Amy Artisan

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Category: Finished Knits (page 3 of 9)

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 Weekend for Joy(ce)

I have several things I want to blog about, including getting up to date with my ABCs (err, H & I) but for now I’m jumping straight to J.


J is for JOYCE (aka Artisan Mom)

I remember when I was learning to read I made the connection that within my Mom’s name was Joy. Even at a young age I knew how appropriate that was – Mom has always brought joy to everything that she does.

This weekend she had a ‘big’ birthday. It was made even better because the whole Artisan Family was together here in Chicago to celebrate Mom. It has been several years since the four of us were all together here in Chicago – most of our family celebrations have been home in the ‘Ville. This weekend we were greatful for some wonderful respite care for Grandma that allowed for a Chicago birthday celebration for Mom.

Given the state of air travel these days, unfortunately it wasn’t that much of a surprise that their flight was about 3 hours late arriving on Thursday evening – it was almost midnight when we got to my house, so our planned Thai takeout dinner would end up being Friday lunch. The Chicago weather was perfect spring – sunny, blue skies, and lots of green grass & trees accented with lilacs and other spring blooms. We didn’t have many plans for the weekend – we just gave Mom some “dress code guidelines” for Friday & Saturday reservations. We did a little bit of shopping, a little bit of driving, a little bit of relaxing with books & a favorite musical on DVD, and a lot of just enjoying being together. On Friday evening we had reservations for dinner at A Mano – it was fun to order several things off the menu & share amongst us all; of course we saved room to enjoy their delicious gelato for dessert.

Our “big” surprise was Saturday afternoon – all Mom knew was that we had 4:30 PM reservations & we were dressing up a bit more. As we headed downtown, Mom was just glad that we were all together & didn’t seem to have a clue where we were going. It wasn’t until we turned the corner and pulled up in front of The Peninsula Chicago that Mom realized we were going to enjoy afternoon tea at my favorite tea spot. As we enjoyed all of the delicious treats on the menu we recalled the lovely afternoon tea we enjoyed in Bermuda 9 years ago this month. This “quick pic” at the end of the afternoon definitely captures the fun of the weekend.

And to celebrate a milestone birthday for a Mom who has done so much for so many I had a secret knit on the needles in the last month: “A Hug for Mom” – a simple shawl using yarn that I picked up last summer.

The Details – Pattern: Simple Yet Effective Shawl; Yarn: Brooks Farm Yarn Limited Edition III a wool and silk blend in a medium/steel blue, 2 skeins; Needles; Size 10; Modifications: Since Mom’s birthday is the 17th I had the garter stitch section at 17 ridges; the edge of the shawl had 2 stitches & then the yarn over to increase.   When I bought this yarn last summer I had a specific pattern in mind; however, as I started with the yarn and pattern it was obvious that they weren’t a match – same with the 2nd pattern. Truly, the third time was a charm by going with a simple pattern that I had knit before – the simple stitches allowed the yarn to really come to life.

The weekend trip may have been quick; however, it was wonderful to celebrate the JOY that is Mom!

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

Keeping Warm

The new year came in with a gust of COLD air – the wind chills stayed south of 0 for a couple of days and so many methods are needed to keep warm when venturing outside.

Method 1: A new scarf around the neck.

Earth Foam Hat

I have been able to fight off the chill with a new scarf – my last finished project for 2007.

The Details: Easy Drop Stitch Scarf Pattern from Frazzled Knits; The Knittery 4 Ply Sock: Merino & Cashmere in the Earth colorway. Size 10 1/2 needles. When I received this yarn from Camee in the Knitters Tea Swap 4 I knew that it was too pretty to hide in shoes – a scarf was in order. I had initially planned to make the Morning Surf Scarf with this yarn. Both of these scarf patterns are based on the seafoam stitch. The “deciding” factor was that the Easy pattern had an 8 row repeat versus a 12 row repeat – heading into my Christmas vacation the 8 rows seemed easier to memorize. So, I knit the first 8 rows while waiting for my taxi to head to the airport – once through security, as the flight was delayed about 4 hours I continued to work on this scarf and when we finally boarded the plane I had about 20″ complete. I knit on this while at home with the family and then once I was back in Chicago it finished up quickly. To block this scarf I used my new blocking wires – wow! It was so much easier than the myriad of pins that I’ve used in the past. I love the colors of this scarf! This scarf looks great with my assorted winter coats and will get a lot of use this winter.

Method 2: A new hat to keep the head covered.

Simple Soot Hat

I had a charcoal yarn in my stash that I thought would make for a nice complementary hat for the new scarf. Since the scarf had more detail I wanted a simple hat.

The Details: Ribbed Hat from One Skein Wonders; Sugar Bunny Boulevard Sock Merino in Soot; size 6 needles; yarn held double. A quick pattern that yielded a soft and squishy hat in just a few hours. I think I have enough yarn left over to make another hat – maybe a gift? Holding the yarn double provided an interesting play of the charcoal and gray subtleties in the yarn.

Back Half of Sweater

While staying warm, I have finished the back half of my (first!) sweater. Now it’s on to the front half of the sweater. Since the two halves are identical to the neckline I made notes of the exact row counts through each section so that they will match up when I go to seam them up. This has continued to be an enjoyable knit – I have made a few mistakes that involved ripping back a couple of rows – these were definitely user errors.

In addition to the new handknits to keep me warm outside, I’ve stayed warm at home with older handknits – my Fetching mitts have kept my hands warm & my 2nd pair of handknit socks have been paired with my new slippers to keep my warm.

Yesterday I made a trip to My Sister’s Knits to pick up some yarn for a secret knit to provide some comfort and warmth. A quick visit to the store lasted several hours – as is often the case, a common thread of knitting allowed for lots of conversation with the other customers there: Ravelry, favorite patterns, providing first hand reviews of many of the gorgeous yarns in the store.

In true Chicago weather fashion, this weekend is quite a warm up from the bitter cold of a few days ago – today we hit 60 and all of the snow from the previous 10 days has melted away. Also in true Chicago weather fashion, I know that the handknits will be needed before too long to keep me warm outside once again.

What keeps you warm these days?

Merry Stitch-mas

Now that Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to reveal the assorted gift knitting that has been occupying some of my time in the recent months. This year I ended up with more knit gifts than last year – although there were a few other things that I would have liked to have completed – maybe next year. I started on things several months ago so I’m pleased that there were no late night knit adventures trying to get everything done in time.

Coffee Cozy 

Coffee Cozy for Mom & Dad

The Details: Hello Yarn French Press Cozy in Little Turtle Knits 2-Ply After the Rain (picked up at an Arcadia swap, summer 2006); modifications – none. When this was unwrapped on Christmas morning it was immediately put into use keeping warm the Cinnamon Spice coffee that we were enjoying. (It looks better on their French Press; however, I forgot to snap a picture while I was home.)

Dashing Dad! 

Dashing Dad

Pattern: Dashing in Dream in Color Classy Nightwatch, size 7 needles; modifications – shortened the length between the 3rd cable & thumb opening by 6 rows, didn’t knit the thumb in the rib pattern.

Fetching Mom! 

Fetching Mom

The Details: Fetching in Dream in Color Classy Beach Fog, size 6 needles; modifications – I lengthened the hand by about 8 rows

Fetching Rebecca! 

Fetching Rebecca

The Details: Fetching in Dream in Color Classy Cool Fire, size 6 needles; modifications – none

I knit a pair of Fetchings for Grandma last Christmas & then made a pair for me earlier this year. Now the whole family can keep their hands warm in handknits. I think Dream in Color is a perfect yarn for these patterns – just enough color play to make it interesting. All of these mitts softened up wonderfully after a Soak bath.

Hang On Little Tomato 

Hang on Little Tomato Scarf for Kristy

So named because this colorway reminded me of the colors of the Hang on Little Tomato album by Pink Martini; that song is one of Kristy’s favorites. The Details: Montego Bay scarf, Woolly Boully Meanie yarn in the Red Robin colorway on size 8 needles; modifications – no fringe; this scarf really grew when it was rinsed & blocked.

A Forest of Knit Christmas Trees 

Christmas Trees

Another forest of Christmas trees has been knit and assembled and delivered to friends and family. And, I still haven’t managed to make a tree for me yet. As I mentioned earlier, I knit the triangles and then Artisan Mom & Dad transformed them into trees.

The Details: Crafty Modster’s Furry Little Tree Pattern; all were knit as triangles; across the 5 trees there was quite an assortment of yarns used – throughout the year I would pick up green or white ‘fun’ yarns when they were on sale. One tree was decorated with a nativity ornament set. The others were decorated with red & white ornaments. All were trimmed with garland.

Washcloths for Grandma 

Grandma’s Favorite Washcloths

When Grandma’s get to be 93 it can seem hard to figure out gifts. A “kinda” last minute gift was to knit her 3 washcloths in the Grandma’s Favorite pattern. I used some of the Bernats CottonTot that I had leftover from assorted baby blankets.

(More pictures of the gift knits are here.)

Now that the holiday knitting is over, I must admit that I’m ready to do some more knitting for me. My first sweater has been rather neglected this fall – it’s time to get stitching on it again – the few times that I’ve worked on it so far have been enjoyable. Additionally, my Christmas trip home to the ‘Ville (or rather the flight delay) allowed me to make great progress on a scarf with the Knittery yarn that I received in my Knitters Tea Swap 4 package – since I’ve been back home I’ve continued on it & should have another project off the needles before the end of the year. And socks are always on the needles as well. And my project queue continues to grow… And since I enjoy knitting for others as much as I enjoy knitting for myself I know it won’t be long before I’m gift knitting again – I already have some ideas for next Christmas…

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