I got back from my short tour in Chicago on Saturday night and I really enjoyed myself while I was there. We performed at a few different high schools in the surrounding suburbs and I was blown away by the level of maturity, integrity, and plain old musical talent that these high schools portrayed. One that we played at had a HUGE music program, consisting of four (or was it five?) bands, four orchestras, four jazz bands, and seven choirs! The director said that about 1,300 students participate in these music ensembles (and the one we heard really blew me away. As a performance major studying at a conservatory, I was actually intimidated to perform after them). To put this in perspective, my entire university only has 1,400 students, and only 1/4 of them study in the conservatory. We have three choirs, two bands, and one orchestra.
Well, we set out on Thursday morning to drive the 3.5 hours to Chicago and I happily settled down with my travel knitting for some quality time. However, this was not to last as I quickly finished the project - the only project I brought with me - before we even crossed the Illinois border. Crap.
Good thing I brought my book along with me as well, which I promptly finished just as we arrived in Chicago. I seem to have forgotten how much one can actually accomplish with just a little bit of free time.
I had already planned to visit a yarn shop on Saturday, as we were given the whole day to explore Chicago, and I would be spending the next few days in rehearsals and performances anyway, so it wasn't a huge deal.
Now here comes the real bulk of my story, my Saturday in Chicago (oh, I should mention, there are actually no pictures related to knitting):
As soon as our bus dropped us off in front of the Art Institute (how typical), I chose to avoid the oh-so-cool tourist look and took off in the opposite direction of the rest of my classmates and headed straight downtown, sorta kinda looking for a place to eat and also walking in the general direction of the yarn shop I had found on knitmap.com.
I stopped at Panera for lunch on my way (and I made sure to stuff some french bread in my bag to save for later) and headed for the yarn shop. Loopy Yarns is, well, it's located somewhere downtown and was a very nice yarn shop. I didn't feel ballsy enough to take pictures while I was there, but it had a very nice set-up. From what I could tell, the main room contained mainly worsted-weight yarn: malabrigo, manos, noro, cascade 220... things like that. There was a second room that had lace and fingering weight yarn (off all different sorts, seriously, they had some really nice stuff there) and another room that contained the bulkier yarns like silk garden chunky, malabrigo chunky, eco-wool... that sort (and also manos merino silk - I couldn't figure out why it was in that room). They also had another room with a wall full of books and then downstairs (yes, downstairs!) they had their sale area, classroom areas, and also roving for spinning or felting. It really was a nice shop.
One thing I really liked about the shop is that the workers had to have been in their late twenties at the oldest and when I walked in, I was greeted (and completely caught off guard) by a male's voice welcoming me to the shop. I definitely felt more comfortable here than I have at other shops where the workers don't know what to think of me. I really enjoyed that the workers at this shop kept me company and chatted with me while I looked around, but it didn't seem like they were following me around or trying to push certain products on me.
I ended up just buying one skein of yarn: one hugely massive skein of Cascade Ecological Wool in a beautiful chocolate color. I have been wanting to try this yarn for a while now, but I can't get it at the yarn shops around me, so I jumped at the opportunity. Ever since reading this post by the Yarn Harlot, I have had dreams of creating a set of winter wear that actually matches and I knew that one skein would be more than enough. Of course, when the nice worker offered to wind it up for me, I declined thinking that I can just use the ball winder at home, forgetting the small detail that home was still a 3.5 hour drive away, which is why I had bought the yarn to begin with. Whoops.
Anyway, I then went to Barnes and Noble and bought the next book in the series I am reading (it may or may not be the Twilight series, don't judge) and went on my merry way. My plan was to spend my day outside reading in the park, among other things, including:
...using the bread I had saved to feed the geese. :)
This one was my friend and he was very nice to me. They were all very quickly eating out of my hand and I had a wonderful time. (I checked beforehand and didn't see any signs saying not to feed the geese, there was just one that prohibited the playing of balls). Of course, my fun ended when this guy:
decided to be a bully and stole me entire roll out of my hand while I was busy feeding the other geese.
Of course, my one friend remained, but all the other geese chased after the food. It turns out they just used their stunning good looks to get what they wanted and then dumped me like yesterday's garbage. Some Valentine's Day, harumph!
The project I finished on the bus is currently blocking and I will post pictures shortly. Until then, I will leave you with this very clear sign I found on the sidewalk along Lake Michigan: