Happy 4th of July!

July 3, 2010

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday weekend!

We are planning on having a great time this weekend and next, when we go on vacation. See you when we get back!

365.16

Winterwonderland

December 22, 2009

When the forecast indicated that Philadelphia would get snow, this past weekend, I didn’t believe it.

snOMG | sunday 12.20.09

I guess I was wrong…

snOMG | walking to Center City

snOMG | sad bicycle

We spent Saturday huddled up inside, watching the snow fall and accumulate an an alarming rate, and watching people try to keep on top of the shoveling. By nightfall, South Philly had a good 15 inches going —

snOMG | our street, the night of Dec 19th (yip2009)

And we estimate there was 20 by the time we were up on Sunday. Luckily the snow stopped falling by then, because we were getting ready to head up the North Philadelphia for the Bilenky Cycle Works Annual Junkyard Cyclocross Race!

Bilenky Cycle Works annual junkyard cyclocross race

While Kasy helped his coworkers dig out the course (Kasy works at Bilenky, fyi), I registered racers. A good turn out, considering most of the city was still fairly unplowed. Beers were dranken. 3 races took place (A class, B class, females). Awards given. And a good time had by all.

Bilenky Junkyard Cyclocross Race '09

Bilenky Junkyard Cyclocross Race '09

Bilenky Junkyard Cyclocross Race '09

Bilenky Junkyard Cyclocross Race '09

You should totally come check it out next year. It’s always a good time.

Have a safe and happy holiday, if you’re celebrating!

So, a few posts back, I mentioned that there was another test knit completed this summer. Silly me, I forgot to tell you all about it!

226/365 - 2009 | lunch time knitting

By mid-summer, I had agreed to test knit a rectangular version of the popular Ulmus Shawl by Kirsten at Through the Loops. She picked the color scheme, and I have to say…I love what she chose for the scarf!

YIP 2009 | 8.23.09

Using 2 skeins of Koigu KPPPM and 2 skeins of Spud and Chloe Fine, I knit the medium size in the pattern, using almost the entirety of each skein.

FO 2009 | Rectangular Ulmus, test knit

I absolutely loved knitting this. It’s easy but keeps you interested, especially with the changing color of the Koigu. The end charts are a delight, and work up so fast. It really is a lovely knit. I had planned on keeping it for myself, afterwards, but even though I love it very much, I found myself not really wearing it. I’m more of a triangular scarf person, then rectangular.

FO 2009 | Rectangular Ulmus, test knit

Lucky for me, I have many enthusiastic friends. I gifted this to my high school best friend, Laura, over Thanksgiving weekend. She loves it as much as I do, and I know it will get a lot of wear out of her.

Now my brother is requesting one, in a palette of blues. Guess I get to knit another one! No complaints here!

The details:
Needles: US 5 / 3.75 mm
Yarn: Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) (colorway: p621) & Spud & Chloë Fine (colorway: orange)
Yardage: 2 skeins of Koigu (350 yds) and 2 skeins of Spud & Chloë Fine (496 yds)
Mods: none

raveled

Rhinebeck 2009

November 2, 2009

Hey there! A bit later then I wanted, but here’s a quick little post about Rhinebeck.

Last year, my mom and I went up to the NY State Sheep & Wool for the first time and loved it. This year, we wanted to go again, and again loved it.

267/365 - 2009 | headed to that magical place called Rhinebeck

The drive up from downstate NY was full of pretty leaves and listening to music, and we arrived at a decent time to the fairgrounds. It was a bit chillier then we anticipated, so the first stop was for hot chocolate, of course.

Rhinebeck 2009

Not wanting to miss a thing, we went into every barn and tried to peak in every stand. Of course a visit to the animals was made…

Rhinebeck 2009

Rhinebeck 2009

As we exited the first barn, I ran into Christi (of Knitting Pretty in DC), which was super exciting since she now lives in Philly but we hadn’t met up and hung out yet.

This was just the first of internet knitterly pals I would come across today.

I had a mission to meet up with Jesh for a quick Honeybee Cardigan test knit photograph. Thankfully, she obliged! And after seeing hers in person, I still want to make another one in black. It’s amazing how the color choice really changes the whole look and feel of the cardigan!

The Honeybees Meet

As I was leaving one of the barns, Danielle (of aswim in knits) saw me and made sure to say hi! It was great to finally meet her, Caro (of Splityarn), and Pam (of Flintknits), in person.

Hey gals!

After so much flickr’ing and tweeting to each other, it was a delight to see them for real. And to see that the Splityarn strap I had gifted my mom with for Christmas last year was indeed a popular choice.

Samesies!

We had a brief lunch, while watching the sheep dog trials* and made sure to check out the last few barns before heading back downstate. Whitney (of Whit Knits), another flickr/twitter friend, saw me walk by and caught up with me. I’m so glad she did, since I didn’t see her and would have been sad to not have met up (cell phone service was non existent for me, so her phone msg wasn’t listened to until I got back to New Rochelle). Silly me. I didn’t take a picture of us! I will say this, though, I want to knit a version of her Rhinebeck sweater. It is even more amazing in person!

There were so many more of my internet knitterly friends at Rhinebeck that I missed. I blame it on my shyness keeping me away from the Ravelry meet-up. Next year, friends. I will be there. *Pinky swear!*

Rhinebeck 2009

It was great fun to go again, and next year my mom and I will totally make a trip again.

*Oh. Want to know where all the rest of my photos are? Including the ones of the adorable sheep dogs? They are in computer heaven because of the google redirect virus, the misconception that if the computer and my hard drive tells me all my photos were moved off my computer onto the hard drive that it is the truth, and the need to wipe my harddrive and restore factory settings. Yes, there were tears. Lots of tears. Back up your files guys. Like 8 times. Cause sometimes that one time might be a lie.

Wow. This year is just flying by, isn’t it?

Things have been humming along, here at chez Knitting by Bicycle.

Philadelphia almost closed the libraries and other essential services, in a rather anxious budget mess that was thankfully resolved at the 11th hour.

• Summer came to an abrupt close, ushering in changing leaves and crisper air.

YIP 2009 | 9.14.09

• Philadelphia had its first Naked Bike Ride

YIP 2009 | 9.6.09
[yes, I know this isn’t of naked people OR of bikes, but hey. I respect all those who rode and I don’t want to plaster them on the internet without consent.]

• Kasy’s daughter turned the mighty age of 18. An apple pie was baked in her honor and a Silk kerchief scarf was knit and gifted.

YIP 2009 | 9.25.09

Helen's birthday present

[details on Ravelry. In short, 1 skein of Noro Kureyon Sock + 1 skein of some label-less navy blue merino sock yarn + Kate’s awesome instructions]

• A silly trip to Linvilla Orchards, on our scooter, on a drizzly Saturday, to get some apples and have some fun.

250/365 | Kasy's nightmare

YIP 2009 | 9.27.09

• And the beginning of a month long adventure of socks. My main focus on socks, this month, will be to finally finish my Through the Loops Mystery Socks from 2008 as well as to cast on and complete the Mystery Socks of 2009. Join us, over in the Socktoberfest group and the Fans of Through the Loops group, both on Ravelry.

Oh. And I biked 150 miles for MS this past weekend. And Rhinebeck is very, very, very soon. Gosh, I love this month!

FO 2009 | Honeybee Cardigan

September 16, 2009

This summer I did a little test knitting for a couple of designers I adore. I’ve been waiting to show you, blog readers, my finished test knits until the patterns were released.

Here’s the first, fresh off the press. Laura Chau released her trio collection, Flora and Fauna, Bees Flowers and Leaves, this morning and one of the patterns is the long awaited Honeybee Cardigan.

Test Knitting

When Jesh and I volunteered ourselves to test knit the Honeybee (I mean, how could I not volunteer! I’d been watching Laura’s progress on it and loving it!), we were under instructions to use a “robust” sock yarn. Both of us ended up using Malabrigo Sock, and Laura’s original Honeybee (the pink one in the pattern) uses Socks that Rock mediumweight. Hemming and hawing over colors, I chose Solis. Greens are always a success for me and this green, in particular, is incredible.

207/365 - 2009 | honeybee knitting underway over here

I bought the yarn from eat.sleep.knit. and have nothing but praise for their speed of shipping and all around pleasant experience in purchasing yarn online. Seriously. If you haven’t used them before, do. You won’t be disappointed. Anywhoo, I purchased 4 skeins to be on the safe side and also because I still wasn’t sure if I would knit elbow length or full length sleeves.

Honeybee Cardigan - blocking

I’m not going to lie. I had some trouble figuring out the Honeybee stitch at first, but thankfully Jesh was able to help me out, since Laura was on vacation during that time. Once I had the stitch down, I was flying. The body knits up so quickly, since there isn’t waist shaping. Laura included a fabulous picture tutorial in the pattern to make sure you guys don’t have any problems with the Honeybees, so don’t worry about the lace seeming complicated looking. It is so simple, and you can read the lace in the pattern as you knit, so if you make any mistakes along the way, you’ll see them almost immediately for fixibility.

Honeybee Cardigan

The cardigan also employs the most darling set-in sleeves, which were my first to ever try. I have to applaud Laura, again, on how simple her instructions are to execute and how prim and proper the sleeves fit onto the body.

224/365 - 2009 | Is fall coming?

All in all, this has to be topping the list of best things I’ve ever knit and I am so pleased that Laura let me test knit for her. She is a delight to work with and her designs just keep getting better and better. The cardigan is the perfect transitional weather piece, adding some warmth without feeling like you’re wearing a full cardigan. It knits up pretty fast and the results are stunning.

Honeybee Cardigan

I’m pretty sure I’m making another one of these in the near future. I want a black one, just like Jesh’s!

—-

The details:

Pattern: Honeybee Cardigan by Laura Chau
check out Laura’s blog for all the accessibility and pricing info!
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Solis (2.58 skeins used)
Needles: size 5 circulars, size 5 dpn (for sleeves) and size 3 for bottom hem (not part of the pattern instructions though)
Buttons are from Rosie’s Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia
ravelry project page

Just a quick note to mention that this October I’ll be undertaking the MS150 City to the Shore ride, riding two days at 75 miles each day, on the Penn/UPHS team.

If you would like to donate to support my ride please do, by clicking this link.

Say that 3 times fast!

A few weeks ago, a little adorable kid decided to have a birthday. This is the same adorable kid that came on the bike tour from Pittsburgh to Leesburg, in the care of his parents. He’s a spectacular little thing…and I don’t usually like kids!

Anyways, his birthday came around and so did the birthday of his best friend, causing a 2 year old birthday brunch celebration to be had out in West Philadelphia. Holy moly, where there a lot of little kiddos there!

Not wanting to arrive empty handed, I whipped up (yes, quite literally since these take just a couple of hours to make) 2 kiwi birds to gift on the birthday kids.

Birthday Birds

Using only stashed yarn (who doesn’t love that) and fabric scraps as stuffing, in a day and a half, these cuties were born.

I first saw the pattern on Ravelry and queued it immediately. I mean, how could you not. Of course, as my queue keeps growing, I tend to cast on for wearable things instead of toys and whimsy that part of me would rather me making.

YIP 2009 | 7.25.09

I didn’t have any real problems with the pattern, except that sometimes working with DPNs on such few stitches can be a bit finicky. I only used size 5 needles, instead of size 7 for the body and size 5 for the beak and legs. I liked the fabric it was making and, for some reason, trying to use the size 7 DPN was too finicky for my liking.

So, one bird for each kid. Matchy enough, but different enough too. Oh. And appropriately labeled.

Birthday Birds

……………
Pattern: Crazy Kiwis by Hannah Kaminsky aka Bittersweet (blog link | ravelry link
Cast on: July 23, 2009
Cast off: July 24, 2009
Needles: Size 5 (3.75mm) DPNs
Yarns: Light blue = Araucania Nature Wool Solids (used less than ~.5 skein)
Teal = Cascade 220 Heathers, colorway 4009 (used less than ~.5 skein)
Yellowy Green (beaks and legs) = KnittyDirtyGirl Worsted in Intergalactic cabbage (used just a wee bit)
Mods: used only size 5 needles. stuffed with scrap fabric. embroidery thread for eyes. used scrap fabric and embroidery thread for name labels on bird tooshies.

Day 6

So close to the end. We woke up on Day 6, knowing that the rain had been pounding all night and would barely stop during the day. Packed up our wet gear and soggy selves, and continued onwards.

Packing up in the rain

Even though the rain was steady all day, it still was nice to ride in the morning. We passed some great sites, had pizza for lunch in a little town, and enjoyed the wet ride.

River waterfall

And then there was more rain

(Since it was raining, we didn’t stop much nor did I take many pictures.)

McCoy’s Ferry to Antietam Creek Campground = 40.6 mi

We spent the night at Antietam Campground, which is near the historic battlefield. I spent the last 10 or so miles singing songs, since it was the best way to make the day less miserable since we were damp, cold, and hungry. Getting to camp was great since we knew that there would be hot food and the false belief that we could dry off. The C&O trail gets particularly muddy so we were dirty and our bikes and panniers were covered in mud in every place possible. We lost one of our riders on this stretch of riding, since his derailleur hanger broke off his bike and his rack started to break. Instead of trying to convert to a single speed (we tried. unsuccessfully. the chain was too long but taking out one link made it too short. it was tough) he had family come and pick him up from a house along the way (kind people who let us use their garden hose to hose off the mud from our bikes).

Campsite #6 | june 5, 2009

Day 7 (the final cycling day)

Woke up the next day, without much reprieve from the rain.

Breakfast in the rain

We were trail weary at this point and nobody had any dry clothing. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold, so once we started moving our bodies warmed right up. The rain wasn’t as constant as the day before, but there was a constant drizzle. Stopping for a hot meal in Brunswick was a great way to spend a few hours midday, drying off and eating food we didn’t make ourselves.

Rest Stop Matt

After a few hours of rest, we knew we had to push on. Only a few hours until the ferry ride and the trip is over. Hot showers, washer/dryer, beers, and our friends awaited us in Leesburg!

When we arrived at the ferry, the owner of the cafe allowed us to use the hose out back to clean off our gear before getting on the boat. Thank god. We really needed it.

Demuddifying is serious business

Demuddifying is serious business

Demuddifying is serious business

We hopped on the ferry at Whitehaven to cross over to Leesburg. The ride was a cable ferry and the ferry is one of historic importance (there is little info online re: the ferry, but that link takes you to a pdf newspaper article which details the long history).

Almost to Leesburg

When we reached the other side, we were greeted by a van for our hotel, where the Cirque du Cyclisme was being held. But before packing our stuff up in the van, we figured a nice group photo was in order:

At the end

Antietam Creek Campground to Leesburg, VA = 33.9 miles

Total trip from Pittsburgh to Leesburg = 290 miles

We went on this trip to attend Le Cirque du Cyclisme, which is an annual vintage racing and touring bicycle rally/symposium/event. It was awesome to enter the hotel and be greeted with hundreds of bicycles on display. HUNDREDS!

Bicycles take over the hotel!Bikes Bikes Bikes!

Over the weekend we rested. We drank beers. We ate awesome mexican food. We heard bike builders and painters talk about their process and how they got to where they are now. We went on a bike ride around the surrounding farm lands. We went to a swap and saw more lovely bicycles. And then we headed home.

Homeward bound

And felt accomplished. All the photos (lots more than on here) can be found in this flickr set. If you’re planning on riding either the Great Allegheny Passage or the C&O Trail and have any questions that weren’t covered in this blog series, shoot me an email or leave a comment. I will gladly assist!

Now…who wants to see some knitting???

On day 4, we awoke in Frostberg and continued on our way, knowing that very soon we would be leaving the Allegheny Passage and getting on the C&O Canal path. The two paths “connect” in Cumberland, Maryland, so it seemed to be the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat and to load up on groceries for the next couple of days.

Bicycle Tourists invade Cumberland!

Bicycle Tourists invade Cumberland!

The C&O Canal path is very different from the Allegheny Passage. Being a tow path, it runs next to the canal, making the trail muggy and mosquito heaven. The canal fluctuates between being completely dry and overgrown and full of water and fish life and even though one would think that the views would be the same the whole way down and be boring, it was quite the opposite. Or maybe I just have a high tolerance for lots of greenery…

YIP 2009 | 6.2.09

C&O Canal Towpath

Along the path are lock houses, all marked on the map. Some are restored and open to the public, on certain days (not any day we were there, though). I’ve been in locks before but was blown away at the wooden ones that are still on the canal. Can you just imagine what the canal was like, back when it was actually in use?

Lock House

Checking out the Locks

Of course, the C&O Canal never really had a proper hey day. By the time it was built up to Cumberland, MD, the railroad had already been there for 8 years, making the use of a canal system antiquated. The Canal was originally supposed to continue onwards past Cumberland and into Ohio, but that leg of the plan was scrapped at this point. Learning this broke my heart. I couldn’t help but think of all the back breaking labor that went into building the canal and the tow path, including the tunnels through mountains and locks. The frustration and sadness that must have been felt when these people learned that their efforts were in vain. According to the C&O Canal Association, there was a plan, in the 1950s, to bulldoze the canal to build a highway into the mountains. I am so thankful to the efforts of the Association in stopping that plan from developing, and saving the C&O.

The night of Day 4 we stayed at the campsite at Purslane. A hiker biker site, it was free, but unfortunately mosquito headquarters. Since those little critters love me, after dinner I dove into my tent and didn’t come out until morning.

Campsite # 4 - June 2, 2009

Frostberg –> Purslane = 45.1 miles

Day 5 we continued on the path, knowing that we would be entering a pretty sweet tunnel later on. The Paw Paw Tunnel is a famed location, and the pride of the area around the C&O in this section. Remember the previous tunnels we went through? Well, the Paw Paw is nothing like it. There are no lights. There is a canal to your right. There is only a thin wooden railing at the edge of the bumpy dirt path. It is scary!

Paw Paw Tunnel

Kasy had his headlights, but also had some trouble. I stayed close behind him so that I could benefit from his LED lights. When we got to the middle of this 3,118 foot tunnel, you really couldn’t see a thing. Nothing like the Paw Paw. If you plan on going to this section of the C&O, I would recommend having some sort of lighting system with you, whether it be a flashlight for walking, or a headlamp, or something.

In hopes of avoiding another mosquito situation, we opted to stay at the McCoy’s Ferry site, since it was better maintained than the hiker biker site nearby (cost $10 for the site, as opposed to the hiker biker site which was free). When we got to camp, we set up and pulled out the tarps, knowing that rain was coming our way.

Setting up tarps at camp

YIP 2009 | 6.3.09

Little did we know was how much rain that was really going to be…

Campsite # 5 - June 3, 2009

Purslane –> McCoy’s Ferry = 48.7mi