The Timbuk2 Bag

So, it got here.  It looks GREAT.  Except that I used to have a "medium size Cargo Tote," and this was allegedly a "medium size Cargo Tote," and it’s a lot smaller than the one I used to have.  Also, the old one had side rings and a cross-body strap, and this one does not.  I’ve ordered D-rings, webbing and clips to make my own since the bag is not returnable.  Oh well.  ALWAYS CHECK THE SPECS!

I’ve left the ’80s, but they haven’t left me!

One of the stylistic things that everybody remembers from the 1980s is the liberal use of vivid, neon-type colors in clothing.  Yes, neon colors have been in fashion here and there before and after the ’80s, but there was a big trend for it and I fell into that big trend like it was a tub of butter.  I still get jazzed from seeing hot pink and neon green together, for example, or hot pink and turquoise.  Here is some yarn I ordered earlier this summer from ebay; it’s Noro’s "Cash Iroha."  I only ordered it because of the colors that were available, not because of any real love for Cash Iroha, which is (a) bulkier than I like to knit with and (b) one of those "fake cashmere" yarns that is mainly wool and silk with a token amount of cashmere in it so they can use some form of "cashmere" in the name.  I’m currently knitting a funky hat with sea-urchin-type arms on top of it.  There will be a lot left, so I may also knit a shrug or jacket of some sort.
Here is some yarn I recently ordered from String Theory Colorworks.  "100% Awesome," indeed.

So I thought this would help me get my neon jag out of the way, especially because I cast on for a bias-knit pullover and it was looking dreamy.  But then I decided not to knit the bias-knit pullover, but something else, and so I frogged this one.

Yesterday I was browsing around the internet and went to Timbuk2, a store I like because you can choose custom colors for a bag.  Yes, they’re utilitarian bags, not fashion bags, but with this choice of neon 1980s colors I’m sure I’ll be both fashionable AND utilitarian!  This will, of course, probably become my knitting tote.

If the colors on that bag (which I’ve not yet seen in person) are strikingly awesome, I may get myself a small messenger to match, to use as my handbag.  Who knows?  And who knew that neon was still so prevalent in the world?!

(Now, where are my legwarmers…)


Today’s adventure:  roller skating!
For some reason, Alex has been clamoring all week for us to buy him Rollerblades.  I don’t know what set him off.  Then Chris said, "We should all get skates and then we’d have a good family exercise activity!"  So far, so good.  We spent about three hours yesterday poking around Bellevue trying to find skates.  First, Sports Authority.  They had a pair that fit Chris, but when he stood up in them, he almost fell over, and was a little hesitant about them.  They only had one pair in a size to fit me/Alex (right now we’re wearing the same shoe size).  Alex was a little nervous when standing up in them, too.  (Sports Authority has a very slick linoleum floor.)  So we went to Sears (no skates at all) and Big 5 Sporting Goods (only cheapo skates) and then came home.
Looking online, we found the Bellevue skate rink "Skate King," and I said, "Hey, why don’t we go to the rink for lessons tomorrow – you can try inline (Rollerblades) or quad skates (wheels on four corners) and decide which you like better.  And then if we all hate it, we’ve only lost the cost of a lesson plus skate rental."  This met with approval from everyone so that is what we did.
We immediately all chose quad skates.  This was all they made, when I was a kid, and I’d spent a lot of my youth at CC Skate Ranch.  So I knew I’d be comfortable in quads.  The clerk gave Alex the wrong size shoe (men’s 7 instead of women’s 7) and yet Alex said they were fine.
So, we went out on the rink and got some basic instruction.  Within a few minutes (to my amazement) I was zipping around the rink with only a few wobbles, and I didn’t fall down once all day!  However, Chris and Alex had troubles.
The instructor suggested that they would both do better in the inline skates instead of quads.  Neither Chris nor I can remember how she justified that, but they both changed into inline skates.  Chris immediately felt more stable in them, and proceeded to slowly work his way around the rink, with a grand total of three falls in the 1.5-hour lesson.
Alex, on the other hand, was having a very difficult time.  He was falling down every couple of steps, even in the inline skates.  The instructor looked more closely and realized his boots were much too big.  We got him to change into kids’/women’s size 5 and he was up and running!  But I’d guess he probably fell down 20 or 30 times during the lesson.  What surprised both me and Chris is that he kept getting up, and was eager to continue.  Usually this is the sort of situation where he’ll start whining about wanting to quit.
So, as a result, we’re all feeling pretty optimistic, at least about indoor skating.  It was 93 degrees outside, so we are NOT in any mood for outdoor skating, at least not yet.  I’ll report more next week after our second lesson.

Red Hot Mama

Today I finished another machine-knit project.  I have had these two yarns in my stash for a long time – Superior, a brushed laceweight cashmere, and Valley Yarns’ 20/2 silk (a 100% silk for weaving).  Singly, they were much too fine to contemplate hand-knitting with, but together, they worked up really nicely on the machine.  I did learn some things during this project.  Whatever length I think is right, I should add about 50 rows to the body.  And I should make the sleeves rectangles rather than shaping them as in hand-knitting.  This project was too short when seamed up, so I had to pick up and knit 400 stitches around for about 30 rounds…ugh…and then the sleeves are too snug near the bottom.  I think that adding the flared silk ruffles at hem and cuffs helps with this a little – certainly the length is right, now, and the ruffles on the cuffs distract the eye a bit from the tightness of the sleeve opening.  So, more machine-knitting adventures continue.
And yes, I too was surprised at how much I look like Mom in this photo!  But I think that’s the combo of glasses plus hair plus lack of lipstick Open-mouthed smile