Where I’ve Been, Part III

After leaving Arcadia Knitting with a heavy heart and no new yarn, I had to go back down to the Convention Center to pick up my backpack before going back uptown to my sister’s place.  It was getting late in the afternoon, and I was a little concerned about getting to the bag check before it closed for the day, so I took one of the three cab rides I took during my time in Chicago.

I had stuffed my backpack full of ARCs picked up at the Exhibits, you see.  It was much to heavy to carry all over the place.  And the bag check was free.

Backpack on, it was back to the Loop, then back on the El, and back to my sister’s place to change for the Newbery Banquet.  And then back on the El, back to the Loop, just in time to miss the last shuttle bus. Back in the cab.

I arrived a little bit after the doors opened, completely missing the (cash bar) cocktail hour.  I was seated with a couple of lovely ladies from the incoming Caldecott committee (one of whom works near my in-laws in the San Gabriel Valley), and three very nice gentlemen.  At the first table in my line of sight to the podium sat Elizabeth Bird, whose recap of the whole evening is a must-read.

The food was interesting, but the speeches were fantastic.  And after dinner was the receiving line.  I was behind Elizabeth, and after a few minutes, I realized that directly behind me was Linda Sue Park.  I gushed over Keeping Score a little bit.  And then I had reached the first person in line.

Me and Neil

Neil Gaiman, me, and my Storm Cloud Shawlette, knit out of Tempted Handpainted Glam Grrl.

Everyone was so gracious to the gazillion library-folk streaming through the line. Well, given that Neil Gaiman was at one end of the line and Ashley Bryan was at the other end, maybe “streaming” isn’t the word for it. I got to have a very nice chat with Beth Krommes about toddlers and Goodnight Moonand gushed a bit to Kathi Appelt about The Underneath. I told her that I thought of it as “stealth fantasy”. And Jacqueline Woodson complimented me on my shawlette.

A fabulous evening, but a late one. I made it back to my sister’s place around midnight for another 4-hours-of-sleep night.

Why did I have to get up so early on Monday? So I could do this:


Gaiman was going to be signing at 9 AM at the HarperCollins booth. Two CTA buses got me to the Convention Center by 7 AM. I staked out a spot near the Exhibit Hall entry closest to the booth. The bemused Security Guards told me I’d be waiting a while. I sat down on the carpet and pulled out my travelling sock. The young lady next to me arrived with her mother about 5 minutes later, and a guy arrived about 10 minutes after that. By the time the HarperCollins employees starting showing up, the line had stretched across the room and was confusing quite a few people, who thought there was now a line just to get into the Exhibit Hall. A very nice HarperCollins representative brought out the signs around 8:30. The one in my hand says, “neil gaiman line starts here”. There was another sign for the end of the line. Other than some drama with a fellow who showed up around 8:30 and wanted to jump the line because he had a meeting to run, everyone was very friendly. There was another sock knitter a few people back, and several people commented on the sock.

One even took a picture and posted it to twitter. Please excuse my hair in that photo. It looks better in this one, which was also posted to twitter, but the sock is hiding.

I wanted to get a picture of Neil holding the sock (a la Steph), but the very first thing he said upon arriving was that he was not going to do posed photos, as that was what had held up the line at his previous signing. He did, however, autograph my “line starts here” sign as well as my book. (I cannot express how annoyed I am with myself for not bringing my stamp packet.)

Another couple of sessions, and that was it for my ALA. I crashed at my sister’s around 6 PM and woke up at 7 the next morning, enough time to pack up, go to Joy’s for another lunch, and get to the airport almost exactly one hour before my scheduled departure.

The next day, K, Little Miss, and I drove down to Sea World for a couple of days, followed by a couple of days of laundry and other chores before returning to work.

There hasn’t been much knitting since we’ve been back, just a little bit of test-knitting that isn’t bloggable, and it’s going to be All Cross-Stitch All the Time around here before long.  But maybe poor neglected Miss Honeychurch will finally get some quality time.

Where I’ve Been, Part II

My Conference Schedule – a masterpiece of planning that involved the official Event Planner, my datebook, a bunch of printed e-mails, and an Excel spreadsheet – got all messed up quite quickly. A program I’d been looking forward to on Saturday afternoon was canceled, leaving me with a block of free time. I hopped a shuttle bus to the hotels and went for a walk.

I walked by Millennium Park, home of a fountain I had just seen on Samantha Brown’s Great Weekends:


Y’know, I lived in Chicago for the first half of the year 2000, and this whole Millennium Park business hadn’t even been built yet.

I ogled the architecture, one of the things I miss:


I have no idea what that building is.

And I made my way down to Loopy Yarns, where my Only Buy Things You Can’t Get At Home rule allowed me to buy two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Loopy’s exclusive colorway. (Also, a pen with a tape measure on it and a Stix Fix kit.)

Lorna's Laces Loopy

I was really surprised by how small the selection of Lorna’s Laces was, since it’s a local dyer. I would have loved to pick up some Helen’s Lace, but I learned that Loopy recently stopped carrying it. Bummer.

I was also a little surprised that the prices on Shepherd Sock were higher than the prices at my LYS, which are already a little higher than MSRP. And that’s before Chicago’s crazy taxes.

Since I went to Loopy on Saturday, I didn’t make it there on Sunday. Instead, on Sunday, I took a trip up to my old neighborhood. I admired the rainbow pylons:


True story: when I rented my Chicago apartment over a quick trip as an about-to-graduate college senior, I had no idea that I was a block east of Boystown. Then, the day I moved in, my dad I drove past these pylons.

After a stroll down Memory Lane North Halstead, I went to my favorite restaurant for lunch. You can’t get these vegetable rolls anywhere else (except their other location in Chicago):

Spring Roll

I also popped into my favorite bookstore for a copy of The Graveyard Book, which I wanted to have signed, and my old hardware store, where I finally found some of those vinyl caps that (when combined with stretchy cord) make fantastic dpn holders. Finally, I headed up to Arcadia Knitting, where I was seriously disappointed (again!) in the tiny selection of Lorna’s Laces. I debated buying some LL Angel in the “Go Bears!” colorway, but I don’t see myself knitting angora anytime soon. Alas, I left empty-handed.

Where I’ve Been, Part I

The silence around here has been for one big reason: I was on vacation.  And it was lovely.  I had several days at home (“staycation”), one of which happened to be either our fourth or first wedding anniversary (depending on who’s doing the counting).  Then, I took off for Chicago.  I got my bamboo dpns through security with no problem, and I did this on the flight from Burbank to Phoenix:

Sock in Progress

A toe in the very soft Artsygal Stripes.

I had about three hours between flights in Phoenix, which turned out to be a very good thing.  I was booked on a different airline for the second leg of my flight.  When I got off the little plane from California, the only monitors in the terminal were for my original airline, and I had no idea where to go.  Eventually, someone told me I needed to be in Terminal 2.  Since I didn’t know which terminal I was in, this wasn’t entirely helpful, but I went with it.

I had to go outside, get on a bus, ride to Terminal 2, go through Security again, and find my new gate.  Bless the Airport Volunteer who warned me which bus would go to the Terminals and which bus went to the parking garages first.

And on the flight from Phoenix to Chicago, I did this:

Sock in Progress

A very simple improvised pattern for a toe-up 2×2 rib sock.  At this point, I was about ready to turn the heel.  Unfortunately, after two attempts to do a short-row heel without a bunch of little holes, I came home with a still-unturned sock.  Since the Artsygal yarn is a little thinner than some of the other yarns I’ve used, I think I want to go down to size US1 needles and start over anyway.

When I arrived in Chicago, my sister was there to pick me up in her car.  Ah, the joy of not having to take the Blue Line into the city.  My sister just bought herself a 2-bedroom condo, so I even had a room to myself while staying with her.  She’s so new to the building, her name hasn’t yet been added to the directory in the lobby.  While waiting for her to park her car, though, I did notice this listing:

For Reals?

How would you like A Dumdum for a neighbor?

Actually, my sister’s neighbors seem perfectly pleasant.  At least, the one we met in the elevator was.

My travelling sock accompanied me to the ALA Conference, where I caused a tiny stir by knitting in a signing line, but that’s a tale for another day.