July: Tour de Fleece, Blues Festival, Chicago

July means Tour de France, which means Tour de Fleece! I participated last year, but that’s pretty much the last time I picked up my spindle. I had started spinning this pretty BFL from Knitted Wit


but when I picked it up on Saturday to start again, I was pretty confused! First I had to figure out which direction I was spinning (easy), and then I couldn’t get it drafting. Why not? I couldn’t remember which hand I used for drafting! That’s definitely a hint that it’s been way too long.

bfl spinning

I don’t think my poorly wound cop was helping at all (wobbly spinning), so I wound it on my niddy noddy (thank goodness I eventually remembered how to do that) and started over. Let’s see how much spinning I get done this time! And if I can get something fairly consistent. I want a fingering to sport weight singles, to use as a single ply yarn for a simple triangle shawl. I want the colors to be the star of this project.

What else? Oh, the beginning of July means it’s time for Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival. It’s been egregiously hot here (mid-90’s), so I wasn’t interested in spending much time listening to music outdoors, but I did go with DH on Saturday evening for a couple hours. Portland really knows how to throw a party.

blues festivalClick the picture for a closer look: Thousands in the park, the Hawthorne Bridge, and Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones on stage.

The weekend before, DH and I flew to Chicago to visit a friend who moved away last year. We were joined by two other friends who had also moved away from Portland. Reunion tour!

Lincoln Park group shot

We had a great time. 72 hours was enough to get a taste of Chicago, and make us want to go back. Here’s the whirlwind. We did an architecture tour by boat. Highly recommended.

chicago architecture

postmodern chicago

chicago architecture

Chicago has many beautiful parks, which feature free activities, including the zoo. Lots of public art:

chicago beanThe Bean in Millennium Park

Jaume Plensa Awilda

This is the back of “Looking into My Dreams, Awilda” in Millennium Park by Jaume Plensa, which is very similar to his “Echo” that I saw at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle in May.

daily bride and AwildaAwilda snuck into this picture, too.

At first I thought this was another bride at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park, but it was a fashion photo shoot.

Caldwell Lily Pool Chicago

lily pool photo shootGorgeous.

chagall mural chicago

This Marc Chagall mural is in the plaza at the Chase building (which is a cool looking building itself). I didn’t realize until I looked at this picture that there’s a Ferris wheel in it. I saw it as an echo of this, which I took to be a rose window from a cathedral.

chagall mural chicago 3

Chagall mural Chicago 2

Love this signature.

And I love that there’s a beach in this city! Lake Michigan is huge.

Chicago beach

We got around by trains, cabs, Uber, and Divvy.


And ate and drank our way through town. Sometimes simple is best: This avocado toast at Le Pain Quotidien

avocado toast

inspired this when I got back home.

avocado toast breakfastToasted English muffin, avocado, sea salt, cumin, chia seeds. Simple and delicious.

lox and latke Diner food!

Eataly Chicago is two floors of fabulous shopping and eating. The cheese counter is impressive. They have the same for meat, and bread. And the pasta selection is out of this world. Or this country, at least.

eataly cheese counter

Of course I took my knitting, which seems to echo the antennae on the Sears Tower.

knitting sears tower

Good friends, good times. I wish you the same for your summer!

7 responses to “July: Tour de Fleece, Blues Festival, Chicago

  1. Kathryn Gearheard

    I love Chicago and have visited many times but it looked wholly different through your eyes and camera. Fabulous pictures. Thanks

    • Thanks! There were lots more pictures, but I restrained myself! Lots of them go up on Instagram as “in the moment” pics, especially food. I’m pdxknitterati on Instagram, too, in case you want more. I’d been to Chicago once before, about 15 years ago, but it was for a bar mitzvah in the suburbs, and I was with our young kids. This was a very different trip! Although I think they’d like it now, too.


  2. Great fun! I have never been to Chicago but I think I need to go!

  3. Your trip sounds like fun! Love that mosaic/mural.
    I’m in on the Tour de Fleece this year. I signed up with the Twisted Team. So far, I’m doing pretty well. I got a TON done on Saturday, and discovered at 11pm that too much spinning causes your arm to hurt. Hmm. May have to pace myself. I only finished a bobbin of 3 ply on Sunday, then moved on to something else. I can’t mess up my arm, I have a spinning retreat next week!
    Regarding the Blues Festival, I enjoy the music, and hate the heat and the crowds. Once I discovered that KBOO live streams it, I listen from afar. Preferably somewhere cool, with free beverages, lots of snacks and WAY fewer people. Like my studio. 🙂

    • I don’t like heat and crowds, either, but there is something to be said about having the vibration of the music going through you that can’t be beat!

      I’m knitting knitting knitting, so not doing as much spinning. Deadlines! Stretch breaks for both of us, whether knitting or spinning. No repetitive stress injuries!


  4. Sounds like you had a fabulous time in the Windy City. Wow! Eatly looks like the kind of place you could spend DAYS in.

  5. Elizabeth Hawthorne

    You really saw many of the cool things about Chicago—I used to live there and would move back in a flash. Glad you enjoyed it.