Amy Artisan

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Month: April 2008

April Showers…

…bring May flowers; however, they didn’t bring the Yarn Harlot to Chicago.

This past week was a lovely week of almost summerlike weather. On Friday, spring storms rolled in & wreaked havoc on plane travel in the area. Stephanie was scheduled to speak down on the south side of Chicago on Friday evening – so, on Friday H was for (Yarn) Harlot. After work, I trekked down to Oak Lawn from my client site & Jen took the train out from the city. We got to the hotel ballroom about 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the event & quickly settled into seats and started knitting. We ended up sitting behind a friend from My Sister’s Knits. Around 6:45 it was announced that the event would be delayed until 8:00 because of flight issues. When it was announced, some left to go grab dinner and most people just kept on knitting. About 20 minutes later it was announced that Stephanie would not be coming and the event would be rescheduled. Since the room was booked for the evening we were invited to stick around as long as we wanted. The area was under a tornado watch & you could see the storm rolling in, so Jen & I decided to just circle around our chairs with Jan & the knitters in front of us. We each worked on our projects & chatted as the storm passed overhead. After a while, the storm was done and we all headed home. While the evening wasn’t quite what we had thought it would be, it still was a fun evening. We look forward to when Stephanie is rescheduled back to Chicago.

Spring Green

Springtime in Chicago is unique every year. Sometimes it comes early – sometimes it comes late – sometimes it seems like we go straight from winter to summer. With the winter that we’ve had this year, I’m not sure what it will be – although the sun and warmth that is creeping in this week gives me hope that spring may come this year. As I was starting to think about this entry, my page-a-day calendar had the following quotation that seems very appropriate:

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. – Guinean proverb

G is for Green

It appears that I have been choosing Green as my spring accessory color. A new scarf and a fun purse. I picked up this yarn last spring and loved the colors. I started hearing concerns about the ability to get a pair of socks from a skein & so I decided that it would be best to use the yarn for a non-sock pattern. While browsing through Ravelry I stumbled across this pattern and decided it would be a good choice for the yarn. The one row pattern made it simple de-stressing knitting early this winter. This scarf was the perfect weight for the spring weather in DC last weekend.

The Details: Pattern: Vine Stitch Scarf in Collinette Jitterbug (Toscana); size 5 needles; I cast on 28 stitches

The colorway is Toscana; however, as I look at it I am more reminded of a different destination: Taliesin in Spring Green, WI. The splashes of color against the green yarn remind me of the vibrant spots of color that the flowers in the garden provided to the lush green landscape of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home.

Green in my Garden – My flowerbed has been neglected the last couple of years; however, a few perenniels that managed to survive some hungry dogs in years past are making another appearance. This week I see that the sedum & bachelor buttons are starting to push through the dirt. The hostas have purple tips just starting to come through the dirt. While it’s definitely too early to start buying & planting in the garden, it’s not too early to start planning for it. Gardening catalogs have been arriving in the mail & it has been so fun to “ooh” & “aah” through them. I look forward to the coming weeks and months where I can “play in the dirt” in the evenings when I get home from work.

Green has always been a favorite color and I have always enjoyed using my green thumb to tend to plants and flowers. When Rich Mullins released his song The Color Green it became a favorite song. Since then, whenever I see a field of green I often find myself humming the chorus:

Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise

– from The Color Green by Rich Mullins

With a Cherry (Blossom) on Top!

As I knit Rebecca’s “Cherry Blossom Neckwarmer” in January, I had no idea that I would see cherry blossoms this spring. This past weekend Jen & I went to Washington DC for a girl’s weekend and enjoyed the National Cherry Blossom Festival. While our feet may be tired from all the walking that we did, our memories are filled with fun and lots of delicate pink blossoms everywhere we looked. An early morning flight on Friday put us in DC during the morning rush hour. By 9:30 we were at our hotel & were pleasantly surprised to find that we could actually check into our room instead of storing our bags for the day. Even with a “last minute” decision to go to DC during a popular tourist time we were able to snag a great hotel/room – I cashed in some of the points I earned from my time in Chattanooga in 2006 & so we had free lodging. The forecasts for the weekend contained many raindrops; however, even though we had our umbrellas with us at all times we never had to use them. Our goals for the weekend were simple: Cherry Blossoms, National Monuments, Many Museums, Panda Sightings & More Fun!

Cherry Blossoms – Cherry blossoms were everywhere. As soon as we left the airport to head into DC we had our first glimpse of pink & were enthralled by their delicate beauty the whole weekend. The subtle shades of pink seemed to glow from within. It was also amazing to see how the aged & gnarly tree trunks could give way to such delicate blossoms.

National Monuments – The walk around the tidal basin yielded many monumental views.  By the time we headed back to the hotel in the afternoon, we had seen the Jefferson Memorial…walked through the enduring legacy of FDR at the FDR Memorial…recalled the service of our grandfathers at the World War II Memorial…walked on patrol at the Korean War Veterans Memorial…stood in awe at the Lincoln Memorial…and took in the somber stillness and starkness of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Many Museums – Saturday morning we headed towards the National Mall and the museums. The line for the National Archives was well over 90 minutes to get in – that will have to be another trip. We explored the National Gallery of Art…enjoyed the gorgeous exhibit of women’s dress at the National Museum of the American Indian…went to the National Air and Space Museum…where we also saw a few treasures from the National Museum of American History.

Panda Sightings –  Our goal for Sunday before returning home was to see the pandas at the National Zoo. Both Jen & I have memories of school projects involving pandas – she won a speech contest in 8th grade with a speech on pandas; in 4th grade I selected the panda as the mammal I would research for my first research paper and pandas have been a favorite animal ever since. As we walked up to the panda yardTian Tian was just waking from a nap and seemed to be walking right towards us as he came to the watering hole for a drink. He then provided us with a great show of “typical panda behavior” by sitting upright and munching on bamboo for quite a while.

More Fun – Other fun highlights of the weekend…the convenience of using the DC Circulator to move around from the hotel to and from Georgetown and the National Mall…popping into a cute boutique near the hotel to pick up some charming cherry blossom notecards…picking up yarns at Stitch DC to remind us of the weekend…delicious appetizers and meals on Friday and Saturdaysublime gelato at Dolcezza…taking a break from being tourists to return to our Kansas roots and enjoy an evening of knitting while watching the Kansas Jayhawks in the Final Four. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Before we knew it, we were en route to the airport preparing to return to Chicago. As a cab carried us back into the city from O’Hare we reflected on how much fun, history and beauty we were able to cram into a few days away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

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