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)


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!!

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!

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 Finished Project

This month’s finished project*!!!


Pattern: Follow Your Arrow 2 Yarn: Space Cadet Aurora in Colors of Cleveland January colorway Susquehanna Sparkle Sock in Trumpet

*it still needs to be blocked 🙂

This was my first knit-a-long and it was a mystery one so it was tons of fun!  I learned a lot of new stitches and got to use some fun yarn.  I would definitely partake in another mystery knit-a-long!  Now, to figure out the blocking issue.  I’m not a blocker and this thing needs some serious blocking.  I’ve seen the actual finished ones on Ravelry and they definitely make me want to figure it out!  Any tips or suggestions for blocking?

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:

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My First Yarn Club

I’ve never joined a yarn club.  I know there are a number of different clubs out there, especially with the indie dyers I love, and I’m always tempted but I never want to commit to having to buy pre-selected yarn each month when something else might pop up that I want more (my friends will tell you this is just another sign of my deeper commitment issues, but whatever!).  This month I finally broke down and joined a yarn club.  I’m pleased to say I can drop out at anytime so it’s perfect for my commitment issues and I had no reason not to join.

So, what finally made be break down and do it?  Well, I think it was the perfect combination of theme, yarn, oh and that out…  The yarn club is being run by my awesome LYS, River Colors Studio.  The yarn is being dyed by Stephanie at Space Cadet Yarns and the theme is our revitalized city, Cleveland.  Here’s how it is working.  One of the girls who works at the shop is studying textile design.  She is using various neighborhoods and areas of Cleveland as inspiration for a color palette.  That palette is being sent to Space Cadet and she is dying the yarn.  Space Cadet had a great trunk show at the store and everyone loved her yarn so we’re excited to get these specially dyed colors based on the all places we enjoy.

This month was the first month and we got to pick up our yarn.  I could hardly work all day knowing that I was going to stop on my way home!  I was even more excited when I got a box, complete with bow on it to tear open like Christmas morning to see what was inside.  And, here’s what I found:

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This month the colors were inspired by the Edgewater and Shoreway communities and is lovely pink, purple, blue superwash merino.  And, there was even a special treat from a local chocolate shop, Sweet Designs (it was delicious!).

I have not decided what to do with it yet, I may collect them all and see what I have.  I do know that I want to take some of each month and put it into a project that will incorporate all of the Cleveland yarn and be my Cleveland piece.  Still working through those details in my head but I’ve got a whole year to think about.  The information we received about the club told us all the yarn will be of fingering weight but the bases may vary throughout the yarn so that should be interesting as well.

The Edgewater and Shoreway communities sit on Lake Erie’s shores.  There is quite a bit of beach and park land and it is the best place to catch the beautiful Lake Erie sunsets (and I guess sunrises but I’m never up that early…)  The blues, pinks and purples in this yarn really remind me of time spent at the lake.  I can’t wait to see where next month’s inspiration takes us and how that plays out in color!