Amy Artisan

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Category: Comfort Knits (page 1 of 3)

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!

Together We Made Strides

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Think Pink!

Sunday was a beautiful day to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk here along the Chicago lakefront. As the Knit Together team, Jennifer, Kristy & I raised over $1400 to help fight breast cancer. Together with more than 12,000 other walkers we raised close to $1,000,000 by walking.

The weather for the walk was warm and windy – the sun was shining brightly and the reflection danced across the lake. The walk route took us through some beautiful trees that were changing into their autumn best colors and also right up along the lake where the wind was rippling into lots of little waves. At one point along the route everywhere I looked I saw a sea of pink walkers winding along the paths – I turned to Jen & Kristy and commented on the big pink ribbon that was winding it’s way along the lakefront. There was definitely an excitement in the air during the walk – seeing all of the survivors walking with us was great.

Making Strides 2007

(larger pictures here)

Thanks to each of you who contributed to be a part of our team. When I posted about this walk last month my cousin, Ruth, left a comment on my blog that I want to share with each of you:

HI Amy— How fun to read about the Making Strides walk you will be doing. I am honored to know that you are contributing to a cause obviously near and dear to our hearts. Thank you for doing this for me and the thousands of other people affected by breast cancer. We are gearing up for the Komen Race for the Cure this weekend, and I am hoping that some day we won’t be continuing to walk to ‘find a cure’ as it is way beyond time that a cure should have been found. Until then, everyone’s help with raising awareness, early detection and contributing to the research brings hope…..hope that no one else will have to endure the painfully devestating news and treatments required to keep cancer from taking our lives. I overheard a woman the other day make the comment about how she was ‘getting so tired of seeing everything with pink ribbons’…. that it was ”overkill.” She obviously hasn’t been affected on a personal level, and I hope that she never will. I couldn’t believe her comment. She obviously hasn’t had to explain to her 4 and 7 year old kids what cancer is and why bald headed mommy is too sick to do the simple things with them. Thanks again for walking and working towards finding a cure. Although cancer takes many things from a person, it also provides an opportunity to realize the most important things in your life and to know that every minute, every day and every opportunity you are given is truly a gift. Thank you— from Russ, Nathan, Ellen and myself— we appreciate what you are doing. On the back of my survivor shirt for the Komen Race, there is a saying that I think is so appropriate…. “I walk for those who have walked before me and for those who walk beside me.” Thank you, everyone, for walking beside me, too.

Ruth & Family - 2007
Ruth, Russ, Nathan & Ellen
Race for the Cure 2007 – Toledo, OH

As I had mentioned before, last month I knit a pink scarf for the walk and attached all of my donor names to the scarf as a fringe. The weather was so warm that I couldn’t wear the scarf (who would have thought?) but the fringe hung out from my backpack & “waved” along the walk (see photo above). Now that the walk is complete, I am giving this scarf to Robyn – the friend for whom Jennifer walked this year. Robyn is currently in the midst of her breast cancer treatments and I think the scarf will serve as a hug from all of us.

Congrats to Julie for winning my blog team contest – a skein of Hill Country Yarns in the Breast Cancer Awareness colorway is yours.

I echo Ruth’s comment above – I hope that one day we will no longer have to be walking and raising funds for a cure. Until that day comes thank you for being a part of working towards a cure!

Hope starts with you and me!

Getting Crafty

How appropriate that after blogging about the sounds of summer this past week treated us to a taste of fall weather. And how better to spend a fall-like Saturday than at a fair? The Renegade Craft Fair was in town this weekend so that became the starting point for a fun Saturday with friends. After picking up Kristy & Elaine we headed over towards the fair. We spent several hours looking through all of the booths of fun, quirky, unique and beautiful items. While I didn’t leave with nearly as many things as previous fairs this summer I did pick up a few things as a jump start for Christmas gifts. (As such, they are tucked inside the cute zippered pouch that I picked up for me)

Renegade Loot

Our time on Division ended with a great mid afternoon meal at Aki Sushi. It was our first time at Aki and we weren’t disappointed with our order. Since we were feeling crafty we decided to check out a “new to us” local yarn – Knitwerks. For several months I had been wanting to check out this store and after hearing Lolly and Nova rave about it when they were in town I knew I needed to get there soon. All of the buzz that I’ve heard was right – this is a great addition to the Chicago yarn community. So many beautiful yarns and colors – you just want to touch it all. Cherrl was so welcoming and friendly – Kristy’s sandal had broken and she offered a nearby store to pick-up a pair of flip-flops, our next visit will need to include time to check out the nearby Italian cafe that she recommends. Of course, we didn’t leave there empty handed. Elaine discovered the beauty of Dream in Color yarn and picked up a couple of skeins – she isn’t sure if she is going to crochet a scarf or have me teach her to knit one. I also picked up some needed needles and also some yarn for gift knitting (so no pictures here).

Speaking of local yarns – have you seen KnitMap.com? It has just launched and aims to collect all of the local yarn shops in one “go to” site with ratings and comments from local knitters. As someone who travels a lot, this will be a frequently visited site. I’ve already added one of my favorite shops to the mix.

Saturday’s weather was perfect for revealing a new knit project. Earlier this summer I made a scarf as a gift for Elaine (either a very belated gift for her last birthday or an early gift for this year). I gave it to Elaine first thing and it turned out that it matched her turtleneck perfectly so it immediately was put to use. Introducing – Sage Friend:

A Sage Friend
The details: Midwest Moonlight from Scarf Style; 2 skeins of Baby Pima from Catalina Yarns; Size 10 needles; This was a very fast knit. The yarn was very soft and even after blocking it retained the softness.

There has been a lot of knitting happening around here in recent weeks. Some has been gift knitting so it can’t be revealed. Other items are ready to show.

First up: Silky Summer Scarf

Silky Summer Scarf
The details: Montego Bay Scarf from Interweave Knits, Summer 2007; 1 skein of Brooks Farm Yarn – Limited Edition 3 (picked up at Midwest Fiber & Folk Art in July); Named Silky Summer because of being a summer knit – which will keep me warm in the fall & winter. This yarn was such a treat to work with – it was so fun to see the colors change from one to another and also see the yarn change from really thick to really thin. I’m glad I picked up 2 more skeins of this for another project.

Next up: Knit for a Cure

Knit for a Cure
The details: Based on Bejeweled; 2 skeins of Lion’s Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton in Strawberry; Size 13 needles; Knit in preparation for a Breast Cancer Awareness event. Stay tuned for details. This was my first time working with this yarn and it was great to work with – I think I might add it to my list of baby blanket yarns. The resulting scarf is so soft. As I’ve said before, the Bejeweled stitch pattern is a great go-to pattern and each time I knit it the result is beautiful – on the large needles this was a fast knit – I started & finished it this weekend while catching up on my Netflix.

During the odd bits of time & while watching movies at the theater I’ve continued to build up the dishcloth stash.

More Dishcloths

Many other projects are currently on the needles – including some holiday gifts (so no pictures). The knits that can be shown are very appropriate for this final month of Project Spectrum 2.0 – variations on browns.

Brown Knits

Chocolate & Spice Socks – my current “basic sock” (in Trekking XXL #183) that stays in the work backpack or purse; Celebration Tote – my latest felted bag starts with a lot of brown knitting.

While the list of projects I want to knit seems to be never ending it is nice to see projects get completed and come off the needles.

Sunflowers

My sister and I have always considered ourselves to be Sunflower Gals – even with all the moving around that we did while growing up, our home was always Kansas. From an early age I have always considered the sunflower to be a favorite flower; throughout the years I have collected many sunflower things and at times decorated with sunflowers (although all sunflower decor items are not equal and I can be a bit picky about what I use).

Sunflowers

The sunflower was named the Kansas state flower in 1903:

This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairie and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present and richly emblematic of the majesty of the golden future, and is a flower which has given Kansas the world-wide name, ‘The Sunflower State.'”

Earlier this spring when Laura sounded the call for Rebuilding Greensburg – Block by Block I knew that was a “comfort knit” project that I needed to participate in. I dug into my stash and came up with the perfect yarn: Sunflowers that I had purchased from Cabin Cove Mercantile last summer. This was a thinner yarn, so I held it double and cast on in the Grandma’s Favorite pattern. The yarn knit up beautifully and the squares were so soft and squishy. In no time, 3 squares were complete. When I started the 4th square the yarn cake turned into a large knot. Since I had planned to knit more than 3 squares, a quick search on Etsy yielded another Sunflower inspired yarn from Laughing Rat Studios. The 5 additional squares I made with this yarn were a great simple knit when I needed some knitting to “slow down” from everything else going on over the last month.

Rebuilding Greensburg

While I was stateside and knitting on my sunflower yarn, my sister had the opportunity to go on a summer missions trip to Moldova – she was a chaperone for the church youth group. When I was home this past weekend, Rebecca showed me hundreds of pictures that she took on this life changing trip and told stories of her adventures – she also pulled together a highlights website. The group was involved in two camps while there – Rebecca was a part of the soccer camp. An unexpected highlight of the trip was the plethora of sunflower fields – did you know that Moldova produces a lot of sunflower oil? One afternoon her camp team was able to “frolic in the flowers” and captured some fun and beautiful pictures of the sunflowers.

Moldova Sunflowers

Sunflowers mean many things…as I was pulling together this post, the one I found most appropriate was that it is a symbol of community – what appears to be a single bloom is multitude of little flowers grouped together. A single sunflower plant can grow and blossom; however, single stalks normally need some sort of stake/support as they grow tall. Sunflowers are much stronger when planted in a larger patch and can collectively hold each other up as they grow towards the sun. What a wonderful reminder for all of us – we can indeed “go it alone” but it is much easier to grow and bloom when you are part of a community!

Random Bits

Wow – it has been quite a while since I’ve posted. Life has been pretty busy the last couple of weeks. It looks like assorted “random bits” memes are going through blogland again. Julie tagged me for the “7 things” – I generally don’t join in on memes; however, I’ll use that tag as the framework for writing about the random things that have been going on. (After several lovely days here in Chicago the weather is cold & gray today – so pardon the pictures…)

Railroad Socks
1. I’ve been working on the railroad – Last month I started a project with a new client here in downtown Chicago. Within the last 3 weeks I’ve visited 2 of their divisions in the southeast and have spend quite a bit of time around rail cars. The required outfit included a hard hat, safety glasses and ear protection. The travel time gave me plenty of opportunity to work on the current socks on the needles.

Knitters Tea Swap 3
2. It’s tea timeKnitters Tea Swap 3 is in full swing & I’m co-hosting this round. For this one we have decided not to have secret swaps. I’m swapping with Katie. Now that spring is here the iced tea pitcher is always full in the fridge these days. Currently I’m loving Black Currant tea with a sqeeze of lemon – I first became hooked on this combo when I did my college internship in Houston in 1995 & became a frequest diner at Cafe Express.

3. Peony in Love – I recently received an advanced copy of Lisa See’s latest novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan last year so I was looking forward to getting started on this new one. This newest novel was an excellent read – I started it on the plane down to Atlanta last Friday morning & had it finished by Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned for a review about it in the coming weeks.

Rebuilding Greensburg Sunflower Yarn
4. Kansas Knits – As a Kansas gal, when I saw Laura’s request for squares for afghans for Greensburg I knew I had to participate. When looking through my stash for yarn for the squares I knew I had just the thing – some Sunflowers superwash that I picked up from Cabin Cove Mercantile last summer.

Garden Green
5. Early Blooms – So far the only attention I’ve paid to gardening has been to kill off the weeds in the flowerbed. In the coming weeks I look forward to planting some new plants & working in the garden in the evenings. A few perennials from 2 summers ago survived through the neglect of my travels last summer and now the clematis has climbed up the fence, the sedum continues to grow and the Bachelor’s Button is in bloom this weekend.

6. Family Knits – While visiting the family in the ‘Ville over Mother’s Day weekend I had everyone try on the socks that I’ve already made – ya know, just so I could see how they would fit in case I were to make socks for the Artisan family in the future. Artisan Mom was gifted with plenty of hand knits while I was home – for Mother’s Day and for her birthday. For Mother’s Day I knit 3 garden themed dishcloths (red ladybug, sage hummingbird & yellow sunflower) – hmm, I thought I had taken pictures of those when I finished them back in January but evidently I didn’t. For her birthday I made the Berthe collar from No Sheep for You in bamboo. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it – maybe when she is up here in a couple of weeks she’ll bring it so we can do an appropriate photo shoot. I had plans for a cotton Bejeweled scarf for Grandma for Mother’s Day; however, evidently I can’t talk & knit on this pattern – I managed to mess it up while talking with Mom once I got home, so it will be done for her birthday in August.

Hokie Heart
7. Healing Knits – In the midst of everything this month I’ve continued working on squares for the Hokie Healing project. I love the subtle shading variations of this maroon and burnt orange. One skein of each has yielded 2 grandma’s favorites, 2 bejeweled and 1 double heart square. These will be going in the mail this week.

If you haven’t posted in a while or haven’t been tagged by a random meme – consider yourself tagged!

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