Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Sneak Peek - Knitted Pillbugs!

Hi everybody - Here's a peek at the newest addition to the Tatting My Doilies strange knitted toy menagerie - A Pillbug!

What do you call these things? (Aside from the only existing terrestrial crustacian or armadillidiidae) Apparently it's one of those regional things - I grew up calling them pillbugs. My friends from Upstate NY call them potato bugs, and Faye from Australia calls them roly polies. I'll probably call the pattern doodlebug, just 'cause that's the cutest name I've heard for them yet.

The pattern should be up by next weekend, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Big Loop Through the Rockaways - Now Only Kind of Busted

Monday morning I headed out for my best fave inside-the-five-boroughs NYC bike ride - a 40-ish mile loop from my doorstep to the Rockaways and back again.

When it's totally functional, here's how it works: You go down Bedford Ave (on-street bike lane, mostly observed), or otherwise get yourself to Sheepshead Bay, then pick up an off-street bike lane that goes along the Belt Parkway for 7 or 8 miles. Take a little detour through Howard Beach and then down Cross-Bay Boulevard you go - over the little islands of Jamaica bay. Then cross the Cross-Bay bridge to Rockaway Beach. Sing the Rock-Rock-Rock-Rockaway beach song a couple times, look at the Atlantic Ocean (or lock your bike up and jump in), and head west a couple miles before crossing the Marine Parkway Bridge back over to the Brooklyn mainland. Up Flatbush Avenue for a mile or so (another off-street bike lane) and you pick up the trail back to Sheepshead Bay and home again. An almost-traffic free 40 miles!

Last summer, the loop dead ended at a big old fence where the bike lane was under construction at the Fountain Avenue Landfill (marked on the Bike Map as Spring Creek Park - see, New York has so much green space!)

On Monday's ride, there was a shiny new bike lane past the being-restored landfill, but a new dead-end at the Cross-Bay bridge - the bike and ped crossing is being worked on. I turned around and went back the way I came (headwind became a tailwind - yay!), but here's what I just found out:

I called 311 (311 rules) and got transferred to somebody at the MTA, which runs the bridge - he told me the bike and pedestrian access will be out until October, but there's a free shuttle that runs every 15 minutes from 7am to 9pm that takes bikes, too. It picks up at the deli parking lot on the north side (it's the last thing before the bridge), and the McDonalds on the South side. So if you're up for an assist across the bridge, (or feel like stopping for lunch at the Deli), the big loop is up and running again!

The images are from the NYC Bike Map. Get your own!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eisenia the Earthworm is Ready for her Close Up

Brand new in the pattern shop, meet Eisenia the Earthworm! This easy pattern includes three patterns in one - a mama worm, worm babies, and a worm egg. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Knitted Vermicompost! Yippee!

Live in a teeny apartment but wish you could compost? You can! All you need is some compost worms (red wrigglers aka eisenia foetida), some newspaper, and a plastic storage tub with some holes punched in it. There's a whole book about it here and the wikipedia article is pretty good too. You can order worms online or find a source locally - in NYC I know you can get them from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the ecology center stalls at the Brooklyn and Union Square farmers' markets.

And, um, if you want to knit your own squiggly friends, the pattern's almost done! Mama worm, worm egg, baby worms all in one! Food scraps and casings not included.

Monday, May 19, 2008


So yesterday I rode the Montauk Century - a hundred mile ride from Babylon, NY to the end of Long Island. It's a totally high-tech, more-than-all-day affair. I left my house at 3 a.m. and hopped the subway to Penn station, put my bike on a truck and took the Long Island Railroad to Babylon with a zillion other underslept, bleary-eyed, excited bikers. Then I picked up my bike in Babylon, rode the whole way to the end of Long Island, took a shower in a totally magical shower truck, put my bike back on a truck, got back on the train, picked up my bike again at Penn Station, and got home again at 11 p.m. Long day, no?

I'm really bad at writing about bike rides, especially the day after when I still feel kind of stupid with endorphins. Stupid in a good way -- slowed down and a little bit sore and a wee bit sunburned - I slathered my shoulders when I changed into my sleeveless jersey, but I missed a spot on each side, so today I've got ouchy pink wings on my back - d'oh! The ride was pretty great. I averaged 13 miles an hour, rest stops included. The south shore of Long Island is mercifully flat, except for some little rolly hills at the end - hardly any changing gears, just go, go, go... A few times I got picked up by some speedy groups zooming along at 22 miles an hour, and a couple other times I got stuck in a slow clump of team-in-training folks hamming it up for their camera truck, so it all evened out. It was sunny most of the time, but got cold and clammy at the end. My spirits were pretty good throughout - I talked to lots of people and yelled wheee! a few times and sang a couple songs, but I was still totally glad to reach the finish without bonking and just in time to not get rained on.

Nature highlights - A white heron flew over me on the outskirts of one of the cute towns in the Hamptons with its neck all squiggly. I'm such a new yorker now that I had to google "white s-neck bird" to figure out what it was I'd seen. Nature low-lights - cases and cases of bottled water, and not even a pretense of recycling! Boo! Spigots are good for the earth, or at least way less bad than giving three thousand bicyclists nine thousand plastic bottles! (Yes, I know trucking my bike the entire length of Long Island kind of negates the whole one-less-car mentality, but still.) Nature low-light number two: Gu packets galore. Just put them pack in your pocket, dorks! Grrr!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Crochet Coral Reef

So here's my utterly belated post from the opening of the Crochet Coral Reef at World Financial Center. If you don't already know about the reefer madness that's descended on our city, go here or here or here. (And Londoners, you're next!)

I totally love this stuff. At the opening, I was privileged to meet my craft hero Helle of Gooseflesh fame, and also got a tour from my new friend Gay of the crochet guild, who pointed out her contributions. That little bit right there is mine... That's part of what I love about this project - it's so additive and polyglot. A number of the folks I've talked about it with have dissed the presentation - you can't tell from my fuzzy picture (it's behind glass) but much of it sits on separate bits of black fabric. It's nowhere near as faboo as the highly controlled photos on the IFF site's gallery, but I kind of love that about it, too - I can almost hear the Crochet Ladies who put it together saying "wow! this is neat!" a zillion times over.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Iviva's Embroidery

I met Iviva Olenick at Church of Craft a couple months ago. I was working on something I can't talk about yet, and she was doing embroidery. We liked each other's work a lot, so we decided to trade - I gave her a squid (it was the sample from the Squiddity pattern, so it was "a squid I had on hand"), and she did some embroidery for me. She asked me for a phrase to embroider - I gave her a couple to choose from and asked her to interpret them however she wanted. She wound up doing both (she kind of loved the squid)... I totally love what she made - want to see?

From the finale of It, where the kids banish the It-monster with tongue-twisters.

From the Kimya Dawson song my heroes. I keep it on my inspiration board.

They both mean a hell of a lot to me in a million different ways. Thanks again, Iviva!

P.S. - Iviva's teaching at Etsy Labs - go sign up for a class!