Black Dog

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

Thursday, October 02, 2003

A Rare Nighttime Post

I'm sitting here in the evening hours, soaking up a few very busy days, and looking over our little slice of the world. I'm amazed at what we've built over the past year and a half (technically, ThreadBear is about two years old as a business, but the yarn side didn't start until January 2002 with our first wholesale order; we were a finished goods business up to that point). We've recently moved into a beautiful home that needs (still, ongoing) a lot of love, but we've made progress. We currently have no stairs leading to the second floor (I'm sure Matt will chronicle that shortly) and they will return to start work on that this Saturday (never mind it was to be completed by October 1.....grrrrrrr). After stairs comes the part about remodeling the entire upstairs--almost doubling the living space upstairs and adding some really cool new features to what will become our retreat. But what we do have settled is really starting to shape up nicely. And what you step back and look at everything, it's fairly amazing to me what a few weeks of hard work have pulled together.

But enough clapping myself on the back (and Matt, too). It's time to praise someone else for a change around here. Take a look at these beauties

These beauties were knitted by Barb P., mother to our landlord, mother to one of our great knitters (who has a knitting dynasty of her own forming), mother-in-law to Amy (featured on Matt's blog Monday as she learned to knit), and all around fantastic person. She got hooked on Meilenweit Cotton Fun earlier this year, and while she was by today for more yarn, she said she didn't think anything could be nicer than it for socks (while wearing her first socks from that yarn). But, she announced, this Koigu is far superior to knit with and the finished sock is just beautiful. Nuff said........I can't argue with that perfect logic. I mean look at those socks! and to touch them.....divine. DARN GOOD JOB, BARB!

Sorry for the lack of communications this week, but it's been another hella-busy one for us. We're trying to get ready for the Franklin (IN) Fall Festival on Saturday, where we'll have a booth and be hawking our finished goods (mostly scarves, but some felted items and other goodies). Also, we'll have a chance to demonstrate a variety of fiber arts there (we have room for knitters, crocheters, spinners, felters, and more right next to our booth space) as well as talk a little bit about ThreadBear, the retail experience. But, it takes us away from the shop for the day, and it means that much else is on hold for the time being, to get things finished and ready for sale that day. So what little "extra" time we've had has gone into making one more scarf, into tagging and pricing finished things, and in trying to prepare for the day. The classroom table is covered in scarves and related items.

We've also been busy with new things in the shop. Monday brought six different boxes of stuff, including everything from a single bag of railroad ribbon yarn (gotta love KFI for doing that--$7 in shipping for a single bag of yarn--THANKS!), to the model for the Elsebeth Lavold yarn (that arrived on August 28th, without books or a model garment), to new German pattern books supporting the Lana Grossa yarns that we've bene receiving, the Koigu Kersti seen in the last post, and more. So let's take a quick tour of what's here now:

That's the model garment we received. Ours is in the same color, granite (003), and it is lovely in person. It's amazingly soft, so light weight, and has amazing cabled designs on the body and down the arms. It's a good thing. The yarns are wonderful--Silky Wool is 65% wool, 35% silk, no stink, and under $7 a skein for 190+ yards of DK-weight yarn. YES!

Also in the boxes on Monday were the pattern books that support the Lana Grossa lines of yarn that are new in the U.S. as of this fall. One of them has the saying "mode mit wolle". Oh yeah....strong fashion forward sense done up in wool, without question. See

Given that the bigger books are under $10 and the smaller one under $5, and that each is packed with a couple dozen patterns (the bigger ones), they're a bargain. And they all have at least 2-3 very knittable things (in my eyes, which are pretty classic in their perspective). If you like cardigans and knitted jackets, these are some great books. And the fun part is that they will continue to arrive every three months, including kids' and men's versions. YES!

Yesterday was a banner day--we received the first of two installments of our new Philosopher's Wool stock. We switched from carrying kits to handling every one of their 42 colors in open stock. That means you can create a kit to knit one of their designs in any of their color combinations or you can make up your own unique combination of colors, especially with Matt's help. Behold the beauty of this wool

I'm just chompin' to get into those cubes and play in the colors and yarn and also to get busy on my own sweater in progress, which is Hollyberry colorway in Southwest pattern. Mmmmm. Good stuff.

With the addition of Philosopher's Wool to our line up, and in concert with what we know is shipping this week now that it's October, Matt decided to put up shelving in the classroom space, which we resisted as long as possible. We also came to the realization that we MUST have shelves in that room and we're going to have to give up the idea of a tv room with furniture for those who want to sit around and knit. Part of that changed with the incorporation of all but one of our sofas and chairs into the layout of the shop as it is right now. We've worked seating into every room so far, so that if you want to sit and admire yarn, and even knit while you do it, you sure can here! And the central room is a sort of gathering place, with comfy oversized chairs and a long sofa and a coffee table with a Persian run. Mmmmmmmm, cozy. Add to that the fact that I've been baking bread the past two days and the aromas wafting from the back of the house were's really feeling like home here. Big time. So, we figure that we'll need that extra space upstairs, as we'll have to have our "retreat space" adjacent to the bedroom. And all is well (because it means more room for YARN!!!!!!!! good thing, we ordered a bunch more this week, including a good bit of new stuff).

Yesterday was so beautiful and fall like and nippy that I decided we needed to have a big pot of soup and some home-made bread for dinner. Considering that it was our night to be open late (Wednesdays we're here until 9 p.m.), I put out the word that anyone who wanted to knit and nibble was welcome--the pot of soup was on, bread was baking, and a Mexican chocolate cake was iced and ready. I made one of my favorite easy soups--Tuscany Peasant Soup and it was well received (because it's delicious). I'm going to have to make Posole Theresita again soon, come to think of it, as Theresa Chan created a wonderful recipe for a fab cool-weather meal. Mmmmmmm, fall cooking. Long story short (too late) we had a great night with good food and great friends.

Today, the circle gets completed. We've had the Elsebeth Lavold yarn since the last of August, but the accompanying book was not available at the time, nor was the model. Above I showed you the model that arrived. Well, today we got in a big ol' stack of 36 of these beauties (yes, that's the ever-present Miss Connor in the right corner, holding down the rug)

They're beautiful, the patterns are lovely, and for under $15, they're a steal (full retail on them should be $15.95, so we're pricing them at $14.36, after our standard 10% off every item, every day). If you've preordered one, do let me know if you need anything else to go with it before we start shipping. Otherwise, I'll pack it tightly and it will be in your hands within a week. Most places less.

I warned is GREAT! Here's to fall and fantastic fibers!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

That Kersti, She's a Vixen

I was thrilled to see Matt post yesterday, and with him up until 7 a.m., I was the responsible party until I got him up around 1:30 p.m. He said to wake him at 11, but I felt he needed more rest, and I fielded the three sets of folks that came by during the morning. It was great to see our good friend Karen (HI KAREN) who popped down from Franklin, then we had a couple new folks stop by and do a little shopping, and then Judy ran by (Hey Judy) for a little help with her felted bag. Everyone cleared out and I snuck back to wake up Matt, and here comes Renee (HI RENEE!!). It was good to see her, as she'll miss the next Franklin Knit Night next Monday and I always love to see her finished projects--she's got such a creative spirit and does fun things with knitting. Her lined felted tote was awesome and now she's off on an interpretation of the Lucy Bag that I hope to see when she returns. And the evening was spent with Low Helen, Cuzzin Amy, and Eva---great to see all three of them come by after a little hiatus. Ah, life is good.

And to prove that, here's a glamour shot of our gal Kersti, lounging on the big sofa in the middle room, all laid out in her splendor.

I told you---complete chanteuse. Seductress. Vixen. And if that's not enough detail for you to want her, try this

and this

Oh. My. Gawd. I'm in complete lust. So are some of you, as I provided the tracking number in my weekly update last Wednesday, and someone actually e-mail me yesterday afternoon---"did you get the Kersti, because I see that you've signed for a shipment from Canada today". Now there's my kinda knitter! I love it when you stalk Koigu with me. Typically it's Lana or Christy doing the stalking, which is totally fine with me! But back to the Kersti. To see the inner beauty of her, you must examine closely. Please enjoy a little K118L

and a little K104 (the exact color as used in the raglan sweater in "The Purl Stitch" by Sally Melville, which I showed you awhile back here)

The colors used in these yarns are amazing--I have to give major "props" to Taiu Landra and her mother, Mai, as the yarns are truly works of art. Visual ecstasy someone called them once. But with this yarn, the hook is in the touch---one skein in your hands and you're a goner, trust me. It's a crepe, according to the folks at Koigu. When you look at it closely (see above, in the K104 picture on the far right) you can see that the base fiber is this wonderful cabled yarn of merino wool (soft soft, as we all know). The fibers aren't really plied together, their interwoven and form the most exquisite "cushy" yarn. I'm soooooo ready to start something with this stuff that I can almost visualize it on my needles. What to start remains the question. Thank goodness we have a little pattern inspiration from these folks, in the same box.

This is a new pattern for a simple drop-shoulder pullover with a generous fit. You don't need anything particularly fancy for this yarn, as the artistry is in the coloration. You can do something wonderful with it, as evidenced by Amy's work on her sweater out of the most recent issue of Vogue Knitting. It's a smashing cabled sweater using Kersti, that of course came from us. If a smaller project is what you desire, check out this six-skein Kersti Shawl that's an awesome piece of knitting. This looks like something in my near future......

Also in the box from Koigu were two other for a men's sweater (again, in generous proportions) that uses four colorways of Koigu KPPPM called the Western Sweater.

Just in case you wondered, Michael McDonald has been doing some modeling in his off time since leaving the Doobies...........I think he's let his hair grow a little, too

One other pattern came yesterday as well. Some of you may recognize the project in the lower right corner and you'd be correct to call it the Alligator Wrap. Well, it's now part of this trio of designs, bound together and called Midnight Rapture, that includes a matching skirt and top. I think the skirt is beautiful (not quite my size, however, whew!) and the top is a nice addition. See

My knitting? Not much progress here--too busy. I did a tiny bit on the project I mentioned on Friday. It's still stalled at the shoulders. I did finish a quickie scarf for the weekend and made great progress on another, before falling asleep in front of the TV watching the news (it's Indiana---how exciting can the news be when the lead story is them chopping up a piece of roadway that was just completed?). Matt's been up to some fun stuff and he's prepared another blog entry. Will it be two days in a row? Stay tuned to find out.

In the mean time, I have some yarn to order. We're gearing up for the last push of orders to be delivered prior to the Grand Opening weekend of October 24th through 26th. I have to add to our Classic Elite order and our Lana Gross order scheduled to leave tomorrow, get additional yarns from Crystal Palace, I have to beef up our Noro order based on pre-orders of things from y'all (thank you!), and I have to get more Cascade and Brown Sheep on the shelves to fill some holes and get some special orders taken care of. Oh, and we have a multitude of books to order and reorder. WHEW! No wonder I don't get much knitting done.

Off to get my day started, make Matt some coffee, and roust him. Be well, and be good to eachother. Tell someone dear that you love them madly today. Do something wonderful and unexpected--just because.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Monday, Sweet Monday

I'll probably get back to posting later today, but it's been a wickedly busy, wildly fun, and overly interesting three days since Friday morning. Some details later, but suffice to say--we were hoppin'.

In much more fun news, MATT POSTED THIS MORNING! If you'd like to see progress pictures (and a couple a fab people from Ohio, go check it out.

And good thoughts and powerful healing be sent to Georgia to Matt's Moma. We'll know more in three weeks, but we'll take all the good vibes she can field right now.

See you shortly......I need a shower and to get some errands handled!