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 18, 2004

A French Invasion

Let me first begin today with another of my little I work on things and learn from my mistakes, I attempt to put into practice some of the things I think will fix problems. Instead of little written notes, I started to keep a running page of activity on the computer, because little bits of paper go astray. Well, this time the software program I was keeping notes in decided to crash, and I hadn't saved (ah, ya just gotta love a Microsoft product for that kind of activity.......NOT). So, if you called in on Thursday and ordered some Big Kureyon in #8 and some Shinano in #10, I have the yarn set aside, but the crash took away my notes as to who it belongs to. Please slip me an e-mail and we'll be all apologies! Now I think I'll institute hitting CTRL-S constantly!

Long ago, in a city far, far away.....OK, so it was Kansas City in the mid 80s....I admit it....I fell in love with Pingouin pattern books, especially the designs for babies. The concept of an entire layette set was awesome, and the slightly fashion-forward designs were very fun, instead of the overly-practical sacks that many US designers were turning out for wee ones. But Pingouin went the way of the do do bird, in a manner of speaking. It did get purchased, and it turns out it was by another French yarn company.......PHILDAR. While they produced a few more books in the 90s, they were never quite the same. But from the looks of things, the Phildar baby designs look to be pretty darned good.....let's check out the Tricotez calin that arrived last week, shall we? OK

So let's baby me......

Great color, great far it looks like a winner. Most inside look like reasonable project, and the yarns look pretty substitutable if you can't find the specific ones the book calls for. The gauges appear to be pretty standard stuff, and the textures are fairly common, with the exception of the ribbon yarn used in a couple designs (but I'm sure there's other ribbons that would yield a similar result). On to the designs.

Cute and fresh, I really like the colors in this one. Decent gauge, slightly set sleeves. A winner! Below, a cute cardi and a nice jumper (you're on your own for the little patch in French--is that "three little peas?" French is 20 years old and I earned a big fat D at the time)

Pretty in pink

This is one of the ribbon designs...I'm sure there are good subs for it (and on the left there's actually two similar colourways used in stripes, but it's very subtle in finished effect). The yarn is Copacabana--easily found in a Google search, but all suppliers appear to be overseas. On the right, just a simple aran-weight blend.

Both of these use a fine-gauge superwash yarn, but at that gauge, there are several domestic choices for you, most with fantastic palettes to choose from, so subbing should be easy for these cute designs. Same for this onesie and booties

Terribly cute, especially with the differing stripes in stockinette and reverse stockinette. But I like the pram cover on the left, in this picture

Big fat yarn makes for a quick knit. And on the right, a cute little sweater in reverse stockinette with a bit of a denimy-washed look. FUN!

More of that same big, fat cotton (for the yoke and hood) and for the body, a cotton/acrylic blend in a multicolored yarn.

Cute little cardi on the left in a cotton blend, and on the right, check out the inset picture of the jacket--VERY adorable shaping, almost a swing coat.

Now that's an adorable a decent gauge, so it would be fast. And below, there's more of that Copacabana ribbon for an adorable little dress

Two yarns are used for the little sleeveless dress on the left in greens/blues/yellows, and a chenille-like yarn on the right (cute button placket on the neckline on both sides, plus pocket front)

And last, more thick cotton on the left and a cute cabled number on the right in that same aran-gauge cotton/acrylic blend.

The designs cover sizes from newborn to two years old. All but one or two are sized up to 24mos, and only one or two stop at 18mos. The book runs $10.50 retail, so it's $9.45 from me. Media mail postage on it should be $1.42, so if you're NOT in Indiana, it's going to be $10.87 your door. (Indiana residents get to add that pesky 6% sales tax, for a total of $11.52). Drop me a note if you just have to have a copy. I know I'm keeping a copy for my personal library, and a couple have sold already, sight unseen, so I think there's seven remaining......and yes, there's English translation included in the deal.

Off to go do a photo shoot for the Fall 2003 book, which has some FAB designs in it (and English translations, also). And two of them are sold already......sight unseen. So there!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Sweet Lawdy

For a shop that isn't open to the public, we sure stay busy! And I'm not talking about mail order stuff, but actual people who walk up and bang on the door trying to get into the shop. It's hard to tell them no, they can't come in.......because I understand yarn addiction. Trust me, I'm not just a pusher, I'm a user.

First off.......Phildar update. We're currently waiting for backup stock on more of the Phil-Onde yarns. We have every ombre color on hand right now, but we're painfully low on the solids Blanc and Capucine (but I do have plenty of the Jeans ombre and Ciel solid, should you wanna make a sweater in that combination--especially for a boy in your life....). I also have plenty of the Confetti sock yarn available, if that's of interest to you (at just $4 retail a ball, it's a STEAL). But, on to the issue of stock and Phil-Onde........

When I called on Tuesday to order more, they told me that this yarn was discontinued beyond this season (as any good fashion is, no?) and that if we wanted any before mid-August we'd have to order RIGHT NOW. And so I did. Lots. One thing to learn about European yarn mills is that they take two three-week holidays a year (one in July and another around the end of the year), so you have to work around that. As for stock that arrived last Friday, I tried to fill pre-orders in the order that they were received, back when we first announced we'd be carrying Phildar things. Anyone who's ordered since then will be handled in order of receipt of request, which everyone has to admit is just fair. I ordered more of every color except Zeste (yellow) and Chlorophyll (green), because no one has ordered ANY of those two combinations, despite their being lovely. I mean look....

Those are the two flyer patterns I mentioned for children's designs using the Phil-Onde. At just $2.50 retail (so $2.25 from us), they're very thrifty patterns. I think I'll be making the one on the right for a shop model (probably in Zeste, but maybe Chlorophyll) as it's just freakin' adorable (of course, it doesn't hurt that the child is adorable, too). I might just start it later this afternoon, when we catch a matinee of the newest Harry Potter movie, as it appears to be good movie knitting--mindless stockinette.

Long story short--if you're still interested in some Phil-Onde and you haven't been in touch with me yet, please do so quickly, as the new order will arrive on or about June 28th and will be the ONLY additional stock we'll get in Phil-Onde. We will, however, be ordering many more yarns from Phildar for the fall/winter season. I've seen the color cards and the various fibers, and I'm glad to get them for the shop (I picked up a fall/winter pattern book from last year and it's fab, so I'm sure the new ones will be as well.....look for pictures of the baby book Tricotez Calin here later today or tomorrow--I did the photo shoot this morning; I'll try to cover the fall book this week, too!).

PICTURES!!! It wouldn't be a knitting blog without pictures of what I'm up to. I have become obsessed with a certain project since seeing it in person over the weekend. Yes, I'm in lust with the Keepsake Shawl from Koigu, and here's what I've been able to accomplish in the small bits of knitting time since we were last together

Not much in total, but if you think that every knit-side row is two stitches less than the last, it's starting to move along at a quicker clip. Also, I've pretty much got the pattern memorized (it's a simple little lace thing over nine stitches and six rows and is very logical/methodical, which helps). I mean, look at the nice holes lining up like little soldiers

I've finished the first full color and I'm in the blendy part (2 rows of A, 2 of B, etc.) and have completed my two rows of B, so it's back to A as soon as I pick it up again. One thing I did notice about this project--while it is twelve skeins of KPPPM (at $9 each from us, that's $108 in yarn, which is a substantive initial investment), from the looks of the pattern you may be able to add one or two more skeins and get a second complete Keepsake out of the leftovers from #1 (maybe just one or no additional skeins--we'll see as I progress on this one). That's GREAT news, especially those of you out there who are into gift knitting and addicted to Koigu yarns like me. Speaking of addictions, I'm bad with my addiction to Kersti--I have always liked the look of the Western, done in Koigu, but I didn't quite crave the garment..........until I got to fondle it at market this weekend. MUST HAVE.. MUST HAVE NOW!!!!! Trust me when I say, the Michael McDonald pic doesn't do it a bit of justice, and the subtle color rambling is just phenomenal...and the "hand" of the sweater is beautiful. It's on my knitting plate for the coming months...without question!

What's new, you say? PLENTY!

In and amongst the 350+ pounds of yarn we received on Monday from Cascade Yarns is this stuff

They call it Jazz, I call it amazing. It's a super-bulky thick-and-thin multicolored wool yarn (that's a mouthful) that's nearly identical to Colinette's Point Five fiber. Knits up at 2 sts/inch on US 17s and has 55 yards in a bundle (just like Point Five--imagine that), but it comes in this limited palette--just five colourways for now. I'm in lust.......big time. It's $19 retail a skein, but our price is $17.10, which makes it $5 to $7 less per skein than it's big sister. And every bit as beautiful! Check out what I just had to start on Monday evening, when the yarn arrived

That's the backside of s imple stockinette pullover sweater I'm working up as a shop model. I'm guessing it will use 8 or 9 skeins to make a garment in the 40" to 48" range (I've estimated 8 for mine and 9 for the other two, using my handy-dandy pattern generator). I really REALLY like the knitted fabric, as between the color changes and the textural changes, it's very much a unique thing

There's a two-ball scarf pattern in the second scarf book in the "Vogue On The Go" series that should look great in this yarn (the original uses Point Five). And shortly after finishing the pullover, I am definitely going to make one of these

which is from K68, the Fall 2002 issue of Knitter's magazine. My only issue is whether to make the cover one (the vest length) or this one

the tunic length. Either way, you save a good bit using this yarn over the other. And I even have my eye on one of these

That's from the most-recent Sally Melville book The Purl Stitch and calls for a 7sts/10cm gauge--perfect for this yarn! Lots of ideas......too little knitting time! (By the way, we're in the final stages of figuring out the whens and whats for us having her in the shop--looks like mid to late May 2005...WAHOOOOOOOO). I adore her!

Speaking of Koigu, look what I have

Ain't I a lucky dog? Lucky dog, lucky dog. And I may get more soon.......mwahahah.

And now for our bragging on others department..........Our good friend Rachel in Bloomington (IN) took the wonderful Multidirectional Scarf pattern by the lovely and talented Karen Baumer and made this

She used the beautiful yarn from Diakeito (three balls) and I just adore the finished product. See why we carry these and why we ordered more at market? WAY TO GO, RACHEL!

More Lorna's Laces yarns arrived last week (Friday), right before we walked out the door to go to TNNA. So here's some of the wonderment that was in the box......
Lily Pulitzer, anyone? That's the big bundle of Fisherman, a 100% wool worsted yarn with plenty to make something huge and felted (or several smaller felteds, especially for gift-giving purposes). At $24.30 for a bundle of 500 yards of hand-dyed yarn, it's a bargain! The subtle highs and lows of color in each hank make for beautiful knitted fabric, and felted it would be fab!

Also in the box was my regular dose of Shepherd Sock

in four colors we can't seem to keep in the shop of late.....especially the Mother Lode and Black Purl. Flames is fun, as is the Yellowstone. But I'm really fond of the other two (and these bags are over half gone already!).

Three more Sampler Bouquets arrived as well

A couple Gold Hill bundles (I may have to snag one to make either a throw or a poncho as a model, but I think the throw might have to come home with us to be used around our new home). And there's always the lovely Vera

Of course, the pinks aren't that "throbby" in real life, and I like the variations in fibers in this bundle. And one more

Fresh and clean colors, this would make a great addition to a family room in throw format or an awesome vest or poncho, too! There's a wide variety of patterns to be used with these kits...

And now.........your reward for reading this far down the entry............

I found this wrapped up kit of Charlotte's Web yarn in a basket that was stashed away in a corner of the front room of the shop (if you've been here and seen the corner by the Cascade Sierra, you understand.'s a long-lost Charlotte's Web kit
that's completely up for grabs to the first person that sends me an e-mail craving it (lemme know if you need the pattern, too, please). There's just the one bundle of be quick if you're interested. Matt is actually making bundles right now, so we'll have more posted to the UP CLOSE page for Charlotte very soon (probably tonight).

With that, I'm outta well, and happy knitting. I know mine is!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Phun Phildar Phacts

The Onde has arrived, as well as a host of pattern books and inspiration, and a bit of sock yarn. Many of you are circling out there, waiting for prices before committing, while many others have dived right in and pre-ordered. But you all want the low-down on pricing and the like. So here goes

  • Tendances--the women's pattern book for Spring 2004--$10.50 retail, $9.45 from ThreadBear

  • Famille--the Spring 2004 pattern book with designs for everyone in the family--$10.50 retail, $9.45 from ThreadBear

  • Individual Pattern Leaflets--both are for babies/children, using Phil Onde--$2.50 retail, $2.25 from ThreadBear

  • Confetti Sock Yarn in four colors--$4 retail, $3.60 from us (and no, they're not smaller balls, as they have 220m/242yds each). AMAZING price!

  • Phil Onde 50g (the solids--on the cards below)--$4.85 retail, $4.37 from us

  • Phil Onde 100g (the ombre shades--seen here and here)--$9.65 retail, $8.69 from us

    From what I gather, that's some pretty fabulous pricing, which you can thank the stronger US dollar for. $1Canadian is about 72 cents US, but when we purchased the goods, it was nearly 75 cents. But still a bargain (especially that sock yarn--WOW!).

    I'll do pictures and more from the pattern books tomorrow (Tuesday), as well as a link to the feature page for the baby book we also received (simply BEAUTIFUL and rather fashion-forward patterns) and a look at the two children's/babies' patterns for the Phil-Onde yarn.

    Oh, and you wouldn't believe what came Monday from Cascade Yarns--four HU-MON-GO boxes of yarns (all marked with the "Caution...75+ pounds" tape wrapped around them). So that means I have over 300# of new yarns from Cascade, including TONS of the backordered 220 shades (hello! Finally some 7814) and a big batch of some of their new yarns......including one that's very much like Colinette Point Five (and about $5-$7 cheaper). I started knitting with it tonight........oooh-la-la! And some pretty fab scarf/shell type yarns for summer (cotton blends with some pizzaz to them!). And we received a big box of Lorna's Laces yarns on Friday. I have soooooooo much catching up to do here!

  • Sunday, June 13, 2004

    Survival of the Fittest

    Well, we're not very fit, but we did survive the 30th annual TNNA market/tradeshow/yarn orgy. We're back in Indiana and we're exhausted (I feel as if I was laid down on the floor and beaten with a Louisville slugger). But.....the great news is, we've picked up some amazing new brands of yarn, added wonderful things to existing lines, and previewed some incredible new goods for the coming months. Most important of all, without question, are the one-on-one connections we made with several amazing people.

    I know it may be hard to believe, but prior to Friday evening, I had never met Taiu (nor Richard) from Koigu in person. I rave about them, I dote on their yarns and patterns, I praise her mother Maie for her amazing colors and designs and inspiration, and I talk with Taiu at least five times a week on the phone (almost none of them are about business, directly, or at least not about our orders and the like--she and I call eachother and just talk...we get out the ick that's bothering us, we talk over situations, and we visit....just plain visit). I gotta say, Taiu and Richard are amazingly wonderful people--we completely enjoyed our time with them and I look forward to a trip to Canada in the near future to visit the farm and meet Maie, her husband, and Taiu's daughter, Kersti (yes, the yarn is named for her). Oh, and thanks to them we had a very interesting evening "out" after dinner.....including some wild conversation with Taiu on a barstool. That's all I'm sayin...........

    And, we also met scads of other incredible people (if I listed them all here, I'd forget someone because I'm brain-dead, and that would be embarrassing). But........a quick list includes Jen, Amanda, Beth, and "the booth Guy" (Michael) from Lorna's Laces--with whom we shared an incredible meal and fantastic company; Barry Klein and his mother Myrna (from Trendsetter/Lana Borgesesia), both of whom I want to adopt; Lorna Misner (yes, THE Lorna from the above-named company), who's doing some fab designing for Brown Sheep of late; the president of JCA/Reynolds took our Jo Sharp order (and order for other yarns---oh yeah, Jo Sharp is back with a US presence as of September 1, through the amazing folks at JCA/Reynolds!!!!!); the Jamiesons, as in Jamieson Shetland yarns (we ordered tons and the new garments are incredible!); Juanita from Misti Alpaca (mmmmmmmm); the great folks at Denise Needles (we love Linda Krag!); Amy Singer from KNITTY! (God I adore that woman); Sally Melville (who ran up and hugged ME....); Louisa Harding (from Rowan/Jaeger) who might even drop by this coming week....HOLY SCHNEIKES; "Sandy Blue" of blog and KBTH fame; Judith Shangold from Design Source/Manos del Uruguay; Mary Moran from The Knitting Zone (I've loved her for years, from a distance); the gentleman who owns Diakeito (a gracious Japanese man whom I profusely praised for their amazing fibers--which we ordered more of!); dozens of incredible bloggers (and readers of this one!); Vivian Hoxbro (she's amazingly cool...I mean amazing); Melissa Leapman (I have a personally-autographed copy of her new book "Hot Knits"...YES!); Edith Eig (yes, we met her repeatedly over the weekend, and she's as lively in person as on her five-episode DIY show); wait.....I thought this was going to be a quick list...OOPS. I'm sure I'm forgetting, we met the most amazing group of shopowners from Minnesota, Arizona, and points in between (all traveling with the incredible folks from Cascade Yarns). Oh yeah, and I saw Lily Chin from a distance......

    See what I mean--what a fantastic weekend. And I'm sure I've left some great folks out, as like I said...we're just beat. Oh yeah, and we bought a bunch of new yarns!

    And yeah, on Friday before we left---THE PHILDAR ARRIVED!!!!!!!!!!!! The pattern books are amazing, the Phil Onde is beautiful, and the sock yarn is awesome.

    And I re-started my Keepsake Shawl from Koigu (because I got to actually HANDLE a completed one in the Koigu booth--the one on the left--along with tons of their other designs, including kulats (sp?) made of KPPPM that are just freakin' awesome).

    Off to go watch the premiere of "Six Feet Under" and knit on my Keepsake! See you tomorrow (and you Phil-Onde folks, look for e-mail tomorrow, too!)