Thursday, December 18, 2014

Some (knitter's) birthday booty

My Husband planned this elaborate birthday extravaganza for me in Chicago this last weekend. We stayed at the beautiful Palmer House in the heart of the downtown area that was walkable to our planned destinations.

What a ritzy place! It has a beautiful golden peacock door at the entrance and decorative ceilings on the lobby floor. It is now owned by Hilton.
 

Once we checked in, we fancied ourselves up and went to a great Italian restaurant before heading to the Nutcracker.
On Saturday, we ate breakfast at Meli's Cafe, which is a hip restaurant that prides itself on having a large smoothy/juice/liquor bar. We walked two blocks down to W. Polka Street to Loopy Yarns where I got some birthday booty. LOTS of amazing booty. What's that look for? You know, yarn loot? What where you thinking? 

Then, we did our annual Christkindlemarket shopping. It was a mad zoo! We waited for about half an hour in a mass line (or was it a line?) to get our hot spiced wine. 
I actually overheard someone talk about a birthday coupon, which ended up saving me 10% off my entire purchase because of that conversation. I mentioned that I was in town for my birthday and haven't been receiving emails from the last time I visited. She gladly gave me the discount. Yelp has mixed reviews about the employees, but they were courteous and friendly with me both (yes, I said both) times I came there. Let me explain:
I came in with the hopes of obtaining all yarn and roving for thrummed mittens for the boys in my life (plus mommy too). I was exited to see that they had many colors to choose from. The boys will have rainbow mitts, and my husband will have the green and natural colors, and mommy (me) will eventually have the teal and purple-pinks. The yarn?
I choose a natural shade instead of white in Cascade 220. My husband choose the grey colorway. 
I ended up returning Sunday to get a little bit more roving because I didn't want to run out since I've never done thrummed mittens and I had two sets of children mittens to do in rainbow colors. It's not like I could pop back at the store when I ran out. I figured having a little extra was way better than 'Scrooging it.'
I picked up some dark teal malabrigo yarn for a hat pattern I will whip up with large buttons at the rim.
These three skeins were a splurge. They are a sinfully-soft baby alpaca, cashmere, camel and silk blend in a soft heathered teal colorway (the real shade is slightly darker than the photo). The yarn is called "Road to China Light" in Abalone. You just have to rub it against your cheeks or squish it. It's heavenly. I imagine it will become a small shawl one day. I have about 480 yards total.
Buttons for upcoming projects. The dark teal/green is for the hat (malabrigo yarn above) and the triangular buttons is for my WIP "Mrs. Darcy Cardigan." I expect to use about 5 buttons, but bought one more just in case.

I was sick earlier in December, and my boys have been sick pretty much since October. After helping out at their Preschool on Thursday (one kid sneezed in my face), and from being in Chicago in general, I returned from my trip sick as a dog. I am now starting to act a little more human, now that my coughing is reducing, and not feeling so weak. I had that non-stop unproductive coughing that was eating at me. Not even medicine would curb the coughing.
I put my red cardigan on hold so that I can finish these socks in time for Christmas. I am halfway through the gusset. What's slowing me down is that I am doing tons of piano accompanying as a sub, with piles of new music to learn. This month has been totally exhausting. I am technically on break from teaching, but this is a temporary side job. I would have enjoyed more down time knitting and baking, but I wouldn't necessarily have gotten all of these opportunities to sub as a pianist at this particular church. Plus, what better time spent on practicing and music to play than Christmas?
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