As I’ve mentioned before, I have been riding my bicycle for my work commute. I don’t use bike gloves since the ones I have used before didn’t really do much in terms of keeping my hands warm. They were more for padding than anything else. But that was over 10 years ago. I don’t know how things have changed since then.

BikeMittHowever, I have been using my handspun fingerless gloves. They work well unless it is really cold or windy. Sometime in December, I lost them. I have no idea where they are. I guess I should check lost and found at work.

In the meantime, the other pair that I had made had also gone MIA. I have absolutely no idea how I could have lost 2 pairs of fingerless mitts when I need them the most.

For now, I am wearing a pair of wind block fleece gloves. They are actually working quite well, but there are times when it’s too mild for them. Besides, I miss my fingertips. I use my fingertips to adjust zippers, hats/ear warmers, earbuds and control my phone (volume and playback). To do that with the fleece gloves, I have to pull over to the side, take the glove off, do what needs to be done, and pull it back on before continuing on my merry way. The gloves are just too bulky.

BikeMittNotesSo, I decided to knit another pair for bicycling. These will be dedicated biking mitts so I took a hard look at what worked well and what could be improved with the pair I lost. Then I winged the rest, designing as I went.

This time around, I didn’t assume that I will remember from one mitt to the other and took copious notes. Not only that, I took notes on something other than the back of an envelope that might accidentally be tossed into the recycling bin.

Wish me luck on the second mitt!

I know, 2 posts in a row. Please pull yourself off the floor. I have some backlog waiting for photo editing and text. We will resume to normal non-posting schedule shortly.

Hummingbird_2Our felting group worked on needle felting small birds this month. We all decided to work on hummingbirds, because they were small. Ha! Small doesn’t mean a light on details! I think an owl would have been faster.

No in progress photos, unfortunately. What you see is 100% wool.

The inner core was some unknown wool batt that Ginger had on hand. I rolled that into a cylinder and started to prick the heck out of it to make a very small dense core in the rough shape of a hummingbird body.

Hummingbird_3I took a small amount of black wool and wrapped that around a toothpick to make the beak. I then gently pulled it off the toothpick and wet felted it into shape. I was too worried about my fingers to try needle felting something that small.

Then, I covered the body with scrap wool from my various spinning classes. Most of it were from Ashland Bay, I believe. The throat was a mix of black, pink and purple blended with my fingers.

The wings were roughly shaped separately before felting into the body. It still need a bit of trimming to shape. I also need to decide on what type of feet to attach and how to perch the bird.

Believe it or not, the hummingbird is fairly true to size (length) and weight of an Anna. So happy with this.

Unfortunately, I found the little bird next to Stormy’s food bowl yesterday. I am not sure how she got it off of the high shelf it was on but she thinks its a cat toy. I need to clean it off a bit — get rid of the cat hair. Sigh.

MuslinBags

A handful of muslin bags for holding bulk food items. It should be more sturdy than those thin plastic bags as well as more environmentally friendly. You only need a bag full of flour fail once to be convinced that there has got to be a better way.

Unbleached muslin and seine twine.

PurpleThing

Lots and lots of stockinette stitch on itty bitty needles. Zephyr with US #0 (2mm).

TallyMarks

When I just have a couple of rows to count, I’ll pull out paper and pencil and start my tick marks. While growing up, I was taught to use the Chinese character (right in the photo above). The character is made of 5 horizontal and vertical strokes. The character means “straight, upright”.

When I moved to the US, I was taught to use the Westernized tally marks (left in the photo above), comprising of 4 vertical marks followed by a slash across the 4 to mark the completion of 5. This has become my default method for marking.

The problem with the Westernized tallies is that it is sometimes hard to distinguish 2 (||) from 11, if you are picking up after a long rest or from someone else’s notes.

So, how do you tally?

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