Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Trick for Improving I-Cord Tension

Here's a little teaser for my upcoming I-cord series....

I-cord made with knitting needles or a crochet hook often looks like this:

Tidy front, laddered back

The standard treatment for laddered I-cord is to tug firmly at both ends to even up the stitches. Let's see how that works:

After tugging: stitches are even, but tension is poor

Is there a way to make firmer I-cord without using a special gadget? Yes. You can try working more tightly. You can switch to smaller needles or hook.

Or you can use this simple trick:

Starting at the bottom, hook up the ladder-like strands,
one at a time, into an extra column of stitches.


Firmer I-cord

Mind the Gap: Using this trick creates a hole at the starting end of the I-cord. Stay tuned for a full tutorial that will show you how to bridge the gap.
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Monday, March 5, 2018

At Last

My cycling season ends in November, when dreary days and cooling temps make me glad to hang up the bike for the winter. December is too busy and cold even to think of riding.

It's usually January when the cycling urge begins to stir, with sudden memories of past rides flickering at the edges of thought. The longing grows with the lengthening days of February, and, when the calendar turns to March, becomes acute.

Once the roads are clear of snow and ice, the wait begins in earnest for a modestly warm day, preferably sunny and windless, and free of prior engagements.

Sunday afternoon meets nearly all the requirements: low 40s, bright and clear, morning church over and done. There's a biting east wind gusting to 23 miles per hour, but what is that to a road-starved cyclist hungering for the first mileage of the year? So Tallulah and I head out joyfully for a glimpse of 2018 from the saddle.


Almost the first thing we see is our own familiar shadow:

A shot of Miss T, who forgot her cycling helmet and is sporting a stylish winter hat:

We see pale fields resting under a late-winter sun...

...and find to our sorrow that a favourite barn has disappeared, leaving only a stone foundation behind:

Iris the bike renews acquaintance with a local bridge while I take pictures of the stream:

The wind loses its bite once we turn away from it and head back towards town.

We take one last photo - a well-loved scene of barns and trees and deep, deep blue sky:

A mile or two more, and we're home.

The first ride of the year is not only exciting, but symbolic. It meands that winter's back is broken; warmth and life are returning to the land; a year of unexplored roads awaits.


March in Wisconsin is notoriously changeable. Yesterday the sun shone, but tonight we have blizzard-like conditions. The next ride may be weeks away - but for now, this one is enough.

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