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, August 30, 2003

OOOOOH, OOOOOH, I had another BRIGHT idea

We stock Galler Prime Alpaca in 8 oz hanks that retail elsewhere for $25ish, but from us they are $18.90 for 660+ yards of prime alpaca at the sport weight in eleven natural colors seen here:

We have plenty of all colors, and while it is sport weight, it would make a FAB shawl that would be lacy and quite warm. I might suggest adding a pattern repeat to the pattern for a total of 98 stitches (4 edge stitches, 5 repeats of 18 stitches, and 4 edge stitches) to compensate for the lighter-weight yarn (and probably using a 5mm needle instead of the 6mm recommended). Now that is an awesome suggestion! NIIIIIIIIIIICE! Any takers?

Colorful Waves of Yarn

Several folks have asked about yarn suggestions for the wave and shell shawl for the knit-along sponsored by Rachael. The pattern used a worsted-weight ribbon for the original model, but that specific fiber is no longer available. So far, I've seen others using:

  • Noro Lily--Alissa

  • Lace-weight blue yarn--Maggi

  • Black Wool-Ease--Rachael

  • Charisma Variegated--Greta

  • Two-ply silk--Maus

  • Hand-dyed mohair--me (see the hank below--progress pix after the weekend will be here on the blog)

    But worsted is not a TOTAL requirement--you could use a finer yarn and then add repeats, if you wanted (I'm adding them, so my final project comes out wider than the 24" of the original).

    Several folks have asked about what we have in stock or can get our hands on quickly, so here's what I might suggest:

  • Lorna's Laces Heaven---a mohair yarn that's hand-dyed by the master dyer, Beth, at Lorna's Laces; we have some on hand right now

  • Classic Elite FAME--a silk/rayon blend available in several colors (we have ten on hand) that would have an interesting texture (it's a slubby yarn)

  • Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals--70% mohair and 30% wool handpainted yarn, and we have every color on hand.

  • Silk Garden--Noro's heavy worsted beauty; hard to find, but we have pretty good depth of stock right now

    For other fibersthat are finer gauge, I might suggest:

  • Our new Silky Wool, a DK-weight silk and wool blend in wonderful heathered colors

  • Helen's Lace--a lace-weight blend of half tussah silk and half merino wool and again, hand-dyed by Beth and GORGEOUS; we have over a dozen colorways on hand right now

  • Koigu--always the favorite, and of course, we have well over 600 skeins on hand

  • Solid yarn---Cascade Indulgence--70% alpaca and 30% angora at the worsted weight, we have several solid colors of this SINFUL yarn (very very soft). It used to be $18 a skein and now it is $9 from us and would take probably 3-4 skeins. We could, also, hand-dye some (it would be more that $9, tho) in any color you wanted.

  • We do have some mohair here that we could hand-dye, as well as some 100% merino superwash that's a light worsted, if that met anyone's needs

    I do hope that helps in making a decision for some folks. I'm glad to answer any questions over e-mail or on the phone (812.314.BEAR) if anyone needs details, has specific questions, or just wants to interact.

    On another front, I've ween working on a few felted bags for a special customer in California and this morning I started knitting a scarf using the India ribbon yarn pictured in the entry below. Pictures will follow, so fret ye not. And I'm going to get some work done on my Wave and Shell this weekend, too. But for now, I'm going to help Matt and Low Helen get some yarn up on shelves. I'm tired of looking at it in boxes in the foyer. So there!

  • Friday, August 29, 2003

    Shocking, But True

    Don't fall over............I just don't have much to say today. Yesterday was fairly uneventful--Matt used the computer most of the day, I worked with a few incoming requests, and we received a box of some backorders of Brown Sheep yarns that will make at least three people very happy (Jan, you're one of them if you're reading---I'll box you up and get that sent today). Beyond that...............zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I'm officially boring.

    I do have a request, however. If anyone out there owns Rowan #28 and wouldn't mind helping me with a couple questions, I'd appreciate an e-mail, as I have some simple things to ask but can't seem to put my hands on a copy locally. Much thanks in advance.

    I'm going to knit. Maybe I'll be more interesting tomorrow. Doubtful..........(grin)

    Thursday, August 28, 2003

    I Am Unable To Resist The Temptation

    OK, Rachael has started a knit-along that I cannot resist (I've always loved the feather and fan/old shale pattern, but never have worked with it). I've seen the pattern before, when wandering through the archives of the knitlist gift pattern archives. And who could resist such a pretty FO as this

    I found the knit-along on Monday, but I resisted because I didn't know what fiber to use for the project. Some are using a worsted weight and making it more shawl-like (but given it's shape, I think it's more of a stole). Some are using lace weight, which would make it more of a scarf. I did some serious stash diving (and shelf diving here at ThreadBear) and came up with this

    It's some hand-dyed mohair that's nearing it's first birthday, and ranges from a deep crimson through firey oranges to nearly golden yellow. So totally NOT my color palette (but not as if I'd wear the finished work), it will be a tiny bit of a stretch for me, colorwise. But I've loved the color combo all along, but just didn't know what it should grow up to be. Given that it's mohair and that I'd like the finished goods to be a decent-sized stole, I'm going with either six or seven repeats of the pattern, plus edge stitches (or should it be eight?). Yes, Rachael, you snagged me on this one. Rasser frasser snasser snigget pooh. It's not like I have anything else to be knitting............grrrrrrrrrrr.

    What's been going on around here, you ask (maybe not YOU specifically, but several have asked what we're up to and how the renovations/changes are coming along). I'm glad YOU asked. Progress has been made by the Powells in the "Saigon Room"--dubbed that by me because it still resembles a bombed-out area. The badly-damaged floorboards were removed and replaced on Monday, the walls and ceiling have been scraped to remove any loose plaster and paper, and the plaster that was sagging has been reinforced with anchor screws. The spackling and patching will be done by the weekend, so we may well be ready to paint on Sunday (so they say). In the mean time, we've gotten another room finished (mostly Matt, but I did help some last night). Wanna see? Here's the former gold room, with a more humane color on the wall (and no more hideous border)

    MUCH improved, no? The color is a sort of early spring green, on the order of a VERY light shade like a granny smith apple. Bright and cheery, it makes the incredible woodwork really POP in this room, who's future use revolves around classroom space. We may put some stuff in there, like books or patterns or both, as it makes sense to have a table near them for browsing. Of course, there will cushy furniture in other rooms, as they are finished. If you're really curious about the house in general, Matt is snapping pictures like mad around the place right now--look for an extensive tour of the place on his blog in a couple hours. He's known for his extensive tour updates, and I know he's planning a big one (he's already shot two disks of pictures).

    In other news, more goodies for the shop continue to roll in. I'm embarrassed to say that we STILL have not checked in the Lana Grossa yarns from Tuesday's delivery. We did sell some yesterday, however. Here's the box, in all it's glory (still in the foyer)

    See that incredible fucshia, purple, and orange ribbon on the lower right? Five balls of it were adopted out to a better home yesterday. It is INCREDIBLE stuff, about an inch wide, very shimmery, and quite beautiful. The yarn rep had a very wonderful scarf (big surprise) with her as an example of what to do with it, and another new yarn shop in Lafayette, Indiana (HI ELIZABETH!!!! Hope you're well) got some in recently and she and I have e-mailed about what to do with it (she came up with something quite creative). There's also a bunch of Bingo, Due Chine, Royal Tweed, Cool Wool Big, and more in the box. Oh, for the time to stock it.

    And adding insult to injury, here's what arrived Wednesday and it still in the box, waiting for some love and attention

    That's the new Silky Wool that goes with the book you see in the middle of the box. Elsebeth, of Viking Knits fame a couple years ago, has a new book with wonderful Celtic-inspired patterns with incredible cabled knots and very classic and stylish designs. Even better, there's a large spread on her in the new KNITTERS magazine that just came out this week (p.22). It's a complete profile and it includes tidbits on her designing inspirations, her previous work, and an eye to the future. As I mentioned in my last entry, this issue of the magazine looks pretty darned good, and this is a big part of why. Ah, texture knitting! My favorite genre.

    That's about it for now. I'm surrendering the internet connection to Matt so he can post. If you're in the area (or want to be), we're having a cookout on Monday, September 1st, from noon until ?? (food around 1ish). We're supplying the burgers and brats and chips and my "famous" iced tea (sweet tea, of course--I did live in the South; but we make "regular" available for yankees). You supply the picnic-type sides of your choosing (that's the pitch-in part). This is in lieu of the regular first-and-third-Monday Franklin Knit night--the rec center is closed, so we are having the function (of sorts) here. Stop by, see the place, gather with some fun folks, and say HI to myself, Matt, Connor, and Tate (who are both right here with me, one lying to my left and one to my right, on the floor). Life is good...........I am very fortunate!

    Tuesday, August 26, 2003

    A Day of Rarity

    Fancy was a day of rare moments. From start to finish. First off, I started the day by focusing on working through a long list of e-mail orders that we had come in over the past few days (which isn't rare). I ended with the last order around 6 p.m. tonight--I'm not that slow, there were that many. And yes, I took breaks and Matt and I ate lunch and we had folks drop by for yarn and others to visit. So it wasn't ALL work for 10 hours. But it was all fun, without question.

    Rarity #1--around 9 a.m. two large boxes of new yarn arrived, via UPS. They are packed with Lana Grossa yarns, part of the buying orgy we went on at the end of July. Yes, the spoils of that day have started to arrive (Classic Elite came last Thursday, this came today, and more comes either late in the week or early next week, and TONS before 10/1). The rare thing is.......the box sits right where it landed. We've opened it, and dug around in it BRIEFLY this morning, but we have not been through it or checked it all in yet. AMAZING. From what I see, it's beautiful stuff. But it remains in the corner, where it was placed by UPS.

    Rarity #2--the yeti of yarn shops arrived today. Behold

    Those are umbrella swifts, ordered in March and delivered nearly 6 months later. Shocking. The only reason the box is open is that one was a special order for Cathi as a birthday present from her mom (all part of the Powell clan, who serve as our landlords and are doing the major deconstruction work here). I'm amazed that we finally got some, as it's been months. These are not as rare as the elusive wooden "Swedish" swifts, but still quite good to have around.

    Speaking of yeti, it appears that Noro yarns (particularly Silk Garden and Kureyon) are moving towards yeti status. I called the distributor yesterday to place an order for more, and it seems that there's not a single skein of either Kureyon or Silk Garden in the warehouse in Brooklyn. Zero. Zippo. None for 2-3 weeks, when the next container shows up in port. Amazing. Good thing we have a decent supply of them for now, especially with Kureyon sweaters in Cast On and Knitters and appearing other places soon (I know secrets!).

    Rarity #3--the new issue of KNITTERS arrived yesterday, and there are several interesting garments. This is a rarity, as the past few years have seen some pretty fugly stuff in the pages of what was formerly my favorite knitting publication. This time around, however, I have multiple things I look forward to working on. Still, there are some dogs in the issue, but it looks pretty solid, from start to finish. As Eva stated when she was here earlier tonight, "maybe the editor got the Hildy talk". If you're a Trading Spaces fan, you probably know that they took her aside and asked her to do more "normal" things in her rooms. So I'm happy with this issue of the magazine and we placed a standing order for future issues and books by XRX.

    Rarity #4--Connor has never been much for sharing. She used to have a play friend when I lived in South Carolina, but that ended in 1998. So what we see here is a major rarity to me.

    Aren't they adorable. And no, it wasn't staged.

    And now for knitting news. Yes, we've been working hard to get things ready in the shop part of the house. Yes, Matt did some wonderful painting in the (formerly) gold room--pictures to follow on Wednesday. But for now, I've been smitten with the free scarf patterns at the Crystal Palace Yarns website. There's plenty of other free patterns, too. But here's what I've made recently

    Fun, easy, quick, and creative. I like that in a project.

    Monday, August 25, 2003

    A Day of Rest Instead

    Big plans, small accomplishments. But much fun was had by all. There's a monthly spinning group that meets predominantly over in Bloomington, an hour away, but the designated host for this month ended up with a family event that trumped spinning this month (with good reason, given what she told us). So, Low Helen stepped in and had folks over to her home, here in Columbus, yesterday. And it was FUN! See, here's Patsy and Matt chattin' and spinnin' and being all serious

    They were very productive yesterday, and the yarn that Matt spun up is incredible! The roving is from Ashland Bay and is a multicolored merino called Mojave--beautiful reds with highlights and lowlights. Here's a shot of the roving in a ball

    We carry a good amount of spinning fibers, and the Ashland Bay is part of that. Matt just snagged this bump for himself (he did let Amy, Low Helen's neice, get four ounces first the other night). Speaking of Amy, she decided to pull her best eskimo impression out for us yesterday, as evidenced here

    It wasn't that cold at Helen's, but Susan sure dressed the part. Here she is showing off bobbins of her own handspun, from some other Ashland Bay roving she purchased from us, as well as her new Sigma Tank made with some Cascade Pearls from us as well (she's very loyal....grin).

    It's a beauty, as is she, and terribly fun and funny--I thoroughly enjoy her company. This is her second Sigma out of Pearls this summer, so I guess she likes the yarn and the pattern (she had made a precursor to Sigma in a class with me in May '02). It was GREAT to see Susan and good to know she can find her way down to Columbus with ease!

    Of course, no spinning day would be complete without a shot of the host, practicing her craft. She was spinning BEAST roving and it was coming out quite fine (both in color combinations and in thickness). For someone who basically learned to spin this spring, she's doing a GREAT job. Far better than me, that's for sure. See

    I suppose if I would practice my spinning, I'd be better at it. Or so I told Amy yesterday, as she was learning to use a drop spindle (and just like my efforts on one, it was very much a DROP spindle......clunk clunk on the hardwood floors). Matt gave up his wheel for a little bit and Amy did a great job of spinning on the wheel (the spindle was frustrating her). But she's a Deppe--she treadles fast and has tons of twist in the yarn. (I'm no stranger to either of those myself........).

    That's it for to go pull down that border in the gold room and do some painting. PROGRESS!!!!!!

    Sunday, August 24, 2003

    Making Progress

    Ah, sweet Sunday. For many, a day of rest. For those who have recently moved and are in the midst of setting up shop, it's a work day. With some fun thrown in around the corners! But oh, the progress we've made over the past couple days. And oh, the work that remains!

    I've said it repeatedly, but we're fortunate beyond words to have a wonderful group of fiber friends of all types. And they're so willing to share their time, visit a little bit, and put in some of their own effort towards getting us settled here in our new digs at 703 Hutchins Avenue. The fun part is, it's not just the folks from here in Columbus, but others from nearby towns. For example, here's Eva

    blissfully stocking Color 4 Me, a new superwash DK-weight wool imported from the UK. Awesome stuff and FAB pattern support through their books called Moda, which reminds me alot of the old Pingouin kids' pattern books (the two issues we have are filled with around three dozen designs from infants to 10-year-olds). GREAT new stuff, and very affordable prices. Coming in October is the baby/fingering weight in the same line. YUM! At the end of the evening, it was great just to spend time with Eva and catch up a little bit, plus watch her wallow in fiber for awhile. Better yet is the fact that she's under 30 minutes from us now, instead of being a good hour's drive away. YES!! Other Friday (morning) visitors included some VERY SPECIAL folks we haven't seen for several weeks, but Matt's made me promise to keep hush-hush until he can post about it (including pictures). Suffice to say........seeing them made me want a latte (and I don't drink coffee). That's hint enough...........

    Saturday, ah, Saturday. Up at 7 a.m. (slept in) and we were moving furniture to clear out a room in the central part of the house that is destined to become space for a weaving loom, our spinning wheels (personal and those up for adoption), spinning fibers, and more. But the problem has always been that someone stuck a 3/4 bath in the middle of the space when this house was duplexed several years back. Shame on them! So last weekend the wallboard came down, and this weekend the 2 x 4 framing was a goner. Starting around 8:30 a.m., the amazing Powell clan was here in full force (including another son, for a total of four hard-working folks) and the bastard framing is gone! See

    We now have a clear shot from the front back through three rooms (yes, that's the infamous "gold room" from earlier shots). Today starts the clean-up, including the removal of some of the old wallpaper and smoothing out of the transition from stripes to green you see in the picture (the line comes from where the drop ceiling framework used to be). It's a GORGOUS house, but it needs a ton of love, without question. It looks like sin right now, but in a few days it will be stunning again. We'll be patching, painting, and doing something with the floors......

    Taking down the walls was a noisy event, with the kicking and pounding and other sounds. The dogs were NOT happy at all, as Matt and I were up front, setting up new shelves, working with orders, and more, two rooms away. Connor has had enough for now

    and Tate, well.........he's always Tate

    Is he ready for his close-up, Mr. DeMille? Me thinks so.......... They settled down a bunch once the major demolition was over (and we brought them to be with us in the front room). And we made progress..........oy, did we make progress (because we had fantastic help). Here's Deb (self-described yarn slut) working hard in the Koigu corner

    not long after she polished off creating the Tower of Noro

    She worked hard, without question. And of course, no Saturday would be complete without the efforts and smiling face of Low Helen, who took to assembling the wall of scarf yarns (or "flashy-trashy" as I've been told NOT to call them......but I do).

    A later picture would reveal that wall almost completely stocked. She works HARD!

    Shortly after these pictures were taken, I retired to the kitchen to do some dishes (yes, we had let them stack up, as we don't have a dishwasher in this home) and prep for dinner. We've been here a week and I had yet to make dinner in our new home (meals away from home were getting tiresome). So, I fired up the wok, Deb had her wonderful and funny husband Chuck come over, our good friend Karen came down from Franklin, and Low Helen's neice Amy dropped over. I made a HUGE batch of Thai Cashew Chicken (mmmmmmmmm) and a sqash saute (for additional veggies) and we pulled out a dining table from the corner. The first dinner in the new digs was very symbolic---a joint effort of good friends, the wonderful sound of laughter, and a shared experience. If there's a better life, I can't imagine it. Much thanks, folks!

    Today brings more cosmetic stuff (preparing to paint in the gold room---step one is REMOVING THAT HEINOUS BORDER) and some patchwork in the "new room" where the demolition took place. Then this afternoon its over to Low Helen's for an afternoon of spinning and laughing with friends--including Patsy, my former supervisor and our wonderful fiber friend from Bloomington. And rumour has it we may be invaded by Rachel early in the evening. YAY!!!! We miss our Bloomington friends! Over and out for now---I've been wordy (and picture-y). BE WELL!