Black Dog

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

UPS Caught Me By Surprise

So much for my planned entry today---UPS came E-A-R-L-Y (different driver, so he came at 9 a.m., and I was still in sweats and a polo shirt...ick). He's dropped tons o'goodness on us--more Denise needles, more Crystal Palace needles, and four boxes of books! We're now stocked up on 30 copies of Jamieson 3 (I warn you--it's hella good!), a dozen Folk Bags, a dozen Men in Knits (a surprise--I thought they were coming in October), half dozen of the new Eaton book (non-Minnow Knits.......I think it's Sophisticated Knits), and some other assorted goodness. Oh, and some additional (backordered) Cascade yarns. Double-warning, however--Matt got the credit card equipment hooked up and it's functional.........DANGER DANGER!

And I have egg on my face (but in a GOOD way). I just called our vendor, and the boatload of Noro arrived from Japan on Tuesday (yesterday), even though I've constantly said "it never comes when they say it will". They are printing pick slips this morning, which means they will start shipping today or tomorrow. I've ordered tons, so we should have boodles of Noro (Kureyon and Silk Garden) in the near future. Hopefully our Shinano will be included with this shipping batch, as I just found out the orders we placed with the sales rep on Friday are also at headquarters. Uh oh........we better put up some additional shelving. And the UPS delivery folks better do their leg crunches and practice lifting dead weight (I volunteer for that........I'm dead weight, in a big way).

As a teaser to get you to come back shortly, I finished the back of my Mango Moon Recycled Silk sweater last night (come on, it's 62 stitches wide on 6.5mm needles........easy knitting). It's even more stunning than I figured it would be. I promise to post pix either later today or early tomorrow. And tomorrow is Third Thursday--I'm whipping up a big batch of Italian food, so if you're anywhere near the area, come on over to 703 Hutchins in Columbus, Indiana. Gathering starts around 5 or 6 EST (not daylight, standard) and we'll be chowing around 7 and knitting all night long. We'd love to have you here!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A Little Bit Of Catch-Up

First off, have you seen the latest edition of KNITTY? Lawdy tunderin jaysus (to misquote The Knitting Curmudgeon). Such a fantastic collection of projects! Such innovation! Such beauty (and I thought I saw beauty yesterday--wait, I saw the new edition yesterday, so I WAS surrounded by beauty all day long! WOW!)

We were thrilled to partner with Knitty and Amy Swenson to help bring her newest design to you. This is one of the things I've hinted about too much here--that there were AWESOME projects coming to you that use Kureyon and Silk Garden (two yarns we already stock and have good supply of right now) and were reasons that we had placed a monster-sized order for Noro yarns a few weeks ago, when I found out there was none in the warehouse, and it should arrive this week from Japan. So rest assured that we have over 60 bags of these two yarns alone arriving in the coming weeks--we will support your needs for fall knitting (grin). But back to Rosedale--isn't it awesome! Amy does wonders with yarn (Other Amy does wonders with HTML over at Knitty). Check it out, print off those patterns, and get knitting!

Last night was knit night in Franklin (HI EVA, RENEE, KRISTI, HELEN, AMY, PAM, KAREN--awesome snacks, thanks!), and when we were leaving the building, the air had that crispness to it.....yes, kiddies, fall is here in Central Indiana. I've got the windows all over the house and shop wide open, the movement of morning traffic going by, and the cool morning breeze is rolling across my bare feet under the computer (hardwood floors are GREAT for that). I'm all about wool yarns and sweater knitting now, with a vengence. This is my season...this is my favorite time of the year. Before moving on to current projects, let me answer a few questions from recent comments--ok, ok, indulge me.

  • Debala asks if we carry many colors of Splash, by Crystal Palace. Yup--twenty four of them, as I count the shelf in front of me.

  • Charlotte wondered if we would share heirloom seeds for Cleome, mentioned yesterday. SURE! I want to keep enough to reseed our area (they are annuals but VERY self-reseeding). I'll be glad to send some this year, but next year we should have tons of seeds--I plan to run these plants all down the southern side of the house, facing Seventh Street. Drop me a note if you're interested--first come, first served this year.

  • tllgrl wondered about knitting with the Recycled Silk I mentioned yesterday. It's not an ultra-smooth yarn, but there's some "cush" to it while knitting. I'm a color freak, so I was all about the joy of watching it change colors in my hands and seeing the shimmer of the silk, especially in the sun. They yarn is clean (no debris) and not overly twisted (which is another problem I've heard with another brand of similar yarn). Overall, a joy to work with. And Eva, of scary-fast Lucy bag knitting fame (see below) finished her scarf in under a day (she left with the yarn Saturday evening and was done with it on Sunday and wore it yesterday as an accent to a meeting). It's not cheap ($18 from us, versus $20 full retail), but the beauty of it is worth it, I think. YMMV.

  • Mopsie asked about a Lana Grossa yarn in a previous post--was it this yarn

    or was it the Telaio Print from the picture above that? If it's the Telaio Print, the four colors I showed are the four we have right now. If it's about the new Meilenweit Fantasy 100g sock yarn, we have all six color combos in this jacquard yarn and a ball makes a pair of socks. Is that what you wanted? If not, please do get back in touch with me.

  • And finally (but not minimally), Stacy left a tagboard note about the Wildfoote Handpaint that I started a sock with last Monday (yes, a week ago--strong heel socks from KNITTER'S magazine--freebie pattern for lace socks using this technique is here). Stacy, the handpaint comes in these colors, which are based on their Handpaint Originals yarn

    You can stop your begging now (grin) and yes, we have all five shades on hand--from top to bottom they are Rock 'n Roll, Ragtime, Rhapsody, Bluegrass, and Brown Sugar. It's called Wlidfoote, but it's a different base fiber--one that doesn't split nor feel crunchy. But it is a handpainted fiber, so regular retail is $7.70/skein, or $6.93 from us.

    In other news, I've started work on a Mango Moon kit, which contains their Recycled Silk (1.1 kilos) and some incredible lace-weight French (freedom?) mohair (120 grams)--enough to make one of eleven sweater designs or the throw (all 12 patterns are in the kit, believe it or not--that previous link to patterns only shows eight right now). Here's my entire kit, laid out for inspection

    It's got amazing color, great texture, and choice of finished styles. I like that! I chose the ball on the far left as my first ball to knit with,

    (CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS AWESOME COLOR) and my pattern is the shawl collar cardigan. This picture of the knitted fabric

    was snapped last night and I made further progress since then, despite falling asleep on the loveseat in the front yarn room around 11 p.m. (lightweight, I know--but that's what happens when you're up at 6:15 a.m. every morning). Given that I'm making a 45" finished bust and the stitch count for the back is 62, it's rather fast knitting, so I hope to have this project knocked out before the end of the week (well, the knitting part--as Sarah well knows, I do hate finishing/assembling sweaters. ARGH. Progress pix tomorrow, as tonight is Columbus Knit Night at the East Side Community Center on McClure--BE THERE!

    Next on deck is a sweater from The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville using Kersti merino (the DK-weight hand-dyed yarn from Koigu). The sweater is one I showed here, about a week or so ago (blonde model, rib stitch, cardigan, yadda yadda), and it will serve as a shop model for us. We have three bags of Kersti on hand after last week--those who requested some have already had their way with it and these are now free agents (or need adoption to a good, loving home). We do have more Kersti on the way from Canada (it should leave today, they tell me, about 15 colors in a full dye lot of 20 skeins, some already spoken for), but for now, these are what's on hand

    I'm leaning towards using the blue mix for my model, as it is most similar to the one in the book. But I'm willing to take requests, given that I won't be wearing this garment any time soon (grin).

    With that, I think I'm out of here for the day. Ginny needs a total for her yarn in transit, there are a few other packages for me to finalize before the afternoon mail run, and our new credit card processing machine just arrived, so I guess I get to wrangle with that for a little bit this morning--this should be fun. Much thanks for reading, and even BIGGER THANKS for your comments and questions. I'm glad to field them and try to be of some help. Be well, and be KNITTING (with wool, sweaters, for fall...........).

  • Monday, September 15, 2003

    Surrounded By Beauty

    Wow, has it really been nearly a week since I made a "real" posting? I don't count Wednesday's two Koigu-stalking entries real posts, as they were mainly me being silly and such. It's been busy here, without question. But it's been wonderful as well--meeting new people, helping friends with new projects, and embracing lots of wonderful yarns that are brought in over our threshhold. And finally, the shop is taking shape--with the completion of the central room, we're now able to do alot more with the space we have, including some major rearranging of rooms in anticipation of the renovations to the upstairs beginning in the next couple days (and our landlord continues to promise that EVERYTHING will be done here by October 1--good luck, Jim, as today's the 15th!). So onward we plod.....

    I purposefully selected today's title based on what I took pictures of this morning. First off, let me introduce you to Cleome

    This is an heirloom plant/flower, and they were given to me by a wonderful former colleague of mine (HI SUSIE! I MISS YOU!) when I resigned my position at IU and told her we were moving into a turn-of-the-last-century home. She wanted us to have a flower that was period for the house and these supposedly spread like mad (they reseed themselves every year). They're gorgeous, and I'm so happy that they made the move (and a little dehydration) successfully. Another thing of beauty that was gifted to us by the wonderful Margaret (HI MARGARET--SEE YOU TOMORROW EVENING) is this wonderful mum

    that was a backdrop to the Cascade Tweed 220 recently. To me, nothing says "FALL IS HERE" like a beautiful mum, and Margaret shared this wonderful plant with us when we moved in. It will be planted in a special place around the house, to flourish and grow along with ThreadBear. After we get settled indoors, we plan on doing some fun improvements to the outside, including window boxes for spring/summer flowers, some simple landscaping, and the like. This mum will have a central place up front, as Margaret is a special person. And the cleomies will be featured down the side of the building--we're going to put in an heirloom flowerbed over there. Tall on plans, short on time---for now. But thanks to our wonderful friends, we have the beginnings of it all.

    And now, for the fun stuff! Thursday brought another UPS delivery and another batch of incredible yarns. I've been drooling over this since we ordered it back in late July, and it was supposed to ship later in September, but I decided to bump it up for earlier delivery. Boy howdy, am I glad we did! Look at the beauty that is Mango Moon Recycled Silk

    Talk about a stunning fiber! We have (ok, we HAD) over 30 of these arrive recently, as well as some assorted other merchandise from this company. The story of the yarn is rather touching--most of the women working in the cooperative are refugees from Tibet, living in Nepal, where they have escaped forced prostitution and other horrid conditions. They now have a chance to earn a living wage, spinning the waste from sari production weaving in India, producing this unique fiber.

    It's amazingly beautiful in the sunlight and knits up just fine--I had heard of problems with other similar yarns from folks who've used them, but I knitted with some immediately (like........Thursday evening I started something) and my hands didn't hurt, there were no rusty staples or sticks or other oddities in the yarn (it's cleaner than any other recycled silk on the market, the story goes), and the finished product is just stunning. Check out this quick scarf I knitted (technically twice--I frogged my first version Friday morning and had this one done by Friday evening)

    We did get one kit of theirs, which I'm cracking open today to start a sweater. Hurry back tomorrow to see what I've gone and started this time. But what a great chance to work with something of such beauty, from the other side of the globe.

    Several of you have asked about a "cheesecake picture" of the new Koigu. In the past, I've been known to post a picture of the entire table, laid out with the yarn. Or a picture of my head, surrounded by Koigu. Not this time. There's just too much of it, truth be told. So I give you the "wall of Koigu", in all it's glory, in the newly-painted central room.

    Those open spaces on the far left are being reserved for Kersti, as a second batch will arrive later this week (I reordered another 15 colorways based on how quickly the first four disappeared and how beautiful the Kersti sweater is in both Vogue Knitting and The Purl Stitch). Taiu, one of the master dyers at Koigu, went to the Sally Melville book soiree on Friday in Canada (Kitchener, I believe) and said that the event was amazing, the garments were stunning, and Sally was charming (as always--we LOVE her and her designs; and we love Taiu and her mom, too!!!!). I have a special fondness for Koigu that goes beyond just the beauty of the yarns---the Landras came to Canada from Estonia, one of the Baltic States that were formerly part of the USSR. My mom's entire family is Lithuanian (by way of Chicago, of course), and Lithuania and Estonia are both Baltic States (along with Latvia) and kissin' cousins, tho the Estonians share more in common with the Finns in culture. Either way, all three countries have a long and solid history with the fiber arts--Lithuania is known more for weaving, we all know about Latvian mittens, and of course, Estonia and their knitting and now the Landra clan........such beauty from a wonderful part of our world.

    In just a few weeks, we'll be participating in a new "arts market" at the Franklin (Indiana) Fall Festival, just 20 or so minutes north of here. Coincidentally, tonight is Franklin Knit Night at the Community Arts & Recreation Center, so come join us if you're nearby from 6:30 or so until 9. The arts market is a new feature of the Festival, so we don't know what kind of crowd to expect, so with the help of our good friend Eva (of finished Lucy Bag fame below--HI EVA) we're going to offer medium-range goods, focusing on lots of fun scarves and other reasonably-priced handmade things. So I've been scarfing like mad around here, and here's some of the results

    That last one is a close-up of the Telaio Print, from Lana Grossa, that I shared a picture of last week (in the ball of yarn). It turned out fun and it really shimmers in the sunshine, as it's double railroad ribbon with a chenille strand moving in and out of the ladders. The others are just a variety of yarns that we have on hand, from Crystal Palace things like Splash and Fizz to simple eyelash and charm-type yarns. Fun, fast, and flirty--that's going to be the theme for our booth at the fair. And I'll be surrounded by friends, as my buddy April (HI APRIL) will be next to us with her goodies. Ah, the joys of fall.....I'm reveling in them. And friendship. And beauty. And global goodness. I told you I was a fortunate individual!

    Be well! Happy Monday!