The Amazing Adventures of Tom and Bel

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Too Darn Hot

I'M still making progress with the cardi, but that train is slowing down due to the abysmal hot weather. Having suffered through many a Minnesota Winter - and trust me, it does deserve capital letters - I feel strongly that I oughtn't complain.
However, the heat is making the yarn stick to me, and there's very little in my daily life that makes me okay with yarn adhering to my flesh. Feh. So the cardi waits for those moments when I can live in the air conditioning.

So I'm swatching the Imagine again (on 4.5mm/US7s now, as the fabric was so stiff on the 4.0mm/US6s) and playing around with this new software I got from Artfibers. I've been wanting to do more knit designing, and I think it will be very helpful to get the math parts done - thus allwoing more of my limited time to be spent on the creative bits.

And just because, a rare sighting of my beloved and me:

Me & the Boy-O on my mom's couch. I'm reading, he's reverting to his natural state.

I'm sure we'll be doing exactly the same thing in thirty years' time.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Yes, there are three circular needles sticking out of the (soon-to-be) black cardi. I've finished both fronts and am slowly working my way up the back. Then it's off to exotic Sleeve Island.
I confess that I'm getting a little bit distracted, as there has been an upsurge of book reading @ Casa de Boy-O.
(I'm sure that's not a surprise - y'all saw me at the fancy library party. I love me some books.)
Still, the amazingly frigid temperatures at my place of employ are motivation enough to finish - I need something to keep me warm!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sublimity - it's not just a town in Oregon

We had a lovely time at the library gala:

Apparently I had a lovelier time than most.

There was music:

The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus. These boys were divine.

And then there was music:

I think the band was playing Aerosmith at this point. And yes, there are some grandmas down there getting down with there bad selves.

Everyone who attended had a book listed on their name tag. When you found your book, there was a lovely surprise:

This represents your contribution to the library. I think it's cute, but I am easily amused.

The next day was the official public opening. Though I was there for work, I did capture a couple of neat moments on my breaks:

Bat Girl & Elvis (both former library staffers).

The teen center is awesome. It's like a super cool bar/lounge. Except in the library. And you can't drink, because you're a teenager. (That didn't stop us on Friday night, of course.)

One of the four fireplaces in the library. All have different works of art on them. Boy-O calls this one "The Death of Violins." (I think it's from reading one too many Terry Prachett novels.)

On Sunday, I also had to work, but at least it was outside (lovely Minnehaha Park - possibly my favorite place in the Cities).
We handed out (literally) thousands of frozen fruit bars to the walkers post-race.

Apparently the little Corgi needed some fruity refreshment as well.

And just to prove that I have been knitting:

We're ready to divide for the raglan shaping now. This cardi is really coming together quickly. Perhaps I'm working so hard because I want to get on to something from Knitting Nature. I am seriously eyeing that asymmetrical tank in Cotton Classic...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Treasure Chest

Treasure chests, I think, are different for different moods. Were I feeling expansive and civic-minded, I might posit that this is definitely one of the best:

The new Minneapolis Central Library. I'll be at the opening gala tonight.

I'm of two minds about this building. While I love the light (I've had a sneak preview, so I know how incredible it looks from inside), The metal overhang messes with my head. I keep expecting it to come crashing down on me.
Still, it's an amazing building, and it holds millions of books that anyone can access, one of the things I treasure most.

However, if I am feeling a bit more self indulgent, I'd say the KnitPicks package which arrived yesterday definitely qualifies as a treasure chest:

That's Knitting in the Old Way, by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts - a classic knitting book I have coveted for some time; it was one of the first books that made me think designing my own sweaters was even remotely possible, let alone worth it - a couple skeins of KnitPicks Elegance, since I haven't tried it yet, and Norah (!) Gaughan's (!) NEW (!) BOOK(!) .
[Yes, I do in fact mean to be shouting. Whoo!]

Hot diggity damn. I've been waiting nearly twenty years for this. The woman is a genius of knitting. I think she may just be a genius, period. Even my math geeky spouse thinks this is one cool book.
Each chapter of the book has a theme, and its garments are all based on interesting natural forms - pentagons, fractals, spirals, etc. There are coats, tunics, wraps and tanks that are all calling my name - highly unusual for me. So many of the current crop of knitting books out there are geared towards newer knitters that I often feel left out. This, however, is exactly my speed.
I can't wait to be done with the current project so I can start something from this book!

Speaking of which, the basic black cardi continues to progress:

9 inches and counting. Only 7 more to go before it gets interesting...

I'm really sorry to have found this yarn just as Berroco's discontinuing it. It's lush and soft and I'm enjoying the smooth, easy knitting. Fortunately, the worsted version of Softwist is still around.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Next Big Thing

I'm flattered by your kind comments on Goddess 2.0; it was an enjoyable knit and I am super proud that I managed to finish something besides a scarf! Lately I've been kinda scatterbrained.

The new cardigan is going well - after the DK weight I used for the last sweater, the Softwist Bulky feels huge. After two not-very dedicated days of work, here's how it looks:

This is the best I could do for photography. I guess I misunderstood the husband when he said to use a white piece of paper to get more light reflected in the picture. I'll get him to take a better shot when there is interesting progress to show. (Still, three inches! Whee!)

Even though the yarn is a heavy worsted, which normally means work in pieces so that the seams will add stability, I decided to work in the round. I figure the less finishing I have to do, the more likely something will get finished!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Done, da done done...

Yes, folks, Goddess 2.0 is done! I am quite pleased with the way this sweater has turned out.

'Scuse my bra straps. My photographer was "enjoying the view" and didn't mention them.

Here she is from the back:

I like the longer length because it hits in exactly the right place to break up the expanse of boo-tay.

Details: Sweater, #6, Vogue Knitting, S/S 2004
Size: 41" (knitted measurements)
Yarn: Artfibers Kurasawa
Mods: Added 2" in length, ribbed back neck, widened straps, totally different gauge

While we were out, the Boy-O caught the beloved dawgs in their usual modes:

Tom-tom: becoming one with the grass. Bel: looking for some action.

Since I seem to be on an amazing streak of project monogamy (Two! Count 'em, two in a row!), I have decided what my personal runway needs most is a simple black cardigan.
(I know y'all can't wait for the exciting photos of that.)

Since I want to have this one PDQ, I picked up some disco'd Softwist Bulky from Depth of Field.
Then I've spent a good chunk of the last two days looking for a pattern (exerting enough effort in the process that I may as well have designed something, but that's another story. Lordy, I wish someone would create an index for these mags.)

These were the final candidates:

All of them fit the gauge of my swatch (I am feeling strongly opposed to the doing of maths right now, thanks), so I let the Boy-O pick.

Me: What do you think?
Boy-O: You already have too many sweaters with holes in them...
Me: !!!
B: And why would you pick this plain one here? You'll go nuts trying to make that...
Me: Okaaaay (questioning his involvement at this point)...What about this one (the green raglan)?
B: Nah, I think that neck thing is stupid..
Me: (!) Huh.
B: I like this one. It's simple, but it's interesting enough that you won't go mad..

Boy-O's choice.

Clever, that husband of mine. He's a keeper.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Progress, of a sort

Progress on the Goddess Tank has slowed down dramatically, since the back is done and the fronts require my full attention if I don't want to have to re-do them a million times.

I'm about to make the strap on the left front (that's the stitches on the safety pin).

I'm still a huge fan this yarn. I wish I could take a picture that properly captures its beauty.
I'm attending a big fancy event next week, so I'm hoping to have this tank done in time for that.

Yesterday was my day off, but I've been feeling a bit wiped, so I s/watched (that's swatching while watching a film, doncha know) some old Classic Elite Imagine and Gosford Park.
Both were lovely.

I like this yarn both for its variegation (much more contrast than I'd usually select) and its sparkle (due to the rayon content). The hand is rather crisp, and it will make a lovely, summery camisole.

I'll leave you with my yoga baby. She's really taken with my sticky mat.

Upward-Facing Dog.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sweet and Sour

Since I basically did nothing but knit yesterday, I have spent the second of my two days off enjoying the company of my kitchen. The concoction you see in the photo to the left is the beginning of a fabulous, fabulous Moroccan condiment: preserved lemons. It's just lemons, lemonjuice, and salt. Click on the link to go to a lovely photo tutorial.

These lemons go beautifully with chicken tagine (the dish is named for the pot in which it is prepared), or with fish, on buttered vegetables or in a creamy and delicious risotto.

Be forewarned, though - they take weeks to cure, so you must be patient. (We sell them at the store where I work, so I don't have to be. I just figured I'd get some going at home, while I had the time.)

A simple shake once a day, and in about 30-45 days, the lemons will be ready to use in any of the aforementioned dishes.
Incidentally, if you aren't a regular reader of The Hungry Tiger and are the least bit interested in food, I'd strongly recommend a subscription. Her writing makes me hungry!

Though I'm happy to start this long-term project, in my heart of hearts, I am a sucker for instant gratification, so I decided to make candied lemon peel with the remaining lemons:

I threw in some ginger as well, since the Boy-O loves very few things on earth as well as he loves candied ginger. This is easy: the recipe I followed was essentially this one. Bonus: the leftover simple syrup is flavored with both lemon and ginger, and will make a great base for drinks.

And I actually did make more progress on the goddess tank:

Though the yarn is perfect and the knitting has been quite peaceful, I have to confess that I've struggled with this project.

For various reasons, I want to lose a good chunk of weight, and I've been feeling ambivalent about knitting something to fit me right now. Intellectually I know it's foolish, but emotionally it seemed that I was less than worthy - that I should somehow 'save' this project and this yarn which I so adore for that thinner, more perfect version of myself.

I debated all while I was doing the calculations to make the gauge fit my own, and I kept going back and forth on the subject in my head. In the end, however, the boy won me over with his impeccable logic.

"Make this one to fit you now," he said, "and when you lose the weight we'll go back to San Francisco and I'll buy you more yarn."

Sigh. Is it any wonder I adore that man?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sheer Bliss

I have been terribly quiet of late, partly because of the 'busy-ness' that goes along with my job, but also because I am so enjoying the knitting of the Kurasawa.
It is flowing and yummy and I am in love with this yarn (!).

After all my giddiness about designing something of my own, I realized that the sweater I wanted most had already been designed - and in fact, I've already made it once before: the Goddess Tank from VK's S/S '04 issue. The pattern calls for a double strand of Vittadini Celia, but I've done the math and the Kurasawa is knitting up beautifully.
{You can see the one I was forced to give to made for my sister in the Flickr photo collection in my side bar.)

I'm much farther along than this, but am entirely too lazy to take another photo. I'm working in the round, so I've just started the bust increases. I should be done with those today, then it's on to the armholes and the crossed straps in the front.
I know I shouldn't say it, as I've probably just jinxed myself and will promptly be run over/break my fingers/get a rare gastrointestinal bird flu that sidelines me for a week , but I could be wearing this one next week!