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!!

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 🙂

Photo Day! #6KCBWDAY3


This is my third year of participating and there is always a photo day.  I want to improve my photo skills but that’s kind of far down the list of pressing things to do so I do appreciate this little challenge each year.

I recently discovered a new blog that I enjoy very much – The Desert Knitter and she wrote a blog about swatching for a new project that was going to use different colors.  In the post she talked about using the black and white filter to check contrast in her choices.  I found it so interesting and it made me think of my yarn club yarn.

My ultimate goal with the 12 skeins of yarn club yarn is to put them all in one project so I have a Colors of Cleveland finished item.  This will be interesting because we have received so many different colorways and all are variegated.  I have a few ideas of projects in mind (and I’ll share more of that later this week – big tease!).  In the meantime, I took the 9 months of colors outside this past sunny Saturday and took some photos and used my black and white filter to see what the contrast looks like in a few different line ups.  Here’s what I have so far.

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What I noticed most was there is very little contrast when you switch to black and white, except for a few pops of very bright or very dark colors there is a pretty even gray going on throughout.  I have a great neutral to use between sections of colors so I think however they end up it will work.  We still have 3 more months to add.  I think I know which one I’m leaning towards but let me know which one you like!

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!

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.