Making a bike trip to see the knitted trees!

It is 5 pm on a Friday. I grab my bike leaning against my cubicle wall, strap my purse to the rack, throw on my helmet and roll up my pants. I am ready to ride.

Down one flight of stairs and out the front door. Through the parking lot and gate, under Mopac and into the Domain. I watch the shoppers cross the street with their packages as I ride by. South on Kramer, I see a few folks waiting for the MetroRail to head downtown using the special weekend extended service.

Metric, Parkfield, and across 183. The weather is gorgeous and the drivers friendly. I follow the confusing bike route that gets me across Anderson Lane without getting lost this time. On to Woodrow, a wonderful route to ride. Woodrow is an eclectic mix of Austin, all on one wide road with a nice bike lane. Small old houses meticulously cared for. Larger houses that aren’t. Big, modern houses with every environmental friendly upgrade imaginable belonging to Austin’s rich nestled between. Lovely xeriscaped yards, my favorite. The house with the chicken coop that we visited last year during the  Funky Chicken Coop Tour (Try it sometime!). Riding Woodrow has almost too much to gawk at and I find myself not watching the road as closely as I should.

I turn left on North Loop and ride past the vintage stores. Some random little band plays out in front of the shopping plaza. It is SXSW after all.

The turn on to Duval always surprises me. The trees cover the bike route and street sign but I remember this obstacle and find the turn. Duval has a nice smooth bike lane, old houses, and large trees that make for a peaceful ride. I make the turn by Posse East and smell the French fries.

On to San Jacinto and its smooth thoroughfare. It’s spring break so only a few students are on campus. A lonely maintenance worker drives a golf cart.

On to MLK and the Blanton Museum of Art. I am attracted there by the “Knitted Wonderland” exhibit where the trees have knitted cozies on their trunks. Being a knitter myself, I’m awed by the encompassing exhibit and the sheer number of tree trunks covered.  I get in the way of a group of skateboarders in the plaza while looking for my husband. They’re polite though and I don’t realize I’m in their way until I leave. We wander around in the trees snapping photographs and then head further south for some SXSW action.

Riding into central Austin during the spring just can’t be beat.

Author’s note: this was also posted to Austin on Two Wheels.

Speaking of a cold day…

On Sunday and Monday it was in the mid 70s. Yesterday and today it did not get out of the 20s and there was some insane morning wind. Wow. I left Ohio to get out of this kind of weather. It looks like tomorrow will be just as cold, with a chance of little snowflakes Thursday night. To top it off Texas isn’t built for these temperatures and the energy grid can’t handle the load, giving us rolling black-outs and lots of school and business closings.

Yes, I whine, I know. Anyhow this coldness reminds me of a gift I knitted for myself around a year ago. Arm warmers! They are one of my favorite shades of green. The intent was to wear them at my desk at work because my fingers sometimes turn purple from being cold. Unfortunately they make typing a bit difficult so I don’t wear them as often as I should since typing is pretty instrumental to my work. That does not detract from their appeal though.

The pattern name is dashing and I found it on ravelry (of course). Pattern browsing on ravelry is addictive, you should sign up and try it. The pattern is available from knitty. The yarn I used is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, a very nice and affordable yarn.  I really love the way the long cables turned out on these arm warmers. Overall I found this project to be pretty easy and would recommend it. It does require knitting in the round on double pointed needles, but once you learn how to do that this is a great pattern!

On another cold and windy night…

I found myself headed outside to play winter league softball (also known as “whiskey league” by my team aptly named “Beer Me”).

It was cold and windy in case you couldn’t tell already. I bundled up with many layers and topped it off with a hat that I recently knitted:

Can you guess where I am in that picture?  No, not the softball game. I didn’t wear my ski jacket to tonight’s softball game. It’s a Steelers hat that I knitted myself! I was at the Steelers – Panthers game in Pittsburgh on December 23rd. It was REALLY COLD there.

I really like how that hat turned out. You can get the pattern on Ravelry (login needed). The yarn was very warm and knit up nicely (Knit Picks Swish Worsted). As the pattern was written it was too big for me and I had to do only 3” of stockinette stitch after the ribbing. You know, just in case you want to knit this hat too.