What’s on My Needles This Weekend?

I have spent most of the month working on Christmas knitting and a couple of orders that needed to get done.  So, as I got ready to go knitting on Thursday I realized I needed to find something to take with me.  I’ve been wanting to reorganize my yarn shelves but am waiting for a snowy weekend to get that done.  But, I was able to take the first step on Thursday.  I cleaned up the UFO corner.  It seemed that my UFOs were multiplying on their own in the corner.  They were also combining with half-emptied project bags that had been thrown over there once the project was completed.  I found a lot of projects I had forgot about, a lot of “missing” needles and a lot of yarn that needs to be incorporated in the yarn shelves.  It felt good.

One of the projects I found were a pair of socks I started over the summer.  The pattern is Socks for Euni which is a free Ravelry download.  The yarn is Regia Fluormania in the coral/aqua colorway.  We got this yarn in awhile back and for whatever reason I was drawn to this colorway, not my usual colors.  I had just finished a number of plain socks and was looking for a little something different to knit in socks and found this pattern while searching Ravelry.  It’s a right twist pattern and that stitch is not that hard but I was having a really hard time with it.  The pattern calls for the socks to be knit on two circular needles which I hate so I working on dpns.  However, I’m definitely making this harder than it needs/should be.  Anyway, the socks got tossed aside because I felt like I was making no progress and I had other things that needed to get done.  I was thrilled to find them as I had a work seminar the next day and socks are the best to knit under the table and I didn’t want to cast on a new pair.  Here’s how they look:

I took them to knitting Thursday night and they were so easy to knit!  I’m not sure what happened while they were in time out but all of a sudden the pattern made total sense and they seem to be flying along now.  The random short stripes of aqua in all the coral make me a little crazy but I’m sure I’ll get over it.  Otherwise, it should be heel turning time soon!

Before I close, I want to send a special hats off to my friend at Wool Forward who completed her own 30 hats in 30 days challenge last week!  Check out her blog to see the 30 amazing hats she created!!

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.

November Yarn of the Month

November has been crazy busy for me and this led to quite a delay before I could go pick up my November yarn.  I was able to see a sneak peak on Facebook which held me over until I got to the store.  This month’s color is based on the Gordon Square Arts District and looks like this:

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A little background for the out of towners who may be reading.  The Cuyahoga River runs through the middle of Cleveland and divides the city into the west side and the east side.  I realize this is common in many areas but the lines are firmly drawn here and it is usually the first thing you ask someone.  I am a west-sider.  One of the only things we were really lacking here on the west side was an arts district.  All of the arts areas were on the east side and sometimes it’s just too much effort to cross the river.  The east side has the art museum and the the cool, arty movie theater.  That all changed with the development of the Gordon Square Arts District.

What used to be a run down main drag has been slowly revitalized and is now home to restaurants, shops, galleries, a cool, arty movie theater and even live theater.  My hair salon, Honeycomb, is in the area as is Yellowcake – a fashion shop owned by Valerie, a former contestant on Project Runway.  I thought of both of these when I saw all the yellow in the yarn this month.  The area is home to Cleveland Public Theater which runs some edgier shows and has a lot of intimate theater space for smaller productions.  I have a few friends who have been involved in productions at the theater.  I love having a theater that shows the independent films on my side of the river.  With everything going on in Gordon Square I really don’t need to cross the river now!

Sidetracked

It’s been a busy few weeks during which I seem to have been afflicted with a case of tendinitis in my right thumb/wrist.  It came on quite suddenly and has me most frustrated.  Even typing this post is difficult.  I did a little research and was hoping to find some useful tips to share but the most popular suggestion was to put the knitting down for a few days.  I did find a group on Ravelry of knitters suffering from various arm problems.  A number of people suggested the Knitting Aid but a quick look at that did not really speak to me.  I’m wearing a brace and trying to find other things to do while this resolves.  So, I’m going to block my Wiggle Wrap which is finally done!!  And, maybe I’ll work on organizing my stash…  I had some fun yarn adventures in Asheville, NC last week so I’m hoping I can get those typed up soon too!  If anyone has any suggestions for this condition, leave me a comment!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend?

I recently revisited a project that had been set aside due to other pressing knitting needs.  I only had a chance to work it on one night, then I got sick and it required too much attention, then I got a request for Halloween hats and then I was determined to finish my Wiggle Wrap which is going to be a Christmas present (so more on that after the holidays :) )

After all that, I was finally able to pick up my Guernsey Wrap again!  I love this project for so many reasons.  Everyone in my knitting group either has knit one or has one on the needles.  Patterns run through knitting groups like a flu virus – everyone ends up getting it at some point!  This one, we found when a new member of the group was working on hers one night.  Everyone wanted to start one right away – my problem was that is called for a large quantity of worsted weight yarn which is something I don’t have a lot of in my stash.  But the yarn gods were smiling upon me and I came into possession of a large quantity of worsted weight yarn while volunteering at the church rummage sale (if you want to read all about it, my rummage sale post can be found here).  Of all the yarn I brought home from the sale, the Zealana Tui yarn really wanted to become my Guernsey Wrap, that was in June.

We had a short cold snap in October and that led me to bring it back out and I had forgotten how much fun it is to knit.  It is based on different patterns used in traditional fisherman’s sweaters.  The best thing about it is just when you get bored with a section it is time to move on to the next section.  I think the sectioning also makes it seem like it is going faster.  I’m about halfway done.  The Tui yarn is amazing!!  It is so soft and such a joy to work with.  The oatmeal like color really shows off the pattern work.

The fun thing about a pattern running through a knitting group is being able to see all the different colors and yarn types everyone uses for their wrap.  The original we saw was in a brown tweed, another friend used a blue Cascade and I believe another friend is using a yellow Cascade.

Here’s how mine looks so far – can’t wait to finish it!

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Frigid Princesses

Given that focus of my knitting business is kids’ hats, I’m always trying to keep up with the latest trends in their little world.  Over the past year I think we all know what that has been – Frozen!  Frozen mania has taken over the world.  It’s no different for the all the little kids I know.  With Christmas around the corner I started perusing Ravelry for patterns based on a Frozen theme.  The first thing I found were these adorable Anna and Elsa dolls – the pattern is free so I thought I would give it a whirl.

One of the most important things to me on projects like this is to the get the coloring right.  The number of projects I see on Ravelry or Etsy or Pinterest where the crafter has just not used the correct colors.  It makes such a huge difference.  I know it can be a real pain to try and match colors but it’s really worth the time and effort.  KnitPicks is great for color work like this because they have so many colors in very affordable yarns.  I ordered a bunch of yarn and got started.  I shared a picture on my Facebook page and the reaction was all the Frozen mania you would expect.  One of my friends did not even know what it was but wanted two.

This all leads to the biggest problem – trademark issues.  In my post I was careful to say they were not for sale and I was experimenting.  All of which was true at the time.  I had recently seen an article (which I can’t find now) that Disney was cracking down on Etsy sellers who had Disney themed products for sale.  Being a lawyer, I totally understand the trademark issues involved here.  However, part of me thinks none of this is hurting Disney and maybe they should worry about more important things but I like to be a law abiding citizen so I’m careful with what I sell and how I market those things.

Once my bundle of carefully chosen yarn colors arrived I set off to work.  In the end, I did enjoy the finished project.  I love the way the pattern was written and the dolls turn inside out so they have their ball gowns on one side and their winter wear on the other.  My big problem with this type of project is making the faces.  I’m terrible at the face making part and if you can’t get the faces right it doesn’t really matter how good the rest of it works.  These are going to be Christmas presents for my friend’s daughter.  She’s an easy going girl and won’t be bothered by the weird faces!

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After this, I gave up on the frigid princess knit items, until, I got a request from a friend.  Her daughters are dressing as Anna and Elsa for Halloween.  She did not want to buy them the wigs for sale in the stores and had found some cute knitted hats on Pinterest and was wondering if I could recreate those.  So, I set off on another frigid journey.  I still had the blue from the dolls for the Elsa like hat.  I’m much more pleased at the outcome of these hats.

I found a pattern for a crown hat for newborns that I was able to size up for the 4 year old who would be getting the hat.  The interesting thing about this pattern was it was written for magic loop and I despite magic loop with all my being.  I’m a dpn girl through and through.  Ordinarily this difference does not matter but in this case, the hat is constructed inside out so you are purling the entire hat and that is tiresome on dpns and creates almost unavoidable jags when the decreases start.  I knew there had to be a way to knit this hat (without grafting it to the crown later).  I stopped in my LYS yesterday with this exact burning question – how do I flip this hat so I can knit it?  Turns out the answer is to make a mistake we all probably made when learning how to knit on circular needles – flip the direction.  It’s amazing how hard it is to make that mistake when you are trying to do it.  I definitely remember realizing halfway up a hat that I had knit it the other way and being utterly at a loss for how it happened.  I cast on the new hat today and am happily knitting it up –  no grafting, no purling and boy, it is going faster!  So this is how my frigid princess hats turned out!

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I think the girls will look adorable and will have nice warm heads which is important where we live!!

October’s Yarn

This is month 2 of the yarn of the month club I talked about last month.  We got the e-mail letting us know the yarn was ready for pick up.  There was also an invite to a sit and knit social for yarn club members.  This was another incentive for me to join – the promise of social meet ups in the various neighborhoods which are providing the color inspiration.  But, let’s start with this month’s yarn.  The neighborhood is Tremont and this is what we got.

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Tremont is just west of downtown and close to the steel mills that used to be the main industry here in Cleveland.  The entire neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  There are a number of very old churches in the area.  It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cleveland.  I think the colors used this month reflect that age and grittiness of the area.  In recent years it has undergone a transformation and is now full of art galleries, trendy restaurants and independent shops.  Some people would say it’s the “hipster” section of Cleveland.  Probably the most famous thing in Tremont is the Christmas Story house, the outside of the house was used in the movie A Christmas Story and is now a museum.  For me, Tremont is that neighborhood I can never find.  I almost always have to use my GPS to get there and/or get home.  Don’t ask me why, I just am at a loss when I have to there.  Over the summer we had knit night down there – we started at one of the hip restaurants and then went to the large public park which is at the center of the neighborhood where we watched a free dance performance.  It was one of those nights where it kind of felt like we lived in a real city.

And now, today was the social sit and knit for club members.  It was being held outside and so we were lucky and the weather more than cooperated – it was a perfect fall day.  It was held as the Seltzer Sculpture Garden which is located in the Edgewater neighborhood that inspired last month’s colors.  I have driven down this street hundreds of times and never knew the park existed.  I had always seen this large globe and just thought the people that lived in that house had interesting taste in yard decorations.

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Turns out I’m not the only one who thought this was private.  I posted a picture on Facebook and had several comments from people who live in the area and did not know it was a public park.  The story is that the people who live in the house next to the park are artists so they purchased the two lots adjacent to their property and set up this sculpture park.  They have set up a fund to endow the park after they are gone and now I’m telling everyone about this!  What a hidden gem here in our city!  I can’t wait to take my knitting group back to sit and knit.

As it worked out, I’m the only club member who showed up.  It was still great, I got to spend the afternoon with the owner of my LYS and the woman who came up the color palettes for the club. I did not work on any projects with my club yarn (way to go me – did not cast on a new project :) ) but did continue to work on Campfire cowl I wrote about last week.  I hope more people will come to the next event because they really missed out.  And, I can’t wait to see what next month brings!!

Here are a few more pictures from the park today – enjoy!