Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Harlem Valley Rain (uh... Rail) Ride

On Sunday I did the Harlem Valley Rail Ride - a hundred miles of gorgeous, hilly country roads. It totally kicked my ass.

For starters, the bus that took us from NYC to Millerton got lost or something on the way up to the start - we were supposed to start by 7:30 but didn't get in until quarter of nine.

Harlem Valley is one of those choose-your-own-adventure rides where you get to choose between 30, 55, 75, or 100 miles. The first choice I got was between the 75 and 100. It was only 20 miles in and I was still feeling fresh as an underslept daisy - "75?" I thought, "I didn't get up at 3 am to ride 75!" The next choice was between the 55 and the 100 - no real question there, but I found myself cussing as the route for the 100 went up the meanest hill ever. It was one of those sneaky and extra-mean hills that curves up and up with about a dozen false summits - where the light coming through the trees tricks you into thinking the next turn will take you down, when of course it just goes further up. I walked some of it, and a fella with stronger legs and lower gears than me passed by, but he wasn't going much faster.

After the worst of the steepness I was back on my bike again, and finally got paid back with a long, gorgeous descent - the woods opened up into farmlands and the sun came out for a while. I felt awesome and started singing Kimya Dawson and Devendra Banhart songs as loud as I could until somebody caught up on me and I got embarrassed. Why is it that even though I'm totally comfortable spending all day zipping along in skintight orange, red and shiny pink spandex I still felt like I'd gotten caught singing in the shower?

After the next rest stop I started freaking out about time and pushed pretty hard for the next 20 miles or so. My average speed crept up to where I felt comfortable again. Then there was this cloud. It was totally gigantic and opaque and grey. I could feel when I was under it 'cause it got 20 degrees colder. Bad news indeed. It started raining, then it started storming. It was freezing cold. Then we had to climb again. It was pretty fierce, and for a while it wasn't fun any more. I pushed on, hoping to get to the next rest stop and maybe bail out and get sagged to the end, but the stop had been abandoned 'cause of the storm, which sucked extra 'cause I was running out of water.

More rain, more climbing. A sag truck came by full and said they'd come get me as soon as they could. Somehow that made it better - I'd just go as far as I could until the truck came to scoop me up. I caught up on a few people who were walking and hopped off to walk with them, glad to have company for a while. Eventually the rain got less fierce and we all rode some more. Lots of it was really pretty. Finally the sag folks came back and told us to get in the truck, not giving us the option not to. They drove us all backwards down the rest of the course looking for more stragglers. The sun came out again, for keeps this time. They dropped everybody off at the next rest stop (maybe 2 miles ahead of where they'd picked me up) and pointed us down a mercifully flat shortcut down the rail trail, then on some roads I thankfully knew 'cause I'd ridden them before visiting my friend Bonnie.

I finally made it to the finish at about 5:30. The festival at the end had been rained out, and they didn't have any non-meat food left except a couple of hamburger buns. My toes were beyond wrinkled and I was totally filthy, but I had some dry clothes to change into. I got on the bus, then the subway, and finally got home at about 10:30. I went to bed feeling feverish and with a wicked sore throat.

Sometimes I don't get why this was so fun. But it was, it was really super fun - I'd do it again in a second.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Secondary Colors

I pulled my (orange) knitting out of my (green) knitting bag at lunch today, and found a purple pepper Iviva had given me inside along with the blanket I'm working on. Such beautiful colors together! I just ate the pepper for dinner - thanks again!

Monday, July 21, 2008

How did I miss this the first time?

So back in March there was an incredibly juicy conversation (here and here) over on Imogene's blog that got started after a talk Bruce Metcalf gave at the SNAG conference about "alt craft" pissed a lot of people off. The resulting conversation went far and wide - bringing up etsy, punk rock, the internet, art school and other ivory towers, what the heck the word "craft" is s'posedta mean anyway, "high" versus "low" craftsmanship, taste versus kitsch, and even macrame.

While I'm kicking myself for missing this blip in my blogiverse the first time around, the good news is there's gonna be a round 2. Bruce Metcalf is talking with Chanel Kennebrew at the Craft Council this Thursday, July 24. Should be a really lively discussion! From the Craft Council, with many thanks to Margaux Lange:

Explore the complicated relationships among the broad spectrum of craft makers today in this dialogue between jeweler, educator and writer Bruce Metcalf and Chanel Kennebrew of Junkprints, an indie craft artist, graphic designer and Etsy seller. July 24, 6-7 p.m., reception to follow. The Summer in the City Salon Series is made possible by the support of Leatrice S. Eagle, with additional support from Etsy. The event will take place at the American Craft Council located at 72 Spring street in NYC, 6th floor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Top of Bear Mountain, All Covered with Cheese...

I like to ride my bike to the top of bear mountain once a year. This year's highly photoshopped snap from the top is brought to you by the top of my head and the sweat of my brow:

Trust me, my un-cropped sweaty mug wasn't pretty enough to share. 2 miles of up up up = dorky, happy, exhausted face and lovely pink eyes.

NYC-area bikers, this site is an awesome resource full of maps and potential rides, lots of which connect to Metro North with a little fudging. I basically took the route here (only backwards) but continued to the end of Seven Lakes Parkway and took the train back home from Suffern - about 65 miles with lots of hills. A few miles of really busy roads at the end, but way more fun than zigzagging back to the GW Bridge through suburban Jersey. And I love Harriman state park - the parkways through it are nearly car-free (though highly favored by motorcycles), and gorgeous - woodsy for miles and an hour or so from Manhattan.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cubit the Inchworm Eases on Down the Road

Hi everybody - please join me in welcoming Cubit the Inchworm into the fold! The pattern is now available in the shop. There's also a three-fer deal if you want to knit all three bugs.

A cubit is an old unit of measurement that meant "the length from your elbow to your fingertips," or about 18 inches, which is extra fitting 'cause that's how big this inchworm is! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bourbon, Spaghetti, Bread and Cherries

It's sour cherry season in New York - you get them for two or three weekends at the farmers' market, and then they're gone. I just put a pie in the oven, and it's reminding me of the super-awesome Philip Guston drawings show that's up now at the Morgan Library. It's free there on Friday evenings.

Philip Guston, Untitled (Cherries), 1980, ink and acrylic on board, 50.8 x 76.2 cm (20 x 30 in), © Estate of Philip Guston, private collection

Tons of really powerful, critical work featuring books, clocks, voilence, Crazy Kat, cigarettes, lima beans and Nixon. One of my faves from the show - a drawing called "what I like to eat". Sorry for the crappy image quality - I nicked it from the checklist (pdf).
From left to right: Bourbon, Spaghetti, Bread, Cherries.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Grand Animal

Hey everybody, check out my new fonts!

Big changes are afoot over at my pattern-selling website. It's time to wish the grandma font I've been using for my mastheads for so long goodbye. I think the new layout is way easier to read, and it also goes better with my whole DIY, I knit squids and so can you! aesthetic.

And it's time for me to re-name the whole enterprise so all of you lost tatters stop getting mad at me, and all of you poor spellers can find me more easily, and so everybody won't get so confused. I've taken out a new url, but there's nothing on it yet.

Here are two hints about the new name: It's a partial anagram of tattingmydoilies, but it's not "Dilletantism" or "Antsy Midge" or "Linty Toast" or "Imagine Ditsily". And if you go there right now, the there's-n0-website-here holder page says related search terms are: climbing / traveling / metamorphosis / arthropod / arachnid / travel fare / business class travel / larva / pupa / hermit crab care.

The plot thickens...