Archive for October, 2012

Birth of a Sweater Baby

Sweater Baby, as it will always be known by me, began its life as a women’s turtleneck pullover. It was lovely and thick and warm. Its original name was Urban Aran and it hung out  in the now out of print Patons Street Smart pattern booklet.

Then along came a guy named Jared Flood. Jared lived in Brooklyn and LOVED to knit. He especially loved cardigans and anything with an interesting design. When Jared found the Urban Aran (as it is still known by most people) he had one simple question for it: “Why aren’t you a cardigan?”

So Jared set off on a journey to convert this lovely women’s pullover into a non-gender-specific zippered cardigan. Because Jared has knitting skills (and possibly OCD tendencies) beyond those of mere mortals, 20 days later he had a beautiful, finished cardigan for himself. Thankfully he was kind enough to share information on his modifications on his blog.

Here’s where I come in, 6 years later. I was hunting on Ravelry for photos of a different Jared Flood-designed cardigan, hoping to show my girlfriend Michelle what I was planning to knit soon. When, in the search, we stumbled across the Urban Aran Cardigan, I stopped the scrolly-thingy (yes, that IS the technical term) and we both instantly said, “Whoa! That’s it!” Though it wasn’t the one I had set out to find, it became immediately evident that this was the sweater I was looking for! I wanted, no, I NEEDED to knit and wear this amazing sweater!! After a little internet searching and a few bucks sent to a 3rd party Amazon seller I got the original pattern and was ready to apply Jared’s modifications to it.

I wish I could say it took me 20 days but it was more like 5 months. 5 months of fabulous cables and seemingly endless k2p2 ribbing. 5 months of Michelle plotting devious schemes to get her hands on this amazing sweater…we’re both in love with it. She refers to it as our sweater baby and she very much wants to be a loving mommy to it. Now that sweater baby is complete I am so happy with the result. It’s a bit heavy, which will work GREAT in the chilly months of New England. I did have to make one modification: I reinforced the shoulders and the back of the neck. Sweater baby is so heavy that it pulls on the neck ribbing a little too much, leading to the dreaded DSS: Droopy Shoulder Syndrome. I’ve gotten many compliments on the sweater, and am really proud of my first completed sweater for myself.

And yes, I did decide to let Michelle try it out. She said it’s like wearing a blanket.


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Today could have been long and arduous, but was instead a hidden gem.

No, I didn’t do this:

I would have loved to, but my day was a more peaceful one.

It stared with a 6:51 train (we call that TDE: Too Damn Early) into the big, badass city of Boston, and a green-line train to the Family and Probate Court in Cambridge for my divorce hearing. Now, before you get the sad eyes like somebody just died (I’ve seen quite enough of those, thank you!) you must know that we haven’t lived together for almost two years, and for both of us the marriage was over a long time ago. This mainly signaled the end of the mountainous mass of paperwork. We showed up well before the prescribed time of 8:30 and waited for things to get going. When showing up for divorce court, it’s important to take the whole day off, as you don’t know if you’ll be first 3rd, or 15th with a major battle in front of you. For us it was quick, easy, painless, and I was out of there before 10:00.

Hmmm…free day in Boston. What to do with such a gift? Well, here’s what I did:

I enjoyed a lunch of some spicy Thai fast food chicken thingy on the Boston Common while watching the people walk by.

I heard a dude in the Public Garden playing a hurdy-gurdy. Coolest instrument ever!

I browsed some of the insanely expensive shops on Newbury Street and thought, “Shit, even if I had a lot of money, I don’t think I’d pay $450 for that jacket!”

I sat at a table in front of Ben and Jerry’s, knitting a luscious alpaca cabled scarf and enjoying some incredible ice cream.

I was mobbed by a small group of senior citizens at Oak Grove station asking me questions about the aforementioned scarf project. An old lady…that’s right, an OLD LADY was amazed by my complex patterning (she’d have peed herself if she’d seen these!). Yes, my friends, I have arrived!

I saw a real live midget on the bus and…I PROMISE I’m not even joking…laughed my ass off internally as I watched him get off the bus at the Short Street stop in Melrose. I swear I’m not making this up!!!

Having come home earlier than normal, I spent some good daddy time laughing and doing stuff with my younger daughter while the other one was at a friend’s house.

It could have been a hard day. It could’ve totally sucked. Many people’s divorce court days are, I’m sure, quite awful. For me it was simply a chance to finish a process and enjoy a gorgeous autumn day.

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Call it a half-year hiatus. I posted a farewell to my blog readers on April 5th, and am glad I did. Life was busy (still is) and I felt I was drying up on ideas for blog posts. I was going through the motions, and needed a breather. But lately a lot of stories have been coming across my path, and I feel the itch to write again.

Where to start? How about with a random, incomplete list, in no particular order, of things I’ve been up to since April.

Good friends at the Dave Matthews Band concert. Amazing show!!

1. I got to see my favoritest (yes, favoritest is a word, or should be) band in the world, the Dave Matthews Band at the Comcast Arena in Hartford, CT in May. Fantastic show, and some fans even made a high quality dvd of it so I can relive the whole show!

2. Began a 3-summer-long quest to earn my Master of Music Education degree at Gordon College in Wenham. Great program. Intense workload for the summer. Lots of knitting in class. Somehow, one professor never noticed the knitting until 3 weeks in.

3. Tried and failed once again to train for a half marathon. Grad school workload sucked the time and energy away from any plans for a regular running schedule.

4. I began my second year at Crocker Elementary School while my daughters, Emily and Megan, have begun middle school and high school, respectively.  I’m almost used to the idea of having a kid in high school. All three of us love our schools!

Megan finishing her first home meet

5. My love for running has been passed to Megan, who has joined the cross country team at her vocational high school and is having a blast with it.

6. My love for music and knitting has been passed down to Emily, as she has taken on the alto sax in school band and has become obsessed with knitting little critters, mainly owls. In all fairness, Megan played in band and knows how to knit too, just hasn’t done so recently.

7. Traded in my car for a new (to me) car…lower payments, still very efficient, and I love it!


8. In knitting, I have completed 4 pairs of socks (one of which I was working on when I quit blogging), begun and completed a lace scarf (not for me), and begun and almost completed a bigass ribbed/cabled sweater. More on that later.

9. I have extended my career of working with little kiddos into my Unitarian Universalist church, and am teaching a PreK and K Montessori-based “Spirit Play” class. So fun!!

…and lots of other things, some of which you’ll hear about later, some of which stay with me. Most importantly, life has eased into a nice rhythm that makes me happy to be alive each and every day. I have incredible family, friends, and colleagues, and a generally positive flow to life that is FABULOUS! Time to kick it back into gear, folks. Let the stories begin again!

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