I can move another project out of the WIP column: the lacy scarf I've been carrying around for the past week is finally finished. Now, I can return my attentions to the shell that has been neatly rolled in my bag for the past couple of weeks. I carefully tore out the supermarine section, which had been knit at too small a gauge. This is a bit tricky with long haired angora/mohair fibers. Now, I am working on one of the tasks I like least in knitting: a gauge swatch. It's necessary to make a properly fitted garment, but I hate making something that I know will be torn out again. Better a four inch square than half a sweater!


I made a little trip to Arcadia Knitting in Andersonville over the weekend, since I had a few questions about yarn substitutions in patterns. If you haven’t been to Arcadia, I highly recommend paying them a visit. It’s run by a pair of sisters who are cool and quite helpful. The store is arranged by color, which is great if you tend to gravitate towards certain colors. On this visit, I found a very cool hank of Classic Elite Yarns Commotion in the discount bin. Elite lists two gauges for this yarn, one for a fairly tight fabric and the other for a loose, lacy fabric. I’m making a scarf on 10.5 needles, twenty stitches wide, as instructed by one of the sisters. She also advised me on alternate yarns to use for patterns in the Rowan Big Easy book. The scarf, which is a guilt project, is moving very quickly, as overgauge projects do. I’ve already knitted over two yards! It attracts a lot of compliments when I work on it in public.
I've also undertaken some sewing projects this week, thanks to the generous gift of several funky fat quarters from my mom. She gets a collection of them in the mail every month. Two of them are in the process of becoming bags: one a bag just the right size for carrying a sock project, and the other a small handbag. The handbag has been a bit of a headache, so when the bobbin thread ran out this morning, I decided to call it a day.
Wednesday, I took in the Magnum Cinema exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center. It was a lovely way to pass an afternoon. I love the work that the Magnum photographers did in the fifties and sixties: dramatic, noir, well-composed, and grainy. It's the work that I aspire to make, which I guess means that I'm either really retro or forty years behind the times. There were a lot of images from the set of The Misfits, the film that Arthur Miller wrote for Marilyn Monroe. The Magnum group had the sole rights to photograph on the set. It's a great show that I would recommend to anyone who loves classic cinema or fifties photography.


We have a show! Last night went so much better than the previous night. Now, we have only to tighten it up.


Yet another hard night at the light board last night....The stage manager and the lighting desiger had a sotto voce conversation, which I in my usual paranoid state, assume was about my perceived or possibly actual incompetence. It's a hard show to run, due to its cue structure and the fact that it's all manual. The board is like chess: I have to be able to see so many moves ahead of where I am to make sure that I don't make stupid errors. Sometimes, I look at it and I can see how I'm going to run half of the show; I know exactly how my hands have to move. Other times, I can't see any of that. So this has been a little hard on my ego.


My sweater has hit a big snag. I was knitting like crazy during rehearsals, receiving lots of praise and requests for knitting lessons (the answer to which is always yes), and made a big gauge error. I worked in a beautiful supermarine angora for the collar area and made it too small. I looked at it after I bound off and realized that there's no way that my big head will fit through that hole. So, I have to tear it out again and reknit it with a larger pair of needles. I haven't the heart to do this, so I've put the project away for a few days and have been working on my supertiny gauge charcoal wool socks instead. That project is moving at a glacial pace and I'm okay with it. I don't need instant gratification all the time.

Tech, tech, and more tech. Tattoo Girl goes into previews on Wednesday, which is alarmingly soon for me. I had a really shitty rehearsal last night. I messed up the set up of a single cue and it tracked into the next ten. I'd much rather have this happen in rehearsal instead of in front of an audience, but honestly, I'd rather that it didn't happen. A dry tech may be in the works. The people working in the other half of the space threw the breaker on the main in the middle of our run last night, and were pretty casual about it. 'Did you throw the breaker', 'Oh..yeah', 'Can you reset it again please?'. We're all in our own little worlds in theatre, but that was ridiculously thoughtless.
Other things that are happening: I'm crashing with friends for a few days, to cut down on the long late night commute. This is in exchange for working in the woodshop, which can be quite pleasant. The current project is one that was in the planninng stages last summer, when I regularly worked in workshop, so there is a nice sense of continuity.
Last night, after my bad, bad rehearsal, I received an email from Blue Heron. My August project has been shut down for lack of funding. I am saddened by that, as I like the production team and the opportunity to design (and earn money). Still, this seems like a blessing in disguise. The production is technically on hold, but I'm going to clear the commitment from my calendar and attempt to fill those dates with new projects. Possibly more NY things, like fringe fest or the juicy met job that was just posted on backstagejobs. I've really got to add a links list to this page. Yet another question for dad!


I started work at the Viaduct theatre on Tuesday. It’s an odd little space, with an inconspicuous sign made of plywood. Very easy to miss. Cobalt is working in the smaller space, which has a crazy, uneven floor and wrought iron chandeliers that give it a very goth look. The people in the ensemble are really nice, making it a very comfortable work environment. And the commute takes about half the time that the trip to my last job did!
So that is off to an auspicious start. I’m starting research for my August project. I keep returning to my Cindy Sherman book, even though the film stills don’t really express the lighting situations that I want. It’s the dramatic tension, I suppose, or the effect of having a small, small collection of art books. Hope that I can find real film stills from the film noir era. I adore the inky black cinematography of the 40s, but it doesn’t always translate to the stage. For some odd reason, people want to see the actors.
I’ve temporarily stopped working on my shell. I worked in the purple mohair and it looks bad. The contrast between the two colors is too great, and I worked it in too late. So I’ll have to return to the Weaving Workshop to pick up a more complimentary yarn, then tear out about twenty rows. It’s much better than just living with a bad design choice, though.
Since my load-in schedule is much lighter than expected, I went to Guild on Wednesday after telling people that I wouldn’t be there again for weeks. I didn’t have anything else to do. It was a wonderful coincidence, because similar reasons brought my friend Kate, a busy, busy actress who I see every couple of months, there as well. We were chatting about our upcoming projects (the old question, ‘what are you working on?’ is much less annoying when you’re actually working on something), and I brought up my upcoming internship at Dance Theatre Workshop. She very casually asked me if I needed crash space. I had a strong feeling that I would find something through six degrees of separation, but I hadn’t even thought to ask Kate. She’s so kind and generous and must have the best crash karma of anyone I know. So it was a very lucky impulse that brought us both to Julia’s house last night.


Sorry I haven’t updated this page in ages. I’ve been a busy girl. This past week, I worked as an assistant on a pair of Durang one-acts at a community college. All of the actors were students, but the techs were all pros. It was nice to be back in the theatre environment, but there were a lot of things that could have run smoother. And I certainly don’t miss that hour and a half commute.
I was supposed to see the new Charles Mee play at Lookingglass on Sunday, but I got caught in a big Cinqo de Mayo traffic jam on the way to the theatre. Instead, I headed up to the Weaving Workshop in Lincoln Park, in search of European pattern books and yarn for a project. I picked up the latest issue of Rebecca magazine (there’s an old blog about it at www.chicknits.com), mostly for a short sweater with cabled smocking, which sounds bad but is actually quite stylish. I also bought the Rowan Big Easy book, which contains about fifteen giant gauge chunky garments designed for trendy young knitters. Alas, the yarn used in all of them is expensive and I am broke. Maybe when I have a day job.
So I’ve started a shell, from a chicknits free pattern, in a green merino/angora blend. I’m afraid that I will run out of yarn before I finish it, so I’m toying with the idea of making a yoke type pattern with an excellent purple mohair that I have left from making a scarf for my godmother. I can’t decide if it will be ohmigod gorgeous or hideous. I’m very fond of designs that walk that fine line.
What else has happened? Well, I had an interview for an internship at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York, which started as a sort of comedy of errors. Things worked out well in the end, though, and I am now looking for temporary digs in NYC for this summer. On the cheap. The Blue Heron show that I am designing later this summer had its first production meeting. I really like the director; it seems like a good group. The design is going to be really abstract, my favorite kind of show. The director went straight for my favorite photograph in my portfolio. So, it was a big relief to me that the show isn’t being produced as a kitchen sink comedy, as it was in the Steppenwolf production. I
start work tomorrow on Tattoo Girl at Viaduct Theatre. This will be my second Izuka show.
**Ongoing Projects**
*blue cotton socks to be given as a mother’s day present to my grandmother. My mom has been playing knitting fairy lately and knit an inch or two for me while I was at work.
*peach boucle anklets in Impressionist yarn. Chalk it up to spring weather and an impulse buy from the sale shelf at Knitting Etc.
*grey wool socks lined in white mohair. This is moving super slowly, since I am working it on 00 needles. Luckily, there’s no rush.
*the excellent shell mentioned above, in Takhi Sable, a sale table find!
*the purses, still
**Planned Projects**
*Lots of socks. They’re a good warm weather project.
*The Interweave sweater pattern, mentioned previously
*The Rebecca smocked sweater, once I find the right yarn
*A new, improved website.
**Projects I’d Love to Undertake**
*One of the many excellent Peace Fleece kits (go check them out at www.peacefleece.com)
*One of the big, funky Rowan projects from my new book

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