Yarny Adventures

During my staycation in Denver I had decided that I wanted to go to Fancy Tiger Craft, The Loopy Ewe and My Sister Knits.  Fancy Tiger is relatively close to where I was staying but the last two are up in Fort Collins which is about 1 – 1 1/2 hours away from Denver.  With that in mind, I did something I would not usually do, I reached out to two podcasters that I listen to on a regular basis to see if they would be interested in meeting up and they said yes!!

I think it’s a strange relationship – as a listener of podcasts I feel that I know the hosts as I listen to what is going on in their knitting lives each week or every couple of weeks but that doesn’t work in reverse. For all they knew I could’ve been some crazy stalker from Ohio.  So when I contacted Emily and Becky I led with a disclaimer that I was not crazy and if they were not interested that was cool.  It must have worked because in the end, we decided to meet up on Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning, I hit up Fancy Tiger on my way out of town.  I’ve heard so much about this shop and was really excited.  I got a parking place right in front which I think was quite lucky!  They only have on street parking so I’m sure it can be tough some days.  I loved the front window display and the decor of the store when I walked in.  The girls working were friendly but not overbearing, i.e. they acknowledged I came in the store and then allowed me to browse at leisure.  But, here’s where I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite store (and, disclaimer I don’t sew so did not check out the fabric area which I hear is definitely a draw).  First, there’s not a lot of yarn and the yarn that is there tended to be of a more crunchy, granola type which isn’t my scene.  They definitely had brands I had not seen, and overall the vibe was great in the store. I ended up buying a skein of MJ Yarns Simple Sock in the Green Dragon colorway. I was talking to my friend G when I got back and we talked about how sometimes we build up some of these stores in our heads and then they can never live up to those expectations.  That might be the case here.  I’m definitely glad I went but I might find other places to check out on future trips to Denver.

After that I hit the road and headed to Fort Collins.  I had decided to just get a hotel up there so I didn’t have to worry about driving back to Denver at the end of the night and that was a good idea on my part.  I was meeting everyone at The Loopy Ewe.  Emily hosts the Knitting Butterflies podcast and I had chatted with her last year about the Estes Park Wool Market.  Becky hosts the Knit Actually podcast and I found her through a post Emily shared on Instagram.  As soon as I listened to an episode I was hooked and knew she was my type of people.  Becky brought her friend Jen as well, which is good because I feel weird if I’m on the only Jen somewhere 🙂

I loved The Loopy Ewe so much!!!  It was so amazing and they had so many yarns I’ve seen on Instagram and heard podcasters talk about.  My plan was to buy yarn to knit the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl by Joji Locatelli.  Becky suggested that I use Knerd String for it and they had so many colors to chose from that I found just the right 3 colors and the skeins were large enough that I just needed one of each color which was nice.  It was a good choice as well because it is a Colorado dyer, which makes it special vacation yarn.  I’m hoping to get the shawl done in time for Rhinebeck but we’ll see…  I also bought a sock blocker and one of the Ann Budd gauge measures which is super awesome!  And, a skein of sock yarn from Fresh From the Cauldron.

We dragged ourselves away so that we could hit My Sister Knits (MSK) before it closed.  I was on such a high from The Loopy Ewe that I was worried I would not enjoy the next store as much – Wrong!!!!  I’m not sure which I loved more because they offered very different experiences but both were so great.  First, MSK is in an entirely residential neighborhood, in fact, it’s in a carriage house behind a regular house.  There’s a little yarn bombing on a tree out front and then a sign at the gate at the driveway leading you through a beautiful garden complete with chickens to the carriage house where the store is located.  We walked in and were greeted very warmly.

Here’s a funny story.  One of the women working asked if we had been in before.  I said no, I was from Cleveland to which she asked where in Cleveland.  This indicated to me that she knew my fair city as there are two answers to that question – west side or east side.  I told her where and it turned out she grew up in my town, in fact, about 5 minutes away from my house.  I love small world stories 🙂

Back to the yarn – they have so much yarn in this tiny two story carriage house.  I ended with a skein of self striping sock yarn from ScrumptiousPurl and a contrasting skein of Koigu sock yarn for the cuffs, heels and toes.  The very nice ladies took our picture outside in front of the sign and recommended places for dinner, they even offered us bottled water.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with all the yarn we bought 🙂

By this time we were hungry and thirsty!  We ended up at a place called Rio which was Mexican and made super delicious margaritas (told you the hotel was a good idea 😉 ) and we knit and drank and talked and laughed.  I marveled at how knitting was the one thing we all had in common and yet, if anyone walked by they would have thought we were life long friends.  I’m so excited that I now have both family and friends in Colorado to go visit.  And, I’m so excited that both Becky and Emily will be at Rhinebeck so I will get to see them again soon!!

If you want to hear more about our adventures listen to Episode 53 of Knitting Butterflies or Episode 39 of Knit Actually.  This is a super long post so I’m going to head back to my Ravellenics project now and will have more of my yarny adventures next week!

Three FO’s and a HO

May has been a pretty productive month!  The other day I had lunch with a crafty friend and she did ask if I have like 17 projects going on at one time.  I laughed and said yes!  She was under some sort of mistaken impression that I actually finish knitting things. LOL! But, this month I have finished a few things and am making good progress on a few date sensitive projects.

Let’s start with this little pumpkin hat.  Pattern is Little Pumpkin by Susan B. Anderson and I used mystery stash yarn.  I believe the orange might have been a Cascade of some sort and the brown is maybe a Lion Brand or equivalent from the big box store.  It’s for some friends who just had a little boy.  When they did their pregnancy announcement on Facebook it was in October and they used a pumpkin in the photo so I thought it would be cute to knit the baby his own pumpkin hat.

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Next, my friend runs a nonprofit that helps local families in our area who have children who are struggling in some way, either with or without a diagnosis.  They are having their first ever golf outing in June so I offered to knit a set of golf club covers she could use as a prize.  I’m using Purl Soho’s Golf Club Covers pattern.  I got all the yarn from the big box store (and, shhh, don’t tell her but I used the gift card she gave me for helping with their annual fundraiser 🙂 ).  I have knit them in the organization’s colors which are orange and black.  Their logo has all the colors in the stripes of the black one.  I have one more to make – the set is for the driver, the 3 wood and the 5 wood.  I love how they are coming out.  The Purl Soho pattern is great!  I love all their patterns and they are free!!!

My only issue is that when you get to the part that covers the club head you have to hold the yarn double.  This makes for some tight knitting so it’s a bit tough on my hands/wrists but I started working on them early enough that I’ve been able to take a break between covers.  I will be playing a very tight game of yarn chicken for the final one.  I’m glad I started with the biggest and worked my way down so fingers crossed!!

 

Next, I talked about my mystery yarn and the Graduate Your Stash KAL that I’m doing.  So, I did finish one bowl and kind of felted it.  I’m going to knit up the rest of the skein into bowls and head over to a friend’s house who has a washing machine with an agitator and hope they felt some more.  The pattern is Stash Busting Project Bags and Bowls by Molly Conroy and is free on Ravely.  This first one came out a little smaller than I thought so I’m using bigger needles on the next one and will see how that changes the size.  Otherwise, it’s a great pattern and has five different options depending on how much yarn you are trying to get rid of!

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And, last but not least, I finished one sock so that would be the HO.  More details and pics when I finish the second sock!

There are a bunch of fun KALs going on this summer.  I know everyone is all about Stash Dash which is such a great idea.  But, I don’t participate because it requires just a little too much thought and planning for me.  I’m finishing up the Graduate Your Stash KAL which ends June 30th.  I will also be participating in the Summer Superlatives KAL hosted by Becky of the Knit Actually Podcast and the Great Outdoors KAL which is hosted by Emily of the Knitting Butterflies Podcast.  If you are looking for fun and low key KALs I would recommend either or both of them.  You can find more info on them in their Ravelry groups or on their websites.  Side note, I think I might get to do a little knitting with both of these ladies as I will be visiting Colorado in July so we’re trying to figure out a little knitting get together while I’m there which will be super fun!!

 

What I’m Listening to This Month

Earlier this week I was watching the most recent episode of the Knitting Butterflies podcast and Emily was going to do a review of a new book and I thought she made a great point – she is no longer reviewing, she is recommending.  It was especially timely for me as I plan my blog posts for the month and part of this year’s plan is to do reviews once a month.  My schedule tells me this week’s post is a review of two new to me (and, both newish in general) podcasts.  So, I’m calling this What I’m Listening to This Month and can continue to switch that up depending on what I might be reading, knitting with, or listening to each month.

Before I dive into my latest podcast finds, a few things about podcasts.  I’m primarily an audio podcast listener.  Most of the time I listen while I’m at work where I have no wifi so I download a bunch of episodes for the day before I leave home.  Videos are much harder to manage and are much more distracting!!  I have Android devices so I don’t use iTunes (sorry to all you podcasters – I can’t leave iTunes reviews for you :().  I use the app Podcast Addict.  I can usually find anything on there that is on iTunes.  The app is easy to use and I’ve never had any problems with it.  It seems more and more podcasts are going to video so I’m always excited to find new audio ones for my listening pleasure!

The first podcast I’m listening to is Kino Knits.  Mary lives in Kenya (Kenya!!!) and her podcast, blog and designs can be found at KinoKnits.  I think I first heard about her on the Prairie Girls podcast as they were giving away one of Mary’s patterns.  I finally remembered to look up her podcast and the first episode I listened to was Episode 7.  I’m totally hooked and went back and listened to the first episode, with plans to listen to Episodes 2-6. I love to travel (another part of this blog) and so being able to listen to someone in Africa talk about knitting over the there and the adventures her family is able to take is just the best of both worlds for me.  The sound quality on her podcast is excellent.  And, to my surprise, Mary did a shout out to me in Episode 8.  I have not had a chance to listen to it (tomorrow during my car ride for sure!) but I went to the show notes to write this post and I saw my name there!!  Thanks Mary!!  There are 8 episodes so not a lot to catch up on which makes it’s a great time to tune in!

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The second podcast I wanted to talk about today is the Knit Actually podcast.  I found this one through Emily from the Knitting Butterflies podcast.  Becky is the host and she is great to listen to.  She talks about knitting and she also does some of her own dying which is interesting.  Full disclosure – I have a lot of family in Colorado (which is where Becky and Emily are) and I think I was sucked in by the Scoreboard scarf Becky knit for her son documenting the Broncos Superbowl winning season.  It is amazing!!!!  She has 27 episodes out so, again, not too much to catch up on and a great time to subscribe.

If you are looking for new audio podcasts I would definitely suggest you check out these two (and, also Knitting Butterflies and the Prairie Girls, of course 🙂 ) I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!

One last note – the article I mentioned a couple of weeks ago came out.  CountryLiving.com compiled a list of 13 cool ways to yarn bomb your home and one of my prior posts was included!  You can check it out here – 13 Ideas to Yarn Bomb Your Home!