My arm is much better, so the knit's back on. I made a deal with myself the other day that I could knit as long as my arm didn't hurt. If it started to hurt, I would stop. The first day, I could only knit eight rows on the CDR (granted, they were 90 stitches across). This was followed by a long soak in the tub, very restorative. I've since finished the front panel of the Classy Drug Rug and one of the sleeves. It's going to be the perfect lazy day sweater.
While I was on knitting sabbatical, I still engaged in fiber related activity. Long time readers may recall the sad story of the Somewhat Cowl. After much knitting on tiny needles with expensive yarn, it didn't fit. It was saggy in the armpits. That's not exactly a flattering look, so I was disappointed. I couldn't bear to rip it out, so I threw it behind the laundry hamper where it stayed for about six months. I frogged it. Frogging is a bittersweet experience. You get your yarn back, but you also see all those hours of work disappear in a matter of minutes. I wound it into balls, which I dutifully washed in the tub. The next day, a tentative poke into the center of the still wet balls revealed yarn ramen. The trip to the tub was pointless. I skeined the yarn, as I should have in the first place, and will wash it again one of these days.
Reclaiming the yarn was ultimately satisfying. It was being wasted and now it can find another incarnation. Also, I've decided to join in the Knit From Your Stash movement going around the knitblogs. I own a ridiculous amount of yarn. I would be embarrassed to tell you all of the things that I have in my stash. Let's just say that I have enough yarn to knit myself a new sweater for every day of the week.
We had our first opening night of the year at work this week and I struggled to stay awake. The show was fabulous, but I was exhausted. Pale faced. Pained by sinuses. Only able to drink 2/3 of a beer at the party before leaving at eleven. The next morning, I woke up feeling like absolute crap. This seriously derailed my plans to go to work and take care of my other commitments for the day. Fortunately, everyone was very understanding. There must be something going around at work, because Brina seemed to be coming down with the same thing today.
Other news from work: the business office has found a replacement for my boss. He announced this today, which made us all sad. He's the coolest boss I've ever had and he'll be sorely missed. This necessitates a knitted gift. That means breaking my pledge to knit from stash exclusively this year. As it is gift knitting, I think it's technically okay. I'm not paying retail for the yarn in question (Colinette Tagliatelli) and supporting an excellent LYS. Granted, the store in question isn't in the same hemisphere as my current address... The yarn has really great drape in seed stitch, so I'm going to knit a scarf similar to the one that I made for Margaret last year. Maybe without the fringe, I'm not sure yet.


Sitting on my hands

I finished my Very Classy Drug Rug, cables and all, in record time. I love it. I want to live in it. I want to make another one like it. I had lofty goals for completing a Classy Drug Rug soon, in beautiful variegated purple Malabrigo yarn. That will not be happening soon.
We've had our first snowfall of '07 here in Chicago. Nothing major, but enough to feel like winter again. My car doors froze shut in the train station parking lot. It was freezing and I had to go to the bathroom (because the cold seems to do that to me). And it was the doors, not the locks that were frozen, so the old lighter on the key trick didn't work. I kicked and tugged and poked at the door hinges with an old key to no avail. Finally, a good samaritan came to my aid. She was a well dressed lady and she yanked on that door like a stevedore. It popped right open for her. I am so grateful for her aid.
I was so tired after this excitement that I went home and took a long, hot bath. It was heaven. It was also purple, since I used the blackberry bath bomb that my grandmother gave me for xmas. At some point later that evening, I became aware of an ache in my right arm--the one that I use for everything. I was really aware of it this morning. I believe this to be the result of my battle of the wills with some of the finest steel to come out of Detroit. I think that I pulled a muscle in my arm trying to yank open the door of my car. So, no knitting for a while, as that would just exacerbate things. Also, I have to ice it, which is so much fun in cold weather. I am cranky. My hands itch for something to do. Unfortunately my other hobby, crossword puzzles, also uses my right arm a lot. I guess that also rules out archery and fly fishing, eh?
Fortunately, I still have a couple of unread xmas books: Life Changing (with foreword by Al Gore) and the new collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami. Today, I was totally engrossed in the Murakami book on the train. He's one of my favorite authors.
I also have a few podcasts to entertain me, if I sit in one of the quieter cars on the train. I know it's not a library, but Christ do people make a lot of noise on the train! I'm almost entirely caught up on my backlog of Cast-On podcasts and have started listening to a new podcast from Australia. The podcaster is a man and sounds incredibly sexy. So it's entertaining on a few different levels.


Annus Horribilus. that's latin, get your mind out of the gutter

Well, 2006 is over, and not a moment too soon. It was not a good year for me, not a good year for a lot of my friends. My car was stolen, I lost my regular gig, experienced shifting friendships, suffered a romantic disappointment, and had hard drive meltdowns on both my ipod and my desktop. It is not a year upon which I will look back with undiminished joy. That is the reason for my recent blog absence.
Did anything good happen in '06? Well, I made a lot of new friends and visited four foreign countries. It's hard to complain about that. I've been to a lot of theatre. I finally made it to Stitch and Bitch at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Christmas was really quiet this year. No big drama, and some good presents. The best was a pillow that Jenny made for me from a bag of rice and a pinch of lavender. Oh, and some fabric. It holds heat for a long time and is perfect for that end of the day crick in my neck. A very thoughtful gift. My grandmother gave me a gift set from Lush, which required her to go into the Loop the Friday before Christmas. My grandma is one tough lady! The products are really awesome for dry winter skin, especially Skin Sin lotion and Sultana of Soap. It also included a discount card: the best gift for a Lush lush like me. My godmother gave me a knitting book, which includes a pattern that I will call the Very Classy Drug Rug. It's like my much repeated Classy Drug Rug, but with cables and moss stitch panels. It's really great. I say this because I've already knit one. I already had a mill pack of Cascade 128 in my stash (long story), which turned out to be the right gauge for the pattern. I vegged out to marathon showings of Law and Order and Band of Brothers and knit away.

I'm feeling very inspired and productive about my knitting. I even had a coworker tell me that I should sell my work today. Flatterer. I've got another project on the needles, one of the two sweater kits that I bought last spring in Paris. I'd like to get this one done while it's still cold enough to wear mohair sweaters. Since I live in Chicago and it's January, that's probably not an immediate concern. I'm trying to stave off an attack of startitis by instituting a Finish-a-Project-Start-a-Project program. I don't want to have five projects on the needles at once. Two is a lot more manageable.

The city of Chicago is putting a lot of energy into its latest cultural project, a Stitching Salon on East Randolph across from the Cultural Center. It features installations by various fiber artists, as well as presentations of knitting friendly films, classes, and Friday lunch hour Stitch and Bitch (with a more sedate name that escapes me). The opening reception was last Friday and it was packed. It was like a sauna with all those knitters packed into the Gallery 37 storefront. Still, it was fantastic to see how many people came out to support it. The ladies of Lorna's Laces even had a dye it yourself interactive display. I stood in line for a good fifteen minutes, not caring at all if I would late for work, in order to dye a skein. A lot of the people ahead of me made meticulous stripes in the skeins, for a regular, pooling variegated effect, but I'm a Pisces. I really saturated the yarn with purple yarn and overdyed it with blue to create a tonal variation. Well, judge the results for yourself. I haven't really decided what to do with this, but I have about 130 yards to play with. I'm leaning towards a hat or fingerless gloves.

This is also the time of year for the big annual yarn sales. Even though I am on a yarn diet, I broke down and bought a skein of wool boucle plied with a fine strand of Lurex. This yarn is amazing, and makes a light fabric despite its texture. The skein contains 1440 yards-a very generous amount- which is enough for a sweater and some change. I've included my hand in the photograph for scale. I do not have freakishly small hands, in case you were wondering. I also recently acquired RYC Cashsoft yarn, in sufficient amounts to make another of Anna Bell's Jemima sweater. The one that I already have in the wardrobe is so cozy and the yarn so fabulous that I couldn't pass it over. So I feel pretty well supplied for the coming year. I've even found a project for a mill pack of tweed yarn that I bought in Paris on spec. I almost never do that, so finding a use for it comes as a relief.

Hmmm... what else is going on these days? I've been thinking about my music library a lot lately, since all new music requires tough decisions about what stays on the ipod and what goes. 2006 was a big year for KT Tunstall on my playlist. She's incredibly talented and I expect lots of good things from her in the future. That said, it isn't a part of my morning commute anymore. I'm really into Regina Spektor's Begin to Hope right now. I've also loved Jenny Lewis, Neko Case, and The Decemberists this past year. They go well with a dash of McGarrigle sisters and some Ryan Adams. I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt to music I didn't give enough of a chance, like the Raconteurs. Oh, and I still dig Ryuichi Sakamoto. He's the trump card in any record collection pissing contest.
Here's to a better 2007.

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