BAT report

Published on Monday May 5th, 2008

A week ago, Claudia threw down and announced a pledge to replace at least one car trip per week with a bicycle trip. That’s just the kind of challenge I can get excited about, since I have 1. a conscience, 2. a body that could use a little more exercise, and 3. a meager salary that doesn’t go far at the gas pump these days. She’s calling the effort Bicycles As Transportation / Knitters for Alternative Transportation: BAT/KAT. So Mondays are now BAT update days.

On Friday night, Mr. G and I pedaled down to our favorite theater for a $3 movie, pizza, and microbrew (we love Portland). Some Like It Hot was playing, and I’m happy to report that it’s still a delightful date movie 50 years after it was filmed. Saturday I rode to the yarn store to meet Katrin instead of driving, while Mr. G cycled to the annual giganticus tech-entrepreneur-geekfest known as Bar Camp. And yesterday we took the bikes when we went to meet Mr. G’s dad for dinner. That’s three BATs apiece: they’re all within two or three miles of home, exactly the range where we’d be most tempted to hop in the car, but the bike trip takes only a minute or two longer. We also walked for the groceries all week and took the MAX train when we went shopping for a purple tie for Mr. G to wear to my brother’s wedding. Since my job requires me to drive over 30 miles on weekdays (I carpool, but I still hold myself responsible for the environmental impact of the trip), I like to leave the car in the driveway all weekend whenever possible.

Now I feel like I need a marvy little sidebar BAT/KAT tally graphic. Too bad I don’t have skills like that.

And the knitting? The Ivy stole has crawled up to row 26 of the edge chart. I’m halfway there, except that the rounds are still getting longer. I don’t think I could conscionably use the word excruciating to describe knitting cashmere (hey, how has unconscionable survived in our lexicon but conscionable is obsolete? Add it to the list with words like wieldy and whelmed, I guess), but this edging is like the last 2.2 miles of a marathon. Why, Skacel, why can’t you make a #0 Addi LacePoint? What daft manager signed off on a plan to make #1s and #00s but nothing in between? I may have cast on an Indigo Ripples skirt for some much-needed stockinet on #5s.

Lhude sing cuccu

Published on Thursday April 3rd, 2008

Last week was my spring break, but the glorious weather was reserved for this week. Our vacation saw some beautiful sunbreaks, but we were precipitated upon in every possible manner, too: rain, hail, sleet, and snow each made forceful appearances. But this week has brought sun to bask in, and the first spontaneous neighborhood gathering of the season despite chilly temperatures after sunset. Four families sat on our northerly neighbors’ front steps for wine and chat and baby squeezing: this camaraderie is one of the chief reasons I love living on my street.

The garden is stirring, the lilac is leafing out, and I’m sowing hollyhock and sweet pea seeds in my meager patches of full sun. (I had to try with the hollyhocks, because I’ve always wanted some, and because these are called Outhouse hollyhocks. How could I resist? My friend Betsy, who tends the school gardens, shares my fascination for plants with charming names. You should have heard us exulting over the seeds for French Breakfast radishes (which we decided are probably what Anais Nin liked to eat before a productive morning’s work writing her erotica), Bloody Butcher corn, Moon and Stars watermelons, and some lettuce with a German name that allegedly means “speckled like the back of a trout.”)

Spring felt so irresistible this week that I went on a little spree, thanks to last year’s birthday generosity from friends:

Whee, fabric! I have a cute (and easy, Vogue promises) summer dress pattern for this. I’m going to practice on the Alexander Henry in the middle, and once I’ve honed my skills (invisible zippers, yikes!), make a second in the beautiful Japanese Kokko at left. I also picked up Bend-the-Rules Sewing, of which I have read much good on the blogs. And that yarn lurking in the background? It’s Classic Elite Soft Linen, and it’s for an Indigo Ripples skirt. Katrin and I have been promising each other a two-woman knitalong for this pattern, and when I saw Clara Parkes’s review of the Soft Linen, I knew I’d found my skirt yarn. All the wool and alpaca content means it won’t be a true hot-weather garment, but there’s plenty of ventilation in that peek-a-boo lace, and in Portland I’ll get more wear out of a skirt that I can pair with tights when the temperatures are lower.

Oh, and the post title? If it looks like gobbledygook, you may not have been nourished on enough medieval English rounds in your childhood. This is the best Spring song I know.