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Monday, December 6, 2004

  Monday Morning Mirth  

the Little Bad Muse gently reminds me that
RE-GIFTING is not OK! Say what?!

Now that the Holiday Season is ON US like white on rice, look out for the newest trend in gift-giving: buying DOWN! Now ChicKnits knows that not all of us are LUCKY ENOUGH to have so many Dollar-type stores in their neighborhood, so when the office pundits or Family Muse decides that THIS YEAR you are only able to spend $10.00 on the gift swap, PANIC might ensue...


Suggestions? We got suggestions!

a New York State of Mind kindof GRAB

an urban list from Optimus

Unique Gifts?

Something for Everybody
sign me up for that Six-Pack of Socks!


my personal Boyfriend: Dick Blick
don't miss the CAT & DOG mannequins!

Computer GEAR
this stuff is just wrong - and that's why you need it!

ze Thrifty!!


duct tape is ALWAYS correct...

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Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Stand-by Unit 10:
POV of a Chicago Photojournalist

Whoa. Clueless until you see the bus leaving the curb across the street, now it is certain you might be a little late. The cold rain wakes you up second by second as you move through the air and you turn your face up to gladly dose on Nature's Caffeine.

You get into the hot taxi and try and settle into your morning routine. The cabbie's spicy aroma and braking style stirs up nauseous whiplash as you pull out some needles and yarn. Focusing on the task at hand is attempted and seeking to improve your odds you clean your glasses, not once but twice, because everything is foggy. One more quick jolt at a stop sign then the taxi pulls away leaving your stomach behind but your brain firmly locked onto the idea it's not your glasses but your EYES that are really dirty.

You were at a huge fire the night before and somehow even though you were in the direct line of smoke and debris, you are unwilling to tolerate the fact that you might have some bad job hangover. All the experts have told you that you are NOT supposed to take it home with you. Even when your clothes smell so weird they walk themselves out to the trash, you are in denial. It is happening to other people not you, even when you're standing right next to them.

The flames shooting out of the high-rise windows look especially fierce through your telephoto lens. People from the restaurant across the street fill the sidewalk around you and stand gawking at the workers rushing out of the building. We are fascinated by their tears and when they tear their hair we marvel because that's something you see only in the movies. The reek of burning office equipment is joined by the cigar smoke of sidewalk diners and the fumes of the diesel powered firetrucks which suddenly are everywhere.

The fire department helicopter is overhead pouring light onto the black wall of smoke to guide the jetstreams of water but its wings fan the smoke down the building onto the street. And yet people do not move.

When glass and debris come flying out the windows above, the mass finally runs for cover. The firemen and police are now in force and they dispatch the stragglers straight away from the danger and you marvel at the resistance. You marvel when the firebugs show up and start recording the event for their scrapbooks. A non-fireman in a CFD uniform jacket covered with souvenir medallions and badges badgers you for the private phone number of your reporter so he can give him some hot fire tip. His eyes seem even brighter than the flames overhead and you move away, at last, yourself.

Six hours later, when the fire is officialy struck, you walk your 65lbs. of gear and yourself the half-mile back to where you left your van. When you tell the cop standing next to the 5 trucks surrounding it you will drive it on the sidewalk to leave the scene, he grimaces then just starts laughing in your general direction because that's probably the only funny thing he's heard all night. You've never heard NO delivered with more glee...

The next morning, when you get dropped off at the impound lot, you jump out into the rain and pull on the gloves you grabbed as you rushed out the door that morning and begin your new day.


Like the rest of it, they just make sense.

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Thursday, December 9, 2004


A most marhvelous thing has happened.
Actually, two marvelous things have happened!

The Shazam Aran Cardi Fronts are done! They and their brother Back are resting comfortably BLOCKING on the ChicKnits Blocking Rug. It appears they are the same sizes. All is well!

BUT what's even better is that a miracle has happened.

Last night, I just couldn't constrain myself. I wasn't going to wait for the sleeves to get the party started. I decided to block the pieces I had by throwing them into the washer with a couple of dirty sweaters I was cleaning. My usual way to wash woolens is to fill my washer with warm water on the gentle cycle. I add a couple of drops of Dawn Dishsoap (just basic liquid soap, ma'am). I swish the water to dissolve the soap, then add the knits, pushing them into the water to make sure they don't just float.

No mechanical agitation has taken place thus far.

Now, on the Gentle Cycle, I let the washer agitate for 5 counts. Then I turn it off and let it soak. I come back after about 10 minutes and agitate for 5 more counts, then drain the tub, spin the knits, fill to rinse, and repeat my 5 counts.

The difference last night was that I added to the Rinse Water: one cap of Infusium 23/ mixed with 2 caps of Tresemme - both Hair Conditioners, as suggested by many who wrote when I initially bemoaned my Stiff Yarn Problem...

When I put my hands on my freshly washed pieces to take them out of the washer, I almost fainted. THEY WERE SOFT, fluffy even.

Now I had been BUGGED for, ahem, years now with the nature of this yarn. It was dense. It was DRY! It was tight. It was like a BOARD. I would knit on it on the #66 and it would flap around and spank me until I was ready to scream.


Cut to Theme Music - OPEN Episode #1:
Yarn History Detectives
This stuff was just saturated in Spinning Oil! As I understand it, this oil is used on fiber to tame it during the spinning process (people - is this half right?). Age the oil on the yarn for a couple of years (maybe 3 - who really knows when it was made?) and you get: HARDENING OF THE ARTERIES!

Even though this yarn was already made into a sweater, washed the same way as above, frogged, re-skeined, washed again and then re-knit, it was never really soaked and washed COMPLETELY. Now, the yarn has been released from the PRISON of it's commercial beginnings and can become -

OK, you get the picture.

Now all I have to do is frog the earlier sweater's sleeves to get enough yarn to finish the whole piece...

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Friday, December 10, 2004

Looming on the dusk horizon like the teeth of the Cheshire Cat
floats my Company Christmas Party.
It is laughing at me...

It mocks me because, as I zoom down the Slalom Slope of Christmas Present, I've forgotten it is TONIGHT! I've been too busy with the general Bling Ding Ring of preparations and Workshop FUN to pay attention to something very important. LIKE

What the --- am I going to WEAR?

I just went through my closet and found NOTHING! My party frocks seem prehistorically lame and dowdy - even my old standbye - that gorgeous Red Shantung Silk Blouse that fits me like a glove is pointing and laughing and shouting LOSER at me because I wore that, ahem, the last time.

I hate my clothes! And right now, there are 10 hrs between me and Cocktails with the Boss and ZIP NADDA nothin' is coming to mind...

Stores are not helping - even though every Christmas as I shop for others, I REALLY shop for myself - I've seen nothing that rings my chimes and makes me dive for my wallet. I don't want to wear a camisole with a skirt! I was just kidding about that poncho I was going to make! I really want it but it just ain't gonna happen.

And what about this?


I see this outfit every day from the windows of the #66 at the Ralph Lauren store on Chicago Ave. (OK - the City is named Chicago - why did they name a Street: Chicago?!) It is one of their Party Looks for the Season - a long buckskin skirt with fringe topped by an Aran cabled tube top with long cabled arm warmers WITH (not done yet)

a VERY long WIDE cabled scarf.

All Winter White All the TIme... And is it just me, or does the Mannequin seem a little... COLD? Why oh why do we suddenly need total anatomically temperature correct Plastic Figures on display? It not only annoys the Locals but the Tourists Loud Tittering all the way down the street after they pass is giving me a migraine...

I consulted with several male co-workers (I am the only female in my group) and they ALL voted for BLACK! ANYTHING black... When I asked about Strapless I was met with Guffaws a plenty and someone actually uttered the word PROM, but that was a reporter and he has a big vocabulary! It seems that guys maybe like to see that look on other people's dates, occasionally, but it really is NOTHING compared to Black Boots and a tight Black Skirt.

The people have spoken...

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

ChicKnits New Threads Weekend Edition

More Ribby FUN!!!
Introducing Shelby in her all-over Ribbed Ribby! BRAVA!

Getting to know Shelby was DELIGHTFUL as we both Beta Tested the pattern this fall. Shelby is a feltmaker/fiber artist extraordinaire from Texas. Her website is Karmic Knits and is full of expert knitting and tremedously ADORABLE Hat Making! Just beautiful...

Shelby made her Ribby from Classic Elite 03 Tweed. She's even made a cool 20 Questions List for the project HERE.

Check out the October 22 entry on this page to see how a Ribby looks before it's sewn up!

She also has a most gleeful 100 things About Me List that inspired me to start one myself...

Shelby also is a yoga teacher and I have to really thank her for being so centered and SMOOOOth throughout this whole process! Given a bumpy road to walk on, she decided to FLY and took me along for the ride! I can't thank her enough for the lesson...

Shelby's kitty Bagheera likes the Ribby too...

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