Amy Artisan

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Category: Dishcloths (page 1 of 3)

Simple Stitches

My yarn stash is overflowing with lots of yarns of different fibers, colors and textures. My Ravelry queue is filled with many different projects – hats, scarves, socks, sweaters and more. So how have I started off my 2011 knitting? A return to the basic – the simple dishcloth that first brought me to knitting in 1997.

After a flurry of holiday knitting & a Christmas break knit for me (must blog it) I was wondering what I would knit next. As I was formulating plans for larger projects, I got started on 1 dish cloth and just kept going. Simple knitting while watching bowl games…while waiting for friends at coffee shops…while waiting for weekend events to begin…while watching the playoffs (Go Pack Go!)…while decompressing in the hotel in the evenings…Before I knew it, here I sit at the end of January with a stack of 16 new dishcloths to put into rotation in my kitchen and also gift to friends – well, after I have a “weaving ends session” later today. Next up, I’m starting a new shawl project to be my hotel knitting for the coming weeks – the combination of a good pattern and some beautiful yarn I picked up with a birthday gift card. Sometimes, a return to the simple things is what is needed to recharge & provide new inspiration.

Doing Dishes

Based on my knitting history, my choice for the letter D should come as no surprise.

D is for Dishcloths

Dishcloths

As a child, I always remember a handknit cotton dishcloth hanging over the sink or faucet in the kitchen. These dishcloths were the only thing that mom would use to wash dishes, clean counters, deal with the spills and messes that children can make. I remember always being amazed that it seemed like no matter how big the mess, that dishcloth could handle it. Mom remembers getting some of these dishcloths from an aunt as a wedding gift & initially not knowing what they were. Obviously she quickly caught on to the power of the handknit dishcloth. Grandma learned the pattern from Aunt Irene & so we never were at a loss for dishcloths.

When I had an apartment in college & in my pre-knitting days Grandma kept me in dishcloths as well – no visit with her was complete without getting a few more dishcloths for the stash. One drawer of her bookcase by the front door was always filled with dishcloths to share.

As I’ve mentioned before, learning to knit the cotton dishcloth for myself was my catalyst for learning to knit in 1997. Since then, I have always had a stash of dishcloth cotton – years ago it was maybe only 2 or 3 balls. These days…um…one whole cube in my craft storage is filled with dishcloth cotton. Whenever I’m in a craft store and see a selection of Sugar’n Cream yarn there is a good chance that I will pick out a color or two. Sugar’n Cream was Grandma’s favorite yarn for the dishcloths – it only made sense that it became mine as well. I remember a couple of times when Grandma knit with another kitchen cotton and she would always comment that it wasn’t the same as SnC.

In recent years I’ve dabbled with assorted dishcloth patterns – through the Monthly Dishcloth KAL, from websites & Ravelry, from MDK, from pattern booklets. I find that I always return to the Grandma’s Favorite pattern – especially when using the variegated or twist colorways.

Dishcloths are my go-to project. I haven’t yet hit a point of having too many dishcloths. Now that Grandma doesn’t knit anymore, I keep Artisan Mom & Rebecca stocked with dishcloths. Of course my kitchen is stocked. And I always have a stash of dishcloths on hand to use for hostess gifts – in fact, I have a box filled with dishcloths & coordinating tea towels so that I don’t have to show up empty handed.

I keep dishcloth supplies in the car. They come in handy when the line for a carwash in the winter stretches around the block. A basic dishcloth is perfect movie theater knitting. When I feel like knitting but don’t want to have to think about what I’m doing I’ll reach for the dishcloth cotton.

In this vintage apartment I don’t have a dishwasher. So all of my dishwashing is done with a handknit cotton dishcloth. As I stand in my kitchen & do dishes I remember seeing Grandma at her kitchen sink washing up the dishes. When she was done, the pale yellow tile kitchen counters would be wiped off, the dishcloth rung out & then it would be hung over the faucet – to dry and be ready to handle any mess that came into the kitchen.

Bring on the Color!

Project Spectrum 2.0 has begun!

The focus for February and March is the blue/gray/white spectrum – quite fitting for these winter days! Recent car time to/from the client in WI has been filled with these colors – blues and grays in the sky and the white of the snow covering everything. In addition to knit projects I’m looking forward to some non-knit projects – including some that I had hoped to accomplish last year during the first Project Spectrum.
Blue Knitting
I have a blue knit planned for the next couple of days. I started this knit twice this week while traveling for work (and actually thought I would start the month with a blue FO)…but a couple of intense work days meant that I had few brain cells left for knitting & both evenings I messed up the knit & had to rip it out. Hopefully I will reveal the finished project soon!

January Knits
Looking back on January I managed to knit quite a few colors from the spectrum – this stack of knit includes 12 dishcloths, my Bejeweled Blue Hostas Scarf, the secret knit and the still unfelted tote. The simple knitting has been great travel knitting.

Crocheted Scarf Progress
The crochet class is going well & I have made great progress on my scarf. As for the sore hand/arm when crocheting I have found that these hand exercises are helping & I plan to incorporate them into the daily routine. This multi-colored cotton yarn is perfect for a spring scarf!

It looks like we will be in “deep winter weather” mode this weekend – just perfect for staying in and crafting – stay tuned for project reveals…

Sunshine Salad

Oh the cold, gray days of winter…no sunshine in sight! So, on a cold, gray, snowy Sunday I whipped up a Sunshine Salad in the kitchen.

Sunshine Salad

I came across this citrus salad recipe and used it as my starting point. I used a ruby red grapefruit, navel orange and blood orange. For the dressing, I mixed half clover honey and half blueberry honey with the citrus juices. In addition to the cardomom (one of my favorite spices) I also added a dash of ground cloves. This is a simple salad that tastes great – I’ll be making it again.

In addition to finishing my Bejeweled scarf earlier this month I’ve managed to finish quite a few other things.

Current Finished Objects

First up, a stack of dishcloths (and this stack doesn’t even include all of them so far this month). Most of these are my standard “grandma’s favorite.” I also completed the January Monthly Dishcloth KAL – a snowflake. I must admit, knitting a dishcloth in cream (or white) seems odd to me – I knit dishcloths to be used & this seems like it will always be stained or always have to be bleached.

Next up, a secret knit that can’t be revealed quite yet. How’s that for a teaser?

Next, I dug deep into the WIPs and pulled out my striped felted tote. The bottom of the bag has been seamed up, all of the connections have been dealt with – it’s ready for felting fun in the washer and then some handles.

Why have I been knitting so much this month? Work has me traveling during the week again – this time driving to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. On my drive up last week, I managed a detour to the Herrschners Retail Store – the reason for stopping was to buy a Wool Winder to go with my new swift. I left with a bag filled with yarn and no winder – didn’t even think of it when I was in the store. I was able to stop at the store on the way home & pick one up. It has already been put to good use.

First Crochet Attempts

Last spring, I picked up SnB: The Happy Hooker when Debbie Stoller came to Arcadia Knitting. I wanted to pick up some of the crochet basics last year; however, that didn’t happen. On Saturday morning I had my first Crochet Basics class at Arcadia – when the class is done I will have completed a scarf & learned several basic stitches. Saturday was the single and double crochet – homework was to practice those stitches and we’ll begin the scarf next week. I have done some practice with the intended scarf yarn; however, most of my crochet practice has been with leftover dishcloth yarn – not only am I practicing my new skills I’ll also have a few “wonky” dishcloths for my sink. One thing I have noticed with the crochet is that my right hand and arm gets sore – which is something I haven’t noticed with knitting.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories about your Friday Night Knitting Clubs. Isn’t it great that we are each able to find our own groups – whether in person or through our online connections? Now that the book has been released the author has appearances throughout North America – check out the schedule and see if she is coming to your town. Unfortunately she isn’t scheduled to visit Chicago yet; however, if you do go to an event I’d love to hear about it.

Hanging Out with the Folks…

Instead of heading to the airport to fly back to Chicago on Friday I picked up a rental car (a slick new Azera which the family has dubbed Hank) merged south onto I-75, set the cruise control & headed down to the ‘Ville to hang out with Mom & Dad. It was a fun weekend – filled with playin’ in the dirt, grillin, chillin’ & knittin’.

Playin’ in the dirt…

Saturday was a gardening day for Amy Artisan & Dad Artisan. I definitely inherited my green thumb from him and since I didn’t do my deck plantings or flowerbed this summer since I’m traveling it was fun to ‘play in the dirt’ for a bit & help get everything planted at home.

The first thing we did was plant the zinnias in the front flowerbed. (Zinnias are an Artisan Family favorite flower.) As Dad lifted up the turtle statue to move it out of the flowerbed he discovered a Mama Skink had nested & was watching over 6-8 eggs. So, the turtle statue will stay where it is & Mama Skink now has a lovely flowered & mulched home for her babies.

Skinks Home

We also planted up several color pots for the front entry to the house as well as the back deck. I think my favorite planting was the red & white coleus in the red pot – look closely & you’ll see a familiar “As Seen on TV” item – that’s right, the coleus are in the “Pasta Pot” from several years ago. The pot had outlived it’s usefulness in the kitchen & was such a pretty color that we thought it would be fun to plant into it – the red coleus leaves are a perfect match for it. Next year I vote for basil in the pasta pot – how fun would it be to grow “pasta herbs” in the pasta pot?

Pasta Pot Coleus

The other color pots indeed contain a lot of different colors: zinnias, coleus, petunias and more!

Flower Pot Color

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Grillin’…

Dad & I cleaned up the grill & made use of it for dinner on Saturday & Sunday. Saturday got the grill going for the season with turkey mignon, Vidailia onion slices and yellow squash slices. Sunday was yummy marinated steak. The meals were rounded off with super sweet canteloupe and Mom’s homemade strawberry pie. Having Mom’s home cooking is always great but I appreciated it even more this weekend since I’m eating out ALL the time while on the road.

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Chillin’…

A couple of fun movies that we watched over the weekend: Nanny McPhee & Glory Road. Both were fun flicks & good entertainment!

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Knittin’…

On Saturday afternoon Dad & I went to Hobby Lobby & spent the vast majority of time in the yarn section. There were several ‘new to me’ baby yarns that look like they would be so soft & cuddly for baby blankets – I have to make 2 baby boy blankets this summer so I think I will try some of these yarns instead of reaching for my “standard” Bernat Cotton Tots.

While browsing through the yarn at Hobby Lobby on Saturday I found a good selection of my favorite Sugar’n Cream for dishcloths – including several colors that I haven’t seen in store before. So, even though I had some SnC yarn in the suitcase for hotel knitting I picked up 5 balls of summertime colors. Saturday evening I got started on 1 “Grandma’s favorite” & kept on going all Sunday afternoon & evening. I’ll be finishing up the 5th dishcloth later this evening. Since suitcase space is a premium 4 dishcloths stayed in Georgia for my mom & sister to enjoy.

Summer Flavor Dishcloths
(L to R: Cherry Swirl, Swimming Pool, Key Lime Pie, Creamsicle)
These colors just seem to capture the vibrant fun of summertime!

Also…a bit of hotel knitting…Last week was fairly busy in the evenings here in Chattnooga – the annual Riverbend Festival was in full swing so our project team checked out the events on a couple evenings. I still managed to get 2 small knit projects completed: a simple dishcloth & a scarf.
Hotel Knitting

Project Spectrum: Blue Hydrangeas

As I was taking pictures of our flower plantings last night & Dad was watering the plants he asked if I needed any more blue pictures for this month and suggested that I take some pictures of the hydrangeas along the side of the house. So this Project Spectrum digital collage is from Amy Artisan & Dad Artisan.

Blue Hydrangeas

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All in all it was a great weekend – it was a treat to hang out with my Dad on Father’s Day!

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