Amy Artisan

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Month: August 2006 (page 1 of 2)

Grandma’s Favorite

Happy Birthday Grandma!


Today my grandma celebrates 92 fabulous years! 

Growing up, our house was always stocked with “Grandma’s Favorite” dishcloths made by her. In 1997 I visited her in California for a long weekend so she could teach me to knit using that dishcloth pattern as my starter project. Even as I learn new knit skills, try new patterns and expand my knit horizons I always find comfort in the simple back & forth knit of “Grandma’s Favorite” either as a simple cloth to wash my dishes or on and on to a larger snuggly blanket to wrap a baby in love. In addition to the genes, traits and history I inherited from her I’m so thankful for the gift of knit as well!

Making Stitches…

After last weekends’ fun at Stitches Midwest, this weekend has turned into another one filled with yarn fun – this time it was more focused on turning yarn into stitches.

On Friday morning I was on the 6:28 AM flight from Chattanooga back to Chicago. Since I couldn’t bring coffee on board to keep me awake, my iPod & current travel knit project kept me awake on the flight & I continued to make great progress on this secret knit. Recently I’ve seen several knit bloggers asking about any travel restrictions concerning knitting needles – since 9/11 I’ve never had a problem bringing my knitting on board with me. My only tip is to travel with a project/needles where you wouldn’t mind surrendering the needles if you have to – the TSA website says that ultimately it is up to the screener to allow your needles through. My current travel project is on needles that have no sentimental value. The sash belt that I’m working on is on size 3 needles that once belonged to my Grandma – so for the time being it stays in the desk drawer in Chattanooga on the weekends because I wouldn’t want to lose those needles.

The last couple of weeks at work have been rather intense & nonstop – knitting has truly been a sanity saver. My travel projects are small so when I’m home on the weekends I’m focusing on larger projects.

After the felting fun of the pink clutch (which my sister received for her birthday) I immediately started on another felt project – this time a larger tote bag for me. This is 2 shades of chocolate/dark brown, 1 shade of turquoise and the terra cotta that I picked up last weekend. Round & round…this project doubled in size while I was home this weekend.

The Mason-Dixon Knitting mania continues – I have started on the Absorba bathmat for me. This is my first time doing the log cabin style and I’m having a lot of fun with it. So far, my hands aren’t sore from the knitting – but since I’m alternating between several projects I’m hoping to finish the mat without the aching hands that seem to be experienced by a lot of Absorba knitters. This is 3 colors of Sugar’n Cream yarn on size 13 needles.

I’ve also started another project from One Skein – the felted bowls. This is some Lambs Pride Bulky that I originally bought for a felted bag – but I just couldn’t get excited about the colors in a bag. So far, a simple knit. The only “shock” has been the cost of the size 15 double point needles – but I figure that you don’t need multiples sets of this size & now I’ve got my set for the long haul.

Since I picked up Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles I decided to try it again – the Koigu from last week is now working it’s way towards becoming socks.

I put down the needles for a little bit on Saturday afternoon to go to Arcadia Knitting for their first yarn swap. It was a fun time – I emptied my stash of a few leftovers (plus donated a lot of Lions Brand Homespun and Boucle to a charity) and picked up some fun yarns.

While at Arcadia I also met two Chicago Knit Bloggers that I’ve read – hi Dana and Susan! It was great to meet both of you & hopefully I’ll see you at another knit event soon.  

Assorted odds & ends…
– I finished reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. This book has received a lot of hype about being “THE” summer read – some of the “must reads” in past years I have found to be disappointing but that wasn’t the case this time. I would definitely recommend this one to you. I’m pretty sure it will make the rounds among my reading pals.
– It has been a while since we’ve had an installment of “Sally Says” – the album getting the most play on the iPod these days is KT Tunstall’s Eye to the Telescope.
– Dinner last night was from a new Italian cafe here on the Northside of Chicago…Ventrella’s Caffe (4947 N. Damen). The Caprese Panini tasted garden fresh & the hazelnut gelato was a tasty memory of the time in Italy last summer. I will definitely be back there again!
– I’ve joined a couple of new swaps: KnitFlix, International Scarf Exchange 3, Dishcloth Shuffle – I’m definitely looking forward to these fun exchanges. (Sorry, I think all of these are closed now.)

In Stitches…

Indeed…this is another post recounting a Stitches Midwest experience…

When I first got my Stitches brochure earlier this spring I circled several classes that I was interested in taking & thought it would be fun to take a day off from work to knit/learn. I never got around to registering…then I was assigned to this project in Chattanooga…I ended up not being able to fly home to Chicago till Friday evening & would have had to cancel out of any weekday classes. So, I was excited to go to the Market on Saturday – it was a fun way to decompress from the work week. I picked up my fellow knit gals, Jen & Kristy, at 11:30 & we headed out to Rosemont. At about 12:15 we hit the market & our immediate reaction was “Wow!

First up was a stop by the Black Water Abbey Yarns booth. My Knitting Vacation Swap pal, Judy, was in from Colorado to help at the booth – so I met my first knit blogger. It was fun to finally put a face with a name & blog adventures. (I would have snapped a picture of us, but there were lots of “no photos” signs everywhere.)

 (Larger pictures are linked here…1. yarnlady 2. sitnknit 3. knittingnell 4. buttons 5. sockstuff 6. brooksfarms 7. angoracottage 8. blackabbey)

Over the course of several hours we made our way through all the aisles of the market. We didn’t stop in every booth – but collectively made plenty of “oohs & aahs” about what we saw. At the end of the day, my bag was full with these goodies:

  1. From Yarn Lady in California – A terra cotta color Cascade 220 that will be added to the felted tote bag currently on the needles; 2 balls of super soft Oh My! yarn from Plymouth – when I picked this up (before seeing the yarn name) my reaction was “oh wow” so it is aptly named; as we were standing in line to check out they were apologetic for the wait so we also received their logo travel mug.
  2. Next up was a visit to the Sit & Knit booth – this time I got to meet Kim, the owner of our charming Michigan knit spot. In their booth was Shaun, the owner of Catalina Yarns who was showcasing some new colors and a great new Trinity Jacket pattern. I picked up some of the Baby Alpaca Chunky in the new deep purple color and some Baby Pima in a sage color and also got a free pattern book with the purchase.
  3. Just last week Wendy posted about a cute new children’s book from Julie Jersild RothKnitting Nell. In the hotel that evening I went to Julie’s website & was charmed by the storyline and illustrations – I filed it away as a good gift for Miss Butterfly. Julie was at the show autographing copies of the book so Miss Butterfly now has a personalized copy to be gifted at a future time.
  4. Color in Stitches was a beautiful booth of buttons, beads and more. (Their website isn’t live yet.) I picked up 2 beautiful porcelain buttons that will be fun to incorporate into projects. I also got a fun fabric covered button that I think may end up on a cotton tote bag.
  5. At a Wisconsin yarn shop booth (name escapes me) I picked up 2 skeins of Koigu in a lovely turquoise & white colorway – this booth had the best price on Koigu that I saw at the show. I also picked up Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi – I haven’t done much on socks since the quick class in May so I though this would be a good way to get serious about them again.
  6. From Brooks Farm Yarn – 1 orphan skein of Primero in a purples/yellows/white colorway; 1 skein of their limited edition Silk/Superwash in a greens/browns/blues colorway. As I was paying for my selections I commented on the great service I had received from them earlier this year – I wanted to order the “Amy” colorway & they were out of it, when it was back in stock Dena emailed to let me know it was available. It turns out that Dena was the one at the counter and she asked if I was the Amy that had ordered “Amy.” Indeed I was – don’t know what that yarn will become.
  7. From Black Water Abbey Yarns – a skein of their new Seafoam colorway – so pretty!
  8. From Angora Cottage – a beautiful delicate skein of green wool/tencel that was spun with iridescent brown beads by Kristen, the owner. I’m thinking of a “fancier” scarf for my camel wool coat with this one.

At the end of the day we were exhausted from trekking through the market, thrilled with our purchases and excited to get knitting again. In fact Saturday evening we were all knitting while watching DVDs. I’ve started a project with one of these skeins – but it is a secret knit that won’t be revealed for a while.

My Saturday started with a great mail package – my Flip Flop Swap goodies from Jeremy.


What a treat! All of the goodies were in the clear turquoise tote (which is now in use as a travel bag for dealing with the planes) – some soft ivory flip flops with a bit of butterfly bling; orange Wheaties flip flops; some flip flop notecards; turquoise & silver stitch markers; a skein of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Color Tweed in a summery colorway of turquoise, blues & greens; and a great read set in Chicago, The Time Traveler’s Wife – where the story flip flops through time. This was a great book club discussion and I have been wanting to reread it since seeing “The Lake House” earlier this summer & I think my loaned out copy may have gotten lost. Thanks Jeremy for spoiling me with all these goodies – it was great to have this treat box waiting after the last 2 weeks of work!


3 Cheers!

We interrupt this blog to celebrate some folks near & dear to me…August 9th has always been a celebration day for me…

It started when my little sister was born 29 years ago!

Happy Birthday REBEC!

(This picture was taken when she was in kindergarten…now she is a high school teacher who just started her 8th year of teaching…how time flies!) Yes, her name is really Rebecca – I’m the only one who has ever called her Rebec. Growing up we had normal sister skirmishes but now she is truly a dear friend!

 Several years ago, I added another notation to the celebration calendar…

Happy Anniversary Greg & Jen!

…and last year another birthday was added to the list… 

Happy 1st Birthday Miss Doodlebug!

Last year I had the joy of taking care of Miss Butterfly when her baby sister was born. As I told her that night once her Dad called with the “sister details” – it is a special thing to have a little sister born on August 9th!

…back to our regularly scheduled blogging shortly…

Of Bibs & Books

One of the things that I have always liked about the “Grandma’s favorite” dishcloth pattern is the simplicity of it. You don’t have to think – your hands can just knit & your brain doesn’t even have to be “on” in order to make progress. Even with the larger baby blanket size of the pattern it still “moves.” A new “simple knit” favorite is the Baby Bib in the Mason Dixon book – a bit of “garter stitch back and forth” and before you know it you’re looking for a cute button to finish off a cute gift.

While at my parents house in GA this weekend I whipped up 2 bibs. On Sunday afternoon Mom & I searched through her button tin as well as my Grandma’s tin – in addition to finding great buttons for these bibs I also pulled out several buttons to use on future bibs. The Faded Denim bib will be gifted by my sister to Baby Jackson. The Cool Breeze bib does not yet have a recipient but is ready to gift at a moment’s notice.


The weekend with the family was lowkey and just the recharge I needed from a stressful week. As a thunderstorm rolled in on Saturday afternoon I finished up my latest summer read – The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw. Another very enjoyable book – the story of a Malaysian man in the 1940s - told through the eyes of the son, the wife and a loyal friend.

I’m now reading “this summer’s book” – The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. So far it is an engaging read. In fact, I had to force my self to turn out the light last night because I knew the alarm would come quickly at 4:30 this morning (and it did).

I’m planning to make it to the Stitches Midwest Market on Saturday afternoon – anyone else going to be there then & want to meet up?

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