Black Dog

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

Saturday, April 26, 2003


The Noro Kureyon color #92 version of Two Old Bags' Felted Day Pack, as promised. Right now, it's downstairs churning away in the washing machine. Kureyon, despite being a loosely-spun single (with tightly-spun spots, too) takes a good bit longer to felt down when compared to other wools like Cascade 220 and Brown Sheep NatureSpun worsted (which we carry, also, but haven't put online yet). So away it goes, round and round through the hot water. I've already taken it through four wash cycles and a shock in cold rinse water, so maybe it will move along faster now.

prefelted bag in #92 felted Kureyon bag
Before Felting After Felting
Squeezing out the bag just now, between cycles (number 5, in progress), it dawned on me. This felted Kureyon is great (nice blurry surface to the fabric), but since it's the random and colorful striping effect that is so desirable, could you not get a similar effect using the Magic Ball technique popularized by Kaffe Fassett in his book Glorious Knits on p. 140? And wouldn't that be a great way to use up odds and ends in your stash, especially leftovers from other felting projects. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, that gets my brain a'cookin.

It's as finished as it's going to get, so enjoy. There's some basic finishing that will happen before it's completely presentable, but first it will dry overnight. Then I'll pick off all of the wool dingleberries that accumulated in the washing machine. But for now, I'm happy. And hopefully it will entice some folks to make the day pack out of Kureyon, as we have a day pack workshop going on today (Saturday--it's after 1 a.m. now) and another up in Indy on Thursday (we take our traveling circus on the road--soon we're doing a full day of knitting and felting in Evansville, IN). And of course, Daphne said she's doing one out of Kureyon #88 (intense fall colors) coming up soon. I'm going to bed.............

Friday, April 25, 2003

Noro is Taking Over the World

All of a sudden, many bloggers seem to be working with Noro yarns, and Kureyon in particular. Submitted for your approval:

Kathy recently finished a pullover using it in the yoke (sorry, couldn't find the picture in her finished works gallery, but I saw some purty thangs there)

Crafty Revo has something new on the needles with Kureyon

IndiGirl confessed to overdoing it in Chicago and is working on her second sleeve, with over half of the pullover completed to date

KnitDad is trying to resist (see his comments at Indi's blog above, in her tagboard)

Mare has made some wondermous things with Kureyon and beautiful things with Silk Garden

I've decided to create the Felted Day Pack with some new Kureyon we received on Tuesday (with 180 more skeins coming next Tuesday, including three additional colors).

One of our friends/clients at a distance in the great white north of Wisconsin e-mailed me today about starting the stained glass vest, which uses Kureyon and Montera, which is the exact same yarn as Cascade Pastaza, (even spun in the same mill and everything), and we stock every single color it comes in, for about $2US less per skein than Montera.

So what gives? It's nearly summertime in the northern hemisphere. Is everyone reacting to the unseasonably cool weather we're having and thinking about incredible creations for fall and winter? Or could it be that LYS across the country finally got some stock in this stuff, as it was not available from the distributor until just recently (we were on back order since January 18, and a couple colors are STILL on back order). No matter, I've pre-ordered all of the new colors, coming in June. And I look forward to felting the bag (below) later today. You'll see it here first, I gar-on-tee!

In the mean time, would anyone else be interested in starting the (content deleted at the request of the authorities) Knit Along that kicks off in a couple weeks? We have three folks coming to us for yarn for the project, and I'm going to do it, as is Matt, and maybe some of our local folks. We talked of the idea of offering kits instead of making folks buy full skeins of a color they only need 60-80 yards of, and the more the merrier. Supposedly the May 1 start date is now May 15, and I know (names removed to protect the innocent and sane) and possibly a few others are gearing up for the knit-along. What you'll make is a (KNITTED OBJECT) for an 18" bear/doll, but along the way you can practice fair isle techniques like 2-color knitting, steeking, adding welts, and more. All of this without the pressure (and EXPENSE) of a human-sized project. Learn on this, master the techniques, and then do something incredible like Wendy does. Be sure to check out her gallery of finished works. She amazes me!

If you're interested in the knit-along, drop me an e-mail for more information.

Felted bag appears here later have been warned.

Anxiously Waiting

The body of bag is complete but needs straps prior to felting. It's going to be interesting to see it felted. You will later today, once I get the odds and ends wrapped up. I promise!

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, April 24, 2003

More and More Progress

Here's where we stand, as of 8 p.m. this evening. I'm still buckin' to have it finished by the close of the day, but I'm not sure I'll make the goal of having it felted as well. ENJOY!

Quick Update

Several of you have e-mailed me asking about the Kureyon Felted Day Pack I'm currently working on in colorway #92. As of 1:24 p.m. EST today, I had finished round 42 (of 100ish). That means I should finish it tonight, without question. If I do, I'll try to felt it as well, unless it's just too late to imagine felting it. That way I can post a picture of it tomorrow.

I have to say, this is going to be one GORGEOUS bag--the striping in the Kureyon is just amazing in this project, and it's going to be sharp. I can't wait to see how the colors fall in the straps, which are 7 stitches wide. That should be some fun, longer color repeats! ME LIKEY! More shortly. (and no, I've not been able to knit since 1:15 p.m.)

Denim and Crayons

In yesterday's entry, I talked about the difference between the 9456 (my latest felting project shown in Tuesday's entry, below) and a couple shades that I feel are more like denim (Julie had a goal of making a felted bag that looks like denim). While the 9456 is a beautiful shade of blue, it's not very similar to denim in my opinion. So I show you the 9456 bag (on the left in the picture below) along with 9326 (the bag on the right) and 9414 (the felted door mitten in the center). See how the flapped bag is lapis blue, while the others are more multi-toned and would work better with jeans?

For direct comparison purposes, I bring you these shots, two items at a time.

To the right is 9456 compared to 9326. The one on the right is much more like faded jeans than the one on the left. Both are nice, but the 9326 is my preference if you're matching something for denim.
In this picture on the left, you can compare 9326 on top to the 9414 on the bottom. The 9414 is more like new jeans, while the other is more like your old favorite jeans. Which to make is totally up to you.

As an aside, the Felted Door Mitten is a fun bit of whimsey. The pattern is easy to understand, it knits up quickly, and it only takes two skeins of worsted-weight wool. Just add your own personalized decorations cut from sheets of felt, a few decorative embroidery stitches, and some sprigs of greenery and it's a great alternative to a holiday wreath for your door next winter.

What's next on the project front? Well considering we finally received a good bit of our Noro order, including most of the Kureyon (which means crayon in Japanese, I'm told), I decided to try my hand at the Felted Day Pack pattern in Kureyon. Here's the five skeins I estimate it will take to complete the project (YMMV, but I'm starting with five), all in color #92. Best guess is that I'll have the knitting completed before the weekend (probably on Friday), so I'll felt it that night or over the weekend. At the very latest, you'll be able to see it Monday, if you're interested.

And if you're curious about what came in Tuesday in Kureyon, here it is on the shelves. Left to right, top shelf first, you have (from the top)...
81, 95, 92, and 90,
91, 52, 87, and 55,
and 88, 40, and 90.
I just hung up from ordering more of all of these, plus some of the new color #102, as well as some in 32 and 57 which are now discontinued colors--so that should be here late next week, too..

And which do you want? (grin) At just $7.20US per skein, it’s a steal! It may be a few days until you’ll see it on the website, as Matt’s still working on the Koigu. And to complicate matters, our ISP at home has been giving us total fits, between outages at night and very slow response times during the day. Ah, how I love Insight Communications.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The Blues Can Be Good

When they're beautiful felted fabric, the blues are a good thing--in my opinion. Now to see if Julie and Maggi (and anyone else out there) all agree with me. Behold the beauty of felted blue fabric, with a special twist

9456 Yarn 9456 Felt
9456 Yarn 9456 Felt
Yesterday I mentioned that the finished fabric has a deep sapphire tone to it--a very purply-blue color. In the picture is shows up as really deep lapis, so you'll have to trust me that there's plummy-purple goodness in that fabric. No matter, the finished fabric is gorgeous.

I know that Julie was looking for something to go with denim, so tomorrow's post (or maybe later tonight) will show her a couple finished bags and yarns that I feel more closely approximate denim. For example, I think that Cascade 220 in 9326 is almost dead on denim when felted. If you're looking for a darker version of denim, maybe consider viewing Cascade 220 9414, which is comprised of two plys of medium blue and two plys of a navy blue, but felts to a wonderful mottled blue fabric (pictures? I can do that in the next entry, too).

So what am I knitting up now? I started another bag late on Sunday night, and it's almost finished after a full evening of knitting with the Franklin Knit Night, up near Indy. My new bag is in Cascade 220 9403, which is two plys of cream and two plys of tan, and when it felts, it looks like a wonderful neutral, almost like a bowl of warm oatmeal. And the color is VERY popular with the art fair crowd, thus my motivation. It should be done tonight, as I'm on round 72 of 89, and the strap is already finished (I do them first, so the worst is over first). Despite being finished with my blue bag, I'm not currently taking requests....I have several "old favorites" I want to make sure I knit before the art fair in a couple weeks. Next on tap is Cascade 220 9402, which looks like granite when felted. Mmmmmmmm. Good stuff. But I'll be back to taking requests after Mother's Day weekend. Start thinking about what you'd like to see felted up.

As for the Franklin Knit Night, it was another fun evening with friends and fiber. We had a good turn out, and several people have wrapped up projects and started new ones to show off. And one of my beginning knitters (remember them, from March?) has already made a felted bag, a felted hat, and several dishcloths. She's now graduated to a felted handbag from the most recent Knit It as well as an entrelac market bag. In addition to those two WIPs, she also started a baby blanket (yeah, she's a knitter---projects everywhere) and thinking about adding two more. It was great to see others there, including Eva (hi--I know you read this), Karen (who I need to e-mail a copy of the Fuzzy Feet pattern), Renee (who had a great new project underway), Kristi (very expecting and TERRIBLY fun, despite her thinking she was hormonal--she wasn't), Matt, and the ever-experimenting Helen, who started a scarf out of two types of Mountain Colors yarn--Mountain Goat in Evergreen and Mohair Loop in Sagebrush, inspired by the Rockstar scarf from the first issue of Knitty (don't we ALL love Knitty? YES YES YES). See, told ya it was a fun group. And we attracted our share of attention at the Franklin Community Arts and Recreation Center--several folks stopped by and we should pick up a couple new folks in May. Yipee!

That's enough for now. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your FRIENDSHIP!

Monday, April 21, 2003

Quick Update

I felted last night, and the goods are nearly dry (our weather here has been damp for three days, and not conducive to drying out smelly wet wool). As always, I'm surprised in a good way about how the finished felted fabric looks after the entire process is over. Of course, I'm not talking about the navy bag, as I've made several of those over the past two years and they're always nice, although I haven't made one in this style in awhile and I don't know why---it's a SHARP bag. What I'm referring to is the fact that the felted Cascade 220 9456 surprised me. The finished fabric is gorgeous (you'll see it here tomorrow--PROMISE), and the surprise is that there's pops of purple in the undertones. I wasn't expecting that, after knitting with the yarn I thought it would be a little lighter, given the white heathering in the yarn. But much to my delight, there's plummy-purple goodness in the felted fabric. While it might not be the denim color Julie wanted, it certainly is pretty. I hope Maggi likes it, too.

On other fronts, I've started to focus on eating better, but it goes way beyond that. Granted, self image is an important component to our psyche, but there are other issues I wrestle with of late (career/focus being the biggest right now). And this is a knitting blog, and I'm a rather private person (much to Matt's dismay) I sometimes feel it doesn't have a place here. It just fit with the theme of yesterday, so I added it. And I thank everyone, most warmly, for your kind words, fun tags in the board on the side here, and for the e-mails of support (and similar stories and struggles). Y'all are great!

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Later That Same Day.....

Just a quick progress report. Blue hat--FINISHED. Blue bag--FINISHED. Blue clogs--back burnered for another felting batch (we have our monthly felting party next Sunday, the 27th, so I'll try to have them done by then, perhaps). I wanted to be sure to felt the bags tonight so I could get pictures up tomorrow, hopefully, of the felted fabric. So it's off to dinner at a friend's and then home to felt later on. As for blue me, well, that's not as easily solved as the bags and hats, but I did scout out some of the stuff I need to get busy on things, I've had tons of water today (instead of caffeine-laden diet soda) and I ate light for lunch. Look out--here comes a new me (months from now, but.........eventually). Thanks for your tagboard notes of support and e-mails that have cheered me. I do appreciate it!

Blue as a Theme

Good Sunday Morning to everyone................early on this morning here it was cloudy, then it rained, and then the sun came out. Through it all, the breeze has been lovely and the temperatures wonderful, so the house is wide open, the fresh air feels great, and I'm determined to have a good day. Despite everything else.........

Here's a knitting update---I've been on a tear of late, getting things knitted and felted for the upcoming art fair in May. There's tons of stuff to finish, tag, inventory, and the like, so I have a full month ahead of me. I don't have anywhere near the inventory I wanted to have by now, but that's beyond my control any more, so I'll just get as much finished and to market as I can between now and then, and whatever sells is a bonus, and I'll continue to make more! I had a special request for a few blue bags (felting examples) from Maggi and Julie, and lest they think I've neglected them, here's proof it's completed

Completed 9456 bag Other blue items nearly done
The bag was completed Saturday, and I'm working to get three or four other blue items finished today to get in the washtub with the bag, as I prefer to felt multiple items at a time (they felt faster, in my opinion). Plus, it gets more goodies finished, which I addressed above. On the right is a tab-top bag in navy with just the straps remaining to be knit--I estimate that at an 60-90 minutes of knitting (at most), a blue hat with about 30 minutes of knitting remaining, and the first of two clogs with the second one started at the top of the picture (estimated 90 minutes to two hours of knitting remaining). So if I get my tail feathers shakin, I could felt the batch this evening. Even with going to our friend Christy's for lasagna dinner tonight (I'm in charge of salad---I wanna make something fun, too).

The title of today's entry is Blue as a Theme, and it extends beyond the knitting to me, as a person. I've been in a bit of a funk this weekend, for reasons I won't delve into here (believe it or not, I tend to be a VERY private person and almost never share what's going on with me, internally, even with those close to me--yes, I'm a text-book example of Scorpio, in EVERY way). Suffice to say it's been several days of questioning myself, wondering about past decisions, thinking of what might have been, and all-together too much navel-gazing. It happens alot this time of the year (for reasons I do recognize), but it's really, really strong this year. I know some major changes are coming, as I've implemented a couple important alterations in my life already (I'm just way too fat for words right now..........and that change alone will help alot), and I've started work on a major project (non-fiber arts, so Sarah, you can be shocked at that one). And I plan to be good to myself today and go get a new CD that I've wanted that was released this past Tuesday. It's time to be good to Rob for awhile, and do things that are good for me.