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, November 08, 2003

Not Much To Say

After yesterday's long and photo-intensive essay, I've not got much to add in these parts. Have a great weekend and I'll probably stop in tomorrow.

Don't miss Monday's entry--we've got a new pattern we're going to debut that's by a brand new designer. I'll have pictures of the finished project and the pattern will be available then (maybe even today........). It's a really fun accessory combo that you'll love--I swear! Come back Monday to see what's up from "Cheaper Than Therapy"..........

Friday, November 07, 2003

Fashionable Friday

All the news that's fit to print...........or at least hang out for public consumption on a blog. As promised last night, we have a veritable melange of wonderfulness here today, so I had better get hoppin'

First things first---our knitting buddy Pam slipped down from Franklin last night to share some fun stuff with us. She's been having issues with her blog, so she decided to let ME debut her latest creation.

That's her Felted Door Mitten, with white Kertzer Fizz for embellishment and Ruby Cascade 220. I think it turned out AWESOME. You should agree. In a similar vein, our knit-buddy Renee (also from Franklin) took this same pattern, added a strap, and now she has a green holiday-themed handbag made with a stunner of a color of Araucania Nature Wool worsted she picked up from us. Aweome job, ladies---Franklin's finest! And another knit-friend of ours sends this picture to me of her enhanced project

That's the ever-popular BoogaBag from our good buddy Julie. Have you seen her latest creation? I'm just itchin' for that pattern to be released....and we'll be doing a special kit price for a short time when it debuts. Such WONDERFUL and CREATIVE people!

I promised you a glimpse of my knitting progress from yesterday. Behold the amazing and voluminous advances made on the Koigu Rainbow Wonders Throw

Yup, at about 9:30 last night I managed to wind five hanks of Rumba so I can knit with it. No knitting on that one yesterday, so I'm hoping to cast on for it sometime today. After we order yarn and accessories. Hmmmmmmm, maybe no progress. Darn it, I am chompin' to get started on this one.
I did knit a little bit last night, while Low Helen was here with Barb (HEY LADIES!). We had a bit of a wild time after hours yesterday (technically we close at 6 p.m., but we had a couple folks knitting )when a group of other fiber folks came by to check us out (we knew they were coming). Then Pam (see above) dropped in with her daughter. It was a fun evening, but I didn't get much done on the knitting front. I did start this hat, which Barb hated.

It's a customer special order, so I figured I had better knock it out first. The hat pattern is something I whipped up a couple years ago and we've been selling them (like hotcakes) at our different venues since then. It all starts with a little bit of this

That's Lana Grossa Ultra Print, a fun thick-and-thin and brightly-colored wool yarn. Just a touch of it around the brim and then switch to wool...well, I've got a free pattern if you'd like it. Gimme a hollah if you are interested--it takes about half a ball of the Ultra Print and about 100g of wool (the pattern is written for various thicknesses) and I call it my Color Fiesta Hat.

Now, on to the review of the new Filati books, and the blonde Germans I promised you yesterday (anything to get you to read, I swear......)

We're receive a set of these German knitting pattern magazines (in ENGLISH--not German) every month--there's a rotation across women's, men's, and children's patterns ($9.95 retail, or $8.96 from us), and occasionally we'll get a SPECIAL ($4.95 retail, or $4.46 from us). Considering how many patterns there are in a book, I think it's a decent value. But few stores around the country carry them, from what I understand. So I share our newest shipment that came on Thursday with you here, for your eye candy pleasure.

There's where we start--gotta love the literal translation in to English on the left--To relax stylish. Of course, put me in another country using their language, and I'd be much worse me. There are other glitches in the sidebar text of each that are fun for me to see--I'm twisted like that. But you came here for pictures and designs.....

A few nice designs.........
On the left is a heavily-textured cardi (they're big in Europe for fall and soon to be big in the US). But the right is my focus here.....the sweater on the right is a mosaic/slip stitch design that is rather nice (I'm picky, so that's kind) and the left sweater is one we have a model of.....see

Much better in person, I think. And to feel it........very soft fabric with an interesting embellishment. I'd knit it, but I might well leave off the embroidery. Maybe not. The book ain't all beauty, in my critical opinion--how about the intarsia mess on the right?

Of course, my opinion is strongly colored by the color--I can't wear orange and don't think blonde folks should wear orange in most cases. But that's just me. As for the left, um........yeah, next pic. (See, I'm not all sunshine and flowers when I review stuff, unlike other folks on the web who love EVERYTHING sent to them--I'm more apt to calls'em as I sees'em). And these two, I see them as AWESOME sweaters

The sweater on the left has instantly entered my "must knit now" category. I am may not use these exact colors, but I've been looking for a good reason to use Lana Grossa Royal Tweed (mmmmmmmmmm, it's LOVELY) and now I have it. The other, despite being orange, is a fun design--I was able to block the color and see it for the design underneath, which means it's got some interesting detail (exaggerated raglan at the top, a fun line at the waist), Good stuff. And, look, they're BAD BOYS....oh yeah, they look ruff and tuff, alright. Unless those are German gang hand signals I see.

Aaaaaaahhhhhh, winter white and textured goodness.
On the far left is a wonderful aran/cabled design (my fave type of knitting), and the great big cable thing on the far right is kinda fun as well. I don't have the svelte figure to pull it off (I think Yentala would call me double-zaftig), but I like the design. Matt was really fond of these two,

especially the one on the left. It's just a simple pullover with a stand-up collar, but there's small details to the garment (the drawstring at the bottom) that make it look like the most comfortable sweater ever for lounging on a Saturday afternoon. But what Matt really REALLY fell in love with was the design on the right here

That's a half-fisherman rib cardi, in a warm camel tone (he loves the bog colors). It looks about as cozy as can be, and the pocket detail is really fun. There are other designs in the book, but I can't give away ALL of my secrets now, can I? And now for the Special Accessories issue.

Those wacky Germans..........

Big, wide scarves with monstrous cables seem to be in order for this winter. There's some fun things in here, between textured yarns and textured knitting. Not bad......not bad. I do have to give "props" to Stef over at Glampyre (first off, congratulate her for passing her defense and now being Dr. Glampyre---as a member of the PhD club myself, I can deeply appreciate what she has just accomplished). But not only is she smart, she's a head-turner, AND she's got a great sense of style. Late in the summer she told me, in no uncertain terms, that leg warmers were WAY back in fashion. And yesterday's delivery proves it, look

Yup--cabled leg warmers on the left, fun texture socks in the middle, and simple socks knitted with Lana Grossa Meilenweit Fantasy Jacquard (which we have in stock--great stuff, right Em?). I've got the sock jones right now and REALLY REALLY want to knit a pair (could it be caused by the Koigu we just got in--maybe, in part, but it was there before the Koigu arrived, actually....that just exascerbated it). And, one last observation from the SPECIAL

It appears the Peruvian caps are back for the fall/winter again this year. Of course, Knitty had that covered in the premier issue last fall with Vinter Lue by Theresa Vinson Stenersen, creator of the fab Fuzzy Feet.

Lest you think I like everything that's a German design, I bring you this travesty of knitting

Yup--that's a big intarsia panel of brown in a field of soft knitting (the fabric feels alot like Berocco's Chinchilla, but it's a Lana Grossa yarn, Amica Luxe). And yup, that's duplicate stitch of the most horrible kind. BAD and fugly. This sweater and the one above are part of a traveling trunk show from the yarn company that began last week and runs until August 2004, so we'll get fall/winter stuff and spring/summer stuff in the coming weeks. I hope it improves a little as time progresses. Next installment is due the week of the on the lookout!

With that, I'm closing for the day. It's a long entry and I've probably hacked someone off (good...LOL). Have a great weekend, enjoy your Friday, and be good to each other!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Friday at BlackDog......

Be sure to stop by for a quick review of the new Filati, which is for men (featuring blonde German men.......) and also a new Filati Special, which is all about accessories. Also, a quick feature of a fun holiday decoration, and "will Rob make any progress on his knitting?".

Koigu--My Eternal Weakness

We are extremely fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the folks at Koigu Wool Designs--we adore Taiu and her mother Maia. Their yarns are beyond incredible and are incredible when moving through your hands while knitting. The very first pair of socks I ever made (coming up on four years ago--a surprise Valentine's Day gift) are Koigu socks, which Matt still wears (he had them on yesterday, coincidentally). It was fun to watch the colors play out on the socks, which is just a simple stockinette project using Nancy Lindberg's "Knit to Fit Socks" pattern (again, my favorite for knitting socks--any size foot, any yarn, great directions for heel flap/turning the heel--and just $3.60 from us, $4 typical retail). So when our latest order from Koigu arrived yesterday (actually more like 106 pounds of it, not the 89 I reported here), I was looking at a variety of colorways and thinking I needed some socks and I wanted to make a few pairs, just 'cuz. But then again, who wouldn't be when you have this

arrive on your doorstep? I've never seen so many different colorways from them (we have everything from pairs to full dye lots of 20-24) in one batch, and all of the KPPPM itself didn't fit on the table at once last night. Plus, they sent 100 skeins of solids, see

Great stuff for use with some of the multis, as well as for use in things like Lucy Neatby's fantastic Fiesta Mittens and Fiesta Socks (we carry a full line of her patterns). Sarah made the Fiesta Mittens while we lived near her in Michigan, and they're stunning! And we have two new colorways in Kersti--K701 and K324.

Speaking of stunning, have you seen this project in the Holiday 2003 issue of Vogue Knitting International?

That is one amazing piece of knitting. Better's modular and uses..........Koigu yarns. And what did our wonderful friends at Koigu send to us in this latest box?

Those are four kits to make that dress in the exact same colors. Maia spent the past several weeks trying to dye the yarns "just so" to her exacting standards, working with color intensity, overall impact, and combinations. She succeeded! One of these four kits is already promised to someone, so we have three more, should anyone have this project on their wish list. We do have someone interested in recreating it in a more cool colorway (purples, berries, teal, and a few pop colors of lime and such). We now have the yarn that should help Matt put this all together--and that's no small feat.

Let you think I am unable to knit of late, here's a finished project (started Monday, finished Tuesday morning) that will be headed to a consigned goods site shortly.

Remember, ThreadBear started as a finished goods business and morphed into what we have today (THANK YOU!). One of the most important parts of starting a finished goods business is arranging a royalty agreement with designers if you're using their patterns. What you see above is my alteration of the FiberTrends AC-1, worked in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride bulky (instead of a double strand of worsted) with a little SR Kertzer Fizz for enhancement. These hats are amazingly popular, especially with the "Red Hat Society" folks. We do them in a variety of colors, and they do sell well--and a portion of the proceeds from every hat goes back to Bev Galeskas at FiberTrends to compensate her for her wonderful designs.

With that, I'm off for a bit. Time to go wrap and package yarn, get the place ready for the day, and hopefully do a little knitting later today (hopefully on that Koigu Rumba throw). We're ordering yarn again, this time from Manos del Uruguay and Plymouth--both new yarn lines for us. So the hardest part is trying to figure out what to start off with, which usually means LIMITING what we order--because we both want everything on the colorcards, but we have to show restraint. LOL Right. Have a great day and get some knitting in!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The Fun of Tuesday Knit Night in Columbus

The first and third Tuesdays of every month is knit night here in town, and it's always a fun evening. Typically it is held at the East Side Community Center, but the Center was a polling place yesterday, so it wasn't available and we had it here at ThreadBear. It was a fun evening........wanna see?

Low Helen decided to hide for awhile last night--there's no specific reason for her to be camera shy, so it's an oddity. She was working on a Madeleine Bag from Julie at Black Sheep Bags. Deb finished the knitting on a felted stocking using Noro

and compares it to one of the finished versions we have as a model here at ThreadBear (pattern from Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit she got from us). Tons of fun, no? And here's Deb again,

modeling a new shawl design we'll have here shortly that will be a ThreadBear exclusive--and yes, that's Koigu you see.

Awhile ago, I noticed the name of someone who won a contest over at Wendy's Blog. She mentioned Tam, from Columbus, IN. Not that I know everyone that knits here in town, but I didn't recognize her name AND she was a blog fan. Eventually our paths crossed, and now she's a regular at functions and knitting things here in town. I'm sorry--have you not been introduced properly? This is Tam

She has four of the most beautiful children I've ever seen, and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We're thrilled to know her and she's a great knitter. Her current project? Take a wild guess

Yup, Round Trip from the latest Knitter's magazine (oooh ooh--next edition due to be released late next week--can they produce two good issues in a row?). And here's her progress at the end of the evening (which included her being a good girl and making a gauge swatch......)

Pretty cool, no? That's Noro Kureyon #40, from us, natch. Mmmmmm, purpley-blue goodness

Matt was around last night, keeping folks in the other room company. Lest you think it was all serious knitting, I present this

I forced him to pose wearing a "cheese" of icelandic unspun from Schoolhouse Press that we recently started to stock. This is now the second picture of him with yarn on his head, so maybe we have a trend forming. Hmmmmmmm. The evening broke up around 10 p.m. and we all had a great time. Thanks for making our evening, everyone!

I promised a photo essay on the new book Simply Knit 2 that we got in on Monday. It's fab, and I'm really enjoying looking through it and thinking about the different Lana Grossa yarns that have been coming in since August. Here's the opening page

The first two designs are really cool

I'm really fond of the one on the right, and you may recognized it from the Lana Grossa yarn ads in the major magazines this fall. Plus it's done in Cool Wool Merino Big, which is like buttah.

The next two are fun

The one on the right is also used in Lana Grossa ads from the fall, and uses Royal Tweed, which is nummy yarn.

Up for stripes and color? How about these....

Fun ahead with these two--the one on the left uses a fun yarn from them called Inserto, which changes color (self-patterning thicker yarn!).

Here's a couple more great projects........

More ruffles on the left and a great oversized sweater (again, in Royal Tweed) on the right. To me, it hollers "COMFY SATURDAY"

And a little indulgence--here's a few scarf patterns that use the new cashmere yarn from Lana Grossa.
What's my favorite project in the book? Without question, this one

When we first saw the proof pages for the book back in July I thought this was a winner of a sweater jacket. And seeing it again this week only confirmed it. Great color (I'm a big fan of strong color and primary shades), good graphics, and comfy yarn. And Matt thought about different colorways he could make up using the Due Chine. I like the book a lot and think it's a winner! (and folks who know me well know that I calls'em as I sees'em--I'll tell you if I think something's a dog.) And we have them available now (see below)

Me? I've decided on my next large project. You've seen bits and pieces of it sticking in some of the photos above, so here's a full-on shot of it

That's the awesome Koigu Rumba we got in just in time for the Grand Opening (which they are dyeing even more of for us, along with more Kersti and some of their new yarn, Fancy--a merino crepe/boucle that looks awesome!). The pattern is for the "Koigu Rainbow Wonders" throw, and I'm doing it in some of the most amazing and FUN colors in our first batch. It's a large project, so I'll work on it, do a few smaller things, come back to it, yadda yadda. There's also a cardigan pattern (sized from children to adults) that should whip up really fast using this great brushed mohair, but I'll make one when the next batch comes in about two weeks, as it will have multi-colored dye lots. Mmmmmmmmm. Speaking of Koigu, my UPS tracking number (1ZAA52581218004197) tells me that our 89 pounds of Koigu are out for delivery and we expect them any minute now. Mmmmmmmmmm. The order has five kits for the Koigu modular-knit dress in the Holiday 2003 VKI and over 600 skeins of KPPPM/KPM.

With that, I'm outta here......time to go get my day started. I warned you this was a BIG post. ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Howdy from Knit Night

Just a quick post to say HI and to let you know


Simply Knit 2 has arrived and it's as fab as I remember from the galley pages I saw in July. If you're interested in a copy, we have them. Retail on the book is $18.95, so our price is $17.06. If you want it mailed to you in the continental US, add $1.42 for medial mail, for a total of $18.48. If you're in Indiana, you'll need to add 6% sales tax on the book only, or a total of $19.50. Drop me a line if you'd like a copy. And look for pictures of the designs here tomorrow, along with other fun pix from tonight's gathering.

I'm off to go snap some additional pictures of the folks here right now...........we wish you were with us!

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Big 4-0

Many profuse and heartfelt thank yous to everyone who worked so hard to make my Saturday birthday a wonderful event. I felt like I had a birthday weekend, not just a day, and it was great. I had no problems turning 40, despite my mother trying to convince me that it was a rough one to have happen. My ex even called and welcomed me to the 40-Club (someone's already a member, nine months now). Someone else we know won't be getting there for over five more years, so there's time to plot and plan now, boys and girls....... Speaking of plotting and planning, turns out that Low Helen was in cahoots with some folks and had this sent over on Saturday morning

Yup--three lovely black balloons, a happy birthday balloon, a you're the greatest balloon, and at the top of the stack---OVER THE HILL. It was attached to a fantastic coffee mug (Matt's already claimed it, as I don't drink hot coffee or hot tea) but inside of the mug was all about me--two packages of GUMMI WORMS! Gummi/juju/twizzle candies are probably my favorite (I have a raging sweet tooth most of the time) and Low Helen hit it right on the mark having those two BIG bags of worms stuck in the mug. BIG THANKS, HELEN. I'M LUCKY TO HAVE YOU AS A FRIEND. (even if I did give her grief about having had dinner with her five nights of seven last week, from Sunday to Saturday). Low Helen is one of the major reasons we're in Columbus--she did some great legwork finding the physical location we are in.........see, Sarah, that's all it takes.

Over the weekend I received the most fantastic pictures of a project made using yarn purchased from us. What scares me is that she just got the yarn not that long ago and the garment is finished! You don't believe me? Well take a look at what Rachael just whipped up in a few weeks' time

That's her "Famous Wizard meets Mister Rogers" sweater that she's made for a special person who shall remain nameless. Rachael picked our best main colors in Cascade 220 (that's 2401 Burgundy and 7826 California Poppy, if you're curious). Cuzzin' Amy, neice of Low Helen, made a six-foot wizard scarf for her brother for a Christmas present in said colors (two skeins each) and she then whipped up another color version for a different relative (she used 2404 Navy and 8401 Dove Heather). But ya gotta love Rachael's handwork--that is one fab sweater. But it can look cool laid out flat but have problems on a human (as some famous knitting magazines may know). So let's have an action shot, shall we?

Yup, that's Rachael, muggin' it up for the camera in the sweater. I think it's fab and ya gotta love that pose she uses for her finished project. I can't wait to meet Rachael in person--same for so many of you fun people out there in blogland. Someday soon....we should have some sort of blog-retreat thingie next year someplace. Low Helen claims they have space at the family farm about 30 minutes south of here, so we'll see what we can scare up.

In other news, Brown hasn't arrived yet today, but I'm expecting a driver-herniating batch of books today, including the fresh-off-the-press SIMPLY KNIT 2 that we pre-ordered back in July after seeing the proof pages (we've got several pre-orders for the book from folks who can't wait for their copy). This is another winner by the ladies at Queer Joe's favorite LYS. The projects are great and they all use Lana Grossa yarns (which we've been receiving since September....yummy!). I can't wait to see the finished book, and you KNOW I'll do a photo essay on it later today or tomorrow. Also in the box are more copies of Unexpected Knitting and lots of other stuff. I'm also looking for over 50 hanks of Mountain Colors BearFoot sock yarn (any day now......) and a few odds and ends. Next week will bring several orders as well, as we're placing several orders with companies today. And I expect some additional Noro yarns between now and the 15th, as there was a boat from Japan scheduled to dock in NYC this weekend. Mmmmmmmm, yarns..............

With that, I'm offa dis machine. Tonight is Franklin Knit Night at the Cultural Arts and Recreation Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Contact Eva for more information or just show up and join in the merriment. Be well, and get knittin'. Holidays are closing in on us faster than we wanna know!