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.

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