I went to the opera tonight, for the first time this season. It was Puccini. I love Puccini. I did not love the woman sitting behind me. She rifled through her purse a number of times, quite noisily. At first, I thought that she was unwrapping cough drops, but they don't make that much noise. It was as though she had a handbag full of tissue paper. The only way that it could have been more obnoxious is if she had had a tambourine in there.
When I went to the symphony last week, I sat next to a couple that kept talking to each other during the performance. Since we were seated in the terrace, they were in full view of the rest of the audience as they chatted. I longed to hiss in my poshest fake British accent, "Oh, do shut up!", but I couldn't work up the nerve. This made me wonder when people stopped abiding by those tacit rules of attending events. Don't make noise. Don't wear a half a bottle of perfume. And for god's sake, turn off your cell phone. Then I thought about it for a while and realized that people have never been that perfect, non-distracting/non-disruptive audience. Hell, people used to stroll about and visit during shows until Wagner introduced the practice of dimming the lights in the auditorium during performances. Think what you will about his work, he did have a few good ideas.

Otherwise, things are going well. The end is in sight on one of the Christmas gifts, the pure math cardigan for my grandmother. I didn't use a pattern, but math to make it. I am generally pleased with the outcome, though still a bit nervous about running out of yarn for the sleeves. I am currently working on the first one, using an Addi Lace needle to magic loop it. I can't work on it at work (due to it being Knitpicks yarn) and it's getting a bit big for the commute. Fortunately, there is some sort of Law and Order marathon going for the holiday weekend--perfect knitting television. Perhaps I ought to start working on the #### for my cousin ####. It's a small project, after all, and knit in Koigu. Hmmm. I also have #### to knit for my #### and ####. Yes, I am a big tease. The problem is that too many of the people that I knit for may or may not read this blog and I don't want to get demanding or plaintive emails, text messages, or phone calls about the gifts. I will knit it and you will like it. Or I won't and you'll get a gift card that I bought at 7-11 on my way over to see you. Either way, act surprised.


I was rolling through my morning routine this morning (brush teeth, read blogs, etc) when I saw that Bonne Marie of Chicknits had linked to my blog. I nearly spat out my coffee. Well, I might have done that anyway since I used buttermilk instead of milk this morning out of desperation. I wouldn't recommend it. So, if you're a new reader, welcome. Today I will try to be at my wittiest.

It's been an interesting week at the shop. We've had a fairly international crowd the past few days. Yesterday, a very charming mother-son pair of knitters visited from Australia, with dad in tow. They were delightful and humored me with descriptions of the knitting community down under as I wound their purchases into balls. Later, we had an English couple from London. Zoe steered them to me because I understand the UK/Australian knitting terms (though measuring yarn by weight instead of quoting yardage seems ripe for error). One of these days, I might make a cheat sheet. When I have a bit of free time.

We also had a couple of meetings with our yarn reps. I love these meetings because I am a shameless fiber addict, but I must admit that I can only take so much yarn in one sitting. It's fun looking at all of the new colors and yarns, but after an hour or so I really can't retain any more. I gave in to temptation and ordered a bag of Manos wool to make a Pimlico shrug like the one that Lisa made as a store model. She and I wear it around the store fairly frequently, so I started to think that it might be nice to have one that I can wear wherever.

While I was taking in all of the fiber temptation, I knitted away on one of my Christmas projects. If you see me knitting in the next couple of months, it will either be commissioned work or gifts. Ironically, the project in question is knit up in Knitpicks Shine Worsted, which is sort of like going to Paris and eating at McDonalds. I am making a bed jacket for my grandmother, a top down raglan with seed stitch edging. Since I'm not using a pattern, but working from a mathematical formula, it seemed wise not to break out my prized alpaca. The Shine has a lovely hand, as well as an elegant sheen when knit up, though I really ought not to work on it in the shop.

Nina is having an anniversary sale this weekend. I was momentarily elated when I read their email this morning, until I considered my current fiber state. I am stashed to capacity. I have more yarn than time to knit it. I do not need more yarn. Also, I just ordered a Fleece Artist kit and a kilo of Manos. Damn.

Lately, I've been going through my annual Christmas card buying dilemma. I pretend that I will design them myself, which I've not done since college. This leads to denial and epic shopping searches for the perfect card. I must find a tasteful, elegant card on fairly thick cardstock with plenty of room to write on the inside. And, since I haven't won the lottery, it can't be square. Nothing cute or with glitter on it, preferably a vintage looking picture. No cats and no more Asian motifs because I did that three years in a row. You can see how it could be difficult to find that perfect expression of my personal aesthetic in holiday greeting form, no? Well, I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday, fleeing the cold and reading magazines for free when I found this year's card. It is on heavy but not additional postage weight stock with a white on white design of a dove and the word peace embossed on the cover. Not that lousy silk screen "embossing" but a heavy bruise like you find in letterpress designs. Here's the shocker: they were cheap (like a dollar per card) and Unicef cards. Unicef! When did their cards become so nice? I remember when they were cheap looking and awful and only bleeding hearts bought them, but all of their designs this year are elegant. I snapped up two boxes and another design for older relatives who might be challenged by the white on white design. Apparently, my purchase financed the immunization of 45 children, too. I'm not a buy-crap-for-a-cause fan, but I was happy when I read that on the box.


This is the time of year that I'd really like to spend curled up in bed with the covers pulled over my head. Oh, fall, how you fool me. I love all of the foliage you bring and the return of sweater weather, but why must it be dark at 4.30? Don't you know how much that screws up my circadian rhythm?

Things keep plugging along, despite the near total dependence on artificial light. I'm starting to really rethink my Christmas list, in light of all of the professional knitting and overtime that lays ahead. Please don't be offended, friends and loved ones, if you get a gift card or something purchased in a store. I wish that I could knit magically like those kids in Harry Potter, with the projects dancing around my head. Or that I had enough energy to knit on the train ride home every night. See circadian complaint above.

Other complaints: I got two tickets on my car in Wrigleyville last night. They were both my fault, but it still sucks. I now owe the city of Chicago $80. I know that the city needs money, but I would prefer that it wasn't mine! This finally prompted me to mount my front plate on the bumper where it belongs, instead of letting it rattle around on the dashboard. Remember when my car was stolen? Well, the plate holder/mount took a beating in that incident and I procrastinated about fixing it. Turns out that all it needed was a good shove from the guy at the auto parts place to get the plate into the mount. Now that plate isn't going anywhere and I've got new wiper blades.

I sound so grumpy today, and really I'm not. Maybe I just need a good soak in the tub and an hour of knitting (for me).


Don't count your socks before they're knit!

In spite of my mountain of Christmas knitting, I've taken on another project. Actually, two projects. My grandmother has hinted strongly (boldly stated) her desire for a bed jacket for Christmas and I just happen to have twelve balls of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK in my stash. Oh, and I have some test knitting to do, which is top secret but definitely bigger than socks. Fortunately, I have a job where I can knit, but only with yarn that we sell in the store. Only one of my current projects falls into that category.

Not much else going on. I got called in to sub for three performances this weekend. Since I'd just been there the week before, it was quite fresh in my mind. Also, it's a good knitting show. I finished the back piece of my Gruesa cardigan over the weekend, with a good 90% of that knit at the theatre. I'm really lucky that the sub job fell into my lap. One of my coworkers from the Joffrey recommended me, and it was wonderful working with her in our chosen field. It was a really great work environment all around.

I'm glad to pull yarn from stash for the bed jacket. I really ought to do that more. Most of the yarn in my stash is project-stashed, but some of it was bought on spec (ie, on sale) or I just don't want to make that project anymore. I opened the drawer where most of my stash lives the other day and nearly fell over. I have a lot of yarn. I have a hell of a lot of sock yarn, which is quite funny when you consider how rarely I wear socks! Lisa informed me today that she has a whole box of sock yarn to give me. I may plotz.

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