Thursday, September 17, 2009

No fleece for me!

As luck would have it, I'm sick. Not flu sick, but a nasty cold coupled with an ear infection. Sick enough to stay home and forego the spinning competition and fleece auction tonight at the Tennessee State Fair. It sucks. I tried to talk myself into going several times, but each time I whimped out. I just don't feel well, and, as I said, it sucks. So much for getting a fleece at a great price.

However, I suppose I shouldn't whine too loudly. Did I mention that I just got back from a weekend in Chicago with my sister? We went to Stitches Midwest and the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Fun!

Stitches Midwest Day 1
I arrived at Chicago's Midway airport mid-morning and took the train to the Rosemont station where my sister picked me up. On to Schaumburg!

After a quick lunch we checked in for our first class, "Mastering Yarn Substitutions" by Kelly Nuss. What a great session (even though a few classmates were determined to take the class off-topic and discuss the meaning of "drape". Seriously.) When she explained that you could knit in a tighter gauge but use the stitch count for a larger size and come out pretty darn close, I thought my sister was going to stand up and applaud. It was a lot of math, but it wasn't as scary as I anticipated.

Then it was on to the Market preview! I'd love to name all the vendors we visited, but I know I would leave someone out. I wasn't going to buy anything. Ha! That ended when I saw the possum blend Zealana Rimu yarn. Cha-ching! We shopped until the Market closed and then the real mission began. The hunt for wine. And a grocery store.

One would think that there would be a grocery store on the main thoroughfare through Schaumburg. No Kroger. No Publix. We drove for what felt like miles (probably only a mile or two) and finally saw a sign for the "Shop and Save." After the first aisle my sister whispered, "where are we?" I hadn't noticed the non-English audio playing in the background. I was entranced with the cool packaging and didn't realize the colorful labels were in POLISH. Not that there's anything wrong with Polish, it's just that it took a few minutes for us to realize that we were in a Polish grocery store. In the middle of Schaumburg. And no one was speaking English. So, we bought Polish ketchup, polish pickles, polish chocolate, polish hummus, polish wine, and triscuits. Ok, the pickles and ketchup were for my nephews because one likes ketchup and the other likes pickles and we knew they'd get a kick out of the cool labels.

Stitches Midwest Day 2
At the last minute I decided to take a quick market session on intarsia taught by Beth Whiteside. It was a whim and I mainly took it to hear what tkind of questions people would have about intarsia so I can be better prepared for the class I'm teaching next month. It was money well spent.

After the class we hopped on the train at the Roselle Metra Station and went to Chicago!

Union Station

View of Chicago River from the Water Taxi (notice the trains under the bridge)

View of Chicago from the Water Taxi
Check out the parking garage! Those are some serious parking skills! I wonder how many cars have backed into the river.

We walked and shopped Michigan Avenue and then hit Giordano's on Rush Street for stuffed pizza. We walked and shopped some more, then caught the bus back to Union Station for the train ride home.

When we got back to the hotel it was wine and Polish (and other terribly insensitive and off-color) jokes. We still hadn't gotten over the Polish grocery had to be there. When my sister reads this she'll start laughing all over again. Especially when she thinks about "Skip." (I'll bet that made her snort.)

Stitches Midwest/Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival Day 3
On Saturday we drove a couple hours north and went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson, Wi. It's a great festival! We got there a little later than we planned (slept in...too many Polish jokes the night before) but we still had plenty of time to browse through the barns of vendors, sheep and babies. Love the babies!

Gun show! Sheep shearing demo. Lots of ladies at this demonstration. Hmm, wonder why.

We bought fiber--Romney, CVM, silk. Karen bought an Ashford spindle. I bought more than I could fit in my suitcase so Karen agreed to ship it to Nashville for me. We spent Saturday night playing with the drop spindle and teaching/learning to spin. She thinks her first yarn is too thick, I think her first yarn would make a killer edging on mittens!

Stitches Midwest Day 4
Sunday was our last day. We went back to the Market for one last looky-loo, bought a few more goodies, and then Karen headed north and I headed south.

The trip was great, and we're contemplating our destination for next year. Stitches and the wool festival were fun but we may opt for poolside umbrella drinks and cabana boys. Cozumel anyone?

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