Black Dog

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

When Willie Comes a-Callin' *

I'm starting off today with more of my typical braggin' on others and their projects. Angie is a new (and completely obsessed) knitter--I got word this morning she sits in bed at night and knits before she can turn in....for hours. Good job, Angie!! You caught a glimpse of her unfelted bag yesterday......she must have been knitting in bed again, cuz lookie here

A most awesome job! I like this one so much that I may have to make one in a similar combination of colors (those new Lamb's Pride colors are great, but her striping is of her own design). More bragging, you say? Gladly..........

That's Sharlene, in her brand new "Audrey" (from Rowan Magazine 35, the current issue). She used Calmer in the color Coffee Bean, and you KNOW who her dealer That is one beautiful sweater--WAY TO GO, SHARLENE! You'll remember her from her finished sweater shown here earlier this year

That's the raglan sweater featured in The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville (we adore her--and we're working on bringing Sally to the shop sometime next summer......SURPRISE!....all that's left is nailing down a date, as she and I have been swapping e-mails). The one in the book is nice

but Sharlene's just knocked me out (but then again, she IS a knock-out). So since I'm obsessed with this sweater and I'm working on models for the new shop in the evening while we're doing mail order only, I started one last night (of course). See

I'm using the same yarn as Shar and the book (Koigu Kersti), but Shar used K324, the book is in K104, and I'm using to make the smallest one, a 36" finished bust. That's some beautiful fabric...check out the close up

I've never knitted with Kersti before, but I have been in complete lust for it. The label says this is a dk-weight yarn (22sts/10cm), but I bet it would play very nicely at 20 or 18 (Low Helen used it at 20 for the Babies & Bears sweater shown here last week). It's soft as a dream (100% merino), just as cushy as you can imagine (the yarn isn't plied, but is a cabled fiber with amazing loft), and the best part--it's machine washable (oh, and it's hand-painted by the most amazing folks on the planet). And of course, we did get in a small batch on Monday. See

I wanted to snag the colourway in the upper left corner, but I decided against that. And I would have done this garment in any of these new colors

They're all just smashing--all seven dye lots that we received. All I can think of now is what to make next with this yarn. But first, let's finish this sweater, as I have a couple other things on deck in the mean time. Remember, I mentioned here yesterday that I've got an entire rubber tub of things planned.........

That's some of our new Diaketo Yarns goodies, called Diagrovefine--a blend of 70% wool and 30% alpaca with long runs of color, not unlike Noro yarns. But this stuff is amazingly soft and would be perfectly fine next to your skin. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Lovely stuff ('s alpaca!) that's about to become a beautiful project. Stay tuned. Also, this

will soon start its transformation into a beautiful garment that will be a part of the big re-grand-re-opening later this summer (and when the book is available). I'm itchin' to get started on this's BEAUTIFUL yarn and a SIMPLY STRIKING design. And I'm gonna knit it in MY SIZE!!! YES!!

Goodies keep's about these beauties

That's a little preview of some of the good stuff we ordered from Rowan for fall/winter knitting. Their upcoming magazine (#36) heavily relies on their Yorkshire Tweed family of yarns, which we ordered deep and heavy for the coming season. The (flaming) ball of red is the DK weight, the large one is the aran weight (for a cabled garment for MYSELF...I'm getting greedy now that cooler-weather knitting is in season, and I adore that shade...Hero...), and the grey is Cork. Cork is not used at all in #36, but we did pick up the Cork book and the entire line for fall, as Matt fell in love with the yarn when the rep was here a couple weeks ago (she's as bad as I am--she hands him few balls of yarn to keep while she's here with us, he starts knitting with it immediately, and the rest is a written order...for more than we had planned on buying--she's GOOD). The grey Cork has already been allocated

for a future shop model. I'm on a cable kick, what can I say. More Rowan books have arrived

and looking through the All-Seasons Cotton book, I can see why everyone out in blogland was knitting Smooch last year. That's a GOOD one....but I do have to take issue with the cherries sweater. If you have the book, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. In addition to Rowan books that support our current on-hand yarns, we also received two Jaeger books

and both are just packed with fantastic designs. Coincidentally, both books are designs from one creative mind--Martin Storey. I really, really like his style. There's a couple cabled designs in the ladies' book (again with the cables) and several others in the men's book that are just amazing. Both are full of great designs, cabled or not, and are very good pattern collectionswith the added bonus of them being written for dk-weight yarns.

And of course, when we add books, we have to add things for the little critters

Great collections! One more picture

I'm impressed with the volume of very beautiful designs by Kim Hargreaves in all of these books (I mean, I know she's prolific and I know that her things are good, but WOW). And I'm ecstatic to find these last two, as they focus on sizes that are hard to find -- not quite young adults but larger than toddlers. We search hard to find patterns for these "tweens" and these two books fit that bill.

That's enough for now........I'm off to grab some lunch and get packing on those boxes. We're catching up, mark my word. If you've written in the past few days, look for a response soon (and a box just after that in your mail). And of course, check back here and at the UP CLOSE page for Charlotte for more options--I saw Matt photographing the combinations he put together on Monday, so they're headed online soon!

*Willie is our UPS delivery guy. A great sport and a fab representative of this company.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A Grand Confession

As I work through the list of e-mails, phone orders and request, and other tidbits we accumulated over the weekend, I've made a tragic mistake. And I confess it here to all of you in the hopes of finding the missing information!

As I read e-mails, took phone calls, and ran around helping folks during the weekend, I gathered up yarns for orders and placed them off to the side, in a safe place. I also paired things with a printout or identifying mark of some sort, in an effort to make sure I could match people and yarn stuff together when the dust settled and it was time to pack boxes up for shipping. In one instance, I've failed........

I have four skeins of Big Kureyon, an Elizabeth Austen quilted bag, and some blue wool and silky wool for someone and I've separated the owner from the goodies. If this belongs to you and we worked out this order over the phone on Saturday, please e-mail me and I'll get that box right out to you. If it helps you remember, we deliberated over purple vs. denim blue on the Silky Wool.

HELP MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE And I apologize for the mismatch. And see, I'm getting a good start on answering inquiries and packing boxes, as promised.

Wait until tomorrow----we received seven LOVELY dye lots of Koigu Kersti yesterday. Oh My! and the colors are some we've never had before in Kersti and they are dynamite! (two lots are BRIGHT pinks and one is a pinky-red that is awesome; and the other shades are rather spectacular as well).

Ride the Onde'

Wow, what a strange feeling..........we don't have to be open at 10 a.m. today, as we're officially closed to walk-in retail traffic until we are in our new location. All that is thanks to the wonderful Columbus/Bartholomew County Planning and Zoning folks (with a little help, up front, from our misguided soon-to-be-former landlord, who misled us about the zoning status of this property).

While that may sound a little bitter, it isn't completely venomous. Matt and I actually stepped back and looked at things, and we're glad for the opportunity to regroup, refocus, and put the vast majority of our efforts toward the part of our business that is exceedingly important to us and where we got our start--MAIL ORDER! (I say *vast majority* because part of our time will still be spent working with various parties to get the new retail location renovated and open by sometime in early July.) So you readers out there can look forward to a renovated and exciting look at ThreadBear's online presence, as Matt has already started preparing new pages and updating others (including sale pages focusing on the yarns we've got on clearance, so you can shop specific lines of yarn and color cards of shades available instead of guessing what stock we have on hand). And we'll be focusing on specific projects in both blogs, bringing you new temptations (keep reading, below), and sharing our own knitterly progress as I work on a bunch of new shop models for the new space. I'm completely excited about the new models I've planned over the past couple days (I've gathered an entire storage tub of patterns and the yarn to go with to start knitting in earnest again, including some fantastic cooler-weather projects that excite me a good bit!).

Mail orders---now that we're working just the mail order stuff, we have a chance to get caught up. I apologize to those that have written since the announcement of Friday's clearance with the KFI/Euro products, but between the volume of incoming e-mail and the volume of foot traffic of locals spurred by the same price reductions, combined with the fact folks can't shop us in person after yesterday, many stocked up for the month ahead. We've been very busy in person and that limits the time to get back with you, and that's over for now. I'm getting caught up on e-mails today and from here forward, and if you've ordered, I've gone around and picked the goods, placed them in a safe spot (out of the hands of the marauding herds that were here this weekend), and I'll be back shortly. Hold tight, and your request is most likely safe and you'll hear from me in a "first in-first out" manner---meaning I'll start with Friday and work forward).

How's about a little show and tell? Monday evening was a sort of perfect close to the retail space, as our last customers were some of our very first customers ever (back to our modest beginnings with a little bit of yarn in a single bedroom in Bloomington). Barb and her daughter Judy arrived shortly before "typical" closing hours to hit the sale, stock up for the month without us, and to pay a much-needed visit. I've mentioned previously that we nearly lost Barb over the winter, but we're thrilled that she's back on the horse, so to speak, and gets around well, is knitting like a fiend, and has much of her spunk back (she told me off, in a fun way, last night...and it made me LAUGH). So after an evening of retail therapy we hit a local restaurant for a late dinner before sending them on their way home. And we enjoyed every minute of their visit. While they were here, I did some felting for Barb (an IndiKnits design called Grand Flappy bag done in Cascade 220 9414, a marl of two different blues that felts to a deep indigo denim fabric). Her other finshed project is a wonderful Sophie from Julie at Black Sheep Bags, done in a beautiful multi in Manos del Uruguay (one of my favorite fibers for making a Sophie, by the way). Check it out!

Wow, now that's a fab bag (and VERY Barbara). Check out a little closer look at the felted fabric and the colors that pop out

It takes just under a skein and a half to make the bag, so I recommend getting three hanks and keeping one bag for yourself and using the other for a gift. Very much a good thing!

So, what's new, you say? What goes into all of this new-found space? How's about our first new addition, which arrived about an hour ago.

Yup, the Jordana Paige Knitter's black. The lovely red version

should arrive in California at the end of June, so we'll have them early in July (perfect timing for the new retail space!). Take a quick peek inside

Kinda cool.........looks like the storage parts inside are rather useful

When I sent out my note a couple weeks ago asking if these were something we should stock, I found that responses fell in two camps--either strongly FOR or strongly AGAINST. As there was interest, they are now here. Retail is $78, so our price is $70.20 (plus shipping and we have to add tax if you're in Indiana). Wanna be stylin'? Slip me a note.

So, what to do with all of that new shelf space we have with the Noro and other yarns flying out the door thanks to such dedicated readers and bargain shoppers? Well, I have just the ticket......

Catch A Wave

Color card #1 for the Phildar Phil-Onde', that fantastic yarn that Theresa used for her gorgeous pullover. She used the Clorophylle color, seen below

We're taking pre-orders for these yarns, scheduled to arrive sometime late next week (the new shipment arrives from France on Monday and will be shipped the next day, I'm told), along with two English-language pattern books, some pattern flyers, and some very cool new sock yarn (at a reasonable price). Yahoo! Fresh new yarn!

Speaking of fresh new yarns, just arrived in the warehouses in Seattle are the new yarns in the Cascade Yarns family of awesome fibers. They'll be shipped to us today/tomorrow and arriving in eight days (midweek next week, plus a day for the holiday). I'm really looking forward to these fun things, especially the Malizia, which we ordered heavy in the 10 and 11 and 14 shades on the far right. It all looks like fun yarn, so I anxiously await these boxes.

See, fresh outlook, fresh emphasis, and fresh inventory! It's a GOOD THING!

That's about it for to go pack boxes and make yarn dreams come true. And possibly to get some photos ready of new Charlotte's Web combinations (almost all will be one-of-a-kind combos based on our current stock levels). Ah, the joys of being able to work all day long in sweats and a big comfy shirt. There's joy and positive energy packed in these boxes and envelopes---soak it up!