Things I'll Miss about Chicago

This list is in no particular order, but here are some of my favorite things about Chicago:


 Field Museum

Keo the Chimp

  • The perfectly wonderful, perfectly free Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Shopping with Kasey and finding awesome deals.
  • The non-equity theatre scene.
  • Len & Bob's coverage of Cubs Baseball on WGN.
  • Wrigley Field. 


  • Scoring free tickets to not one, but two original plays involving talking paintings.
  • Concerts and the photo booth, not to mention eating dinner near Eisley, at Schubas.
  • Amy Freeze, the meteorologist on Channel 83. (Take that Tom Skilling!)
  • The folks at Epworth United Methodist.
  • Vogue Fabrics in Evanston and the friendly folks at Loopy Yarns.
  • Going for walks in Andersonville and buying Zanzibar Dark Chocolate Ice Cream at Sweet Occasions.
  • Barbecues on Foster Beach.
  • The doormen in our building. 
  • Being 3 blocks from two grocery stores, a deep dish pizza place, and a Blockbuster.


I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but it's a solid list. Yes, I'll miss a lot about Chicago, but don't worry too much about me. I'm going to Maine!


SnB Northside

I know I haven't talked (typed?) much about knitting here recently, which isn't to say I haven't been knitting. I have, just due to high humidity and clammy hands, I haven't been knitted as much.

Prior to this year, I was a cold-weather only knitter. But the ladies of SnB Norhtside have made make the habit year-round, if only to share in their company one night a week.


For my first year in Chicago I went to my knitting circle on and off as my theatre scheduled permited, this year was a little more flexible and they had moved the lovely Kopi cafe, which is nice walk from my apartment.

As Mr. Cleaver can attest, Tuesday nights are often a highlight of my week and even if I screw up on a project, I always come home in a good mood.

Cat & Caroline

This past Tuesday was a farewell party at SnB, with three members (myself included) leaving in the upcoming weeks.  I decided to bring along the camera to capture it all before I go away. So I'm just going to let the photos speak for themselves, with a caption or two (and if I misspell anyone's name I'm sorry!) 

Chandra & Amy

Cat & Caroline

Diana & Miriam

Amanda & Andrea



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Quick Catch Up

I try to be a good blogger and post at least once a week, twice on a good week - but last week that just didn't happen. 

So here's a quick catch up on what I've been up to since last we met:

  • I've watched two more documentaries on Everest (for a total of three) and am starting my fifth book on the subject.
  • I went to a REM concert at the United Center.

(photo via marcusglimer)

  • I went to the Printer's Row Book Fair and saw a recent library science grad win the Define-A-Thon

(photo via pantagrapher)

  • I went to the sale at Vogue Fabrics and am stashed up for at least five projects. 
  • I went to my knitting circle and continued working on the pattern I'm devising. 
  • Smocked Tank in Progres

  • My  knitting circle decided (jokingly?) that it would be a great idea to make a calendar of knitted bikini's that we each designed. I started a Ravelry group for it - and started sketching some designs, because I think it's fun - even if no one else intends to do it.
  • I cut out one sewing project...
  • Pattern all taped together

  • and started putting it together. 
  • Preview Shot

  • I worked a rental with nearly 800 patrons on three floors with three front of house staff (not fun).
  • I watched Chicago do really well at the Tonys
  • I helped strike a set.
  • I spent 7 hours in meetings.

And that's about it - I mean, I ate and slept and went to work in the midst of all that, which was a crazy, yet really fun week and half. So I hope you'll forgive me for not posting!

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Sweater #3 - Learning Patience

Dahlia Sweater

So I have a backlog of stuff to blog about, and now that MacB has closed, it seems more likely that it will appear on theses pages soon.

I finished this sweater about two weeks ago - the pattern is Dahlia from Knitty. The pattern was designed by a freshman in high school. This puts me to shame, so I decided to design my next sweater myself to show those uppity high schoolers. 

Dahlia Sweater


I partly chose this sweater because I though on size 8 needles, it would be a quick knit. Famous last words.

While I did finish the sweater in under 6 weeks, I had to restart this thing 5 times.

Why, you may ask - well first the raglan was an ill-explained Right Lifted Increase/Left Lifted increase. Which when I finally figured out with the help of my knitting circle (hint: when doing the left lifting increase - don't grab the stitch you just made) makes a very very pretty raglan increase line - so it was worth the trouble - but this was an exercise in patience. 

I also ignored the cries of "the thing's too big!" on Ravelry and cast on in my designated size, which by the time I hit the chest portion I realized was huge even though my gauge matched perfectly, so it got unwound for the 5th and final time.I also decided to move up the neckline an inch or so - because it was a tad low for me. After that point, though, the thing was a breeze and I enjoyed teaching myself to do the cables without a needle.


Dahlia Sweater

I totally have no patience when it comes to wearing stuff I make, so these photos are all of the unblocked (gasp!) sweater. And perhaps in punishment for my impatience - the blocked version looks about 20% better than it does in the above pictures. Another lesson learned. 

I'd like to say it's too warm to wear it now, it being after Memorial Day and all, but alas it is currently 49°F in Chicago. Le sigh...

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Knit Extravaganza!

I have no problem taking pictures of the food I cook, but for some reason, I totally have a brain fart when it comes to photographing my more craft-orientated projects. So I'm going to do a few quick posts to catch up on my current and recently completed projects. Today's post focus on the knitting, the next will focus on the sewing projects.

Project #1 - Salina Sweater from Rowan's Vintage Knits.

Salina Sweater - Collar

Pretty much the entirety of my Christmas vacation in Maine was spent working on the front portion of this sweater. I was a little iffy about the color at first - I bought it off the internet and it wassuppossedly a pale blue, but in reality is a very pale grey with a lovely rainbow tweed flecks. In any case, it will be something different in the sea of green sweaters Iam no longer allowed to buy/make.

I haven't casted on the sleeves yet, because I'm taking/took a break to work on two items I actually need/needed.  See projects #2 and #3.

 Project #2 - MK Carroll's Tillie Cloche 

 Tillie Hat Millie Hat - assemetrical brim in back

A week before Christmas, I lost my favorite warm hat to the CTA. It was a lovely maroon crocheted bobbly thing that was purchased at a church craft fair as a Christmas gift by a family friend several years ago. But alas, it is no more. It is, however, still cold in Chicago and my windowpane-style beret, wasn't cutting it in the wind. So I needed a new hat, fast.

Thanks to the beauty that is Ravelry I was able to find an excellent cloche pattern by MK Carroll.  Thanks to the awesomeness that is Mr. Cleaver I got some lovely yarn for Christmas and pretty much instantaneously went to knitting it up. I made it through the crown and half of the brim before we even left Maine.

But the brim, oh boy, did I have trouble with that brim. Which is no one's  fault but my own.

First - I did not use any of the suggest yarns, instead I used Reynold's Lite Lopi, but I did do gauge check and adjusted accordingly. My problem was that I arbitrarily decided that after the initial decrease and increase on the brim that I would say "to hell!" with the pattern and just eyeball the length. Let us just say that this decision did not work out well and was woefully long on the first and second attempts. There was much grafting, ungrafting, weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the end however, my ears are warm and I really like the hat. It's not 100% done in the above photos. I haven't blocked it lacking a head form other than my own and I haven't added the i-cord trim, but it's cold outside and like all my projects minute finishing can wait until I've worn the thing a half dozen times.

Project #3 - Hello Yarn's Squirrel and Oak Leaf Mittens 

Squirrel Mitten

I lost my warm hat and a month later I had made a new one. I lost my warm gloves and it's taken me oh, eight months to replace them.

That's because the last pair of mittens I made were so disastrous that I refuse to display them here. Well, since Mr. Cleaver was getting me yarn for a hat, I batted my eyelids, looked at him with sad puppy eyes and got a few more skeins for a pair of  mittens to match the hat.

Now I still look at those two skeins of yarn in the photo above and think - surely those would be sufficently contrasting to make a pair of Norwegian-style mittens, surely! The purple is so bright and the grey is so, well, grey! However, as is evidenced in the same above photo this is clearly not the case. So my squirrel mittens are subtle.

But I'm okay with this, figuring that since this is my first colorwork pattern (which I'm really enjoying) it's okay to be subtle, since the mistakes will be less obvious. And as, one of the ladies in my knitting group said on Tuesday - they're like "Magic Eye" mittens, stare long enough and you'll see the image. And I quite like that idea.

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My Three Minutes and 16 seconds of Fame

The knitting video is up on metromix. Go to the video player on the side and scroll down to "Stitch & Bitch @ Kopi - a Traveler's Cafe." I do a lot of hand waving and get a few sounds bites in there too.

On a side note: is my voice really that low? It always surprises me to heard my voice on tape - egads!

Side note number two: I have tons of stuff to post, but I'll be leaving for Maine this afternoon, so it'll have to wait until after my 16 hour road trip!

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I'm Ready For My Closeup Mr. DeVille

On a cold winter's Tuesday three weeks ago, my knitting circle was visited by a TV crew and so, unless left on the cutting room floor, I will be making my local TV debut this Monday! I'll post more about the experience after the video goes up and we'll see if I am horribly embarrassed or super famous! An email from the Metromix reporter, who was knitting a lovely scarf:

"From Jackie (the Metromix chick):


Just wanted to let you know that the Stitch N' Bitch segment will be airing on Monday at 7, 8, 9 and midnight.  It gets posted online at after about 9:00 the night it runs.  Please pass this info along to the gals and thank them for all their help!

Best, Jackie"

PS: I get a lot of search hits on the title of this post - it's a line from end of Sunset Boulevard, by the character Norma Desmond. A great film that I highly recommend you watch.

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