shawl still flutters nicely in a good breeze.

This was my 27th lace shawl. It’s been a while since I kept one for myself. This one is staying with me. I love it!


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Echo flower shawl

While on my bike tour, I got to visit Halcyon Yarns in Bath, Maine. Needing something to do on the plane flight home, I picked up a 2 oz. cone of Zephyr and some size 3 needles, and then hit the computer at my hotel to find a pattern to match.

Here’s the result: the Echo Flower Shawl. What a fun little pattern! I love the textured Estonian stitches. I had seen the shawl knit up at a yarn store in Ohio in June. At that shop, the shawl was done in worsted weight yarn, with fewer pattern repeats to produce a moderately sized shawl. Me being me, I did it on laceweight; one of the reasons I knit so much lace is that I find the thinner yarn to be easier on my hands. After six weeks of bicycle riding and little else, I can say that knitting lace came as a bit of a shock to my hands, but I got over that in about 5 minutes. I finished the project in about 10 days.

I always like patterns that let the central shawl motif flow into the border.

My gauge seems to have closed up a little over the summer. I’m finding that my knitting is tighter than it was before and that I need to adjust my needle size up a notch to get the results I expect. The patterning in this shawl came out a bit more dense than I would have liked, although it is still well within an acceptable range. The instructions said to block the shawl as a triangle, which I did. However, some parts of the piece are a little distorted, so I might re-block it later this week and experiment with the shape. I think that might also allow me to block the whole thing more aggressively, which will open up the patterning just a bit more. Until then, however, it’s still a lovely piece!

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The end of the road.

I’ve delayed long enough in writing about the end of my bike tour. Time to get cracking!

Here I am at the Bar Harbor pier: the end of the road! My last day on tour was my longest at 88 miles.

I had a great trip. A wonderful, fabulous trip. Traveling by bicycle is such a neat way to see America. I knew that I was missing stuff when on car trips on the interstate highway, but I never knew how much.

One day in particular that stands out in my mind was in northern Ohio (which is really quite hilly, once you get off the interstate!) when I rode through a large Amish area. It was about 85 degrees outside and sunny, and EVERYONE was outside doing stuff. It made sense; who wants to sit inside on a hot day with no AC? Now, something that I really enjoy about riding my bike is that I get to smile and say “Good morning” or wave to people. On that day in Amish country, I estimate that I got to smile and wave “Hi” to more people than during the rest of the trip combined! It was a friendly, happy day. Those roadside baked goods stands are also pretty amazing.

I ended up camping less than I though that I would. This is the story of my life. I’ve never run into serious trouble when camping, probably because I bug out at the first indication of trouble. Got to do lots of nice camping in Ohio – the state park system in Ohio is such a gem. Then I got to New York, and found out that New York State Parks don’t allow anything to be hung from a tree. My camping hammock aside (they were actually cool with it because I have good tree straps) not hanging anything up meant that I couldn’t hang a critter bag to protect my food. This is a big problem in my book. I don’t need raccoons, coyotes, and every squirrel in existence visiting my camp all night and chewing up my panniers so they can eat my food. I also couldn’t do any laundry without rigging a clothesline, also a big problem when one is only carrying 2 changes of clothing. So all of my camping in New York was at private campgrounds. I stayed at

I took the ferry across Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga, NY to Vermont. This was my first experience with riding my bike onto a boat.

some really nice private campgrounds, and a few that were not so nice. Four weeks into my trip, I ran into a private campground featuring a pine forest, drunk campers (including one of the owners) and fireworks. That was a bit exciting for my taste. After that I decided that I had camped enough, walked into a post office on the Vermont border, and with the help of a lovely woman named Ruth behind the desk, boxed up and sent all of my camping gear home. Riding 20-odd pounds lighter certainly made those mountain passes easier in the bargain. After that I stayed mostly at bed and breakfasts or hotels. I had a lovely time at most of the bed and breakfasts and I’ll definitely be doing B&B stays in the future.

The view from the Maid of the Mist.

Visiting Niagara Falls was, of course, a high point of the trip. The Canadian side of the Falls area is full of international visitors, and talking to my fellow travelers was the best part of my visit to the Falls. The gentleman who snapped my photo for me was wrapping up a long roadtrip to every major league baseball park in North America. He went to games at all but two of the parks, and was visiting Niagara Falls on his way up to Toronto, the last stop on his tour. What a cool trip! On the Maid of the Mist tour boat, I also got to chat with an Australian couple who were taking four months to travel around the world. Maybe when we retire Jim and I can do that.

The Adirondacks were so lovely.

The high point of the trip, literally.

Riding through the Adirondacks was also in retrospect quite nice. However, because I was about to reach my breaking point with the campgrounds while simultaneously dreading the Appalachian crossing, I didn’t enjoy the Adirondacks nearly as much as I should have. I would like to go back there for a vacation someday. The Green and While Mountains also would have been nicer if I hadn’t been dreading the tough climbs so much. Four days of mountain passes meant no sugar, no alcohol, no dairy, no late nights, etc. and therefore no Ben & Jerry’s, no Vermont cheese, no maple syrup, and so on. Finishing the mountains gave me a wonderful sense of accomplishment. When I got to the top of Kancamagus Pass, I pulled off at a scenic rest area for about ten minutes to drink some water and revel in the altitude with its glorious scenery, and how I got there by the strength of my two legs. It was a bit disconcerting to see several groups of people come and go by car during that time. They would pop out of the car, walk up to the overlook, and then turn around, get back in the car and drive off like it was nothing special. To them, it wasn’t.

I left Cincinnati on June 9, and 1,766 miles later, I reached Bar Harbor, Maine, on July 12. My mom came out to spend a few days with me in Bar Harbor. After five weeks of traveling alone, it was so nice to see a familiar face! I ate tons of lobster in Maine (thanks, Nicki, for the heads-up about lobster rolls!) along with everything else; riding 60-odd miles a day for five weeks did amazing things for my appetite. Flew home on the 16th. My bike came home a few days later on the FedEx truck, safe and sound. As always, it was good to get away, and good to get home.

This guy didn't last long. He and all of his relatives were quite tasty; I ate lobster every day in Maine!

For anyone who is still reading, this concludes my bicycle tour coverage here on my blog. Future posts will be about knitting, which is my regular blog topic. I know that a few people have been watching and waiting for posts and photos, and it’s really too bad that I couldn’t get more computer access along the way; it seemed like every time I found a public library on the road, it was closed. I posted more photos on Facebook than here, because it was easy to post to FB from my phone. If you’re reading this because I gave you one of my cards along the way, please, feel free to friend me on FB – I would love to say hello again to at least a few of the wonderful people I met along the say!

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