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.

 

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

Obvious answer this week – my Ravellenics project!!!  I love knitting and I love the Olympics so this is my favorite time of the year.  I joined Team Sasquatch this year and it’s the first year I’ve joined a team so I’m not really sure what that means.  But, I also have my local Olympics.  One of my friends hosts a little event each Olympics and it’s so much fun.  We meet on Opening night and cast on our projects in one of two categories – sprint or marathon.  We have to be complete by closing ceremonies and then she brings in some non-knitters to judge the projects.  I’m a two time medal winner so there’s a lot of pressure on me to three-peat!

I decided to use some of the yarn I bought at the Loopy Ewe last month.  I cast on the Fresh from the Cauldron sock yarn in the Tea Party colorway.  Although to me it’s more of a Halloween colorway.  I solicited some pattern ideas on Instagram and ended up going with Prism.  It’s a free pattern by Jaya Srikrishnan.  It calls for two different yarns but it works perfectly well with one variegated skein.  I started knitting and was thinking how it would be nice to have orange for the heels and toes but I’m not much of an orange person.  I did have some orange in my stash but it has no nylon so I was not comfortable using for heels. Then I remembered I had some left over sock yarn from Susquehanna Yarn and it was sparkle orange and matched perfectly!!!

Good news – the Olympics are half over and I’m done with one sock and through the cuff on the second so I think I’m well on my way to finishing.  I don’t have as much knitting time this weekend so we’ll see.  Side note – headed to see Yarn: The Movie on Sunday so I’ll share more on that soon!!

Here are some pictures of the socks in progress!

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Yarny Adventures

During my staycation in Denver I had decided that I wanted to go to Fancy Tiger Craft, The Loopy Ewe and My Sister Knits.  Fancy Tiger is relatively close to where I was staying but the last two are up in Fort Collins which is about 1 – 1 1/2 hours away from Denver.  With that in mind, I did something I would not usually do, I reached out to two podcasters that I listen to on a regular basis to see if they would be interested in meeting up and they said yes!!

I think it’s a strange relationship – as a listener of podcasts I feel that I know the hosts as I listen to what is going on in their knitting lives each week or every couple of weeks but that doesn’t work in reverse. For all they knew I could’ve been some crazy stalker from Ohio.  So when I contacted Emily and Becky I led with a disclaimer that I was not crazy and if they were not interested that was cool.  It must have worked because in the end, we decided to meet up on Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning, I hit up Fancy Tiger on my way out of town.  I’ve heard so much about this shop and was really excited.  I got a parking place right in front which I think was quite lucky!  They only have on street parking so I’m sure it can be tough some days.  I loved the front window display and the decor of the store when I walked in.  The girls working were friendly but not overbearing, i.e. they acknowledged I came in the store and then allowed me to browse at leisure.  But, here’s where I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite store (and, disclaimer I don’t sew so did not check out the fabric area which I hear is definitely a draw).  First, there’s not a lot of yarn and the yarn that is there tended to be of a more crunchy, granola type which isn’t my scene.  They definitely had brands I had not seen, and overall the vibe was great in the store. I ended up buying a skein of MJ Yarns Simple Sock in the Green Dragon colorway. I was talking to my friend G when I got back and we talked about how sometimes we build up some of these stores in our heads and then they can never live up to those expectations.  That might be the case here.  I’m definitely glad I went but I might find other places to check out on future trips to Denver.

After that I hit the road and headed to Fort Collins.  I had decided to just get a hotel up there so I didn’t have to worry about driving back to Denver at the end of the night and that was a good idea on my part.  I was meeting everyone at The Loopy Ewe.  Emily hosts the Knitting Butterflies podcast and I had chatted with her last year about the Estes Park Wool Market.  Becky hosts the Knit Actually podcast and I found her through a post Emily shared on Instagram.  As soon as I listened to an episode I was hooked and knew she was my type of people.  Becky brought her friend Jen as well, which is good because I feel weird if I’m on the only Jen somewhere🙂

I loved The Loopy Ewe so much!!!  It was so amazing and they had so many yarns I’ve seen on Instagram and heard podcasters talk about.  My plan was to buy yarn to knit the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl by Joji Locatelli.  Becky suggested that I use Knerd String for it and they had so many colors to chose from that I found just the right 3 colors and the skeins were large enough that I just needed one of each color which was nice.  It was a good choice as well because it is a Colorado dyer, which makes it special vacation yarn.  I’m hoping to get the shawl done in time for Rhinebeck but we’ll see…  I also bought a sock blocker and one of the Ann Budd gauge measures which is super awesome!  And, a skein of sock yarn from Fresh From the Cauldron.

We dragged ourselves away so that we could hit My Sister Knits (MSK) before it closed.  I was on such a high from The Loopy Ewe that I was worried I would not enjoy the next store as much – Wrong!!!!  I’m not sure which I loved more because they offered very different experiences but both were so great.  First, MSK is in an entirely residential neighborhood, in fact, it’s in a carriage house behind a regular house.  There’s a little yarn bombing on a tree out front and then a sign at the gate at the driveway leading you through a beautiful garden complete with chickens to the carriage house where the store is located.  We walked in and were greeted very warmly.

Here’s a funny story.  One of the women working asked if we had been in before.  I said no, I was from Cleveland to which she asked where in Cleveland.  This indicated to me that she knew my fair city as there are two answers to that question – west side or east side.  I told her where and it turned out she grew up in my town, in fact, about 5 minutes away from my house.  I love small world stories🙂

Back to the yarn – they have so much yarn in this tiny two story carriage house.  I ended with a skein of self striping sock yarn from ScrumptiousPurl and a contrasting skein of Koigu sock yarn for the cuffs, heels and toes.  The very nice ladies took our picture outside in front of the sign and recommended places for dinner, they even offered us bottled water.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with all the yarn we bought🙂

By this time we were hungry and thirsty!  We ended up at a place called Rio which was Mexican and made super delicious margaritas (told you the hotel was a good idea😉 ) and we knit and drank and talked and laughed.  I marveled at how knitting was the one thing we all had in common and yet, if anyone walked by they would have thought we were life long friends.  I’m so excited that I now have both family and friends in Colorado to go visit.  And, I’m so excited that both Becky and Emily will be at Rhinebeck so I will get to see them again soon!!

If you want to hear more about our adventures listen to Episode 53 of Knitting Butterflies or Episode 39 of Knit Actually.  This is a super long post so I’m going to head back to my Ravellenics project now and will have more of my yarny adventures next week!

July FO’s

Wow! I had a feeling July was going to be crazy and I was totally right!!  I’m behind on my post writing and reading so I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.  The good news is that I had many yarn adventures during my crazy month. I’m bursting with blog posts, but, I’m also bursting with new yarn and a severe bout of startitis and am trying to knit all the things NOW!!!  I do know for the health of my wrists that I must take breaks to eat, do chores and blog and have managed to tear myself away from the knitting this morning.  So, before I dive in with all the good stuff I’m going to do a quick round up of this month’s FO’s.

First, a pair of socks I started in April so not too bad.  I used the Arithmophobia pattern which is by Lara Neel and found in Sock Architecture.  I’m still playing around with heels and toes and finding the right sock recipe for me.  This pair offered several challenges and while they are beautiful, they fit terribly which makes me sad but I’ll still try and stuff them in shoes this winter.  The pattern uses a short row heel and I had the worst time working that out.  I’m not sure what exactly my problem was but neither heel worked out right.  The yarn is Indulgence 6-Ply by Knitting Fever (now discontinued) and is a DK weight so I think that threw off some of my usual measurements as well.  I loved the yarn and have a ton left over so we’ll see if I revisit these at a later date.  This was also the first pair that I tried 9 inch circulars.  I learned quickly that I should use dpns for the cuff, heel and toes so the second sock went a bit smoother than the first.  Overall, I did enjoy the tiny circulars for zooming down the leg and foot of the sock.

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I had speaking engagements in western Kansas this month on consecutive weekends.  In between, I took a little staycation at my cousin’s house in Denver.  On my list of things to do was 12 hours of online continuing education for my day job and updating the Facebook page for the nonprofit I was speaking on behalf of (you can check out that page here – shameless plug, I know🙂 ).  But, translated, this meant a lot of knitting time.  I will discuss in more detail my plan and how it worked, but for now the one finished item I got was my Verdure Shawlette.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, this was my own personal challenge for July.  My Christmas knitting in July challenge as I was calling it.  And, I did it!!!  And, I was at my cousin’s house when I finished which gave me some great background for my FO photos. When I put it down it was because I decided the knit on border was going to be too much. But I have to say that once you get in a rhythm on it, it goes really fast. I loved the yarn, it has a bit of stelina in it which gives it just a little sparkle.  The colors remind me of a Victorian Christmas and are really beautiful. It needs some serious blocking and I will get to that soon I hope, at least before December!

Both of these are part of my 12in2016 KAL (you can find more in the Ravelry group 12 Projects in 12 Months) but projects are WIPs or use stash yarn.  The shawl was 7 so fingers crossed I get to 12 by December!

That’s it for finished projects but I have cast on 3 projects this week and have plans for the Ravellenic games starting on Friday so much more to come!

Hey Summer – slow down!!

I didn’t realize that last week was the last week of June (and I was very excited about Shepherd’s Day) and so I neglected to share my June FO’s.  I’m not sure where June went but many of us feel with our hockey and basketball teams winning championships this year and those seasons being extended into mid-June assisted in June flying away.

Either way, not much to report on for June.  I did finish my Graduate Your Stash KAL project which was these 2 bowls made from yarn I purchased somewhere in Eugene, Oregon in 2006.  The pattern was Stash Busting Project Bags and Bowls by Molly Conroy.  It’s a free pattern and comes with five different options depending on how much yarn you have left.  This is the yarn I blogged about trying to figure out the content of because this is a felting pattern.

The next challenge was actually felting the finished bowls. I have a front loading washing machine so no agitator.  What I did was put the bowl in an old pillow case and washed it with an old towel on high and hot water.  It came out kind of felted so when I finished the second one, I put them both in the pillow case and threw them in with my entire load of towels.  And it was much more felted. You can see the results in this picture. The one on the left was put through twice and the one on the right had been put through once when I took the picture.  I put the second one in for a second go around and am happy with the results now.  I’m going to put the small leftover bit in my yarn bombing scraps pile.

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The other thing that I finished was the set of 3 golf club covers that I knit for a local charity golf outing.  I chose the colors of the charity (orange & black) and really love how they turned out.  I was playing yarn chicken at the end but made it work by manipulating the stripe pattern of the last one.  I’m glad I started with the largest one and worked my way down.  I used the pattern called Golf Club Covers by Purl Soho.  It’s another free pattern which I love!  I also had a fun photo session with these in my backyard.  This is the most action my clubs have seen in 5 years🙂

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That does it for FO’s for June.  I did a lot of knitting but none of it got anything finished.

Now, somehow it is 4th of July weekend here in the States and summer is half over.  I wanted to take a minute and catch up on some of the summer KALs I’ve been doing and talk about a little challenge I’m setting for myself this month.

I’m still entering photos for both the Summer Superlatives KAL hosted by the Knit Actually podcast and the Great Outdoors KAL hosted by Knitting Butterflies.  I try to stick to KALs that are easy and have limited rules (no Stash Dash for me – too much math🙂 ). There are some categories for the Summer Superlatives KAL that can be found on Ravelry but it’s more about having fun and getting some summer knitting done.  Likewise, the Great Outdoors KAL is about knitting outside or things for the outside so that pretty much covers everything!  I’m also looking forward to the Ravellenic Games which run during the Olympics.  I see they are making some changes so it read up if you have participated in the past.  I haven’t decided what I’m entering yet but I’ll think about that more towards the end of this month.

Speaking of this month, I decided to do my own little knitting challenge.  I’m knitting Christmas in July.  I started my Verdure Shawlette in December using Voolenvine’s Blitzed yarn in the Deck the Halls colorway.  I, of course, got bored with it when Christmas was over and it has been sitting in the Land of Forgotten Projects.  All I have left is most of the border but the heavy knitting is done.  I’m going to focus my attention on trying to get it done this month so I have a nice shawlette ready to wear in December!  Care to join me?  I will be posting my progress on Instagram and fingers crossed this gets done🙂

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I think that is everything going on right now.  I’m finally going to get to do some traveling this month so my posts might not be up every week but we’ll see how it goes.  I definitely have some yarny adventures planned and will be excited to share when I return!

 

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!!

What’s on my Needles This Weekend

I had very good intentions about getting a post up last week but what I wanted to write about was not corresponding with what I had photos of and I had a lot going on last weekend so I took the week off.

I want to try something new with my monthly WIP post.  That is, I’m going to include a list of everything I’m actively knitting on (not that is sitting in the land of forgotten projects or that has been banished to the corner of the yarn room) and then I will  talk about one of the projects in more detail.  I can then double check my progress month to month because nothing seems to be leaving the land of forgotten projects!

So, projects currently getting my attention include: Little Purple Sailor Coat which is by Sublime Yarn and my Derecho by Laura Aylor.  The Derecho is my knit night project unless I have a deadline knit and it may get finished, some day.  I finished all my current deadline projects so found myself being able to chose whatever I wanted to work on this week so it was definitely nice.  I’ll talk more about the Sailor Coat, maybe next month because that’s a longer story.

The last thing on my needles is a newborn hat which I will be listing in my Frekol shop. This does not sound like the most exciting thing to talk about but I think there are a few notable points.

When I was first contacted by the folks at Frekol to open a shop my Etsy shop had been empty for quite some time.  I never got any traction with my Etsy shop and with all the changes I felt a shop my size was just getting lost in the shuffle.  I sold more things to friends or being contacted outside of Etsy.  Frekol is like Etsy but all the sellers are in the Cleveland, Ohio area so a bit smaller.  As I was thinking about reopening the store, I knit a couple of small Christmas ornaments which were little sweaters, stockings, etc. out of some sock yarn for gifts.  I loved knitting them, they used very little yarn and a light bulb went off – this is something I could knit and make a few dollars on.  I could also knit newborn hats which don’t take very much time or yarn either.  This would be a way to use up leftover sock yarn (I always have a lot because I have super tiny feet) and be able knit things I enjoy knitting, look good and had some built in profit.

It has also turned out that at my new job we have to take 1/2 hour break but we are also allowed to eat at our cubicles.  This means I eat as I work and then break for 1/2 hour and knit things to put in my store.  When I had my Etsy store, I never had time to specifically knit for the store so everything was listed as knit to order.  I was also doing much more complicated hats for babies and kids which still did not take much time (but definitely more time) or yarn.  These had a very low profit margin.  Now, I have products stocked and have time dedicated to knitting things just for the shop.  If I need to knit more it will only take a day or two instead of a week or two so I’m hoping these might start selling come fall when people are starting to think about Christmas.

When I was at the Great Lakes Fiber Show a couple of weeks ago I found some great yarn that is in the colors of the Cleveland Browns.  I’ve been focusing on finding yarns that are the colors of the local sports teams because we in Cleveland love our sports! (and if anyone knows where I can pick up some Cavs colored yarn let me know!!)  I could not wait to dive in.  I whipped up this little stocking ornament.  I then cast on a newborn hat and I love the way you can see the change in the striping based on the size of the object.

For my hats, I’ve been casting on 85 stitches on size 4 needles and knitting until it’s about 4 inches. I hate ribbing so I just knit and let the bottom edge roll up.  I then use the Knitulator found on the Eskimimi’s Makes blog to work my decreases.  This is a great (free) tool.  All you have to do is enter the number of stitches you have and then the number you want to decrease and it will work out the spacing so it’s even all the way around.  And, that’s it – hat done.  It’s great lunchtime knitting and it’s also good for meetings and waiting so I always have one in my bag now

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