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, June 04, 2004

Lascivious Lust for Lorna's Laces Lanas *.....

Finally........if there's one thing I hate, it's when Blogger craps out on me and prevents me from posting something wonderful. And boy, did Blogger try my patience today. Good thing I have the wonderful sound of Connor sleeping very soundly just behind my computer desk--I can hear her snoring loudly on the sofa, where she's lying just under the air conditioner. Whoever coined the phrase "dumb dog" can kiss my backside....

I start today's blog with a big shout out to Bonne Marie over at ChicKnits. She came out of the color closet and admitted her addiction to orange in a wonderful way, showcasing one of the free patterns from Lana Grossa. This month's feature uses their Brillo, a great tape yarn of microfiber, rayon, and linen. Coincidentally, we just made it the June featured yarn on the front of the ThreadBear main page. I swear, great minds..........first Theresa, now Bonne Marie.....I'm in fab company.

Here's our current stock of Brillo

It's 50% microfiber, 40% rayon, and 10% linen, 90m (99y) to the ball, and knits around aran gauge (18m/30r) over 10cm, and they suggest a 4mm-5mm needle. Great news! It's machine washable, too! All that for just $8.95 retail (so $8.06 from us). I see a variety of applications for this fiber, many of which could be great tanks and tops and more. Check out this list of free tank and shell patterns on the net for inspiration. For fiber, hit me up.

It was Lorna's Laces day here yesterday. I get a box of love from them regularly, as they ship to me every other Friday. Gotta love that kind of service, no? They take great care of me, always meet my requests in a timely manner, and are just incredible to work with. THANK YOU (if you're reading this). No shipment from them would be complete with some of the awesome Shepherd Sock yarns.....

There's the latest colourways we have, added to the other STUFFED cubbies of their great yarns. As always, they're $9.25 retail each, so $8.33 from us--two hanks for a pair of socks for almost any feet. And we have tons of great patterns to go with, if you're wanting to try something new.

Also in the box was some of their wonderful Lion & Lamb, their silk/wool single.

I'm in lust with this stuff, and you can see why. The luster is awesome and the yardage perfect for a scarf in just one hank. Or pick up a few hanks and make a lucious top. Or maybe a one-hank purse like no other. $26.10 from us ($29 retail) for a ton of yardage and all that beauty. AND SILK! Besides, look what you can do with it

That's simple stockinette (blocked very well) and knitted for us by the incredible Maie Landra from Koigu Wool Designs. You can bet that's one of my cherished possessions, as she knitted it for ME. I made a scarf with the Pioneer colourway of this yarn

using a free pattern I'm glad to supply if you'd like it, should you order the yarn. As I said, one ball makes a rather lengthy scarf, especially in this pattern.

More silk, you say? How's about some Helen's Lace

I love this stuff for two main reasons--awesome yardage in a hank (1,250) and a free pattern on the label for their awesome pie shawl, which means under $50 for a great project ($48 retail/$43.20 from us). The wool is lovely and she sheen from the silk is incredible. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Speaking of demonic treats, how's about some Angel

Yeah, so it's $10.35 a hank ($11.50 retail). So what? You're worth it. And you can make an incredble ribbed scarf with four hanks or this fun skinny scarf with three--both from the awesome mind of Theresa. I have many other colors, but these are the three new arrivals.

In a mohair mood? Like yours neutral? It doesn't get any better than this

That's their Glory, in Aslan. I've got an entire bag of this stuff, minus a couple skeins for a certain someone in Texas (are you out there? answer your e-mail!). $12.60 each from us, as they're $14 retail. I'm already thinking about fall/winter knitting, and I see this stuff used in scarves, sweaters, felted with a strand of wool in mittens, and so much more. We've got a good bit on hand in a wide variety of colourways, and there was a pattern in a magazine this spring for a two-hank shoulder wrap that was a nice design.

One more addition before I go into the big feature for this delivery. I'm just learning the joys of their yarn known as Dove

It's 80% wool and 20% cotton and I can't wait to felt with some of it, especially in the multi-colored hanks that came in last time in Purple Club and Mother Lode. Lorna's does have a vest pattern that uses this that could be really cool, too!

One of the most amazing things that comes from this company is their Sampler Bouquet, which is a combination of eight different fibers bundled together in a colourway--some are multis and some are coordinating solids, and all are beautiful. We have six new bundles on hand, after being cleaned out on these in April. Let's see what lovelies are here now

Watercolor is one of my favorite combinations and you can see why. It's a variety of colors in lovely hues. I'm also pretty fond of Mother Lode

Again, dusky and beautiful colors in combination. Good stuff!

One of the newer colourways at Lorna's is their Blackwatch
When they came out with this one in February, I was happy (I carried a Polo Blackwatch wallet for years in the early 90s..I loved that billfold). Purple lovers have a hard time resisting this one

Given her addiction of late, I expect a call from the lovely Em shortly..........ring ring.

Attention Ohio State or Georgia fans.......
here's the perfect pack for your knitting pleasure (others too, if your favorite colors or team colors are reds and blacks and greys). And last, but not least, the pastel lovers have something, too

This is the colorway used in the model for the Radiating Throw (featured in Sampler Pack #2) when the pattern was in Knit N Style last October. I showed the picture here last April (archives, baby). And if a throw isn't your speed, check out the three Sampler Bouquet pattern booklets produced by these folks and that we have on hand

Vests, ponchos, throws, shrugs, a ponchita, and more. This is a versatile yarn pack, and if you're into that multi-fiber kind of thing, you should indulge. $148 retail for the fibers ($133.20 from us) and $8 retail ($7.20 from us) each for the pattern packs. And hours of very inspiring knitting.

On the Charlotte's Web front, Matt's posting new combinations right now. Hurry! And did you see the fun and frivolity going on over at Kerstin's blog? Chcek out her "many uses for Charlotte" entry on June 2. And completely ignore the fact that she's two- timing us at Patternworks. EEEK! I gotta get Taiu on the phone and get more yarn YESTERDAY (it's coming soon, but it's been awhile and we're getting desperate here). Just hung up with Richard and they're at the hospital again. I need yarn, but I also appreciate their family's need to tend to things........ARGH! The duality of it all........keep those positive thoughts flowing into Canada for them, folks....they could use it.

*lanas being wools.......yarns........cuz Yarn didn't fit the illiteration

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Progress, and Regress.....

So, first off.........a little bit of braggin' on folks, and yet again, it's Tammy, one of our brand new knitters. Check it out

Yet again, it's a version of the fabulous Sophie Bag, this time done with a fun collection of Lamb's Pride worsted....Limeade, Onyx, and RPM Pink, with a little 4147 Cascade 220 thrown in for contrast. Awesome Job, Tammy!

Now for some progress to share with you in my own knitting. I did the final decreases and bind off for the back (front?) of the ribby raglan from The Purl Stitch. I say back/front because the two pieces are identical in construction. Check it out

It's obviously unblocked, because the ribs are all pulled in, so it resembles a lobster bib more than a piece of a garment. Remember, too, that I'm making a size small, which is a 36" finished bust (it's a shop model and not intended to fit anyone in particular). I'm REALLY enjoying the knitting on this one, and I highly recommend it for knitters of all experience levels. The knitting is simple, the decreases are straight forward, and the final assembly shouldn't be overly taxing (just some simple seaming with mattress stitch). I'm happy! And ready to start the next piece!

Now, for what many of you have been waiting for..........the Diakeito Yarns on hand so far (they called again today to ship more, so we'll have more shortly). Yes, that was my scarf I showed in a pile yesterday, made with this pattern (which we stock/sell) from Iknitiative, a great source for all kinds of designs. So check out my finished version, using Diakeito Diadomina

The pattern is a side-fringing scarf and it comes with two stitch versions. I did the simple one this time, but I'll do the other next time (great shop models!). It was fun to knit this in the car (even in the dark) and then when we were under lights I could see how the stripes were developing. Just two balls made the scarf, so it was an under-$25 project. YES! Let's look at colors

That's Diadomina, which is 122 yds in 40g and 50% wool, 21% mohair, and 29% nylon. The label says to use a US 7 needle for 20-22 sts over 10cm/4". Retail on it is $13.80, so it's $12.42 from us. And now for more Diakeito!

Diarufran is 100% wool, 161 yds in 40g.

It's not plied but a chained construction (the yarn looks like a big crochet chain) and is quite cool, and the color variations are rather subtle. Recommended US 7 needle and 20-21 sts/4" (10cm). This would make an incredibly light-weight, yet warm, wool sweater. And oh, the beauty of this knitted up! Yum........and just $11.60 retail ($10.44 from us).

Next up is Diadrey,

This is some funky stuff....91 yds in 40g, and it's 54% mohair, 38% wool, and 8% nylon; recommended US 7 needle and 16-18 sts/4" (10cm). This is the one with the intervals of small mohair loops and then smooth yarn, then back to loops, etc., so it makes a very fun knitted fabric, even in stockinette stitch. Both the texture AND color ramble, so there's a lot going on here, for just $13.80 each, or $12.42 from us. And one more........

Diagrouvefine is amazingly soft stuff--30% alpaca, 70% wool and 106 yds in 40g, recommended US 7 needle and 18-20 sts/4" (10cm).
This is what I'm using for my old shale scarf (that's being ripped out) seen here--attempt #1

It is based on a pattern from "Little Box of Scarves" (shown here a couple weeks ago--20 patterns for just $19.95 retail/$17.96 from me). I like the pattern a lot, and it's shown in a Noro yarn, so I thought this would be a good choice. Two repeats (see above) was too wide, so I ripped and tried again, with one repeat and a wider side border.

Failure #2, in my opinion. It's a lovely pattern and a lovely yarn, but they're not lovely together. So....I went on the hunt for a new idea for the scarf, and Matt suggested that entrelac might be a good use of these longer color repeats, so I turned to this

It's from the fabulous mind of Lucy Neatby (it's even SIGNED by!). We stock a full compliment of her designs, which you can see at her site, Tradewind Knits. I love her designs and her great sense of fun. Matt wants to do a knit along for her Cables After Whiskey sweater sometime this fall. It calls for DK-weight yarn, so it should be a good one (and we have TONS of choices at that gauge).

That's it for now.........more tomorrow (we got a HUGE order of Lorna's Laces today, along with some Brown Sheep....look for the Lorna's here tomorrow!)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

What a Week!

I find it hard to believe that it's been a week since I posted, and then I look back at what's transpired over the past week, and yup--seven days have passed. WOW! Lots going on, lots more coning down the pike, but LOTS of fun last week. Proof positive? Check out Sarah's report as well as Sharon's pictorial essay. Matt left a comment for Sharon that his picture looked like someone had just told him he voted Republican. I think mine's a definite tribute to the multitude of chins I harbor under my facial hair. Either way, it was great to get away for a couple days, it was fantastic to see our good friends in Michigan, it was awesome to meet some new and wonderful people up there, and we enjoyed our brief visit. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO MADE OUR VISIT VERY SPECIAL, including our wonderful host family the Peasleys, who completely disrupted their family routines to accommodate the four of us. Sarah seems to enjoy her hostess gift, which started out as a joke (every piece of it came from her hated enemy, Wally World). So it was a great trip, even if I did bring home a summer cold as a souvenier (I think it's a sympathy cold, as Matt's suffering so horribly from allergies turned sinus infection right now and he can hardly breathe).

What did I do back and forth in the car to Michigan (and while we were there)? I knitted. Lots. Not that this is any surprise to those that know me, but it was great to not have many responsibilities for a few days and to be able to just knit. I got a good bit done, including this

You'll see it more fully either tomorrow or Friday. Promise. I just need to do a full-blown photo essay on the yarns and that specific pattern, as well as what I attempted with a sister-yarn ("on deck knitting project" below) that just isn't working out and is back to the drawing board--I'll show my unsuccessful starts as well. And on the way home, in the car (in light and in darkness), I swatched on my "big ol' mystery project"

I'm not one to swatch (but I advocate it to all of my knitting students and our customer/friends at the shop), as I typically know that I need to drop one or two needle sizes to get gauge (loosey-goosey that I am). And yes, several times I've had the joy of using the back of a sweater as my gauge swatch (and the corresponding RIP RIP RIP of the knitting to achieve the right size for the piece). So I'm getting better........and the above is proof of that--THREE DIFFERENT swatches with differing needle sizes. The garment is to be knitted on a US 10/6mm needle, and the bottom section used a US 9/5.5mm; next up was a US 8/5mm; last, a US 7/4.5mm, and it is still a partial stitch off over 4"/10cm, but it's gonna fly. I kinda feel a little bit like Rachael, knitting on ridiculously small needles to get gauge, but like I told her--"no matter what needle size you use, you're still doing the same number of stitches for the size you want, so who cares what size it's still the same number of stitches!!". Of course, Matt reminded me of this--in our oh-so-gentle way we have for eachother. No matter, it's a purty swatch and will be a stunning sweater....coincidentally in my size!

I made a little progress on my ribby raglan from The Purl Stitch that I started last week.

I'm just lovin' knitting with this yarn. I find myself walking by the wall o'Kersti here in the shop and lustfully staring at the colors and trying to figure out what to make next. The yarn is soft--cushy soft--and very easy to knit with. Plus you have the bonus of the beauty of the hand-painted talents of the wonderful folks at Koigu. (sidebar--they're having a rather rough spring up there, so if you're of the "good thoughts" kind, send some very positive energy up to Ontario for Taiu, her mother Maie, and their's been one helluva ride for them recently and they could probably benefit from our collective vibe). The beautiful yarn is only complimented by the stunning design features included in the garment by Sally Melville (a knitting genius in my mind--without question). Check out this raglan decrease

completed over a 2x2 ribbing. Sally has you doing the decreases on both RS and WS rows, over a six-row repeat. The way they're executed, the ribs completely disappear into the raglan line in a very smooth fashion. Here's another shot, spread out a little

I'm glad I'm doing this garment before starting my Audrey from Rowan #35 (done in Calmer--a truly addictive yarn). I'm sure the decrease tricks used by Sally will be helpful in the shaping in Audrey when I start it later this summer. I'm a dork for knitting techniques...and this is a good one!

Now, for the new goodies on the block..........we received this book

in May, but I haven't gotten to posting them until today. So let's take a look at what I feel is a very VERY useful book for those interested in a variety of fiber arts.

Deb Menz is widely-recognized as an expert in the arena of color, especially within spinning circles. Her book "Color in Spinning" (now out of print, sadly) is the definitive resource on blending color and fiber and turning it into beautiful yarns. If you ever stumble upon a copy and don't want one, I'LL GLADLY TAKE IT OFF YOUR HANDS. Matt has wanted this book since he learned to spin, which was after it was no longer available. Boo hoo. But Color Works is a fine addition to his (and possibly your?) library. The subtitle is "the crafter's guide to color", and she includes great ideas for color in

  • Spinning
  • Knitting
  • Weaving
  • Hand Embroidery
  • Bead Embroidery
  • Surface Design
  • Machine Embroidery
  • Quilting
  • Paper Collage

    She covers characteristics of these various media, but focus here is on color

    Using the color wheel as a jumping off point, she describes color in terms of hue, value, and saturation, part of which is shown here

    These terms are used WIDELY within fiber arts of all kinds---especially in the quilting arena, which Matt has dabbled in (especially when we lived in Michigan and had the nation's largest quilt store at our doorstep as well as many others).

    Next, she covers relationships in color (including an opening page that pictures a hand-knitted entrelac coat). It's a fun chapter that covers a variety of topics, including how to combine warm and cool colors in the textile arts

    The chapter on value is really good, too. Pictures like this

    really help explain the concept. And she goes into great detail about the various keys in value. Much better than the advice we got years ago to use a piece of red plastic! You're treated to a section on contrast next, which includes extensive examples of contrast using yarns and knitted swatches, and then into harmonious colors and a good discussion of that.

    There's an entire section on the characteristics of different fiber media, and of course there's a section on knitting and weaving yarns

    and a good section on color and value and yarns and how they work in concert with eachother

    Similar sections cover the other topics outlined above, so all fiber artists will find a treasure trove of good information to help refine their work, particularly when designing their own pieces. The book finishes with a set of hands-on tools for working with color on your own, including a variety of shades, gradations, and templates. The templates are cool in that they're die-cut to help you work with a color wheel in setting up tetrads, triads, complements, and the like. It's more than a learning BOOK, it's a hands-on tool for learning about color and trying to see what works and what doesn't. All that for just $24.95 retail ($22.46 from us). And I have a case of them! I think it's funny that Theresa, in her blog post today, extolls the virtues of this book (I found her post after I had taken pictures and started this post, of all things). Two great minds..........


    Onde has left Montreal!

    For those of you who are stalking the Phildar yarns and patterns we're about to start stocking, I had a call from my source (I love how that sounds so seedy.......) who said the yarn arrived from France on Monday, it was packed yesterday, and UPS picked it up today (and they charged our credit card I **KNOW** it's a done deal). We stocked up on several additional books in addition to the Phil-Onde and current pattern books, and I had a weak moment

    I ordered all four of the colors you see above in a great new sock yarn. I've not seen jacquard sock yarn in these colors (fresh and fruity and very spring/summer shades!). They're in the box, along with the other goods, which I expect MAYBE on Friday or for sure at the very beginning of the week. And no, I don't have a clue what things will cost.....seriously. I know what the TOTAL was, but I don't know what individual skeins or books will retail for. Sorry....I get to do a good bit of math once the order arrives. Again, if you want some of these great yarns, do send me a note and you'll be first in line when they arrive early next week.

    And with that, I'll FINALLY finish my post.........started HOURS ago (four hours ago). Be well, knit like mad, and don't be a stranger! Oh, and Matt just posted new Charlotte combinations. HURRY!!!!!!!!!!!