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, September 06, 2003

I Warned You I Was Fickle

Finally, blogger returns to a somewhat normal operating mode. I've wanted to post since early this morning, but I couldn't get into their main page to log in, let alone make an entry. But for now, things appear to be back on track. So awaaaaaaaaaaaay we go!

I joined the shawl knit-along that Rachael started at the end of August. After one failed attempt (I just didn't like the color--I'm not an orange lover, being a blonde as I am), I started again with Cascade Indulgence at the subliminal suggestion of Marcia (she ordered some for the same project and I thought.......yeah, that would make an awesome stole/shawl), of course in the same bright white that she had us send her. It was knitting up quite nicely, coming along well

and then Matt and I had to go and start thinking and planning for the coming weeks at ThreadBear the shop, and we started discussing his idea for an Ebenezer Project (keep the spirit of giving alive all year 'round). This will be our version of "community knitting", where we'll gather at the shop once a month and any interested folks will spend the evening working on things for others---be it warm items for the fall/winter months (then donated to a local agency for distribution), or preemie items for the local neo-natal ICU at Columbus Regional Hospital (or other nearby ones), or even knitting chemo caps for those fighting cancer. We'll provide the yarn in most cases and the patterns and ideas for many of the projects, all you have to provide is the love and skill. This led the discussion towards October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October 17th is national mammography day--be sure you are taking care of yourself as are those around you). Because I've had so many friends and family members be touched by breast cancer (one of my best friends from grad school had a radical mastectomy and full treatments during a fall semester and hopped right back into classes in January---HI PAT, if you're out there reading), I always try to do something to help out a little bit. So a brilliant idea came to me--Indulgence comes in two shades of pink, one of them being a rather beautiful pale pink. Why not stop the white stole/shawl and start another in the lighter pink......

Here's the progress I made on Friday (yesterday), as of this morning, when I photographed things in the hopes of making a blog entry. Of course, Blogger had other ideas and was hinkie through this afternoon, so I took care of other things and then got a little more knitting done on the pink version today. See......

Progress continues, and this project may well fly off the needles to get blocked (severely) in good time. We had some great folks stop by this afternoon (HI EVA, HI DEB, HI ANNE, HI AMY, HI CATHI) and we got to talking about things, and I'll look for a place that can use the shawl/stole to it's best advantage--where it might raise the most funds to be donated for breast cancer research. Matt has suggested posting it to e-bay as an auction where the proceeds go to research, and I think we'll do that or look into another venue. Someone today suggested working through an online source that coordinates auctions, but I can't remember the name of the group--it acts as a sort of clearinghouse. I think I'd rather know that the item went somewhere that it would raise as much as it possibly can, but then again--even an additional dollar added to the fund for research against breast cancer is better than zippo. Ideas, anyone? I'm all ears on this one.......we're a little isolated out here in a smaller town, and we are boys, you know.

In other news, tomorrow's blog entry should be fun--we received a LARGE box of patterns from Two Old Bags today that included ALL of their new designs. Some are felted (and darned cute) and others are knitted with ribbon yarns, with rag strips you tear from cotton fabric (I'm starting one tomorrow), or just plain knitted with wool yarn. One pattern is for wooly jewelry, which means you make your own felted balls out of wool (knitted, of course) and then felt them and string them with the use of findings and clasps and fine strands. Felted balls are also used as a handle (along with felted flowers for embellishments) on one bag pattern. Be on the look out here for the patterns--they're DYNAMITE. In not-so-great news, we had a price increase in their patterns, so the full retail is now $7, and ThreadBear price is $6.30. Sorry, but our costs went up, so we had to as well. Also in the mail was a pattern for a felted jacket, using a chunky weight wool-llama blend that is just smashing (Pam, Cathi, Barb--are you reading this?). I can't wait to work on that may start tomorrow as well (one can only take so much lace knitting, you know; and you saw my progress for today.....not too shabby). Off I go......thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 04, 2003

I Feel Fall A-Comin' On

Despite the torrid weather of last week, I'm serious when I say that my favorite season, Fall, is not far around the corner. I was up at 5:30 a.m. today (instead of my usual 6:30) and it was magnificent to see our new city start to come to life. It was even better to do some of that observing from the front porch, while knitting (of course). It was a beautiful, cool, clear morning and it reminded me that Summer is starting to let go and the splendor that is Fall is knockin' on the door.

With that in mind, I bring you a wonderful mum that Margaret gave us on Monday (HI MARGARET!), used as a backdrop for a cheesecake shot of some wonderful Cascade 220 Tweed that I taunted some folks with in yesterday's post. Behold

It's lovely stuff, and I've got to narrow down my favorites to one or two and decide where to start first. It's amazing yarn and I look forward to felting with it, as my good buddy Joan at Cascade Yarns guarantees that the tweedy nubbins (a technical term) will hold strong during the felting process, unlike another yarn that has color neps that fall out. Joan says she's felted with it and that the tweed is spun into their yarn and the finished product is incredible. I made my mother a felted bag using Tahki's Donegal Tweed and it was nice, but it turned out a little large (it's a heavy worsted, not a regular one, and didn't felt down as much as I would have liked, despite MANY cycles through the washer). So, I dream of a sweater for myself and of felted items in this wonderful yarn, new for Fall. And the good news is that there's a bulky-weight version (same color palette) coming in late October. YES! Finally, a bulky yarn from Cascade. THEY LISTEN!

Also arriving yesterday--a box of wonderful new coloways from Mountain Colors in their amazing Weaver's Wool Quarters. Great for socks or perfect for other projects, their new combinations just sing. See

From left to right, they are Lupine, Wild Raspberry, Sweet Lavender, Pheasant, and Wilderness. I'm a MAJOR fan of blues (so much so that a LYS I did the accounting for in the late 1980s "forbade" me to buy any more blue yarn for awhile), but that last one has really caught my eye. I see a pair of sandal socks for myself out of it, in the VERY near future.

In an effort to challenge Matt in the "how many pictures can one person use in a single blog post" category, I give you the next section of today's post. An ode to new books,

Yesterday also brought us a case of "The Purl Stitch" by Sally Melville (whom I've loved for years, since her "Sally Melville Styles" was out in hardback) and "Jean Frost Jackets". I'm enamoured with some of the jackets in the latter, especially the one in this picture

but unless I start doing drag (not gonna happen) as well as lose a metric ton of weight (will partially happen), there's not much in there I'd knit for myself or for gifts in the immediate future. That's not to say it's not CRAMMED with great patterns for very stylish, some rather tailored, projects. It is. Big time. I just know my mother wouldn't have reason to wear them where she lives in the town of ten (yes TEN) people I grew up in. So my main obsession is on the Melville book.

I mean, who can find fault with a book that has inspiration, technique, multiple examples of the same pattern in many fibers, a WIDE range of sizes, a mention of "Sex in the City", AND so much more. This design

is the front runner in the "which will Rob knit first" competition. And it would be for myself, greedy pig that I am (and probably in some 220 Tweed, to boot). Given that we have a massive order of Koigu coming, and a good amount of Kerstie in that batch, I'm particularly smitten with this one

especially in this colorway. WOW! What a simple, yet elegant project. But that's Sally--striking, without being too much. I know that Matt really likes the hoodie

and I like the fact that it's written for kids through large adults AND in various gauges. It's a fun design. Two more, and I'm done blathering about the book. The crossover sweater seen here

made me smile, as one version is made up in Classic Elite's Waterspun, a fun pre-felted merino yarn we just got in. The version above was in a cotton blend. Talk about versatile patterns. You know that up front, as the first sweater you are greeted with looks like it could become a wardrobe staple, the minute it's off your needles.

It's a great time to be a knitter, as there are so many incredible books, fibers, opportunities, and equipment for us right now. I'm just ecstatic to be able to get my hands on this stuff early on, and it's even more fun when others share my joy and get excited about seeing new things as they fly in the door. Ahhhhh, time for me to go knit for awhile. Be well, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Nannie-Nannie Boo-Boo

I have the autograph of Princess Caroline of Zhuzhou and you don't.

And I have all 26 colors of Cascade 220 Tweed, too.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

I Am A Fickle Beast

First off, I've changed fibers for the wave-and-shell shawl-along. I like the hand-painted mohair alot, but I wasn't fond of the first few rows I had knit so I pulled it off the needles, cut the cord (I was NOT frogging this monster--the hair of the mo ain't fun to rip out), and decided the mohair is too pretty to be used for something I didn't like. Maybe it was the colorway (I'm not an orange person, unless it's birthday cake--my mother used to make a Sunkist Orange cake with orange frosting every year for my birthday), maybe it was my mood, or maybe it was the siren song of another yarn calling to me. Yeah, that's the ticket. Details to follow, but I am casting on for this project right after I finish the #($&@( felted bag I'm on the homestretch on. By the way, my inspiration for changing fibers comes from Marcia, another of those fab Michigan knitters and someone new that we met when Tracy sponsored the PicKnit a few weeks back.

Another sign I'm fickle is that I did a one-day project during the day yesterday. Actually, it's more of a part-day (or fourish hours) project.......behold

I've been wanting to do something with this new India Ribbon that came in last week, so I played with a little bit of it, worked up something with a wrap-and-drop stitch and some simple garter stitch, and shazam! A few hours, a ball-and-a-half of India, and biggie needles yielded this fabric

which became the scarf, which inspired someone else here yesterday to covet a stole knitted with this very same yarn. She's been searching for the right "dressy" shawl or stole to make for herself, and when she saw this scarf, we found a winner. So I adapted the pattern for greater width and estimated yarn (five balls, so we're under $60 for a rather FAB garment that will turn heads) and we have another free pattern to offer our friends and customers.

And to continue the never-ending stream of incoming products, we received another shipment of these yesterday (yes, on Saturday--long story, but UPS had sent them to the opposite side of Indiana for some strange reason.........sometimes I wonder if Lana isn't trying to seduce us to the western side of the state).

I've got my own set from the 1980s that I've adored for years

and I'm thrilled we're carrying them at Threadbear. And with that, I'm going to go excavate in the kitchen, as there's two large boxes that need unpacking so the room looks better when we have guests tomorrow--remember, Labor Day Cook-N-Knit here, gathering at noon, grilling at 1 p.m. and carrying on until ????. See you there!