August Yarn of the Month

It’s the final month for my yarn of the month club!  I can’t believe it’s been a year – time really does fly.  But, back to the yarn.  I had figured out the last neighborhood based on a clue I got last month.  This month’s inspiration is Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood.  Yes, there is one in Cleveland and it’s pretty awesome!  Now, it wasn’t that they were saving the best for last, it’s more that August is Little Italy’s month.  As one can imagine, the area is very Catholic and the church has a huge festival to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption which is today (August 15th).  In Cleveland, it’s just the Feast.  It’s completely crazy but a whole lot of fun if you can handle the crowds.  I expected yarn that was red, white and green just like the Italian flag.  Not quite what we got, so here it is and then I’ll talk about the colors.

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There is that pop of green in the middle!  I should be thankful that Rachel did not take the neighborhood quite as literally as I did because white, green and red yarn would just scream Christmas to me.  Her explanation of the palette makes perfect sense.  In it she talks about the sunflowers, red brick streets, red wine, marinara sauce and dried herbs.  Yep, that sums up our Little Italy.  It’s 100% superwash and I can’t wait to start lining up all 12 skeins to see what might work for my Cleveland project!

As I mentioned the biggest event in Little Italy is the Feast which is going on as I type.  I’ve been to it, back in my younger days and the food is great!  The crowds are not so great.  Outside of the Feast it’s a fun neighborhood to spend an afternoon.  There are a lot of little shops and galleries and food, have I mentioned food???  Pizza, pasta and pastries – it’s all good and you need to spend the rest of the afternoon walking through the hilly streets to work off all the food.  Little Italy is on the eastern end of Cleveland and is surrounded by Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Heights and Lakeview Cemetery.  It’s about a 15 minute drive from downtown.  If you need more exercise after eating all that food, then a quick trip to Lakeview will do the trick.  You can check out the graves of James Garfield, Eliot Ness, John D. Rockerfeller and Alan Freed.  You can also see an original Tiffany window in the Wade Chapel.

Now, just finding the time to put these all together and cast on my epic Cleveland project, that’s going to be the trick!  Thanks to River Colors for organizing the club, Stephanie at Space Cadet for dying the yarn and Rachel for coming up with the amazing color palettes each month!!  It was loads of fun and I can’t wait to make something great!

July’s Yarn

Yarn club is quickly coming to an end – one more month!  This month’s yarn was inspired by The Flats area of Cleveland.  The colorway is spectacular and it’s superwash merino.  I feel like I say this every month but I really love this one!

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The purple in this one is making me drool!!  And, I had some nice sunlight this morning so it actually photographed well.  I like the palette Rachel chose this month.  The Flats has always has a certain grittiness to it, being right down along the river so the blues and purples really convey that.

Now, a little about the Flats.  Back in my day, it was the place to see and be seen and I had many a fun night.  The Flats, like our city, are divided into the West Bank and the East Bank and the area runs right along the Cuyahoga River.  In the 90’s both sides were lined with restaurants and night clubs.  The West Bank is the home of an old powerhouse that was converted to an entertainment center.  It has a special events space and had a comedy club, brew pub and a few bars in it.  I remember celebrating a new year’s eve there shortly after I turned 21 which was a lot of fun.  I met a boyfriend at the brew pub and went to more than one bachelorette party at the dueling pianos bar.  The East Bank was almost all bars, although it also had two music venues where you they had concerts.  I started hanging with a crew in the mid 90’s and our favorite hang out was Have a Nice Day Cafe.  It was an 80’s themed club that served drinks in fishbowls.  The drinks were some sort of Kool-Aid plus random alcohol and came with a bunch of straws.  They had a small patio out back that overlooked the river and it’s no small miracle that no one ever fell.  I still have a fishbowl and it makes a great place to throw spare change (with a few wooly decorations)

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As Y2K approached the entertainment district in downtown Cleveland moved up the hill and the new hot spot was West 6th (and, now it’s E. 4th – just keeps moving down the road!).  Places started going out of business and crime rose in those that were left.  All of a sudden, no one went the Flats.  And, in my life, people got married and had kids and we just didn’t go out.  Fishbowls were reminders of days gone by.

The good news is that in the last few years the Flats, like Cleveland, has been undergoing a revival.  The Powerhouse is now home to an aquarium which is kind of small but filled with character as they left a lot of the brick walls exposed and there is a walk through shark exhibit.  A few music venues have opened (or reopened) and there are apartments.  The river area has exploded and there is a bike share, a place to launch kayaks, a pretty active crew scene and a great new place on the river to eat called Merwin’s.  You can watch the barges navigate the very crooked Cuyahoga and enjoy some great food and drink.  I’ve taken several friends there since my first visit and everyone has loved it!  It’s great to see the resurgence – you won’t get better views of the city then from down in the Flats.  The skyline just towers above you and watching the traffic on the river heading out onto our great lake is pretty darn cool!

There was a clue for next month’s neighborhood and I think I know what it is so we’ll have to wait and see.  In the meantime, I’m going to play with the 11 I have and see what kind of layout I want for my Cleveland project.  I’ll try to have an update next month!!

June’s Yarn

Despite the fact that I’m a life longer Clevelander I’m running out of guesses as to where the last few neighborhoods will be for the yarn club.  So, when I picked up this month’s yarn I was excited to see what area it would highlight.  As soon as I pulled it out of the bag I said “it looks like an Easter egg!”

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I took advantage of a sunny morning to take these pictures.  It’s a bamboo/merino mix so it has a nice sheen to it from the bamboo and I adore bamboo yarn so this month is a big win for me!

Now, let’s talk about the neighborhood which inspired the colors.  This month was an area called Hingetown.  This is a relatively new developing neighborhood just outside of downtown to the west.  I believe last year was the first year that the Hingetown Market was started.  It was advertised as a French style market and anything that is advertised as French lures me in.  I managed to make it to one market (they are held once a month) and I went with my knitting friend, (we’ll call her B).  She and I had met up in actual France the prior summer so we were anxious to check it out.  There were a number of flea market type vendors and a few crafters.  I’m not sure it felt particularly French to me but it was a fun morning out.  We stopped in a new tea shop and had a quick iced tea that was delicious.  We also popped into the spinning/yoga studio and checked out the facility.  There was a juice bar that was packed and they were still working on finishing a new music club.  Further on we stumbled into a really cool flower store that was bright and vibrant and had some really cool stuff.  We ended up ordering some food from a food truck and as we ate there was a show on a little stage that was set up.  It was a bunch of high school students from one of the lower income areas and they were part of this program where they made music and learned how to garden which was really interesting and their music was heartbreaking.  They were doing a Kickstarter campaign and giving away terrariums as a gift for donations.  Of course we donated!  And, for the record, I already killed mine – so sad!  All in all we had a lovely morning and got to explore this up and coming area of Cleveland.

Only two more months to go!  I was told the last month should be obvious but I’m clearly not that bright because I’m struggling.  Fun note – when this posts I will be off enjoying my first trip to the Estes Park Wool Market so hopefully I’ll have some fun stuff to share next week!!

About that Poll…

So last week as part of Knit & Crochet Blog Week I published my first ever poll – it was all very exciting!  And, thanks to the 4 people who voted – each vote made me very happy!  2 votes for the Memory Blanket and 1 each for Dotted Rays and All Color Works Shawl.  I said I would discuss my thought process more after I saw the results.

I’ve been searching since yarn club started for a pattern to incorporate all 12 months and it’s hard to search for something like that on Ravelry.  We all know that Steven West loves to play with colors and I saw a few Dotted Rays that used quite a number of colors which is why that was actually at the top of my list.  The rows were long enough to see all the colors and with a neutral between stripes it would probably work.  The same goes with the All Color Works Shawl.  I really liked the Memory Blanket but was worried the squares would not be large enough to really appreciate the color varigations.  And, I’m already working on my version of it with the yarns I collect when I travel.

Timing is always a weird thing and I believe the day after I published the poll the Outline pattern was in the hot 20 list on Ravelry.  The pattern is by Hedgehog Fibers and was specifically designed to use single skeins of hand dyed sock yarn. They even state in the description that it is perfect for yarn clubs!  And, it’s a FREE pattern!!!  I can hardly wait to cast on!  I was going to wait until I had all 12 colors before I started but I think I can cast on the first color 🙂

Decisions, Decisions

Today’s topic is to create a poll on a knitting topic.  The first thing that popped into my head was my ever burning of question of what I’m going to do with my yarn club yarns once the year is over.  (All of my yarn club posts can be found under the category Yarn Club if you want to take a look).  My plan is to make a giant Cleveland project blending all 12 yarns into one project.  Now, I won’t use all the yarn for the project, I’ve already dived in and used some of January’s yarn for another project but I have enough left over to incorporate into the bigger project.  We all love Ravelry but I really wanted to figure out a way to search for projects that require 12 or more colors.  In the meantime, I’ve been keeping my eye out and marking any projects I think will work.  So, here’s where you can help – I’ve listed my top 3 in the poll and I’ve included Other.  If you vote Other, please leave a suggestion in the comments so I can check out some other options!

In case you are wondering – here are links for the options: 1. Dotted Rays 2. Memory Blanket and 3. All Colors Work Shawl  I’ll discuss my thought process in more detail after I get the poll results.  I don’t want to bias the voting!

May’s Yarn of the Month

This month we got our second sparkle yarn!  And, it seems only appropriate for the Cedar Lee District.  The Cedar Lee area used to be the only place in Cleveland where you could watch small, independent films and experience worldly cuisine.  With the revitalization of the city we now have other options but Cedar Lee still has its own charm.  It borders University Circle and is home to movie theaters, live theaters, restaurants and galleries.  So, a rainbow of vibrant colors with just a bit of sparkle does seem a perfect color representation of the area.

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Since I first discovered independent films I’ve enjoyed the journey over the Cedar Lee theater.  They served alcohol there long before some of the big theaters started that practice – it always seemed so exotic!  The area is also home to the Dobama Theater which is home to live theater productions.  I’ve seen a few performances and they are always interesting works, often local and often thought provoking.  Cain Park is a big part of the neighborhood.  Cain Park is the home of a large summer arts festival and they also have concerts and performances at a small, outdoor pavilion.  It’s a great place to take in a concert and picnic on a summer night.

I can’t believe there are only 3 more months left!

April Yarn of the Month

I thought it would be a little more springlike since I believe spring has finally arrived in my corner of the world but then the e-mail said it was based on our local Asiatown so I immediately thought red/black/yellow.  And, here it is!

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When I saw the actual colors I was pretty excited because I’m not a deep red/black kind of girl and this has such muted shades that it is really lovely.

Our Asiatown is so named because it celebrates many different Asian cultures and is a vibrant area located on the near-east side of Cleveland quite close to downtown.  I have not spent much time in the area as I do not enjoy eating much Asian cuisine.  However, in the past few months I have been attending meetings scheduled at various restaurants in the neighborhood which has allowed me to check out the area for myself.  I have friends who enjoy the celebration that takes place for Chinese New Year in Asiatown and it always looks like a good time.  Especially, this year welcoming the year of the sheep!

Recently, the area has also become home to a number of live/work spaces for artists and there are some cool things to be found in the galleries that are popping up.  I would say this area has a lot to offer, especially if you have an interest in Asian culture, food, goods!