Amy Artisan

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Category: Harbor Country (page 2 of 2)

Just a few miles…

…down the road…but so far away…

One of my favorite things about going to Harbor Country, MI is that is really is a quick escape from the City (under 100 miles from my house) and yet as you travel those miles East from Chicago, over the Skyway bridge, through Indiana and on towards Michigan you really feel as though you are “far away” from the hustle and bustle of city life. Last weekend’s “Sister’s Weekend” was no different.

This is the 2nd summer weekend that my sister has flown up to join us for the fun and the fourth year that Jen, Kristy & I have gone over there. We booked the weekend several months ago and had been looking forward to it ever since – on several occasions, one of the four of us would comment about “can’t wait till the beach weekend…”

We left downtown Chicago at noon on Friday – a large Dunkin Donuts Iced Hazelnut coffee for each of us and a car picnic of lunch items and the fun began.

Among the highlights:

Friday Fun!

Friday afternoon was filled with shopping – including some antiques, and the charming Pomegranate Home shop…Friday evening was dinner at Cafe Gulistan – yummy Turkish treats. We sat right by the windows out on to parts of the beautiful garden…The evening was capped off by ice cream at Oink’s…And a quick glimpse of the sunset over Lake Michigan.

Saturday was a beautiful day…

Saturday Fun!

…for shopping among the Sidewalk Sales in downtown New Buffalo……a quick salad lunch at Rosie’s, a local institution…part of the afternoon was spent at Sit & Knit. Jack & Kim were away at the Estes Wool Market; however, we had a delightful time sitting & knitting with Angie, one of their teachers who was minding the store. I don’t know what the Cotton Blossom yarn will become (St. Croix for me & Tangerine for Rebecca).

Winery Fun!

…the rest of the afternoon was spent on the Michigan Wine Trail…first to our favorite, Round Barn Winery…and then we checked out a “new to us” winery, Free Run Cellars, which is operated by the sons of the Round Barn family. It is a new favorite winery and will be included in any outings that include a Round Barn visit.

Italian Cafe Fun!

…for dinner we went to Brewster’s Italian Cafe…earlier in the day, Kristy & Rebecca had checked it out & proclaimed that we needed to go there for dinner. It didn’t disappoint. Their “Dinner for Two” option, twice, was the way to go. Their gazpacho was so fresh it was as if we were eating vegetables straight from the garden. The brick oven Pizza Margharitas were so yummy, flash backs to Italy. And both pasta options the table selected were excellent choices as well…After a bit of outlet shopping over in Michigan City, IN we were back at Oink’s for ice cream.

Beach Fun!

Sunday morning brought a few hours on the beach – we love staying at Gordon Beach Inn because of the private beach access. Because of the heat it was a hazy morning & you didn’t see much of the lake. We enjoyed our breakfast of iced cappuccinos and scones/pastries, did a bit of reading & then walked the shoreline for a bit.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up the car and return to the city. After some careful packing, everything and everyone fit in the car. On the way out of town we stopped at a produce stand to pick up Michigan cherries to bring home. The weekend was capped off by a quick lunch at Culver’s and then we picked up custard treats for the drive home. We all agreed that the weekend was filled with just the right combination of relaxation and fun and we are glad to have a summer escape like this.

We are already looking forward to next summer’s weekend – what annual summer trips do you have?

p.s. Stay tuned – contest winners & more blog fun in the next post…

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?

Time to Sit & Knit…and more

As I’ve written about before, Harbor Country in Michigan is a favorite quick escape from the city – both as a daytrip or a weekend. This past Saturday was no exception – my friend Kristy was game for an outing. 

The goals for the day were simple:

Pick up some vino for holiday gifts at Round Barn Winery. check!

Do a bit of shopping at some of our favorite shops. check! In addition to stopping at the fun Ben Franklin we found some fun things at Pomegranate Home.

Lunch at someplace fun. check! we finally checked out The Stray Dog Bar & Grill and both agreed that it will be in the restaurant rotation on future trips.

Sit and knit a bit at our favorite yarn shop, Sit & Knit. Check! When we walked into the shop we were greeted by Kim, the shop owner that we had met at Stitches Midwest in August and she remembered us from visiting the booth. No one else was in the shop at the time so we had great fun getting to know Kim. This last week was a big week for the shop – she just launched a blog and also filmed a pilot episode of their knitting talk show: Sit & Knit with Kim, Jack and Bird. It will air in South Bend in January it hopefully will become a national show. The shop as a great private label yarn line that is similar to the Cascade 128 line – lots of fun colors & so soft. I picked up several colors for assorted projects – including more felted bowls. Kristy cast on for her first felted bowl – Kim helped her get going “in the round.” The shop was supposed to close at 5 & it was about 5:45 when we were finally on our way with lattes to go. As I’ve said before, if this shop were closer I think I would be there every weekend. Thanks Kim for a lovely afternoon in your shop!

After a bit of outlet shopping in Michigan City we picked up Pumpkin Spice milkshakes from Culvers for “dinner” on the drive home. Kristy continued to knit round & round on her bowl while in the car – she felt the uptempo tunes (Play by Great Big Sea) had her knitting quickly and making great progress.

On the way home we detoured through downtown Chicago hoping to see the Christmas lights that had just been turned on – but Michigan Ave. still wasn’t open back up to traffic so we missed the lights but were in the midst of all the traffic. While in the traffic, Kristy did snap some fun shots of the city at night.

The evening ended with more knitting while watching a holiday favorite, Love Actually. Kristy finished up her first felted bowl & started her next one. I started and finished the square for Cathy’s Comforting Jenn blanket – a dusty sage & dusty rose superwash that I picked up at Sit & Knit earlier in the day. (picture to come later)

We did the same day trip last year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving – I think this is becoming our “routine” for kicking off the holiday season.

Sisters Weekend “at the beach”

This weekend was the ‘follow-up’ weekend for the “4 Kansas Sisters” over at Harbor Country in Michigan. On Thursday evening my sister flew into Chicago from Atlanta at about the same time I got in from Chattanooga. On Friday morning we packed up the car, grabbed some iced coffee & picked up the other sisters then were off for a weekend “at the beach.”

The weekend weather was not your normal beach vacation weather but that didn’t stop us from having a great time – even though we didn’t dip our toes into Lake Michigan. We did some of our favorite activities in the area & also some new things that are now on our “must do” list for the area.

Friday was filled with wineries & shopping. Our first stop was our favorite, Round Barn Winery, and we sampled some new wines & picked up some favorites. As we were getting ready to leave, our gal “Courtney” who had helped us out on previous visits came in from working outside & said hello. We then checked out a “new to us” winery, Lemon Creek Winery – another fun find, a family business that has been farming that land for 150 years.

Saturday started off rainy & it became obvious that we wouldn’t be spending time on the beach on this trip – so our participation in World Wide Knit in Public day wouldn’t be happening around sand. However, we still managed to knit in public with our afternoon at the yarn shop. After a lovely lunch of crepes and quiche at Pierre Anne Crepierre we went to Sit N’ Knit with the goal of “achieving” the store name for the afternoon. The couches in the main room were occupied when we first got there so we claimed the wicker sofa & chairs on the enclosed front patio. My sister doesn’t knit so she curled up with A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber for the duration. Jen & Kristy were working on their felted bags. I went for simple knitting to destress from the work week – dishcloths & a new scarf in Knit One, Crochet Too Tartlette yarn. As always, we enjoyed yummy lattes made by the gals at the shop. Later in the afternoon we moved into the main room to knit. If this shop truly was my LOCAL yarn store I have a feeling I’d be there every week to knit.

There was a bit of stash acquisition this weekend – I managed to not bring home everything that I “oohed & ahhed over”. A few balls of Sugar’n Cream in assorted colors for dishcloths. A cotton blend in white & shades of turquoise, lime & brown – this summery yarn will become some sort of scarf for me & my sister (when I asked her to pick out yarn for herself she wanted me to make her one just like what I had picked out). I don’t remember the name of the yarn – it had just arrived at the shop. I also picked up some yarn for my next “knitting for others” project – The Think Pink Challenge (1000 pink scarves for women diagnosed with breast cancer). I selected a rosy pink wool & a chocolate wool accent to make several scarves (pattern TBD).

Other highlights of the weekend included…a return stay at a charming inn near the beach…antique shopping (include several fun acquisitions among the group)…a wonderful Turkish dinner at Cafe Gulistan…stopping in at the Abigail Heche jewelry shop – we love her stuff & would love to own more of it…a bit of outlet sale shopping in Michigan City…driving along Lake Shore Dr. in Long Beach & Michigan City at sunset & enjoying the amazing views of the lake & dunes…a new home decor store, Pomegranate Home, that had the cutest water bottles/business cards for you to take with you on you way out the door…stopping by the local scrapbook store for some fun papers & cutouts for card making…and just spending time “away from it all”…Â

Even though the pictures from the weekend are few the memories are many & we look forward to next year’s getaway. While it is always fun to “go far away” for a vacation this weekend trip was the perfect reminder that you don’t have to go far to escape from it all!

What a day for a road trip…

no foolin’ – Saturday was just the day for a fun adventure for 2 sets of Kansas sisters!

My sister, Rebec, flew in from Atlanta on Saturday morning to spend a few days of her spring break (one of the “perks” of being a teacher) up here with me.

Once she arrived we stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up iced coffees all around & then picked up Jen & Kristy for a day of fun on the road. It was a bit of a gray day but that didn’t deter our fun.
Note: Because of the gray weather we didn’t take any pictures of our stops, these pictures are from previous (sunny) visits.

We headed over to Harbor Country, MI – just about 90 minutes away from Chicago. This area is a favorite summer weekend escape for us but also is just the right distance for an easy day away from the city.

Michigan Scenes

First stop was Round Barn Winery – a great local winery that we discovered last summer. We tried their just released Apricot Demi Sec (yum!) as well as some of our favorites & picked up some bottles to bring back with us. Courtney at the tasting room is a great help with understanding what you’re tasting & recommending things to try.

Next stop was a Ben Franklin Store that looked frozen in time (although it has new inventory). Among the assorted purchases was Sugar ‘n Cream yarn. Then we were off to the Red Arrow Roadhouse for a late lunch.

After lunch we finally arrived at the charming Sit & Knit – A Yarn Cafe. The woman working (Barbara?) remembered me from a previous visit. Lots of fun was had – 3 of 4 of us are knitters (& the 4th enjoyed receiving knitted goodies). On the sale porch I found some lovely Frog Tree Pima/Silk in black, terra cotta & a wedgewood blue (2 each) – this was truly a stash buy because I don’t know what it will become but I loved the color combination. I also picked up 5 skeins of Cascade 220 in some brights for my iPod cover & assorted other “techy” bags. And I “finally” got my copy of Oneskein by Leigh Radford. As my Cascade was wound into yarn cakes we all enjoyed our complimentary lattes while looking through pattern books & dreaming of new projects. We agreed that this summer we will have to “Sit and Knit” at the store when we are back over there for the weekend. (Because we stayed at the yarn store for ‘so long’ we weren’t able to get to the local scrapbook store on this trip.)

As we left Michigan we stopped in Michigan City, IN & cruised through Meijer – between the 4 of us we found a wide assortment of goodies – including board games, crafting tables, easter egg decorations, summer flip flops, sidewalk chalk & other craftiness. After arranging all of our purchases into the trunk of the car we went through the Culver’s drive-thru to pick up frozen custard for the drive home.

We were all tired by the time we were back in the city but agreed that it had been a fun way to kick off spring & we look forward to our summer weekend escape!

Here are some of the highlights of the “haul” from this weekend – quite a bit of Project Spectrum in the mix!
Road Trip Mosaic

The yarn store purchases have already been put into use – my iPod cozy is knit & waiting for blocking & then stitching up the sides. I’ve also cast on for the “Felted Tote” from Oneskein. Stay tuned for finished object reveals in the coming days & weeks.

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