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Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

It’s embarassing to admit, but I’m not quite sure of how many lace shawls I have knit so far. I think that this is #20. The photo is of the swatch I did to test the yarn I chose against the pattern. I like to swatch out lace patterns on a small scale before I cast on for large projects, to see if the pattern reads clearly and what the proportion of open vs. knit stitches looks like. If I don’t like the swatch, I might change to a larger or smaller needle and thus manipulate the proportions, or I might find a different yarn. I got lucky on this one: I liked the proportions I got on my first try. The yarn is Yarn Place “Heaven” and I am knitting it on US size 1 (2.5mm) needles. (Yikes! This is thin stuff!) The yarn is surprisingly easy to work with, although I need very bright light and a good contrasting backround to work on a scale so fine.

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I have finally succumbed to the mystery-shawl-knitalong craze and signed up for the Evenstar Mystery Shawl. For those of you who are not in the know, a “mystery shawl” is a new shawl pattern. When you purchase and commit to DSCN1061 knitting the shawl pattern, you don’t know what the final product will look like – it’s a mystery! The pattern is released a little bit at a time – in this case, every two weeks. The first “clue” to this mystery shawl was released last Friday; I’ve knit it all up and now I have to wait until next Friday to get the next part of the pattern. According to the designer’s website, there are 757 knitters all signed up for this mystery shawl. So, theoretically, 757 of us are all knitting this at the same time. It’s oddly fun.

DSCN1055 Through the magic of the Internet, I recently was able to swap an unloved shawl for a nice knit blouse, made by another knitter.  I knit the “Cap Shawl” from Victorian Lace Today about two years ago. It was fun to knit, but has DSCN10551languished in a drawer ever since. A few weeks ago, I read about a knitter who had made a short-sleeved sweater that didn’t really flatter her. Would anyone want it? The sweater was my size, so I went out on a limb and offered to swap my unloved shawl for her unloved  sweater. The sweater fits great! It’s just the sort of thing that I would have made, except that I didn’t have to do the work. And I heard back that she really likes the shawl.

A few weeks back, I posted about a flatbed bicycle trailer that I overhauled. My father seemed to be fairly impressed by the photos, so here’s another photo for him:

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The object in tow is my husband’s erstwhile wheelchair! After four long months, he is back to walking (most of the time) on his own. We rented a folding wheelchair (free to us, since we had already hit his health insurance deductible) for several months to help out in situations where crutches weren’t practical, such as at the airport. The wheelchair was great to have on hand, but I was just as happy to haul it back to the medical supply agency.

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Wheels

Lately, I’ve gotten back to spinning. It seems that I tend to spin obsessively for a few days, and then ignore the spindles and the wheel for months. Now I’m trying a new thing: moderation. Just spinning for a little bit, every day, focusing on smoothing out my technique.DSCN0406

I’m still working on some batts given to me by the friend who passed along the  spinning wheel. This came from one of them and is a merino/silk blend, with a few sparkly fibers thrown in for fun. I’m not so much of a sparkly-loving person, but every so often it is fun to work with a little glitter.

I also recently purchased some fiber at the Kid ‘N Ewe festival in Boerne, Texas. Boerne is a few miles north and west of San Antonio. I carpooled down this year with two other women, which was lots of fun. I’ve only ever spun on my drop spindles and a somewhat cranky old single-treadle Ashford Traditional, so at the festival I made a point of trying out some different wheels. Coming home after testing out all of the new wheels, I sat down at my fussy old wheel, started spinning up some of the fiber I bought, and promptly decided that I had my cranky old wheel running better than most of the wheels I tried at the festival! So, rather than saving up the $600 or so I would want to spend on a new wheel, I got on the Internet, did a little reading, and ordered the $36 flyer upgrade that is available for my Traddy. The original flyer only has one ratio, but the upgrade has three. (The “ratio” refers to the DSCN0407difference in diameter between the wheel and the base of the spindle; it affects how fast the spindle turns as the spinner treadles.)

The new flyer is wonderful! I’m still getting used to it and fussing with it a bit,  but already I can spin much faster. Initially, the whorl closest to me rasped quite a bit against the maiden, which was super annoying. I pulled the new flyer off and took it to the hardware store, where I found a metal washer that fit around the end that was causing the trouble. Much quieter! You can just barely see the washer in the photograph – it’s the little shiny bit in between the post and the flat round disc at the end of the flyer assembly.

While I’m on the subject of after-market modifications, I though I’d post a photo of my bicycle. A few weeks ago, I stopped by the shop where I bought the bike. They had some bicycles out front for sale, including a few of the same make, model and color as mine. I don’t think, however, that there will be any mistaking my bike for the ones currently being sold! At this point I’ve swapped out the saddle for a more comfy one, added the fancy “clipless” pedals (along with DSCN0409 some equally fancy cleated shoes that connect to the pedals) and put on a bell to warn pedestrians before I zip pass and surprise them. The rack on the back is great for hauling stuff home. My pannier clips to it on the side, and I also have a set of bungee cords for strapping odd items to the top of the rack; coming home from the hardware store with odd things sticking out from the back is always fun! I also have a decent headlight and a fabulous tail light for riding after dark, along with some fun reflective tape. The green tape happens to match the obscenely bright green windbreaker I got at REI – just the thing to go with red hair! Two weeks ago I also got around to adding some decidedly un-cool looking fenders, to keep rain and mud off of my legs. I’m considering the fenders to be extra theft insurance. The less cool the bike looks, the less likely it is to be stolen.

So I’m still having fun zooming around town on two wheels. Wave when you see me – you won’t be able to miss the bright green jacket!

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