Monday, January 22, 2007

snow and its consequents

In the morning there were a few inches of snow on the ground. I biked to work while it was still falling. It was the first time I’d ridden in the snow. It was slow going, and there was something of a learning curve involved, but in the end there was no particular excitement. By the time I rode home in the afternoon, the snow had stopped falling and the roads were more or less cleared. I had to stay on the cleared parts of the streets or else the partly compacted snow tended to throw my bike around a lot.

In the evening, a couple of us went sledding. It was excellent. The hill was an old road down into a ravine that has been closed to cars for years, if it was ever really meant for cars in the first place. The path curved, with a stone wall along one side and on the other side mud and slush. A bridge and creek were at the end. Allowances had to be made for unevenness of the road, and with all the steering going on it felt more like bobsledding than anything else, I think. We met a few people from the neighborhood near the hill, all of whom were very friendly and all of whom tried the sled a few times. It was probably about a half hour walk from the house, but it was worth it.

Monday, January 1, 2007

a knit project

I’ve been knitting a bag over the last several days and finished just yesterday. A friend gave me some yarn, and I’d been wanting something to use for carrying books to and from the library, so I found a decent mesh bag pattern on the internet.

I had no knitting needles, so the whole project was something of a challenge. I ended up borrowing a pair of sticks meant for drum mallet handles, and it worked out all right. They were made of fiberglass, I suppose, and occasionally they would prick my hands with that fiberglass splinter feeling. The ends were rounded enough that I could get the yarn on and off, but for some of the tighter knitting, points would have been nice to have. I had to change the pattern somewhat, since it called for a particular size of yarn and needle, neither of which were what I had available.

At one point in the pattern, circular needles are called for (knitting the strap), which I also didn’t have. Nothing was knit in the round, only a great deal of stitches were to be cast on, and the circular needles were used to give space for the stitches. I had to make do by shifting the stitches off the ends of the needles and on to cords from power adapters as I needed the space. Then, of course, shifting them back on to the needles as I needed to knit. I only knit a few rows this way, but it was the most tendious part of the project.

The instructions called for several knitting patterns that I hadn’t ever used before: the mesh of the bag, a herringbone at the top edge, and a basketweave for the base and the handle. After I had finished most of the project, I realized that my houndstooth was wrong (and how to do it correctly), but it wouldn’t have been worth the effort to scrap the project and start over. Even after the knitting, I had to sew the edges together, which I was also doing for the first time. My sewing job is not very aesthetically pleasing, but it looks like the bag will hold together well enough.

I don’t plan to post any pictures. Although I was aiming for a sort of small messenger bag, it turned out looking more like a large purse. Also, the yarn is a bulky, teal stuff with the name “Baby Clouds”. Although I think it will serve my purposes, I will probably wear it under my jacket when possible, for more reasons than keeping the rain off.