Amy Artisan

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Category: Blogland (page 2 of 5)

Catching Up with Novel Friends

Knit Two

Reading is something that I enjoy year round; however, as the weather turns cool I find myself looking forward to the times when I can “hibernate” with a good book & an unending mug of coffee or tea. Just in time for these cooler times, Kate Jacobs is bringing out two books on November 3rd.

The first book was actually released last year and is now coming to paperback. The women of The Friday Night Knitting Club are back with more tales of friendship in Knit Two.

The first time I met Kate, we talked about the characters of FNKC and I asked if she had any plans for future stories about them. Her response was non committal. I told her then that I would enjoy continuing to read more about these women; however, that first book also did leave me satisfied with a complete story. What a treat it was last year to receive my advance copy of Knit Two and return to the world of these women.

This novel picks up 5 years after the end of the first book. As in real life, reading this story was just like “picking up where you left off” with friends that you haven’t been in touch with in a while. Knit Two is filled with new loves, new babies, new adventures – including Italian vacations – and more. As I mentioned to a friend, this was just a charming read of good fiction.

To celebrate the paperback release of Knit Two, Kate’s publisher has provided me with 2 copies of the book to share with you. So, let’s have a contest! Between now and November 3rd, leave a comment on this post. In keeping with the themes of the book, please share a favorite memory from a vacation or from your own “knitting circle” or other close circle of friends.

Also coming out on November 3rd is a holiday tale with the Friday Night Knitting Club women in Knit the Season. Stay tuned next week for a review of this delightful holiday tale and another contest.

Kate is out on tour to promote her books – if she’s coming to your city, I’d highly recommend taking time out from your schedule to go to a reading.

A Winning Menu…

In keeping with the metaphor of life being a full plate, my plate has been rather full the last few weeks – I’ve mentally written many blog entries – hopefully they will make their way to the site in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who submitted your favorite comfort foods and associated stories – it was fun to read through each memory. Collectively you created quite a comfort food menu – with more than enough macaroni and cheese for everyone to enjoy a big serving!

The following gals will be receiving a copy of Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs:

  • Deborah – Poppyseed chicken! It’s a yummy, not-very-good-for-you chicken casserole that my mom used to bring to church potluck suppers. It makes me think of my family and the church that I grew up in. I always serve it with sweet tea and southern style green beans on the side. It makes me feel like I’m back in small town Mississippi – life slows down and we can have a nice visit at the dinner table. Ooh, and my summer comfort food is lemon icebox pie. It’s really easy to make, but I still only make it once or twice a summer. It’s cool and refreshing, and reminds me of hot, humid summer days back home. Lemon icebox pie just looks pretty, too, and it makes me think of Southern women.
  • Casey – I love apple pie! My grandma made the best pie from scratch and whenever I was sick, she’d send my grandpa over with a pie for me! Some kids got popsicles, I got pies. I still love apple pie but I can’t eat the frozen kind from the supermarket. Sometimes I get those but I’m always disappointed. It has to have the taste of homemade. My aunt’s pies are second best only to my grandma’s but she lives a state away. I guess I should start making them myself!
  • Kris – My comfort food is “Grammy’s Bread” which is similar to babka. It is my paternal grandmother’s recipe. Over the last couple of years, I have become the one in my family to carry on her tradition of baking it. It is my favorite comfort food because tasting it brings a flood of memories of my dear Grammy each time. The act of making it, though I never made it with Grammy, reminds me of my connections to my roots and brings more memories.
  • Cynthia – I do love tea; there is something comforting on a cold and rainy day about a good cuppa tea. I also love brown rice with a bit of oil and some frozen green peas (my husband and son would say green peas are my comfort food – they always seem to soothe my nausea) when I am feeling nauseated or under the weather, which happens a lot. My other favourite comfort food is popcorn. Not too much butter but just a big bowl of traditionally made on the stove popcorn. Love the crunch and the taste.
  • Marilyn – In all seasons, my favorite comfort food is homemade soup. It can be a very fancy recipe or just a “clean out the refrigerator” kind…doesn’t matter…just warms me all over…body and soul.


Earlier in May, Kate was in town for Comfort Food book events on two evenings. The first evening a portion of my bookclub joined me for the reading & signing – at that gathering it seemed like everyone came with at least one other member of their bookclub. After the event, Kate & I hung out in the bookstore cafe for a bit catching up on life. The second evening, I met up with a friend for dinner and then we joined in the event at an independent bookstore. Both evenings were filled with great questions and conversations.

In the last month I’ve been cooking a bit more (something that I enjoy doing) and now that I’ve got the grill in rotation again I’m having a lot of fun. In the next couple of months I hope to share some of my kitchen & grillin’ adventures with you. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my plate from a few weeks ago – the first grill meal of the summer that was definitely a comfort food plate…

Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Face to Face

In addition to being a place to write about my artistic endeavors and other things, one of the perks of blogging is making many new friends “in the virtual world” and on occassion I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of these friends in person.

This week provided me with a triple blogger encounter. First up, meeting up with Lolly, who was in town for a conference. (It turned out that her conference hotel was right next door to my current project site.) Lolly was one of the first bloggers that I started reading as I was contemplating joining the blog world so I was thrilled to hear that she was coming to Chicago & that our schedules allowed us to meet-up. On Sunday evening we met up for dinner – we went to one of my favorite places, Reza’s Restaurant, for a delicious spread of Persian food. After dinner we walked back through the city and I played a bit of tour guide, pointing out buildings & interesting facts along the way. What’s a knitter meet-up without knitting? We ended our evening working sitting, knitting & chatting. Lolly was working on the beautiful Malabrigo sweater and I also got to see the beautiful purple shawl that accompanied her on her recent Peru adventures. It was a lovely evening of conversation and friendship – because of blogging, this felt like catching up with an old friend rather than meeting one for the first time.

As the week progressed we made plans to visit The Field Museum on Friday morning – my work schedule allowed me to take the day off which meant I had a chance to be a tourist in my own town. What started as one plan for the morning turned into a full day of fun! The weather was ideal for walking along the lakefront to the museum, so Lolly & I set out for the museum with Nova, Paige & Cynthia (fellow conference attendees).

A stroll along the lakefront

Along the way we had fun seeing the current Chicago public art installation, Cool Globes.

A few Cool Globes

Right in front of the Field was the perfect globe for the knitters among us – Adjust the Thermostat by Lindsay Obermeyer – a globe that had been covered in a handknit sweater.

Knit Friends

(all pictures here)

We spent several hours wandering through the exhibit halls – it had been several years since I had been the museum so it was great to see it again, it is truly a museum that never fails to be enjoyable.


My favorite exhibit of this visit was Plant Portraits: The California Legacy of A. R. Valentien – I was unfamiliar with this artist but the combination of botanical prints & a focus on California was a great combination for me.

California Oak

Before long it was time to head back to the hotel – while everyone was in their afternoon sessions I passed the time with an iced coffee, a new magazine and some knitting (of course). After their afternoon conference sessions wrapped up, several of us piled into a cab for a bit of local yarn – a trip to Loopy Yarns. The collective purchases were minimal – mostly some magazines, a few supplies and some sock yarn.

The evening included a reception at Millennium Park. When that was over, it was time for more knitting. Lolly, Nova & I sat in the hotel lobby to knit and were soon joined by Rebecca. What started out as “oh, just a quick bit of knitting before calling it an evening” turned into several hours of knitting and great conversation. As we called it an evening we were able to get a quick picture of all of us with our projects.

Knitting in the lobby

Thanks girls for letting me hang out with you for the day – what a fun way to start off a holiday weekend!

InterKNIT Connected

When I was in college, one of my classes was on the emerging technology of “the internet” – it was more than just a technology class, I remember many philosophical discussions about the pros and cons of technology in those Wednesday evening classtimes. This was back in the mid 90s when the internet was more of an unknown and seemed so full of promise. As email became part of my routine I found that I was keeping in touch with friends and family on a regular basis. Now days, if my day gets away from me & I haven’t emailed ‘home’ for a day or two I can count on an email from my Dad with the subject line of “ransom??” asking where to send the money for the kidnappers that have taken me away. Through assorted networking sites I’ve also been able to reconnect with old friends from school and work days. Just this week I had a ‘blast from the past’ email from a dear pal from my elementary school days who I haven’t talked with in more than 22 years.

When I had my grandma teach me to knit (almost 10 years ago), one of the reasons I wanted to learn was to keep a connection with the past – the memories of her knitting throughout my childhood have now transferred to the needles and yarn as I craft new projects.

Since joining the world of bloggers I have enjoyed the community that is built through this medium. During some of the periods when my blogging has been pretty quiet it has been nice to receive emails from blog-friends just checking in to see if I’m ok. Another fun part of blogging has been participating in assorted swap fun. This summer has been no exception – I’ve had fun co-hosting Knitters Tea Swap 3 and participating in Craftylilly’s Knitflix Summer Blockbuster Swap.

Summer Swap Fun!

Thanks to Kate for the tea swap treats! And thanks to Felicia for the Knitflix treats! For the past week I have been battling a summer cold and my assorted tea selections from both boxes have been soothing treats. (In the realm of ‘it’s a small world,’ Felicia lives in Macon, GA where I went to college.) Your swap goodies will arrive soon.

An emerging connection in the knit world is indeed Ravelry. I received my invite a couple of weeks ago & have had fun cataloging my projects & stash. For everyone waiting for a beta invitation or general release of Ravelry, it is indeed worth the wait!

Last month I mailed in my squares for the Hokie Healing project. Being InterKnit Connected has allowed me several opportunities to participate in “comfort knit” projects. It has been fun to follow the progress of the blankets on the blog. The blankets have now been assembled & will be on display for a few hours this Sunday. Mosaic Yarn Shop has t-shirts available to commemerate this incredible activity. When I saw the blog posting I immediately called the shop – my t-shirt arrived this week.

Knitting for Healing

My latest comfort knit project – squares for the Rebuilding Greensburg – has been a great relaxation for me this week in the midst of nonstop work.

I enjoy writing posts for the blog – it is fun to see the connections that are made through topics discussed, comments made, etc. Thanks to everyone who connected with Summer Sleuthing and sharing your summer book memories – it was fun to see many new authors and series in with many of my other “books of summer.” Congratulations to Kara & Sandy – your names were drawn from my floppy beach hat as the winners of Cast On, Bets Off.

How are you InterKNIT connected? (even if you aren’t a knitter) 🙂

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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