Black Dog

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

Friday, December 26, 2003

Quick and Small

Projects that is.........that's why I've finished four of them since we last spoke on Wednesday. And that includes taking some time to meet two of our favorite folks, Lana and her husband Josh, for dinner and a movie. I was a little apprehensive about dinner at a sushi house, as I haven't had real sushi since my undergrad days (which were decidedly Reagan era....early/first term Reagan at that.......eeeeeeek). Dinner was incredibly fun and quite tasty and I enjoyed my spicy scallop roll, the tempura, and the yukiniki-something beef (most of which is in the fridge, after stenching up the car while we were in the movie). Oh, and we went to see "Something's Gotta Give" afterwards.........quite the fun movie, with a predictable but sweet ending. I learned about department head hair from Josh after the movie, but that story is for another time ("department head hair" was an actual credit and he made a joke about it as we left the screening room). Suffice to say it was a great evening and I hated to cut it short, as they wanted coffee and I felt the pull to get home and pack boxes of yarn.

One of our very advenurous locals, Michelle, showed up during the day to add to our waistlines (THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! we enjoyed every bit of it) and to show off her great finished projects. Behold her awesome mohair/ribbon scarf and her completed Lily bag, made with Kureyon #87

Great Job, Michelle! Check out the snow, visible through the window behind her--we had a semi-white Christmas! I hope she likes what her hub got for her at the TBear on Tuesday (snicker--I knew about it and I believe it was kept a secret this time, unlike her birthday present, thanks to an innocent 5-year-old son). Michelle is a fun and fearless knitter........just our type!

Fun stuff showed up on Wednesday, right in the middle of the day.

That's a basket stuffed with a brand new yarn that's not supposed to be available until January--that's Crystal Palace Squiggle, a wild and colorful texture yarn that knits up quickly, especially when held with another yarn. See

That's the Squiggle & Fizz Fern Scarf, in the exact same colors. Very fun and a very quick knit! After that I decided to give the purple (delphinium mix) Squiggle a try

That's the Tingle + Squiggle Scarf, but because Tingle isn't available until mid-January, I used SR Kertzer Fizz instead, with good results. I think this one is next, just for the heck of it. I just adore the free patterns on their website, especially for the scarves. Quick and fun--that's me!

I also finished another scarf today--this one using their new yarn Whisper. No rocket science here, but fun results

We have just two colors in this yarn--this one and a beautiful grey mix. VERY reminds me of Classic Elite Ibis without the seed nubbies. I bet these yarns are very popular for Spring, and we have every color on order, so as soon as they're available we'll have them on hand.

I also finished another scarf early Christmas morning. It's nothing special, just a combination of Cascade 220 and Crystal Palace Fizz knitted together, but the finished scarf is fun and warm and soft. Here's mine, nearly completed

Sometimes I felt these, but not a hard felting like you would clogs or a handbag, but half felted (until the wool stitches blur). It still has a nice drape, but the fabric is quite solid and WARM. One skein of the 220 and two balls of Fizz will get you going........not bad for under $20.

With that, I'm off for now. More pictures soon, I promise. And more fun and easy projects for you to consider making FOR YOURSELF, now that the holidays are nearly over. Stay warm, knit a lot, and come back soon!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Needful Things

Busy busy was the order of Tuesday, but it was great fun. Several folks came in for gift certificates, a couple ambitious souls were still purchasing yarn for gifts they intended to MAKE by Thursday morning, and others just came by for a little respite from the holiday "cheer". Brunch Bunch was fairly quiet, but it was a joy to get to spend time with Pat (who typically has to work) and her daughter (visiting from Minnesota) and there was more bacon and cheese quiche for us (same for the monkey bread). The big surprise of the day was right around noon, when our UPS driver dropped off three packages for us--one was from my Mom (big box of wrapped gifts for Matt and I and the dogs), one was a case of Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch (we strongly recommend it for beginning knitters), and the third was a surprise box I wasn't expecting until next week (I mentioned this on Friday). Check it gifts for me came early

That's the Lana Gatto Amsterdam that we ordered last week and were told was not to be expected until next week. Somehow it high-tailed it here from Toronto in record time. So of course, I had to make something with it the first day. Here's my interpretation

Yeah, it's just a simple garter stitch scarf, but you don't need to be fancy with your stitching when your yarn does the work. Two balls of this stuff, 15 stitches wide, and over seven feet of scarf in just a few hours. A close up of the fabric is kinda fun

Texture, color, and SOFTNESS, all in one. This yarn is just as soft as the Classic Elite Ibis we also stock, but the colors are more fun (variegated, too). So, Theresa--you may need to switch horses in your love of super-soft scarf yarns. And it's comparable (just slightly more) in price to Ibis as well ($9.90/skein retail, so $8.91 each ThreadBear). The scarf you see above took two balls of yarn, and I think you could get a long, SKINNY scarf (like just nine stiches wide and still over six feet long) with just one ball. A close-up of the color card online may help if you're interested

There's still time to make a quickie gift, if you can swing by and get some, as we're open regular hours today.

Speaking of hours, several have asked when we'll be open/closed in the coming week or so. We're open today (Wednesday), we're closed tomorrow (Thursday), and we're back to normal (as normal as we get) again on Friday. We will be open on January 1, with traditional Southern grub for the new year--stop by if you're a curious individual....... The only change in the coming weeks is that we're currently planning on not being open Wednesdays after the first of the year and we're moving the late night to Thursdays (we used to be open late on Wednesday, so starting the 7th of January we're closed Wednesdays and open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays--until further notice).

Several of you have kindly inquired about the zoning issues and the hearing that was scheduled for last night (Tuesday, the 23rd). Given the proximity to the holiday, there was not a quorum available for the meeting, so we got a call that the meeting was cancelled and our case was moved to the January (27th) meeting. In the mean time, we've secured the services of a crackerjack real estate/zoning lawyer who will be taking on our case after the holidays. She is supposedly one of the best in town and given that and some other tidbits we've had come to light, it may not be a slam-dunk that we'll have to leave this physical location. So all I know right now is "to be continued.........". Thank you for your concern, your offers of new cities for us (many suggestions!), and for the help from those of you who are local to us. It would stink to have to move out after working so hard on improvements and how wonderful this location is for us, but the rules are the rules, and we'll know more in a little bit.

With that, Connor is mewling to go out and Tate just stood up on the sofa and yawned, so I guess it's time to go walk the pups. Be well, be in touch, and have a fantastic week, no matter what you're up to.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Six Feet of Knitting

Or maybe it's twelve, depending on your perspective (trust me, it will make sense shortly). I missed being with everyone yesterday, but if it counts for anything, I intended to blog and life got in the way. I actually snapped this picture of my progress early yesterday

intending to show it to you in the morning to testify that in 24 hours, I had knitted nearly two pair of clogs (and slept, and did "chores", and other things). But the moment I got the picture taken, it was time to get busy on things around the house, and blogging never happened. Then we opened the shop for the day, and KAH-WHAM! Half of Columbus (IN) walked through the front door, wanting everything from yarn and odds-and-ends to gift certificates to help with problems they managed to get into over the weekend and more. What a wonderful way to start your week--I just love the energy found in excited knitters, in those giving gifts to folks they love, and in a novice knitter who wants so badly to do it right. I've said it over and over and I'll keep saying it--we are completely fortunate to have the opportunities we do to work with such wonderful people through our shop, ThreadBear. But that was the progress as of about 8 a.m. yesterday...........after a few folks were through here, I managed to finish the last clog and then get them felted, along with a pair of Fuzzy Feet using Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals (mmmmmmmm)--see

Even better, they turned out great, folks who saw them here during the day loved them (and now want to make clogs of their very own--we have a one-day workshop planned in February.) So now the almost-dry footwear go off to Matt for finishing, where he'll work his magic and turn them into absolute works of art--seriously. He fluffs and trims and shapes and finishes things in an amazing way. This last 10% of the effort put into the finished product greatly enhances the look of the clogs (or bags, or ....whatever he's working on--he's great at attention to detail like this). So there's six feet (get it) of knitting..........

The other six feet of knitting are actual measured feet---I finished a Mango Moon Recycled Silk scarf last night (it had been lying around 3/4 finished for a couple days now--I started it late last week). See

It's just a simple drop stitch design I played with and wrote up into a pattern for our local folks to use when they purchase the yarn from us. Nothing major, but it shows off the color and texture variations in the yarn quite well. I have standing orders for three of these scarves (they wanted them by the holidays, but we knew better and managed expectations to be closer to the new year), as they were popular at the Tis the Season Art Fair that Matt worked for us a couple weeks back--they two we sent were snapped up immediately. So I wanted to play with the silk a little bit and can cross one of the three off the list and now make someone happy earlier than she expected! Such a bonus! So there's my twelve feet of knitting...........

Speaking of happy, how about checking out the happy look on this face, with a brand new, finished FIRST project wrapped around her neck

She learned to knit less than a week ago and decided that her two daughters would be the beneficiaries. This scarf was started last Tuesday (December 16th) and is completed as of yesterday afternoon. Scarf #2 is already cast on and under way. What you see here is a combination of Koigu Rumba--a phenomenal hand-dyed brushed mohair--and railroad/ladder ribbon. Simple pattern + big needles + energetic knitter = awesome finished project. And yesterday afternoon her eldest daughter came by the shop at the request of her mother---guess who wants to learn to knit now? (insert evil laughter here.........we caught another one!). We'll see these two back here later today.

Monday was a great day for friends just dropping in. It all started with our good friend Karen escaping husband and children (school's out in her town) and coming down with an incredible plate of waist-enhancing treats (THANK YOU KAREN!!!!!!!!!!!!). Then in strolls Eva, off for the holidays and sharing her afternoon with us (HEY EVA!!!!!!). Then in walks Renee (HI RENEE)--what a treat! What I wanna know is....alright, who led the mass exodus out of Franklin (IN) on a Monday????? So we had the added benefit of an afternoon of good friends and good company and good knitting and a bit of silliness ensued............maybe it was the sugar from the plate of lovin' Karen brought with. Or maybe it was just holiday spirit

brought on by Renee and her extremely fun sense of whimsey in knitting. That's her adaptation of the Two Old Bags pattern for a Felted Door Mitten, turned into a holiday shoulder bag by the ever-creative Renee (when she was here last week she had on a knitted Christmas Tree Hat). And if you're curious, that's a sheep scarf she knitted since last Wednesday--the pattern comes from the Vogue Knitting On The Go Scarves 2 book she picked up from us when she was here. Very fun and very cute! All in all, it was a great Monday and I thank everyone involved for coming by, sharing your day with us, and for your friendships!

Last night was our monthly Philosopher's Wool knit night and dinner. While the holidays took a toll on attendance, we had a great evening of laughing, eating, and knitting with Low Helen (who still can't knit due to her tendonitis), Karen (who came back down for the evening), Matt & I, and Jill, a relatively new member of the group who's making amazing progress on her sweater--Tradition in the Peacock Colorway. Her work is beautiful and her sweater is very inspiring. She hadn't seen the video yet, so the two of us went into the library (pattern/book room) and watched it--every time I watch that video I get excited all over again about making the sweaters and feel the need to get back to mine, which languishes in the side cabinet of the entertainment center. SHAMEY SHAMEY on me. Thanks, Jill, for inspiring me all over again (and for some phenomenal dark bread to go with the Shrimp & Asparagus Pasta I made for dinner).

I've had a couple requests for a different view of the Opal Handpaint sock yarn I showed off in my last post. Here's another picture, with the skeins opened up a little bit

It's beautiful stuff and I expect to start a pair of socks with one of them (probably the turquoise/caramel combo) very shortly. And with that, I'm over and out for the day. Be well, knit like mad, and be in touch! It's a rainy/grey day here, with a strong possiblity of snow tomorrow and flurries on Thursday--that would make our second white Christmas in a row here and the third out of the past four years. Wahoo!