Amy Artisan

Family | Travel | Craft | Life | Books

Month: April 2007

Community in Action

On Saturday while out and about running errands just about every intersection was an example of community in action. It was the annual Misericordia/Jelly Belly Candy Days drive – where many volunteers were out collecting donations to support a local community that supports those with special needs. As I drove around the city and up in the northern suburbs, car after car after car after car had a red “I Helped” tag on the mirror or dashboard.

Misericodia Jelly Belly Days

Our book club book this month focused on community as well – Better Off by Eric Brende was his memoir of the 18 months he & his wife spent living within an Anabaptist community. While his focus was giving up technology, the community was an integral part of being able to live with less. This week there was a crash on the Indiana tollway killed several people – including a couple of members of the Amish community. One of the articles I read about the crash showed community in action – as soon as word spread through the community a neighbor arrived to help milk cows, women showed up with food and everyone gathered around a grieving family.

The blog world, especially the knitblog world, is a community of sorts – with many virtual connections. Since starting to blog I have enjoyed participating in a community that comforts by knitting squares for assorted blanket projects. When I saw the Yarn Harlot earlier this month, in addition to her humorous stories I was touched by the details about how Knitters Without Borders has raised over $320,000 in some extremely short timeframes.

In the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, Mosaic Yarn in Blacksburg has launch Hokie Healing with the goal of providing knit blankets to the families of the victims and those injured. Through May they are collecting 8″ x 8″ squares in the Hokie colors – orange and maroon. Phyl has a great post offering suggestions for colors and themes. Over 2000 squares are needed to make these blankets come together. (Thanks Robin for posting about this earlier & making me aware of the need!)

Hokie Healing

One of my errands on Saturday was a trip to The Village Knit Whiz to pick up some Hokie color yarns – I came home with 2 beautiful skeins of Araucania Yarns Nature Wool Chunky (colors 104 & 108) yarn and plan to keep knitting squares until the yarn runs out. I don’t know anyone at Virgina Tech; however, when I was in college I was a part of a solar race car team. In June 1994 we were in Indianapolis for a prep/information weekend & I remember the VT team there showing their Hokie pride when it was time to introduce their car name and number. In the spirit of “We are all Hokies” my weekend knitting has been orange & maroon – so far a “Grandma’s Favorite” square & a “Bejeweled” square.

Hokie Knits

How have you seen community in action recently?

Springtime Fun

While March may be known as “in like a lion, out like a lamb” it seems as though April has been a bit lionish as well. Although, spring may be reemerging once again. The last 2 weekends have been warm and sunny – the perfect backdrop for hanging out with friends.

Last Sunday was a belated Easter dinner with friends. (I had bought all the fixin’s for Easter dinner “on” Easter and then ended up going to a friend’s house instead.) So on Sunday my dining room table was filled with good friends – all of whom hadn’t had a real Easter dinner the Sunday before.
Easter Table
A “simple prep” menu yielded an excellent dinner: roast turkey breast with lemon, tyhme & garlic; roasted mini golden potatoes; steamed asparagus; corn; fruit salad; and Rhubarb-Strawberry Pudding Cake from the April Gourmet, a quick and tasty cake that I will be making again.

This past Saturday was an all day scrapbooking event – it was great to catch up with friends & make good progress on my 2006 album. By the end of the day I was almost done with the album. (yay!) At the end of the day, Jen & Kristy drew names for my 100th post contest.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your friendship memories on the previous blog entry! Congratulations to Amanda Cathleen, Erin, Laura & Sarah – a copy of The Friday Night Knitting Club is headed your way. Also, congratulations to Jane for leaving the 800th comment on the blog – a few treats are headed your way as well.

After church on Sunday, Jen, Kristy & I tried out a new creperie in Andersonville. Icosium Kafe was a great find – the banana & Nutella crepe and apricot iced tea were a perfect brunch choice. We all agreed that we’ll be back soon.

In the midst of getting back into the routine of being home the last couple of weeks there has been quite a bit of knitting going on around here. Last Friday evening I continued to make progress on sock #4 while attending the “Cast On, Bets Off” reading at My Sisters Knits – it was a packed shop for the event. By the end of the weekend I had finished the sock & now have 2 pairs of socks to wear. I’m not as happy with these socks – I think they may become house socks.
2nd Pair of Socks Bejeweled Teal
When I was at Loopy 2 weeks ago I picked up several skeins of Cascade Pima Tencel in a beautiful teal color. It became a spring “Bejeweled” scarf for me & is getting a lot of use with my spring coat. I have also finished up a secret knit with some beautiful bamboo – it will be revealed in the coming weeks.

My work routine has me once again taking the EL downtown to a client site so I have some training knitting time. I’m currently working on a simple sock using some OnLine Summer that I picked up at My Sisters Knits last year. The colors are perfect for the second trio of Project Spectrum colors.
Next Sock

With the spring weather, green is starting to return to the landscape. In my front yard, one tiny tulip managed to come back this spring; however, the bloom was past it’s peak before I got out to take a picture. In the coming weeks I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time in the backyard getting the flowerbed & deck ready for some summer plants. Because I was on the road last summer I didn’t do any gardening & missed it – I’m pleased to see that several perennials have returned for another season. Hopefully this blog will contain garden posts in the coming months.

What springtime fun are you up to these days?

Friendship Circles

What does friendship mean to you? It is defined as:

friend·ship
noun
1. the state of being a friend; association as friends: to value a person’s friendship.
2. a friendly relation or intimacy.
3. friendly feeling or disposition.
[Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE fréondscipe. See friend, -ship]

—Synonyms 2. harmony, accord, understanding, rapport.

Friends and friendships mean many things to many people. Throughout the years many books have been written about friends and friendship: how-to win friends; memoirs of friendships and novel that focus on friends are just a few of the types.

This is the 100th post here at Amy Artisan. If you’ve read for a while, you know that friends and friendships are an important part of my life. (A few friendship posts.)

The last couple of months have been pretty intense with work – at times I was a bit disconnected with friends. But one thing about great friendships – even if you are disconnected for a while you can pick right up where you left off! It has been great reconnecting with friends over the last couple of weeks.

Circle of Friends
(just a few fun friendship memories from recent years)

To celebrate this blog milestone, it’s time for a bit of a contest. Up for grabs, 4 copies of The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (& maybe a few other goodies). To enter, leave a comment with a favorite friendship memory. All comments on this post received through next Friday (4/20) will be entered into the drawing – names will be drawn when I gather with some girlfriends on Saturday (4/21) for a day of scrapbooking. In addition the 100th post, I’m also nearing a comments milestone – so the milestone commenter will receive a treat as well. (If you’ve been a lurker and never made a comment, now is a good time to say hello.)

Friends can be found anywhere – pals from high school and college days; co-workers; book club gals; church; and new friends made through blogging here at Amy Artisan. Sometimes friendship circles overlap and sometimes you are the only common thread among your circles. I look forward to hearing about your friendship memories!

Knitterly Things

Spring break with my sister in town was a lot of fun – we had the right combination of “on the go activities” and just hanging out at home. It was a much needed break for both of us. Even though my sister isn’t a knitter, there were still quite a few “knitterly things” while she was here.

As I mentioned, Saturday was a road trip with Jen over to Harbor Country & stops at our favorite places. After lunch we stopped into Sit & Knit & proceeded to sit, knit & read for several hours. I worked on my sock for a bit & then because I hadn’t brought the instructions I couldn’t continue when I got to the heel. So I spent the rest of the time looking through lots of pattern books and coming up with lots of ideas for future projects. It was also great to chat with the owner, Kim, about possible new yarn lines she will be carrying and the new knit mystery novel that her husband has written. (FYI – there will be a book signing on April 13 at My Sisters Knits here in Chicago.)

When Rebecca was with us last summer, we picked out a fun yarn for matching scarves. I decided to make a simple sash instead & she was able to take her’s home this trip. I forget the name of this yarn – but I loved the colors, they reminded us of the colors of the beaches & lake on the trip. The pattern was from the Knitting-to-Go deck.

Sister Knits

On this visit to Sit & Knit Rebecca picked out a skein of Geranium yarn (#6050). During our hang out/watch movies time on Sunday & Monday I turned the yarn into a quick Openwork scarf from the same Knitting-to-Go deck. We both loved how the colors of this yarn worked into the open pattern. This is a perfect spring scarf. We joked that Geranium was a good name for this yarn – even though that wasn’t the colorway name we are reminded of geranium blooms with the pinks in the yarn.

The “knitterly things” have continued this week in the form of 2 knit book events. It was nice to not be traveling for work & able to participate in the Chicago knit community.

Yarn Harlot

On Tuesday evening I trekked out to Oak Brook for the Yarn Harlot event. As is the norm with her events, all of the seats were filled way before she was introduced. Thankfully I was able to snag a seat & I proceeded to work on sock #4 while waiting. At one point someone suggested “show & tell” so everyone quickly showed the projects that they were working on – of course there were lots of socks, but also blankets, sweaters, scarves and more. No matter the skill level everyone showed their stuff. By the time Stephanie was introduced there were lots of people sitting on the floor as well as standing around the area. During her talk it was interesting to watch the muggles who were browsing for books in the area react to her comments & the audience response. After an hour of laughter & cheers during her talk the book signing began. After standing in line for about an hour I finally met Stephanie – in addition to her signing my book, I gave her a copy of the new ‘knit mystery’ novel from Sit & Knit (Cast On, Bet’s Off)and then we swapped socks for a picture (indeed, that is “the sock” that is traveling on this tour).

Amy & Stephanie

Wednesday evening brought a “new to me” yarn shop and the “No Sheep for You” book signing & trunk show with Amy Singer at Loopy Yarns in the South Loop. After work I picked up my knit gals (Jen & Kristy) and we checked out the store and the book. What a beautiful selection of yarns! As a fun bonus during the event, all non-wool yarns were on sale – so I picked up several, all of which I have not used before: Cascade Fixation for socks, Cascade Cotton/Tencel, & SWTC Bamboo.

I have already cast on with the Cascade Cotton/Tencel – it is such a soft yarn & I love how it is knitting up so far. The book contains some beautiful patterns – I am already planning to use the just purchased bamboo for one of the patterns.

Wow – in 3 weeks I’ve been able to go to 3 knit book events and will be at a 4th next Friday. What knitterly things have you been up to?

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