Search This Blog

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whine and Malabrigo

The trusty 'puter crashed so reading blogs and responding to emails will be a challenge for awhile. And now I have to go to work early to do the stuff I was doing at home. Waah.

Meanwhile, Koigu shortie socks are coming along, and I have 3 repeats of an actual lace stole. What sweater to do next? That is the question. I lust for cables, but no bobbles please ;) And of course there's that bulky Malabrigo in pink. I picture me wearing a fluffy pink shrug at home this winter...just me and my Malabrigo trying to break away from the blue.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Trip part 3of3: Wisconsin Treasures and Minamilist FO

Madison, Wisconsin is a mere 2.5 hour drive from Ohare Airport. My sister there is a very good cook and I threw the low carb diet to the wind and totally enjoyed homemade cherry pie! Yum. I made up for with with the very colorful salmon/vegie feast. Thank you blogless sister! (The defect in the lattice top, was made by ME!)

Two days after I left Fall fell, and her birch turned golden. Amazing!

Although the plan was to keep shopping to a minimum, we visited a lovely antique store where I picked up some celluloid needles, another bone awl and some tatted edging. I am fond of bone awls although I don't really know what they were used for. I hope not to pick one's teeth. I also found a Pyrex creamer and small bowl in Opal at a thrift store. I admit I'm a Pyrex junkie. It just seems so clean and the it's heat resistance is legendary! Wikipedia says the Corning Glass Works company invented it in 1915. It's hard for me to resist the custard cups, mixing bowls and pie plates whenever I see them. Little Totoros were quite happy with the new Acorn dish. Thanks again sister!

Minimalist got some quality time on the road. I followed the Knitty directions for seaming which is a lot better then my previous methods. I had just enough yarn for the size small in Cascade Largo. It is a great little swingy cardigan and a mindless knit. Love it!

I was reminded everywhere that Halloween will be upon us soon. I knit Susan Esser's pumpkin hat in Cascade 220 and a Fisherman's rib hat (just winged the pattern) with stash remnants.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trip 2 of 3: Oh Canada

(click to make the mosaic bigger)
Blogless da Twine and The Knitted Brow are well traveled but Canada is my first trip outside the US and I got my first passport for a spur of the moment trip to see Niagara Falls. The original plan was to fly to Buffalo, but my sister found a great deal for the Canadian Side.

At the airport we were approached by a very well dressed man who asked if we needed a taxi. We followed him upstairs and into a creepy parking garage. He had a very nice car with leather seats, but no taxi light. He told us the next day was Thanksgiving and everything would be closed. We told him we were going to Niagara Falls that day so he said, that was the best day to go and we would have the best weather. We asked him about our hotel and he said we were staying in the best location. This was quite encouraging! And he was cute on top of that and very tall. I suspect he was a taxi scalper, and my sister and I discussed how we have no street sense what so ever.

Toronto was quite a surprise. I was thinking about the Western side with a more British feel, or something French, and found the part of Toronto I stayed in very multicultural with lots of mid Eastern and Asian influences. We walked up and down Yonge Street, the "longest street in the world". We ate Lebanese food for the first time, and loved the garlic sauce and shawarma.

The next day was Niagara Falls. We did the tourist thing. We put on our blue raincoats and rode the Maid of the Mist. We declined the helicopter or Cessna flyover (just chicken that's all). It was pretty amazing.

The next day we visited the Royal Museum and enjoyed the historical part and the glass paperweight collection. We debated on whether or not the merging of the old and the new museum "worked". Then we took a hike to Kensington Market. The cosmicpluto was minding the shop, Lettuce Knits working on her Rhinebeck Sweater. I couldn't resist the sea silk lace weight (even though I am laceknitting impaired) and got some black Malagrigo to make an urban baby hat. Somehow I equate urban with the color black. (no doubt I'll just keep it to roll around in and cheer me up when I'm uncheered). She pointed us in the direction of Courage My Love a funky shop with a great button collection. Kensington Market is a quaint open market with lots of color and cute shops and old houses. I'll have to check out Romni Wools if I make it back there again.

Facts I learned while in Canada
1. Toronto's CN Building is no longer the tallest building in the world, but it is taller then Chicago's Sears Building.
2. Niagara Falls is not the tallest falls in the world but has the fastest flow and largest volume of any falls in the world. The water from 4 of the great lakes flow through the Falls. Both the US and Canada divert water to make electricity but during peak tourist season they have agreed to do it only at night so the Falls will be full.
3. Halal is food that is OK from a Muslim point of view and is not the name of a chain.
4. Ice Wine is made from frozen grapes that are picked at -8 degrees. Each grape yields only one drop of wine. (Either that or I'm very gullible)
5. The Civil War Underground Railroad ended in Toronto.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Trip part 1 of 3: Chicago

My trip started off well with an unexpected upgrade to first class from American Airlines. Wow, that gave me a good feeling and a whole lot more leg room! Chicago was unseasonably warm. In fact the day my sister came down and we did the Chicago Architectural Foundation walking tour, Historic Skyscrapers, it was in the high 80s! As the Academy of Family Medicine Scientific Assembly and the Chicago marathoners were in town, and Chicago is a big city, it was packed everywhere and the boat tours were sold out. I thoroughly enjoyed this walking tour. It was a brisk two hours and we covered at least 21 buildings. I also took a bus tour of the the Robie, Glessner and the oldest "mansion" in Chicago.

The insides of these buildings are a dream of incredible decorations, and are in great shape in many cases. Parts of the elevated train system, The El, were built to go around the Loop in the late 1800s. Some of it was built for the 1890 Columbian Exposition and is still being used today. Scary!

The picture in the last row on the left is the Monadnock Building built in 1891 by Burnham and Root. It is a dark, hulking skyscraper without adornment. According to the guide, this building is most oohed and aawed over by architectural students. Guess I'm partial to the adornments myself.

I was not able to get to Knitwerks, but visited the Knitting Workshop. It was small, and no shopkeeper addressed my sister and I the whole time we were there. Strange. My niece took us to a cute bead store in Lincoln Park and I got some beetle wings and skull beads.

I did run by the Bean at night and saw Chicago reflected in it. I missed meeting MacKenzie Thorpe at the Atlas Gallery as I had a dinner engagement with my niece but got a glimpse of him through the window as we literally ran past.

Mr Sockfish and Koigu short socks posed in front of Northwestern Medical Center. They wanted to stay and get some higher education as they were neglected on this trip for Minimalist Cardigan (which I hope is a FO by the time I get to part 3!)

I stayed at the Fairfield Inn one block from Northwestern. The people at this hotel were very nice and found my sister's passport while we waited at the airport. My niece was able to bring it out for us and American Airlines put us on the next flight out without charge! And best of all this hotel had free breakfast and is one block from the Michigan Avenue!

Facts I learned about Chicago.
1. The Chicago river was reversed so it no longer flows in to Lake Michigan, but in to the Mississippi.
2. Mrs. O'Leary's cow was not guilty
3. Chicago has alley ways between most of the skyscrapers so the garbage trucks do not clog up the main streets during collection
4. Before the elevator, buildings were only 4 stories high and the top floor was the cheapest. After the elevator, the penthouse became the most desirable location.
5. Steel girder technology allowed the modern skyscraper to soar and also allowed Frank Lloyd Wright to flatten out his Prairie homes, by avoiding vertical lines.