Thursday, November 16, 2006

Here, There, and Everywhere.

I thought up the title of the post to describe where I've been for the last, oh, two to three weeks, but as I started to think of everything I've been wanting to post about, I realized that it would pretty much describe the random direction of today's subject matter.

How's that for a long-ass sentence? OK, if you're still with me...

First off, the travel-related content! You may remember I posted about my Detroit trip at the end of October. I was, quite frankly, amused by the variety of responses I got regarding the Motor City. Many people had never heard a single good thing about Detroit. Others ventured nice things about Michigan, as if to mitigate the bad juju (Nancy offered a kind word about Flint, which I only know through Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine). But Kodachrome Knits flew into the fray with a passionate defense of Detroit as a place with lots of culture and things to do.

About my own experience, I should say that I certainly don't think I saw the more ravaged parts of town. I had the privilege of staying close to Wayne State University. While we're not exactly talking Greenwich Village here, nevertheless the neighborhood was charming. Here are more Victorian houses on Trumbull Avenue:

On Trumbull Avenue

And here's a touch of eccentricity:

Not sure if this was a house, or business....

I couldn't figure out if this building was a residence, or a business, or both....? But this is what was on the front:

Color me my earth

Whatever its purpose, it's full of color and good vibes.

I also loved Detroit for its industrial, Midwestern feel. As I explained to Bill, it just felt very familiar to me, having grown up in Chicago. I immediately, instinctively knew my way around, took notice of the street names (there was a Trumbull Street one block over from where I lived as a kid, and of course there's a Martin Luther King Boulevard), and rejoiced when I saw an elevated train in the downtown area. It's clear, both from the built environment and the attitude that the city exudes, that Detroit is making a valiant effort to come back from its bad reputation.

On our cab ride downtown, the cabbie proudly pointed out the bright theater marquees, the new Comerica Park in the heart of downtown, and restaurants she'd heard were good. Yet while walking around after our fantastic Greek dinner, we were struck by one building, surrounded by glossy office buildings, that looked like it had been shelled. It's this stark contrast that best sums up, for me, this city in transition.

Two weeks later and I was on a plane again, bound for Philadelphia to attend a conference. Unfortunately, I had to fly on the day that a bunch of flights were cancelled due to bad weather and poor visibility. I landed in Cincinnati to discover my flight was cancelled, then gave up my seat on the next flight to Philly in order to score a free ticket.

Ha! Nothing in life is free, my friends. The alternatives were to fly into Philly in the am (not acceptable, since I was attending the conference that day), or to fly into Harrisburg, which is an hour and a half away from Philly. Delta would pay for the cab ride, of course. I decided on the more inconvenient Harrisburg trip, and what do you suppose happened. Aw, take a guess.

Yeah, my luggage was missing. Of course! Is Mercury out of freaking retrograde yet, Karen? Anyway, I made the trip to Philly with a very nice cab driver, during which we talked about life, religion, near-death experiences (not mine), career choices, etc. It was like being in a benign David Lynch movie--surreal, but non-threatening.

Well, I had my conference paper with me, and that was all that mattered. My luggage showed up the next day, I delivered the paper, and then hightailed it out of Philly to visit my good friend Jen in Reston, Virginia. She's the mom of the cute baby boy who got the red sweater I knit a month or two ago. I spent a great weekend with her and her family and our friend Michael, not doing anything but playing board games and hanging out and going to see Running With Scissors.

And I finally got the second Longhorn Rib and Cable sock done! Yay! If it weren't for all the plane time I've been logging lately, I might never have finished these:

Hook 'em Horns Rib and Cable Socks

Cristina was wearing tights when I finally delivered them, so I didn't make her put these on for a photo shoot, but eventually I'll catch her wearing them and snap a picture. Basic specs are the Rib & Cable sock pattern from Interweave Knits Fall 2005, and the yarn is Hill Country Yarn in the Hook 'em Horns colorway. I ordered this skein at the same time I ordered yarn for my Sockapaloooza pal, and I somehow ended up with a ton of this yarn left over--Cristina's socks were shorter than my sockpal's, and I knit them with slightly bigger needles (2 instead of 1). So, I immediately cast on for some ankle socks for me!

Which brings me to some long overdue thanks to everyone who left valuable advice on avoiding the yarnover holes while turning the heel. I'm now using my little anklets to test the backward yo method in Alison's free sock pattern. I somehow screwed up a little and ended up with too many stitches after I thought I'd incorporated all the yarnovers, so I just decreased on either side of the heel. And I just can't figure out that purl 3 together through the back loop...oh well. That's the beauty of test socks, they don't have to be perfect!

I've read in the blogosphere about people working on the small projects but really wanting to cast on for a sweater for themselves; chalk it up to the holidays, I guess. I've made four hats in the past four weeks--I even made one to keep for myself! Can I just say? Love, thy name is RYC Cashsoft Aran. I've made three beanie-type hats out of this and could just keep knitting with it fo'ever.

I also cobbled together a pattern for this baby hat:


Bobblelicious! It was my first time making 'em, and how fun! It's a basic hat pattern, but I took a wave motif out of my Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, and set a big ole bobble on the top of each crest. Ta da! I used a skein of Takhi Newport Cotton, which was lovely and thick and glossy.

Speaking of long overdue thanks, I also have to send a big hug and lots of love over to Laura, who sent me a belated birthday present quite a while ago:


Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and Brittany dpns for my next sock project! I'm still trying to decide which pattern to use, but I would love to try something from my new copy of Knitting Vintage Socks. I can't wait to wear these...they'll be a real treat.

And thanks to Kodachrome, who sent me the cutest little prize for guessing the identity of the bust in her office (it was Ernest Hemingway).


She made the kleenex holder, added some charms that say "create" and a notebook to keep track of crafty ideas, made a copy of Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" (because I had just blogged about the Gee's Bend quilts), and wrapped it all in a beautifully embellished envelope.

All in all, I have been a lucky girl over the past month, what with the postman (who still sneaks looks at my chest when he drops off packages) and the UPS man visiting with frequent regularity.

One more thing before I sign off--I went to Target today and they have the most adorable Christmas stuff in their dollar bin. Little felt totes and pails that look handcrafted (and probably were by some poor kid in Malaysia), generous little bags of Ghirardelli coffee, and Mrs. Field's chocolates. Snap em up, folks, because I don't think these will last for long.


At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That picture of the Victorians on Trumbull reminds me of Englewood. *sigh*

Now, can we talk about that adorable hat? Any chance of knitting it in adult sizes? Too cute!

See you soon(ish), right?

At 4:11 AM, Blogger Laura said...

wow, it sounds as though you have been one busy girl! it's good to hear from you again! :)

At 5:28 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Welcome back!!! Thanks for all the travel notes - I loved reading about Detroit and the picture of the Victorians is great. Hang in there, Mercury comes out of retrograde tomorrow. :) Love your Longhorn socks and the baby hat is so cute. Too funny about the mailman - when the packages stop coming he may send you some himself just so he has an excuse to ogle you!! LOL

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous amanda cathleen said...

Great socks! Your friend is very lucky. You've been very very busy! Wow! Love the baby hat, and all your gifts!
You'll never guess where my hubby Mike is today, Detroit!

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

It's like Br'er Rabbit and his briar patch. I,too, love the "Rust Belt" and I'm not ashamed to say it - big, heavy battleship cities. And you know I *love* those socks!!

At 6:07 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Welcome back! I love those longhorn-colored socks. I was going to try and make some of those for my dad (he's a TX alum) but couldn't find the yarn. Oh well - maybe next year.


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