Amy Artisan

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Month: August 2008 (page 1 of 2)

A Few Stitches

Stitches Midwest was this past weekend here in Chicagoland. My last two years at Stitches have been “full on fiber” excursions for me – this year was different. Within the last month I received an email from the Debbie Macomber site that included a coupon for free admission to Stitches on Sunday when Debbie would be signing books. Friends wouldn’t be able to join me at Stitches this year – so Sunday seemed like the perfect day to go. On Saturday evening, I printed out the marketplace map & plotted out the few booths I wanted to visit. 

My purchases this year were few – many of them can’t be shown because I’m already in a gift buying mode. For me, a new mug to wrap my hands around in the coming weeks and months as the weather turns cooler – it was time to pick up an adorable knitting sheep mug from Jennie the Potter – thanks Jennie for the personalized sheep on the bag! A skein of sky blue wool from Black Water Abbey Yarns where I once again caught up with a swap pal, Judy. A rubber stamp. Another great stash of vintage czech glass buttons from Color in Stitches.

As Debbie was signing books she was dating her inscription – how appropriate that she was signing Knit Together for me on August 24th – the birthday of my Grandma/Knitting Teacher.

I was in and out of the marketplace in under 2 hours. It was just the right amount of time for me this year – going on Sunday it wasn’t nearly as crowded & didn’t seem overwhelming, this might be the way to do it in future years. Since I was out in the western ‘burbs I met up with a friend for a late lunch & catching up. After blocking my Olympic knitting on Friday evening & gifting some knitting on Saturday (post to follow…) this was a great way to end the weekend. Several times this week the sky has had the look & the breeze has had the whisper of fall – before long it will be time to keep my new mug filled as I knit!

In tutto il traguardo

…Across the finish line…

On Thursday evening I finished my Olympic shawl as the men’s beach volleyball gold medal match began – it took 45 minutes to work my way across the final row. On Friday evening, I gave the shawl a good soak and then used my blocking wires to transform a lumpy mound of yarn into a flowing shawl. This morning I snapped a few pictures of the finished product & then wrapped the shawl around my shoulders as I enjoyed my breakfast before starting my day. I look forward to wearing this in the coming weeks.

Estate Italiana

I’ve decided to call this shawl Estate Italiana (Italian Summer) – the colorway (Trevi) and pattern (Capri) conjure up memories the great trip to Italy in the summer of 2005.

Now, back to the many projects on my needles – some “knit for others,” some early Christmas gifts, maybe some fall/winter accessories to prepare for cooler days, always some socks. And also back to a project that has been off my needles – it is time to finish up my first sweater – all that remains is blocking, seaming & the armhole/neck bands. Hopefully I will be revealing the sweater in the coming weeks!

A Return to Capri

…no, unfortunately not a return to the isle where I snapped the picture in my blog header…

Well in advance of the buzz on Ravelry about the Ravelympics, I had started to ponder what my Olympic Knitting Project would be as I watched the games in Beijing.

For the Winter games in 2006, I joined in the “Knit Olympics” mania with my first Capri shawl. It was my first attempt at a lace project and provided me with several problems along the way. I pressed on & had a finished shawl at the end of the games. Honestly, the more I looked at it the less happy I was with the outcome. Since then I have never worn the shawl & now use it as a table topper in my bedroom. In Spring 2006, I knit a second Capri shawl as a birthday present for Artisan Mom – a shawl that turned out much better than the first.

Earlier this summer I came across an ad for Rock Creek Yarns. In addition to a beautiful Cherry Blossom yarn, I was immediately drawn to the Alpaca laceweight in the Trevi Fountain colorway – a subtle mix of water blues and grays. Again, the name of a colorway reminded me of a fond travel memory.

 Trevi 2005

Ah ha! Trevi Yarn + Capri Shawl Pattern = 2008 Olympic Knitting Project

The yarn arrived & I wound it by hand into a ball, I picked up a pair of Addi Lace needles, I swatched. Last Friday evening I cast on while watching the Opening Ceremonies. I have had a few hiccups along the way; however, I’m making progress and believe I am on track to have a finished (& wearable) Capri shawl on August 24th.

Trevi Capri Shawl

What have I learned so far with this most recent attempt on this pattern?

  • This is my first time using laceweight yarn – the pale color of it means that my eyes tired out on this project in the evenings before my fingers do.
  • This pattern is not conducive to stitch markers. So, I’m using a row counter & every odd row I am counting under my breath as I move across the row.
  • Even though this is a fairly simple pattern, it’s best not to knit on it during the really exciting parts of the Olympic coverage.
  • Paper cuts on your finger tips (& the subsequent Band-aids) make the knitting much slower.
  • Laceweight yarn does not like to be housed in a project bag. But, I have a great remedy for this. The cute sheep & yarn bowl that I bought from Jennie the Potter at last year’s Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair is the perfect size for holding the yarn ball.

Sheep Bowl Holding Yarn

And now, back to knitting & watching…

Lace Bowl

An Obvious O

My plan for Friday evening was simple – watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony and cast on for a new knitting project. Earlier this summer I started thinking about what my Olympic knitting project would be. As I mentioned during the Winter Knit Olympics, crafting has always been a part of Artisan Family Olympic Watching. For this Olympic crafting, I’m knitting another Capri shawl – more details about that in future posts. As I continue to jump around the alphabet for the ABC-along, I’ll jump to an obvious O.


I’ve had the opportunity to see the Olympic torch relay twice – for the 1984 Games while living in Lompoc, CA and the 1996 Games while living in Greenville, SC. In fact, when I saw the torch relay in SC, a local tv station interviewed me along the route because they were talking about the “once in a lifetime experience” & I mentioned that I was seeing a second relay.

1984 Olympic Torch Relay

1984 Summer Olympic Games Torch Relay – Lompoc, CA

I have two key memories of watching the 1984 games on tv: 1) Our whole family became enthralled with the rowing competions and I remember us buying a rowing machine for at home. I’ve often thought that if I had ever gone to school where rowing was a sport I could have seen being a part of that team. 2) To this day, whenever I hear “Rhapsody in Blue” I think of the opening ceremonies and the site of 88 baby grand pianos playing that classic song.

 1996 Olympic Torch Relay

1996 Summer Olympic Games Torch Relay – Greenville, SC

I was in high school when Atlanta won the 1996 games. My senior year of high school, our marching band show included John Williams “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” which I have always enjoyed since it debuted at the ’84 games. For Christmas one year in college, I gifted my college roommates with an inscribed brick at the Olympic Centennial Park and “made” bricks for each of us – I still use mine as a doorstop. By the time the games arrived in 1996 I had moved to SC and wasn’t in Atlanta at all for the games. I don’t have any “key” memories from watching these games – maybe because I was working full time then and the coverage wasn’t quite as non-stop as it is these days. I do remember cringing when the shiny pickup trucks were on the field during the opening ceremony – really, was that the best we could do?

So far this year’s Olympics have provided several memorable viewing moments – the 9 year old boy who rescued classmates from the aftermath of the earthquake definitely stole the show on Friday evening. Today at work everyone was a buzz talking about the 4 x 100m men’s relay last night. I wonder what other memorable moments are yet to be made?

Chicago is in the running to be the host city in 2016 – I must admit I’m more excited at the prospect of Chicago hosting the games than I was of Atlanta hosting – maybe there will be another Olympic Torch Relay viewing in my future?




There were never such devoted sisters
all kinds of weather
we stick together
the same in the rain or sun
two different faces
but in tight places
we think and we act as one

 Happy Birthday to my one & only sister, REBECCA!

Wishing you all the best today & throughout the coming year. Good luck with your 10th year of teaching (wow!) & I can’t wait to see the pictures from your recent trip to Peru! Love ya lots!

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