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.

20150815_090315 20150815_090331

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!

20150704_092522 20150704_092432

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)


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!”

20150607_103311 20150607_103415

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!!

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.


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!


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!

Ides of March

It’s the Ides of March so I figure it’s a good day to share March’s yarn because, of course, it’s green!


And, I just had it photograph it on my St. Patrick’s Day table runner!  I knew as soon as we got the hint for March which what color it would be because I figured out the neighborhood.  This month’s neighborhood is Kamm’s Corners.  The is the western most area of the City of Cleveland and has strong Irish-Catholic roots.  It is home to many of the city’s police and fire force and is where the Cleveland Police and Firefighters’ Memorial is located.  Some of the old homes are beautiful and I always wonder what they look like inside.  The MetroParks runs through the area, including Little Met, one of the golf courses run by the park system.  It is also home to a couple of fine Irish pubs, including the Public House.

One last thing before I close this post – I was excited to see on Twitter the announcement of the 6th Annual Knitting & Crocheting Blog week which is organized by Eskimimi Makes.  This will be my third year to participate and it’s always a fun and challenging week.  Each year I find new bloggers to follow and new bloggers follow me.  More details to come!

And now, I have not had any knitting time in the past two days so I’m going to pull out a project and get to work.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!

February’s Yarn (a.k.a my favorite one yet!)

The new month brought the next installment in my yarn of the month club.  I can’t believe this marks the halfway point!  I knew as soon as I peaked in the bag that this one was going to be my favorite because I saw purple!  It is has so many different beautiful purples in it and then hiding are just a few hints of blue.  This month’s base is 100% superwash merino.

I picked it up on my usual knit night this month and my friend, we’ll call her Gia, was eagerly awaiting the reveal.  Once the colorway is unveiled, the next question is always “what neighborhood does it represent?”  The answer on Thursday was: “University Circle” to which Gia responded “what?”.  That was my initial reaction as well.  One of the fun things with this club is trying to figure out where Rachel found the color inspiration for the featured neighborhood.  Some months I totally get it as soon as I see it and other months, not so much.  I think this was the case with December’s yarn.  Rachel does provide us with an info page which has the palette, the explanation of the palette and some info about the neighborhood. So I turned to the explanation and then it all made sense to me.

For readers not from Cleveland, University Circle is what I would call ground zero of any trip to Cleveland.  It’s the must see, do not miss spot.  In one small, area we have our world class art museum, world class orchestra, beautiful botanical garden, fun natural history museum and a cool historical society which just added an amazing carousel.   Other attractions in the area include Lakeview Cemetery where James A. Garfield is buried, MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and the Cleveland Cinematheque which shows all those cool foreign films which are hard to find at the commercial theaters.  In the winter there is skating rink and in the summer they have Wade Oval Wednesdays where there is live music, food trucks and other entertainment.  The campus of Case Western Reserve University is also in and around the area and has some really interesting buildings.  And, depending on what route you take to get there you can drive through the cultural gardens which represent the many different nationalities you can find in the city.  Like I said, this is pretty much were all the tourist action is at so it should be at the top of every visitor’s list.

With all the art and culture purple does seem to be a logical color choice.  As Rachel tells us the art and culture bring to mind a time of renaissance and royalty and purple is the color of royalty.  With so many different attractions it is hard to find just one colorway that represents University Circle.  Most of the buildings are quite old and really do remind you of days gone by.  I get the purples and bonus it’s my favorite color!

Here’s the yarn:

20150207_150734 20150207_150748

January Yarn of the Month

Toward the end of December us yarn club members got  teaser blog post about January’s yarn.  (You can read it here).  It included some fun facts about the neighborhood I did not know before reading it.  The tidbit that gave it away for me was that it is home to Cleveland’s only hostel.  Ohio City borders downtown Cleveland is home to a wide variety of people and places.  It is a neighborhood that continues to revive itself.  The main jewel of the neighborhood is the West Side Market which is one of the top sights to see on a trip to Cleveland.  It is also home to Great Lakes Brewery, a place that I can always count on when I have to entertain out of town guests for a great Cleveland experience.  Some of the guests have even been converted to Great Lakes fans!

My favorite place in area is Le Petit Triangle which is a small, French cafe.  Years ago it was was called Oui Oui Cafe and was owned by a French woman.  It was there I discovered my very favorite tea.  It is Marco Polo by Mariage Freres.  The owner explained she would bring suitcases of it back with her whenever she went home to France.  I,too, bring large quantities back whenever I go to France now too.  The new owners have it had it for awhile now and they still serve top notch crepes and French wine.  No more tea but it’s still my favorite place to go

Oh, did I mention this month’s yarn is 20% cashmere???  It’s a delightful yarn and the colors are fabulous!

20150110_102337 20150110_102301

One of the suggestions for this yarn was the Clincher which is in my favorites but when I mentioned it at the knitting table a couple of gals who knit it strongly discouraged me as they do no like the way it wears.    So, I’m still on the fence.  Anyone else out there knit it?  What are your thoughts?

In the meantime, it will hang out with the previous month’s colors.  I’ve been searching for a good pattern that would use at least some of each month’s yarn to make a “Cleveland” project.  Right now, I’m leaning towards Dotted Rays by Steven West.  I’ve seen that done in some fantastic color stripes.  It would use all of some month’s and only some of others so I think it might be a keeper.  One of these days I need to spread out the colors we have received so far and see how they look.  If I do Dotted Rays I want to get a neutral solid to stripe between colors.

Here’s what we have received so far!  I think December is definitely my favorite colorway and January has been my favorite base.  The cashmere really makes it so very soft and cuddly!  Can’t wait to see what February brings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

December Yarn

This month’s yarn has a little holiday sparkle in it!  It also has a very wintery feel to it with all the blues.  We also got a custom made bar of soap from Stem – a local soap making company.  I can’t share the smell but it’s wonderful!  The inspiration area is Playhouse Square/Downtown.

20141213_123845 20141213_123922

What, I’m sure most people outside of Cleveland don’t know, is that Playhouse Square is the 2nd largest theater complex in the U.S., behind only Lincoln Center in New York.  The theaters have all been restored and host a wide variety of events.  The most recent addition in the area is a giant chandelier which is quite the conversation starter.  Many love it, I fall on the other side and am not the biggest fan.

I think the color choice for this area are interesting.  I’m not really sure I feel the blues and purples from the area.  The sparkle is perfect for the theater district.  I love the deep blues and purple this month and it is so very different from the previous months.  It reminds me of the sky right after sunset before it turns completely black.

November Yarn of the Month

November has been crazy busy for me and this led to quite a delay before I could go pick up my November yarn.  I was able to see a sneak peak on Facebook which held me over until I got to the store.  This month’s color is based on the Gordon Square Arts District and looks like this:

20141121_110754 20141121_110741

A little background for the out of towners who may be reading.  The Cuyahoga River runs through the middle of Cleveland and divides the city into the west side and the east side.  I realize this is common in many areas but the lines are firmly drawn here and it is usually the first thing you ask someone.  I am a west-sider.  One of the only things we were really lacking here on the west side was an arts district.  All of the arts areas were on the east side and sometimes it’s just too much effort to cross the river.  The east side has the art museum and the the cool, arty movie theater.  That all changed with the development of the Gordon Square Arts District.

What used to be a run down main drag has been slowly revitalized and is now home to restaurants, shops, galleries, a cool, arty movie theater and even live theater.  My hair salon, Honeycomb, is in the area as is Yellowcake – a fashion shop owned by Valerie, a former contestant on Project Runway.  I thought of both of these when I saw all the yellow in the yarn this month.  The area is home to Cleveland Public Theater which runs some edgier shows and has a lot of intimate theater space for smaller productions.  I have a few friends who have been involved in productions at the theater.  I love having a theater that shows the independent films on my side of the river.  With everything going on in Gordon Square I really don’t need to cross the river now!