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, February 13, 2004

I Must Be in Heaven

But first, here's a shot taken about 30 minutes ago, when the folks next door were getting a new sofa.

I told you it was a typical pose for him.........ever on watch. He thanks you for all of the kind comments and compliments extended to him yesterday. He is our little man, and he is very well loved in his new home. I'm not sure I've ever met a sweeter dog (unless you're a delivery person in a uniform--but he's softening up to the mailman, who comes in the shop daily in search of packages). Well, maybe one. With my advance apologies to Mags, head over to Matt's blog for his display of equal time. Back to being in heaven..........

It's because I'm just surrounded by Angels...........

Much of this is pre-ordered Angel, but some of it is available for adoption to a good home. If you're on the hunt, here's what you can get ahold of for your own purposes, or even for your version of Theresa's fantastic Angel Ribbed Scarf that takes four skeins. Your first group

You can almost read the names on these, but just in case you can't--up on top is Whitewater, and I have 12 skeins on hand as of 4 p.m. today. The bottom row is Charcoal on the left (one of her nearly solids) and there's 8 of it and Tahoe on the right, and there's 12 of it as well. Also available would be

On the left is Pioneer (8 skeins available) and Amish on the right (8 skeins available). I'm perplexed by the shot of the Pioneer, as the color that appears to be a red is more of a russet or the color of cocoa powder--there is NO red in Pioneer, trust me on that one. It's a wonderful combination of blues, greys, and medium browns. You know the drill.........apply for adoption here.

Being first on the block is something I really enjoy--so being the first one to get the new SOLID colors of Squiggle makes me very happy. So here's what's already here and flying out the front door

And two of the new shades in the multi are in (as well as the Fern Mix and the Delphinium Mix we've had since just before January 1).
These two are Mink Mix (on the left) and Woodgrain (on the right). Solids run $7.50 retail, or $6.75 TB; Multis are $8.50 retail, $7.65 TB. I've seen some really REALLY fun combinations being put together today, once we opened up the boxes of yarn and made it available to the public. We had several "scarf sharks" moving around in groups this afternoon, scoping out all of the new yarns and picking and choosing among several options.

Many of you have been on the hunt for something perfect to knit your own version of Rogue, from Girl From Auntie, a very creative individual. We found ourselves a little short on aran-weight yarns to suggest for this project, so what do I do? Order something fab up from a French yarn distributor. I'm pleased to introduce you to Merinos,

a 100% merino wool superwash yarn with 104 yards to a poof. While not the most inexpensive yarn on the planet, it's lovely in the hand and a joy to knit with. And if you're not looking for a solid, the multis in this yarn are just amazing! Just an idea...........if you're out there and still looking.

And now we move on to the BRAGGING part of our blog entry. Sharlene nabbed some Koigu Kersti from us last month and promptly began the sweater out of "The Purl Stitch" that called for Kersti. I am pleased to introduce you to her finished project

She shared a picture with me of her in the sweater, and I have her permission to post it here. When we were looking at color choices, she found a color she liked and another she wanted.............and we helped her with the decision, and boy was it the right one. I really like the combination of the design and the yarn and how it looks on her. She did a phenomenal job on the sweater and it was the perfect color for her (of course it doesn't hurt that she's a very strking individual, too!). She's shared photos of her beautiful children with us before and now I see that the apple don't fall far from the tree! BRAVA, Sharlene!

And with that, I'm over and out for the day. Know that I'm getting caught up on things tonight and this weekend (as time allows--which means before and after the shop is open, as we expect a very busy weekend) and that you'll hear from me shortly if you've asked questions or placed an order. I'm typing as fast as I can!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Waiting for Godot

Well, Tate's version is waiting for the UPS man...............he spent the better part of Tuesday afternoon somewhat like this

Unfortunately, he was denied. I was expecting a good bit of yarn on Tuesday, and Tate just wanted a good bark (and a chance to pop up his butt-mohawk--most dogs have hackles on their front shoulders; our little guy has a patch on his backside that pops up when he's on alert). I snapped that pic late in the afternoon (those windows face westward and that's the fading sun) and it just made me go AWWWWWWWWW when I saw it. Maybe I should offer it up as excessive pet sentimentality?

Since we received nothing new on Tuesday, that meant that Wednesday should have been a banner day. Boy howdy, was it! Six big ol' boxes (all split open due to overstuffed status) arrived from our friends at KFI, two huge ones filled with Plassard yarns, and a bunch of needles and accessories. Today will bring a ton of Crystal Palace yarns, including the elusive Squiggle. We've had the Delphinium Mix and Fern Mix for awhile now, but I got a little bit of a bonus when they offered me the entire top row of the color card--all of the solids--about three weeks ahead of when they'll be made available (March 1 is the target date). So later today I'll have solids in Squiggle, something no one else has, I do believe.

Before the yarns, I want to introduce you to someone special. Please meet Kristina, the newest member of the Black Sheep Bags family.
From now until the end of February, you can pick up a kit for your project (the pattern and the yarn) for the low, low price of $17.50 for the regular option and $23.00 for the longer-strap option (postage not included). You'll need to figure out which Kureyon you want to use for your color work, and then we can pick a coordinating solid from our wall o'Cascade (some color guidance would be good, or you can let Matt work his magic). What Kureyon is available, you might ask? Well, start here:

  • Kureyon--40, 51, 55, 87, 90, 92, 115, 116, 124, 130, and 131

    To request your kit, drop an e-mail to me, mention the Kureyon colourway you want, and maybe provide a little guidance on what color you'd like for a solid, as well as if it's the short or long strap version you're after. THANKS!

    Most of what arrived Wednesday falls under the auspices of the Euro Yarns division, which is a pretty large part of KFI. It encompasses their own house yarns, as well as Jo Sharp, Schachenmayr, Mondial, and On Line. I'll try to bring a little bit of each to the screen for you shortly, but for now, I have my focus planned for today. (grin).

    Two full boxes of sock yarn arrived, with one being packed full of familiar colors of Regia sock yarns. I'm thrilled to have a wider selection in these great sock yarns. But we also signed up for their two new sock programs, where you get the entire line of a new color combination. One is their cotton/wool combination and will be coming later this spring (probably early March), but the other is here now. It's the typical superwash wool/nylon blend that Regia is famous for, but in new 100g balls. And we have the entire range. Come see!

    There's the first four--I'm particularly in love with TROLL, as is Matt. Next group

    And last,

    If you're interested in any of these, slip me an e-mail with the design number (found on the toes in the pictures above), and I'll get it out as quickly as possible. Thanks to the strong Euro, the 100g ball of this yarn is $11.95 retail, or $10.76 from us. Still not bad for a pair of socks, but up from the previous price of $12 for two 50g balls (blame both a price increase due to wool prices rising AND the stronger Euro).

    We did get some On Line yarns, including most of the colors of Clip, their fantastic worsted-weight cotton, and one colorway in Punta, a fun novelty yarn. I knit with a little of it last night

    Yes, that's a scarf. We're having too much fun with the name ("anyone wanna see my Punta?"), but the fabric is sooooooooft on this one, and the color is poppin'. I did get two more colors of Point Virgule from Plassard that were back ordered late last month. Look at these lovelies

    Mom's gonna want one of these, I'm sure!

    We're in an exchange week for the Lana Grossa trunk show that we're participating in. Last rotation we had two sweaters, one from a Winter Filati and one from Simply Knit 2 (reviewed here last fall). My favorite of these two had to be Jolie, which I hate to see leave--she's knitted with their Royal Tweed and is ultra soft. Here she is up on the wall

    At least we got a nice replacement for her in this week's rotation. Meet Baggy, also from Simply Knit 2

    and also knit in Royal Tweed. I see a major sweater project coming on for my needles out of this yarn. So beautiful and SO soft.

    I've got more to show you........hopefully later today. But for now, I have to get prepared for our 9 a.m. meeting with a yarn rep. We're picking up Dale of Norway yarns, looking at Rowan and Jaeger, and hearing about the new stuff from Manos (most of which we have already). I gotta dart, so behave and come back.....I'll be adding more shortly!

  • Tuesday, February 10, 2004

    Latte, We Hardly Knew Ye

    Folks, I hate to break the news to you, but the bag of Latte is officially history, as of about 1 p.m. yesterday (Monday). The interest in it has been fantastic, and I hate to disappoint so many of you who asked about it, but it was snapped up quickly. Good stuff always is.

    Mary asks, in the TagBoard, if the folks at Lorna's Laces would reconsider their decision to not make any more based on the strong interest in the yarn. It's not a matter of lack of interest, as Beth and company have tried to make a browns/natural combination for over a year, but there were constant problems with the dyeing process, and if there's one thing Beth won't do it's put out inconsistent/low-quality yarn. The color, while gorgeous in Shepherd Sock, wasn't consistent across ALL of her fibers (remember, she has over a dozen different yarns in different combinations of wool, cotton, and other animal hairs), so she didn't feel like it was a viable offering. Some of us who had preordered the color were asked if we still wanted some in JUST the sock weight and I said a hearty YES. Thus, the single bag I had and showed here.

    The new Interweave Knits arrived yesterday afternoon and it's available if you'd like one. Subscribers should have theirs as of Friday/Saturday of last week, and shop copies are officially out. But newsstand copies will lag a week or so. I have another surprise for you, but probably not until tomorrow (it arrived a couple days earlier than I expected, and that's a GOOD THING). We'll see how today goes (I was trying to work on a deadline project last night and fell asleep with it in my lap--not good).

    Happy Tuesday to you--can you believe not a single skein of yarn was delivered here yesterday? Shameful. But I expect a boatload today........

    Monday, February 09, 2004

    I WAS WRONG!!!!!!!!!

    See, Sarah--I do admit it! When it's appropriate, I always do a mea culpa. So here we go.

    I received a bag of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Latte Friday and showed it here over the weekend. I thought it was a current color, but a call to the great folks at Lorna's tells me (and they already told me.....dementia is setting in) that this was a special run of a colourway, but the brown's weren't behaving (again), so the Latte I got is the ONLY Latte that will ever be produced, so the bag I have (in Shepherd Sock) is the only bag I'll ever have. So I apologize to those who wanted it in Shepherd Sport, or other yarns, but it won't be available at all--ever.

    Sorry for dashing hopes out there..........but I did order Angel in the other new colors, to be delivered in the near future. Mmmmm, Angel in Lakeview, Uptown, Daffodil, and Blackwatch. Sheer heaven!

    My Ultimate Weakness

    The lure of something different. The sparkle of something new. The thrill of being the first...........

    Yes, I'm talking about yarn (now), but those really apply to me a lot more than I'd like to admit. I tend to embrace change entirely too easily--sometimes taking on change just for change's sake. Move to a completely different state where there's not a single soul I know? SURE. Leave a perfectly acceptable job for something more challenging or completely different? DONE THAT. Be unable to handle complacency. YOU BETCHA. But back to yarn..................

    I'm completely seduced.........I fell in love with a 24" snippet a couple months ago (which Matt knitted up into a mini-swatch in December when we first met the yarn), and we ordered it immediately. As faithful readers know, it arrived on Friday. Check out this color card and you can start to understand why I was easily smitten

    Only ten shades, but WOW, what a great palette. Fresh and bright and great shades! And individual skeins are amazing to look at

    Check out the amazing highlights and lowlights in these skeins. What you can't get into via the monitor is the hand of the yarn--it feels great! They call it "softly spun" but it's more like an unspun cotton with a binder wrapped around it, which gives the strand a great crinkle look. It knits up around 18 sts/10cm on a 4mm to 5mm needle. And the knitted fabric is amazing to the touch--very cushy and nice. Skeins are 104m (116yds) and retail for $8, so as usual our price is $7.20.

    If you're like me, the first question in your mind is "what can you knit with it"? Well, like any good Manos del Uruguay yarn, there's patterns from both Minnow Knits (the fabulous Jil Eaton) and Design Source (Judith Shangold, who's a genius). First the Minnow Knits---there are four different patterns so far, which retail for $4.50 (cheap!), so they're $4.05 from us. Here's two

    and two more

    Great designs, all four. And they don't take that many hanks to complete, so they're reasonable projects that are decently-quick knits. I'm itching to make "Sunflower" to have here as a shop model. We have TONS of folks knitting for wee ones, and I think the pattern looks rather straight forward and do-able by newer knitters.

    The "big catch" in this recent delivery has to be this pattern collection

    I'm happy to note that it says "Cotton Collection 1", which infers that there's more to come. But this first one--she's outdone herself with the patterns. They are organized and designed around three major structures/architectures to the garments--drop shoulder

    slightly set sleeve

    and set sleeves (cap and everything)

    Great patterns for every skill level--not just the knitting skill, but also a sort of primer on finishing, as you could start with a simple drop-shoulder garment and then build up to knitting a sleeve with a tiny bit of shaping up to something with a full set-in sleeve. And the neat part is that there are VERY attractive designs in each of the three categories, across many styles of garment. I tell you, this is a big-time winner of a book, and it's just $14 retail ($12.60 TB). $12.60 for a great group of sweaters with a variety of neck treatments, pullovers and cardis, long and short sleeves, and simple to more textured knitting. Let's take a closer look at the wizardry in the pages

    Great cardis, and I really like the color block one on the right--looking back at the ten shades, I can see some great combinations, both brights and rich ones. And look at the texture in the knitted panels. Great attention to detail--check the buttons on the right that really make the sweater. Nice.

    And the next pair--looks like a duo from the set-in sleeve section.

    Fun neck and cuff treatment on the left, and a great, simple stripe on the right. Very summery!

    Speaking of summer heat--check out the intense color on these two--
    I'm not much for orange (well, for orange items of clothing on me, a pasty-white Eastern European guy who lives indoors 24/7), but I really like the shading in the tank on the right, and the POW of color on the left (and a great, wide neckline)

    I wouldn't have imagined it before seeing her (details to follow), but with her big weight loss, I can really see my mom in the sweater on the left--
    I think she'd look great in a nice short-sleeved cardi that's not too long in the waist. But something tells me she'd like the color of the one on the right (any opinions out there, Mom?) She was dropping a few heavy hints about the type of sweaters she'd like to see herself in, mostly in the form of "is this something I could knit?" types of questions (when looking through the Manos wool designs). Given her climate and how warm-blooded she is (she's like me--radiates heat all year long), I think she'd be much more comfy in a cotton design.

    And last, on the back of the pattern book, there's a fun vest with a very smart collar at the top and an interesting way of combining color down at the bottom.

    I could go on and on about this delivery (or have I already?), but it's late and I have knitting to do before turning in. If I didn't have these three batches of commissioned things I'd already have some of this cotton wound off and on my needles. But alas, I'm making a couple felted bags and three pairs of socks for special requests.

    We have tons and tons of new yarns from Friday's deliveries, and I suspect Monday and Tuesday will be bringing a good bit more. And despite a slow week of ordering last week, I fear this week will be deadly. We need to make a massive Cascade order, I loaded up on more books Friday afternoon, and I know of a big Classic Elite order that's shaking loose Monday or Tuesday (two days from them to us, will arrive before the weekend). And we meet with a sales rep on Thursday that handles Manos (grin), Rowan (I'm fighting the urge to stock it, due to the direct-to-the-public UK sources that are so reasonable--to the point of being close to my wholesale prices), Jaeger, and ........danger danger danger Dale of Norway yarns. I'm targeting picking up the full color range in Heilo as well as a host of patterns (I already own about a dozen I've lusted after since discovering their designs when we first moved to Michigan four years ago). I like the other yarns from them as well, but I really REALLY want Heilo--time for a Trondheim for Rob. Yes it is.........or maybe a St. Moritz. And hush--I know the models are fetching. We all know that--they use BEAUTIFUL people (and yeah, my ex is half it's a weakness). But this is about the sweaters..........for me at least.

    With that, I'm gone for the evening. Back to packing boxes early in the morning, so I'll see you then.