Amy Artisan

Family | Travel | Craft | Life | Books

Month: February 2009

Remembering Our Sweet Mama*

At 6:16 this morning my cell phone rang with a call that had been on the horizon – Grandma passed away early this morning in her sleep. For the last week or so, in every conversation with Mom it was obvious that Grandma was rapidly declining – she lived a full life in her 94 1/2 years & we are so grateful that she is now at peace.

 Sweet Grandma

* In recent years, Mom started calling her Sweet Mama.
Grandma always had a sparkle in her eye when she heard that.

As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, Grandma’s knit dishcloths are what pulled me to the needles and yarn in 1997. I am so grateful to have the the stitch legacy that she taught me (and also grateful that we got Mom knitting as well). While knitting is a big part of my memories of Grandma, there are so many other wonderful memories…

As the Artisan family moved around a lot when I was growing up, Grandma’s home in Orange County California was a constant – how lucky we were that she lived 7 miles from the beach, 7 miles from Knott’s Berry Farm and 7 miles from Disneyland! Being at Grandma’s house was always fun – I remember waking up early & getting to watch The Transformer’s on TV while eating a bowl of oatmeal. I also remember Rebecca & I loved to play with the box of kitchen toys – including some that Mom had played with as a little girl. It was around her dinner table in the evenings that we played many a game of Uno and Spite & Malice – she was a fierce competitor.

The Artisan Family - 2004

Celebrating her 90th birthday!

And Grandma’s gardening… No strawberries have ever tasted better than the ones from her backyard! No raspberries crushed over orange sherbert have ever been sweeter! Spinach is a favorite veggie because of the delicious spinach from her backyard! And avocados – oh my, she had the biggest tree “ever” in her backyard & they were the best tasting ones ever! In the last few years that she was living in her house, she would send me a big box of avocados for my birthday – a delicious meal was wheat toast with an avocado smashed on top & a dash of onion salt.

 Grandma's Avocado tree

The avocado tree that defies description!

Her flowers were always beautiful – camilleas, bird of paradise, poinsettias (taller than the roofline) & more. In the fall of 2000 as we were shutting down her house & preparing her to move, Artisan Dad & I packed up 2 boxes of plants that we shipped to the ‘Ville & Dad incorporated plants into their home.

Grandma's Flowers

While it’s tough to not be with the family in the ‘Ville right now, the simple rhythm of a dishcloth on my needles brings me comfort & keeps Grandma close at hand…

Comforting Cathy

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – one of the things I have enjoyed most about “knit-blog-landia” is the connections that occur between people. Whether it be meeting up with blog buddies in real life or rallying around a need, this is quite a community!

Early in my blog reading days (even before I started blogging) I came across Cathy’s blog – Tightly Wound ~ Loosely Knit. In fact, it was her post about her Panda collection that was my first visit. As a fellow panda fan, we became blog buddies.

A couple of years ago Cathy sent out the call requesting afghan squares for a friend that was going through some extremely difficult times. I quickly knit a square & sent it on it’s way. Over a year ago, Cathy’s blog became pretty quiet. When she did pop in to blog it was evident that she was facing many things and needed the prayers and good wishes of her blog friends.

Early last year, Amanda Cathleen sent out a call to “friends of Cathy” to do a knit project. Instead of an afghan, we decided to make a shawl. Each person would knit 16 rows & pass the shawl along. There were so many friends that wanted to participate that the shawl was passed along as 2 halves with Amanda grafting them together at the end.

In mid-June I received one half of the shawl. I was #11 for the half. When the box arrived I marveled at the yarns that had been selected. Some yarns were handspun by the friends. The parameters for the yarn were blues & merino. I looked at several different possibilities for my rows and in the end went with a solid blue. The depth of the color reminded me of cool and calming waters – very appropriate for this project.

In one evening, I knit through my rows – saying a prayer for Cathy & her family that they would continue to find comfort as they go through this stage of their lives.

Once I finished my rows, I wrote a message on a ribbon & added it as a “fringe” on my section of the shawl. After a quick photo shoot on the deck, I repacked the box with the shawl, the supplies, the growing collection of yarn extras for a fringe once it’s finished, and the collection of notes that everyone included.

Kudos to Amanda Cathleen for organizing this great blog friend project – it was such a sweet idea & she had it very well organized (Yahoo group for communicating, instructions in the box, supplies in the box, etc.). Progress was shared in the Yahoo group & we decided that we would all blog about the project on the same day, once the shawl had reached Cathy.

If you have a moment, stop by Cathy’s & leave her a note of encouragement.

Cathy, your blog is filled with so many entries of comfort, encouragement & love that you have provided to your family & friends – as you wrap yourself in your new shawl may you continue to feel the comforting thoughts & prayers of your friends!

Lovin’ Crafts

One of the ‘pitfalls’ of having a lot of ideas to craft for the holidays is that you think of things so far in advance, think it is too early to start on them and then before you know it, the holiday has passed and your crafty ideas are still just ideas. In the past couple of years, I’ve managed to be fairly realistic about the Christmas projects – although there are a few ideas that have yet to be made.

Valentines for Rebecca  Valentines for Mom  Valentines for Friends

This Valentine’s Day, the crafting ideas & the timing came together and I was able to create a few simple ways to send some love to family & friends – through knits & cards. In early January, I came across a pattern for a heart shaped dishcloth – a variation on my “go-to” Grandma’s favorite dishcloth. In no time, I had one on & off the needles.

A Valentine for Dad

Ah ha, a Sweet Spa valentine was in order. Throughout January I continued to knit up some hearts – there is no shortage of dishcloth (er, facecloth) cotton in the artisan stash. I then turned to Etsy & found some cute handmade soaps to complete the gift. For Grandma, since I was already making some more comfort cloths I knit a super soft heart to include for her.

Comforting Grandma

Next up, cards. Between blank cards, stamps and lots of fun papers I have plenty of supplies for making cards. On a Sunday afternoon I pulled out the supplies and had my Valentine cards drying on the mantel in no time. I had 3 flavors to the cards – for most, I used the hearts stamp set that I had picked up several years ago; for a few friends, I used some origami paper that has been “marinating” in my craft stash for a while; and for Miss Butterfly & Miss Doodlebug, I had fun with some itty bitty stamps – using the flower to create their initial.

Valentine Cards

Looking ahead to other holidays this year, I’m hoping that this “on top of it” approach will hold. In fact, I’m already thinking of some “Christmas in July” activities. What about you?

© 2022 Amy Artisan

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑