Amy Artisan

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A Mano


As someone who enjoys knitting and other handicrafts, it is obvious that I’m drawn to the handmade in life. The last week has provided me with an assortment of A Mano moments.

Stacey's Peru Hat

A co-worked recently returned from a vacation to Peru that included home stay lodging. As a way for the host families to recognize their guests, the mothers knit hats for everyone. Not only did the hat provide a signal in Peru, Stacey is using her hat to keep away the chill here in Chicago. I was in the office on Wednesday and had a chance to see this beautiful hat up close & personal. In a word – wow! The colors are so vibrant, the colorwork is so perfect. What a great way for her to remember this great trip. This handmade colorwork piece is definitely something to aspire to.

Celebrating another year!

Another year, another birthday. To celebrate my birthday on Wednesday evening Greg, Jen, Kristy & I enjoyed a fabulous evening at a new restaurant in Chicago – A Mano. We were ‘drawn’ to the restaurant because it was part of the Bin 36 restaurants that we enjoy, it featured Italian food and they made many flavors of gelato in house. The evening didn’t disappoint. This is a great place to go with friends and share items off the menu – in fact, all of the pastas can be ordered as half portions – all the easier for sharing. As the name suggests, the menu focuses on the handmade – from the starters of celery root salad, prosciutto, mole salame and a lamb meatball/eggplant pizza to the hand-cut pastas (gnocchi, lasagna Bolognese, pumpkin ravioli, pappardelle with boar & raisins plus  a mushroom risotto) to the gelatos (we sampled chocolate, vanilla, chocolate-hazelnut, pumpkin, mascarpone, coffee, and a cranberry-apple sorbet) everything was delicious. They have a nice Italian wine list and were helpful in pointing us towards a “new to us” wine that we absolutely loved – a white Pinot Noir. Instead of a candle in the dessert, they brought out half glasses of a rose’ prosecco for us to toast my birthday – I thought that was a nice touch. It was an all around great evening and we all agreed that we needed to come back again soon to enjoy more of the A Mano specialities.

A baby blanket for Kristina

The last couple of weeks have been filled with some secret knitting. This weekend it was gifted and can now be revealed. My friend Kristina is pregnant with her first baby so one my Artisan Baby Blankets was in order. The gender of Baby C is not known so I went with a gender neutral color combo that also didn’t fall into the traditional baby colors. This blanket was knit with Cotton-Ease in the Violet & Almond colorways held together on size 10.5 needles. This was my first time working with Cotton-Ease and it was a great knit – I think it will be able to handle the task of being a well used baby blanket. I hear that the blanket is in the bassinet awaiting the arrival of Baby C.

With the holidays just around the corner my hands will be very busy in the coming weeks with the assorted handmade gifts that I’m hoping to finish up. (Hmm…my sweater may be taking a back seat to other projects for a while…) I also hope to spend some time in the kitchen making some handmade Christmas treats to share. What about you – what handmade experiences are you having these days?


  1. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful celebration! I love Chicago and its many delicious restaurants.

    I am limiting my gift knitting this year–work has been so busy, and I don’t want to add to my stress. I plan to start an afghan for my dad (out of a thick Chenille), socks for my mom and mother-in-law, and hopefully socks for my husband. I always throw in some dishcloths, too.

    Right now I’m doing some quick charity knitting, but the Christmas knits need to start this weekend!

    Love the blanket, too!

  2. Happy Birthday to you!!! Sounds like you had a wonderful night – and the restaurant certainly sounds fabulous.

    That hat is amazing. One of the great things about being a knitter is that we can truly appreciate all that goes into a remarkable piece of workmanship like that.

  3. The blanket looks great!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY a little late. Sounds like you had a great time! 🙂

  4. Oh, Happy Birthday!! Happy Day!! Happy Year!!

    Mascarpone gelato. Must get Marc to take me to A Mano.

  5. A happy and joyous personal new year to you, Amy! Any time you get to celebrate with good friends and good food is time well spent.

  6. Happy Birthday. Sounds like a great meal. That blanket is lovely. I have some Cotton Ease in my stash and I’m happy to read that it was a pleasure to knit with!
    Thanks for sharing your day!

  7. Happy Belated Birthday Amy! I love a good birthday celebration! I am trying not to stress out about handcrafted gifts this year. I have a priority list and what doesn’t happen doesn’t happen. I am also making a ridiculous amount of cookies. Hmmm….cookies.

  8. Happy Belated Birthday! Thanks for the info on A Mano – love the half portion idea – I am a fan of restaurants that offer that or otherwise give opportunities to try many different dishes (like tapas places, etc.) The hat is beautiful, and so is the blanket!

  9. Happy Birthday! That hat is so cute.

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