Tuesday, March 29, 2011

88:365 Rookery Court

This is some of the amazing stone work on the back corner of the Rookery Building. Each corner of the building has the names of the cross streets carved in, I think, terra cotta. It's a very famous building, designed by Burnham and Root in the style that became know as the Chicago School. It is one of the first "skyscrapers," and is the oldest standing high-rise in the city. Built in 1887-88, the lobby was remodeled in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1989 the lobby was restored to Wright's remodel.

The main entrance of The Rookery faces LaSalle Street. Rookery Court is a little one-block street off Adams Street, at the rear of the building.

Monday, March 28, 2011

87:365 My Left Foot

It's 9:35 at night - I worked until 7, which means I didn't get home until 8:30. I never left the office for anything today . . . that means I didn't take any photos.

At first I thought this would be a throw-away photo. But as I was looking through the shots I had hurriedly zipped off around the house in the hopes of getting something for today, I realized that this is the first pedicure I have given myself since my feet stopped hurting 24/7.

I have suffered (and I do mean suffered) from plantar fasciitis for nearly two years. I don't recommend it.

But finally - FINALLY I am pain-free in my right heel, and and 98% pain-free in my left. If you have never suffered from PF, it probably won't make any sense to you because you have probably never taken a step and felt like a hot knife was stabbing up through your heel - but when you finally have a day when at the end of it you realize you haven't thought about the pain in your heels except maybe for 1 minute when you first got out of bed, the happy dance of joy is a wonderful thing. Thinking about walking becomes something to look forward to again. And pedicures. And foot massages.

So, this is my left foot. Still some sock lines on it, a faded scar from a surgery many years ago, and Barbie doll toes. The polish is OPI's "I'm Not Really a Waitress," my current favorite.

This is my 98% pain-free foot. It's beautiful to me and I celebrate it . . . not a throw-away at all :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

86:365 Moroccan Beads

You see strings of beads like these hanging off light fixtures in Morocco. I saw them in many places. I bought these beads in Essaouira last year. They are hanging from a Moroccan lantern in my living room.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

85:365 Wandering Jew

I grow other plants besides African violets. This is one of my favorite houseplants - it practically grows itself. I have two, large hanging baskets full of this green and purple beauty.

84:365 Surprised by Color

I left the train station through a different entrance yesterday morning, and as I got to Michigan Avenue, I was surprised by this mural. Above the facades of two shorter buildings - this joyous art. A welcome blast of color on another dreary and cold Chicago day.

It's called "Loop Tattoo," and is on the side of 63 E. Lake Street, between Wabash and Michigan. It was designed by Johanna Poethig and painted in sections with a team of Chicago community artists.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

83:365 Smooch Me

That's the name of this particular African violet hybrid! Another cold (snow cold) and dreary day here, and to add insult to injury, I'm miserable with allergies. At least there was a beautiful blossom to share today :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

82:365 Yarn-O-Rama

This is one of those days when I'm happy to have a colorful hobby. Cold, wet, dreary, and I've been miserable all day with allergies (at least I hope they are allergies). I managed to get outside for all of 15 minutes today . . . thus, a sofa full of yarny goodness, a bag of pin-drafted roving and some of my new books about the fabrics, clothing and carpets of Morocco. I am a lucky girl!

And for those of you keeping score, there is some Decadently Dark Sock Yarn from a 3-month sock club I was a member of for this first quarter of the year. Some Perfect Day Yarn that I snagged in a destash (Yay - I've been wanting to try it forever!) Some Wollmeise, some Opal and some Zen Yarn Garden. And there is a substantial amount of Socks That Rock tucked in there, as well as some Tempted and some Lorna's Laces.

I hit a really good destash. I couldn't help myself . . .

Now I just need to get the stuff photo'd and uploaded to Ravelry, and then PUT AWAY. Seems to be a common theme around here lately. All my good intentions with The Great Cleanup of 2010 got a bit side-tracked. My guest room still looks quite a bit like a staging area I'm afraid. And it's been easy to ignore it because I haven't had my customary gobs of company in the past few months. Probably that's a good thing.

Saturday's the day, though - my cousin, ME is coming over again and has promised to help me get it back into functional shape. My cleaning lady will be SO surprised ;-D

Any one else feeling a little blue today with the passing of Elizabeth Taylor? I am :-(

Of course, it didn't help that I woke up this morning with allergies. The kind that turn your nose into a waterfall and make your eyes feel like they belong to someone else. REALLY? I mean, it's been above freezing for what - a WEEK? And already I'm miserable. This usually doesn't happen to me this way. I'm hoping it's not a cold. That would be exceptionally inopportune . . . I've done what I can - I tried an Allegra this morning. Worthless (that's odd), and I took a couple of red sudafed (the original - the stuff you have to show your driver's license to get now at the pharmacy) before 6 p.m. I have to take them before 6 p.m. or I won't sleep at all. I also took some Airborne (I don't care what they say, I think the stuff works!) and had some green tea, and some water . . . clearly I will be up all night anyway - peeing. :-D

Oh God - my NOSE is running again . . .

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

81:365 What's on the Wheel

I've been working with my new Victoria wheel. It has a much different feel than either of my other wheels - mostly that it's very light and I'm not comfortable with the tension on it yet. This fiber is 100% Merino top. Lovely to spin and gorgeously dyed, but I'm definitely getting a thicker singles (that's a technical term, not an errant plural :-)) than I might have wanted.

This will likely be Aran to bulky weight once I ply it and finish it. It's beautiful fiber, though, and I'm learning alot about my new wheel.

80:365 First Day of Spring

This is the magnolia tree in my front yard. I look forward to it blooming every year. It's nearly ready . . .

Sunday, March 20, 2011

79:365 Felted

This is the Moroccan Backpack. I felted it today. It's drying. It didn't come out like a backpack - more like a bookbag - much wider than long, which is bothersome, but I'll deal with it. There is still decorative work to be done after it dries all the way.

I'm glad the hard part is done, though - I was completely obsessed with it for two and a half weeks.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

78:365 Traveling Girl

This is my new traveling wheel: a Louet Victoria. She folds up small enough to be a carryon on the plane in her own little carry bag. Takes some gettng used to - spinning on such a lightweight wheel. I'm practicing with some Merino top. That's my warping board in the background.

77:365 Ceres

This is Ceres, the Roman Goddess of Agriculture. She stands atop the Chicago Board of Trade, a classic Art Deco style building that I shot on January 5th. I think it's one of the most beautiful buildings in the City.

Bag of grain in one hand and sheaf of wheat in the other, Ceres has watched over LaSalle Street for more than 80 years. In 1930, when she was placed there (in 40 pieces), the CBOT was the tallest building in the City (609 feet) a title it held until 1965. She's made of solid aluminum, stands 32 feet tall and weighs 6,500 pounds. She was created in an Art Deco style called Streamline Moderne by sculptor John H. Storrs. In 1980 she was airlifted out by helicopter for some refurbishing. I happened to be on the 34th floor of the AT&T building and was able to catch her relatively close up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

76:365 A Little Bit of Everything

Old buildings, new buildings, a fire escape, an old parking structure, a bird, some shadow, and some sunshine - a little bit of everything on this St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

75:365 Signs of Spring

One of the greatest things about living in Chicagoland, is that when the first warm, spring-like day arrives, it's so gorgeous and so amazing that you forget it was ever cold here at all . . . it was 60 today . . . could it be, at long last, spring?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

74:365 St. Patrick's in Chicago

They dye the river green - and the fountain in Daley Plaza. I color corrected the green as best I could - it's actually even deeper green than this photo would have you believe.

Monday, March 14, 2011

73:365 Handspun Silk

This is a skein of my handspun - and that's a blue ribbon from the skein contest in Missouri this past weekend

:-) It was really exciting to win in the silk class! The fiber was from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks and is 100% Bombyx top. The colorway is "Embers."

2011 Missouri Fiber Retreat

I am just back from the 10th Annual Missouri Fiber Retreat!

What an awesome weekend. I started going to this event in 2008. I missed 2009, but now it has become an annual event for me. I cannot speak highly enough about it. I have wonderful friends there that I met in late 2007 when I was lucky enough to take a 3-day workshop taught by Anne Field. The Retreat is about the only time I get to see most of them, and so I look forward to it every year. Last year, two of my friends, Tammy and Christa came and met me there - and now I think it will be an annual event for them, too! Tammy and Christa also happen to be my co-moderators in the Year of Stash Socks group on Ravelry! This is us just before heading home yesterday. We were tired but happy - it was such a great weekend!

I taught my very first knitting class this weekend! I have taught a lot of people how to knit, but never in a classroom setting where they paid money to actually have me teach them something :-D

I was nervous . . . There's my name and my class - I was also very excited about it and have spent the last months getting ready and creating a handout with the assistance of my friend, KniftyRed. It was well-received, although I think I might have a technical booboo on the turning the heel section. I'll be checking that out once I recover from the 7+ hour drive home yesterday :-)

My class went pretty well - and I learned SO MUCH. I learned as much as my students did. I hope that I will get the opportunity to teach this again. It was really fun!

I was a better shopper this year - and I only bought two skeins of yarn - some Brown Sheep so I could do a little felting project that I've been thinking about.

That's not to say, however, that I didn't come home with a carload of stuff . . . just not very much yarn this year :-D

Mostly books for weaving and patterns for knitting. And some DPNs that I need for the Moroccan Backpack project. There are a couple of things missing from the photo (it was late - I was sleepy). I got two DVDs that correspond to Deb Chandler's Learning to Weave book that I have. Yay! Oh, there's a potholder loom and some loops - but mostly I got the loops because apparently I'm going to need them when I learn to warp my loom.

Oh - you're wondering about that bag that says Louet Victoria, aren't you? Well, in that little bag (which is small enough and light enough to carry on a plane [HOT DOG!!!]) is my newest spinning wheel, the Louet Victoria. I got a fabulous deal on it from Janet Wray, of JWRAYCO, and so it came home with me. I'll be spinning on it very soon :-)

Another highlight of the weekend was being a guest on The Proverbial Knitter video podcast! It's a long episode, but if you were wondering what I actually look like and sound like, you can watch :-) It's episode 14, available on The Proverbial Knitter website or through iTunes.

Last, but most certainly not least - I spent a substantial amount of free time glued to CNN as the earthquake and tsunami unfolded in Japan. 8.9 is a massive quake, and the continuing aftershocks and the tsunami . . . well, the images on CNN are almost unbelievable. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone there - and it is my fervent hope that they will be able to cool the nuclear rods in the affected nuclear reactors . . . however, from what I'm seeing on CNN, it's not looking good.

The Presbyterian Church USA is often one of the first organizations on the ground in disaster zones. There are many organizations to which you can donate, should you so choose, including Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which is a member of actalliance, a multi-denomination alliance of churches and church-related organizations that work together in humanitarian assistance and development.

And now, it's time to figure out laundry and see about putting things away (something I'm not always great about after a trip) ;-)

72:365 Two Friends

These are my friends, Tammy and Christa - we were just getting ready to head home after a wonderful weekend at the Missouri Fiber Retreat. You can tell how much fun we had, can't you? :-)

71:365 Sunset in Missouri

Looking over the hills of the Carver Farm at the end of a wonderful day at the Missouri Fiber Retreat.

70:365 Old-Fashioned

These washboards had just finished their work - they were used for a felting class at the Missouri Fiber Retreat.

69:365 Anticipation

This is my class basket - all the tools I need to teach. I was in Missouri this weekend, preparing to teach a sock knitting class - my first - at the 10th Annual Missouri Fiber Retreat.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

68:365 The Backpack

This is the beginnings of a project I'm knitting. It will be felted when it's done, and will eventually be a backpack.

And here is a photo of the BACK of this piece. I will be weaving in ends for days . . .

It's a Moroccan-inspired backpack. It's been years since I've done any colorwork. This has both intarsia and stranded colorwork. This mess of spaghetti looks worse than it is - nothing is knotted up. It will just take me a lot of time to weave in and trim the ends. There are some holes in the fabric that I will fix during this process. Holes - an occupation hazard that happens when you don't twist the yarns properly. It also can happen at the join of another piece of yarn.

I learned quickly that little balls of yarn are NOT the way to go - it's better to use billions of 1-2 yard pieces of yarn, hence the spaghetti.

More photos when I get the ends woven :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

67:365 Heartbreak . . .

I see the strangest things on the way to work. Someone tossed this in the trash, this beautiful orchid - just starting to fade. A lover betrayed? A job lost? A moment of anger? A loss of nerve? Or someone who thought it was . . . disposable? It doesn't look like any of the orchids I have. I think it was a cattleya. I nearly rescued it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

66:365 City on the Edge of Forever

It's actually City Hall, seen through the back side of Monument with Standing Beast, the sculpture in front of the Thompson Center, but it reminds me of The Guardian - the portal through space and time in this episode of the original Star Trek series.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

65:365 Shamrocks and Star Lights

There are sun catchers in my kitchen window, and strings of star Christmas lights. My late, elderly neighbor, who was wheelchair bound, loved seeing the star lights in all my windows at Christmastime, so I left the ones in the kitchen window on in the evenings year round so he could enjoy them. He's been gone for years, but the lights still come on every night. There is comfort in familiar things - and at night, the twinkle of star lights.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Need More Supervision . . .

I don't know what's wrong with me . . . I keep buying yarn. Maybe forcing myself onto the Stash busting wagon wasn't such a good idea last year because the backlash is brutal. I seem to have gone overboard in the past few weeks, and I'm headed to fiber city next weekend at the Missouri Fiber Retreat . . . I will do my best, however, to not buy much - but you know, it's tough when you're someplace with one-of-a-kind stuff.

Today I joined the Socks That Rock Rockin' Sock Club. I really like the STR yarn, and somehow the sock club came up on something I was reading today, and really, I have PayPal and am obviously not afraid to use it. And then another friend shared this link to Elann Peruvian Sierra Aran yarn, wanting assistance in picking a color for a cardi she wants to knit.

Do you see the green cardi on that linked page? I queued that sweater not three days ago - I had never seen it before. I clicked that link and there it was. And the yarn is less than three bucks a ball . . . In case you're wondering, I went with the Garnet because I'm always getting blue and green and decided I needed a change.

And I hit the Wollmeise grab bag yesterday.

I think this is better than eating - although I could have used those funds on vacation in a few weeks. Oh well.

After a few warmer days, it's snowing again here. Chicagoland in March . . .

64:365 Broken Saint

I braved the mudpond that is my backyard this morning. Weekends are good for getting a shot uploaded early on. These remains of what I think was a birdbath have been here, tucked into the shrubbery since I moved in. I'm not up on saints, but I think he might have been St. Francis. I kinda like him :-)

Friday, March 4, 2011

63:365 City Life

I have never seen a light on in any of the tender houses along the river. Ever. Until today. So, although there were better photos today, I don't know that I'll ever get another chance to have a photo with the light on. This tender house is on the bridge at LaSalle Street. The houses on this bridge are some of the most ornate in the city.

Pretty typical scene - people hurrying along, a cab, a car, a bit of the bridge and the edge of an entrance to Lower Wacker. I wish I knew who was in the tender house . . . and what they were doing there . . .

Thursday, March 3, 2011

62:365 Rock Doves

More commonly called Pigeons. They are everywhere in the city. A lot of people call them flying rats. I find them strangely compelling somehow, and I prefer to think of them as Rock Doves - the urban, hip counterparts to Mourning Doves.

These guys were hanging out in the cold on Wabash Avenue, all puffed up to stay warm. You're not supposed to feed them, but people always do, and as I walked toward them, others that were on the ground walked towards me, thinking I had food. I didn't, and they walked back, waiting for someone else to bring them their breakfast.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

61:365 City Jigsaw

Walking down LaSalle Street - the Thompson Center, the City Hall side of the City & County Building and another sky scraper in the back. Finally a bit of blue sky . . .

60:365 On the Tender House

Chicago is a city of bridges. Pretty much every type of bridge there is, exists in Chicago. This is the bell on the southeast tender house on the Wells Street bridge, circa 1922.

The Wells Street bridge is a double decker bridge - the L runs on the upper deck, which is the red beam behind the bell. The bridges along the river go up at different times of the year to let the sailboats out on to the lake in the spring, back to dry dock in the fall - I believe the bridges are only tended now during these scheduled times.