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Monday, April 2, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


Joe's NYC is one of my favorite photographers...
(be sure to explore the daily entries - buttons top left

bonus: just because it's SPRING - Puppies everywhere!


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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Everybody has a five/10/100 year plan, right? Smoothly sailing down life's highway, we see the signposts of human achievment: the births, the graduations, the degrees, that JOB, the wedding(s), the mortgage, the bills, the sickness, the what?

So what happens when Life hits a PotHole?

In my case, you clean.

Lucky for me, it's SPRING! And nothing goes better with That than a scrub-brush and vacuum...

My mind has been cloudy lately - lately including right before Christmas to now. I've been flattened by a forlorn karmic trifecta of sorts -- 25% of the people I work with on my *day job* were laid off, but the work load ramped up like a rocket; my downtstairs neighbor's baby, who, as an infant, was as quiet a a churchmouse, is now a nighttime *crooner* who sings with loud and howling regularity, off-key and sad, every morning around 3am; and most most dreadful, my dear, dear friend went into the hospital with bone cancer two days before Christmas and has been battling ever since.

Dark was my Winter Season (and broken my heart) but the Light everday is climbing. A new season is upon us and my house is full of rays.

And what did I see? Dust bunnies everywhere! (These, as I explained to an online chum were Nature's Free Winter Insulation - along with piles of books, skeins, papers, shoes, laundry, boxes, and more...)

Perhaps this pile-up was the order of the day in the lurking grey of Winter, but No More!

Bunnies in the Spring are Chocolate, not dust: Be Gone!


Not enough the sweeping, but to really change the inner landscape, furniture MUST be moved! I re-arranged the living room/studio & dining areas so they are open and light.



all the pretty swatches in a bowl and rack...



This is an old display rack I found at a flea market. It probably held small packages like barrettes or bobby pins - I used it for awhile to display postcards. Now, I've got some favorite swatches clipped to it to study and peruse...

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April 5, 2007

Chic Knits Sock Nation Knittin' Citizen

...the Sock Speaks...
More Stories of Spring

happiness is a yellow sock...

Opal *Magic* Color 1050
size 2.25mm needles
one down, one to go...

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Monday, April 9, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


This brought such a smile to my face! Notice the date this was made - in the springtime, 103 years ago...

It just tickles me to know that one of the first things photographers did with the process once it was out there was to make things that would Make Us Laugh! I'm having a kind of *hooray-for-hollywood* thing behind this - but am especially smiling because of the name of the shooter...

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Ten-day forecast is a Steady-as-She-Goes 40-50 degrees here in the Big Windy. While usually at this time of the year I would take this as a poke-in-the-eye from Mother Nature, it's making me Jump for JOY instead~!

I have a new Hoodie.


Life is Good...

My sample of the variation of the Twist pattern is FINI!

I brought it with me Thursday night to Letizia's Bakery for our KIP night out. Between the fun conversation and music spun by our favorite (and handsome) barista Spencer, it was done in no time at all. I set in both sleeves with a crochet slip-stitch and sewed on the buttons - which, BTW, were chosen by commitee (thank you Ladies...).


A trip to Tender Buttons (on Rush St) yielded up some darker Tortoise Shell models and a plain Taupe set. The Taupe had a greenish undercast and just didn't disappear into the fabric enough to work well - which is what I thought to be the best case scenario. I adore this color; it is sophisticated. Neutral. Adult. Flattering. BUT. Impossible to take a picture of or match buttons to.

In the end, the darker T.Shell buttons worked because they had a matching center tone that was a little more neutral. I think they look a little casual, but hey, in a Ralph kind of way.

I see this being worn for a few weeks yet, layered with a black or brown down vest or rain parka, black turtleneck shirt, thin black gloves and sunglasses.

[This design will be available in the next couple of months. I am currently re-writing. For a head's up on this and other fun blips on the Chic Radar, sign up for our notify list - see right hand column.]

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Thursday, April 11, 2007

hey, WINTER. yeah you. Get thee BEHIND ME!

In a sneak attempt to prolong the profit margin of the utility companies, Mother Nature is whipping the Big Windy with all sorts of mess: snow, ice, icy snow, icy rain, high winds, low faces.

I refuse to buckle under the Pressure! This is just more time for me to go get the upcoming season in order. (It is coming, right? Promise???)

Many folks have beat me to the punch - I'm seeing all sorts of wondrous spring-ish garments all over. Have you seen Mademoiselle Michelle's CeCe? I am so absolutely impressed because she re-cycled some linen-y type yarn from a man's Structure sweater!!! Or how about the very chic Christine, in her glorious Purple ChicKami? Hmmm. Cotton? Seeing Erika's Ariann, done in, OMG, Cotton Ease, put me smack dab in a Spring-time frame of mind:

Erika made her collar longer - I've been waiting to see if someone would do this - BRAVA! I love it - would recommend going to 6 inches for a great look!

So what's a girl to do?
That's what...

All you have to do to get enough *new edition* Cotton Ease (color: Lake) to make an Ariann is send me an email at:
with the words "Spring Fever" in the subject line...


Winner posted Tuesday
chosen by random drawing.

I'm casting on...

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Monday, April 16, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


What can I say? This girl needs some music and this is the jukebox of a man called SuperFrenchie. J'adore Superfrenchie!!!

There is POP! TRAD! And towards the end, even some fab Zydeco, like Clifton Chenier, Sleepy La Beef & Zachary Richard!

I am rushing towards the IRS finish line like a madwoman but HEY! Even procrastinators need some cool music to soothe the impoverished (and soon to be flattened wallet) soul...

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

today the little birdies woke me up, chirping, singing pickpickpick, pickpickpick...


Ms. Donna, from Knit One, Purl Too

CONGRATULATIONS! You are the new owner of some pretty pretty yarn and a hard copy Ariann Pattern!

THANK YOU! to all who participated and because there seem to be a lot of you with Spring Fever, I picked 3 more people to get a hard copy of Ariann -

Lynda from Knit Together

Gail R

Cheryl C

Thanks again to everyone who dropped by :)

This, but of course, has NOT cured my Spring Fever but made it Bigger than ever! Over the weekend I had to pick up the needles to get started with some Magnificent COLOR! I've had this yarn it seems forever. It was from One Fine Yarn - 3 cones of Crystal Palace "Georgia".


What's incredible about this is that the saturation level of the color just is indescribable! This is becoming a lacy little number called L-O-L-A Lola...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Chic Knits Sock Nation Knittin' Citizen

...the Sock Speaks...
Your Tax Dollars at Work


No my pretties, those dollars are not knitting Sock2 - but they are paying for all those flowers. This, a day after Tax Day, startled yet amused me.

As far as the eye can see, in Plymouth Ct. Park, next to the Federal Bldg. in downtown Chi, sit hundreds of flats of pansies, in shades of purple and solid gold. They await their new homes in the giant planters that live in the park.


Such old-fashioned favorites - the multi-colored varieties with a face - these were all different tones of purple.

"The first hybrids with dark central blotches (as opposed to just lines) appeared in 1814, and by 1835 there were 400 named varieties on the market-'beautiful, flat, symmetrical, velvet-like flowers, more than two inches in diameter, magnificently and variously coloured.' These are the words of Charles Darwin, who took a keen interest in the cross-fertilization of plants. He was working on his theory of natural selection at the time, and conducting his own experiments with pansies and other flowers, keeping detailed records of the various traits that arose through many generations." ...from Burpee

If wishes were horses, I'd like to see the line item budget requisition for these beauties. You just know there is page after page after page of PORK in that budget - why is it thrilling for me to know some measure of sanity interrupted BAU? ;p

Let's hear it for Pansy Spending and kick that other type to the curb, shall we?

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Friday, April 19, 2007

New Threads FRIDAY!


Knitting Pattern

Pattern: Chic Knits
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Sirdar *Breeze*
Color: Creme
Gauge: 22 sts/30 rows over 4"
Needles: #5

Spring Fever makes me want to feel the sun on my arms but here in the Midwest we still need a little help! Enter NICOLE! Perfect over a Tee or blouse - I'm going to be topping a favorite cotton dress with this as well! I longed for a little corset-type waistcoat to add to the mix -


here's a charming look for the Office - over a simple white cotton shirt...

Nicole is perfect for any DK weight yarn - cotton, cotton blends, wools! I'm finishing up a Navy Blue one in wool/silk - destined to be my favorite look over a black Tee.

This easy garment is knit in one piece to the underarm and features a beautiful cabled front with subtle lace edgings around the bottom and front edges.

downloadable PDF Pattern

more Details HERE...

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Monday, April 23, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


I'm planning a trip to NYC in the next couple of months and have been virtually visiting the place.

This is a total "Two Birds w/1 you know" thing - especially interesting to me are photo galleries (& articles) people thoughtfully publish about their local purview. Urban or Mundane? Not for me the iconic monuments and predictable destinations.

This site takes a little walk on the wilder
eyes-wide-open side.

Then I found GNOMES of NY


mix-it up with a little Chimera from "Lost New York"

beautiful Skysraper Art

Gargoyle go home...
Darnit, now I'm dying to go to London again too!

[cool NYC/London links appreciated below that write about what to do and see in the neighborhoods]

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


...made with Elann Peruvian Highland Silk yarn...

click HERE for more pattern info...

SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner

32.25 (34, 36.5, 38, 40, 42) "

YARDAGE (DK Weight Yarn) :
450 (500, 550, 600, 650, 700) yds

22sts / 30rows over 4" St st
using #5 / 3.75mm needles

Yarn - Cotton, etc.

Classic Elite: Classic Silk

Dale of Norway: Svale

Debbie Bliss: Cotton Cashmere

Elann: Endless Summer Luna

Elsebeth Lavold: Hempathy

Filatura Di Crosa: Millefili Fine

James Brett: Kool Kotton DK

Jo Sharp: Soho Summer

LanaKnits: All Hemp 6

Plassard: Coton Lin

Rowan & RYC Yarns:
Cashsoft DK
Cotton Glace
Luxury Cotton DK
Wool Cotton

Sirdar: Breeze DK
Luxury Soft Cotton DK

Valley Yarns: Longmeadow

Yarn - Wool, etc.

Black Pearl: Cashmere DK

Classic Elite: Wool Bam Boo

Debbie Bliss:
Cashmerino DK

Elann: Peruvian Highland Silk
Peruvian Quechua

Elsebeth Lavold: Silky Tweed
Silky Wool

Filatura di Crosa: Zara

Jaeger: Extra Fine Merino DK
Matchmaker Merino DK

Jo Sharp: DK Wool

Louisa Harding: Kashmir DK

Queensland: Uruguay DK

Rowan & RYC Yarns:
Baby Alpaca DK
Cashsoft DK
Felted Tweed
Pure Wool DK
Scottish Tweed DK
Silk Wool DK
Soft Lux

Shelridge Farms: Soft Touch DK

Even though I rarely exhibit a perspicacious nature, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that most of us don't like to knit sleeves.


I've said it. Put it out there for the whole world to see.

Of the last four garments I've finished, only one had 'em.

I love wearing them but the last few months just ended up knit sleeveless.

Enter Nicole -

I started wearing TeeShirts under my tank tops after I saw Madame Fluffa holding forth in France and never looked back. The shirt extends the season - a little light cami underneath can privatize the areas modest folk might want to lightly cover.

The design sprung from the purchase of a blouse. From July 9, 2006:


While the new Mrs. Urban (OH, how I love that last name) is off somewhere honeymooning (and apparently beforehand, moonlighting), I've been working away on the Nicole camisole.

I use the term *camisole* lightly - this is probably going to be worn more as a vest over another sheer shirt - or any variety of other shirts. I also plan on wearing it solo - so I've made its lacey-ness more suggestive than revealing.

I love the way this is turning out - it is not a Victorian romp - more like a modern feminine stroll that might work for the night out or for the street. Which is exactly how I have been directing my wardrobe - I want it to have a dual nature - depending on what you pair it with, it can go day to night quite easily. Which is what a Working Girl without a battalion of stylists needs - wearable, usable, knitted clothes.

But if I could, I would certianly want to have Ms. Kidman's wardrobe - almost everytime I see her, she's wearing something I would absolutely love to have.

The first Nicole I knit (the creme coloured one) is made using a yarn from Sirdar called "Breeze". It is a cotton-microfiber blend. I would characterize it as the little cousin to yarns like Rowan's "All Seasons Cotton" (Aran) or ggh "Bali" (Worsted), both in different weights but similar fiber content and twist. They make a nice, lighter weight fabric than 100% cotton, but IMHO, give a finish that is more casual than a beautful mercerized 100% cotton, like Elann "Sonata". The James Brett "Kool Kotton" is also a nice blend. But of course, there is always the perennial favorite: "Calmer".

I am always ready to take up the needle and swatch - the ball bands on yarns never fully explore the range of gauges that might work on a yarn - you never really know until you knit and measure. I'm eyeing several "suspects" I will add to the list as knitting unfolds...

Please email me info*chicknits*com with any suggestions for favorite DK weight yarns you love. I am especially in thrall to this gauge right now - it allows a really versatile range of texture and drape not possible with larger yarns...

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Thursday, April 25, 2007

get back here!


My favorite fan has agreed to be a token hand model to beckon Spring back to Chicago. Upon its grill, it wears New Projects -- sure to entice and please the delinquent Sun!

We've had two nights of rain -- one huge and invasive -- so much so, three of my east facing windows leaked all over the place. The winds were so strong, they forced the rain through the small spaces where caulking had seperated from settlement and age. This of course, should've been been anticipated.

My neighbors and I had just found (a miracle) a contracter and set up a day (so lucky) to have all the windows in the building re-caulked. It had been dry and warm for over a week and it just seemed like we were going to put one over on Mother.


We all know how that goes. Just wash your car and see! Everyone knows not to tempt HRH, especially at this time of year.

So I'm taking a different approach, (now that plan A is hosed/postponed until next week after our windows have, fingers crossed, a chance to dry out), and offering Her a couple of new warm weather projects.

Number One:


I found this KAL via Knitorious, hosted by Kat with a K!

I love the rules/norules: "2. You have two options for that UFO: a. Work on it. You don't have to finish it that month, if it's something big, but it must be added into your rotation of "active" projects. A token row or two does not count. ;-)
b. Frog it. If you don't want to work on it anymore, rip it out and move on.

Well, I'm kindof combining a & b and Frogging and Re-starting and working on it :)

The Kelly green on top is a CeCe, made from ggh "Bali" that I started and abandoned last year. I grew weary of the sleeves (yes, again with the sleeves) knit-in-the-round and have frogged. Now, I am knitting them flat and will update that process in a later post once it is more photo-worthy (and maybe when the Sun comes back out and i can actually take pictures!)

Number Two:

The greyish-aqua needle on the bottom holds a brand new project. I splurged and went virtual shopping in Canada at Knit'n'Tyme. I am making a shrug, from a Phildar Printemps 07 TenDANces pattern, using some stashed Plassard yarn I got on vacation in Atlanta a couple of years ago...

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Monday, April 30, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


I thought the first harbingers of SPRING were always the lovely Robins and their cohorts, the DandyLions! Yesterday, as I was enjoying my cuppa, one of these was actually outside my living room window behind me, bumping the glass, trying to get in and tell me something...


I kept hearing a soft thump, then thump. I finally got up to see what could be so persistent and VOILA! I came face-to-face with Robin Redbreast! Here he is still waiting. (Still outside.)

Mr. Robin said: "Here's the sure sign of Spring - they're Everywhere!"
[warning: explicit language at start...]

extra points for using my favorite Bon Jovi song...

The Backstory: I really appreciated the camera work in this video. A few weeks ago, I had to shoot a boarder demo down at McCormick Place Convention Center. The producers had built a huge wood mockup of a street scene, complete with ramps, steps & rails. I shot alot of it very low, to get the jumping action from a cool angle and capture the speed. When I finally stood up to shoot an interview with a 14 y.o. superstar (he was incredible) I had my back to the stairs. Another boarder jumped then lost control of his ride at the foot of the stairs. Even though there was a bit of distance between us, the careening board smashed into my ankle at full force.

I almost passed out.

This is why I sort of appreciate the profanity at the start of this tape - whatcha gonna do when they come for you - the pain was just incredible. But I'm a winner not a whiner and finished my assignment (whatta dumba**) even though I about bit my tongue in two. The kid we interviewed grabbed my hand at the end of the shoot, and said, "Dude. You rock." HE appreciated my white knuckle move.

Over the next few days, my entire ankle turned black, through and through.

It is still a little yellow, though not as bright as the springtime Dandelions.

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