Recently in Chicago Category

Fall Colors

| 4 Comments
On Sunday, not only did I get to watch Z try out her new dress*, I also spent some time trying to capture the fall colors.  We had a break in the clouds that presented us with some actual sunshine, and I knew I needed to get my camera into action. I may not leave near a spectacular fall forest, but there are plenty of trees and plants getting ready for winter to come here in Chicago, putting on a display of their finest colors.  Given how grey it has been in Chicago for most of October, I've been trying to find more ways to bring color back into my world.  This is one of those times when I wish I had a dye studio and a better knowledge of dyeing -- I'd love to capture the fall colors in a fibery way. 

Here are some of the displays that caught my attention:

20091027_FeatheryLeaves.jpgIt almost seemed like these fine, feathery leaves were slowly rusting away. 

20091027_FireBush.jpgThe brightest red, framing a pale green hidden treasure

20091027_MapleLeaves.jpgSunlight through faded Maple leaves.

20091027_FlamingTree.jpgSo many colors in one place.  This tree made me think of a torch, bright flames at the top.

20091027_GoldRimmedLeaves.jpgThe gold outline on these leaves was such a stunning contrast to the green centers.  Some yellows and golds in fall are faded, this yellow was bright and bold.

Amazingly, while some trees are in full color change, and some have even lost most of their leaves, there are still others that have barely turned color at all.  The foliage from my peonies is slowly yellowing and falling to the ground in preparation for hibernating for next year.  All around me is the reminder that winter is coming, making all my woolly knitting projects seem much more appealing.

*Z and I appreciate all the kind words for both her and the dress.  I, am smitten with both, but I think the special little girl makes the special little dress even more special.

YarnCon

| 7 Comments
While a whole  lot of lucky knitters and spinners are heading off to Rhinebeck this weekend, I'll be staying here in Chicago and checking out a much smaller fiber show, YarnCon.  What YarnCon lacks in the presence of live sheep, it makes up for by being practically within walking distance of my house. But don't think that I won't be a little jealous of all those heading to NY -- though that jealousy will mostly be over getting to see fibery friends rather than getting to indulge in fibery consumerism.

In addition to YarnCon (which should be doubly fun, because I hope to be heading there with Julie), since the weather is likely to keep us indoors this weekend (what, I ask you, happened to the gentle entry of fall?) I suspect my needles will be in motion.  I cast on and got started with Elijah this afternoon, and last weekend, while heading out to our pumpkin patch experience I picked up my second Francie sock and made some headway on that project.  The other thing I did today was start to work out the design for my next pair of socks for John -- these socks are going to be my first foray into designing with twisted stitches, which I think will be just the perfect amount of patterning for the lovely cashmere blend Sophie's Toes.

In lieu of actual knitting photos, I have a few pictures from our trip to see the pumpkins.

20091015_Pumpkins.jpgI just loved the way those green squash looked with the pumpkins.  They were just the perfect sagey color contrast to the bright orange.  Definitely not a pair of colors I would have thought to put together, though!

20091015_MeAndZ.jpgAnd here is rare photo of me and Z -- riding a toddler sized train and both wearing our handknits. Z has on (and she actually requested to wear) her upsized "Baby Surprise" sweater and I spent the whole day cozy and warm in my cotton turtleneck and OWLS sweater (which I love).  The Owls are rapidly becoming one of my favorite go-to cold weather sweaters! 


Images from a Garden

| 9 Comments
Sunday was a lovely, but incredibly unseasonably cool August day.  Rather than do our usual trip to the park, we took Ms. Z and headed up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens (something of a misnomer as the gardens are actually located Highland Park, a northern suburb).  It was a lovely day in the garden and while I didn't work on the sock project I brought along, John* and I got some lovely pictures for inspiration.

20090823_CBGAnemone.jpg
Anemone from the Waterfall Garden

20090823_CBGBird.jpg
Stately Bird in the Japanese Garden

20090823_CBGLotus.jpg
Yellow Lotus

20090823_CBGWaterLilly.jpg
Water Lilly

20090823_CBGWrigley.jpg
Wrigley Field Made of Natural Components in the Model Railroad Garden

20090823_CBGZ.jpg
Ms. Z on a Bench in the Waterfall Garden

Unlike many of our trips where John and I roam all over the garden, with a toddler in tow, we had to focus on a few sections that we wanted to see and felt she would enjoy.  Our first stop was the Model Railroad Garden -- which costs extra, but which captured her attention for almost an hour and is really a delight for both children and adults.  All the "scenery" for the model railroad is created using natural products.  I loved the Wrigley Field model because the lights over the field were created with acorn tops.  Most of the bridges that the model trains cruised over were made of grape vine.  All the train stops are meant to be historic/significant US locations.  The other stops on our visit were the Waterfall Garden (many steps to climb -- good for wearing out little people), the Japanese Garden (a place you want to stop and meditate in), the Rose Garden (which has a lovely fountain that Z enjoyed splashing in, and the rotunda area just after the visitor center which has four different pools and an assortment of water flowers.  The Lotus that John photographed was particularly stunning.  Z also enjoyed some other fountain areas and was enchanted by the large white swans that reside in the main pond.

I love the deep colors of the late summer gardens.  They are like the grand finale of a fireworks display.  At once stunning and engaging, but also a reminder that the end of the show is near and that fall is just around the corner. 

* to give credit where credit is due, John was definitely the big winner with the pictures today, the Water Lilly, Bird and Lotus are all pictures he took.

Free Day

| 7 Comments

What's a girl to do when the nanny is already scheduled to come take care of the baby and has a vacation day planned?  Well, on Friday I decided I needed an inspiration day and after meeting John for lunch downtown I spent some time in a coffee shop enjoying a latte and working out the details of my current sock project.

20090104_ChicagoArt.jpgIn addition to my knitting, I also had my camera stowed in my bag.  Ever since I got my DSLR I've wanted to take a walking tour of downtown because there are so many striking pieces of art lurking around Chicago.  This is Alexander Calder's Flamingo
it was on the way to the coffee shop and a destination more interesting to South Loop Chicago knitters: Loopy Yarns.

20090104_LoopyFront.jpgI hadn't visited Loopy since their move to Dearborn Station (I am lucky to have two other yarn stores within relatively easy walking distance of my house so I don't need to go too far from home very often for fibery things) so I was pleasantly surprised by their new space -- as well as the 20% off sale they had running.  I had forgotten what a nice selection of Lorna's Laces yarns they carry.  Many places carry the sock yarn, but fewer carry the Shepherd Sport and Shepherd Worsted. 

What's particularly notable about the Shepherd yarns is that they are superwash.  And they are very soft.  And the Worsted is a perfect weight for a quick sweater for a certain toddler that lives in my house.  Lately in the mornings when she sees me... "Sweater, Mommy!  Pretty!"  and then she reaches up to pet my sweater.  I've been working on the Zebra Striper, but that one is a long way off.  Even though my better judgement kept trying to tell me that starting another project right now would lead to no good, my heart reminded me that I had no suitable yarn for a sweater for the baby, and that I had better not miss out on an opportunity to make her a sweater while she actually wants one, as opposed to when she is 14 and wants nothing to do with anything her mother can make by hand.

20090104_LLShepherdWIrvingP.jpgAnd what could be nicer than buying just two or three skeins of yarn for a sweater?  Especially when that yarn is 20% off?  The colorway I picked (which is not quite so bold as it looks in the image -- the bright fuschia in the sock yarn really blows the whole picture out) is called Irving Park and it seemed like a lovely colorway that would do well both this winter and in the fall (assuming I make the sweater large enough).  I loved the pops of purple and pink, the hand is lovely, and the yardage is good (225 yards/hank).  I figured 2 skeins would be enough, but bought a third "to be safe".  (The fuschia sock yarn is for a sock project for Z.  If anyone can wear bright pink socks, its a toddler girl). 

20090104_BabySweater.jpgWhen I got it home, I was surprised by how fast my knitting malaise disappeared.  I cast on for the project after dinner -- by the end of the day on Sunday, I had the body of the sweater complete and was working on the neck and button bands (the photo is lacking because I got some stomach bug Sunday afternoon that forced me into some unscheduled down time).  The sleeves will get started as soon as I can get a hold of some size 8 double points.  Every time I do a top down raglan project I just love love love how it progresses. 

It is amazing to me how one small project can change my attitude completely.  As I watch this little sweater grow, I also spend time thinking about what I am going to do next.  Maybe it's time to get started on that scarf I planned for my aunt 3 Christmases ago?  Or maybe I'll finally get to working on my pattern for mini-dragon socks for mini-feet?  The possibilities seem endless

Now, if you'll forgive me, I've got to run.  That neck band and button band are calling!

Green City Market

| 8 Comments
20060604_ChicagoLookingSout.jpg
Central Chicago from Lincoln Park

Today's post is a little detour from what I normally talk about here. It was such a great Chicago kind of weekend for John and I, so I decided to share a little of what makes this city (and the Midwest) such a great place to live in. While many people complain about winter and cold grey weather, it was almost impossible to complain about the weather this weekend, which was not only almost perfect, but also reminded me of one of the things that is so great about the Midwest in the summer: fresh produce. In the summer, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois produce some of the most wonderful fruits and vegetables you can imagine. The only problem? Chicago is not exactly farm country and in spite of what you might think, even in the summer our grocery stores sell a lot of unappetizing produce. So, on Saturday morning, John and I headed off to check out something I've wanted to know more about for a while:

20060604_GreenCityMarketBag.jpg
Green City Market

The Green City Market is a market that is meant to connect very high quality small farms with chefs, restauranteurs and the general public. It's located in the south end of Lincoln Park (the actual park, not the location in the city) every Wednesday and Saturday morning in the summer. It's a project that has been spearheaded by many of Chicago's prominent chefs who are interested in serving foods that support local farms and sustainable and organic farming practices. Anyone who comes to sell their wares there must be certified organic and must be dedicated to sustainable farming practices (along with a host of other credentials). Not surprisingly it is composed of a relatively small and select group of farmers and small businesses. Since we had such a nice time Saturday afternoon, I thought I'd give you all a little photo tour of what we found there.

20060604_GreenAcresFarm.jpg
Green Acres Farm (Indiana) Booth

We bought some of the most wonderful baby greens from Green Acres Farm, as well as some really splendid fresh garlic (which I took home and sliced into some special olive oil along with some basil from our garden). Another great find? Fresh asparagus from a farm that I (unfortunately) can't remember the name of.

20060604_RipeTomatoes.jpg
Ripe Tomatoes

Apparently it is time for the early tomatoes to come in. Neither John nor I eats tomatoes (unless they are in a sauce), but I still thought that they looked beautiful sitting on the tables of the several vendors who brought them.

20060604_SimplyWool.jpg
Simply Wool

And lest you think that there will be no fibery content today at all, here's the Simply Wool booth that was featuring hand-dyed natural wool yarns. I didn't get a chance to talk to her, but some of the colors were really lovely, and apaprently she will also do custom colors.

20060604_CrepesWhileUWait.jpg
Green City Market Crepe Booth

Some festivals feature fried Twinkies. This market featured fresh made crepes and panini sandwiches. John and I decided that we had to stop for a crepe made with fresh strawberry preserves. Yum! Even more fun when you get to watch your crepe being made in front of your eyes.

20060604_MusicalEntertainme.jpg
Musical Entertainment

Our shopping and crepe eating was accompanied by this lovely string group playing folksy music. How can you not love the idea of a huge string bass in the middle of Lincoln Park?

Before we left, we had also bought a steak produced by Heartland Meats. This farm features Piedmontese cattle which are a special breed that is lower fat but not lower in tenderness. Not only is the meat hormone free, but the farm grows its own non-GMO to feed the cattle and ensure the high quality of the product. For dinner, John and I had a wonderful salad with the baby greens, and John grilled up the steak and the asparagus. We had an almost entirely "organic" meal that was just wonderful.

Our only regret for the day? That we didn't get to the Market early enough to get a chance to grab some of the strawberries that some of the producers sold out of. Is there anything better than farm fresh strawberries in early June? Almost nothing to a midwestern girl like me.

Living in my City

| 7 Comments
20060502_Explosion.jpg
Salt and Light


Some days I am reminded of what a vibrant city I live in.  I can walk to the post office and find inspiration that can be captured with my tiny camera.   The above quote was found on the door of an apartment building being rehabbed in East Village.  I am not sure why I like this quote, scribbled on a particle board door, but somehow it does resonate with me.  Just like the opera, I guess.  I can't really explain why I like it.  I just know that deep inside it strikes a chord.

Restaurants do that for me, too, sometimes.  I know it seems like I am always falling in love with a new restaurant.  That's because Chicago is truly a place undergoing an explosion of wonderful places to eat.  Tonight John and I went to schwa for dinner. Wednesday is date night, you know, and John and I are always happiest when the date night restaurant is within walking distance of home.  Schwa is Michael Carlson's new restaurant (he's recently been listed as one of Food & Wine's best new chefs).  Carlson is alumni from Trio, a restaurant that we never got to try, but that has been the proving ground for many incredible Chicago chefs.  (If you want to get a closer look at the current Chicago fine dining restaurant pedigrees, the Chicago Reader has an excellent "family tree").  Schwa is a small place (it seats about 30 people at a time) and the service is incredibly personal.  We had Michael Carlson standing at our table several times during the evening and wishing us well as we left.  It was almost like having dinner in someone's dining room.  And everything we had was wonderful.

What was on our menu tonight?

I had the spring salad, which was a beautiful mixture of strawberries, fennel, fava beans and goat cheese with some exceptional greens.  That was followed by an exquisite hot course of quail egg filled ravioli accented with ricotta, a brown butter sauce and parmigiano reggiano.  My main course was a beef ribeye with summer truffles, taleggio, and some scrambled eggs (which were light and divine).  And it was all followed by a strawberry shortcake with a strawberry foam, olive oil ice cream and basil accents.  Sounds strange, but was absolutely delicious.  All the food was! John had an equally exceptional meal.  The meal was also accented by two small amuse bouche courses and very reasonable pacing.  We got there at 9 and didn't leave until midnight.   I love eating at a restaurant where you can take time to enjoy the food.  And having a fine dining experience that's accented with a hip hop beat.

As we were finishing, we were told that they had a tasting menu as well...  John and I love doing chef's tasting menus and the special surprise of not quite knowing what is going to come out next.  We didn't need any more motivation to go back, but if we did, that would certainly be it. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, schwa was definitely close to that highest number.  Some might not like the BYOB thing with a restaurant, but it really wasn't a negative for us.  We just grabbed a bottle of wine from our collection and walked off on our date.   

Did I mention that I just love my city? 

 

 
 

Shopping in Bucktown

| 15 Comments

If you live in Chicago, you've probably heard about the boutique explosion on Damen St. in Bucktown. Bonne Marie and I decided that a little exploring was in order to see the new stores that had cropped up. Even though the weather can still only be described as blustery and cold (we saw actual snow flurries) it didn't put a chill on the enjoyment we got out of discovering some new stores and patronizing some old favorites. If you need flowers, fashion, kitsch, a custom T-shirt, jewelry, art, hip eyeware, ribbons, paper goods, handbags, funky shoes, cool things for your baby, maternity wear, fine house wares, prepared gourment foods, cigars (no, we didn't go there, but if you want them, you can find them) or lingerie, you can find it on Damen -- and that doesn't even include all the restaurants on the street!

One thing that was a favorite for both Bonne Marie and I was this little number (that we found at Climate Home, which sells some great greeting cards and a wide variety of other strange and wonderful things, including a pop-up book version of the Kama Sutra)

20060321_TattooedTShirt.jpg
Tattooed T Shirt, Blue Line, Damen Street Station

If you live in the Bucktown/Wicker Park/East Village/Ukrainian Village area, your main means of public transportation are likely to be the Damen and Chicago buses, and the Blue Line Train (which inspired the name for my first felted handbag). This T-shirt by Tattooed Tees has that vaguely touristy but mostly hip local celebration of my favorite El line and station.

20060321_TattooedDamen.jpg
My Co-ordinates

What makes it ever so delightful is the station co-ordinates. In Chicago, all the El stations have big signs that include the name of the station and it's co-ordinates on the map grid of Chicago. 2000W, 1400N tells you that you are 20 blocks west of the east/west dividing line (State St.) and 14 blocks north of the north/south dividing line (Madison St.)
(This co-ordinate would probably be considered the very northern edge of Wicker Park instead of Bucktown, but the T-shirts that said Wicker Park didn't come in as nice a color combination). Knowing your co-ordinates is better than knowing a ZIP code or a street address if you understand how the city grid works. I so want it to get warm now, just so that I can wear this T-shirt!

Our favorite new shop was Soutache (which I think means "ribbon" in French). This place sells all sorts of wonderful embellishments. Incredible and fabulous ribbons, crocheted flowers, wooden hardware for hand bags, feather and fur (fake) tapes and feather boas, special buttons, pom pons of all sorts -- all arranged in an appetizing and engaging manner. This place almost made me wish that I knew how to sew. If you're at all crafty, I don't think you could go in there without being inspired by all the colors and textures. And shiny-thing-loving-crow that I am, I knew I wasn't going to leave empty handed.

20060321_KnittingRibbon.jpg
Knitting-Themed Ribbon

How can you not like knitting-themed ribbon? I think I am going to use the "I wonder who's knitting for me" tape when I give hand knitted gifts. I want to use it to embellish cards that provide instructions for garment maintenance. The "Knitting Instructions" tape* I have no current plans for, but I just couldn't resist it. Maybe I will try to convince my mom to help me make some small pouches for knitting gear and embellish them with it. Or maybe I'll create some needle lace and combine it with the ribbon to use as bookmarks for my knitting book collection.

We made several other stops, to Eye Spy (purveyors of very fashionable eye glasses, which will be revealed in several weeks after I have an eye appointment and get lenses ordered), Toast (where we had lunch of pancakes and french toast -- their Marscapone French toast is to die for!), C'est Moi (a small store full of French-country inspired housewares and fabrics), Shebang (which sells lovely funky handbags), the Goddess and Grocer (some of the best peanut butter cookies in the city, I think) and 4-5 clothing/jewelry stores before ending up in Filter (a wonderful coffee shop made more wonderful by the new no smoking ordinance in Chicago**) to do a little sock knitting. All in all, a most excellent day!

* note to Julie, there is a yard of this stuff with your name on it sitting next to my computer right now next time we have a little get-together, it will come live with you!

** I'm not trying to offend smokers here. In general, I have no problem with people choosing to smoke -- we all have our little vices and I'd be pretty annoyed if someone criticized me for drinking coffee or enjoying a Frontera margarita.. But I don't like the congested feeling I get, the eye irritation from my contact lenses, or the smell my clothes/yarn take on after being in a smokey room. So the smoking ban in eating establishments in Chicago has been a real blessing for me.

City Scapes

| 4 Comments

Lighting is everything. This morning, it's a grey, snowy day here in Chicago. The kind of day that makes a girl glad that she and her trusty computer are indoors with a nice cup of warm green tea and some entertaining toys. And this time, it's not just AddiTurbos and wool -- it's Exacto knives, paper and glue!

20051201_CityScapeBacklit.jpg
City in Silhouette
20051201_CityScapeFrontit.jpg
City in Full Sun

Initially, I wasn't going to post the silhouette shot, but it really is emblematic of so many December mornings in Chicago... quiet and grey with tall buildings reaching fingers into the sky. The flash shot shows off the results of my cutting and trimming and pasting and punching and gluing -- a nifty little city scape that will provide a little extra decoratation for our holiday party. This was a lot of fun, and hardly took any time at all, because Paper Source does all the hard work (i.e. cutting out the city form) and puts all the pieces (and I mean all the pieces --- including a glue stick and a punch for the snowflakes) into one little box. All I had to do was use my imagination and my scissors to get my own little version of Chicago in profile. (For a look at all the goodies that came in the kit, just click here.) How could I not love the cut out shape that looks like the Hancock Tower? Or the Prudential building tower spike?

Of course, art does imitate life in this case. Guess what you can see right outside my window:

20051201_CityScapeForReal.jpg
A Little Bit of Chicago in the Snow

Heading to the Source

| 6 Comments
20051117_PaperSourcXmas.jpg
A Paper Lover's Selection: Metallic Stamp Pads, Sparkly Gel Pens in Holiday Colors, Holiday Flowers Kit, Star Making Kit, Postcards for Invitations, and an Accordian Cityscape Kit

When I am not thinking about fiber, I am often thinking about paper. While I don't do quite as much of it as I used to, some of my favorite crafty things to do involve paper. I've never been a scrapbooker (that has always seemed like it required a great deal of dedication that I don't usually have to any one thing), but I love rubber stamps, origami, and using paper to make interesting shapes and decorations. I consider myself fortunate that I live in a city that is the origin one of the best paper arts stores anywhere -- Paper Source. When I first got to Chicago they had one location in a hole in the wall near the brown line. Now not only have they expanded to a few other places in Chicago, they've also gone national and you can order online. But I still absolutely love making a little pilgrimage to the original store every now and again.

Every year, one of my favorite events is our holiday party. I love to fill my home with friends and cookies and holiday decorations. Last year, life got in the way of us pulling it together, so this year I am back with a vengeance. Last weekend we spent a few hours raiding Crate & Barrel for some of their lovely Christmas decorating items and today I headed out to Paper Source for supplies to put together my invitations. And of course, I found just a little bit more than I could leave in the store.

Lately I'm becoming more and more of a sucker for kits -- I love it when I can buy something that has all the pieces and all I need to do is cut and assemble. I don't end up with a lot of extra stuff I don't need and I get to enjoy the fun part without spending a lot of time hunting down all the component parts. Apparently, I'm not the only one, because Paper Source now has more of these wonderful sorts of things than I ever remember them having before. Basically, if you have a bone folder, an x-acto knife and some PVA adhesive, you're good to go on a variety of cool things. In fact, it was almost hard for me to limit myself to three...

1. Holiday Flower Kit -- also labelled as the Holiday Magnolia paper flower kit. This nifty little package is chock full of red and gold papers, floral wire and floral tape and instructions and templates for creating a whole boquet of winter magnolias. I think these will be perfect decorations for my holiday cookie table and as small accents for places that need a little extra color.

2. 3-D Star Kit. This kit is pretty simple -- 40 sheets of pre-cut square silver paper combined with templates and instructions for creating a multitude of heavenly objects. Since this makes 20-40 stars of varying shapes and forms, I'm thinking they'll be hanging from windows and over our mantlepiece once I find a little silver cording. Celestial origami! I just couldn't resist.

3. Holiday Accordian Cityscape Kit to complement the stars over my mantle piece, I'm going to make sure this nifty little city is living underneath them. With a glue stick and a snowflake punch included almost all I have to do is pull out the instructions and get started.

The rest of the goodies are for creating my party invitations. Inspired by a great new set of stamps from Julie (in addition to making all those fab felted bags, she also sells some awesome Hero Arts stamps from her Stamping Online store I decided that this year's invites will be a postcard format -- and will probably be this weekend's big craft project.

P.S. to folks asking about the cashmere scarf pattern -- the pattern was actually purchased from the Hunt Valley Cashmere folks, so I don't feel that I can share any of the pattern details on line. However, Hunt Valley's phone number is 410-298-8244 and the pattern is called the "Triangle Lace Scarf" by Marylin Merbach should you want to try to get a copy of your own. I have no idea if she will sell them without the cashmere, since I bought mine as a kit.

Goodies from My Hood

| 5 Comments

When we bought our house in the Ukranian Village section of Chicago almost four years ago, we could see the potential in the neighborhood, but knew we were taking something of a gamble moving into a neighborhood just south of Wicker Park that hadn't quite hit yet. Yet we really wanted to be living in the city, and most of the neighborhoods that were considered really happenin' at the time (Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Wicker Park, West Loop) were already too well discovered for us to afford them or just didn't have enough interesting things around them besides good freeway access to draw us in. So we put our money down and took a spin at the wheel.

Our gamble has paid off in spades. Over the last year, we have watched as streets like Damen and Division have blossomed with new shops and restaurants. And now we're just beginning to see Chicago Avenue and Grand Avenue transform as well. It used to be that most of our favorite restaurants were east and north of us. Now, in the summer, we can walk to so many good places and we almost don't even think about going too far out of our own little sphere.

Saturday was a lovely day. Julie came into the city to visit so that we could plan our trip to Maryland Sheep & Wool. And since the weather was so nice, we decided to take a little stroll up Damen and down Division to see what we could see. There's nothing quite like exploring neat new stores with a good friend. It made me realize how many nice new creative places are springing up. Here's a little sample of what I came home with.

20050213_WickerParkGoodies.jpg
An Excellent Shopping Trip: (from left to right) Susanne Lang Perfume in "Cashmere" from StinkerBelle, Handmade Candles in Yuzu and Gingered Grapefruit from Tatine, and some new bamboo double points and Habu Textiles Silk Mohair from Nina's

Tatine, (formerly Wicked, located at 908 N. Damen) is home to a candle maker who specializes in bringing wonderful scents into your home. I'm burning my Gingered Grapefruit candle as I type, and it's filling my room with a delightful spicy citrus scent. The store opened at just about the same time that we did and I've never had a chance to go in before. I don't think it's going to be long before I go back and purchase one of her incredible coffee scented candles or one of the orange chocolate pillars she has available. I used to spend most of my candle $$$ at Illuminations, but given what I found on Saturday, I'll definitely be visiting Tatine for my candle needs in the future.

While were on the subject of good scents, I also got to make my first trip into StinkerBelle, a place that focuses on wonderful scents to complement human skin. I fell in love with a fragrance called Cashmere by Susanne Lang. Cashmere is billed as a unisex fragrance, but I think it leans a little bit towards woman. It has spicy and musky qualities to it with just a hint of something floral (to me). The husband liked it too. And I need to take him back to see if he likes Exotic Tea. StinkerBelle has also shares it's space with and esthetician who does aromatherapy facials. Definitely something I want to check out in the future.

And last, but not least, Julie and I wandered through Nina's. I added to my collection of double points (she has the 6" versions of the nice small sock sized needles) and I took home just a little tuft of fibery goodness in the form of some Habu Textiles Silk Mohair in a light springy green color. It's destined to become a lacy little scarf for my spring wardrobe. And it helped to provide me with some fortitude with regards to not taking home any of the Habu paper yarn that I am currently very fascinated with. The paper yarn is actually 100% linen. I'm wondering how it would do paired with a fine hemp yarn in the table runner department. That will give me something to hunt for while I'm in Maryland in early May.

Renegade Biologist

| 11 Comments
20040919_RenegadeCraftFair.JPG
The Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park

It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend here in Chicago. Perfect weather for the Renegade Craft Fair. This is the second year for the fair. I didn't manage to get down to it last year, and I am glad I didn't miss it this time.

While it would have been fun all on its own, the time was made better by good company. Bonne Marie and Julie and I wandered through the booths and at various intervals ran into a host of other folks from out Thursday night knitting group. I even came face to face with a professor from grad school. Wicker Park has a way of drawing everyone in these days.

I was actually pretty low key when it came to purchasing things. I didn't really have any "have to find" items. But I did find a few things that caught my attention and "needed" to come home with me.

20040919_RenegadeBracelets.JPG
Bracelets and Stationary

My favorite finds were the two bracelets. I'd been looking for something fun to wear around my wrist, and these two fit my mood perfectly. The multitude of multicolored stones reminded me of a bracelet that I loved but broke sometime back and can no longer wear. The metal rings spoke a little industrial, a little urban and will likely become one of those things that I wear all the time. And a girl can never have too much nifty stationary, especially when she has fun knit buds to trade with.

20040919_RenegadeSoap.JPG
Soap from Eudora Clare

I'm also a soft touch for things that smell good. This lovely soap vendor had the most delicious smells in her booth. I resisted the chocolate scented bath fizzies but came home with a sampling of soap in the earthy, spicy, citrusy range.

After the fair, I came home and found this waiting for me in the mail...

20040919_CSDiploma.JPG
How Long In Coming Was This?

It's official! I have my diploma and am completely finished with my computer science degree (we won't talk about when I started it... suffice it to say that it was well before I started blogging). I can now add a few more letters to my CV. Happy dancing all around! Perhaps, since I finished all the main knitting for Audrey over the weekend, I will swatch for Butterfly to celebrate!

ChicKnits KIP

Hey everybody! If you're in Chicago and looking for a few knitting buddies head on over to Letizia's Natural Bakery at 2144 W. Division between 7 and 9 pm tonight. Letizia's is a nice place with good muchies and a nice space to hang out in (if it's nice tonight, be sure to check on the back patio).

Hope to see you there!

Categories

Monthly Archives