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, April 11, 2003

Ooooooooooh, Something New from Knitty

Overnight, the combined genius of Amy and Theresa produced this AWESOME pattern online for FREE over at that fabulous publication Knitty. Go see, and GO KNIT. (we have yarns that would work very well, if you're interested)

Just for Theresa

True, she did ask to see how this color felts, but I was also curious. And the resulting finished object will be offered for sale at an upcoming art show in Indianapolis, so it's not just for her. But it was her color selection. I think it turned out just amazing--and I'm always floored by how the undercolors (is that a word/term?) seem to come forward when you felt.

Behold the beauty of Cascade 9450
9450 Yarn 9450 Felt
A lovely steely-grey with pops of blue and tan

So, I've now got two sets of free bag needles, as I finished knitting another striped shoulder tote last night at our knitting guild meeting, such that it was. Completed bag is bright raspberry with two different greens for stripes with different widths of stripes. Total experiment, it should be felted this weekend. And I have two requests for the next color to work with (thanks Julie! thanks Maggi!). Julie's will be easy, as she asked about two denimy shades, and I have a bag finished already with one of them, and Maggi gave me a range to choose from, so this will be fun, too--bright blues and fun teals to choose from. GLADLY!

For now, I'm focused on the Fleece Fair tomorrow--fiber and critters and friends will make for a fun day trip. And spinning on Sunday with some of the same folks, over at Susan's home. Ah, the pleasure and relaxation of spinning. And the fun of phone calls from Teresa and Denise to do some serious plotting and planning for their upcoming weekend dye-fest at our place. That Denise has some great ideas for her intended dyeing and knitting project, so I'm thrilled at the adventurous nature of these two. I tell ya, I'm so fortunate and lucky to have the opportunity to do what I love and work with people that inspire and amaze me and motivate me even more. THANKS, all of you.

Oh, and check out Sandy's trials and successes in knitting her own llama with some Pastaza from us. No, it's not an undergarment, it's a knitted critter!

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Scarfing Up My Own Hand-Dyed Yarns

Yeah, we've been experimenting with dyes and yarns and other fun things. More on that another day, but for now, we're working on colorways and fibers and textures and other related stuff. Here's a collection of Cascade's yarn called Leisure, in the bulky weight (it's also available in a worsted, which Joe used to make a purple hoodie for his neice--see the December 21st entry. (GREAT sweater, by the way). Leisure is a textured boucle yarn that's made of 50% alpaca and 50% pima cotton. The cotton is the center, or core, of the yarn and the alpaca is used for the boucle, or zig-zag back and forth across the core. It turns into a yarn that's incredibly soft and cuddly, like a big beach towel, yet is warm because it's half alpaca. And if you know alpaca, you know that it's a hollow-core fiber, which means the hair is similar to a soda straw, so it traps body heat and keeps you toasty!

These scarves are made using the Shape-It Scarf pattern from Sally Melville's latest book, The Knitting Experience. It's a combination of triangle scarf and muffler-type scarf, which gives you the best of both worlds--a small drape over the upper back AND something to wrap around your neck. Or it can be worn over the head like a headscarf and the ends wrapped around the neck. Or it may be artfully draped around shoulders and back. The possibilities are endless! And the pattern is all knit stitches (yes, garter stitch), with simple increases on every row. Quite fun and easy to knit, each uses about 250 yards (give or take a little) of a bulky-weight yarn.

Here's all three scarves, draped artfully by Matt (note the lovely Jamieson DK on the right and the Lamb's Pride worsted on the left--oooh! and some of Matt's hand-dyed chenille up top on the left
And here's a close-up of all three
and a detail shot
undyed natural Leisure
Pink & Blue Close-up
Earthtone Close-up
Well, whattayathinK?

Next up--TheresaW's special request of a felting of Cascade 220 in 9450. The bag is felted and drying, so you'll see it here tomorrow, as promised. The blue undertones in the yarn REALLY came through in felting (no big surprise there, knowing how Cascade 220 colors come to life in the washing machine). So with that project finished, I'm back to taking requests for what to knit and felt next. Browse the colors of 220 to see if you find one you like. In the next day or so, Matt should be getting the new stock online, as we have even more shades to pick from. Drop me a note with your request and I'll be glad to do it next--I have needles without a bag on them. (And TheresaW, don't worry about being greedy if you have another you want to see--I don't view it as greed at all). Knitting Guild is this evening, so I'll need something to work on during the meeting.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Midnight Confessions

Well, dinner was a rousing success! Matt did a wonderful job of creating an amazing Posole Theresita, complete with a couple of his own culinary touches (he altered Theresa Chan's recipe just a tiny bit--see below for the recipe itself). And the pink lemonade pie (see below also) was amazing--tart, cool, refreshing, and decadent. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Great meal, but even more fun was the company. Due to a few outside circumstances, we were few in numbers but fun in spirit. Sympathy goes out to Helen on the loss of her great uncle, and we missed April, Kelly, Denise (where are you, fiberkitty?), Christi H, and others due to other commitments. But I got to fondle Christy E's sleeve and oogle Patsy's nearly-completed body tube. And of course, Matt made great progress on his, though he was distracted by that spinning stuff yet again tonight. Hmmmmmmmm, he's got the bug. I shudder to think of what he's going to do at Fleece Fair on Saturday. Danger Danger checkbook!

I chose the title of this entry for two reasons--one, because of the hour; and two, because I've not shared my Philosopher's Wool sweater with y'all yet. We fell in love with these garments in January 2001, when we met Ann and Eugene Bourgeois at the LYS in Okemos, Michigan, when they were down for an afternoon seminar on their products, their story, and the two-handed fair isle technique. They are wonderful people and we're glad to be a part of their extended family by way of carrying their products. As for the sleeve, I'm not ashamed of it, but I'm ashamed of my progress. This is attempt #3, pattern/colorway #2, so I'm way behind the group, following all of us starting in July last summer. Yes, it's nearly been a year, and here's what I have to show for it

The sleeve on the left is done in their Southwest design using the Hollyberry colorway. Think greens and reds and a little navy and black and kool-aid orange for a pop of color and depth. It's going to be a gorgeous finished project, someday. I went into the evening thinking I'd rip mine out (again) and start all over (again), but I kept what I had and plodded forward, and I'm glad I did. I made more progres tonight than any previous evening we've met and I like what I see. And I've learned first-hand what I've preached to others--you need to be about six feet away from them before the beauty of the pattern shines through. I like my little sleeve and I can't wait to work on it more.

But part of the reason I've made precious little progress is on the right. Not that bag specifically, but felted bags and other items in general. What you see is another special request for how a certain color of Cascade 220 will look, again by TheresaW, of Keyboard-Biologist fame. She's curious about how this one felts, as she auditions shades for an upcoming major felted project of her own design, based on this trial run. This time it's Color 9450, a steely-grey heathered yarn with amazing depth of color. I've not felted it before, but I look forward to it. What you see is about one-third of the way up the side of the bag, but I took a brief hiatus to make the cord for the top, so all that remains is what I call idiot knitting, or 'round and 'round in stockinette for another 50ish rings. Then it's into the washer for this little darlin. I'd estimate felting day to be Thursday, but maybe Wednesday. Keep your eyes peeled here, Theresa. Soon, darlin--soon!

I'm on a mad dash to create as many felted projects as possible, as the Broad Ripple Art Fair is upon us in just five short weeks (Mother's Day weekend, up in Indy). This is a good show for us every year, and it tends to be the last public show we do until the fall (who needs felted woolens in a midwestern summer?). And getting stock piled up for the Fair is tough when your other consigned and retail venues continue to sell things at a pretty good clip, as well. So I keep knitting and felting, felting and knitting, to replenish and build up stock. ARGH! I wish I had eight hands like the MandM lady from the commercials in the 70s. Maybe then I could get everything done that I wanted to.

Tomorrow brings a new knit night, held in the Nashville (Indiana--Brown County, as some call it) Public Library, starting at 7 p.m. This group is modeling itself after the wildly-successful knit nights in Columbus (IN) and Franklin (IN), and this will be the first gathering of this group. Who knows what to expect, but Matt and I and Helen and a couple other "regulars" from other knit nights will be there to support and encourage this new evening of fiber. If you're in the area, do stop by and join us. The more the merrier!

That brings us to the end of this late-night soul-purge. Do stop by again soon.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Sleepy Monday

7:21 a.m..................I groggily ask Matt what day it is and he mumbles.........Monday. ARGH! So much for getting up at 6:30 and getting a couple orders packed up and two e-mails out to folks prior to having to leave for campus. Oh well, Matt was a saviour and offered to bring me lunch today, in between his runs to FedEx, the post office, the bank, and the grocery store. He also offered to fix dinner tonight and make the dessert I had in mind. No, this isn't a parallel universe--it's domestic bliss!

Tonight is our once-a-month Philosopher's Wool sweater group meeting, when we make the entree and the dessert(s) and the other group members make a side dish to go along with it. Tonight features Posole Theresita, found the in December 27th entry of Theresa Chan's blog. Matt's at home cooking right now (it's a southwestern/Native American stew, so it takes awhile) and he's already made Pink Lemonade Pie and popped it in the freezer. Oh, an we'll be knitting after dinner on our Philsopher's Wool sweaters. Matt's almost to the armhole steek on his, and I'm on cuff #1 and going to rip it out (again). I can't wait to see what everyone else has accomplished since last month. Some folks are nearly done (RIGHT, PATSY!?!?)

Friday brought us a surprise--another wonderful box of Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool Quarters and patterns. Our Spring Sock Spectacular continues, so the reinforcements on stock are quite welcome. We had another box of Mountain Colors leave on Friday, which was full of special order things (Mountain Goat for Deb, Sagebrush for three others, and odds and ends for still more folks). I just hung up with Beth at Lorna's Laces and we'll have a second box from them on Thursday. Koigu is still MIA--I give up hoping. It may or may not come. Ever. ARGH!

Tomorrow's entry? I'll show off three Shape-It Scarf versions, knitted with Cascade Yarns' Leisure in the bulky weight. Leisure is wonderful--50% cotton and 50% alpaca boucle yarn. Soft and warm, like a fluffy terry hug. One scarf is in the natural yarn and two scarves were made with some of the Leisure I dyed by hand. It's fun, and we're experimenting with dyeing yarn of late, looking into the fun that is colorwork!

See you then--stay warm!