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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Another Fine Pair

I completed these this evening and they are happily blocking.

I finished the first one weeks ago and it sat alone in a project bag while other things took precedence. I vowed to cast on and finish the second one (the left? the right? Thing One...Thing Two?) this weekend. The incredibly nice weather today threatened to do in my plans, but I persevered. I did knit on the front porch for a bit, but the nice weather had everyone out and I ended up talking with my neighbors more than I was knitting. (We hardly see each other in winter, so we had to catch up and share the neighborhood gossip.)

The socks are done in the Crisscross Lace Sock pattern from Briar Rose done with Sophie's Toes Iced Coffee colorway. Here is a close-up:

Sock yarn has truly become an obsession, evidenced by the latest acquisitions:

There are more skeins of Sophie's Toes (I think Emily's color sense is quite fabulous), some STR (missing from the photo shoot is the Lagoon colorway from the recent sock club shipment), Jitterbug, a skein from White Willow (an Etsy seller), and Piece of Beauty, which I cannot wait to knit with. It may be the squishiest sock yarn I have ever felt.
Next up in the queue will be the Rockin' Sock Club socks. (I'm not sure how I feel about the colorway or the pattern, but I am looking forward to trying a toe-up sock.) I've added to the knitting book library recently, so a larger project may be in the offing, as well. I've also ordered bunches and bunches of Elann's Sonata to make a miter square blanket, inspired by Cara's efforts. The Sonata is just a hair thinner than Tahki Cotton Classic and a whole lot less expensive, so I'm hoping it will be a good substitute. They don't have black, though, so that's a bit of a drag. I'm thinking of it as a very long-term project, with squares completed in fits and starts.
Speaking of a bit of a drag (ahem), I am digging The Riches. I love, love, love Eddie Izzard, and he and Minnie Driver are quite fabulous. Try'll like it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Non-Knitters I Have Known

Not long after moving to Chicago 13 years ago, I began working at a world-renown arts organization that was a challenging place for many reasons, not the least of which was the physical space. Elevators often got stuck, strange people would be found sleeping in the hallways, much of it was un-air-conditioned (or, conversely, barely heated), light fixtures would occasionally start to smolder, and so on. Maybe we bonded over the misery of our circumstances, but a number of us became close friends.

Like many not-for-profits, the place suffered from tremendous turnover and, after a few years, our group all departed within a brief time. To ensure that we stayed in touch, we formed a book group. Ten years, several marriages, a few babies, and some comings and goings later, most of us are still together. (Our circle has expanded beyond those of us bound by the common workplace, but the overall chemistry has been maintained.)

One of the founding members went on to become a teacher, and several years ago she instituted a "star" system: gold if you finished the book in time for the meeting, silver if you finished it after the discussion, and blue for some other reason I can't remember. (As a bit of a book group slacker for some time, I have been lobbying for a star for having purchased but not yet read the book; I am not winning that one.) This is a low-key group; no worries if you didn't read the book, just enjoy dinner and conversation. Sometimes there is animated discussion and sometimes we barely talk about the book. What is more important is that we enjoy getting together.

I sometimes joke that if it isn't about dance or knitting, I don't read it. An exaggeration to be sure, but regrettably I don't read nearly as many novels as I used to. Last night I jokingly suggested that one of our next books could be a knitting book. Since none of them knit, I really was kidding. Maybe it was because they were in my home, or maybe because they are incredibly thoughtful, open-minded people, or maybe because they are my friends, they actually said they might want to do that--and maybe I could teach them how to knit, too. It may not happen, but the fact that they were willing means as much to me as if it actually does.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I made yarn! Oh, it is not pretty yarn, and I haven't taken a picture of it yet, but I spun up about 3 oz. of roving and plied it.'s ugly but I made it. I'm not yet sure if I have all of the kinks worked out with the wheel (Toni helped a lot) but I have learned never to underestimate the importance or usefulness of a well-placed washer. While I was at The Fold, I also tried out the Ashford Joy, both the Single Treadle and Double Treadle. I really like the single since you can use your other foot for balance on the floor. And the Joy's treadle is centered so you can switch off easily. It is just a gorgeous machine and I may just have to own one someday.

It was a lovely day to drive out to Marengo and when my lesson was finished, I went outside and breathed in that warm, wet spring air. I should have spent more of the day outside, but I could not wait to go home and spin some more.

I really hope we have a long spring this year--we so often slide right from damp, cold yuck right into summer. These guys are just dying to get out on the balcony--as am I.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Since I closed the office for the day tomorrow (one of the perks of being the boss and payback for having been working like mad to get through our performances this weekend), I am heading out to The Fold in Marengo for a spinning lesson. I had arranged for a private class here at a local shop a few weeks back. Unfortunately, when I arrived, after having paid to park because I got stiffed on a street space because I very nicely let someone merge in front of me and then she snarfed the spot I was headed to--that'll teach me to be nice--and hauled my wheel down the street, not only was the teacher not there, but my appointment had never been recorded in their lesson book. I. Was. Miffed. Hey, things happen, but it will take a long time for me to return. I'll likely go back eventually, but I am a pretty good grudge-holder so it could be years. There are other yarn fish in the knitting sea. I think this was actually for the best since I am now going to take a class with Toni, a fiber legend. I am pretty excited. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Doing anything this weekend? (Warning: not about knitting at all)

Work...the thing that keeps me from playing with yarn all the time. *sigh*

As referenced in my sidebar, I am the execut*ve direct*r of a contempor@ry d@nce company here in Chicago. This weekend, my company is performing downtown at the H@rris The@ter in Millennium P@rk. (Sorry to scramble and to be so mysterious, but I'd prefer not to get unintended hits from name searches of the company or the theater.) If you are interested in d@nce and will be in the Chicagoland area this weekend, email me at amcombe at hotmail dot com and I will send you a link to a description of the show and a code that you can use to get a discount on tickets. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 3.

Back to my yarn...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Giving It Another Whirl

Last Sunday Blogger ate my post. I was so annoyed that we didn't speak all week. (Note: I've somehow taken to assigning humanistic identities to things that don't have them. For example, now that we FINALLY have TiVo out of the box, I've begun saying things like, "I wonder what TiVo did while we were out." and "Why does TiVo think we would like 'Jackass'?". I know... I sound like a lunatic.)

So, MORE THAN A WEEK AGO, I attempted to counteract some pretty major work stress with yarn therapy. Emily Parson updated her etsy site and I dove in. I bought Rustic Cabin, Lush, Iris Garden, Muir Woods, and Midnight Sky. And, as some of you know, when a popular seller does an update, you have to be on it. I must have refreshed my computer forty billion times while Emily did her update to see what she was posting next. And I attacked it with a competitive zeal. I learned my lesson last time: just because it is in your cart doesn't mean it is yours. It can be snatched out from under you by some sneaky yarn ho someone else before you know it (just like the wedding dress sale at Filene's), hence five skeins. And this was after I'd already hit Blue Moon Fibers:

Oy. I am going to have to knit socks from now until the end of the time to get through the sock yarn stash, a stash that didn't even exist until less than a year ago when one day I woke up with the need to knit socks. I've heard that the same thing happens to some people about having kids. I'm sticking to socks. They'll never want to borrow the car even if I do start talking about them like they're people.