Archive for October, 2010

26 down…

26 down13 to go.

Things I have learned about crocheting hexagons (and myself):

  1. It is fun.
  2. There really are endless color combos.
  3. I like some hexagons better than others.
  4. While I may not love them equally, I still love each hexagon for what it brings to the table, er, blanket.
  5. I like it when people tell me which hexagons are their favorite.
  6. It takes almost as long to weave in the ends as it does to crochet a hexagon.
  7. Like with knitting, I think I over weave ends.
  8. Although I suspect I am over weaving the ends, I still can’t stop.
  9. I know I should start blocking the finished hexagons but the growing stack of hexagons on my table really pleases me and I haven’t wanted to part with it.
  10. Stack o' Hexagons

  11. I think this blanket is going to be crazy awesome.

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Chicago Reunion Trip

I had never been to Chicago before so I am aware the title of this post is a little deceptive.  The reunion part of the trip was in the form of KW and Max–my two awesome roommates from when I lived in Washington, DC 10 years ago.  We all live in different parts of the country now and don’t talk as often as we should so when Max suggested a reunion over Labor Day we all jumped at the chance and actually made it happen.  We picked Chicago because none of us had been there before and because it was a good central location.  (Actually, technically I have been there before but I was a teenager and with my family on a huge road trip and we didn’t really see anything in the city so I don’t count it.)

So, I loved Chicago.  If you love cities (and goodness knows I do) you will love Chicago too.  First, the food…

On a first trip to Chicago you HAVE to have deep dish pizza.  We got ours at a famous place called Giordano’s.  I think it might be a touch too famous as the line there was INSANE.  We fought the crowds, got up to the counter where they told us we could put our name down, wait an hour and a half, and then come back and order our pizza.  We did as we were told only to find out that once you order the pizza, the wait is another hour before you sit down.  At this point we were at the end of a long day and opted instead to have the pizza delivered to our hotel (to cook the pizza and deliver it was going to take the same amount of time).

Deep Dish

Pizza in your hotel bed while watching a pay-per-view movie…perfect.

We went to some great restaurants.  Rick Blayless’ XOCO had really amazing sandwiches and guac as well as churros for dessert with a shot of chocolate and some Mexican vanilla ice cream for dipping.


So good.

Another noteworthy meal was Heaven on Seven for brunch.  One of the brunch options is a buffet style meal.  There is not a buffet set up in the restaurant but if you order the buffet you get a variety of dishes brought to your table, all you can eat, for everyone to enjoy–100% participation is required.  Once we saw this deal, obviously we all decided to enjoy the buffet.  We were brought scrambled eggs, thick cut bacon and sausage, potatoes, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and all of our personal favorite…bananas foster french toast.  Yeah.  We ended up getting seconds of that perfect food.  It was divine.

Heaven on Seven buffet

We also snacked on copious amounts of Garrett’s popcorn–we got the mix of cheese and caramel popcorn and it was amazing–although it turned my fingers fluorescent orange whenever I ate it.  KW didn’t have the same problem and I couldn’t understand why until I watched her actually eat some popcorn.  She swiftly but delicately would pop each kernel into her mouth, one at a time but really fast, which resulted in super clean hands.  I really must remember to eat more lady-like when consuming large amounts of popcorn.

We also loved the Doubletree cookie we received at check-in to our hotel.  Max tried to fib sweet-talk her way into another cookie when we checked out but the lady ignored us and we remained cookie-less.  Sad.

So the food, it was really great.  Chicago is known for it and I got a small taste as to why.  You would think that was all we did (interspersed between bouts of food comas) but no.  We managed to get out and experience some of the town too.

We went to a Cubs game.  I am not a huge baseball fan but I do enjoy seeing a game in person.  Plus, Wrigley Field is historic and an arena unlike any other I have been to.  You can just feel the history there.

Me and KW at Wrigley

Our seats were located in a section that was nicely shaded–only problem, this was the kind of day where you really needed the sun to be comfortable.  I learned why Chicago is called the Windy City.  The wind coupled with the lack of direct sunlight resulted in a very cold watching experience.  But still, it was fun to be there.

Us at Wrigley

One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Chicago Art Institute.  There is some amazing art there that we had a lot of fun exploring (and taking pictures with).

Max as art

Max as modern art.

Us at the museum

Some took a little more time to take in.

Max listening

Max listening in.

We also walked around Millennium park, took lots of pictures of ourselves in the bean,

Us looking into the Bean

and saw other cool outdoor art.

Chicago outdoor art

If you wait a few minutes he starts crying.  It’s pretty deep.

One morning, we took an Agricultural river cruise.  Chicago has some of the most interesting and historic buildings and architecture in the U.S. so this tour was very interesting and a great way to see the city.

Chicago Agricultural River Tour

Our tour guide was awesome but she also looked and sounded exactly like the girl who plays the super fan Mel from Flight of the Conchords.  I’m not joking, I even wondered what the possibility of them being the same person was.

Tour guide as girl from FoC

Hi Mel. You were an awesome tour guide.

Perhaps the coolest thing we did was visit Oak Park to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s first family home, the studio he built, as well as a ton of homes in the neighborhood that he designed.  We were able to go on a tour of the inside of his house and it is hands down worth the trip out there.  He really was a genius and you can see it even in his early work.  I was in awe the whole tour long.  I wish they would have let us take pictures of the inside but alas, you will have to settle for this.

Frank's Studio

Outside Frank’s studio

As you can see, this trip was awesome.  What made it even more special was I got to reconnect with two friends who I love and share a lot of history with.  True friendships stand the test of time and pick up right where you left off.  KW and Max are those kind of friends.

Us at the Bean

Love you girls.

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Yeah, I crochet

Before last weekend the only crochet I had attempted was some edging for a knit project.  I didn’t really have the desire to learn to crochet because (generally) I like the look of knitting better.  I figured knitting was enough and I didn’t need crochet.  But over the years a few projects crossed my path, and project by project my prejudice quickly melted away.

Of course, the desire to crochet is not enough–you still have to learn how and I was dragging my feet.  As a result of my call for inspiration (thank you, thank you to everyone who shared what is inspiring you) I decided that learning a new skill might be just what I need.  (It was.)

I bought the book The Happy Hooker as my reference guide (in honor of the SnB book that taught me how to knit in the first place), created a few swatches and then went to town on my chosen project.  Ever since I saw Nova’s GORGEOUS hexagon blanket I knew my time as a non-crochet person was ending soon.  I had to have one too.

I got some yarn:

Cascade 220Cascade 220 in all kinds of heavenly colors

And here are my first hexagons:

First 5 hexagonsLOVE.

I am a wee bit addicted to making these right now.  I love them.  I love picking the color of each round as I go.  I love how each hexagon is different and has its own personality (really, they do!)  I love how fast crochet goes which leads to more instant gratification.

One thing I feel I have to admit though, I’m not sure I’m doing it right.  Meaning the whole crochet thing.  The book teaches to hold the working yarn in your left hand (like when you knit continental style).  I started out that way and honestly am not sure when it changed but a few hours into crocheting I noticed I was holding the yarn in my right hand–exactly like I do in knitting, using my pointer finger to control my tension and everything.  It has been working for me so I hesitate to bring it up but I thought I would in case anyone knows why I shouldn’t be doing this.  Am I forming a bad habit?

Overall this project was exactly what I needed.  I am feeling creative again.  I am itching to make stuff again.  I choose to knit a hexagon over playing ninjump on my iPhone…and that folks, is progress.

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A dress!

So, I made a dress.

Vogue 8469
I finished the dress a couple of months ago but didn’t hem it until this weekend.  Thankfully the weather is still pretty warm here so I was able to wear it at least once before the season really changes.

The pattern I used was Vogue 8469.  I had to make an adjustment to the bodice–adding about 4 inches to it in order for the waist band to actually make it to my waist (I did a muslin of the bodice and everything!)  The fabric is cotton but with a titch of spandex so it has a nice body to it.

The dress is far from perfect–if you look closely it is clear I am not an expert seamstress.  Putting in the zipper was my least favorite part (and now that it is done opening and closing the zipper by myself requires some serious arm bending).  The waist is pretty snug so gaining weight is not an option (which I suppose is a good thing).  As for the pattern itself, the sleeves turned out a little shorter than I was picturing and I wish they were a bit longer as I don’t love short cap sleeves on me.  Overall though, I am happy with the way it turned out.  And while I won’t be appearing on Project Runway anytime soon…I am pleased with my sewing progress.

Vogue 8469 close

Now that this dress is finally finished I can’t help but think of what’s next.  Ideally something without a zipper.  I mean really, do our clothes actually need zippers?  I think a lot more people would take up and stick to sewing if zippers weren’t involved.  Just saying.

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