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, June 06, 2003

Hi, My Name is Rob......I'm a Starting Junkie

Ok, now all together.........Hi Roooooob.

It's true, and it's time for me to confess. I have started so many projects in the past week. And it's not confined to just me--many bloggers and friends of ours locally have been starting things left and right of late. But I need to come clean--which means (eventually)....PICTURES!

First off, last week I mentioned having started two new projects one evening on top of one the night before. Here's what's up with those

1) The single project I started is hush-hush for now, but you'll see it soon enough. Sorry, I hate to do that, but I'm in the very beginning stages of it and it will gestate for awhile.

2) The next project started is a Koigu Gypsy Shawl and I'm using a great blues/golds/tan combination. I was unsure of it at first, but wow is it working up nicely. I'm just finished with the large expanse of stockinette you see in the picture and it's time for the textured bands of lace that take me to the lower edge. This is a VERY fun garment and quite the relaxing knitting project.

3) Of course, what would life be without yet another started object? This one is from the Koigu book Take Along Knits. Each scarf can be knitted with just two or three balls of this yummy yarn, so they're easy and fun to do, and you can memorize the patterns rather easily. Using a great red/black/brights combination, I'm working on pattern #2, which is right next to the word KNITS in the picture. It's a wave pattern, and it's quite fun.

4) Wednesday night (like at 11 p.m.) I started knitting on a new pattern we'll be offering for free through ThreadBear for a summer tank top that's knitted in the round up to the armholes and then split for front/back that will be customizable and knit in any yarn and any guage from sport up to chunky. I'm trying it out right now, and we've ordered a bunch of new cotton, cotton/silk, cotton/Tencel, and cotton/viscose yarns that will be perfect for this pattern. My progress so far on the tank is almost to the armholes and I'm using a great yarn--Sierra Quatro, which is four colors plied together. Mine is two purples, a green, and white. VERY fun knitted up. Pictures over the weekend, I promise.

We have the above-mentioned patterns and PLENTY of Koigu, in case you need to start something of your very own.

Lotsa new goodies arriving today and into next week. We're being inundated with new yarns, great colors, and fun patterns. And as announced below, our spinning wheels will arrive--the first of MANY shipments, I'm sure. This will make Matt very happy--he's been itching to get his own wheel and it's finally happening.

That's about it for now. If you're in the area, do stop by tomorrow ( Saturday) and say hi. If you're reading at a distance, we wish you could be here in person, but for now, we're in touch via this medium. Be well.


The Ashford spinning products order has begun its journey from Washington state to us. It will be here on Friday, June 13th. YES!

I'll attempt to recreate the post I lost in a little bit. Sorry..........had to let the above proverbial cat out of the bag.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Blogger Ate My Homework

I wrote an entry and confessed about my newly started projects and it vanished into thin blogger late last night and then I couldn't get back into blogger to attempt to recreate it. I'll try again tonight, after we return from a knitting day in Indy.


Monday, June 02, 2003

What It Looks Like, Rewound

Just a quick entry to show you how things came out, after drying and rewinding into hanks.

my boucle Helen's
My boucle Helen's pretty stuff

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Life Can't Get Much Better

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your's going to be a fiber-y and fun-filled weekend (and it's only Sunday morning!). We may not lead the glamorous life depicted on television shows or magazines or other media outlets that tell us what we should want for ourselves. But I'd take my life (most days) over much of what I see in magazine ads and other marketing ploys. I mean, where else could you have this much fun

for about 45 cents an ounce and a little bit of powdered dye and a microwave? (Incidentally, that's Matt wearing a self-wrapped turban of his own hand-dyed BEAST roving--no, he's not high on crank, just on fiber of the spinning kind).

Friday evening was spent in a most pleasant way--we were invited over to Patsy's house for a wonderful dinner of grilled brats (not children, sausages) and related sides, including rather decadent home-made brownies with mint chocolate chip ice cream. Oh, and the main reason for being there? Another session of spinning on her two wheels (an Ashford Traditional and an Ashford Joy) and on a variety of drop spindles (emphasis on the DROP part for me). We had a great evening, I made significant progress on one of the two projects I started on Wednesday night (see previous entry). As I have mentioned earlier, Matt's picking this spinning stuff up much faster than I am, but he goes full-tilt on things at times, and spinning is one of them. We both are anxiously awaiting our delivery of our new wheels (and the start of our own Ashford Spinning dealership status). Two more weeks and the first shipment should be here. But oh, what fun on Saturday...........

We've been wanting to have a dye-fest for awhile now, but to drag out all of the assorted tools, mix all of the dyes, and prepare the kitchen properly is a good bit of work. And over a month ago we set aside the 31st as a dye day for our buds from Ohio--Teresa and Denise, as well as the camera-shy C--were supposed to come up for their own dye day with us, but work gets in the way of fun at times, and the trip is now scheduled for June 28. Trust me, there will be pictures from that day.....oh, will there be pictures. But for now, you'll have to be content with things like this....

all set up after acid bath
dye station at the ready the fibers on deck
We dragged our friends Rachel (of ramblin' rows afghan fame on Matt's blog last week) and Helen (of market bag fame in an upcoming entry, among other things) into our lair for some fun with acid and dyes and steam baths. By the way, on the swing are the fibers, after their soaking in an acid bath in preparation for the dye--the stuff on the far left is Matt's Beast roving, pre colorizing, that you saw above.

After the acid bath, it's time to take out your artistic bent and get to work. Here's Helen, pounding away at her first attempt at dyeing yarn, and the resulting wool delights.

Helen dyeing close up
Getting creative Amazing results!
I think she passes ThreadBear 101--Yarn Colorization for Beginners with HIGH MARKS! Way to go, Helen. Now she has over 460 yards of her own hand-dyed wool, just waiting for the needles.

Rachel had great success dyeing her yarns, but she had to leave (darn those family obligations) before we got good pictures of her finished product. Suffice to say that she now has a big hank of blues and reds and greens with a pop of charcoal and some fun yellows. It's at home with her, and we'll re-hank it for her tomorrow night, at our monthly Philosopher's Wool Knitting Group meeting.

And me, I did some dyeing as well. After a few more experiments with some sock-weight yarns that are a special-order for one of our customers (HI KELLY--watch your mail, we had success!), I did a hank of our new Targhee/Mohair aran-weight yarn from Sweetgrass Wools to see how it takes dye (WONDERFULLY, by the way). Then I moved on to my next target--some amazing cotton and alpaca boucle yarn. It's a great bulky-weight yarn that knits up so wonderfully soft (and fast!) and it feels like a big, cuddly terry towel yet has the warmth of alpaca. Great stuff! And here's the results of that experiment

Five hanks of lovliness, in a bulky weight yarn, for a total of 635 yards of splendiferous color. Waiting to be adopted out to a new home. Interested? Drop me a line.

Today brings more of the same, as the conditions are perfect (partly cloudy and upper 60s to low 70s), the acid baths are at the ready, the counters are still loaded, and yesterday's results are very inspiring. Oh, and for more pictures of what we are up to, don't forget to visit Matt's blog shortly, as he'll have the results of his dyeing handiwork over there, including what he's been doing to some amazing Targhee combed roving for spinning. We'll be adding a line of natural and dyed fibers and yarns to our business site soon, if you want to do your own dyeing or you just want to use some fun custom-colored yarns or spinning fibers in your own handwork. I truly recommend both--it's fun to dye and the results are amazing to work with. And your project is uniquely yours!

See, I told you I was a lucky man, even if I do share quarters with this......

Be well............Rob