Cutthroat Yarn

Because knitting is a cutthroat business

The Cat's Pajamas

Jeanette WardComment

What a summer!  Days are starting to wind down into cooler nights and our swimming options are slowing beginning to dwindle.  I really cannot complain.  This summer was very good to me and the Cutthroat Family.  I was able to take Baby Cutthroat to all the places he wanted to go (with the exception of Disney, because Florida in July is not my idea of a good time).  I've made it my mission to spend as much time with Baby Cutthroat as possible doing amazing things before school takes up all the time. 

On the days we aren't checking out something random, I have become one with my sewing machine.  It is really satisfying to make a dress.  It is so fast, well, fast for most.  I'm not exactly the speediest at this point.  I am still trying to make everything look good.  Right now, I have a lot of maxi dress pajamas.  It's not like I am particularly nuts for pajamas.  It's more that I don't feel confident that wearing them outside will not prompt whispers of, "um, did she make that?"  So, I prefer to restrict them to the confines of my home.  But, now it seems like my pajama wardrobe is becoming a little Hugh Hefner-y (in variety and number, this does not speak to any provocative nature of said jammies). 

All in all, this summer has been great.  We have been keeping busy and entertained.  As we move into fall, I feel like it is our last opportunity for air before we are trapped indoors for the winter.  I'm hoping to keep my dance card full and my brain active.  It's the only way I know!

2 Twenties

Jeanette WardComment

On most days, I feel pretty confident about my yarn skills.  I know I can spin, wash, dye, knit with the best of them.  Because my confidence is all tied up in yarn (pun intended), I just didn't think it was possible for me to do other things. 

This year, I have been trying to try everything.  I began gardening, canning, sewing, metalwork.  I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I didn't even cross my mind that growing food was so easy.  Now, to be fair, I only planted really easy crops and on a very small scale.  I have the typical stuff like squash, pumpkins, herbs, tomatoes, onions, and carrots.   Obviously, food doesn't just appear from thin air.  But, I have never been good at keeping plants green and out of the trash can.  A garden as small as mine is on auto-pilot.  I weed and then employ Baby Cutthroat to water it.  I don't even really understand why I am so amazed by it all. 

I feel like keeping my crafting options open and branching outward.  When spending so much of your days focused on fiber, it is so good to start new things (and be terrible at them).  It is refreshing to learn something new.  And, I always have a willing accomplice.  Grammy Cutthroat comes over and is open to some crazy idea I just saw online somewhere.  Last week, it was, "hey, let's make Mr. Cutthroat a tie!"  The weekend before, it was, "hey, let's go pick 8 lbs of strawberries and make a million jars of jelly!"  The weekend before that, it was, "I saw this thing online about stamping metal..."  She's a good sport. 

I'm off now to make something crazy that I am learning for the first time and executing on the fly.  And, it may not be good, but at least it is new. 

 

 

Idle Hands

Jeanette WardComment

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am at my happiest when my schedule is packed to the gills.  I could spend everyday driving around with the family going to a new festival or some kind of historic district.  Today, I started putting together my calendar for the slate of festivals and trunk shows we are scheduled for this summer.  And, I realized, IT IS ALMOST SUMMER.  Since we shut our retail space to expand our yarn line, we have been so busy making yarn and traveling, we have somehow sped through spring. 

I thought that I would have so much time to hang out, start new crafts, have lunch.  So much for all that!  I barely have time to make sure that I am wearing two of the same shoe.  (A real problem that I have had before.  And, Mr. Cutthroat never alerted me because he thought it was a fashion choice.  That's a different story for another day.) 

I feel like time is just speeding by me so fast.  I want to press the pause button to spend more time just relaxing with my little Cutthroat Yarn Family.  If my schedule keeps it up at this same rate, I am never going to have time to learn new crafts and find new historic downtowns to shop.  And, before we know it, it will be be July and we will want to be starting holiday gift knitting at that point.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  But, I just feel like time is getting ahead of me. 

I'm just going to keep on keeping on.  Do what I can, when I can.  And, say to hell with the rest!


What's on my needles:  Sleeves for the Geographer's Sweater (don't judge me) - CTY DK in Go Robot

Type A++

Jeanette WardComment

Because a yarn company, hobby jelly and jam operation, a loud threenager, and a new garden interest wasn't enough, I decided to start making stitch markers.  I wanted some cute stitch markers that weren't the boring old diaper pins that everyone uses!  So, I got to work and cranked out an excessive amount of markers.  And, I recruited Pappy Cutthroat to the mix, because after all, he is the most artistic one in the family.  Another day, another hobby.

When I start doing something new, I don't just dabble.  I go in 100%.  I get all the tools, all the extras, all the everything.  I want to be sure I am in a good position to turn any casual hobby into an up-all-night obsession.  The only real realm that I cannot seem to grasp is the world of paper crafts.  There is no way around it, I just absolutely suck at paper crafts.  But, I recognize this and thankfully, I have some good paper crafters in my life if I am ever in need. 

What's next?  Chainsaw school?

Me + Danish: An Affair to Remember

Jeanette WardComment

It's been (almost) a month.  Our storefront has been closed for almost a month and I mean it when I say, this month has sped by faster than anything I have imagined.  So far, we have done some amazing trunk shows across the country, which has afforded me the opportunity to eat breakfast in 6 states.  If any of you thought I was in this for the yarn, think again.  I'm here for the incredible cheese danish and tea in Southern Pines, NC.  Sure, Bella Filati Luxary Yarns was an amazing shop to spend the weekend.  But, its proximity to Broad Street Bakery was also key.  There are so many of those little gems that I have been hunting down in my travels.  Now, maybe I should write a breakfast book about all the danishes I eat.  Forget that, I want no such documentation about my danish intake. 

I have finally been able to find my way home over the last week.  It has been good to recharge and focus on some great new things we have coming down the pipeline.  Plus, we have a yarn of the month going out in the next couple weeks.  I have a lot to tend to on the homefront.  And, I am almost out of homemade jam.  After being on the road for this long, when you get home it is a major drag.  All the fun times come crashing down when you are tasked with laundry and stuffing your swimsuit in the drawer.  All those meals?  Now, you have to clean dishes.  You wake up in the morning and no one makes your bed for you.  Your trash can is full until you take it out yourself.  Damn, this place is a major drag.  Time to find a new destination!(Googling cheese danish + bakery + Cleveland) 


What's on my needles:  Geographer's Sweater in CTY DK colorway Go Robot!

 

An Aggressive (rest stop) Schedule

Jeanette WardComment

Life is about to get pretty crazy, and not just in "I've got a lot of errands," sort of way.  When I gave Mr. Cutthroat the green light to schedule trunk shows, he. scheduled.  trunk.  shows.  And, to a lot of people (read:  those who hate road trips), our schedule would sound intimidating.  But luckily, there's nothing I love more than a good ol' fashioned road trip!  I love everything that comes with a road trip.  Snacks, podcasts, hotel shampoo,  Mass Grave of Circus Train Wreck Victims, and gas station souvenirs.  

I'm going to be hitting everywhere from Connecticut to California and Oklahoma to Florida.  In a few short weeks, we will be packing our bags for warmer weather with two back-to-back weekends in the south.  Who doesn't want to leave 30 degree Leesburg to catch a tan in Florida?  Well, that's a lie.  I definitely don't want a tan.  I just want the warmth.  I shy away from sun at all costs.  SPF 70 is my BFF.  If I could wear spray on fire retardant and I would finally be able to enjoy a totally carefree beach trip. 

Anyway, that's not the point.  The point is this crazy train is headed to a shop near you and I cannot pack my bags soon enough, including that extra duffle of sunscreen. 

Sleep When You're Dead

Jeanette WardComment

Well, it is truly becoming a reality!  The store is starting to downsize (although, the Cutthroat Yarn is adding as the other yarn flies away).  We had an amazing time on our last adventure to the Cincinnati area.  We visited Main Street Yarns in Mason, Ohio and Knitwits in Crescent Springs, Kentucky.  Both shops were so much fun and a real joy.  Doing trunk shows is the single best part of doing this yarn line.  We get to travel and spend time in places we normally wouldn't find ourselves.  And, we get to meet so many awesome crafters.  I love getting a new perspective on our colors and bases.  The downside is coming home with a 1,000 ideas for new colors and new projects (or new jelly flavors).  Mr. Cutthroat doesn't even have time to breathe before I am talking him to death with new ideas for trunk show travel. 

On this trip, we went to the Underground Railroad Museum and narrowly escaped a field trip at the Taft Childhood Home.  Whenever we travel, we are always a little heavy into the historical sites.  Mr. Cutthroat is into that sort of thing.  While I, on the other hand, really like factory tours.  (It's my secret shame, but I will tour any factory no matter what they make.)  But, if I can avoid a French and Indian war landmark (and subsequent lecture), I consider it a win. 


What's on my needles:  Rose Path Socks for CTY's Sock of the Month in colorway "Midnight in Paris"

Never Say Never

Jeanette Ward

Today's post is a bittersweet one. 

Three years ago this week, I was faced with the daunting and exciting task of building a fiber arts community from an empty gray room.  I took the leap of faith, quit my day job, and jumped head first into a colorful pile of wool. 

And, as I coaxed my family into the fray, they gave me the support I needed to grow Cutthroat Yarn.  Before I knew it, we were open for business and our circle began to grow.  We met some great people, who would grow to be friends. 

As we grew, we started to see that the yarn I was dyeing for the store as a hobby, ended up being the most popular skeins in the store.  So, with that, Mr. Cutthroat set out to expand our line.  And, did he ever!  This year, we expanded to 25 stores across the country. It's an incredible amount of work to maintain a yarn store and a yarn line.  But, it's work I love. 

This week we were given the opportunity to let go of our retail space.  Our family thought about the ultimate goals and direction we wanted to take Cutthroat Yarn.  We considered the future of yarn and how people are shopping more and more online.  After a lot of waffling (some crying), we decided to close our retail space to focus exclusively on our yarn line.  

While we are sad to see this chapter end, we are excited to see where this takes us.  But, I am no stranger to jumping head first into something strange and unfamiliar.  And, I am lucky to have Mr. Cutthroat who will follow me anywhere. 

We hope that you will stop in before we close up shop on March 1st.  And, we hope that you will continue to visit our retailers and our online store. 

 

Welcome to My Carb Palace

Jeanette WardComment

I have officially entered midlife crisis mode. 

I'm not buying a fancy new sports car, nor have I procured a hot new boy toy.  (The former sounds too expensive and the latter sounds more like work.)  Instead, I have turned our house into a food factory.  Once I made the goat cheese and it was edible, my brain. just. exploded.  I proceeded to make french bread, more noodley shaped noodles, a giant cake, jelly, and tortillas--all in the same week.  The highlight of this all was tracking down and buying a literal tub of lard for my tortillas.  Mr. Cutthroat thinks I am trying to kill him when I bust out the tub of lard.  But, I say, "ah, just take some Lipitor, and call it a day!" 

I am just having fun experimenting in my kitchen on all the things that pop into my head.  That's the good part about winter.  Make some bread, make some mittens.  Force feed your husband some cheese, force yourself to finish that hat.  Winter is definitely good for my midlife crisis.  And, if I keep eating lard, the end will be a lot nearer. 

 


What's on my needles:  Pussy Hat Project in CTY Worsted in colorway Pussy Galore

Master of None

Jeanette WardComment

I have always been interested in learning.  I have not always been the best student, especially in terms of history, math, science, etc.  And, the prospect of sitting in a class and learning from a textbook never really appealed to me, as anyone who knew me in college can attest.  Seriously, I didn't even bother attending most of my classes.  But, hands on learning a craft, that's a whole different ballgame.  Do they offer a PhD program in crafting?

Lately, beyond spinning, felting, crocheting, knitting, I have been exploring other world of making.  My latest venture has been in the world of foodstuffs.  So far this week, I have made some pretty heinous looking noodles and have purchased all the accoutrements for making goat cheese.  Now, Mr. Cutthroat ate the noodles like a champ.  He's less excited about the prospect of eating homemade cheese.  I'm pretty sure he'll still do it, though.

I want to do it all.  I want to be the jack of all trades and I am ok if I am the master of none.  Finding out how things are made lends to appreciation for how the parts of your life come together.  I have learned to do some stuff and realized that some things are better left to others.  One of those, silk worms.  I ambitiously bought a baggie of cocoons and carefully read all the instructions on harvesting silk.  I made one pot of cocoon soup and carefully wrapped one long thread around the world's tiniest niddy noddy.  After that 5 hour jaunt into harvesting silk, I realized 2 things, 1) that's why silk is so expensive and 2) harvesting silk is not for me. 


What's on my needles:  Man Hands mitts in Sugar Bush Bold

Cutthroat Yarn and Felted Menagerie

Jeanette WardComment

I have to decide on a knitting project today.  I keep waffling between mittens for my brother, smittens for me and my husband, and a sweater for Baby Cutthroat.  But, as I procrastinate on picking a project, I just keep finding more things to felt.  This store is one more felted animal away from turning our official name into Cutthroat Yarn and Menagerie. 

I have been obsessed with making little animals lately.  I made a koala the other day for my MIL and I found that no matter what I did to his face, he looked angry, like claw your face off angry.  When I tried to make a little eucalyptus branch for him to hold, it looked like a weapon.  But, the ultimate reward was when I showed my brother my koala.  He instantly knew what it was supposed to be.  Success!


What's on my needles:  Felted elephant

Disappointed, in a Tube Top

Jeanette WardComment

Christmas always gets me in a crafty mood, like crafty for myself--rarely for others.  When people are busy making things for handmade gifts, I can't help but think how awesome that would look on me. 

So far this season, I have finished a sweater (for myself), finished two CTY club kits (for myself), and started a crochet scarf (for myself).  I can barely finish a tiny pair of mitts for my son and it is 22 degrees outside.  I kept thinking last night that I could easily just go buy a pair because I was interested in starting these cute beaded gloves I found a pattern for in last year's Vogue Knitting Holiday Edition (for myself). 

Now, I do want to go on record and say that I do love the season of giving and all that comes with that.  But, sometimes people just don't understand the work that goes into a knitted project.  So, I just prefer to give the gift of something I buy, not make.  There's nothing worse than someone opening a handmade cowl and the look on their face shows they are trying to process why you would knit them a tube top.  It's not worth it. 


What's on my needles:  Two mittens attached with an i-cord in Cutthroat Yarn Minis DK

You're a Mean One

Jeanette WardComment

I tried to hold off as long as I possibly could.  I waited as long as everyone else would possibly let me.  Until today.  Today was the day that the Christmas music came on at Cutthroat Yarn.  I would like to point out that Christmas is my all time favorite holiday.  Ok, Christmas is my second favorite holiday behind my birthday.  But, I'm not allowing for my all consuming love of Halloween.  Ok--Christmas is up there, easily up there in the top 3. 

I have a lot of Christmas traditions that I have held on to despite Mr. Cutthroat's bah humbug nature.  And. I am not trying to adopt his Grinch philosophy.  But, one person can only hear "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" so many times before you want to jam knitting needles in your holly jolly ear drums.  I think the problem is that there are only so many Christmas songs.  New artists just release a Christmas album without the real work of finding songs or writing new ones.  (And, really, do we need the Crash Test Dummies writing Christmas music?)  That's why I have heard "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, The Glee Cast, Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli, and Rockapella today.  (By the way, Rockapella needs to only exist in Carmen Sandiego land.)  That's just today.  Tomorrow, it will be another all day "White Christmas" a-thon with 20 other artists. 

And, the live versions!  Don't even get me started with the live versions!  Does anyone even enjoy a live version of anything?  Take Christmas totally out of the equation.  Is anyone every sitting in their car saying, "Gee, I really love this Adele song.  But, you know what would make it better?  If she points the microphone at the crowd and we listen to cheering for 20 seconds in the middle!"  No!  That person doesn't exist. 

So, fa la la la la at Cutthroat Yarn before it gets old! 


What's on my hook:  Coffee cup sleeve with left over yarn ends

The Old Grey Mare

Jeanette WardComment

Recently, I feel like I am really starting to feel my age.  I wake up early, I only wear sensible shoes, and I've started really appreciating quiet restaurants.  My brother has been pointing out that, besides knitting, I have been taking interest in a lot of new "old lady" hobbies.  So what if I like making jam?  So what if I am enrolling in a pottery class in spring?  I am embracing this new old me.  The soles of my shoes are an inch thick to prevent planters faciitis and you know what?  It is super comfy.  And, I have been really delighting in mapping out my small backyard garden.  Being an old lady is just the best. 

This old lady lifestyle is really a contrast to the wild child persona that I had until about 7 years ago.  And, we don't even want to ask those who knew me in college to chime in on the subject.  I guess after everything, I am lucky to have made it out of my 20s alive.  That gives me every right to say, I'm going to check out the local news with a cup of tea, put on my robe, and read a book. 

Mr. Cutthroat is already well suited to being an old man and I think he looks at my hobbies with comfort.  He knows that I'm not coming home with hiking gear for Mt. Everest.  He can relax in his chair without the worry of roping him into something loud, fast, or uncomfortable. 

Mid-thirties is the best.

Amoebas and Parasites

Jeanette WardComment

Lately, I have been busy trying to crank out yarn and projects like my life depends on it.  And, while I am knitting and dyeing, winding and skeining, I have to have some kind of background noise going on.  Usually, I don't go for music.  I listen to music all day at the shop and after a long week, I feel like I have heard every song.  ever.  And, one can only watch Felicity so many times before it's just sad. 

But, I have reached a new level of sad with the Monsters Inside Me marathon I binge watched this weekend while making some cute kits.  If you are new to this show, basically all you need to know is that if you swim in a fresh water lake in the south, you are going to end up with some kind of crazy parasite that is going to try and kill you from the inside.  Super pleasant show.  And, somehow, I cannot turn it off when it is on.  This could be the cause of the dark dye phase I am going through right now.  When I look at the skeins I dyed during this show, I am reminded of Monsters Inside Me.  It's not as morbid as it sounds, no one ever dies.  Although, every time I watch, I just keep thinking, I bet this is the first one where someone dies.  But, they always pull through and they are wiser for it.  The people are always so upbeat on this show after their crazy ordeal.  I don't know if I could be as upbeat if I was having to relearn how to walk because of a parasite attacking me.  I guess that's why they make a recovery.  Determined people can accomplish so much with an upbeat attitude. Remember that if you plan on walking to your mailbox barefoot. 

PS.  Always cook your pork to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. 


What's on my needles:  Cuba Street Hat with yarn by Cutthroat Yarn's Eight is Enough

Two months in contentsville

Jeanette WardComment

Can we all agree the best stuff happens in November? You've got Thanksgiving, Christmas tree shopping, hot chocolate, pumpkin pie.  But, the best part of November is the nuclear weapon of parenting--the Toys R Us wish book.  I'm not even sure I know how to effectively parent the other 10 months out of the year.  But, when I lay my eyes on that glorious book, I know that I can pretty much just autopilot the next two months. 

"Oh, you want the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage?  Then I guess you should clean up your room."

"The karaoke machine is on your list for Santa?  Well, he's watching so you need to go to bed."

"Is that whining?  I didn't think so."

In June, Santa is a far away threat and they know that I'm never going to remember the pen marks on the wall.  I have to resort to actually paying attention and real discipline.  I wish there was an equivalent for adults.  There are so many entitled jerks out there that need a Toys R Us book for them to peruse in the hopes of a reward for good behavior.  I know I'd certainly be nicer to my brother if I knew there was an Apple Watch in it for me.  I think we all would.  Am I right?

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy these two short months of a clean house and a wishful toddler.  In January, all bets are off.

Holding on for dear life

Jeanette WardComment

There is always some sweet Alanis Morisette level irony when typing your next blogpost about following through on more things 18 months later.  I am just going to ignore that and pretend like it's totally normal. 

I do, however, have a reason for the prolonged absence.  In the middle of keeping this yarn store going, I decided that I needed something else to keep me reaching to new heights of crazy.  So, I started the line.  And, I mean, I really staaaaarted the line.  One by one, we added new stores to our retailer list, getting our hand dyes out there for the masses.  Then, it blew up.  It was almost as if Mr. Cutthroat and I took in and started feeding a little tiny bird and thenturned around to realize we had a giant condor living among us.  Trust me, it is all good.  We are happy to grow like this. 

At some point, we are going to have to decide on our direction and path for growth.  But for now, I am really loving this.  It is fun to be a part of something you can see coming to life before your eyes.  It's a good thing Mr. Cutthroat and I work well together.  I attribute our camaraderie to his handsome beardy face and the fact I am not tired of looking at it...yet. 

 

Getting it out there!

Jeanette WardComment

Over the past few months, we have been working diligently to get our yarn line up and moving.  And, we are happy to say that we have received the warmest of welcomes from our community of fiber artists.  We also took our yarn on the road!  This month, Yarn It & Haberdashery in Columbus, Ohio started carrying the Cutthroat Yarn line.  If you find yourself in the area, we strongly suggest you take the time to check out this adorable shop.  The staff is so amazing and the owner has the best eye for color and texture. 

As we continue to expand, we are having the time of our life exploring color.  Well, I am having the time of my life.  Mr. Cutthroat is always just along for the ride.  I've somehow made him to face of Cutthroat Yarn, while I am more like the man behind the curtain of the Great and Powerful Oz.  And, I am happy with that station. 

 

The thing about gifts is...

Jeanette Ward1 Comment

There are two types of people in the world:  those who appreciate handmade gifts, and those who don't.  I'm pretty sure if you are reading this, you are in the camp of highly appreciative people.  Otherwise, maybe you just really like reading blogs about crafting?

We've all been to an estate sale or an auction where you see an intense tatted tablecloth, you just KNOW was handmade.  And, it is always in the box marked $2.  Someone's grandmother is totally haunting them for that move.  As much as I adore handmade gifts, a lot of folks are wired for that.  You would never find something given to me placed in a bargain bin.  And, I have to say I "mostly" adore handmade gifts.  I don't want Mr. Cutthroat to read this, thinking that he's going to knit me something for my birthday. 

At this very moment, I have the start of a beautiful baby sweater on my needles.  I am making it for one of my very best friends and her baby due later this year.  I don't put in this time and effort for everyone in my life.  There are always those in our life who will inevitably enrage us fiber artists by never wearing what we make them, carelessly washing a cashmere scarf, or even worse, asking for some 12 skein sweater in black.  (The latter being my all time worst nightmare.  And, everyone who has been in Cutthroat Yarn knows my deep affection for color.)   

But, I will say that there is such great joy in making beautiful garment for someone who truly appreciates it.  In most cases, I'd rather knit for someone who appreciates it, than knit for myself.  Except socks.  I only make those for myself.  No one appreciates socks. 

So Over It

Jeanette WardComment

Every winter, I struggle with constant weather complaining.  I work hard to keep my intense dislike for Punxsutawney Phil in check.  I try so hard to be upbeat, but around this time every year, I just want sun and birds and light jackets and lemonade and flowers and... 

I spend all year basically knitting for these chilly temps.  Fiber arts as a hobby was made for the winter.  I make gloves, hats, cowls, cozy socks all to prepare for winter.  But, I just detest the bone chilling winds and the brown mush that has been hastily piled up around town.  And, I haven't knitted long underwear yet.  So, while my head, neck, hands and feet are feeling fine, it is the middle part of my body that has been left wool-less.  I need a onesie, a really cute one with stripes!  On second thought, while a onesie is super adorable on children, I am not sure it would have the same effect on a middle aged woman.  I would end up looking like a crazy person with too much time on their hands and a husband who can't say, "no, that is NOT cute!"  I'll stick to the cute accessories and leave the onesies to the cute children. 

But seriously, no one ever says, "I'm sick of all these birds and flowers!  I want to be freezing to the point where my extremities go numb!"  And, I used to think I needed all 4 seasons in my life.  Now, I am not so sure.  Every year, as I advance in age, Florida is looking better and better.  I would just need to move more towards knitted bathing suits...  Ew.  Maybe not.