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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