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, January 15, 2004

It's Been THAT Kinda Week

Sorry for the lack of posting, but this picture about sums up our week around here

Even the dogs are beat. Connor's so tired she's pouring off the couch up front (picture taken just minutes ago). It's been a wild one, and I'm working hard to get caught up--I fully admit to being a little behind, but I'll also tell you that those who may be concerned about hearing from us, please know that I'm working hard to get my part of the mail order side of ThreadBear caught up again. I've been staying up until ungodly hours every evening this week, trying to get caught up. And we had many pre-orders of several of the yarns we've gotten in over the past couple days. I am packing envelopes and boxes like mad and about to be caught up,

but for now, patience is the watchword. I'm trying!!!!!!! I swear! (and I always feel so bad when we get behind and things don't happen immediately for folks). That entire stack has been packed since 11 p.m. EST tonight (yes, over the past four hours, as I'm writing this at 3:14 a.m.). If you've pre-ordered the Opal Magic collection, most of it is in the stack. So now it's off to bed shortly, so I can get up and start it all over again tomorrow. But tomorrow adds a special dimension--I'm cooking for Third Thursday, so I'll be back in the kitchen a good bit......while Matt visits with the lawyer we've retained for the zoning hearing and case. She's suppsed to be just incredible, so maybe that will help. Otherwise, we don't know much more (or less) than when you spoke with us. Thank you for the well wishes and for the interest in our plight.

I expect a tonnage of Noro on Friday...mmmmmmmmmm, good stuff! And plenty of it! And silly me--I believe them. We've received a good bit of yarn this week and I'm working (in concert with the folks we've hired to help us in the shop on a part time basis). Here's the new stock of Crystal Palace Fizz that arrived on Tuesday as a part of the SEVEN boxes we received from them

I ordered a good number of solid colors this time around, and they are BEAUTIFUL. Also in this batch were many new colors of their Deco Ribbon, including the four new shades of fruit colors that are new for Spring 04.

I'm smitten with one of their new patterns that uses Deco and the new Tingle. Ya gotta love their sense of style AND whimsey!

There's plenty more from these folks in other boxes here and there in the shop, waiting to be shelved

And we have all but one shade of Splash back in stock (Tidepool remains on backorder). This stuff sells like mad here--soon everyone in Bartholomew County, Indiana, will own a Splash scarf of some sort. Low Helen spotted one on a young girl at church recently (HI HELEN). But I think my favorite thing in this order was the entire box just crammed full of this stuff

That's their Waikiki, a fun cotton/rayon yarn with awesome sheen and texture. It will make great spring/summer decorative scarves, and I'm going to knit a pullover using this and Cotton Chenille held together. Soon.......soon.........soon.

I mentioned that many of the package that filled the plastic US Mail tub in the picture above were of Opal Magic, a new collection that just arrived from Germany. I think the colors in the picture (linked above) are nice, but in person they are much more beautiful and very bright. Check them out

That's all ten of them--if you're curious about how they knit up, there's model socks at the link just above as well as knitted swatches done by the folks at the US distributor's offices. We ordered all ten colors, as you can see, but there's a couple that are going REALLY fast (1043--pink is flying out the door). The orange and the purple are also rather stunning, in my opinion, and the green is VERY true and fun. Good stuff, even if they did raise the price of all OPAL starting with this collection.

Matt and his fair isle class met last night (at the same time as our local sock-making group--good thing we have plenty of space and many sofas) and they got started on their teddy bear sweaters. Here's the makin's, all laid out and nice and neat in boxes.

They had the bags all sorted into individual stacks earlier in the day, and the color was JUST AMAZING. I'm so glad we have this yarn (Jamieson 2-ply Spindrift) in abundance for the shop. Most of it will be going to folks involved in Matt's ThreadyBear Project far and wide across the internet.

I mentioned that our local sock group met Wednesday night. That means I had time to make some progress on my Little Toes sock you saw the cuff of on Monday. Here it was after Tuesday (I had a tish of knitting time that afternoon, waiting)

and here it is again, with the completed heel flap and the heel turned

I'm ready to pick up gusset stitches and get busy on the foot portion. But when will I have knitting time again? Not today, most likely--it's Third Thursday, and I should be cooking most of the morning, even while he meets with the lawyer.

We did meet with a yarn rep on Wednesday from 1 p.m. until about 6:15 p.m. (right up until Matt's class was going to start). He represents EuroYarns, a division of Knitting Fever (the "punctual" folks who handle a wide variety of yarns). To see his lines, look on the left part of the KFI window, but also add Katia. We ordered significant amounts of these yarns for spring/summer, and some amazing colors and textures. Soon great stuff from Schachenmayr (including a new sock program with their new sock yarns and other fun yarns), Jo Sharp summer lines, some from Mondial, some amazing things from On Line including the full line of their Clip--a fab cotton, and this wild stuff from EuroYarns. We've had some major logistical issues with this distributor (KFI in general) and we are very hesitant to work with them from here forward, but we have not purchased from this division before. We spoke at length with the rep, and he gave us good advice for managing our purchases as well as his assurance of help in making things happen. Yeah, he's a salesman deep down, but we'll give this division a try. If they respond like the other divisions, they'll get the same treatment as the other arms--"yes, it's nice yarn--when I can get it from you--but we're not planning on relying on that happening so we're looking to other lines who are more reliable". Those of you out there in reader land who work at or are intimately familiar with the operations of your LYS know exactly what I'm talking end of rant for now. They've got their chance, we'll see how they respond.

While we met with Jesse I was knitting while looking over cards and deciding how much to overspend on yarn. I did finally finish the Mango Moon Recycled Silk scarf from hell. I've made a dozen or so of these since September, when the yarn first arrived, but for some reason this particular hank had several issues (mainly that the yarn came untwisted and I had to knot it several times along with way). This was a new experience for me with Recycled Silk, and I'm not happy about it, but it is an unusual yarn with an unusual manufacturing process, so I'll write it off to a single skein with some drama inside. The scarf turned out nice

and I'll send it up to Indy to the gift shop, as it is already sold once it arrives (as is another one going with this one and some other scarves).

Cut to 9 a.m. Thursday morning---I tried to post this last night, but as I was composing I was falling asleep. Have you ever been at the keyboard and dozing off at the same time? Your subconscious (or at least mine) comes out and you just type whatever is in your mind at the time. I looked up at the screen a few times after my head had lolled to one side or the other or fallen forward and there were complete thoughts down, but it was mainly jibberish or completely disjointed. So I called it quits, got up about 8:30 this morning, and finished the post. Enjoy, come by and knit and eat if you're in the area (I'm going to put on a pot of my red sauce for lasagna, make manicotti, do a few other things, and three desserts.....see you around 6:30 p.m. EST?). Be well, stay warm, and GET KNITTIN"!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Fiber Nirvana

Here's hoping that you had a great weekend. Ours was packed with the usual events, plus a few other interesting items. Saturday found me teaching a basic sock making class to five eager learners, each of whom chose a different yarn for their socks. I also believe that everyone is making socks for themselves, which is a good thing--I completely advocate being a greedy knitter more often. Most folks aren't, as we tend to give everything away to others. Well, when it comes to hand-made socks, I firmly believe in wearing your own handiwork. And these ladies picked up on this quite well. What really impressed me is someone came up from Kentucky for class and someone else came down from northern Indianapolis. I'm flattered..........and I cannot wait to see everyone's progress in two weeks, when we meet to turn heels and make gussets.

Monday was a banner day for hand-dyed goodness. We did get in a box with a bunch more of the Lana Gatto Amsterdam, which has been very popular in these parts, and with good reason. A couple balls of this stuff and a few hours and you have a wonderful, soft, very stylin' scarf for under $20. I've made four so far (one for my mom, and three in the shop currently as models, but soon to be put out for sale at a local gift shop) and there's another on the needles right now (makes for good car knitting in the dark while traveling places as well as computer knitting--while the PC runs, I knit). But that's not the highlight.........this next section is

Yes, today was Koigu Wool Designs day. We placed a good order at the start of the month, and part of it arrived today, as well as a little surprise bonus influx of yarn. The remainder of the order will arrive before the end of the month, but for now, I am ECSTATIC to have these treats. First, off, we have the surprise. Many of you may remember the 20th Anniversary Edition of Vogue Knitting International that was out last year, where many of the major players in the yarn industry had a design in their yarn, as well as there being other pattersn. The Koigu entry is a fab pullover that we've assembled kits for others using the wonderful KPPPM yarn. Well, if you've ever wanted a kit using the exact same colourway as shown in the magazine, we're your source (just like we have kits for the dress from the 2003 Holiday VKI)

That's the pattern and the yarn, in piles, to make that awesome sweater. Nice stuff, without question. And it came to us as a bonus, and I'm not complaining! Besides, how can you complain when there's also three bags of these colors of KPM/KPPPM

They are P436 at the top, 2400 (black) on the right, and P608 on the left. We have full dye lots of these (20+ skeins) for your knitting pleasure. What's that you say? You want more (greedy you--I like that!)

Why yes, those ARE amazing full dye lots of Kersti, the fab crepe merino DK, shown in multis. Top row--why that's K713, K317, and K143 (left to right). Center row? but of course that is K121, K706, K106, and K107. (I'm in absolute lust with the K121, just so you know. It's just downright BEAUTIFUL!). And across the bottom? Left to right they are K444, K801 (smashing!), K855, and K122. The K121 and K801 may well be some of the MOST AMAZING Koigu yarns I've ever seen--seriously. They're all rather wonderful, but those two just POP out of the group if you ask me. And yes, there were solids in the box as well

Olive--K4000; Bittersweet--K1220; Deep Teal--K1025; Azure Blue--K1002, Goldenrod--K1200; Berry--K1120. that is some beautiful stuff in person. Also in the box was a special "kit" that Taiu put together for us to make the hat in Kersti that was featured on the cover of VKI a year ago--Matt had a special order for one. Now do you see why I'm in Koigu bliss????

And if you thought it couldn't get any better, we had another influx of Mountain Colors Bearfoot. This is some awesome hand-dyed sock yarn, and I cannot wait to make a pair (I snatched another skein out of the box before it went on public display). If you're on the hunt for some of this stuff, here's what we have in the new batch

Left side, top to bottom---Pine Needle, Moondance, Rimrock (never to be made again), Mountain Twilight, and Evergreen.
Right side, top to bottom--Lodgegrass, Red Tail Hawk, Lupine (mmmmmmmm), Sierra, Moose Creek, and Firestorm

Left--Midnight Sapphire, Indian Corn, Larkspur, Garnet, and an unnamed skein (I think it's Missouri River)
Right--Flathead Cherry (a stunner!), Alpine, Copper King Plum, Marias Falls, and Lost Trail

Lest you think it's all work in these parts, we did have our monthly sock gathering in Bloomington Monday night. On the way over, I worked like mad to get the cuff finished (in the dark) on my sock in progress using Little Toes from Interlacements (shown here last week). I'm using "Las Vegas Brights" and boy howdy, it surely is...........I finished the cuff on the way TO Bloomington, and worked on the body of the sock on the way BACK. See

Colors aren't exactly true, as digital cams have a problem with these exact colors (they're a bit more rich in person and not as SHOCKING). This yarn is addictive i the fingers and I look forward to finishing this pair of simple stockinette socks (probably along with my sock class on Saturdays) and then maybe working my own Broadripple Socks using my sport-weight adaptation. Or maybe better yet, I'll design something completely new and submit it for a future KNITTY issue.

If I worked on that sock in the car, just what did I work on during the evening indoors? Why, thanks to the inspiration of a certain NOLA belle, I had to start a pair of Koigu Cozy Toes to try the pattern out for myself (using my Denise needles for my 2 circs....).

They're made using a pattern from Koigu "Fun Socks II", aka "Take Along Socks" (of course, we have plenty on hand). They use a skein of KPPPM and a skein of their brushed mohair, Rumba. I have to agree with above-mentioned belle, the beginning of the sock is a bit fussy (working the two fibers as directed), but once you get beyond the first couple inches and onto the smoother knitting, it moves a good bit faster (for me at least). I made decent progress, see

I like this design a lot, but I think I was able to knit it much faster because I knit in the continental fashion--I was able to strand the yarns as directed rather easily in my left hand, and I think a British/American (right-carry) knitter wouldn't get up the speed I had going. No matter, it's worth the effort, as these look like they're going to be rather incredible. Taiu tells me the story of her mother, Mai (who designed the socks based on HER mother's advice about warm feet). Seems that it's been a bit extra cold in Ontario so far this year, and Mai is wearing her model Cozy Toes inside her Doc Martens (how's that for an image---a Doc-wearin' grandma! GOOD FOR YOU, MAI!). Warm feet, without question. And they're supposed to be holding up quite well inside boots, so they'll be fine around the house -- which is their intended use.

Of course, I always try to support our local Barnes & Noble store when we go there for sock night, as they do provide space free of charge. We all have drinks and snacks, typically, and I picked up three magazines that I haven't found yet in Columbus (IN).

I haven't even cracked the cover of any of them, so don't ask yet. And the "Knit N Style" is because of a Lorna's Laces pattern that's inside for yarn that we're about to start carrying (Lion & Lamb--their silk/wool blend). I don't typically care for many of the designs in that specific mag, so we'll see what this time around yields.

Tomorrow is Brunch Bunch here at ThreadBear, so we'll have a morning gathering of locals for knitting and nosh, and then Wednesday morning brings a yarn rep and at night is a dual-duty evening. Matt has session #2 of his "Intro to Fair Isle" class (ThreadyBear!!!!!!!!) and our local sock group meets as well. And Thursday is Third Thursday! What a week!!!!!!!! Come join us for the madness!