I want to be her again. The girl who went off to Europe by herself and didn't speak English for a week, happily.
Instead, I work a mind-numbing job and go to un-fun parties. I drank an immoderate amount of red wine. I got cornered by a coworker for twenty minutes, as he urged me to come to an EST seminar. I broke a heel and sent drunken text messages. Thank god I know how to exude fabulousness! There was someone at the party who wanted to meet me, apparently, whom I very much did not want to meet. Our paths crossed, and I was fierce, fabulous, and fucked up. We didn't meet. It could be very awkward if we did.
The next day, I was hung over. Did I make an ass of myself? Am I too obvious? Can people tell that I didn't make it home? All of those sad insecurities came back. I'm probably not going to get drunk like that again for a long time. Because I need to be fearless and fabulous in my everyday life.


I'm in a much better state of mind than in my last post. No fists of frustration. My email archives were miraculously restored when I synced to Gmail through their POP server. Every email that I have sent or received through Gmail, all 386 of them, appeared in my inbox. I waded through them as I transfered music from my ipod back to my desktop. Being able to rebuild my library that way has minimized the music loss, but there are a few things that are still MIA.
Willie called me late last night to urge me to be more assertive about my missing iLife. It came factory installed on the Mac, he said, so it should come back from the shop with it. I slept on it and realized that if it came factory installed, I must have a disc for it somewhere. I found it in less than five minutes of searching and have restored iPhoto and Garage Band.
So, all is not lost. It's a setback, but there are some perks as well. For example, I got rid of all the music that I'd bought from iTunes and didn't like. I got a free OS upgrade. I've even got a Christmas Lights widget.


Never Give Up

I got my Mac back from the shop today, with a new hard drive and no data transfer. I don't have my address book anymore or any of the music that I bought in the past year. After I picked up the Mini, I went through the phone book in my cell and called all of my friends, leaving a general SOS message. Only four* have returned my calls. Clearly, I should find a better class of friends, haha.
My Christmas knitting is almost done. I was going to post some arty , abstract photographs, except I can't. The geniuses (genuisii?) gave me a free OS upgrade to Tiger from Panther. That's awesome, except that iPhoto and Garage Band aren't included in Tiger and they were in Panther. I can't edit photos or music without them and am loathe to cough up the $70 to buy iLife. Picture me shaking my fists in rage in the general direction of Cupertino.
Back to the knitting: I'm almost done. I'll probably have a few more last minute emergency projects. I should have squirreled away projects over the course of the year in my "gift drawer", but my lack of disk backup should tell you that I'm not inclined to think ahead. The last planned project is in the works: a beret made out Noro Silk Garden. It's dragging itself out by refusing to change gauge despite changes in needle size. I will be the boss of my knitting!
In that vein, I've restarted work on the hateful IK ballerina wrap. It's bulky, it had awful bulky sleeves, and it's been in pieces for months. As I worked on all of my "obligation" knitting projects, I longed to knit something for myself. The bulky, woolly wrap is perfect for this time of year and easily finished in a short period of time. All it needs is sleeves. So, I'm making my own sleeve caps for it, to avoid unfortunate 80s poof. I've adapted a sleeve cap from a similar pattern with the same armscye depth. This looks much more promising than the first set of sleeves. Well, that's very dry and technical. Basically, once I've got the sleeves done, it will be 98% finished. I might also shorten the belt pieces. I could skip rope with them now if I had any kind of coordination.
I've got plenty of other things to say, but I'm so wrapped up in this computer thing. Lately, everything has felt as though it was staged for my injury or irritation. That's too egocentric. I'm not the only person to lose all their files. I'm not the first person to suffer a romantic disappointment. It's just been really hard lately. Besides all this crap, I've also been to the opera lately, had a fabulous Greek dinner, had a restorative soak in the tub with a Lush blackberry bath bomb, and switched skin care systems with happy results. It's not all bad; I just need to frame things differently.
* One called while I was writing this post. He recently went through massive data loss on a Mac and offered love and support.


This is a special post, coming to you from my circa 2002 PC laptop. You see, my Mac is in the shop. I was working on my Xmas list last night when it froze up and subsequently refused to boot. After attempting several secret Apple shortcut/key combos suggested by my excellent, sympathetic stepmother, I took it to the local genius bar. The problem is either the hard drive or the cable connecting the hard drive to the logic board. I took this news surprisingly well. They may or may not be able to do data recovery for me, so I may be looking to replace a lot of music that I bought from Itunes and never got around to backing up. So, dear reader, I want you to back up all your important files so that this doesn't happen to you. Let me be the object lesson for you. Keep your fingers crossed for me, too!
What else has happened lately? hmmm.... I went to the doctor twice in one week, which made me feel like such an adult. I hadn't been in a couple of years and needed to take care of all of those mundane, general maintenance things. The horrible GP that I saw last time has since left the practice, and I got reassigned to a much cooler doctor. No lecture about quitting smoking, but instead an open dialogue about a willingness to help when I'm ready to quit. A willingness to work with me, rather than dictating a list of things that I HAVE to do. Because, let's face it, I'm probably not going to do them if a lecture is involved. Oh, and the new doctor knits. Highly excellent!
I hennaed my hair, which was quite the disaster. The Pyrex bowl that I was using as a ghetto bain marie exploded, sending broken glass and water everywhere. Fortunately, the smaller bowl wasn't upset, and the henna didn't spew all over the kitchen. Isn't Pyrex supposed to be practically indestructible? The explosion really shook me, since I had just left the kitchen when the bowl shattered. Had I not drifted back into the living room to watch ER, I could have been impaled by giant chunks of glass. Yikes. Oh, and the henna seems to have seriously clogged my bathroom sink. So, I had to clean up broken glass (including opening the stovetop), scrub two sinks, pour boiling water down the drains, and scrub the bathtub. Wish I could post a pic of what the henna did to my bath puff, but my camera and PC don't talk to each other. It's a dramatic, army olive color. While the henna was on my hair, I had a moment of panic that I would accidentally dye my hair green, like Anne of Green Gables does when trying to dye her hair black. Usually red dyes appear purple in solution. The end result in my hair is fine. It's not green. It's not a definite color, since hennaed hair appears so very different in different types of light. One of my coworkers thinks it looks blonder. My mom says it looks brown (under those damn ugly energy saver compact fluorescent bulbs). It looks red under incandescents, and kind of red gold in natural light. In any case, it's not so washed out looking as it was before the henna and it has a nice shine. I guess that could be the new shampoo and conditioner combo, Reincarnate and Veganese, both by Lush. Reincarnate contains red henna, which should help maintain the color.
Still knitting up a storm. I'm down to three hats and a scarf on the to-knit list. Maybe a pair of fingerless gloves, too, I haven't decided yet. I'm having a hard time psyching myself up for all of those hats. They're not difficult or anything, just not exciting. I long to knit something for myself! This is the time of year that cries out for lots of cozy sweaters. Oh, and I appreciate my own work, which is not always the case with my giftees. I'll try not to knit bitterly.


It's been a tumultuous week. I don't really want to go into any of the details, but I feel shat on. All my friends have been great, but I could still use all the positive energy that you can send my way.

I've adopted/coined a new word: dickish. Use it in a sentence today!

I'd love to post pics of my current knitting projects, but the fear that people might recognize their presents prevents it. I flatter myself in thinking that anyone reads Reciprocity Failure, I know. Actually, a google search for my "real name" + theatre pulled up a link to this site. I digress. Perhaps I will put together a gallery of arty, abstract photographs of my knitting. Only a genius would know that the carefully photoshopped to look like it was shot on a 4x5 plate pic of chunky moss stitch is a cushion. I've said too much.

Today was not the best day for travel. Well, there weren't any broken electric cables (that was last week), but I walked all over the loop to use one of my bank's ATMs and get a CTA day pass. I refuse to call it a fun pass. Public transportation isn't my idea of a good time. All this to go to a passementerie shop. Trim sounds so much more elegant in French. The store is much like the trim shops in London and Paris, full of many beautiful, expensive things. Several of which I purchased. I went there to buy a yard of ribbon to trim a hat (xmas present) and ended up buying four yards of various lovely, imported ribbons and an enameled button for a planned sweater. It's unclear when I will get to make that sweater (see previous post), but I couldn't pass up a perfect color match. That's nearly impossible in greens.

My coworkers must think that I am a grande dame in training. I'm always off to the theatre, the ballet, the opera. Picture also vampish red lipstick, a fur coat, and cigarette case. Maybe it's more dame than dame! I went to my first opera in the Lyric season, Iphigenie en Tauride. It was incredible. The set and all of the costumes were black, all shades of black. the staging was very modern, stark but effective. I was especially touched when Iphigenie erased her name from the rear wall while singing an aria about having lost everything. My mother was less impressed than I. It's funny, considering that she introduced me to opera, that I am more into it now. Well, maybe not more of a fan, but more interested in the less traditional stagings. It could be generational, or because I am such a theatre person. Opera has much more interesting, exciting design than theatre these days. Opera does it on a grand scale, with a grand budget to match.

Last night, I went to see the Kirov dance Swan Lake. For free. It was sensational. The Kirov has such a perfect corps de ballet, such incredible principles, and wonderful technique. Their costumes were lovely, especially the long sheer skirts in the ball and court scenes. It was all loveliness, really, especially after that glass of champagne during the first intermission.

Oh, the Kirov, the Joffrey, the Lyric, the Goodman! It brings to mind the time that I went to see American Ballet Theatre dance Gisele a couple of years ago. There I was, all sweaty from a day of pounding the pavement in Manhattan, in jeans and chiffon, surrounded by women in gowns, dripping in jewels. Hell, I wanted to applaud when they flew out the chandeliers before the show. Oh, how nice it would be to go to the symphony and the ballet and the opera, to marry some generous older gentleman and only take cabs everywhere, I thought. Well, I can do all of those things for myself. I need to be that person who went to Paris alone in my everyday life. I need to find a reason to stay instead of reasons to go. All of those middle of the night thoughts.


I am undertaking an ambitious amount of knitting for Xmas this year. How is that different from the past five years? Well, this year, there are a couple of sweaters in the mix. Yes, sweaters. No, I am not crazy. I finished one of them last night, along with two scarves that had been languishing on the needles. I took a fifteen minute break then started another scarf. I have two months to make two sweaters, three hats, four scarves, and a cushion. I knit on the train, I knit in front of the television, I knit all the time. If I could, I would knit at work.
Fortunately, there is a sale on at Loopy, my lunch hour LYS. It's a brisk walk from the office or a short cab ride. Of course, I did not buy anything that was on sale. I went there on Wednesday to pick up some yarn for the cushion, but underestimated the size of the pillow form. So, I had to go back and get more yarn yesterday. I ended up buying an entire mill pack of the yarn in question, a green wool yarn that looks remarkably like a cotton yarn that I love. Except it's wool, so it's a stable fiber. So, I'm going to remake the disastrous cotton cardigan in wool. Matching cushion and sweater. Wearing the sweater around the cushion would be a bit awkward, so I'll have to plan accordingly. Besides, I can't knit anything for myself until after Xmas.

A couple of unrelated stories about karma:
I am quickly becoming a Lush addict. Their store is dangerously close to my office. On Thursday, I was killing time before I had to clock in and stopped buy to see if they had Elizabeth's favorite (sadly discontinued) shampoo bar. They had a big stack of them. They also had a demo of the bubble bar going, using the Karma bar. It was intoxicating. So much so that I bought a jar of Karma Cream even though I still have a half a jar of CO Bigelow Lemon Cream! The Karma Cream is fabulous, rich, and fragrant. Elizabeth was thrilled when I called her about the shampoo bars.
This little errand qualified me for a free glitter bar, for use on the hair. I'm really glad that I tried it out in the privacy of my own home rather than in the bathroom at work before going out. I stupidly rubbed it directly on my head, dumping an amount of glitter on my scalp that would make David Bowie weep. A shower and a bath later, I still have glitter in my hair.

I was having a shitty day at work, feeling a little sorry for myself, when I got an unexpected phone call. A couple of weeks ago, I sold tickets to a former dancer who hadn't been to the ballet in the decade since his retirement. We had a fabulous conversation and he expressed an interest in meeting me, which is always a little awkward. Unfortunately, our paths didn't cross at the ballet, but he called to thank me. He loved his seat, loved the ballet, and had so much gratitude. That type of feedback is rare in my work. His phone call really turned my day around.

Yesterday, I was driving home from the train station, listening to some Frank Sinatra on the stereo when a woman began frantically honking at me. Fortunately, I restrained from any rude gestures. She alerted me of my flat tire, which I had somehow not noticed when approaching the car in the parking lot. This was on a busy street, so I decided to limp the two blocks to the next gas station to address the problem there. As soon as the woman pulled away, a man pulled up next to me and started honking. He seemed so upset by my blase reaction to the news. Who could expect two good samaritans in a row? I pulled into the gas station and saw no obvious holes, nails, etc. in the tire, so decided to reinflate it. The tire held air overnight, so the cause of the flat remains a mystery.


The Round Up

What have I been up to lately? Besides working six days a week?
Well, in no particular order, I have seen the following things:
* The Pillowman, at Steppenwolf. Highly disturbing, excellent work. The short stories within the play are amazing. A very Steppenwolf show.
* The Queen, a new film by Stephen Frears, starring Helen Mirren. Superb acting and directing, matched with sharp, sharp writing. I went to a special screening at the Chicago International Film Festival, which prompted me to re-order my Netflix list.
* The Handyman, a French romantic comedy. I didn't set out to see this film. I bought a ticket to The Page Turner, but the print was held up in customs. Instead, the powers that be at CIFF decided to substitute The Handyman. They're both from France, but of remarkably different theme and tone. A charming film with a terrible, arbitrary ending.
* Cinderella, by Sir Frederick Ashton, danced by the Joffrey Ballet. Twice. Beautiful, fabulous stuff. The first time around, I saw the all-star, dream cast. Second time, younger dancers in the principle roles. It was interesting to compare artistic choices and abilities. I sat in the front of the orchestra section the first time and back in the dress circle the second time, which was useful for future reference in seating. I love my season seats (in the orchestra section); I saw a lot of detail and texture that wasn't clear from further back. The dress circle, however, is much better for watching patterns in the corps, which were a bit muddy at times. I'm not entirely sure if that was the dancing or the choreography. Still, a wonderful time had by all.
* Vigils, at the Goodman. I saw the first preview tonight. It's a funny show, but it's hard to judge a show so early in the run. I'm sure that it will be tighter by the time opening rolls around.
What else is going on, you ask. Well, I still haven't finished that raglan sweater, though it is definitely sweater weather in Chicago now. Perhaps tomorrow... I dropped a small fortune at the Lush store this week, in a Crimbo present spree. Oh, and I'm stalking my shipment of yarn from the lovely folks at Webs via UPS tracking. That site is addictive. So, I've got lots of knitting and pampered skin planned. I've also got tickets for King Lear next week at the Goodman.


Canada, Oh

My trip to Canada was brilliant. Not without its low moments, but generally fabulous. Included in this post are a few photographs I took in Montreal.
Unfortunately, there was only one day of good light for the Holga. Still, one is better than none, and that day included a trip to one of the Catholic cathedrals. I haven't processed that yet, but expect good things.
Elizabeth and I hadn't seen each other since summer stock last year, so I was really looking forward to seeing her again. As far as I am concerned, she can travel with me any time that she wants.
Montreal is considered by many Americans to be very European, and by Europeans to be terribly American. Well, I don't know about that. It's a very chic city, where everyone wears artfully tied scarves. Elizabeth and I both bought several scarves. Many of the buildings have strange second floor entrances and beautiful wrought ironwork similar to that of the Vieux Carre in New Orleans. If you paid attention in history class, you may recall that many Acadians fled to Louisiana during the colonial period. It's always interesting to see the signs of things like that.
Many people in Montreal also speak English. If you have an anglo accent or any kind of linguistic stumble, they will switch languages. This frustrated me greatly. I wanted to speak French, but found English to be quite the crutch in Montreal. I wanted to flex my linguistic muscle, as I had to when I was in France. Elizabeth does not speak French, and asked the meaning of various signs. The signs invariably included words that I don't know (it's the same language as much as we speak the same language as the English). The one that really drove me nuts was l'erable. It was everywhere, and I'd never seen it before. Well, that would be a very Canadian word, I thought once I realized its meaning. L'erable means maple. They're just falling over maple this, that, and the other in Canada. After seeing the first vibrant red leaves in Mount Royal park, though, I can understand why it is so iconic.
There were two things that made the whole trip worthwhile: the Chinese Lantern Festival at Les Jardins Botaniques and a Pink Martini concert at the Place des Arts. Elizabeth advised going up to the gardens before the weather changed, so we saw the lanterns on the last day of summer. We couldn't have planned it better. The gardens are high above the city, next to the Olympic Stadium, with a breathtaking view. We had just enough time to stroll through the gardens before dusk. The lanterns really popped as the light left the sky. I'd expected generic, round lanterns, but the gardens had all sorts of shapes and sizes, hand-painted, made to look like ducks, swans, long boats, and many other surprising figures. Naturally, the only photo I was able to take is of the most boring lantern there, in one of the Chinese pavilions.
Pink Martini was amazing. The Place des Arts is similar to Lincoln Center, but all inside, linked to the Metro station of the same name. It seemed a very well laid-out complex. They even had custom paint jobs on the lighting instruments to make them blend into the beige acoustical treatments. The audience was lively, large, and mostly French-speaking. The band spoke French, with charming mistakes, between songs. I hadn't noticed before then how adorable the pianist in Pink Martini is. He got quite the reception! I'd just seen Pink Martini at the Barbican in March, but this was a very different experience. The crowd in Montreal was more engaged. They clapped sooner and more accurately. They also gave two standing ovations. I can't wait until their next album comes out.
Generally, Montreal is pretty cool. They ask if you want to have separate checks straight away in restaurants, so you don't have to ask. The make-up ladies at The Bay on Ste. Catherine rock. One of them told Elizabeth that she looked as though she'd just come in from playing outside while trying on blush. Everything must be labeled in French, making our trip to the Lush store especially novel. My canister of dusting powder has no English translation, but it does have a creepy pic of some guy named Graeme who works there. There are a lot of cool vintage stores and used book/record stores. We stayed in the Plateau, quite near Mt. Royal, so we had many to choose from nearby. Our cabbie even pointed out a place to score drugs and gave an explanation of the local drug laws on the way to our auberge!
I don't know if I will return to Montreal, but it seems like a great place. I think that I might like to explore other parts of Canada, like the Atlantic Coast and maybe out west. I'd love to be able to pick up Canadian magazines like Maclean's at the local B&N. Their writing is so sharp and fearless in a manner that has largely disappeared in the mainstream press here. And Canadian humor and advertising is so fab. The weird beavers for Bell, the funny posters for the birth control ring on the wall in the ladies' room... maybe they seem cool because we don't see them all the time. Or maybe all those additional years in the Commonwealth really paid off for our neighbors to the north.


Okay, I have a lot to catch up on. Since my last post, I've done a few exciting things, like start a new job (in addition to the "old" job), leave the country, give away a hand-knit sweater, and attend an amazing concert.
The little things first:
*I lost the laser etched shell buttons that I bought for my RYC raglan sweater, so I had to go back up to the Mag Mile to buy more. This time, I took the bus instead of wearing myself out walking. Wearing the sweater sans buttons just wouldn't work and was silly in an unfortunate, 1980s fashion.
*I have very little free time. I know, I used to say that when I was only working one gig, but I work six days a week now. This has cut into my knitting a bit. However, I like the new job, which is remarkably similar to the old job, but in a better working atmosphere. Oh, and I get loads of comps and discounts!
*I gave away the cotton cardigan, with which I had a love/hate relationship. I loved the pattern, but hated the sagging under the arms. Not flattering. Also, the button band did something funny when it was buttoned. I planned to give it to Elizabeth, who is a few inches taller than I am. Perhaps the underarm seam would hit her in the right place, I thought. Well, it turns out that the sweater fits my mother. Fits her like it was made for her. Perhaps that will cut down on hints to make a sweater for her (usually along the lines of "her daughter made her a sweater". Knitting guilt trips aren't pretty). I'm glad that it worked out well for someone, because the whole thing left me in an Eeyore mood. Still, I'd like to make one for myself, since I loved the yarn and style. This time, I'll make sure that it will fit me!
*Have you heard about Lush? They're a really cool handmade cosmetics company. Elizabeth piqued my interest by bringing along Lush Times to read on the train, soon followed by a trip to their store on Ste. Catherine in Montreal. Cool products, great attitude. Highly recommended.
*I am a red lipstick convert. Does this mean that I am a trend slave? I dunno. I used to think it too vampish and extreme with my pale skin, but was won over by the fact that red lipstick doesn't need much else. It's classic. It doesn't need five layers of MAC eyeshadow artfully blended together, just some mascara and maybe 1950s film star eyeliner. So I bought some at The Bay and looove it.
*The emergency last minute gift scarf was finished on the way to Toronto. I even wove in all the ends on the train. Of course, now the emergency has evaporated. Still, it's good to have an item for the old (empty) gift drawer.
*Willie Nelson busted with un grand sac de marijuana. Also, the pope is Catholic.
*I also really love scarves right now. Not necessarily knitted ones, but also stripey, cotton voile ones that can be wrapped or tied dozens of different ways. Oh, and I've got a vintage plaid one that I tie jauntily in the style of a first class stewardess.
*For some incomprehensible reason, The New Yorker wants to charge me $5 more to renew my subscription than the blown in cards offer for new subscribers. How exactly is that fair? I know $5 isn't a lot of money, but it does rankle me. At the same time, I am unlikely to give up The New Yorker.
*I've really fallen behind on listening to the episodes of my favorite podcast, Cast-On. It's about knitting, naturally. I love the podcast, the author is really entertaining; I don't know what has caused me to lag behind. I used to listen to it eagerly on the train to work on Saturday mornings. Lately, it's been too noisy on the train, what with the forced air (heat or AC, you never know which it will be) and endless cell phone conversations and boisterous children. I sound like such a curmudgeon! Yes, I use my cell phone in public. Maybe now that the trains have a family car the other issue will be less frequent. We'll see.
*The bigger stuff I'll save for another post. Sorry.


I googled myself, which is a completely vain endeavor, I know. There wasn't a single result that pointed to me. I don't know how I feel about that. I don't have a Paris Hiltonish need for fame, but I was a little surprised. Maybe it's time to renew my professional listings. Of course, that would imply that I'm doing anything in my chosen field.
My last post generated the offer of a camera (yay!) and fatherly advice to switch browsers. Well, I am using Firefox now, having finally lost patience with Safari. The jury is still out. Yes, there are some websites that I can visit that wouldn't work with Safari, and I have more options in my Blogger dashboard. I am having some serious problems with the windows involved in updating the aforementioned listings. Maybe I will have to use Safari for some things and Firefox for others.
I have been dragging lately. Part of this is sleep deprivation. I stay up way too late. Clearly, my chosen profession matches my sleep schedule. Except lately, I've had a lot of need for early mornings. Well, I haven't needed them, but they've happened. Please, please, please do not ever call me before ten AM unless you are certain that I will be awake. I cannot have an intelligent conversation when I am awakened by a phone call. Also, it doesn't generate a lot of goodwill towards the caller.
The local PBS and NPR stations are in their usual fundraising fervor. I appreciate that they are heavily dependent on charity for their operating expenses. I work for an arts non-profit; I understand. Still, I am a little disgusted with the way they go about it. They're trying to come up with 10% of their annual expenses by the end of the month. That scares me on their behalf, even though it creates excellent urgency. Note that it doesn't scare me enough to send them any money. I've been off the local PBS lately. Their programming has changed its focus away from my interests (adaptations of Willa Cather novels, all things British, WWII histories, et al). Or maybe my interests have changed. One of my coworkers asked me today if I had read an article in the NY Times yesterday. I used to read the Sunday Times every week, in a ritual that would put those high church types to shame. I read it all, worked the crossword for hours, and drank heaps of tea or coffee, depending on the weather. I don't think that I've read the Sunday Times in over a year. What happened? When did my life become so quotidien? I have more interesting occurrences, but not regular ones, than I did back then. I've got a lot more stamps in my passport these days, but the every day has gotten to be so dull.
Speaking of dull, I'm making scarves again. Since I haven't done them in so long, the monotony of the knitting feels refreshing. Zen like, really. I don't have to pay attention to a 1x1 rib scarf. I don't have to count stitches or make any armholes. There's nothing challenging. Next I will complain about how I do not challenge myself. I made a great, hard to photograph scarf for my cousin Stephen. He doesn't read this blog, so I needn't worry about removing the element of surprise. The scarf is a 1x1 ribbed scarf, fifteen stitches wide, with slipped stitch edges, knit on size seventeen needles. I am quite pleased with the combination of Manos yarn, in the Bing Cherry color, and luscious dark brown Blue Sky Alpaca Alpaca and Silk yarn. The brown of the alpaca yarn really pops the cherry tones in the Manos, as well as lending it a tweedy, masculine look. I've got a skein of each left over, so I could make an identical scarf for someone unlikely to run into Stephen. As Stephen lives in London, the list is rather long.
I'm working on a similar scarf now (no picture to prevent later recognition by intended recipient) in Malabrigo and Madil Kid Seta. The Malabrigo is in the Emerald Green colorway, and the mohair a punchy, light citrus green. Held together, they have a lemon lime effect. Many knitters substitute Malabrigo for Manos, as they're both hand dyed South American wools. After working these projects back to back, I don't see many other similarities. They're both gorgeous, but the yarns are made from completely different types of wool. Manos del Uruguay is a sturdier yarn, though given to more dramatic thick and thin variations. Malabrigo is very loosely spun, more like Lamb's Pride, and it's just dying to felt. I'll still knit with it again. I've got a fair amount of it stashed away for another Classy Drug Rug (for me, I'm not feeling very charitable about sweater knitting these days). All this scarf knitting allows me to procrastinate a little on finishing the RYC raglan sweater. My mother gave me a quick crochet lesson when I was dead tired, so that's no longer an issue. I've even got the sleeves and placket sewn to the body. Next is that crocheted edging and knitting the neckline ribbing. Not rocket science, but the project isn't exactly portable now that it's 95% of a garment.
Well, I promised myself I'd go to bed by one AM tonight, so I am going to sign off for now. You can insert your own Cinderella joke here.


Things are almost done with the Jemima raglan sweater, by Anna Bell. I was feeling pretty smug until I read the instructions for the placket. Yes, I know that I should read the entire pattern before I start. I scanned it, so I missed the crochet part. You see, I don't crochet, so I tried to con my mom into doing it. She saw through my ploy. Well, I'm thinking of doing an i-cord edging instead, incorporating buttonholes, but have also emailed the designer for her advice. Will keep you updated.
So, I'm back on the Suss Fishnet wrap top. It looks like I'm knitting a blanket. It feels like I'm knitting a blanket. The top is knit from side to side, with very long sides to be tied in the front. I've knit eighteen inches so far, and am nowhere near the armhole. Sigh. I know that if I start a new project now, these two will idle for some time. Also, the desired project uses the needles on which the Suss wonder currently resides. Not that that's stopped me before, but it is a bit of a deterrent. I'd post a pic, but every time that I try, Safari crashes.
I'm tired. I walked all the way up to Oak Street (and beyond the end of Mag Mile) yesterday, to go to a button shop. That's a long walk. Well, walking there was not bad. Walking back was awful. I got some beautiful laser etched buttons and did some window shopping at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and a chi-chi travel store. The travel store had a Holga kit, which was very cool. I've been thinking of taking a Holga with me on my trip, to do all kinds of arty images of old Montreal and all of the churches. Well, I'm not going to buy it there. They wanted $80 for it. The camera retails for $22.50. So their roll of tape, single roll of film, and instruction manual are worth $57.50? Ha! The whole day left me feeling cranky and curmudgeonly. The air show was this weekend, so there were hordes of people walking around the city. Also, loads of amateurs making a racket on the train, so it wasn't the restful trip that I needed at the end of that walk. I don't care if you don't ride the train regularly, you should know that swinging from the railing and standing on the armrests, straddling the aisle is not cool. Maybe I'm still feeling a little cranky.


Okay, I'm a hypocrite. I've been on a yarn diet so that I can save up for my trip to Montreal next month. I've resisted temptations such as sales fliers from local yarn shops, invitations to trunk shows, new yarn catalogs, and my mother's repeated invitations to join her at the Stitches Midwest yarn market (a veritable Ali Baba's cave of yarn). I didn't crack. I'm sure that my mother would have loved my company and enabling on several recent trips to the LYS. I couldn't bear the temptation. Well, I finally gave in. I got an email from Webs in Northhampton featuring closeout prices on Auracaunia Nature wool. How could I resist that? Fortunately, it wasn't a grand spending spree. The sale was so excellent that I spent $30 and got enough yarn to make a cardigan. Still, I felt a wee bit guilty after all the yarn diet talk. Well, people cheat on diets. Here's a pic of the too tempting fiber. It has excellent yardage, calling for only six skeins for an adult large cardigan. And I love the color. I must be on a green kick these days, since I just bought a pair of scissors with handles almost the same shade. It looks very similar to another of my sales bargains, some alpaca blend yarn from the same manufacturer that I snapped up this spring. They do tone on tone vareigation really well.
Things are moving along lickety-split on the Anna Bell raglan sweater. Maybe it would move a bit quicker if my right hand weren't tired after a long day at work. I tend to not put my sad little bic pen down when I'm not using it, as a sort of motion efficiency move, and end up grasping it like Bob Dole for hours on end. This does not make my hand happy. It doesn't make me very happy either. The job is lousy enough already without giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome! That's a positive attitude, eh?
I went to see Mitch in Seussical last weekend, which was excellent. I sat next to his little sister, who screamed like one of the girls on the Ed Sullivan show when the Beatles were on during the curtain call. I doubt that I would have gone to see the show on my own, but I really enjoyed it. The lighting design was amazing. The sound, I don't know. We had amazing seats, but that area isn't really covered by their speakers. That space would be tricky to mix, especially considering where they stuck the mixing position.
I also had a chance to catch up with Shannon, who has been quite busy with summer stock. Well, not really stock, since she gets to sleep in her own bed, but very busy. We had dinner before the show and headed over to Fado for a nightcap. This all made for a very long day, but I had an excellent time,


Netflix weekend

What did I do this weekend? Knit and watch my DVDs from Netflix. I didn't even leave the house on Friday. What a liberating feeling. You'd think that once I got my car back from the mechanic that I'd want to go everywhere I haven't been able, but I stayed home and finished two sweaters. Two sweaters in two days. Not too shabby.
Well, they were both so close to being done. The Giotto jacket just needed its collar done and a bunch of ends run in. I was surprised at how long the jacket is when I tried it on, but it's not hideous. I'm really glad that I shortened the sleeves by an inch, as they're a shade too long still. Do women in Wales have ridiculously long Mr Gadget arms? Normally, I would flaunt a just finished project with a couple of wearings, but it's too muggy. I'm knitting out of season now, which is a bit strange. I'll have loads to wear once the weather turns!
The second sweater is the Lasso camisole, which also turned out to be surprisingly long. It looks like I knit myself a minidress. Now, I am not a mini anything kind of gal (except Mini Coopers, since they must be a snap to parallel park) and haven't worn shorts in this millennium. That camisole will never be worn as a dress. It didn't look that long in the picture, I thought crossly while trying it on, then recalled the metric to imperial measure conversion errors that I found in the pattern. Their sample wasn't this long. Well, I'm not going to unravel it now, but that would explain why I needed an extra skein! When dealing with any pattern, but especially converted ones, it's a good idea to double check the math. Maybe I'll wear this to work tomorrow...
Since I finished two projects, it seemed safe to start a new one. So, I've cast on for a wonderful contrast edged raglan sweater by Anna Bell. The yarn is RYC Cashsoft DK, a cashmere and wool blend yarn that I bought in the sad little yarn department at Liberty of London. The body is a beautiful, soft cornflower blue with pale pistachio edging. I'm already halway through the raglan decreases on the back. I chalk that up to large needles (I'm using 10 1/2s when the pattern calls for a size 8. I must knit so much tighter than the designer) and many hours in front of the telly.
This week, I've made a real return to my Netflix watching after months of having the same DVDs out. I think that sort of behavior accounts for their profits. So, in the past three days, I have watched To Catch A Thief, A Man and A Woman, and Being Julia.
Though I am a big Hitchcock fan, I liked that one the least of the three. Still, a great film. I adore Cary Grant. Very good extras on the DVD as well.
A Man and A Woman is probably best known to Americans for its unfortunately-adopted-as-Muzak theme. It's an amazing film. I'm beginning to outgrow my love of the New Wave, with all of its weird jump cuts and jittery editing. I get it, but a little goes a long way. Still, all of the cuts during the love scene make it quite compelling, and the director doesn't show his hand until the very end. I don't think that I would have liked this film when I was younger. A love story about previously married people in their 30s wouldn't appeal to a young audience. An American director would turn it in to a cute comedy if it were made today, but it was handled so beautifully by Claude Lelouche. A sophisticated, beautiful film.
I had Being Julia for a long time before I watched it. It turned out to be the perfect Sunday morning diversion. Wonderful acting, beautiful art direction, and a bit of an artful conceit in the form of the ghost of an acting teacher. Had it been made a different year, Annette Bening would have won an Oscar for her performance. Well, you know the appeal of the backstage drama.
I also had time to do a bit of reading, Two new issues of the big knitting mags hit the newsstand this week: Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting. Frankly, the projects in Vogue were ghastly. I love their editorial work. VK does great trend forecasting and links between the collections and hand knitting. I love the way they style their layouts. I only liked a couple of the patterns, and am unlikely to make either. I love the brushed mohair pullover, but the yarn made by a South African women's collective costs a king's ransom when bought in quantities large enough for a garment. And I love fairisle, but I'd rather buy it than make it myself.
Yes, I've revealed myself as a project knitter. I'm not the kind to make unbelievable lace stoles or intricate Scandinavian color work sweaters. I'm not a process knitter. I enjoy knitting, but I'm in it for the finished goods. Therefore, I don't challenge myself as much as I should. I'm capable of much more. Maybe this is a life metaphor. My mom is the kind of knitter who can happily work on a lace shawl for three years and seriously asked how many sweaters I need when I told her I'd like to make six finished pieces a year. How many sweaters do I need? I don't even know where to begin!
In Interweave Knits, there is a mohair funnelneck sweater that caught my attention. Seems that I need a mohair pullover if two of them caught my fancy. The IK one is made of Colinette Mohair. Naturally, I would buy it from my trusted source in Staffordshire. I'm not sure that I could point out Staffordshire on a map. A visit to Wikipedia reveals that it is in the Western Midlands. That makes it so much clearer, doesn't it?
Between the two magazines, I got to see a lot of the new fall ads. The yarn manufacturers are trying to hoist a lot of ugly yarns on an unsuspecting public. VK is asserting a return of 80s styles. Please god, no. Sweaters in the 1980s were horrible-- lots of big shoulder pads, dropped shoulders, and weird intarsia. The Cosby sweater is a product of the 80s. Enough said? Does this mean that stirrup pants are due for a comeback? Oh, and they're showing a lot of chunky cables. Fishermen and Irlandais abound. I like a good cable, but a couple of the sweaters were just too much. They had more cable than the sound engineer at a rock festival. Sigh. I also saw that one of the yarn companies has picked up Anna Bell's Sgt. Pepper style jacket for their ads. Very cool.
There's also a new issue of Bitch on the stands now. I'm about a third of the way through it now. Excellent as usual! I should really resubscribe to Bitch (it's a feminist zine, not a porno mag) and Bust. Just like I should give money to NOW and read Ms. Magazine. I really loved Ms. for a while, but just drifted away from it. I don't know if I changed or it did. I've decided not to read Jane anymore. I'm not exactly a Jane Pratt fan, but the magazine has really changed since she left. Yeah, I wanted it to be Sassy grown-up, like the initial hype. It never really was, but seemed like it could be for a while. Now, totally not. Oh well.


le week-end

I sent my mom to a new yarn shop yesterday. Well, new to her. It's the fabulous yarn shop near to the awful theater where I worked up in the north suburbs. She was headed up there to visit one of our cousins, so I recommended stopping by. Thank god she liked the place. She even came back carrying one of their reusable bags. They were having a huge sale, so I was a little envious of her going there (like I need more yarn).
While she was at Chix with Stix, I was at Powell's in Hyde Park. I showed remarkable restraint, spending only ten dollars. That may be the least I've ever spent there. I bought a book of travel essays and a Proust novel. I recently realized that my lack of interest/progress in reading In Search of Lost Time might have to do with the translation. So I picked up a copy of Swann's Way, en francais, for five dollars. First, I read two pages to ensure that the text isn't too difficult. My reading skills were always stronger in French than my conversational skills, since reading doesn't require a partner. They only had the first volume, but I'll soon be somewhere that French paperbacks aren't at a premium.
I am about halfway done on the second sleeve of my Giotto jacket. Pretty exciting! I'm making them an inch shorter than the pattern calls for, as I am short. It also makes for less work. But I am not so lazy that I'd wear bracelet length sleeves.
It's too warm, but I started on the Suss Cousins Fishnet shrug. It's very lacy, since the fine yarn is knit on large needles. Still, fuzzy yarn and humidity don't mix. Strictly for all air conditioned days.
Last night, I watched Billy Elliot on VH1. I'm such a sucker for dance and backstage movies, especially the bildungsroman type. So, you can imagine my joy at coming across Billy Elliot while flipping though the channels. I noticed some really beautiful moments that I'd missed before, such as the look on the father's face before Billy makes his entrance in Swan Lake. Wow. That gasp speaks volumes.
I have the afternoon off the next couple of days, so I might actually do my hair before going into work. I'll probably finish my two Colinette projects. Well, at least one of them.


Today is a good day. It was also my day off. They're probably related. The yarn to finish my little Colinette camisole arrived today. I'd sort of forgotten that I ordered it (less than a week ago, from Staffordshire), so when I saw the parcel on my doorstep, I thought with girlish glee, "Who could have sent me a present?". The yarn shop even included a card detailing needles sizes across three different seasons. Adorable! That store, despite being in a different hemisphere, is becoming a real favorite of mine. I'd like to maintain that this purchase does not violate my resolution not to buy any yarn before going to Montreal because it was required to complete a project.

I even have buttons for the camisole now. I ran some errands on Tuesday (thanks to the CTA), including a trip to Soutache, a fabulous trim shop in Bucktown. There were a lot of beautiful things in the store and I had a delightful conversation with the owner. She and I are both travel shoppers. That is, shop for the local goods while you're traveling. That's why I inevitably come home with a suitcase full of yarn. So, I bought some amazing dichroic glass buttons for the sweater. Picture them (in this rather abstract pic) with the Lasso yarn above. Wow! There were a lot of other things that I'd love to have if I had a project for them. I bought a couple yards of French velvet ribbon for my bulky cabled berets. The ones that I was going to knit in England. Yeah, I haven't knit them yet, but plan to do so soon. When it's not so hot that my sweaty hands will felt the wool as I go.

I got my hair cut today, at the local fabulous Aveda salon. It was wonderful! I got a scalp massage and drank some herbal tea. It was very relaxing. Also, my hairdresser is very personable and my age, so we had pleasant banter. As tempting as it is to chop it all off in this oppressive heat, I went for a stacked bob. It angles up in the back, with a couple of layers for body. It's exactly what I wanted. I'm not going to be a cheapskate and go to the Institute anymore to get $15 haircuts. Look, I'm even smiling in this photo I took to illustrate the new look. When is a better time to do new pics than right after having your hair done? I'm always amazed at how much lighter the color appears when my hair is blown out compared to when it air dries. It almost makes me want to blow out my hair all the time. Alas, I want to keep my hearing.


I finished the cotton cardigan. I loved making it. I don't love wearing it. It's too big. Did I try it on over another sweater when I tried it on mid-knit? You can discover a lot about a garment the first time you wear it. For starters, I wish that I'd made the waist higher. And I'll need to move the button so that it doesn't pull? Yeah, how can a button pull like that on a sweater that's too big? It just doesn't seem fair. So, I'll take off the button and wash and block the sweater. Maybe it will shrink, though the designer says that hers, made from the same yarn, has not. Le sigh.
The button band pulls. I have this problem with another cardigan I made last year. If I really cared, I'd tear out its band and knit on a new one that doesn't pull up at the hem. I even stabilized that one with petersham ribbon. It makes me doubt my skills. I'm not a big process knitter. I don't love knitting lace or argyle. Intarsia isn't in my vocabulary, and don't get me started on fairisle. I knit to have a garment, to relax, to pass the time on the train, in front of the telly, etc. So, cranking out a couple of disappointments, is well, a let-down. Am I secretly a shitty knitter? Do other knitters know? Well, I'm just going to soldier on with more projects. Hell, I've probably stashed enough to get me through the next few years. I feel like I've plateaued. I'm not challenging myself. In a lot of ways.
I went to see one of my friends on Tuesday who is going away to grad school. I'd never been to his house before, but now I wish that I had taken him up on his invitations. I'm going to miss him a lot. This is that hard, separation anxiety time of year, when summer stock starts winding down. Except I'm usually the person leaving. I've been having a hard time lately. The whole ordeal with my car, and my friend leaving, and unrewarding drudgery at work has been really shitty. What a time to have a break from therapy, eh?
On my way into work on Wednesday, I got a call from Lewis telling me that he can't go to Canada after all. I did not take that very well, as you can imagine. I know he's upset about it, too, because we were both really looking forward to going. I called my mom, who advised me to just cancel the whole trip. That wasn't exactly the advice I wanted. Then I had to go into work and call a bunch of people who attended our performances eight years ago, with all of this weighing on me. I really couldn't catch a break.

Before canceling the whole trip, I decided to call a couple of friends whom I thought would be free in September. Lucky for me, my friend Elizabeth jumped at the chance to go. She's even a Pink Martini fan! I haven't seen her in a year, so I'm really excited to see her again. I think it's pretty cool to meet up for a vacation. We don't have to start our journey in the same place. So, it looks like there's a happy ending to that story, but I could have done without all the drama.


Weird Facts About Me:

* My cell phone plays the first two bars of the German national anthem when I turn it on. I think that's because Deutsche Telekom owns my cell company.

* Everyone thinks that I must have a kick-ass stereo in my car because I am a sound engineer. The truth is, my radio only cost $100 and I only just got one with a detachable face and auxiliary input.

* Even though I could build my own, I bought an 1/8" stereo cable for my ipod at Radio Shack today. It seems kind of wasteful, but at least I didn't spend $10 on a white Monster cable!

* I never wear yellow.

* My passport photo is wildly unflattering.

* I don't wear a watch. I used to, but I kept cracking the face. I gave away my last watch, a Paul Frank knock-off, in September of 2004.


The cotton cardigan is back on! My mother explained the ideal ratio for picking up stitches around a neckline, so I finally got to work on that. Looks like it will be done soon, even though I can't carry this bulky project around in my bag. I even had the foresight to buy a button for it when I was last at Nina, buying yarn for a scarf.

The Colinette Lasso camisole was back on the front burner for a few hours. I finished knitting the front (after an unfortunately misread "at the same time". Fortunately, I caught the mistake quickly.), sewed the side seams, and began running in the ends. Unfortunately, it looks as though I don't quite have enough yarn to do all the edging and straps. Straps are important, so I sent off for another ball of the yarn from the UK. It marinates again.

I'm starting to think about my future projects. What do I want to knit next? Well, there's my train project, the ribbed jacket in Giotto yarn, but I'm trying to think further ahead than that. This has been a pretty Colinette heavy year. I've barely touched all the yarn that I brought back from Europe. And that cobwebby Suss Cousins wrap jacket isn't really a winter garment. My mom has been working on a reverse stockinette sweater lately in cotton yarn that looks almost identical to the spring green yarn that I bought at La Droguerie in Paris. This has given me quite the itch to start that project, a wraparound cardigan (sense a theme?) with lace trim and an antique looking silk ribbon tie at the waist. I'll probably hide a tie on the inside as well. Hmmm... Maybe I'd like the quick pace of another Classy Drug Rug. I've got beautiful purple Malabrigo stashed to make one.

The Car:

Please don't ask about the car. Really.
I feel victimized by the whole thing. It's cost so much to get it back and fixed and it will never be the same. There's broken glass in the backseat. I considered taking it over to the car wash and vacuuming it all out when I went on a massive cleaning fit in the car Friday, but I really didn't have the energy. I used a lot of Febreeze and some quasi-organic car surface wipes to spiff old George up again. Well, that's one perk to this whole ordeal; got me to finally clean out the car. Then I took it over to Best Buy, where I learned that the thieves broke my cool looking radio in their failed attempt to steal it. So, I bought a new radio. The salesman told me to take off the face even when I'm running into 7-11. Yikes. I can hook up my ipod to it though, which I couldn't to the old radio.
The thieves also stole my rosary. That's some seriously bad karma. Yes, it was a pretty one, with aurora borealis crystal beads, but come on. So, I've been comparison shopping online for a new one. Did you know that they make auto rosaries? That is, single decade rosaries with a bracelet clasp specifically for hanging around the rear view mirror. Wow. That would certainly prevent the rosary from swinging around and hitting you in the face during tricky maneuvers. Like if you wanted to recreate the chase scene from The French Connection under the El in the loop. I even came across one made with rose scented beads, which would also attack any lingering smells in the car.
Well, all of this is on a back burner at the moment. The car is at the shop. Turns out that noise it makes and the hesitation when I try to start it was caused by a bad fuel pump. Unfortunately, I'd just gassed George up before taking him to the garage. I just can't win for losing.

Planned this week:

* A trip to Soutache for buttons, trim, etc. General fripperies.

* A visit to Joe Tech, who is in the process of moving out of his little coach house.

* My quarterly haircut. I'm such a slave to fashion.


The Round Up:
Here is what I have been (or haven't) been knitting lately.

The Something Red cardigan is stalled at the moment. I keep meaning to ask my mom to help me pick up all the stitches around the neckline (which is to say, 200 + stitches). I can do this for socks, but when it comes to sweaters, picking up stitches like this makes me break out in a cold sweat. That, or the arctic air conditioning on the train. Better than none, I know, and a real incentive for finishing a transition sweater.

That adorable Colinette Lasso top? Also marinating on the needles. I've knit all the way up to the bust shaping, which suddenly requires me to pay much more attention. A stay-at-home project. Also, the pattern skips around a bit, requiring much reading and re-reading. When am I supposed to join the front and back? As if by magic, they're sewn together for the armhole shaping. I might want to finish this before fall, no? Also planned: a trip to Soutache, a trim store in Chicago said to be as good as a mercerie in Paris, to pick out buttons.

So, this is what I have been knitting on the train, in front of the telly, etc. It's a jacket from Colinette's Femme Fatale collection. I found another blogger, in Canada, who says she knit it in like two days. Perfect, I thought, I like instant gratification and I'm trying to finish, finish, finish before my vacay in September. Well, like is the operative word in that sentence. It does knit fast, due to crazy large gauge. However, the 1x1 ribbing really slows me down. At least it's not moss stitch! I've been working on this for a little over a week and have the back and one of the front pieces done. Well, there are a few other reasons that my knitting overall has been neglected lately.

One of my work friends, Mr Cher, took me out to an after hours bar for the 3rd/4th of July. Getting there was like some kind of crazy, gay update of the Odyssey. You see, I can't leave my car overnight in the Metra parking lot or I'll get a ticket or towed. So, we decided to go get the car and drive back in to go to Drag Queen Bingo. No, you don't have to drag to go; the caller is a drag queen. Small snag: it was the 3rd of July. For reasons that are unclear, the City of Chicago shoots off its fireworks on the third, so there were a ridiculous number of people around Millenium Park and trying to take the trains. So, they were running extra trains. We took one, figuring it would be better than waiting for the next scheduled train. This turned out to be a huge mistake. We got sidetracked for over half an hour. A woman sitting near us declared, "This is how I imagine it would be to be on a cruise ship---if you were held hostage". That pretty much says it all. Hours later, we finally get to my car, having completely missed Drag Queen Bingo and drive back in. Mr Cher painted my face fiercely. Geishas take about as much preparation. We then went to an extremely warm club, full of steam, fog, and gay men. We didn't stay long. We ended up at the Afterhours IHOP. The wait was long and the clientele fabulous. Well, probably fabulous earlier in the evening. It was light when we left. I'm too old for this: I need sleep regularly and I don't know when that happened.

Then my Dad, Stepmother, and Stepbrother were in town. A large dinner was had, requiring much phone tag, personal calls at work, and an evening off. It was great. I hadn't seen them in a really long time and I had a great time hanging out with Adam.

Then, one of my best friends from college was in town. Willie is producing a documentary about the CHA and miraculously has obtained their cooperation and permission to shoot one of their pull downs. Whenever they actually do it (they keep pushing it back). We started with lunch at Hackney's, where I used one of my numerous gift certificates from work, and ended the evening at the Neo-Futurists. I've wanted to go see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind for years, but never got around to it until Willie came into town. I was tired, I'd had a few. I nearly dozed off during the action-packed show. We had brunch the next day, then went to Union Station for Willie to catch the train to Mt Pleasant. He'll be back in a few weeks. I hope I'll be over my sleep deficit by then.

My car was stolen Wednesday night, from the parking lot blocks from my grandmother's house. I got off the train and there were three cars in the lot. None of them were mine. So, I had to call my mom and ask her to check the other station. It wasn't there. Someone stole George!
So, we went to the local cop shop and filed a report. At least the officer on duty was cute. I didn't get home until 1.30 am, then totally couldn't sleep. I sent out a mass email to friends asking them to send good energy my direction. I asked St Anthony to find the car. He did, in Joliet. They called at 6 am to report its location. How did the police find it so quickly, you ask? Well, the kids who stole it used it in an attempted armed robbery. They hadn't even stripped out the radio. So, a trip out to Joliet that evening to retrieve the car revealed that George is undriveable. Not just because he has no license plates and is missing a window, but because the car thieves broke the steering column. It really feels like the Perils of Pauline. I can't help but feel lucky that the car was recovered so quickly. All of my stuff is still there (as far as I could tell when I visited it in the impound lot) and it can be repaired. I'll still have to take a cab on Monday. The response to the mass email was really wonderful. Nearly everyone responded, with offers of rides, knitting supplies, and moral support. So, I should have George the Buick back in a couple days, never to be parked in that lot again. And I'd like to say thanks to everyone who sent out their love, sympathy, and good vibes. I really needed it.


Okay, so I still haven't put new batteries in the digital camera. Procrastination. Right after my last post, a parcel arrived in the mail from the UK, containing two garments' worth of Colinette yarn! Very exciting! I've wound all of the Lasso into balls and dove into a new project, the "Athena" camisole. Apparently, there are buttons in the back, but they never show you the back of the sweater in the pattern book or specify the size buttons needed. An unusual oversight. Working with the yarn has given me insight on the "morish" description, but it does not inspire me to make more garments with Lasso. It's not terrible, but my hands don't love pushing all those stitches around my old circs. Also, impossible on bamboo needles because it's snaggy. That said, I think I will really like the finished garment.
I'm going on a yarn diet. I have an obscene amount of yarn. Sure, every knitter thinks that about her own stash, but I really don't need any more. Also, I'm trying to funnel the discretionary fund in a new direction: a trip to Canada. The proprietor of a trendy Chicago LYS (like that narrows it down) told me that my favorite band is going to be playing Chicago in the fall. I went to their website and saw that they're playing a show in Montreal in September. I've wanted to go to Montreal for a long time. I used to think that it would be a good warm up for Paris, what with my self-consciousness about my Francophony. Well, I've been to Paris twice now and never to Quebec. So, I did some research online and found a way to do it on the cheap. That's how I travel. So Lewis and I are going to Montreal in September. All of the arrangements are made (again, the internet and Skype) and now all we have to do is go. That part of the trip, oddly, scares me. I don't know why. It'll be nice to go on a trip with Lewis, since our roadtrip to New York fell through last year. I can't even remember why. We're going to travel like a couple of crazy college students: a bus to a bus to a train, then back again. Not that I love spending hours on end on buses, but the going rate to fly to Montreal from my fair city is more than I've ever paid to fly to Europe. I'll bring some knitting and take another crack at Swann's Way.
In other news, I have a faint tan. Well, it seems dramatic to me since I'm naturally pale. I had lunch with Dawn on Tuesday, not thinking about the sun and proximity to noon as we overlooked the river. I got a little sunburn. I have more freckles now. My skin seems to belong to a redhead, the way that it wants to freckle. Maybe it'll die down in a week or two. At least I won't have to waste my time with that ridiculous self-tanner for a while.
The tomato top down cardigan is almost finished. I even found an excellent horn button to compliment its granola side. Well, I shouldn't say almost. I still have to knit the collar, which seems like it could be an undertaking. It's got clever short-row shaping, but I know that I'll need to sit down and really read the pattern before proceeding. When I'll have time to do that is unclear. But I'd like to have it finished soon, so I can get cracking on a bunch of other projects.


New Threads

Yay! The dress that I ordered from Urban Outfitters arrived today! It cost $20 and was a pig in a poke, since I couldn't try it on first. Here's a picture of it on a skinny, sad looking model. It doesn't look like that on me! For starters, I have an *ample* bosom, so I fill that thing out! I may have to consider a discreet safety pin in the neckline to make it work friendly. And it's less drapey on me. What you can't tell from their pic is that the dress is made of natural fiber (!), so it's perfect for warm weather. And it will look great with my A/C cardigan, the same color as same of the stripes. That is, when I make said sweater. I'd have a pic of me posing in the dress, except the batteries in my camera died and I still haven't figured out how to get pictures from my phone to my computer. And I'm an A/V professsional! Shameless.
Things are really moving along on A/C cardigan #1, the Blue Sky Cotton sweater. That stuff sheds like crazy, and I've found a few more knots than I'd care to in the skeins. Still, I love it. It will probably be perfect after a visit from the sweater stone. The pattern, by the ever fabulous Wendy at Knit and Tonic has very clever waist shaping. It's knit from the top down, which seems to be her fave construction, so there are well hidden increases in the ribbing at the waist. She seems to be a very clever lady, a word that can seem as demeaning as crafty when used by the wrong person.
What else have I been up to lately? Well, I spoke French at work today, which felt very exciting and cosmopolitan. One of the people I called was Belgian and answered the phone in French. I followed suit long enough to ask for the person I wanted and inquier whether or not he spoke English. He seemed surprised. He also spoke English, thank god, since I'm not sure my French is up to a description of ten ballets! I should practice more. I say that as I am IMing a friend who lives in the French countryside and speaks little English. Asked and answered.
Thanks to Skype, I had a satisfying gossip session with my cousin Stephen. He's always good for that sort of thing. He metes out a fair balance of kind and unkind things about people we know and those we don't. Skype is pretty darn cool. I know I've said that before, but it's true.
I got an email from my Colinette dealers (because let's face it, it's an addictive fiber) saying that the long awaited Giotto will be on its way soon. They're even going to ship the things I added to my order for free. It shouldn't be the case, but I find that sort of customer service refreshing.
This week, I get to rock my glasses all the time because I was exposed to conjunctivitis. Or l'oeil rose, to make it more poetic. The son of one of my friends, whom I just saw over the weekend, just came down with pinkeye. It's highly contagious, so she called to warn me. Very considerate, no? I'm a bit of a hypochondriac, so you can imagine the effect of this warning. It's so hard to tell this time of year, with all the pollen in the air and my neighbor's nightly bonfires of things that shouldn't be burned (trash, chemically treated lumber, a surprising quantity of leaves). So, I'm on the alert for unusual amounts of redness in my general eye area, and suffering sartorially with the specs. No, they're not so bad, but I'm used to wearing my contacts. Also, the combination of the glasses and non-ergonomic phone at work for hours on end can be a bit much. Oh, and that's an old pic, so don't squint at it for a long time trying to discern signs of redness and fatigue. That's just the ordinary amount of fatigue there. It's also Lewis's CDR. I wore mine today and think that it needs the weight of the hood in the back to keep it from being too low cut in the front. And it's too warm for a wool sweater.
I've also starting reading a couple of blogs with high addiction potential. Pink is the New Blog (sorry, too lazy to link, besides, do you really think they'd swap link with me?) is lots of scurrilous gossip, but like you'd hear from some fantastic queen working the coat check at Studio 54 back in the day. Not in 70s lingo. Fabulous! Also, this laugh out loud site, You Knit What?!. Because even knitters are horrified by some of the knitwear out there.


Either the people choosing the in-store music at Borders are really hip, or my taste has become mundane. I was recently at the ubiquitous bookstore when I realized that I own every CD that they'd played while I was there. Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, the Decemberists, and KT Tunstall were all played during my visit. I know, it's not like they broke out the vinyl, but it was a little disheartening. Any illusions of hipness were shattered.
Today was the first summery day in Chicago. Due to the holiday weekend, the throngs on Michigan Avenue were especially large and slow-moving. Not really a haunt of mine, but I spent the afternoon shopping with one of my coworkers. We visited a former colleague who just got into an elite medical school, shopped for sunglasses, went to the MAC store and the Apple store, and had dinner. It was a full day.
The three sweaters in three weeks miracle is not to be. Fuzzy, fuzzy yarn is not what I want to knit at the moment. This is probably due to the weather. It's hard to get really excited about a mohair-like cardigan (though French and styled quite chic) in 80 degree weather. I started a new sweater. It's my How to Avoid the Summer Cold cardigan, made out of the fabulous non-crippling weight Blue Sky Cotton. For when it's too warm out for a sweater and too cold in the office to go without. I understand why other bloggers have declared their love for this yarn. It has a great hand. The fabric is a little denser than I had expected, which has everything to do with gauge, I know. It's an interesting pattern. The raglan "seams" are lacy affairs, worked with yarn over increases instead of knitting into the front and back of the stitches. Very cool.
In other knitting news, I called my Colinette source in the UK, thanks to the magic of Skype. It seemed as though it had been a while since I'd ordered those seven skeins of Giotto to make a jacket (see, addictive fiber!), so I checked my PayPal receipt. This was not a case of short attention-span. I also pondered my many difficulties with mail delivery. So I rang them up and they were very polite and apologetic. The color that I ordered is on back order and they neglected to send me an email. The man who answered the phone (a man in a yarn shop!) had such a charming accent that I was totally mollified. They'll let me know if there are any changes. I've a few other things I can work on in the meantime.
My local yarn shop (well, one of them) had a huge sale a month or so ago, during which they gave out gift certificates for obscene spending. The phrased that differently. They expire on Thursday, so I went over there on Friday to see what I could find. Not much. That's not say that they haven't interesting stock. They just want more for it than I want it. I don't pay retail for Colinette or Debbie Bliss. Life is too short. True to form, I cruised the sales bins and found two luscious skeins of Manos yarn, in a deep burgundy color, 50% off. Fantastic. They're going to be a scarf for a beloved family member. It has been observed that said person already has a scarf, but has that ever stopped a knitter? I plan to ply it with mohair in a complementary color so that it will look fabulous and expensive. That is, when I find the perfect mohair. I'm a bit wary of trying to find something online, since my tomato colored yarn turned out to be much closer to the dreaded burnt orange. I'm not knitting a 1970s dream kitchen! Still, it's not so bad. The mohair has to go with something, which is much harder to do. Guess I'll have to clip a tiny piece off to stick in my wallet, to be carried around to many yarn stores. Or I could just guess at one on the Purl Soho website, sending an email: "Do these yarns look good together? Keep in mind, the scarf is for a man". That might give them a laugh or two.



The Classy Drug Rug 2 is finished, and it's not druggy at all. Even though I had 100 yards more than the pattern calls for, I still didn't have enough to do the hood. I had enough to make about half of the hood. Since the yarn is handdyed stuff, I didn't feel like shelling out $18 to finish the hood. Besides, it looks fine without one.
My hair looks really flippy in that picture. It's supposed to curl the other direction, but I find the flip a little fun. Not too Carol Brady, thank god! I'd also like to point out that this sweater looks fine on a lady. Best pal Lewis declared that I should give the next CDR to him, as it would never look good on a woman. I laughed, since it's a ladies' sweater patttern. He wears a lady sweater when he gets up in the morning and has his coffee. I plan to wear mine similarly, though I wore it to dinner at my grandparents' tonight. It will be nice to slip into in the morning, when I want to check my email, read the mail, etc.
I've had two new sweaters in two weeks. I'm not sure that I can keep up this pace. Well, maybe. I've picked up a new portable project: one of my UFOs instead of casting on something new. I'm working on the last piece of my Phildar wrap cardigan, the shawl collar. I really hope that I have enough yarn to finish, since I think that the yarn has been discontinued by Phildar. I can always sew it up with something else (like that pale blue coned mercerized cotton. so much easier to sew with than fuzzy yarn!), but I can't very well knit it in another yarn. I suspect that this is the reason that it became a UFO. It will be really beautiful when it's done, but it may take more than a week.
Did you know that there is an antismoking sidewalk evangelist in Chicago? He works the sidewalk in front of Old Navy on State Street, with a little PA system and some handbills. I encountered him on Saturday, while trying to talk on my cell phone. He was just too much of a distraction. "You can't get into heaven smoking that evil weed" he declared confidently. I looked around for someone with a joint, thinking that pretty nervy considering the police presence and sheer number of people on State Street. Nope, he was referring to tobacco. I don't know how the Old Navy people tolerate him berating people in front of their store. There aren't a lot of people who will stand up for smokers, but a lot of people are turned off by crazy evangelists. Especially ones with PAs.


Top Down Goes Bottoms Up

I finished the sleeves on my top down raglan sweater. I had that finishing high, the end felt so near. Then I tried it on. It was poochy around the armhole. It added an element of sag where I don't need any help with that. If only I had tried it on earlier! I have a blog-crush on the designer of this garment, so I refuse to have any ill will towards her. It was probably a case of bad math when she scaled the pattern. Well, misleading math, because sizing doesn't follow a neat geometric line. So, I went to her website and checked for errata. Sure enough, the updates to the pattern included a much shorter raglan seam. Damn. Since I adore this project and its pricey Debbie Bliss yarn, I had a think on it and found a way to salvage this thing, short of tearing it all out. What I will do is run a lifeline into the row below the bottom of that deep v neckline, then tear back to it. Obviously, wine will be involved, as half of the sweater will be gone afterward. Then I will pick up the stitches at the lifeline and knit it from the bottom up. I am not thrilled about this, but other solutions do not spring to mind.
I've been having a hard time of it lately, and this knitting setback only seems to symbolic of it all. It's really frustrating.


I have finally finished my Colinette sweater! The long awaited last ball of yarn arrived this week and I put in that final push to get it done while the weather is still cool enough to wear it. This morning, I bound off the neck and put it on for the first time. I love it. The sweater is cozy, with its turtleneck and long, long sleeves, and a flattering color. It suits my personality. My mother laughed when I told her that, but I caught her petting the sweater on my back a few times during the day. She's making a shawl out of Giotto now, so its hand shouldn't be a revelation to her, but a lacy shawl and a ramble-around-the-house pullover can show off a yarn very differently. I think I'll wear it tomorrow too, unless the weather improves.
Colinette yarn is addictive. I have another project out of Giotto in the pipeline, a ribbed cardigan in a lovely purple and blue colorway called Florentine. There's a brioche stitch shell in the new Interweave Knits made out of their Wigwam yarn (which resembles a shoelace) that really caught my eye. That is, until I realized how much it would cost to make. None of my handy British sources carry Wigwam, so I would end up paying $22 a skein. No. Maybe I can find a good substitute, though I can't recall seeing any other yarns with that unique construction. There's also a beguiling tank top in the Colinette Muse book, out of their new Lasso yarn. It's described as having a "morish" quality, a very British phrase that means absolutely nothing to me.
Besides, I'm not exactly hurting for ideas. I've got a few things tucked away in my stash. My other London sweater, with the embellished raglan seams; a cotton wrap cardigan à la DVF from Paris; a mohair cardigan also from France; some Phildar projects; and a few UFOs that wouldn't require massive efforts to complete. I've just got to sit down and sort it all out. I've decided not to start a new project until the current major projects are done. I can check the Colinette pullover off the list now, but the Classy Drug Rug 2 is still in progress. The fabulous cowl sweater is getting more attention now because it feels so close to done. I'm nearly done with the first sleeve, which went pretty fast. The ribbing around the cowl neckline will probably take longer, but at least it will be on circular needles and not on dpns.
I left my knitting at home in my rush to get off to work on Saturday morning and read my book instead. There was more train ride than text, though, and I could only pretend to read for so long. There was a woman on the train who strongly resembled Jerri Blank from Strangers With Candy. Funny and unfortunate. She was wearing black acid washed jeans. How long has it been since the acid wash was popular? Ten or fifteen years? Yikes. There was also a man, dressed in painter's whites, who seemed to want to strike up a conversation. He seemed like he'd be needy and hard to shake, so I answered his questions in a short, icy tone without raising my eyes from my book. I don't want to be a bitch, but I'm tired of getting stuck in conversations on the train. He moved on to the woman sitting across the aisle and received a similar reception there. I'm glad that I rebuffed him, since I later saw that he got off at my stop. It would have been very difficult to extricate myself.
The Mother's Day present went over well. They're beautiful needles and she admired them greatly. I don't think that she'll actually knit with them, which is a shame. She still uses the needles on which she learned to knit when she needs elevens, but I think that she'd love the glass needles once she tried them. Maybe she'll hang them on the wall, but at least she likes them. My grandmother was greatly pleased with the terry slippers that we gave her as a part of a Burt's Bees kit. She needed a new pair of slippers, she informed us, and even put them on while we were there. Seems like a successful present.


Progress, progress. I'm almost done with the first sleeve on my top down raglan sweater. It's not as quick moving as you would think, because it's knit in situ. Moving the whole garment around and around slows the progress a bit. Now that it has a sleeve, it is an identifiable shape. Excellent. The conductor on my regular train home even wished me good luck with the sweater when I detrained this evening.
It will be gratifying to have this one finished. Which brings the inevitable question, what next? I've got loads of things in my stash, and a few UFOs that could stand a bit of attention. None of them are warm weather garments, so the satisfaction of wearing them upon completion would have to be deferred. School Products finally has their redesigned website up. Now, it is possible to see and purchase their designer bargain coned yarn, "from factories in Italy". A savvy shopper could easily identify most of these yarns, I'd say, if viewing them in person. I bought about a pound of mercerized cotton yarn, which is totally unlabelled Karabella Zodiac yarn, for summer garments. I have a few cones' worth of other colors hidden away, but I am unsure of the yardage. That can be a disadvantage when trying to choose a project. This could be solved by a simple science class project-like task. I could spool off all of the yarn from one of the cones and weigh the cone itself. Then, I would be able to weigh all subsequent orders and accurately measure the weight of the yarn (rather than the yarn and cone, since I can't knit the cone into anything). My engineer grandfather would be so proud of me for figuring that out. I wonder if he has a good kitchen scale.... Maybe I'll do that in my copious free time.
I got on the Skype bandwagon today, after disgust at my last cell phone bill. When your phone company sends you a notice about exciting new rates, be assured that they're only exciting for them. I never go over my minutes, but when I want to make international calls, I end up paying through the nose. No more. I spent a few pennies and now have everything set up so that my cousin in London can call me as a local call, and I can call him for about two cents a minute. This appeals greatly to my AV nerd side. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, since my mic input level is kinda low. I don't want it to sound like an old-school transatlantic call, so a trip to Radio Shack (ugh) is in order. I need an adapter for my microphone, so that I can have a little more control over my input levels. Because you know I've got to have an SM58 and a set of cans instead of some sort of lightweight headset for all my calls.


It was a really beautiful day out today, but I was in the office all day. I wore nice weather clothes: a vintage inspired dress and my fabulous Dr Scholl's platform shoes. I even wore my contacts and makeup. Figured it was time to look like I cared after several days of sloth. Great, but this brought much commentary at work. No, I don't have a date or anything, I'm tired of looking like shit. This morning, I did a fake and bake, as to not expose my freakishly white legs to the world. When I washed my hands afterwards, the water must have run up (down?) my arms, because I'm a little stripey. Exfoliation will ensue. Maybe I'm just too pale for self-tanner, even the gradual kind. Despite studious application, I keep having mishaps. And my tans are invisible to anyone but me.
Decided to wind yarn into balls (that is, peloter. Why do the French have a word for that and we don't?) for the next project. Under certain lighting, my lusciously soft organic cotton yarn from Blue Sky looks burnt orange instead of tomato red. I live in horror of burnt orange knitting, and really, that color in general. I'll have to wear that garment only in flattering lighting, I guess.
I finally bought KT Tunstall's album, on impulse, today. Now I understand. I listened to it all the way into the Loop today and think that it will make good knitting music. I've decided that I can like it despite one of the songs being used constantly to promote a shitty sitcom.


Dance marathon

No, I am not dancing my little heart out: I am working all the damn time. We're not actually having another marathon at the moment, it just feels that way. There's my whining for the day. This doesn't leave me a lot of free time for knitting and other diversions, like watching the Netflix dvds that I've had forever or finally reading those books that I picked up at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris.
Despite that, I have managed to finish the body of my tiny gauge raglan sweater. I thought that it would take forever to bind off the three hundred plus stitches for the hem, but it was really more like half an hour. I'd missed my train (again), so it was a great way to kill some time. Now it is time for the sleeves, but as I am knitting the sleeve from the armhole instead of as a separate piece, it is awkward and cannot commute with me anymore. Also, knitting on #3s for more than 15 minutes makes my hand hurt. So, that is moving along slowly.
Instead, the Classy Drug Rug II is keeping me company on the train these days. This starts a lot of conversations. Clearly, some people think that this project is for a child. Well, it would have to be a very large child, because it's for someone with a 41 inch chest! And there are the usual comments, such as references to grandmothers who knitted, observations about my speed, the dreaded C-word. Cute-get your mind out of the gutter! I've never heard the other one in the context of a knitting conversation, but you never know. The body of CDR 2 is done and I am working on the first sleeve. At this rate, it will be done within a fortnight.
I bought a new knitting book this week. Well, new to me, not to the shelves. I am looking for a fabulous project to make for a beloved cousin, and decided that the funky raglan unisex sweater in Loop-d-loop would be good. I like the idea of it: irregular ribbing, an open raglan seam to the collar, luscious Rowan yarn. Further inspection of the pattern proves that I like only the idea. The pattern comes only in one size, 48 inches. That is big, and the cousin in question is believed to have a 38" chest or thereabouts. That's a hell of a lot of ease! Also, one sleeve in the pattern is raglan and the other is set-in (poorly). WTF?! How did that seem like a good idea during the design process? A lot of the patterns in the book leave me scratching my head, so I am glad that I didn't pay full price for it. There are details that I plan to steal for other projects, and projects that require a lot of math for alterations, but very little to be made as-is. I can see that I will end up designing a sweater myself incorporating the elements that I like in the crazy sleeve sweater, but not before tackling a few other projects.
I just got my tax refund, in an unexpectedly swift manner. My thoughts immediately turned to impulsive purchases of luxury fiber, an AbFab afghan kit, a full set of Addi Turbo needles, etc. Instead, I went on a very responsible spending spree. Yes, that seems like an oxymoron, but keep reading. I bought bras this afternoon. I went to TJ Maxx and bought every bra they had in my size. All five of them. Bra manufacturers seem to operate under the belief that large breasted ladies like practical colored bras. And it's hard for anything to look cute in a D cup. The reward for pawing through the poorly organized, overcrowded lingerie racks at TJ Maxx? Well, I ended paying less for all five of the bras than one of them would have cost a block away at Carsons. They're all very practical, which is not the most appealing thing for a girl in her twenties, but I love a bargain.
I read the new Augusten Burroughs book in one night. It's very fast moving. The book on Georgian princesses that I purchased on the same trip is decidedly not. Yes, I realize that a book about George III's daughters isn't going to be a pagetuner. It's dry. I'm used to dry. It has print roughly the size of that in the phone book. That is a problem. I'd hoped to pass the book along to my grandmother, but there's no way that I can do that if it makes my young eyes ache after a couple chapters!
I thought that Mother's Day was tomorrow (it's not), so I went out on a Gift-for-Mom expedition before work on Thursday. This took me to a new yarn shop. An actress I know told me about it after she stumbled upon it during a trip to the Auditorium Theatre. It's very conveniently located for knitters who work in the Loop. Well, I went there, imagining a skein of beautiful but expensive lace weight yarn that my mother would never buy for herself. The owner of the store had a far better suggestion: glass knitting needles. Sounds as helpful as a rubber crutch, but they're made out of Pyrex, with art glass ends. They're really beautiful! The unexpected benefit of this beautiful, clear glass is their magnifying effect. Wonderful for fiddly little projects like my lace-making mom enjoys! I am so excited about this gift! Much better than my first idea, an AbFab kit (shipped from the UK. I love my mom, but I don't pay retail for Colinette!), or my second, a CO Bigelow box. She still hasn't used up the Origins sampler that I gave her for her birthday two years ago. So, magical looking needles fit the bill. They're wrapped up in tissue now, but maybe I'll be able to grab a good shot of them after Mother's Day. And, even though I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head, I bought some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool yarn for a good summer AC cardigan. It's very lightweight stuff, but warm due to its silk content. Predictably, I opted for vibrant blue. Maybe someday I'll make a yellow project to mix it up, get out of my color comfort zone. Not anytime soon.


Think I Have A Favorite Color?

Look at these yarns that I have in my stash: Some people may think that pink is my favorite color, but anyone who's seen my fiber knows which color is really "mine".

This is a ball of Suss yarn for a spiderweb like wrap sweater. I bought it at the expensive yarn lover's crackhouse near the theatre. Maybe I should have had them wind the skeins into balls for me, because it was a serious challenge. It didn't want to cooperate at all. The yarn is two very fine strands of hairy goodness held together, which probably means that it can't be torn out. Only for the confident knitter who makes no mistakes.

Anyone who has knit with mohair before knows how difficult it is to tear it out. I've heard that putting the fabric in the freezer first helps to unhook all its little hairs for a frogging session. Knock on wood, I've never had to try. This yarn is from La Droguerie in Paris, and it is sooo my color. I plan to make a cardigan out of it, with matching mother-of-pearl buttons. Nothing particularly fancy, like the cabled La Gran pattern I've drooled over for years, but something a bit vintage. And it's from France, did I mention that?

Here's another shot of that hand-dyed alpaca that I bought on sale. Not a summer fabric, but I look forward to working with it. I think alpaca is the "it" fiber right now.

And here's an in progress shot of the Cashmerino Cowl, that sweater of many names. I'm working on the fairly wide waistband ribbing now. It's three inches deep, or it will be when I am done with it. Notice the tiny needles. I'd hoped to work on it on the train tonight, but an inconsiderate gentleman took up my personal space instead. Or, it's impossible to knit with one shoulder pinned to the windowpane. Sure, he had a right to sit in that seat, but did he have to sit with his legs apart in that odd, masculine fashion? Instead, I paged through the New Yorker that arrived today, which was probably better for my wrist anyway.

Didn't you miss those pics in my last several posts? I'm trying to figure out how to transfer images from my phone to my computer, as I am far more likely to have my cell phone with me than my camera these days. There oughta be a way... In case I wonder past something fabulous.

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