Saturday, March 11, 2006

On The Road

I've been on the road for work. Let me just say that the only people who think business travel is fun, exciting, glamorous are those who have never had to do it. I've been traveling for business for about 11 years. I do less of it now, thank God, but at the peak of my traveling salesman gig, I was on the road about 30% of the time. Which is 29.5% too much.

I know people who are flying around the world, see the Taj Mahal, etc. Not me. I travel the U.S. I've spent enough time in places like Iowa and Nebraska to give you directions to all the malls. When you are a woman on the road alone in small towns and cities, you spend a lot of time at malls. In Lincoln Nebraska only loose women go out for a drink and dinner alone.

This week I was in Chicago. No, correction, I was in the burbs of Chicago. The upside was I got some knitting done. And, yesterday I went to Kool Knits (my link function doesn't seem to work)at Most of our office was on the trip so one of my co-workers had rented a car. Being he had a car, is the dearest friend a person could possibly have, and is in general a really good sport, he took me yarn shopping! Kool Knits is in fact very cool as are the people that work there.

My best find was a sleeveless jean jacket that has little holes punched into it. You knit yourself some sleeves and mattress stitch them onto the jacket. Their sample was knit in a great variegated yarn. I didn't buy yarn for the sleeves, but I am thinking Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted, or Plymouth Outback, or perhaps the Malabrigo I've been drooling over at Yarn Cafe. Actually this wasn't my find, this was my friend, Fritz's find. He saw it on the wall and immediately knew I would want it. How 'bout that? He also scared himself by recognizing Rowan yarn in a bin.

Our next stop was Elmhurst. Fritz's hometown and location of yet another yarn shop. Now I spend a lot of time praising the yarn shops I love, but I honestly can't recommend the one in Elmhurst, which shall remain nameless. Upon seeing a 6'1", 56 year old man enter the shop, the women in the shop plyed him with cookies and then suggested he try Al's Hobby Shop across the alley as he wouldn't be comfortable in the shop. Consequently, he wasn't and we ended up leaving empty handed. That's okay, it was a whole lot of novelty yarn and Encore. Fritz had to stop and buy cigars almost immediately upon leaving the shop to regain his manliness.

Elmhurst itself was terrific. Lot's of cool little funky shops, sidewalks in residential neighborhoods, and kids playing. I expected June and Ward Cleaver to walk down the street at any moment! Loved it.

So about the knitting. Last weekend I engaged in two knitting activities. Going through my unfinished projects and knitting some Fuzzy Feet (pattern on Knitty). In the giant bin of WIPs I found this:

It is a "Wonderful Walaby",49
which is basically a knit hoodie. I'm making it in cotton Fantasy Natural which is probably why I stopped. I HATE knitting with cotton. It's dead and dry and no fun. But I have the majority of the body and had a little sleeve started. Why on earth haven't I finished it?! So I'm going to finish this thing. I took the sleeve with me and got about 7" done while traveling. As much as I dislike knitting with the cotton, I know I will wear it all the time. This is definitely a product rather than process project.

The Fuzzy Feet are done in Nashua Handknits Wooly Stripes. I love this yarn. It is everything cotton is not. It's soft, it self stripes and it was a pleasure to work with. Here are the Fuzzy Feet.

Before felting:

And after:

The toes are kind of pointy. The pattern calls for decreases that are all in one spot and a grafted flat toe. The pattern picture on Knitty looks like round decreases though. When I make the next pair (and I will make another pair) I'm going to change the decrease method. I like 'em though. The Wooly Stripes was very hard to match up. I pulled about half the second skein apart to try to find a match and wasn't able to do it. This is a flaw for slippers, but I don't think it would be a problem for a sweater. It is a little out of my budget for a sweater right now however at $9 an 88 yard skein.

Okay, long rambling blog to make up for lost blog time. I'm home now and will get back on track. Thanks again to the very nice women at Kool Knits (if you ever find yourself in Naperville, IL visit them!) and my friend Fritz (MFF).

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