Monday, June 24, 2013

Hitchhiking and Bike Riding in Sonoma County

This summer I highly recommend that you hitch a ride with the rest of us hitchhikers and knit this super simple and fabulous scarf pattern designed by Martina Behm.  If you are not familiar with Martina she has designed some of the very best patterns for summer scarfs that show off variegated and self striping sock yarns to their best advantage.    

I like her designs because they are modern and also simple to knit which makes for perfect summer knitting.  The equivalent of an easy summer beach read.  But even so there is always the chance of making a mindless mistake and that's exactly what I did with this pattern.  It is designed to be knit in garter stitch but due to carelessness on my part I accidentally purled across a row creating a stockinette pattern.  Rather than rip back my "mistake" I decided to incorporate it as a design element and call it a "signature mistake." I made that decision because I liked the visual interest the different texture created and so I intentionally purled a row at equal distances through the rest of the pattern.

If you haven't heard the expression "signature mistake" before it is what a knitter will tongue-in-cheek call a mistake they make and decide not to correct.  Some mistakes absolutely have to be corrected and others are more a personal judgement call.  A good rule of thumb is to objectively view the mistake and decide if a non-knitter would recognize the mistake. If not, then it generally isn't worth the time and trouble to correct it.  When you think about it the line between a mistake and a modification is really very fine and  depends upon how you view things.  Are you an optimist or a pessimist?  An optimist sees it as a possibility to personalize a pattern.  A pessimist sees it as a mistake. I'll let you guess which I am.

Particulars: Hitchhiker by Martina Behm (website: Strickmich); 1 skein Ricin Yarn (Merino, bamboo, nylon 440 yds)(colorway Clockwork (March 2013 Gothsock Club); US 5 needles; 36 pattern repeats (sharp points); and blocked dimensions: 76" x 10" (deepest point).  No modifications other than my "signature mistake" described above.  If you are looking for a similar free scarf pattern you might like the Baktus scarf I knit several years ago and blogged as Add Color to Your Summer - Knit a Baktus Scarf.  I really like Goth Sock yarns (Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs) and previously used her yarn to knit socks blogged as Halloween Socks.

A Bike Adventure in Sonoma County ~

I was delighted when Steve suggested while visiting family in Northern California that we take a bike tour of wineries in Healdsburg, California (Sonoma County).   I told him "yes, yes, yes book us!"   Two days before our trip it occurred to me to inquire exactly how long a bike ride would it be?  He paused while he looked up the information on the internet before announcing "25 miles." Now I don't know about you, but to me that sounded like a long bike ride for two people who haven't been on bikes since we were kids.

And frankly, we were incredibly lucky because we had the nicest biking tour company and the best tour guide ever who quickly surmised the situation and adjusted our bike trip to a mere 15 mile trip encompassing several wineries, a scrumptious lunch, and lolling hills at a leisurely pace that we had no trouble with at all.

And we had a blast!  There is nothing like being on a bike to relax and experience the scenery and fresh air as you peddle through gentling rolling hills with shady lanes with plenty of stops to enjoy organic gardens and, of course, the wine and olive oil tastings.  As you can see from these pictures we saw some beautiful country and gardens including the above artichoke bloom; steel bridges, and peaceful creekbeds.

Don't look too closely at us, as cycling while wearing helmets is not exactly conducive to good hair photos.

But hopefully you can tell we were having a super time because we really were.  Surprisingly we were not in the least sore from our excursion and felt great the next day.  We are definitely coming back and will shoot for the full 25 mile tour next time but on a cool Fall day.  We used Wine County Bikes tours and definitely ask for Taylor as your tour guide.

Until next time be well and love well and if you haven't ridden a bike in years (like us) this summer is the perfect time to find out where they rent bikes in your town and play tourist.  I always think a bike ride is most enjoyable if you have a destination in mind and preferably one that involves ice cream!