So, bowing to online peer pressure, I finally decided to learn the continental method of knitting. I have to say that it isn't as hard to learn as I had thought it would be and I think once my hand gets used to holding the yarn (and stops cramping every few minutes) I will be able to knit a lot faster.
I started knitting a bag that I wanted to look like this when I was done but I'm thinking that it just isn't going to work. I'm not sure I will get the nice neat bottom I wanted. Mr. Gaia has suggested using an embroidery hoop to give it structure. I've considered getting heavy gauge wire and making a frame out of it, but I'm not sure how that will work out.
I may just frog the whole project and make a nice hat for my mother in law (knit hats are not flattering to me, as much as I want them to be). And then I can use the pretty, soft crochet cotton for something knit for me (yes, I know crochet cotton sucks for knitting, it doesn't have enough give, but it's something I have and it is pretty and soft).
9.13 miles. I was really aiming for 10 miles, but without an odometer, it's hard to know how far I've gone. 87.1F, 69% humidity. 17.3 mph SSE winds with gusts of 25.3mph (and believe me, turning into that wind felt like hitting a brick wall, especially since I was stupid and plotted our course to have headwinds at the end).