If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see youย at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

There And Back and Then Somewhere Else and Back

Dear Ann,
The last bit of summer was a triathlon of travel, company, and more travel; it’s all a gloriously caffeinated blur. I feel like I could sleep for a solid week (once the backlog of iced coffees gets processed). Where did I leave off? Chicago? Yes, Chicago, mid-August.
To review, we were a party of 4: me, 2 kids, and 1 dog. We spent 12 hours in Chicago, and were only awake for 3 or 4 of them. We arrived in the evening, searched out a pet-friendly supper option (we heart outdoor cafes), took a sunset stroll in Grant Park, and hit the hay to rest up for the last leg of the drive from Manhattan to Omaha.
It was a warm Saturday night, so Grant Park was hopping with activity. Public salsa lessons, rabbits in the greenery for Olive’s intense excitement and entertainment (yes, wild rabbits!), the awe-inspiring hilltop structure of the Field Museum…..and at one surreal moment, a battalion of tourists on Segways.
The Flight of the Valkyries, as choreographed by Delores DeLago.
Just a regular Chicago sunset.
The park was so beautifully manicured and thoughtfully laid out that for a second I thought that these lost specs were a garden ornament. Such poignant placement. We hoped the owner would retrace his steps and come back for them.
The Green-Brown Grass of Home
Once in Omaha, we thought we’d stay a few nights, but ended up staying a full week. O to be in Nebraska in August, when the corn is high, the Omaha Royals are in town, and the wave pool is in operation at Mahoney State Park. Fish are jumpin’, and the Keystones are cold.
A highlight: Olive met her junior cousin, Charlie, age 4 months. Charlie has some major, major jaws on him. He will cheerfully clamp onto your flesh and bone, with only the most innocent and fun-loving of intentions.
And Olive’s senior cousin Maxine. Maxine (on the right, the dignified one) seemed like one of those dowagers you meet at a family reunion when you are a kid, a venerable personage whom someone introduces as your “cousin.” Your kid brain simply cannot process this information. But it’s possible, Olive! Maxine is a grande dame, for sure, but she is my brother’s dog and therefore your first cousin.
Sunrise over Lake Manawa. We were there at a ridiculously early hour for the famous Black Squirrel triathalon, in which thousands of mosquitoes competed to bite me to death (and nephew-in-law competed in the non-insect events). You think I’m making up the Black Squirrel? Well, I’m not.
Hello and goodbye, Rosenblatt Stadium. We’re glad we got to see you.
The Pennsylvania We Never Found
We returned home via Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, with a short drop into the Twilight Zone in Allentown, where we got caught in a vicious traffic jam blocking all exits from the city. And then, after an hour and a half, it was gone. Actually spooked me. And the GPS ladyvoice said, and I quote: “I got nothing.” Open the pod bay doors, Hal!
A highlight of the drive back was Milwaukee’s Iron Horse. Finally, a “pet-friendly” hotel that gets the part about being friendly, to the pets. Hotels.com didn’t tell us, though, that we should arrive on a Harley or an Indian, like all the other guests. It was also a motorcycle enthusiast-friendly hotel. Great fun, even if we did miss the Brewers game that day.
Left Coast Wedding

After a week’s rest-up for dental appointments and school supply shopping in NYC, we Jet Blew en famille to LA for a family wedding. Kind of a reunion of the German-Jewish side of the extended family, and for a righteously raucous occasion. A most excellent getaway.
My travel knitting was Pogona, a Stephen West wrappy-scarfy thing. I didn’t read the pattern that well (OK, at all) before departing, and found myself improvising stitch markers on the plane, using sock yarn scavenged from another project (never leave home without a back-up). Pogona takes a lot of stitch markers–28 in my gauge-reduced, Sea Silk version–and my dangly workarounds were not really doing that great. It seems I must have whined about this out loud, because one morning the fambly hauled me to Wildfiber, to shut me up about my dang stitch markers. (“Are you satisfied? Can we go to the Getty Villa now?”)
We had a fab visit, with Teri and Grace and assorted regulars. Wildfiber is not just an extraordinarily well-stocked yarn shop; it’s a hot spot of Log Cabin luv. My theory is that this is because they have so many colors of so many beautiful, and in some cases hard-to-find, yarns, that the shop itself looks like a log cabin blanket. You just feel log-cabiny in there. Two customers were working on log cabins when we made our unannounced drive-by, and Grace and Teri pulled out shop samples and showed me the log cabin class on their (wonderfully full and intriguing) class schedule–it’s Log Cabin Town USA! Grace has even made a wee Flying Geese blanket from our first book. I hadn’t seen one of those in the wild! But there it was.
Now I’m back, I’ve done my Jewish holiday cooking and hosting (Part One), the kids are back in school (THANK YOU HIGHER POWER)–and I find myself with a hodgepodge of hastily-started UFOs. Four of ’em. Two shawls and two blankets. I’m a mess! As much as I love the multi-tasking, I feel the need to finish something, anything. Maybe I will, even.



  1. When we lived in Chicago two summers ago, we were just a block from the park. It’s a great city, isn’t it? (Especially in the summer.) Allentown…I’ve been spending a lot of time there recently and can’t imagine such a traffic jam(???) there!
    Sounds like you’ve had a great summer. Thanks for putting me on to Stephen West. I’m actually looking at yarn again.

  2. You heart outdoor cafes, we hate tourists on Segways in Chicago. Hazards on all levels!
    And it’s a good thing Olive didn’t sniff out the coyotes along the lakefront.

  3. Did you mention Allentown just because of my Billy Joel fixation? Billy Joel and Olive all in one post. My cup runneth over. B x x x

  4. Thanks so much for a fab post. Doggies! Knitting! Sunsets! Three of my favorite things. (Actually, how could I forget? Back to School! FOUR of my favorite things.)

  5. It sounds like you had a rather amazing, but exhausting August. Looks like a lot of fun though.
    I’m kind of itching to go to a new yarn shop. I hear there are a few that I actually haven’t been to in Brooklyn. Brooklyn General, here I come!
    Anyway, glad you’re back and that the kids are in school. I just sent mine off to Kindergarten. That was a sniffler.

  6. Sounds like fun!!! Welcome back!

  7. Small chuckle when I read about “Iron Horse” b/c my first thought was “Wonder if it’s a biker hotel?” Glad to know Olive et al were warmly welcomed.

  8. It sounds like you had a fabulous and busy summer. Amazing.
    Something about the late summer means I always start to many projects. It’s almost like I think that starting more projects will hasten the change of seasons and make the glorious fall weather come sooner!

  9. I wonder if all the bikers at your hotel were 70 years old. We were in the Rockies this summer and I don’t think I saw a biker who didn’t qualify for a senior’s discount. Odd, I thought.
    And here’s to finishing something!

  10. CHICAGO! My neck of the woods. Good thing you didn’t post ahead of time your location in Grant Park. I would have shown up with a finished knitting project and asked you to help me photograph it in the park!

  11. Your pictures of Chicago are making me homesick. I feel like I can smell the humidity. Oh, to be in Chicago on a summer’s evening…

  12. I want to go to any hotel with a VIPooch sign when you arrive! Those pups are too cute, all being kissing cousins.
    Happy New Year!

  13. Thanks for another excellent travelog, Kay. I liked the poignancy of the eyeglasses, and LOVED the triple-threat cuteness of the doggie cousins.
    Funny that you would write today about Wild Fiber. Just the other day I borrowed Knit2Together from the library for Mel Clark’s Grownup Bonnet pattern. Though I got it initially just for the pattern, I found that I have been enjoying the whole book all over again.

  14. shoot…..i’m 10 minutes from wildfiber……..it is is so new england-y in there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Will testify that I have seen black squirrels in Omaha.

  16. That all sounds both exciting and exhausting.
    I’m still in recovery after the summer holiday. Loving the silence ! [Not yours ! In the house !]

  17. What a fabbity post! Cuteness and funnies all the way round.

  18. Loved the travelogue. Loved the photos (I think you’re looking fantastic, BTW). We, too, did a big driving trip this summer (4,881 miles to be exact but who’s counting?) It was really fun and I’m NOT particularly glad to be home! HA!

  19. Lordy Lordy Lake Manawa is still around, I grew up in C.B. went to school there but have been gone 50 years. Thanks for bringing me back to my roots. Black squirrels you bet we had them…

  20. I loved seeing the info about Wild Fiber. It looks huge. LA is my hometown and I was born and gave birth to my children in the two Santa Monica hospitals nearby. Its a long way from NYC where I now live. Next time I visit LA I’ll have to go by Wild Fiber!

  21. Looks like you had a fabulous trip(s)! Olive and the kids are still as cute as ever. And you look quite rested, though I don’t know how you did it on that schedule.

  22. I wouldn’t call Wildfiber huge exactly, but it is definitely roomy. I love its space and yarn selection. You were smart to go there. I was jonesing an Olive sighting, and ended up getting it – times three! Thanks for that!

  23. I wish I was at Wildfiber when you dropped by. That would have been fun. Glad you made it. Next time you’re on the West Coast and at Wildfiber, stop at Bay Cities Imports and get a sandwich at the Boar’s Head Deli there. The Godmother!

  24. It sounds like you were in town for Harley Fest! It wouldn’t have mattered which hotel you were at if that were the case. I’m glad Milwaukee welcomed you.

  25. ROAD TRIP!
    Glad you all were able to do it. It’s also good to have you back home.

  26. Lake Manawa!! I live 2 miles down the road and have a condo of black squirrels in my back yard.

  27. That trip looks awesome, and I have yarn shop envy now. But I get that a lot. Glad the improvised stitch markers held out!

  28. Hmmm. You’re the third person I’ve come in contact withe that chose Chicago as a vacation destination. I think I may have missed the memo!

  29. love that the welcome sign is at pet-level ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. This is the most perfect “what I did on my summer vacation” EVER. Thank you so much for taking us along with you!

  31. Hurrah! We got the Chgo pics! thanks!
    Loved the GPS: “I’ve got nothing.”

  32. How good to have new pictures in the sidebar! Love Al and Pablo. I wonder if they ever met? That street corner is just where I stayed when I was in NYC, lo these 2 or 3 years ago!

  33. thank you for all the post cards
    your family is delightful good to see your
    olive haveing a grand time out in the fields
    hope the 100 mile winds did not harm you all

  34. So glad you found the specs just where I left them. I knew you’d appreciate that touch–better than a mint on the pillow.

  35. new to the blog, can you please, please, please tell me what that green lace-weight looking lovely is at the end of the post? LoVE it!

  36. You all and Olive stayed at the Iron Horse? That is a majorly wild hotel. (I stay there on business…) I didn’t realize it was pet friendly, although some patrons might say their “hogs” are pets.

  37. Would you believe it? That “cool calendar” from the August 31st post is STILL keeping up to date.
    Hmm…will it run out in 2012?

  38. Kay,
    Met you at the Left Coast wedding – yes, it was a wonderful celebration. Had to buy your first book after finding out you were so interesting – what a hoot! I was laughing out loud (really loud) in the tire store waiting for my tires to be rotated. Had to finish it the first evening and was so inspired, I knitted block 1 of the moderne baby blanket and started a square for the woolythoughts.com log cabin variation.
    Unfortunately, that web site is for sale and the links left there could not lead me to the pattern. Know I should just go for it and figure it out myself, but don’t have much experience with triangled mitered knitting.
    Alas, Wildfiber was closed on Sunday and Monday and I missed the chance to dent my wallet more.


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