Movie Day

I’ve been excited since I heard there was something called Yarn: The Movie.  And then, I saw some crafty folks hosting a showing down in Columbus, about 2 hours from me but I was going to be out of town.  But I totally lucked out and the Cleveland Museum of Art had a one time showing last Sunday.  A bunch of my knitting friends got tickets and headed to the museum.

There was a line to get in when we got there because they were waiting for the DVD.  I hoped they would get it soon because no one wants to deal with an angry mob of yarn enthusiasts. 6 of us made the trip and I somehow thought we would know everyone at the movie even though that does not make any sense.  We don’t know all the knitters in Cleveland and maybe there were crocheters, who knows???  There were definitely more men than I expected.  Overall, the small auditorium was pretty full so I guess we were not the only interested people in town.

I brought my Ravellenics socks with me because I knew this was the one time it was completely appropriate to knit through the entire movie.  (Side note, I only knit for the first couple of minutes because I did know where the slip stitch pattern started after the stitch marker and my other friend almost lost her ball of yarn down the middle of the theater so I think I’ll continue to skip knitting at movies 🙂 )  Finally, the lights dimmed and it was show time!!  I was so excited!!!  While I had heard a somewhat so-so review of the film, I had also heard a really good review so I remained optimistic.

I loved it – 5 dpns to this movie!!!  I get that it might not be for everyone as parts of it are kind of out there, it was everything I had hoped for.  It really concentrates on the use of yarn as art expression.  The movie follows four different yarn artists in different locations. All four use yarn art expression in different ways.  The movie, through the artists, also explores feminist themes of art, craft and women’s work.  It is beautifully narrated by Barbara Kingslover.

To be clear, this is definitely not a movie about knitting sweaters or how yarn is made. There are a few very cute sheep that make appearances but the movie is about how these four women are using yarn to make a statement in the world.  For those people that are just interested in knitting and/or crocheting as a craft to make things this is probably not the movie for you.  I’m a yarn bomb enthusiast and I love to see what talented and creative people are doing to express themselves and their idea.  When I left the movie I wanted to go out and yarn bomb the world.  I would also add that the movie is not just about yarn bombing – two of the women use yarn bombing in different ways in their art but the other two artists have nothing to do with yarn bombing.

One of my friends that came to movie moved to Vermont this past week so she asked if we could visit her two favorite pieces of art in the museum so she could say good-bye to them before she left.  My other friend is new to the area and had never been to our wonderful museum so we did a quick run through before we headed home.  After watching the movie, it was even more interesting to see what her two favorite pieces were as it was clear that we all express ourselves so differently through art.  It was also fun to show off our amazing (and free) museum to our first time friend.   And now, whenever I go to the museum and see those two pieces I will think of our lovely day out.

 

Shepherd’s Day

Yesterday my LYS held a special event called Shepherd’s Day.  It was a trunk show from Cestaria Sheep & Wool Company.  Not only was there yarn, there was the shepherd that tended the flock.  I’m not sure where to start talking about this really fun day.

My friends who work at the store posted some sneak peak pictures as they were setting up on Friday night and the color selection was amazing!  I’ve been wanting to get some yarn to knit the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl and this had some definite possibilities so I was very excited.

When I walked into the store on Saturday morning the first thing that caught my eye were the pile of sheepskins on the big knitting table – they were beautiful and so soft.  I could not stop petting them.  But there were several tables of yarn to look at so I dragged myself away.

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Being someone who is sensitive to wool, I was really interested in the cotton and cotton/linen yarns that were being offered.  In addition, they did have traditional wool in a variety of weights.  As I was making my first pass, the shepherd, Francis Chester, came over to talk about his yarns.  According to the Cestari website, Francis is 80 years old and still farming!  All of their yarns are made and produced here in the US. Francis has a farm in Virginia where he raises sheep for wool.  They also obtain additional wool from reputable ranchers in the US.  The cotton is grown and processed in Virginia.

It is then treated and spun in the US and is all done using environmentally friendly methods.  Even the dyes are safe and non-toxic.  Now, as I’m saying all this you are probably thinking (like I was) wow, that sounds great but how much does it cost???  It was some of the most reasonably priced yarn I’ve come across.  I continued to circle and ponder my options for the 3 Color Shawl and as I did more of the store regulars were coming in.

One of those regulars (and part time worker at the store) was my friend H and her baby R. We love when R comes for a visit and she loves the shop and all her friends!  I found some colors (and they were even outside my usual color zone) and sat down to chat with my friends, and to pet the sheepskin.  Now, here’s the thing, the longer I pet that thing, the more I knew it had to come home with me.  And so, I put the yarn back and bought the sheepskin.

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Me and Shepherd Francis as I model my sheepskin 🙂

While we were posing for this picture, the shepherd explained they brush the skins with dye for the added interested.  I got the black/white/gray one but there were also tan/brown ones available.

I think part of what made it such a fun day was just sharing it with some of my favorite knitting people.  I realize as I listen to various podcasts how lucky I am to have such an active group of knitting friends IRL (in real life) as not everyone has that.  Our store is just like any read you about in the fictional books and that is probably a story for another day.

I highly recommend checking out the Cestaria yarns.  I think he’s making his way around on a tour so if you see a Shepherd’s Day near you – go!!

Warming Up

In my area of the world, Memorial Day weekend also means it’s time for the Great Lakes Fiber Show.  Last week my friend H asked if it was worth the drive.  It is held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds which is about an hour drive from where we live.  When she asked, my first response was “meh”.  But all of my other friends were telling her that she had to go. These are my peeps and their responses made me think about why I was so blah about it.

I first went seven years ago (thanks TimeHop app 🙂 ) so I had been knitting for about six years but had only been participating in knitting events for about a year.  I went with two knitting friends – one who had a ton of knitting experience and one who was at about the same place as I was.  I think I just didn’t understand what I was seeing or doing.  I was looking for pretty yarns and at the show, things are a little more organic, shall we say?  I got sucked into buying giant needles because they looked cool and the woman said I could use up my stash (this particularly cracks me up now because I had a fraction of the stash I have now and I was still under the delusion that you actually knit up your stash at some point…).  Anyway, I wanted to head back the next year but I made the mistake of agreeing to let my friend and her family come with me.  This meant I had two young girls who had little patience for yarn shopping with me. We had a nice day but my time at the show was quite limited.  Rookie mistake – taking non-knitters and children to a fiber show.

At this point, I should also note that there are a ton of sheep at this festival and I really never went and looked at them during my first two trips.  I thought of that as separate – it was the farming part which was of no interest to me.  I wanted to buy yarn!  This is a weird thought to me now.  Also, a weird thought, that I’ve become totally obsessed with a hobby where I want to spend time with sheep and alpaca (I am not an animal person) but now I would never skip a walk through the sheep barn.

After recalling all of this I decided to give it another go, by myself.  Besides, I need to get warmed up for Rhinebeck right?  It was supposed to be hot on Sunday so I got up and headed out early to get there when the show opened.  I was also motivated by my friend Jeanne from Destination Yarn‘s Instagram posts of her show special colorway and her warning that there were only a few skeins left.  That will definitely get any knitter out of bed!!!

I still have a few of the same issues with the show that I had years ago.  First, I find the layout to be super confusing and no one can give you a map.  Jeanne had been posting all weekend that she was under the grandstand.  I finally had to ask someone where that was so I could find her.  The show has definitely grown since my last trip which is great.  But, for the vendors who were there it must have been rough because it was definitely away from the other barns.  Bonus – it was climate controlled so she wasn’t melting in the heat. I did get the show exclusive – Woolapalooza!  Isn’t that a great name???

Now I could wander aimlessly and enjoy the show.  Which brings me to my second issue – this show is heavy on roving vendors and I don’t spin. The only other yarn I bought (I wasn’t going to buy any so two skeins was a victory) was from a new to me dyer called Behind the Pines owned by Bobbi and she is from the Toledo, Ohio area.  She had some great colorways, including one I had been looking for which is orange, brown and cream.  She called it Falcon (one of our larger state colleges, Bowling Green, is near her and they are the Falcons and those are their colors) but they are also the Cleveland Browns colors. I’ve been looking for yarns dyed in local sports teams colors for my online store.  Bobbie owns a yarn store, Yarn Cravin’, in the Toledo area so I would love to stop by.  I already started knitting up the yarn and it is amazing!!  It’s an MCN base and is self striping. It is so soft and lovely and the striping is excellent.

I wanted to mention a few other booths that stood out to me but I exercised self control and did not buy from them, yet.  The TurtleMade booth (middle picture) had a very creative way to display her fun colorways.  The Frabjous Fibers booth these giant gradient kits (right picture) that were almost as tall as I was and just made me so happy!!!

Next I headed over to the sheep barn and there was a sheep auction going on – all the sheep were lined up in a row.

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This year they were also hosting Wool-A-Rama.  It was an angora show and competition. Now, I know most knitters dream of getting a flock of sheep or a herd of alpaca, me, I would raise angora bunnies because I don’t think there is anything cuter than these giant balls of fluff.  There were judges judging the actual rabbits and there was a judging going on inside of yarn that had been spun from the angora fiber and lots and lots of balls of fluff.

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In the end, it was definitely worth the drive.  I am so surprised by the amount of knowledge I’ve gained in the past six years about knitting, yarn, and where it all comes from.  And, I’m glad I’ve waited this long to make plans for Rhinebeck – I’m sure I would not have appreciated near as much as I will now.  Oh, and I wouldn’t sign off without sharing a picture of my loot!

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What’s on my Needles This Weekend (and a little bit of science)

May 1st marked the start of Kino Knits Graduate Your Stash KAL.  What is that you may ask? Well, Mary came up with a great idea – use the oldest thing in your stash whether it be yarn, fiber or a wip and finish it up during graduation season.  You can read about all the rules and prizes in her Ravely group.  I loved this from the minute she talked about it on her podcast.  I set of in search of my oldest yarn.  Two things to remember – 1. I’ve only been knitting for just about 13 years and 2. I didn’t really start accumulating yarn for the first few yearn.  I was more of a recreational knitter.  I didn’t realize that at some point you stop being able to knit all the new yarn you buy as fast as you buy it.

With those disclaimers – my oldest skein of yarn was from 2006.  It took awhile to confirm the date because the trip was pre-Facebook for me and I quickly learned that anything I can’t date on Facebook, I can’t date at all!  I also learned that my digital picture storage is a disaster that needs to be addressed soon, but I digress.  I went to Oregon with a knitting friend and we visited a yarn store in Eugene.  It might have been Soft Horizons Fibre but I’m not completely sure.  (note, this is where the second disclaimer comes in – I just figured I would knit it right away…)  Also, this was pre-Ravelry for me so I wasn’t really tracking any of my knitting or yarn store visiting.  Anyway, I bought this awesome skein of yarn and all the hand-written tag said was “Labrador”, 200 yards, $28.  Nothing about fiber content. I feel like I bought it because it was unique and made there at the store but who knows??  I wound it into a ball and what a ball it is!

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It looks kind of woolly – it’s got fibers at least.  I searched Ravelry for a pattern and found a free pattern called Stash Busting Project Bags and Bowls which just happens to be written by my friend Molly in California so that was fun!  It’s a great free pattern for felted bags and bowls – there are five total options and she does the yarn requirements by weight so you can use up that stash!

Right after I wound the ball I took the yarn ties from the skein, put them under hot water and used my scrubbie sponge to agitate them.  It looked like they were thinking of felting and they definitely smelled like wet wool so I forged ahead.  But, I need to know if this yarn will felt.  So, I posted a picture of the bowl I started on Instagram and got some interesting suggestions.

My blogging and Instagram friend Missy, from Missy’s Crafty Mess mentioned both the burn and bleach tests to determine fiber content.  I did a little research and set off to experiment.  I started with the bleach last night.  Basically, you snip off a couple inch piece of yarn, place it in a glass jar, put a tablespoon of bleach over it, put the lid on and wait and see what happens.  From what I read, if it was fizzing that was a good sign.  Leave it overnight and if in the morning there is no more yarn then it should be wool.  I definitely had fizzing going on not long after capping the “jar” (the only glass container with a lid that I had was a salad dressing bottle…).  This morning there was still yarn left in the jar but it was very broken down and there was not much left to it which leads me to think there may be some other fiber mixed in with the wool.

This morning my Dad was coming over and I asked him to come a few minutes early because I needed to burn some yarn and take pictures so was in desperate need of a third hand.  I set it up with a big glass bowl and a large cup of water (for safety) and I cut a piece of yarn about six inches long and then took my candle lighter to it.    While it’s burning you note whether is self-extinguishes,  the smell, the flame and what remains to try and determine fiber content.  I found a great fiber burn chart on ditzyprints.com.  The yarn did extinguish when the flame was removed and it did smell really awful.  What remained was the yarn – I felt like I was charring a pepper because every time it burned I could scrape off the char and find more yarn underneath so it did not fall neatly in any of the burn chart boxes.

You can see how small of a flame there was – it never really “caught fire” and these embers were what remained and the fibers are still very intact under the char.  I’m pretty convinced at this point that it is mostly wool but there is either some other fiber spun in or there is some sort of coating on the yarn.

I finished a bowl with the yarn and may attempt to felt it tomorrow while I’m home doing a ton of other things.  Fingers crossed it will felt!  If it does I will use up the rest of the yarn making additional bowls.  I’ve decided to start a gift/donation box of knit items so when I need a gift or someone asks for a donation I can go to my box and pull something out. These will make great gifts, if they actually felt!  If not, back to the drawing board for a new pattern for what’s left of this mystery yarn.

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Potpouri Post

This post will have a little of this and a little of that.  First, I have to thank the desert knitter who nominated me for the Liebster Award in one of her recent posts.  I did not what this was all about and so I did a little digging on the good old internet.  The best description I read was that it is the blog equivalent of a chain letter.  Bummer – I was looking for a place to hang my new award!  But, when I continued to read it was started to promote smaller bloggers and share some blog love so cool beans!  I’ll take any award I can get.  Now, on with my reigning duties 🙂

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The rules:

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
    Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  2. Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  3. Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
  4. Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  5. Lastly, COPY these rules in your post.

My nominations (with my own caveat):

I hate to pressure anyone into doing this so I will share here some of my favorite blogs that have less than 200 followers.  If they would like to participate that would be awesome, if not I totally understand.  So, in no particular order:

  1. Windy Wonderings
  2. This Knitted Life
  3. writeknit
  4. Crafting Mommy of Two
  5. little church knits

And, now the questions:

1. What got you into blogging?

Well, actually I started out with a private blog to keep in touch with family and friends while I spent 3 weeks in Australia. They all loved it and as time went by it evolved into a travel and knitting blog.

2. What does your perfect day look like?

My perfect day would start with a little sleeping in, getting up and having a cup of my favorite French tea and perhaps catching up with my DVR and knitting.  And, then heading out somewhere with my friends and just enjoy whatever we end up doing.

3. What’s your favorite item to knit? Shawls, sweaters, socks or something else entirely?

I love knitting hats and anything for other people!  I do also enjoy a nice sock 🙂

4. Are you result-driven knitter or is it more about the journey?
Ah, an age old knitting question.  I believe my knitting is more about the journey.  I love trying new stitches and techniques and am up for trying to knit whatever seems interesting.  When the knitting gets boring, it goes to time out!

5. What’s your favorite TV-show, movie or book?
Book – easy Eat, Pray, Love and movie – easy When Harry Met Sally.  TV show – that depends on the day and the week but Amazing Race is always a can’t miss for me.

6. What’s your favorite yarn / fibre?
I love me some alpaca – it’s just so soft and fuzzy and alpacas are so stinking cute!

7. Do you have a favorite go-to pattern? If so which is it?
No, not really.  I’m not a huge fan of knitting the same thing multiple times (see answer to #4 above).  I have a friend who made 3 or 4 Oakland shawls and could not believe it.  But, I do sell knit baby hats and through that have made several hats of the same pattern because I get multiple requests.

8. What’s your favorite podcast or vlog?
Shoot – this one is hard!!  On the knitting front – I’ve already confessed my love the Prairie Girls and Isabelle at Fluffy Fibers and I do enjoy Emily at Knitting Butterfiles.  On non-knitting, my two favorite are White Wine, True Crime (not family friendly, at all but very funny) and Star Talk with Neil de Grasse Tyson where I always learn something.

9. What’s your favorite Etsy shop?

Two hard ones in a row!  I try to buy my yarn in person because I like to see and touch it before I buy but I have ordered and loved yarn from these shops: Fab Funky Fibers, Destination Yarn, Lollipop Yarn and Artistic Yarn by Abi.

10. Do you have any children or pets? Names, age, pics and all the details.

As I tell everyone – I have nothing that relies on me for food or water 🙂

11. What’s your favorite food?

Well, chocolate in pretty much any form!

I’ll go ahead and pass these along to my nominees should anyone want to play 🙂

Now, I think it’s Boston Jen from the Down Cellar Studio Podcast who has a segment on her podcast called Knitting in the Wild and I think accurately describes my Facebook interaction this week.  A friend had posted a pic of a little girl, age 7 who she was watching.  Said awesome 7 year old loved to knit and the picture showed her knitting.  Of course, this required more than a simple like.  Turns out this person has other knitting friends.  Her other knitting friend commented on the picture and stated that she knit so she doesn’t kill anyone.  Don’t we all, don’t we all!!  She went on to post a picture of her current WIP and I immediately had to comment as the yarn looked very familiar.  Turns out I was right – it was Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow by White Birch Fiber Arts.  This stranger and I went out for about 15 minutes and finally our mutual friend piped in and said ” I love that yarn can bring strangers together. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy!”  What a great way to end a post!

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!!

Where and When? #6KCBWDAY7

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It’s the last day of Knit & Crochet Blog Week and, as with the #LoveYourBlog challenge, Eskimimi saved the easiest for last – Your Time, Your Place.  When and where do we take time out to knit.  I’m not one of those people that takes out knitting everywhere they go. I find I don’t need to be knitting all the time, everywhere.

So, when do I knit?  The simple answer – pretty much everyday, but Thursdays are knitting days.  At this point even some of my co-workers know this.  Knit night starts with tea and pastry as the bakery next to the yarn store (River Colors) and ends at a local restaurant with a meal and an adult beverage but this might belong below in the Where section.  The more thoughtful answer – I knit when I’m bored and when I’m stressed.  My favorite saying is “Sometimes all you can do is knit in a circle”.  I recently talked to a friend who found knitting in a circle to be absolute torture so I guess it’s not for everyone but for me, having something on a set of circular needles and just knitting is very relaxing.  It requires almost no concentration so when I’ve had a long, hard work day it is all the mental power I have left in me.

Where do I knit?  At home, each night to relax from evil work days.  On Thursdays, we knit at River Colors Studio. Thursday is open knit night.  The yarn store where I learned to knit did not have open knit days/nights.  I wanted to become a better knitter and a knitter who was able to finish more than one project a year so when I found knit night I decided that would force me to dedicate two hours of my week to knitting.  Funny, now if I only knit two hours a week there is definitely something wrong!  When I started going in 2008 there was a large group that met on Thursday nights and I sort of blended into the crowd and took in the scene.  Slowly, the crowd started to trail off and I was able to actually start meeting other knitters.  I’m sure all knit groups go through an ebb and flow.  We often talk about those who have been part of the group and then mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again.  There was a small amount of time where it really was only the 5-6 of us in my group.  We’re back up in numbers now and new people trickle in and out which always makes things interesting.  I have also been known to pull out a sock at very long, very boring work meetings 🙂

This year’s blog week was especially fun as there was quite an active group over on Facebook and I “met” many new bloggers this year.  Can’t wait for next year!