Amy Artisan

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Category: ABC Along (page 2 of 2)

The Easter Song

The blog may have been quiet for most of this month; however, life has been keeping me pretty busy. I have several things I want to blog about but those will have to wait for another day. Before I head out for a trip to Dallas to celebrate Easter with Miss Butterfly & Miss Doodlebug…

E is for Easter

Easter Sculpture 

I’ll leave you with pictures of the incredible Easter sand sculptures in Findlay, Ohio (these pictures are from 2006) and the lyrics to an Artisan family favorite Easter song – The Easter Song by Keith Green.  

Easter Sculpture

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead
The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead
Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
Christ, He will reveal it now
The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus’ power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah, hallelujah

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah

Easter Sculpture 

Doing Dishes

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

D is for 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.

Ah Capri!

I had a few ideas for my “C is for…” post. However, the recent winter weather monotony (40″ + of snow so far, 3 1/2 hour commutes in a snow storm, getting stuck in the ice/snow banks in the alley while backing into the garage, the ever changing obstacle course of avoiding monster potholes, etc.) has me longing for warmer weather and sunnier days. I have decided that C is for a memory I have mentioned before.

C is for CAPRI

Ah Capri!

As our summer 2005 trip to Italy & Greece drew near, Jen, Greg, Rebecca & I each had different parts of the itinerary that we were looking forward to the most. Collectively, I think that the day trip out to Capri seemed like it would be something fun but we didn’t have a lot of expectations for the day. Looking back, the few hours that we spent on the island were a definite highlight for me – not because of any one “big” thing but the combination of all the little things.

On Saturday morning we left Rome and took our tour bus down to Naples to catch the 11:10 ferry to Capri. As soon as we arrived at Capri we transferred to smaller boats to go to the Blue Grotto. The crowds of tourists waiting to transfer into the small row boats to go into the Blue Grotto were large; however, before long the 4 of us were climbing into a small row boat – our guide was wearing a Chicago marathon t-shirt. His aunt was from Chicago and had sent the t-shirt – we let him know we were from Chicago & I think the Chicago connection provided us with a much longer time inside the grotto.

Blue Grotto

After the Blue Grotto, we had a bit of free time on the island before we would ferry back to Sorrento. Once we were in the town of Capri our first stop was lunch outside on the square by the belltower. We enjoyed many tastes of Italy: Caprese Salad, Pizza Margherita and of course Gelato.

Capri Lunch

With our tour director we walked to the other side of the island and saw the local botanical garden. How fun it was to see favorite flowers including lantana and angel trumpets flourishing there.  While in the garden, I quickly snapped a picture that has become a constant reminder of a perfect summer vacation day – the rock formations of I Faraglioni off the coast. In the remaining time, Rebecca wanted to visit the local perfumery, Carthusia to pick up some of their legendary perfume. We walked into the perfumery and the lovely scents of flowers and citrus wafted through the air. Rebecca, Jen & I each selected a scent to remind us of the essence of Capri.

Capri Flowers

Before long it was time to take the funicular railway back down to the harbor and board our ferry to Sorrento. One of these days I will visit Capri again. Until then, I infuse bits of Capri into my world. In Harbor Country I found an antique etching of the Capri Harbor that now hangs on the wall. “The” picture continues to be my computer wallpaper and currently is the header for this blog. When I dab on my Mediterrano perfume the scent returns me to the island. In the midst of the winter gray of the last week I’ve enjoyed a taste of Capri – my version of Pizza Margherita and lemon sorbet for dessert.

Blooms & Blossoms

I have always liked flowers – both in nature and in art. Whenever I visit a museum I’m apt to pick up a postcard or print of any flower art that I’ve seen. On one bedroom wall is a collage of assorted prints from Redon, Renoir, Redoute and Cezanne. In the dining room, the floral bouquets of Jan van Huysum decorate the walls. When I see these prints I’m reminded of fun trips to the National Gallery of Art, the Getty Museum, and more. When given the chance, I enjoy planting flowers outside & watching them bloom. Summer visits to the farmers market mean coming home with armloads of assorted flowers & making flower arrangements to enjoy inside.  Trips to the botanic gardens in Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas have been filled with fun times and photo ops with family and friends. Sunflowers always make me smile.

This time of year, I enjoy watching amaryllis (actually hippeastrum), paperwhites and hyacinths bloom indoors.  This week it has been fun to see the 3 blooms emerge from this year’s bulb. The cheery red blooms brighten the room.


 Cheery Blooms

As the blooms have been growing in my living room, blooms and blossoms have also been growing from the knitting needles.

 Bloomin' Baby Hat

Bloomin’ Baby Hat

A friend is having a baby girl in a few weeks. I wasn’t able to make it to her baby shower; however, this little hat was there. Since Baby T will be joining a big brother I knew I wanted to give a decidedly girly gift & I wanted to branch out from the standard baby patterns that I’ve done before. Enter Ravelry – a search on baby items yielded the hat pattern. With the pattern in hand I dove into my stash & found a fun yarn combination. Within an evening the hat was on & off the needles. Once it was finished I knew it needed a little “something” extra – the original plan was to crochet a few flowers to add to it. Instead I knit a morning star flower from the pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts and then attached it to the hat with a button I had pulled from Grandma’s button box.

Details: Lilly Hat by Larissa Brown; Jaeger Matchmaker Merino & Koigu Kersti held together on size 9 DPNs.

Cherry Blossom Neckwarmer

Cherry Blossoms Neckwarmer

When I was in My Sister’s Knits earlier this month I saw this yarn & immediately thought of cherry blossoms. Many people think of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC each spring – my first thought for Cherry Blossoms is Macon, GA – in high school and college the Artisan family always enjoyed the great festival that celebrated the early blooms of spring. My original plan was to knit the skein into the Ribs & Ruffles scarf from the vendor website. Once I got the yarn home and was looking through my Ravelry queue I decided that a neckwarmer would be a great use for the yarn.

The details: Cherry Garcia from Hello Yarn; Misti Alpaca Chunky handpainted on size 10.5 DPNs.

Before too long, it will be time to pick up tulips from the store & bring cheer to the house…and then it will be time to think about what gardening will occur on the deck and in the flowerbed this year.


When I started blogging in 2006, I found several blogs that I read were participating in an ABC-along. I was intrigued by the idea – so when I saw that another round was planned for 2008 I knew it was an “-along” that I wanted to join. I don’t know how many “-alongs” I will join this year but this is one that I look forward to working through. For some letters I already know what I will post – for others it’s still a mystery what I will blog.

A is for ALIAS

A is for Alias

(You thought I would pick Amy or Artisan, didn’t you?)

In 2001, I remember seeing the ads for a new show called Alias and I thought it looked like something I would be interested in watching – little did I know…

I was home for the weekend in the ‘Ville when Alias premiered at the end of September, 2001 – so Artisan Dad watched the premiere with me and we both were immediately hooked on the show. It quickly became a routine that on the morning after an episode I would call Dad during my commute and we would talk all things Alias – the gadgets, the plot, the twists, the family relationships, the time warps that allowed them to travel around the world & back in seemingly the same day, etc.

Throughout the seasons this was a “never miss” show for me. If I wasn’t home the VCR was in action. When I met Jen & Greg we quickly discovered that we were all Alias fans – so there were times when a tape was passed around to catch up on a missed episode.

Fast forward to Season 4 – Maya was still in Chicago and I got her hooked on the show. Most Wednesday evenings I would go over to Maya’s to hang out with her & Miss Butterfly while Matt was out playing basketball with the guys. After dinner and some playtime we would put Miss Butterfly to bed & then watch Alias. To catch up with the show, Maya & Matt borrowed my DVDs of the earlier seasons and eventually Matt’s parents got hooked on the show as well.

As Season 5 was coming to an end I was just starting my project in Chattanooga. It was only fitting that I was able to watch the series finale with Artisan Dad back in the ‘Ville (we both weren’t around on the evening that it aired and so watched the tape the following weekend when I was home for Memorial Day).

As a fan of Nancy Drew and Wonder Woman as well as mystery/intrigue novels (including some Tom Clancy) it seems like the next step in the entertainment evolution that I would have latched onto this series. The seasons on DVD are in my “go to” rotation when I want something in the background during a rainy/snowy day inside knitting. Every so often I’ll encounter something in everyday life that will remind me of something from the show – for example, whenever I see someone talking on the phone in a parking deck I wonder if they are really on the phone or just trying to not stand out (a key scene from the pilot episode).

When I saw this yarn, even though the colors are not quite me I knew I would knit it up – it is the Alias colorway from the TV Yarn collection. In keeping with the A – it only made sense to knit up the Ampersand pattern. It has been fun to see how this colorway plays with the pattern – the white/gray/black is spiraling around the sock to break up the bright colors. In the dreary mid-winter days this colorway is a cheerful diversion.

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