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.

20150506_144129

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’s Finished Objects (yes, plural!)

Wow – 2 finished objects this month!!  I’m so impressed with myself.  The first was a pieces which was commissioned by a friend.  She requested a spring infinity scarf in a light blue color.  This was an easy knit and the colors in the yarn really made the project pop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Project #2 is thanks to #the100dayproject.  If you have not seen/heard about this on Twitter or Instagram check it out.  It started a few weeks ago and those participating have committed to creating for 100 days and posting a picture each day on Instagram using the above hashtag and creating a unique hashtag for your project.  Knitting was an obvious choice but seemed too each or without goal.  I’ve had a couple of single socks hanging around and I have a ton of sock yarn waiting to be socks so I went with #100daysofsockknitting.  I’m amazed at how much I get done, even if I only do a couple of rows each day.  So, one single sock is now mated up and ready to wear come winter!

IMG_20150422_222331

Pattern: Came with the yarn but basic sock Yarn: Snowman Self Patterning by Abi Grasso

I have to say they are pretty cute but it was kind of a pain in the behind to knit.  I’m not great at playing with my guage and as you can see in the picture it’s really hard to get the snowmen to match up so there was a lot of decreasing and increasing stitches during the snowmen rounds.  I’m not sure I’ll tackle another self patterning yarn.  Maybe just stick to stripes for me, or something a little less defined.

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!

IMG_2260

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!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

Well, I think I’ve finally found the perfect travel project!!  And, it just happens to be what’s on my needles this weekend.  I have two weddings to attend in May.  Both couples are in their mid-20’s and both started dating when they met in youth group, the youth group I’ve volunteered with since all four of them were just freshman in high school.  I’m touched that they’ve invited to celebrate their special days and am looking forward to both weddings.  Being me, I wanted to knit something but weddings don’t scream hand-knit gifts quite the way babies do.  That’s when I remembered I have favorited a cool dishcloth pattern and decided to knit those up and tie them together with a gift card to include something handmade and something they could really use – cash to spend setting up their new homes.  Now, I started planning all this in January because I needed to knit 8 dishcloths before May – that came out to two a month.  I’ve done really with the schedule.  Last month I had a plane ride to El Salvador and that’s when I found out just how perfect of a travel project these are.  The pattern is super easy to memorize so it doesn’t need to be out.  The yarn doesn’t take up much space and there’s no counting involved.  And, if you’re flight is long enough you can finish one – like I did last week!  Here’s the info:

  • Pattern: Sinkmates
  • Yarn: Sugar’n Cream (main colors Denim and Ecru)

20150322_201240 20150322_201307 IMG_20150317_142921

It’s a fun pattern – you start by knitting an i-cord and then you pick up and knit the stitches so it’s being knit on a diagonal using a center double decrease and in the end you have a square!  Another bonus – the designer is donating proceeds to the Special Olympics.  On Ravelry she shows them in groups of four so that’s what I’m doing.  Denim for one couple and ecru for the other.  For travel purposes, I’ve been knitting the two i-cords and then bringing along only the main colors and the one set of needles which cuts down on what I need to bring along.  I’m down to the final two dishcloths so I’m confident they will be ready for the weddings.  I’ll be sure to post final pictures!

I Heart Knitters!

This month’s finished object is a quick and easy project that literally only takes a couple of hours to knit up!  I feel like I’m cheating but I did knit it this month and it is finished (let’s ignore all the other projects hanging about needles all over the house right now…)  I was invited to a surprise 60th birthday party for one of my knitting friends, we’ll call her AH.  The theme was 60 Shades of Gray (ha ha!).  AH had very kindly made made us paper woven hearts for Christmas and they reminded me of the Dansk Hjerte pattern that was published in the Interweave Knits, Holiday Gifts 2012 issue.  I had made one for a co-worker for Christmas in 2013.  We talked about the knitting version and I never got around to digging out my copy of the magazine.  So, her birthday was a great excuse to make her one!  I bought two shades of gray Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift and set off to work.  I was super excited!

20150309_095150

I still had yarn left so I made another heart for the Fluffy Fibers tea swap.  If you’ve never listened to the Fluffy Fibers podcast highly recommend it!  Of course, I’m a huge lover of France so I love listening to Isabelle talk about the beautiful south of France.  A few months ago one of her listeners suggested a tea swap as Isabelle almost always talks about what tea she is drinking.  It was super fun and it was the first time I’ve participated in a swap on Ravelry.  We were to include a few bags of tea, a note explaining our tea choices and a small crafted or tea related item.  My original plan was to knit up a small drawstring bag but that was going super slow and I was time crunched and that’s when it hit me – another heart!  I sent the heart, loose tea from the Tea Lab which is a cool, local tea shop, a couple of sugar stirs and some tea bags to use with the loose tea off to England.  So, there’s Cleveland tea over in jolly old England!

I received a package from a different person in England.  It included several bags of tea including English Breakfast and English Afternoon tea – gotta love they distinguish between morning and afternoon tea!  A small, I believe tea bag placing plate and then you can see in the picture the pink (which matches my kitchen excactly!) tea cloth I received.  I did not exactly know what it was but I’ve noticed in pictures from British knitters on Instagram that it appears they use these as pads for their tea set up.  Excellent idea!

20150227_122739

I don’t know how other swaps on Ravelry work but it was a great first experience.  I especially loved the global element involved with this one.   Another perk of the swap – I got a random message from one of the participants, she had noticed I specified a particular type of French tea I enjoy but have a hard time finding in the States and she sent me a link to a tea shop in Dallas that carries a nice variety!  I love knitters!

So, my friend loved her two shades of gray heart and was super surprised at her party!  And, my other heart made it’s way across the pond!  They were quick knits but well appreciated by fellow knitters and it really is a great gift idea and can be made in any other color combination with any stash you have around the house!

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!

20150307_131024

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*!!!

20150222_214043

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:

20150207_150734 20150207_150748

Snow Day

I’m definitely not complaining, we really have not had a snow day yet this year so when they told us we were expecting around 8 inches today I knew I would batten down the hatches and stay in today.  I’ve been looking for a day like this to reorganize my yarn room which was becoming quite unruly as of late.  For once the forecasters had it right and it started snowing before I was up so I got to it.  Here is a before picture:

20150201_102546

Note the bag on the floor is completely full of yarn as well as all the shelves!

I pulled everything out and started over.  When I moved in and got this shelving unit I tried to put the yarns together by type and then maybe by color so basically, no particular order.  I just thought there was order.  Once everything was out I began entering my stash on Ravelry.  I had not used this feature on Raverly in the past but thought this was a great opportunity to try it out.  I started with everything that still had labels which were mostly whole balls/skeins.  I then went to stash yarn that I knew exactly the brand/type and I used my scale to weigh it to determine how much I had left.  I have so much fun sock yarn left over and I’m thinking it would make cute baby hats so we’ll see where I go with that.  It turned out this was a very time consuming process and I did not even photo the yarn.  I just wanted somewhere that I could take a quick look and see what I have in the house already.  About halfway through my floor looked like this:

20150201_111001

Of course, there was a whole pile of unidentified yarn, some of which I could not even remember what I might have knit with it.  I then decided to try to return it back to the shelves by color, for real time.  I made sure my books/magazines/patterns were up to date in Ravelry too.  That has to be my favorite feature of Ravelry – the ability to put all that info and search electronically instead of trying to remember where I saw that one pattern for whatever.  I did take a lunch break and a dinner break.  I do not have a tv in my yarn room but I was able to watch some hockey on my laptop and I was able to catch up with the Down Cellar and Fluffy Fibers podcasts and that kept me entertained throughout the day.  Finally around 7:30 I was finished!!

20150201_20022420150201_200126

It was super hard to get a good picture when I got done because it was dark out and the only light int he room is right next to the shelves.  But even with the bad photography I think it looks 100% better.  I did manage to weed out a few yarns, a few unfinished or halfway finished projects and some other random junk.  I got done just in time to sit down and watch the halftime show of the Superbowl which was the only part of the game I was interested in (don’t get me started on the NFL…)  Looks like I will probably end up working from home tomorrow as it is still snowing at quite a clip here which is good because I’m going to need a day to recover after all that work today!

A Quick Trip – Football, Yarn and Art

This blog focuses on my love of knitting and travel and after those two things comes my love of Ohio State Buckeye football.  I’m a devout fan (despite not having attended the actual university) and rarely miss watching a game.  There is something about college kids, most of whom will never make it to the NFL, out there playing for the love of the game (and, maybe some scholarship money…).  So, when it was announced that the Buckeyes made the first ever college football playoffs I immediately booked an airline ticket to Dallas for the championship game because, lucky me, my brother lives in the area.  I told him to get his guest room ready and he pointed out we had to make it to that game, he of little faith.  Halfway through the semi-final I texted him again and told him to get ready and I turned out to be right.

Last Thursday when I was sharing my good news with my knitting group I mentioned I would be in Fort Worth and I was trying to decide to whether or not to stop in at MadTosh Crafts.  Needless to say a few of my knitting friends looked at me like I had lost my mind and were not sure why I was up in the air about it.  I had a lot of game related activities to attend and I had to sneak in some work too and I was only going to be in the area for about 72 hours.  Lucky for me, work was quiet on Tuesday so I headed out to get some lunch, and some yarn.

20150113_125512

The store is located in an older area of town and on a brick road.  The parking spots are right off the street and the store is in an older looking strip of stores.  They had a super cute winter themed window with snowflakes and large snow white colored pom poms.  Once you step inside it’s just like a little slice of yarn heaven.  It’s a really good sized space (I guess it’s Texas sized 🙂 ) with wood floors and shelves of yarn everywhere.  In addition to their own yarn they carry a number of other brands including Habu and some local dyers I had not seen before.  Before I headed out I figured I had better have a goal in mind otherwise things could get scary.  I’m planning on using my January yarn (see January yarn post) to do Ysolda’s Follow Your Own Arrow 2 which starts on Monday and calls for two colors so I decided to get a solid to use for that project.  They also had a nice variety of knitting tools, bags, lotions, cards and other novelties.  I found some cute knit kits and I picked up one of those for a Christmas present for this year so more on that later!  There was also a selection of fabrics and plenty of room to knit and sew.  In fact, a small group was gathering to knit as I was shopping.

As it turned out the store is just down the street from the Kimbell Art Museum and they were having a special exhibit – Faces of Impressionism, Portraits from the Musee D’Orsay.  I did not realize it was half price Tuesday and the place was packed.  I almost never see that many people in an art museum here in the States.  The exhibit contained portraits by many of the masters.  My eye kept being drawn towards one particular painting, of course, it was the only Monet in the collection.  This was it:

Woman With A Parasol Aka Study Of A Figure Outdoors (Facing Left) - Claude Oscar Monet - www.claudemonetgallery.org

The permanent collection at the museum is also very interesting and they have some works by well known artists.  It is a little small but makes for a lovely afternoon.  I capped off the afternoon with lunch at Gloria’s Latin American restaurant where they had delicious Salvadoran food.  I would definitely go back there next time I head down to visit my brother.

It was a quick 72 hours and included everything I loved!  It was made extra sweet by the home town Buckeyes bringing home the trophy!

20150112_231053