June’s FO’s

Ah, end of the month, time to figure show off this month’s finished objects (yes, plural, again!).  There’s been a lot of change going in my life as of late and I believe that has crept its way into my knitting, or more specifically, my knitting time.  Starting to get back in the groove so that’s a good thing.

It must have been end of April or the start of May when the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl swept through my knitting group.  The pattern is by Joji Locatelli and I love a ton of her patterns.  The photos for this particular pattern, along with the yarn colors from Miss Babs really make you want to cast one on immediately.  I took a peek at the kits Miss Babs had done and they were just a little out of my price range so I favorited the pattern and moved on.  Shortly after that, C from my knitting group was checking out the new Malabrigo Silkpaca and thought it would be perfect for the cowl.  After we all checked out the pattern we all decided to make one.  It was a new shipment and my LYS had a great selection of colors and there was something for everyone.  I think only two of us have finished so far and we love them!!!  I entered mine in the Fluffy Fibers gentlealong in which she encouraged us to knit (or craft) something that would help us be gentle to ourselves.  What a lovely idea!  And knitting with a silk/alpaca blend in these fun colors really did allow me to be gentle to myself.  The pattern was super fun and went so much faster than I anticipated considering it was knit on a size 3 needle.  The different sections keep your interest and, let’s face, you’re just knitting to get to the pop color when you start!  I did not enjoy the lace section.  I’m not much of a lace knitter and there was a weird stitch in it that really did make me happy.  I will admit that I omitted one repeat of the lace of section but I think it still turned out okay!

Pattern: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locateli Yarn: Malabrigo Silkpaca (Sapphire Green, Violetas, Purple Mystery)

Pattern: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locateli
Yarn: Malabrigo Silkpaca (Sapphire Green, Violetas, Purple Mystery)

The photo on the left is before a bit of light blocking.  I was not going to block but C. told me she had just done some light blocking and it helped a lot.  I think the blocking did make a difference.  I used the steam setting on my iron and dampened the cowl and held the iron above it while stretching it a bit.  I’ve already used it at work to keep my neck warm because there is a fan that blows directly on me right now.

The next FO is the infamous pair of socks that was subject of last week’s post.  I have to say that with as many problems as I had with that second sock, it was by far my best effort at kitchner stitch ever.  I was shocked!  But, I love the socks and can’t wait to wear them when fall rolls around!

Pattern: Fruit Stripe Gum Socks by Leah Oakley Yarn: Fab Funky Fibers Self Striping in Pink Rainbow

Pattern: Fruit Stripe Gum Socks by Leah Oakley
Yarn: Fab Funky Fibers Self Striping in Pink Rainbow

I had to get a close up of the killer kitchner I did on that toe!!  As I was checking out the picture of the finished socks, I think I realized what my stripe issue was – I think I used a different number of stitches on the second sock.  You can see the sock on my right leg it a bit more stretched out.  I have a feeling I played with the number of stitches on the leg and did not bother to write it down.  That will teach me a lesson (hopefully!)

What’s on My Needles This Weekend?

Or the better title for this week’s post – let’s talk about this sock!

Yarn - Pink Rainbow by Fab Funky Fibers Pattern - Fruit Stripe Gum by Leah Oakley

Yarn – Pink Rainbow by Fab Funky Fibers
Pattern – Fruit Stripe Gum by Leah Oakley

I’ve mentioned the #100dayproject that I’ve joined in on over on Instagram and my thing is sock knitting.  I knit four socks in the first 50 days and I’ve yet to complete one in the following 25.  Part of the explanation is just a lot going on right now which has cut into my knitting time.  But, and this is bigger part, this second sock is going to be the death of me!!!!!!

Oh, it looks all pretty and innocent in that picture but no, it’s the devil in disguise!  For whatever reason, this one just has not gone smoothly.  It started out on the first few rounds of the pattern which did not work out and I could not figure out why.  I finally got in the groove and was working my way down to the heel.  I don’t always try to match my socks but these just seemed to want to match so I made sure to start this sock at the same place.  What I particularly had loved was that my leg length equaled one repeat of each rainbow color.  I was coming on the purple which is the last color and I thought the sock looked short so I compared it to the finished one and this is what I found:

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Yep, those are two very different socks!  What the heck???  I knit these on the same needles with the same yarn and my tension never varies so what happened???  Now my heels don’t match which makes me very sad.

As if this was not enough trauma for one sock, I decided to knit before breakfast.  I’m thinking of coming up with a list of cardinal knitting rules and I believe one will be “never knit before breakfast”.  I was up early on Saturday and excited to head to Estes Park Wool Market and thought, “oh I can get some work done on this heel”  Right, here’s what transpired:

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Clearly, I can’t read, had to pull out the stitches and, boy, they did not want to go back on that needle.  I’ve made it past the heel and am working on the home stretch.  Fingers crossed the rest of the foot and the toe go smoothly.  I’m a bit nervous for what type of disaster awaits me when I kitchner the toe but I’ll cross that bridge later.  First, I have to hope that the stripes on the foot match the first sock (because, yes, I did fix the stripe matching issue when I started the foot…)

Colorado Getaway

My cousins have lived in the Denver area for as long as I can remember which means when I was young there were long car rides to go visit them and as I got older plane rides.  My first trip was the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade and my grandparents took me as they were going to my oldest cousins’ high school graduation.  During that trip my grandma took my cousin and I to Salt Lake City to visit her sister and her sister’s family.  These days I’ve pretty much seen and done all the touristy things in and around the area.  About a month ago I was listening to the Knitmore Girls podcast and they were doing an interview with Galina Khmeleva who mentioned the Estes Park Wool Market and a light bulb went off in my head.  I promptly checked the dates and texted my cousin (who is not a knitter) and asked if I could come for a visit and would she mind driving me up to Estes Park for the wool market (it’s about a 2 hour drive).  She’s such an awesome cousin that she said yes, come on out!!!

Once I got out there my other cousin decided to join us so the three of us set off early Saturday morning.  The problem with mountain towns is there is usually only one way up and when we hit dead stop traffic on that road we knew it was going to be a long drive.  Turned out the Ironman Boulder competition was going on and the bike portion was going through the road we needed to be on to get to Estes Park.  We finally lost all the bikers and headed up.  The entire area had been devastated by a flood in 2013 and the damage was still evident as we drove.  We made it up and it was sunny and beautiful and we were immediately greeted by these cute llamas!

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There were tons of animals – llamas, alpacas, angora rabbits, goats and sheep!  We also watched a sheep herding demonstration which very cool.

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And, of course, the entire building of vendors!  It was a great show on a terrific Colorado day!  If you’re interested in reading more about the show I’m doing an article for KniteEdge magazine and I will let everyone know when the issue hits the stands!

As often happens in Colorado the storm clouds started moving in as we were leaving in the late afternoon.  There was even hail which was not fun.  We decided to stop at the grocery store and pick up some snacks to eat in the car and head back to the city before the storms got worse.

On Sunday, I asked if we could go to the Denver Botanic Gardens as my cousin is always posting pictures from the garden and it looked amazing so off we headed.  Side note – during breakfast we debated whether it was “Botanic” or “Botanical” because in Cleveland, our garden is the Cleveland Botanical Garden.  A Google search ensued and we learned that the two words are interchangeable.  Botanical is more 21st century while botanic is more 20th century and has gradually been falling out of use.  But, back to the main attraction.  The Gardens are huge and in the middle of the city so really amazing.  While we were there they had an art exhibit going on called The Nature of Horses and throughout the gardens there were statues of horses made from cast bronze.  Not my thing but cool to keep an eye out for as we wandered the gardens.  My favorite part was definitely the water lily pond.  I could not get enough of the water lilies when I was at Monet’s garden in France and the same went for this trip.  To make them even more cool there were tons of dragonflies landing on them – we’re lucky I moved after that!

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The garden had two separate cafes and a very nice, but kind of crowded gift shop.  Once we finished there we headed over a couple of blocks for a visit to the Lamb Shoppe.  This was a super cute yarn store in my cousin’s neighborhood.  They serve coffee and tea and have an amazing selection of yarns.  It was bright, open and airy with yarn stacked high.  There was a big table in the front with people working on projects.  The woman working was very friendly and we chatted a bit about the wool market.  She mentioned an Interweave event that took place in April which she really enjoyed and recommended so you never know!  Here’s a picture of the shop and I will definitely be making a return visit.  If you are in the Denver area it’s definitely worth a stop.  The neighborhood has a great vibe and there is a restaurant, an ice cream place and Wild Flowers which is shop that sells flowers and other home goods.  After all that everyone was hungry and thirsty (with the altitude in Denver I’m always dry as a bone and it’s wise to always carry water) and the whole family enjoys Mexican food so that’s how we ended our day.  Nothing like a cold margarita and chips and salsa to end the day!

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!!

The 3rd Annual Rummage Sale Post

First, my apologies to everyone out there – I’m really behind on blog reading and that has a lot to do with some other stuff going on right now so if I have not popped over to your blog recently I’m hoping to catch up soon and I miss seeing what everyone is up to!

And, now, on with the 3rd annual rummage sale post.  You can check the archives for the past two rummage sale posts but if you’re new to the blog know that I hate, in fact, loathe the annual rummage sale my church youth group holds each June. The only redeeming factor is that it usually provides material for a good blog post!  This year, due to the aforementioned other stuff, I have escaped the torture that is working the rummage sale.  I did get the opportunity to stop up one night after work as I had friends who were first time donors to the sale so I went up with them.  I had heard that they had pulled aside the inevitable bag of yarn that had been dropped off so I knew I could check that out.

There were actually three bags and they were stacked like a tower of discarded stash.  The top bag was filled with less than desirable yarn, as was the second.  Apparently, I wasn’t going to luck out like last year and find a bag of Zealana Tui – lightning doesn’t strike twice.  I was not overly hopeful as I dragged the final bag out, but, JACKPOT!!!

I had been secretly hoping there was some good yarn coming because we had found all those awesome hand knit items that were donated when we had the clothing sale in April.  I’m not entirely sure this yarn came from the same knitter but it’s highly likely.  The price tags on all of it were the tags used by my LYS and all the hand knit items were patterns that were very popular at the store.  Here are the treasures in the bag:

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The complete inventory includes: 15 skeins of Silky Wool in Coffee Bean and 5 skeins of Silky Wool in Hazy Blue; 10 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca (sport weight) in a natural color; 2 skeins of Cascade 220 in a brown color; 13 skeins of Berrocco Inca Gold in a very dark brown and 2 skeins of Shibui in Watermelon.  I’m super excited about the Shibui and the Blue Sky Alpaca!  The blue Silky Wool will probably going to one of my knitting friends because that is really her color and we’ll see about the rest!

Finished Object of the Month

Another month almost over and another finished object to share!  This month’s project was very special to me and was featured in What’s on My Needles This Weekend in March as the perfect travel project.  But, before the big reveal, a little of the back story.

I have been volunteering with my church’s youth group since 2001.  And, that was because the newly hired youth minister had the misfortune of speaking at the masses the weekend following 9/11.  So, feeling like I needed to do something in the world I stopped and gave her my number after mass and she has not stopped calling since that evening.  In the past 14 years we have traveled to Germany, France, El Salvador, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy and NYC together and had many other adventures.  We got lucky, shortly after we started we got a really great group of kids in the youth group.  I hear my teacher friends talk about this – some years you get really great classes and some years, not so much.  And, now all these years later, I was invited to the weddings of two couples who met during those years, dated through high school and college and are now starting lives together.  It makes me feel really old but really proud to see who they’ve become.

The first wedding was two weeks ago and the bride and groom went on our Italy/France trip in 2013.  The bride and I share a love of Tim Horton’s (which are completely lacking in our town).  Today is the second wedding.  The groom went with us to Germany and it was his first trip out of the country (and maybe on a plane, if I remember right).  The baggage handlers went on strike when we landed and so he went the entire 10 day trip without his luggage and was still a trooper.  When I got the save the date cards I knew I wanted to do something special for them.  And, since I learned to knit right after I started volunteering with the youth group and was known to knit on planes, trains and in cars and at retreats I figured I had to knit them something.

Knitting for a wedding is much more difficult than knitting for a baby – far less choices.  I’m not a huge afghan knitter (more of short term project knitter) so I was struggling until I remembered that I had favorited the Sinkmates pattern.  I decided to make them each a set.  I made one in navy and one in white based on each of the couples’ tastes.  And then I went on Etsy and found these cute cutting boards that had marriage kitchen prayers on them and finally I got them a gift card for somewhere they had registered.  I pictured this gift in a box (and I’m sure my presentation got completely ruined as it was tossed from car to house, etc but it looked good when I put it on the gift table :) ) so I got a box and arranged the gift.

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I wrote in the cards that in the box they would find something to clean their kitchen; something to decorate their kitchen and something they could use to fill their kitchen.  I hope they enjoyed it!  And, I have to wonder if having two hopelessly single women leading their youth group acted as a cautionary tale and led them down the path to marriage…

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 :)