The Amazing Adventures of Tom and Bel

Monday, January 30, 2006

Bumps in the Road

A Knitter's Story, with Pictures (And Beer)
by Cher

This is my progress on the back of the new baby sweater. The psychic super observant among you might note that the ribbing is tighter on this piece than on the sleeves. (I lost one of my straight #3s, so I went down to a #2.) Still, it's a respectable start.

This is the amount of yarn I had left after getting to this point. Tragedy is imminent.

"But this is most unlike me!" I say, with agitation. " I always buy enough yarn!" (As the Boy-O will tell you, my immense stash is a testament to the care I take on occasions such as this.)
Though I search and search, I can't find the other skein of yarn.

There's nothing for it but a trip to the yarn store. Damn. Precious knitting time lost.
Deciding to suck it up make lemonade with this tart situation, I conclude that I'll take the Bel with me. It's a good long walk, and we'll enjoy some 'girl time.'

Two hours (yes, you read right) of slogging through the sleet and rain and snow and mud later, we reach the yarn shop.
(For anyone who has been to Minneapolis, I know it doesn't seem that it should take that long. The city just isn't that big. However, if you are on foot, and there's a lake between you and where you're going, things get a little tricksy.)

This is the reward for the slog over to 44th & Drew. A notice that all of the sale merchandise has moved to a new location @ 57th & Nicollet.
You are perhaps unsurprised that, at this point, words were used which might not be appropriate in the vicinity of other human beings. Or baby sweaters.

So: grumble, grumble, cuss, cuss, great double damn, let's head home with the dog.
Another hour (and more mud, sleet/snow/whatever the hell that weather was yesterday) later, dog has been deposited safely at the home, and I'm off to the sale shop.
Most annoyingly, the sale shop is a far easier trip (less than 15 mins by bus - under 10 in good weather).

This is the single skein of the yarn that was left at the outlet store.

I am sure you will remain unsurprised that more grumbling and cussing occured.
It was so bad, in fact, that I dragged my Boy-O into the kitchen and forced him to serve me jalapeno bacon burgers and Blackthorn.
(Did I mention that I adore that man?)

As we sat around, after the burgers and beers and our favorite TV show, I said, sadly, dreading the ripping out of both sleeves and most of the back, "It's really a shame I couldn't find the rest of the yarn for this sweater. "
And the Boy-O, darling that he is, loyally agrees that it is indeed a shame, and -- hey, it's not that yarn over there, is it?

These are the two -- two! -- skeins of yarn I had left, and the missing #3 needle. All of which were right here in our home all the time.
This means, of course, that I will very likely end up with exactly one skein left over.

Sigh. At least the dog enjoyed herself.

If you should encounter your own bumps in the road, check out Rebecca Turbow's line of Safe Clothes. They're apparently made from the same material as medical scrubs, and have multiple layers that protect your vulnerable spots. interesting stuff...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

And then there were two...

The Marshall sweater is coming along nicely. My schedule's a little weird this week, but I do have a few hours I can devote to it. I should easily finish before the Knitting Olympics starts.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Sometimes, try though I might to simplify, I can't help but make things more complicated for myself.

For example: I have a friend & co-worker who's been out on maternity leave. Suddenly aware of V's impending return, I immediately searched for a lovely knitted gift for her baby boy.
I found (to my ever lasting delight) Rowan Babies.

Honestly: no one has ever been as cute as these little people. I think there's a secret factory somewhere in Britain that just churns them out. But I digress.

Now - on a tight deadline, with roughly similar yarn requirements, I could knit either this handsome, easy, stockinette item:

Or this:

Y'all know what I'm doing, right?

Really: who could be expected to resist?

(Of course, y'all know these pictures are copyrighted by Rowan and/or the photographer who took them (i.e., not me). All their rights reserved, etc.)

Friday, January 20, 2006


Well, kids, I'm in. I oughtn't even even consider the Knitting Olympics, but gosh darn it, I am feeling the need for some focus. Despite the huge-mongous projects I have to manage during the stated time frame (or perhaps because of them -- I don't really know), I plan to complete this:

(Picture swiped from Jean Moss' website, where one can purchase this item in handy-dandy kit form. She is a genius. Go buy some stuff from her.)

I have recently learned that my wardrobe is sadly lacking in cardigans.
The Boy-O & I trekked over to Lands' End back in November, where I am ashamed to say I broke down and (gasp!) Bought A Sweater for myself.
[Seriously, does anyone else do that? "I don't need to buy a sweater? I can knit, for goodness sake!" And then you knit yourself exactly No Sweaters of the type you were eyeballing?]

Anyway, I wear this boughten sweater ALL THE TIME. It is peeled off only for bed -- and I will admit to having fallen asleep in it more than once -- and bathing.
So for the sake of my co-workers/loving spouse/darling pets, I must add at least one more cardigan to the paltry collection I presently possess.
I'm planning to use the Shetland Tweed I scored on eBay a while back. Swatching to commence shortly.

I'm even considering a fallback sweater: Alice Starmore's Maidenhair Cardigan (click on the link to see Wendy's beautiful version). That way lies madness, which should help me in my efforts to stay on track with this project!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Come on: You know you wanna play...

As soon as I figure out what I want to do, I'm in...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Winter Wonderland

(How cool is THIS??)

The Winter VK is out... I'm amazed that after this many years (twenty years of knitting, people - the mind reels) I still find several sweaters I'd like to make in each issue. Plus there's a nice article on the hip new trend of podcasting, featuring Marie Irshad of Knitcast (who looks nothing like what I thought she'd look like - I imagined a dark-haired, studious Helena Bonham Carter type, not the glowingly pretty blonde in the photo) and Brenda Dayne of Cast On.

There are some fabulous sweaters in this issue -- y'all know I love me some cables, so it was all good. And even a cute bit of color work:

All photos property of Vogue Knitting/Soho Publishing (i.e., not me).

If I weren't in the midst of designing some stuff of my own, I'd already be knitting one of these...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

To the MAX

I have been remiss in thanking you all for the kind comments and words of condolence. Please know that I sincerely appreciate your thoughts. They have been a balm to my wounded spirit.

Though we continue to deal with this latest loss, I also wanted to acknowledge the loss of my husband's grandfather just over a year ago. I had been trying to think of something suitable for most of the week, and when I proposed that we spend some time at the Science Museum of Minnesota, my darling boy agreed.
Of course, since we were thinking of Rep, we had to visit their dinosaur collection. We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the exhibit -- indeed, of the museum itself. From my Chicago-centric perspective, it's something of a cross between The Field Museum and The Museum of Science & Industry, with a little bit of art thrown in for good measure.

I hadn't been to a (non-art) museum for quite a while, and it was a great refresher for me.
I love the fact that Rep was able to make a career out of playing in the dirt. It's something to aspire to, no?

We also saw the IMAX feature Mystery of the Nile. Well, the hubster saw it, as I spent about half of the film with my eyes shut, remembering why I haven't been to an IMAX show in over a decade. Can't imagine how I forgot that IMAX makes me sick - literally. All that swooping camera motion destroys my equilibrium; I haven't been that nauseous for a long time.

(Post show, my darling husband, ever the precise, scientifically-minded fellow that he is -- it really does run in the family -- cheered me up with a bit of snark. Little things, like the fact that the explorers being shown making their landing on the beach, being the 'first' to come down the river and accomplish this arduous journey, were in fact, walking towards the camera -- which would make the camera crew the first persons to have accomplished this. Oops. Or the fact that they hired a crew of Ethiopians to take them on this journey (the credits list is a mile long) and once this fact is mentioned, you never see any of them again - just the five scientists/reporters.)

Still, the scenery was quite beautiful, and made me long for a visit and an adventure of my own.
(Though perhaps not one involving bandits. That was a bit scary.)

After all that, we ended up joining the museum (does this officially make us fusty?) as we figured the cost per usage was quite competitive (thanks, Jenifer, for reminding me of this useful principle!).

Oh, wait. Knitting blog. Y'all probably want to see some yarn, right?
Well, not a lot of knitting is taking place -- thus far, this month is shaping up as the month of swatching. Just playing with lovely colors and texture. I've been picking up single balls of this and that, not committing to any of them, and it's been lovely.

The obsessive observant amongst you might note the book underneath the pile o'swatchdom - something I also intend to play with. To that end, there's also been a teeny little bit of stash enanhancement:

Sigh. All the pretty colors. Don't you just love wool?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back Again

It's hard for me to fathom the concept of 'getting back to normal.' In this instance, I am quite certain that there is no such thing as normal for our family, ever again.
But there is a sense, in my heart, that acknowledging the pain, and moving through it, are what I have to do in order to survive. So that is my only New Year's resolution: I will continue to love my big brother, to miss him, to grieve him, but I will keep moving.

The Boy-O & I have had a quiet week since our return from Chicago. We've gone out a few times, but stayed in for NYE. Couldn't muster up any enthusiasm for that on either of our parts. We're just glad to be done with a very challenging year.

In knitting, there is little to report.
I am swatching some ideas & working on a few things, but haven't committed to any of them yet. So instead of showing off my progress, I'll instead share with you what I found on Daily Candy: talented designer Laddhavan Sutana. Her work seriously reminds me of the fabulous Teva Durham. I look forward to seeing more from this young lady.