Hi everybody! Did you miss me? This will be a long post—I have so much to tell you!

I had a great time in Chicago. It was nice to be in the city again. That’s where I’m originally from, so it kind of felt like going home. I did really go home, that is to my parents’ house, on Saturday night, the first night I was up there. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were totally dedicated to Conference Business. I talked some good science, saw some old friends, and heard some juicy gossip—all in all, a fruitful visit.

But enough of that crap. Let’s talk about the good stuff!

On Wednesday I met up with my friend Jolene. Jolene is, in no particular order, a high school English teacher on the near south side (she’s brave), my old college roommate, a burgeoning knitter, a community gardener, and one rockin’ girl. We ate noodles, drank beer, and took in some good improv at the IO Theater Wednesday night. On Thursday morning we visited the Garfield Conservatory, as we are both plant freaks. It was really nice to see all the blooming things, and feel the wonderful plant-moist air.

jolene in greenhouse

Pretty, no?

Then we went to yarn stores.

You knew I would get to that eventually, didn’t you?

In total I went to three (yes three!) yarn stores on Thursday. The first we visited was called Nina. They have really big knitting in the window. I mean really big. It’s in one of the photos in the link, go look. Nina was very…hmm, how shall I put this…quiet. The place felt like a yarn museum. They had some very nice stuff, don’t get me wrong. A little too nice, if you get my meaning. Very, very high end yarn. I actually held in my sweaty hand some of that Tilli Thomas sequined stuff—what is it called? Disco Lights! They also had a lot of what I can only describe as yarn sushi—habu textiles cashmere and yak and silk (oh my!). Those skeins are tiny! This should give you an idea of their size—minute jewels that fitted in the palm of my hand. They were just beautiful, like baby birds. In fact, most of the place was so artfully laid out that I felt some initial hesitation about touching things. Of course that lasted only a moment, and I went ahead and messed up the shop, pulling yarn off their neatly arranged shelves left and right. I tried to put things back exactly as I found them, but it was the type of place where everything was arranged “just so.” I’m sure the clerk did some straightening after we left. We didn’t buy anything.

The next stop was Arcadia Knitting. This place was waaay up north, even for me (I used to live in Little Korea). But up we went, and yarn we saw. A lot of yarn—arranged by color.

(!)

I have heard tales of yarn shops organizing their yarns by color, but I’d never seen one in person. I’d hardly believed they existed. But here was one, in the flesh (concrete?).

I must say I was a little miffed.

Why would anybody do this? I mean really. Do you know a single soul who shops for yarn this way? To put it politely, I don’t think this is the best way to arrange things. To put it bluntly, those people must be out of their bloody minds. Jolene and I wandered around for awhile, but gave up and left, again without buying anything.

At this point we went to lunch (at Earwax Café, yum!), did a little resale shopping, then parted ways. It was good to see Jolene again.

Then I went to Loopy. That place rocks! The people were really friendly, the layout was good, and the store was well-stocked. They also give a 10% discount for students, which is really nice. I spent about an hour in there—I would have spent more, but my dad kept calling my cell phone (“Aren’t you done YET?”). He was my ride home, so I had to leave when he was ready to leave. Otherwise I probably could have closed the store.

I did not escape Loopy without purchases. I got a copy of the Flower Basket shawl pattern (finally!), a very cute emery board with pictures of sheep on it, and this:

sea silk skein 1

It’s a skein of Sea Silk, in Vintage.

How’s that for souvenir yarn, huh Batty? Did I do ya proud?

sea silk close up 1sea silk close up 2sea silk and violets

Yes, I only got one skein. I’m a weensy bit broke right now. Besides, isn’t there a wrap pattern floating around somewhere that only requires one skein of Sea Silk? I wish I could’ve gotten both skeins—this yarn is luscious. I did smell it, and I’m happy to report that I didn’t detect a single whiff of low tide. I didn’t smell much of anything at all, as a matter of fact. Maybe it needs to be wet.

BUT even that, even a beautiful skein of Sea Silk wasn’t the best thing I brought home with me from this trip.

This was:

quilt on tree

My mom finished my quilt.

That’s right! It’s for me me me! Isn’t it wonderful? My mom has been working on this for a long time, and it’s finally done! I love it! She loves me so much, she even made it purple.

quilt on bridge

I’m very proud. My mumma can sew like the dickens. She made my wedding dress, too.

Oh, gosh, I’m all a-twitter! I can’t wait to sleep under it! Aren’t I lucky to have such a nice mommy? I’m planning on knitting an extra-special thing for her next big birthday. But it’s a sussie, so I can’t say.

Oh dear, this was a very long post. I was planning to put knitting progress in here, and also why I didn’t do Flash Your Stash this year, but I guess it’ll have to wait. Until next time, then!

the long and winding road

It IS nice to be home.

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