Black Dog

Just a little outpost on the web for me to ramble, post pix, share ideas, and be a part of the crowd.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Boys Who Knit

No, the surprise isn't in the headline--it's been no surprise to anyone for over 34 years that I'm a boy who knits. The BIG surprise is a pleasant one. LOOKIE WHAT I GOT IN THE MAIL ON THURSDAY!

Big thanks to Clara, all-around nice person, blogger, and the brains behind a wonderful venture that markets incredible (non-fiber) things for knitters. I love her sense of whimsey on the fun stuff, and the pictures on her cards, calendars, and more are just wonderful. And I know a few people who deserve the knitting lady pin. Be sure to drop by her site. NOW.

The kindness and generosity of fiber people is second to none. It's a big reason we've chosen to do what we do as opposed to our former lives, and it's a wonderful motivator to do more good now and in the future. Oh, and don't think that Clara won't be the victim of a return box of fun. heheheheheh

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Fulfilling a Promise

I Bring You.......berry blast felted fabric. It turned out nice, and not at all muddy like I was concerned about, given other Quatro 220 fabric I've seen. The two red-based strands merged and there's highlights of purple and green. And best of all, the felted fabric has a little bit of boucle, or nub, to it. Color and texture...a good thing.

For those inquiring minds out there........
Berry Quatro Yarn Berry Quatro Felted
Not so bad, right?

I'm about 2/3 of the way finished with the bag in Celery 9407, one of my all-time favorite colors to felt. I'll probably finish the knitting tonight, but I won't felt until Saturday, at our Felting Party. My mother fell in love with this color last February when she was here and to this day talks about that pretty green bag with the wooden button, as she puts it. She's not a knitter, but she can sew a blue streak around most folks. And she has an appreciation for fiber arts, as it was her mother that passed the skill along to me.

Tonight is our local knitting guild meeting, and it should be an interesting one. Our long-time coordinator (we're too small to elect officers, so Dolores has volunteered her excellent leadership for many years) has retired from IU and is moving to Colorado (our LOSS is their huge gain). So it's time for a change of guard. And we're also fighting a decline in membership, due to other outside circumstances. We need to energize and invigorate local knitters, but sometimes I wonder if what we're doing with ThreadBear isn't causing a decline in membership, given the variety of workshops and knitting opportunities we sponsor (and that is the LAST thing I would want to happen). Between that and an overall lack of discretionary time for some folks means that if they have to make choices, they may not be choosing to be part of a guild. And that's too bad, as guilds can be educational AND fun.

Tomorrow..............stay tuned for a was a surprise for me!

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I'm Human, Unfortunately.........

It was my intention to finish the berry blast bag last night (each gets its own unique name), but I came home with a headache and napped for about 45 minutes around 6 p.m. Then I decided to nap more while trying to watch So Graham Norton on BBC America. I'm always amazed what they can get away with across the pond. Last night had a woman in a bathtub (via webcam) that reminded me a little of the barkeep's wife in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, especially given her talents. 'Nuff said on that. No matter what, it's always entertaining, especially in the beginning segment, when he questions the audience. And the theme music for the latest installment (So Graham Norton V) is too much fun--very Moroccan-esque.

Why do I tell you all of this? As I sit here right now, I have about five feet of I-cord finished, heading to six feet (it's a long and doubled strap on this bag) and after that all that remains is to knit the last five or so rounds on the top of the bag. Then it's into the washer for this baby tonight. You'll see results posted tomorrow--I PROMISE. Next up, 9407--Celery. But I must confess, that bag is about 45% finished already (I typically have 2-3 bags in progress at any given time).

Another temptation for you will be a long-on-the-needles entrelac bag that I've rescued from the PIGS status (you know........Project In Grocery Sack). It was banished about five months ago, when I switched to other projects, especially those that work up quicker. The colorway is awesome and it's working up very nicely, and I crested the hill on it so it's smooth sailing from her on (each round is one stitch smaller than the last, so I tend to get good momentum on it). Plus, entrelac is addictive and like potato chips--as you finish each little section you want to see the next one, and it's just a few rows. Then you finish a complete round and want to see how the NEXT color will look on the project, so you do a few more squares, and so thing you know, you're finished with the bag, it's 4:30 a.m., and you're due up in two hours. Truth be told, I have two of these bags started that I look forward to dragging out and finishing shortly. And there's a couple ideas that I have stewing in my head for bags made with modular knitting, so we may be in the midst of a creative streak by me (odd, as I'm typically the production knitter who goes and goes and goes).

Felting party at the house on Saturday, as well as the Bloomington appearance of Rocalie knitter Teresa, C, and the ever-creative LocQueen. Combine out-of-town visitors with our bunch of felting locals, and it should be another wild weekend. And of course, pictures will be here and at CrowingRam.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

And Now, Back to Our Regularly-Scheduled Magic Show

After a somewhat quiet weekend (no workshops scheduled for either day and a new spinning group on Sunday), I'm back with a vengence. No, there's not been significant progress on the super top-secret teaser project, as y'all have dubbed it. But there's been a little bit. Patience, grasshopper--it may be awhile until I reveal the magic. Sorry.

In the mean time, here's my latest felted offering, Cascade Yarns brings us Cascade 220, shade 9454 (also known as Rainier Heather by name). It's been all the buzz since it arrived in November, and again when we got it back in stock last month after a long backorder. So many of their new heathers, 22 of them released in November, are gorgeous in the yarn, but they take on an entirely new life when felted. Subtle undercolors appear that weren't overly visible in the hank. Beautiful shading comes to the surface. Wonderful magic happens. See below............

Sandy--see if you can resist this..........
Rainier Heather Yarn Rainier Heather Felted
And for my next trick? Berry Colored 220 Quatro Yarn

I'll be finishing the Berry Quatro bag tonight or tomorrow, so I'll have the felted fabric captured and online by Thursday, as the bag is probably 60% completed (gimme a break--I started it yesterday!). Some Quatro shades felt in a weird way (see Theresa's science gone wrong with a different Quatro shade of greens, aqua, and grey). I felted another shade in December when we first got the Quatro yarns in, and the result was un-stellar, as the lovely light blues, lavendar, and misty green turned an unappealing grey-blue muddy mess. On the other hand, a friend (get better, Helen!) felted some red/fuchsia/orange Quatro with a wonderful result of a raspberry with bright undertones.

Mixed results like the above have Matt and I starting a new collection of before and after photos of different shades of Cascade 220 that we've felted already or will be felting in the near future. If you have any requests, check out our stock of 220 and send me an e-mail request to see something felted. Give me a week (or less) and I'll do it. Seriously! And be watching for more shades of 220 up online shortly. We have about 20 new colors that came in recently--new to us and replacements of old favorites. Because when our stock of a color or yarn is depleted, we take it off of our commercial site (I hate disappointing people).

In the mean time, be well, be good to each other, and be patient---more fun to appear here soon!