Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Holy Rollers

It’s hard for me to believe, but I’m going to be riding with John on the Holy Rollers ride this year.  The Holy Rollers is a group of United Methodist clergy and laity who cycle throughout the year for fun and exercise and then ride a long distance to our Annual Conference in June.  This year the group is riding from Lynchberg, VA to Conference in Norfolk, VA.  About 3,000 people attend the Annual Conference from all over Virginia, but most of them arrive by car.  About 25 will arrive by bicycle this year, having ridden up to 250 miles over 3 days.  Ugh!

I will be riding up to 30 miles each this Friday and Saturday.  John will ride with me (quite slowly by his standards).  Then I’ll get in a support vehicle and drive the rest of the 100 miles each day while he cycles it (much faster).  We will not be riding on Sunday, as we want to be at our churches for Sunday services.  We’ll go to Norfolk by car that evening.  

But our friend Chet will ride the entire way.  Here’s a picture of us today as we prepare for the ride.  Putting three bicycles together in a triangle makes the logo for the Holy Rollers.  I’ve been told this picture and the story I wrote will be on the front page of our local paper tomorrow.  (John and I are center and left–Chet’s on the right.)

You can see a short video on the Holy Roller website from last year’s ride from Mt. Jackson, VA to Roanoke (only about 160 miles!).  John’s in it, but you have to watch carefully.



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Well, I frogged the yellow Twisted Tulip socks.  They’re way too complicated to work on right now.  Not especially hard, just requiring concentration and undivided attention which I cannot currently provide.  I think they’re a vacation-in-Taos project.    

They’re going back into the stash for a while and I’m moving on to the Sweater Sampler from Jacqueline Fee’s The Sweater Workshop.  ‘Turns out I did not have any appropriate yarn in my stash, so I picked up some today in Williamsburg (about a 90 minute drive) at Knitting Sisters.


It was soooooooooo hard not to buy anything else, but I’m trying to keep the yarn stash as low as I can. Good thing I had John along to help hold me back from temptation because they do have some lovely yarns.

It was especially tempting since I just received part of my Knit Picks order which included Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.  I’ve been wanting that book for a long time and ordered it along with the lace blocking wires which have not yet arrived.  I’m assuming they were shipped in a separate package, being long and narrow and sized totally differently than a book.  

I’m waiting on those wires so I can block my Aspen Grove Shawl.  We’ve had some cool, rainy weather today, and it’s reminding me that some cooler days will be arriving before too long that will be perfect for that shawl.

Another errand today in W’Burg was to get my new bike tuned up.  John has it completed and just needed a little adjusting help from an expert.  So if it’s dry tomorrow I’ll get to try it out.

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Yesterday I went with John on the Holy Rollers ride of the Charlottesville Challenge bicycle route through the beautiful Albemarle County countryside.  I took my bike along hoping to ride at least a little of the route, but soon realized it would be too strenuous for me.  I did see one small stretch I might have been able to handle, but most of the route is a series of fairly steep hills-at least in my estimation.  It’s rated strenuous for strong cyclers, so I knew in advance it would probably not be for me at my current level.

So I drove the support vehicle instead, and I felt that was a good thing because one of the riders had a flat tire very early on in the ride and had not brought along a spare tube.  Luckily, John had packed his tire pump in the truck and we were able to bring it to the rescue.  I also thought I might need to give one or two of the riders a break riding in the truck, but they are all very seasoned riders, and not one of them needed the help.  My other task was to help point out turns.  So all in all it was a good day with gorgeous weather and wonderful pastoral scenery.  Mishka even went along with me for company.  

Driving and watching the others ride made me envious, though, and I really do want to get to a point where I can actually ride on some of these trips myself.  

I thought I might get some knitting done while waiting at checkpoints, but those cyclers were so fast that I would just get the knitting out of the bag and put in a stitch or two and we’d be ready to move on.  

So here’s where I am on my Aspen Grove Shawl:  20 rows into the last 44 of the final section.

I should be able to finish this week and get it onto the blocking board.  That will be about a month early for the Seasons of Lace: Summer 2008 knit along.  I could start another lace piece, but I think I’m ready to get back to some sock knitting and something a little less challenging for a while.

I’m continuing to work on learning to use my new Mac and think I have figured out getting the pictures into the blog with WordPress, but haven’t yet figured out how to get the more elegant look I could get with Live Writer.  I’m learning a little more each day.

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I thought I was making good progress on my Aspen Grove Shawl yesterday, when once again I made a mistake and dropped a couple of stitches that have required me to tink back most of what I put in yesterday.  I gave up on it last night and will get back to it this afternoon.  I think I have about one and a half more rows to tink, which will be pretty much back where I started yesterday. 

However, the pattern in the second section is now beginning to be visible.


For anyone who might be following my cycling progress, I actually have been getting some in since our move to Emporia.  I’m not sure whether I have mentioned my 18-mile ride a few Saturdays ago with a group from my church.  That stands as my longest ride so far.  Boy, was I tired afterwards.  I’ll take altitude over humidity any day for cycling.

Since then I’ve been trying to get out at least twice a week for a 10-miler.  This morning I cut my time from over 50 minutes to 47 minutes, averaging about 13 mph, with max speed over 20 mph.  It may not sound like much to real cyclists, but it’s a lot of progress for me.

We are meeting more and more people in town and from my congregation who cycle, so I think John’s hopes to put together a cycling group for families, focusing on children and teens, may get a lot of help. 

John has been gathering the pieces for building a cross bike for me.  That’s a bike that can be easily ridden on regular roads, but also on dirt and gravel that is not too rough.  It’s a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike, thus “cross” bike.  We left our real mountain bikes in New Mexico, so I need something here that will allow me to ride on some of the great park and forest paths that there are in Virginia. 

Plus, of course, John has been itching to build another bike.


So far he has the frame, which is MUCH lighter than my current road bike, the wheels, which will have wider tires put on them than in the picture, and the handlebar.  He’s become a real fan of e-bay where he has purchased these pieces for a fraction of the retail prices and he bought a good share of the parts for the super lightweight, very cool road bike that he recently built for himself.

I pretend to be interested in all these parts and pieces in the same way he pretends to be interested in my quilt pieces, knitting yarns and dyestuffs. 

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Architectural Detail

We’ve now gotten internet service at our house and I’m hoping it’s strong enough to upload my usual load of pictures.  We’re getting quite nicely settled in.  Most of the boxes are unpacked, except my workroom, which will be the next priority.

I like to use pictures that I find of detail in all kinds of places for design sources for quilt making, especially applique and quilting designs, and embroidery, and I’ve found that architectural details and stained glass window motifs are great sources.

Now that I’ve had a chance to really walk around the church building I’ve found some really nice architectural details to put into my design source file.

Here’s a carving from the front door.


Here are some of the motifs from the wonderful stained glass windows that surround the sanctuary.





I’ve added a few more rows to my Aspen Grove Shawl, but not enough to show much progress in pictures.  I’ll show it when I get the first section completed.

I’ve also finished my Branching Out lace scarf and am ready to put it on the blocking board.

I’ve taken “before” pictures of my sewing/work room so that when I get it put together I can show “after pictures” along with them.  But everything is still pretty much in progress.

I hope that now that we have internet service I can get back to more regular postings.    

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One more round is completed on the snail trail.


Yesterday we did some driving around the area.  We were on some back roads south of Petersburg and found this water area.  We weren’t able to find the name of it–don’t know if it is swamp, pond, or river–but we were amazed at the thousands of blossoming pink and white water lilies.

I took some pictures across the water and a few close ups of the water flowers near the road.  I wish I could have gotten across the water to see this mass of flowers close up.





We also drove a short distance into North Carolina and had lunch at a lovely tea room called Timeless Tea in Roanoke Rapids.  It’s a really neat place divided into separate tea rooms, including a princess tea room especially for little girls and a tea for two room.  We’ll definitely be going back there.

We also found the Roanoke Canal Trail along the Roanoke River.  There’s a very nice museum that details the lock system that used to be used to move goods up and down the river.  We didn’t have time to explore the museum and trail yesterday, but will as soon as we can.  It’s an eight mile long trail than can be walked or cycled.  Roanoke Rapids is about twenty minutes from Emporia.   

Our third stop was The Woolery in Mufreesboro, NC.  It’s known as one of the best sources in the country for spinning and weaving materials and tools.  Sadly, I forgot to check the hours.  They are only open a few Saturdays and this was not one of them.  Another place to return to.  I did peek in the windows and saw lots of great things.   

That also means I didn’t get the needles to start my shawl.  I’ll be checking out the Yarn Lounge in Richmond this afternoon.

‘Went out for my first bicycle ride in VA since our return, this morning and was amazed how much easier it was.  Elevation really does make a difference. 

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John’s socks are finished.  It was interesting to see how differently each sock turned out.


Each skein of the Interlacements Tiny Toes yarn was slightly different although in the same dye color and lot.  That’s the fun of hand dyed and hand painted yarns.


As usual, my camera takes pictures a little bluer than is true color, so the blue in these is more purple than this.

Speaking of John, I have some pictures from his 150-mile bike ride, which actually was more like 159 miles, this past weekend.





This last one is of the Blue Ridge mountains which the team rode through and over on their ride.

These pictures were taken by some of the people who drove support vehicles along with the Holy Rollers team.

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