Monday, April 29, 2013

Another Opening, Another Show

Today is my first rehearsal for "Oklahoma!" at Lyric Opera. Every first rehearsal has a First Day Of School feel to it, which I really enjoy. Our call time is 9:00 am this morning, so last night I set my alarm for 7:00 am, a time I consider The Middle Of The Night, and went to bed at 11:30.

I awoke in an uncharacteristically chipper mood with "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" on my lips (of course I sing the alternate lyrics: "There's a bright golden haze on Jayne Meadows") -- I know!! I woke up all Disney Princess-y!! It's so not like me, but the truth is that I really, really love my job!!

Of course I had to bring yarn to work. It's my job at the Lyric that brought about my passion for crocheting. When I started at the Lyric, I knew there would be substantial downtime. I quickly learned that books were not the best pastime for me at the opera because I don't like to stop reading mid-paragraph. And magazines are expensive. So I thought rekindling my childhood crocheting skills would be just the thing. I brought yarn to the second opera I dressed and haven't been without it at the opera house since! Today I brought yarn to make a lightweight infinity scarf, my new favorite all-season neck flair. I also brought yarn to make a small crossbody handbag like the one I wear backstage. And I threw in a special project I'm working on for Habibi. He's adorable and deserves many special things!!

"Oklahoma!" opens at Lyric on Saturday and runs through May 19, with a possible extension through the 26th. It's a beautiful production! Every attempt should be made to see it! No, I can't get you free tickets!!

Tonight is the Stitch 'n' Bitch at the Glenwood. I hope to see you there. Until next time, my darlings, Peace, Love and Yarn!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Llama for your Mama

My friend and hairdresser, extraordinary gentleman Patrick Fuller, has a llama ranch in the family. The Northwind Llama Ranch in Sawyer, Michigan, to be exact. The ranch is home to about 49 llamas which are raised for show and high quality fiber!

Patrick's amazing soon-to-be-seven-year-old daughter Olivia owns two llamas and shows one by the name of Bandita at the Berrien County Youth Fair. She won a ridiculous amount of ribbons last year!!
Olivia leading Bandita to the ring at the Berrien County Fair

Olivia and her many, many ribbons!! Such a talented Llama Show-woman!!

The fiber is sent out to a local spot to be combined with sheep's wool and spun into yarn. The sheep's wool helps the llama fiber to retain its shape. It also makes it very soft and lanolin-rich. Llama wool contains no lanolin. The yarn is delicious to work with and fun to wear.

Late last spring, Patrick began promising to give me llama yarn for my birthday, which is July 6. Every time I saw him, he promised llama yarn for my birthday. I even scheduled a hair appointment ON my birthday so he wouldn't have to hunt me down and give me my wool. He forgot it. :( And then he forgot it for the next few hair appointments and social events we both attended. Meantime, he had asked me if, when I EVENTUALLY received the wool, I could make him a hat. Sure, Patrick. Sure I can!

When I went to the salon in February, I spied on Patrick's work station a hank of the most delicious natural fiber I'd ever seen. I said, "Oh, Patrick, is this my birthday present?? Or is it for your freakin' hat?" He assured me that it was my birthday present. I was beyond delighted! The yarn was a gorgeous and rich color of brown, and it felt like heaven when I ran it between my fingers! I decided to make myself a loosely stitched infinity scarf with it.

This pattern is deceptively simple. I stitched it up during a Blackhawks game. The Hawks lost in overtime, but I won this gorgeous scarf!!

In looking at pictures on the Northwinds Facebook page, I've finally figured out why Patrick has a penchant for sweeping my hair up into horns while my haircolor processes. It's so I look like a llama!!

Today is Thursday, which means Knit (and Crochet!!) Night at Squiggly's Yarn Shop, 1604 W. Morse, from 7-11. I hope to see you there! Until then, as always my darlings, Peace, Love and Yarn!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Yarn Geeks Unite!! Or, My Trip With Dr. Emily to YarnCon

This past weekend marked the sixth annual Chicago YarnCon. I had never heard of YarnCon and was made aware of it by my super-crafty, extra-fabulous friend and summer employer, Angela Allyn. What is YarnCon, you might be asking. Well, I'll tell ya'. Better yet, I'll let the YarnCon website speak for itself.

"YarnCon rocks!

YarnCon is Chicago's homegrown yarn-centric exhibition -- a place to promote, sell, and celebrate the yarny arts. Started in 2007, YarnCon aims to be the premier market for independent producers of yarn, knitted/crocheted objects, fiber for spinning, tools, gadgets, books, patterns, instructions, and gifts related to spinning, knitting, crochet, and weaving."
The first person I thought of to accompany me was my very talented and enthusiastic friend, Dr. Emily Roben. I've spoken of Emily  in my blog before. She is a pediatric resident at Lurie Children's Hospital and fellow crocheter. She crocheted an anatomically correct heart for me to give to my mom's heart surgeon after her valve replacement. She's amazing. And I knew that if she was not working grueling hours saving children's lives, she'd totally be up for this kind of yarn adventure. I was right -- she was all about being my partner in crime at YarnCon.
The event was held at the Plumbers Union Hall, a block north of Johnny's Ice Arena. I didn't see any plumbers, nor did I see any Chicago Blackhawks. What I did see was yarn -- lots and lots of yarn!!

  The last picture here made Emily and me laugh, in that the fiber bundles looked like yarn poops. Sorry -- we both work with children!!
This yarn is from the "Avengers" line and is called "Tough Love". Awesome colors, and the name made me giggle!

There were also very cool display pieces. 
This beauty is Maureen O'Wool. Get it? Merino Wool? Knitters are silly!!
This awesome dress is knit with pull tabs from aluminum cans. Perfect for a night on the town!!
These are felted flowers. They were meant to be used as scarves, but I think I would use them as curtain tiebacks or to drape over a window or mirror. 
 Look at this gorgeous display of pillows! The Love one is made of cashmere. Aaahhh!!!

I bought this necklace. It's hand knit felt that was then embroidered upon. Emily bought one too. They are so cool!!
I had to have this hat from Happy Goat Lucky Ewe Fiber Farm in Michigan!!

I had never seen these yarn bowls and thought they were brilliant! So easy to display on your coffee table until you need to put yarn in to work with! And no more chasing that yarn ball around the room!
Emily suggested I change the name of the Stitch 'n' Bitch to Slots and Holes. Hmmm....

YarnCon was awesome! We had a great time, learned some stuff, and got to talk to a lot of interesting characters. We also got some ideas for techniques and fibers to try. I'm really looking forward to next year's outing.

Tonight is my Slots and Holes -- I mean, Stitch 'n' Bitch -- at the Glenwood, 6962 N. Glenwood, in Rogers Park 7:00-?? Cutest bartenders in the land, y'all!! And until next time, my darlings, peace, love and yarn!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Squiggly's Yarn Shop and Studio

We have a new yarn shop in Rogers Park, darlings! It's called Squiggly's Yarn Shop and Studio, it's located at 1604 W. Morse, and it's owned by the creative, talented, and gorgeous Rico Blanco.

Squiggly's is a warm, comfortable space with a nice party pit of couches and chairs in the window so you can just bring a project and work on it while you chat with Rico. He's got a nice variety of sensibly-priced yarn in lovely colors. He also can answer all of your knitting and crocheting questions. You'll know you can trust him, as he has "Knit" tattooed under a skull and crossbones on his right arm and "Crochet" tattooed under that same skull and crossbones on his left. If you ask him where he learned to knit and/or crochet, he will deadpan, "In prison." Don't believe that part -- that's just jokes!!

Rico hosts Motorcycle Mondays, which is an adult-themed knitting and crocheting circle, on Monday evenings. You can go to that and then come to mine after. We're cool like that! He also hosts a Knit Night (crocheters are welcome too!) on Thursdays from 7:00-??. That is where I'll be this evening. You should be too. Three doors west of Ashland on the north side of Morse.

Squiggly's Yarn Shop

New things are brewing in my world. More news on Monday. Until then, my darlings, peace love and yarn!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Return of the Glenwood Stitch 'n' Bitch

Because of a Monday-heavy performance schedule at the Opera and in preparation for my mom's heart valve replacement surgery, I cancelled the Glenwood Stitch 'n' Bitch for the month of March. And the sad trombones played, "Wee Woo!!"

Tonight, however, is the first Monday in April! The opera season is over, my mother is on the expressway to recovery, and I want to have adult beverages while participating in some fiber arts with my friends. Rico Blanco, who just opened the wonderful Squiggly's Yarn Shop and Studio is going to come by tonight after he closes up shop. He's a really talented needle arts guy, and one of the sweetest tough guys on the planet, and his shop is a very happy place.

My dear friends Robert Chandler and wally andersen will be our bartenders tonight. They're equally scrumptious in their own separate ways. And there are some great $5 wine and double pint beer specials.

My advice to you is to grab some sort of portable craft -- it doesn't have to be yarn-related -- and meet us at the Glenwood, 6962 N. Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park,  at 7:00 for some creative fun and reasonably priced spirits!!

The picture was taken at the Glenwood. That's my buddy Shayne Halper in a hat that I made -- though not necessarily for him!

So that's all the news for now, darlings! I hope to see you tonight! Until next time, peace, love and yarn!!