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, April 15, 2004

My Hand Itches

And that's a good thing, as I'm going to get the stitches out first thing Thursday morning, before the office gets busy and before we start the day here. Thanks to EVERYONE for their well wishes, support, kind words, and more since last week's glass adventure. Everything seems to be healing well, despite me whacking it on a doorknob twice late in the week (and it opening the cut). ICK. I've looked things over carefully the past couple days and it looks to be healing very well.

I've been knitting up a storm the past couple days, as I had to take it easy late last week because I'm a klutz (see above). I've got something to show you in a few days, when I can get it completed (I don't want to show it in pieces). But in the mean time, several folks asked why I haven't been blogging, what I've been knitting, and other questions. Basically, I started to feel like this blog, which was supposed to be mostly a personal site of someone who owns a yarn shop, was turning into a giant commercial for everything we were getting in for the shop. I didn't feel too comfortable about that. Yeah, I enjoyed reviewing books and magazines and sharing the fun of new yarn arrivals, but we were staying so busy that I didn't get much knitting time, which meant I didn't have much to share in the way of projects. So I didn't post for awhile. And then folks started asking where I was and what I was knitting, and most of my time was taken up with working on scarves of various yarns to serve as models for the shop. As I'm a big-time fan of texture (cabled) and color (fair isle) knitting, I felt bad making nothing but one garter stitch scarf after another (I was feeling rather Daryl Hannah-ish). So that hopefully explains the past three weeks for some of you (I appreciate your having asked, however).

So where do I start, yarn-pimp that I am? With a big ol' plug for the Broadripple Socks Knit Along, for those who are interested in knitting my pattern for the Broadripple Socks, as published in Knitty last summer. Thank yous go out to Donna for hosting the knit along. The socks are designed using Cascade Fixation, but I have rewritten the pattern for a variety of weights and brands of yarns. One I hadn't considered but is a wonderful suggestion is Interlacements Little Toes, a sport-weight superwash merino yarn. Coincidentally we stock it and have some on hand (it's in rather short supply currently, as there was an accident at the mill and for awhile there was no blank yarn for the folks at Interlacements to dye up). Since several have asked about our current stock, here's a couple shots of what we have on hand as of today (many with multiple hanks available), with colourway numbers superimposed on the hank

and even more

I mentioned I've been knitting more lately. This is a good thing! Something I finished before the dish incident was this

It's a rectangular stole that's knitted short end to short end guessed it........garter stitch......using two yarns held together--a railroad ribbon (Eros Glitz) and a metallic eyelash (DazzleLash). It's turned several heads around here since I completed it, and several folks have decided to make one of their very own. It makes a great spring formal or prom or "evening out" wrap that makes a strong statement (the Eros just shimmers in daylight) and it's a quick knit--I started it on a Thursday morning and the knitting was done that Saturday morning (and I don't have that much time to knit any more). I immediately began a second one, this time using a hand-dyed ladder ribbon we received a little bit ago called Melody in light pastels (lavender, yellow, and blue) and a light purple eyelash. Not much done on it yet, but....sometime soon.

One of my first finished items since the dish incident is a rather flashy and fun scarf

which is just a simple garter stitch scarf (imagine that!) using an eyelash yarn held with EuroYarns Carnival, a charm-type yarn that's $8 retail (so it's just $7.20 from us) and available in these colors

I used Plassard's Insolite, which is a little nicer than your standard eyelash for two reasons--closer spacing on the lashes and better yardage (104 yds in a ball, versus 77 in something like Flutter or Baruffa's Fur). Plus it comes in GREAT colors and is a great price point ($7.50 retail, or $6.75 from us). Once I got my hand in good working order (the cut is exactly where a knitting needle rests on the heel of my hand), I immediately turned to sock knitting. I was a man on a mission Monday evening, while we were in Bloomington for our monthly Sock-It-To-Me group. I had the cuff done on these socks, but I knitted the entire leg portion (7 1/2" less the cuff) in the 2.5 hours we were there. LOOK!

That's Opal Magic, in the medium blue colourway. I really like how it knits up, and I'm working these socks with an afterthought/peasant heel, to try something different (and as preparation for a class in this technique I'll be teaching next month). The first sock is finished and I'm already on the second one? SHOCKING! We did get additional stock in this yarn yesterday, in two colors that were sold out (both here and at the distributor in Oregon)

The pink and the minty green were gone quickly last time around, so I loaded up again, as this is probably the last time I'll get to reorder these colors. There are ten shades in the collection

and several are big fun. We had several folks pick up a skein of all ten shades, as some of the colors are unusual for Opal yarn. I think I'll knit a pair of socks out of the pink and donate them this fall to a breast cancer fundraiser. That should be a meaningful and fun project!

Something else I knitted recently is a drop-stitch scarf using some of the new stock in Mango Moon's Recycled Silk yarn. See

No brain surgery here, just a few rows of garter stitch (do we see a pattern forming here--pun intended) with an occasional drop stitch row

It's just a quickie little pattern I kinda made up that we provide with the purchase of the yarn ($20 retail, so $18 from us), and the finished product looks soooooo striking in this yarn. Something I'm playing with is an idea for a knitted handbag out of this yarn that leans on a pattern that calls for ribbon yarn. I may try one over the weekend. I'm still highly addicted to this bag

from Jill Vosberg at Just One More Row (which was also featured in the Fall 2001 issue of Interweave Knits. Of course, I'm very drawn to this pattern

A new blog entry wouldn't be complete without a reference to Low Helen. She's been knitting up a storm lately, too, focusing on smaller projects with an impact. She's made two different versions of Sophie, the newest design by our good friendJulie over at Black Sheep Bags. Helen's first one was done to use up some odds and ends in Cascade 220

which I think turned out great. The second one, completed in a day (including her working a full eight hours on the job), is knitted out of Manos del Uruguay in Bramble (114) that I wanted to see felted up into this design.

I think it's stunning! It took one full skein and just into a second, so you could get two bags out of three hanks. We have a full complement of this yarn again, as most backorders have been cleared. Our friend Christie made this design last weekend using a BRIGHT YELLOW shade of Cascade 220 and embellished the bag by knitting in a strand of Great Adirondack Tahiti in the colourway Crayons (a recent addition to our add-in yarns stock). She showed off the felted (and wet) bag on Monday night sock knitting and it was AWESOME....the Tahiti looked like flowers all around the upper edge of her bag. And she carried the yarn along in the handles, too, making the entire handles look like they were flowering! What an awesome spring bag!

Speaking of Springtime, we're featuring the great Bonne Marie's pattern for the Bottom-Up Bucket Hat

The display went up this afternoon, and it's AWESOME. Many thanks to Le Bonne Tricoteuse for the many examples of her BUP pattern, both felted and knitted. She's inspired me to make a few out of some of the fab cotton yarns we have around, and Matt picked up some embellishment things today while he was out running errands. Nothing says Spring quite like a hat with a butterfly or lady bugs on it.......unless it's THIS

That's a rather wild bag following a free pattern (which recommends Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted) using a strand of Cascade 220 in Orange Sherbet and a strand of Insolite eyelash (same as above, just orange)--one ball of each (about 150ish yards of wool and the full 104 yards of the eyelash). The straps came from our local Hobby Lobby store (one of Matt's errands this afternoon) and are a pair of clip-on silver chains that were like $6 each (so yeah, the handles cost as much as the materials for the bag). I started it Tuesday night, finished it Wednesday morning, and felted it while I was in the shower. It's cute as hell and has already drawn a good bit of attention.

I think I'm going to have to make a BUP out of something that came in today

That's a new item from Cascade Yarns called Cotton Rich. We had a MONSTER order from these folks arrive today (six boxes, each weighing over 75 pounds--yes, that's nearly 500 pounds of yarn, with over 90% of it being Cascade 220.....WOOOOOOF!). I ordered a bag of the Cotton Rich to see what it's like and I like it a lot! It's aran weight and 64% cotton/36% polyamid and VERY soft. It's heavier than the BUP pattern calls for, but I think I can make it work--and that would make the brim VERY firm, which is a good thing. OOOH OOOH! Also in the box was about half of the newly-reissued Indulgence, which many of you remember from the feeding frenzy here earlier this winter. This version comes in 50g balls instead of 100g hanks and the color palette has been reworked (in a good way, I think). About half are backordered, however. I'm jjust thrilled to have an additional 2,000-plus new skeins of Cascade 220 on hand -- in addition to the entire wall of this stuff we already had. FELTING FEVER!!!!!!! (I've also started to design a new bag pattern that's to be used as a canvas for embellishing with a variety of fun novelty yarns--stay tuned!).

Last, after I finish the project I mentioned at the very beginning of this entry (I'm to the armholes on the front, so I'm about 3/4 finished), I cannot wait to join in with the Audrey Knit Along hosted by the fabulous Theresa. While I will never be wearing this sweater, we do not have any shop models using our recently-arrived Rowan yarns, so this will be our first. It's knitted in Calmer, which is a cotton/microfiber blend that is sooooo soft and soooo addicting (Matt's hooked, big time). Several of you have asked, so here's a shot of the colors we have on hand, as of today

plus Coffee Bean, a deep and rich brown shade. I'll be using the light blue/periwinkle shade up at the top, Tinkerbelle (no comments, please--Theresa already did that, under the guise of being PC.........uh, RIGHT) for our model. I'd imagine I'll start it over the weekend, if not sooner. Supposedly getting gauge can be tricky, but once you do it appears to be a simple knit (there's alterations to the decreases/darts in the pattern that one of the knit-along participants shared on the joint blog, linked above). So.......a girly sweater is in my near future.

Regular readers may notice a new button over to the right, beneath my comments box. One of our local customers dropped by last week and Matt noticed her using something really cool--an organizer INSIDE of her felted purse she was carrying. He commented on it, she shared that she absolutely LOVED it and said she'd send the URL to the website (you buy them online only), and I feel like it's cool enough to share it with you here. The product is called a "Purseket"--a blend of purse and pocket--and is used in bags where you don't have interior pockets (a common complaint of those who carry felted bags, no?). Click here to check it out and be sure to watch the video they make available (it demonstrates their product in a WONDERFUL way, and she has a GREAT Southern accent...definitely Carolinas....). There's a variety of sizes, a great assortment of fabric choices, and I think they're affordable. If you decide to purchase and follow the address above, we'll get a little "kick back" from your purchase (just wanted to be very open about that with you) and we appreciate it (and would probably just turn that into more yarn for the shop...LOL....). I've ordered two already, so they should be here shortly (they have FAST shipping......). But I do feel that the product looks VERY useful and fills a definite need (I'm gonna use one inside my knitting bag and/or inside the Lantern Moon rice basket I'm addicted to right now (to hold my little accessory box, to hold knitting tools, and to keep a reference book inside). Check it out!

That's about it for now. I'm bushed, tonight is Third Thursday (our monthly dinner and knit night at the house)--which will be picnic foods (outsourced, since my hand will be freshly unstitched). Spring has sprung and we're supporting it--110%. If you're nearby, come on over for dinner, friendship, and knitting any time after 6 p.m. See you there!