Amy Artisan

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Category: In the Audience (page 2 of 3)

Much Ado…

What are your memories of reading Shakespeare in school? Did you enjoy it? Was it a chore? I must admit in high school it seemed like a bit of a chore to read Shakespeare – although I do remember some fun study group times working our way through the Bard. One play that I did enjoy was Much Ado About Nothing.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I was on campus for work and classes. One weekend, the family came to visit & we went to see the latest Shakespeare on Screen adaptation – Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. It quickly became a favorite film of mine – the soundtrack shuffles through my iPod & I frequently pop in the DVD to watch when I want a “background movie” for knitting.

In 1996, I was living & working in Greenville, SC – one weekend when the Olympics were in Atlanta, Dad & Rebecca escaped to Greenville (Mom was in CA). Our Saturday evening plan was to see a local production of Much Ado About Nothing – this time at an outdoor theater & set against the backdrop of post-WWI Italy. As we headed to the park for the play, the skies opened up. By the time the play was to start, the rain had ended but we were soggy for the rest of the evening. It was fun to see a familiar play in a different setting & the rain adventures just added to the memory of the evening – many times over the years one of us has commented about “remember when we saw…”

Funk It Up

A quick “stealth” shot of the stage as I was quieting my treo…

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to see another unique adaptation of this favorite play. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater recently premiered Funk It Up ‘Bout Nothing – the story from “Much Ado About Nothing” moved to present day and told through hip-hop rhyme and rap with a DJ spinning the whole time. The play was shorter than other versions and indeed a bit bawdier – but it was also filled with non stop laughter. I happened to see the last performance of the play – later this week it will be opening in Edinburgh. This was the first time I saw a performance at the CST and the view of the city and lake from the 6th floor lobby of their smaller theater at Navy Pier was spectacular – since I didn’t encounter traffic or parking issues on my way there I arrived in plenty of time – so I sat down & enjoyed the view while working on a current knitting project. All in all it was a delightful way to beat the heat on a Sunday afternoon!

Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? A favorite retelling in a different setting?

April Showers…

…bring May flowers; however, they didn’t bring the Yarn Harlot to Chicago.

This past week was a lovely week of almost summerlike weather. On Friday, spring storms rolled in & wreaked havoc on plane travel in the area. Stephanie was scheduled to speak down on the south side of Chicago on Friday evening – so, on Friday H was for (Yarn) Harlot. After work, I trekked down to Oak Lawn from my client site & Jen took the train out from the city. We got to the hotel ballroom about 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the event & quickly settled into seats and started knitting. We ended up sitting behind a friend from My Sister’s Knits. Around 6:45 it was announced that the event would be delayed until 8:00 because of flight issues. When it was announced, some left to go grab dinner and most people just kept on knitting. About 20 minutes later it was announced that Stephanie would not be coming and the event would be rescheduled. Since the room was booked for the evening we were invited to stick around as long as we wanted. The area was under a tornado watch & you could see the storm rolling in, so Jen & I decided to just circle around our chairs with Jan & the knitters in front of us. We each worked on our projects & chatted as the storm passed overhead. After a while, the storm was done and we all headed home. While the evening wasn’t quite what we had thought it would be, it still was a fun evening. We look forward to when Stephanie is rescheduled back to Chicago.

‘Toberfest

In the last couple of years I have noticed that my October calendar always seems to fill up with assorted fun – this year is no different. In fact, this weekend was close to non-stop fun.

BOOK-toberfest

Amy Grant Reading

On Thursday afternoon Jen & I left work a bit earlier and headed up to Milwaukee for an evening with Amy Grant. Just this week she released a memoir, Mosaic. A book store in Milwaukee hosted her for this event at Alverno College. It was an incredible evening of her reading passages from the book, telling stories, singing songs, taking questions & song requests from the audience. When I received an email notice about this event I knew it would be a perfect birthday gift for Jen – we have both been Amy Grant fans since elementary school days. The evening didn’t disappoint. Once I’ve finished reading the book, I’ll do a longer post and include more pictures from the evening.

Jen & Amy

CROP-toberfest
True, Create Memories has renamed this Great Gatherings but we still call it Croptoberfest. I spent all day Saturday with friends focused on scrapbooking. I have lots of albums in progress so what did I do? Start on something new. I took a photo album I made from a missions trip to Mexico in 1988 and began to journal and organize to transfer it to a new Picfolio album. It was fun to read through my simple “journal” from the trip and flesh out the stories around the pictures.

WALK-toberfest
Today was the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. It indeed was a beautiful day along the Chicago lakefront for this walk. Stay tuned for a detailed post tomorrow about this event.

Making Strides 2007

SOCK-toberfest
Last year I had visions of participating in Soctoberfest – and of course they didn’t go anywhere. This year, different story. In between all of the busyness this month I have managed to finish the first of my MTM socks and start on the 2nd one.

First MTM Sock

This if my first “detailed” pattern & I love how the beautiful yarn knit up with it. This weekend I’m heading to Dallas for another round of “How Tall This Fall?” with Miss Butterfly & Miss Doodlebug – so socks on the needles will be the perfect travel projects.

As we move towards the end of October, what ‘Toberfest fun are you having this year?

Sounds of Summer…(& Socks, Too)

Hibiscus Bloom

…the buzz of the air conditioner
…the gentle whir of the ceiling fans
…the repeating song of the neighborhood ice cream truck
…this year, cicadas
…ice cubes clinking in a glass of iced tea
…the sprinklers watering the lawns
…the neighborhood kids playing outside till well after dark
…lawnmowers starting
…fireworks being shot off by neighbors
…summer rainstorms – some (or a lot this year) with thunder & lightning

…songs under the stars…

With all of my work travel last summer it seemed like I didn’t hear a lot of the sounds of summer. Being back home in Chicago this summer has meant the opportunity to hear many sounds. In addition to the “routine” sounds of summer, a few summer evenings have been spent at favorite outdoor concert venues.

In June, my all time favorite band, Pink Martini, finally played at Ravinia Festival. (when I first heard them 5 years ago I immediately thought they would be a great act for this fun summertime venue) It was a perfect Chicago summer evening for this concert. Seven of us brought our folding lawn chairs, blankets and all the fixings for a simple picnic spread – while waiting for Pink Martini to take the stage, I did some sock knitting. By the time the first band took the stage the lawn was pretty filled; however, many people left after Arturo Sandoval – all the more room to spread out and enjoy the show.

In July, The Decembrist’s were in town playing with the Grant Park Orchestra at Millennium Park. Rain threatened as we gathered on the lawn to picnic – the first 30 minutes or so ended up being rainy but that didn’t stop the fun. The lawn was packed with concert goers. As the final song was being performed another storm came in so the music was accented with thunder & lightning that only added to the effect. As we headed for the parking garage after the show the sky opened up.

This week allowed for one last summer outing to Millennium Park – The Joffrey Ballet performed to the tunes of The Beach Boys, Motown and Prince. After a teasing rain shower as we headed to the park the evening turned out to be perfect weather for show. I love to watch the lights of the city come alive through the canopy of the Pritzker lawn.

The Joffrey @ Millennium Park
(more pictures here)

As I’ve listened to the sounds of summer I have been knitting away on my “summer socks” that I started back in May. While enjoying the ballet this week I finished up the second sock (actually, all but the Kitchener on the toe but by then it was too dark to do it). These are the 3rd pair of socks that I have made – again using the 2 circular needles method. This time I used size 1 needles and did a 4×2 rib pattern & continued it around the entire foot. I picked up this yarn (ONline Supersocke 100 Summer Color) on my first visit to My Sisters Knits, right after I started blogging, I loved the colors on the skein and as the stripes appeared during the knitting process I loved the colors even more. The colors of these socks remind me of the colors of my pot of portulaca on the back deck.

Summer 2007 Socks

Before long the seasonal soundtrack will change and the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot will become a loud chorus. This fall as I crunch through the leaves I will be wearing handknit socks for the first time – I can’t wait.

Of course, I have another sock on the needles – actually I started it about a month ago. This time, I’m using an “actual” pattern – Ampersand and am loving how the tvyarn is knitting into the sock so far.

MTM Socks

What sounds are “the sounds of Summer 2007” for you?

Knitterly Things

Spring break with my sister in town was a lot of fun – we had the right combination of “on the go activities” and just hanging out at home. It was a much needed break for both of us. Even though my sister isn’t a knitter, there were still quite a few “knitterly things” while she was here.

As I mentioned, Saturday was a road trip with Jen over to Harbor Country & stops at our favorite places. After lunch we stopped into Sit & Knit & proceeded to sit, knit & read for several hours. I worked on my sock for a bit & then because I hadn’t brought the instructions I couldn’t continue when I got to the heel. So I spent the rest of the time looking through lots of pattern books and coming up with lots of ideas for future projects. It was also great to chat with the owner, Kim, about possible new yarn lines she will be carrying and the new knit mystery novel that her husband has written. (FYI – there will be a book signing on April 13 at My Sisters Knits here in Chicago.)

When Rebecca was with us last summer, we picked out a fun yarn for matching scarves. I decided to make a simple sash instead & she was able to take her’s home this trip. I forget the name of this yarn – but I loved the colors, they reminded us of the colors of the beaches & lake on the trip. The pattern was from the Knitting-to-Go deck.

Sister Knits

On this visit to Sit & Knit Rebecca picked out a skein of Geranium yarn (#6050). During our hang out/watch movies time on Sunday & Monday I turned the yarn into a quick Openwork scarf from the same Knitting-to-Go deck. We both loved how the colors of this yarn worked into the open pattern. This is a perfect spring scarf. We joked that Geranium was a good name for this yarn – even though that wasn’t the colorway name we are reminded of geranium blooms with the pinks in the yarn.

The “knitterly things” have continued this week in the form of 2 knit book events. It was nice to not be traveling for work & able to participate in the Chicago knit community.

Yarn Harlot

On Tuesday evening I trekked out to Oak Brook for the Yarn Harlot event. As is the norm with her events, all of the seats were filled way before she was introduced. Thankfully I was able to snag a seat & I proceeded to work on sock #4 while waiting. At one point someone suggested “show & tell” so everyone quickly showed the projects that they were working on – of course there were lots of socks, but also blankets, sweaters, scarves and more. No matter the skill level everyone showed their stuff. By the time Stephanie was introduced there were lots of people sitting on the floor as well as standing around the area. During her talk it was interesting to watch the muggles who were browsing for books in the area react to her comments & the audience response. After an hour of laughter & cheers during her talk the book signing began. After standing in line for about an hour I finally met Stephanie – in addition to her signing my book, I gave her a copy of the new ‘knit mystery’ novel from Sit & Knit (Cast On, Bet’s Off)and then we swapped socks for a picture (indeed, that is “the sock” that is traveling on this tour).

Amy & Stephanie

Wednesday evening brought a “new to me” yarn shop and the “No Sheep for You” book signing & trunk show with Amy Singer at Loopy Yarns in the South Loop. After work I picked up my knit gals (Jen & Kristy) and we checked out the store and the book. What a beautiful selection of yarns! As a fun bonus during the event, all non-wool yarns were on sale – so I picked up several, all of which I have not used before: Cascade Fixation for socks, Cascade Cotton/Tencel, & SWTC Bamboo.

I have already cast on with the Cascade Cotton/Tencel – it is such a soft yarn & I love how it is knitting up so far. The book contains some beautiful patterns – I am already planning to use the just purchased bamboo for one of the patterns.

Wow – in 3 weeks I’ve been able to go to 3 knit book events and will be at a 4th next Friday. What knitterly things have you been up to?

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