Black Dog

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

Saturday, July 17, 2004

OK, So I Lied A Little Bit

  but not in a bad way..........I'm blogging tonight to share incredible news (and some scarey stuff, too). 

  Yes, we're currently somewhat "down" regarding mail order and things--I'm getting the last vestiges of stuff out in and around packing and supervising (lots of that) and getting ready.  But....the good news is that we've had a good bit of volunteer labor show up and it's coming along well, even after one day.  And we had good news from the transfer agent, on several fronts

  1. They are picking up on Tuesday, as I said earlier

  2. We will be the ONLY stuff on the truck (yes, it will take an entire semi to haul us northward, and it's not because of our personal stuff---YIKES!)

  3. They will delivery on Wednesday, starting with the personal stuff and then going over to the shop

  4. We should have no problems getting it all packed by Tuesday morning, as I had fantastic help on Friday and there's more scheduled for the weekend

  5. If we're landing on Wednesday, it may be just a couple days until we're back to mail order (but....we may have connectivity issues, as there are no DSL lines up and running yet at home or the shop, nor do we have dial-up modems in our computers)

  6. Much of the shelving can be semi-disassembled and wrapped as is (we don't have to unload all of the cubes and they can be sealed with cardboard and plastic/shrink wrap

That's all INCREDIBLE news, so we'll be back up to speed again in about a week, or less.  YES!  And there's TONS arriving in the new space, so I'll have blogging material for days when I get up there and get online.

For now, be good to yourselves and to those you love.  And knit like mad, so you can have a new project once we resume operations in MICHIGAN!!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

All Gone

  I appreciate the TREMENDOUS interest in the Charlotte kits today.  My mailbox runneth over (literally) with requests, and I truly wish I could fill them all.  I know it's hard to be disappointed, and trust me--I've said it here--I hate disappointing people who want to make soemthing beautiful, especially over and over again (some of you try so hard.....thank you!).

  All Charlotte combinations posted below are spoken for (some many times over) and I will be in contact with the nimblest of fingered individuals shortly--we had a wacky day at the shop where it was non-stop people (despite me needing to pack boxes, I didn't get much done--but THANK YOU to those who have helped today).

  I will be in touch many folks in the next three days as we work towards getting mail order out and the shop packed for transit.  Matt tells me that he'll be getting started on the flooring a day sooner (tomorrow instead of Saturday), so the shop will be "ready" a day sooner as well.  Yet that's one less day to be painting, so he may be in trouble there.  Anyone in the greater Lansing area that's skilled with a roller and has some free time should get in touch with him at the shop (all day long) at 319 S Waverly Road (517.703.YARN....the toll-free number will be set up shortly) for help. 

  He's right......I'm having to do something that I'm not good at---ask others for help.  I'm a fiercely independent type (THANKS MOM--seriously!) and I don't like to have to ask for help, but we need it--on both fronts.  But it will all work out GREAT, I'm sure!

  Bear with us (pun intended)--we'll be 140% soon!

Time is Fleeting............

Madness.......takes its toll...........

That's perfect for around here right now. I had "da bomb" dropped in my lap this afternoon by our transfer company. We had wanted a Thursday or Friday pickup for next week (7/22 or 23). Well......they called today and said that either we go with a Monday or Tuesday (7/19 or 20) pickup, or they can't touch us until after August 1. I called a few other companies, and given the late nature of the call, they're the same way--no dice until after August 1. AYIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!

What this means to most of you out there is that we will be temporarily shuttering operations here as of Thursday night at midnight--any new orders that come in after then will have to wait until we get set up again in Michigan, which is ASAP after the stuff arrives up there. Any orders in the queue right now will be worked on as quickly as can be, when time allows, and will be shipped ASAP over the next few days. Beyond Monday, however, I think we're in a "everything is boxed up" mode. I apologize for the inconvenience, but look at it this way--we're closing sooner, but that means we'll be able to open sooner! (but the REALLY bad side is that I have to pack our entire HOME and our entire SHOP on my own........Matt's up in Michigan doing the painting thing, and then laying flooring with Handyman Doug...).

So...........these are the LAST CHARLOTTE'S WEB KITS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION UNTIL APPROXIMATELY AUGUST 1st (or slightly sooner). That's not said to pressure you, but said to manage your expectations. We'll also have a good bit more KPPPM with which to work starting shortly...we're going to Canada to visit and load up, and they should be shipping yarn to us shortly as well. YES YES YES!!!

SO.......if you need one of these, remember that there's ONLY ONE KIT of each colourway. And when you send me an e-mail about them, be sure to include whether or not you 'll need a pattern. Thanks, in advance. And here's our gals for Thursday, since I'm late in the evening/early in the morning kinda guy! WHEW! Do they need a detailed explanation of where my motivation comes from? Probably not, so I'll just post the pictures.......THANKS!

Thanks for your patience.......and attention. Should you choose to order, I will guarantee it's out of my hands before the weekend and in yours shortly thereafter. ENJOY----I've got another BIG day ahead of me, so the pups and I are going to go snuggle up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Everyone Help Me

Today, July 14th, is a very special day. Everyone help me wish Taiu (from Koigu) a very happy birthday. Today is her birthday, but I was afraid to have folks inundate her with e-mails, but I think it's time.

Send her an e-mail wishing her a happy birthday. And just flood her inbox with well wishes and happy birthday....especially with all that's been going on up there this spring/summer, she could use a good laugh!

I'm a Handpaint Ho

What is it about hand-painted yarns? I profess to be a more traditional knitter, who adores cables and texture and a little fair isle tossed in for good measure. But I'm constantly drawn to the beauty of yarns of many colors. And I do enjoy knitting with them (socks, wraps, shawls, etc., and even the occasional sweater, as I'm making one with Cascade Yarns' new yarn called Jazz, which looks hand-dyed).

So before I get into my daily dose of yarn pimping (which Angie reminded me of on the phone just now), let me share with you a little bit of "traditional knitting" that I'm working on right now.

Probably a total of about 2.5 hours of interrupted knitting so far (I snuck in another hour of knitting time last night, in between having to calm Tate down with the heavy storms we had rolling through--he's NOT a fan of thunder and lightning). The photo doesn't do it justice--the sides are deeply textured and the central cable feature POPS from the surface in real life. The pattern is fairly easy to memorize (I think I have it down already), as it's just a 24-row repeat and the cable turns are easy to logic out. It's not a BIG batch of cables, but the overall garment is going to be quite striking. And odd coincidence that it is, I just happened to cast on for a size to fit me. Wow, serendipity, no? More progress shots as warranted, I promise.

So, on to today's lascivious with every other Tuesday, it was inbound Lorna's Laces yarns day (they ship to me every other Friday, so we have a constant flow of wonderful new colors and fibers). I can't say enough good stuff about the yarns and the folks at Lorna's, as they take great care of me. So let's see just how good they were this week....

That's their incredible angora/lamb's wool yarn called Angel. We love it, it loves us. You can love on some for just $10.35 each (they're $11.50 at full retail). We love the finished projects you can make with it, especially this one

Theresa did a great job with her free pattern for the ribbed scarf, and she also has a second scarf pattern that calls for Angel (me thinks she likes this yarn). Oh, and while you're there, pick up one of her fantastic felted bag patterns--Chicago Bag, Blue Line or Chicago Bag, Red Line.

Also in the box was another of my favorite indulgences from these good folks--their silk and merino single called Lion & Lamb

One hank is 100g and sufficient to make a lovely scarf--either a simple stockinette number where the yarn does all the work or something where you apply a little stitch magic and come up with something just wonderful (think Walker Stitch Treasuries). And while a hank is $29 retail ($26.10 from us), when you think about it, that's under $30 for a one-of-a-kind scarf with amazing sheen made from SILK. The drape of this yarn is just incredible--I often wonder how it would feel as a garment (maybe a simple shell--not that I want to play dress up in a sleeveless shell, but I do think about making garments I will never wear, mind you).

No delivery from my buddy Amanda would be complete with a big batch of Shepherd Sock. First, the multis

Last time I had a bag of Mother Lode show up, it was gone in a couple days, so this time I have three full bags (24 skeins) available, as well as full bags of each of the others. Parfait is a new colourway for us, and it looks interesting and I'm told it's beautiful when knit up. And the Mizzou Tiger in me just loves Bee Stripe. We did get some solids this time around--I asked for a bag of mixed solids in "manly colors" as Amanda calls them, and look what she sent me

Calling this a solid yarn is a misnomer, as it is dyed by hand, so there's spots where the color is deeper/richer and spots where it's a little lighter, kinda like a highlight on your hair (some spots a little lighter, others a little darker). Either way--solid or multi--the yarn is $8.33 a skein from me, so you get a pair of incredible hand-knit socks for just $16.66 (plus shipping and/or sales tax, of course).

Up for some yarn? You know the drill.............I can wrap and send anything out today, if we get all the little details ironed out.

As for the next entry, look for additional color combinations for both Charlotte's Web and Keepsake Shawl projects. I'm sitting next to an entire basket packed with twisted bundles of KPPPM, so be on the lookout! NOW GO KNIT SOMETHING!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Finally Getting Caught Up (a little)

I'm trying......I swear. But days like yesterday turn me into that little duck--serene and happy above water, but paddling like hell underneath. The envelopes and Priority Mail boxes are being packed, the phone calls and e-mails answered, and the poor letter carriers keep taking scads away every afternoon. I even had to take a 25-pound box to FedEx for one wonderful customer (yes, 25# of yarn....gotta love that one!).

Given that there's so much to do, my personal knitting time is scarce, as I don't really "sit and lounge" but an hour or two every evening. Last night it ws from 11 p.m. to midnight, and I watched "I Love The 90s--1991" on Vh1. I knitted a little bit, but mostly I howled. I returned to grad school full time over the summer of '91, so it was rather fun to see the different songs and pop culture events of the year. And as for knitting progress, I've started yet another project (this one of the "super top secret" type, using the yarn I mentioned awhile ago). Yes, CrayonBrain/Smitten (FAB Charlotte, by the way!), it's Chunky Shetland. Photos sometime soon, if I can get permission from a higher authority. I've not made too much fabric yet, but it is coming along nicely and it's my absolute favorite kind of knitting--TEXTURE! Big, twisted cabled and thick waffle side panels. mmmmmm, cables.

So if I'm working on that, you know that progress on my Keepsake Shawl for the shop (and for the fun of it--and it's F-U-N) is not so great lately. I have all but finished color #7 (P105) and I've wound the ball for #8 (P133....YUM), so the blending will commence soon. Check it out

Just lovely! The rows are getting almost "short" in my estimation, as they are getting smaller and smaller in stitch count. Remember, you go from 401 stitches to just 1 stitch, as it's a giant mitered square. If you're interested in making one of your own, we have three color combinations available right now

That's Sandbox, a fun combination of neutrals with pops of color brights thrown in for interest. I can envision this one being a very versatile finished project. Can you? If not, how's about this one

How's about wrapping yourself up in some Sugar Maples? The minute I saw this combination laid down, that's exactly what came to mind for me. It's firey and bright and reminds me of a stand of maple trees, in full glory in the fall.

One more for your consideration--Cimmaron (please ignore the typo in the name....I can't find the original photo and I'm too far into this now to spread it all out again and take another)

I was simply awestruck when I saw this combination spread out for a photo shoot. Not only is it just striking as an overall combination, but it includes so many of my absolute favorite dye codes (there's P610 in there, some P118L of "Big Bad Baby Blanket" fame, some P118 "regular", some P131, and more).

Need one of your own? E-mail me and we'll get the ball rolling, as usual.

Not up for a Keepsake but wanting a Charlotte of your very own? Can do! First, there's a couple available via the above link, on the UP CLOSE page for Charlotte--namely, Jo and Yvonne (Aurem is spoken for). And of course, there's always something new for you to consider around here....away we go!

Given the love of purples and pinks in these parts, I offer to you Passion Berry

Yeah, I know there's no such fruit on the planet (well, this or other planets). But it's purty, ain't it! (grin). Not a purple fan? How's about the serenity of the beach

Bayshore is a comination of warm sands and cool surf, and it would make a fantastic lace wrap and a fun project. But if it doesn't stir your need to knit........

maybe a little Berry Limeade is just the ticket on a July day. It's a winner, with purples, blues, and that pop of bright green. I like it, and I thought it might even make a good shop (SURPRISE) we don't have a completed Charlotte's Web for the shop. I have yarn set aside (I've even started one, two times), and it's a beautiful autumnal combination Matt put together many, many months ago. Ah, some day soon.........

Speaking of Matt, he spent the day on Monday buying paint for the walls, attempting to chase down our landlord to ask why they weren't finished with the work they SWORE would be done by yesterday (lemme tell you how much fun he was on the phone....), and getting some of the 4,219,382 holes in the walls patched and smoothed out in preparation for painting. No sign of the tonnage of flooring materials yet, but when they show up, he has to get it all inside and beginning the adjustment to the local climate prior to installation this weekend. This morning I found him back on the job, continuing the patching. He's up there working hard to make the shop an amazing space for everyone, and I very much appreciate his hard work and dedication to the space, the business, and more. Send him positive work vibes, to keep him strong and calm.........

Awhile ago, I was asked about a couple things in photos I posted as a diversion. Yes, Mindy, I'll post pics of the BearEssentials shortly (go follow the link on her name to see her recently-completed ChicKami on Acid). Well, what I have to show you today, after all of the eye candy above, is Bobble

That's a new novelty yarn from our good friends at Cascade Yarns. Bobble is a nylon knit-along yarn that is amazingly soft (those little pops of color are just plush) and would be fun knit up by itself, too (I've made a swatch with a similar yarn and the texture is amazing, even on a 4.5mm needle). Check 'em out in a sort of close up

Each ball of Bobble has 60m/67y and retails for $6, so our price is $5.40 each. A mere pittance for such fun and color in your knitting!

With that, I'm outta well, knit like made, and if you've ordered from us, go sit by the mail box. It's probably being delivered right now! And if you're in a sock knitting tear like some people out there (self-outed, on July 10th), I have a humongolous box (a technical term) of Lorna's Laces arriving later today (every two weeks, like trains...I tell ya, I adore those folks).

Monday, July 12, 2004

Kersti Love

The K112 (below) was quickly snapped up by a good, Koigu-loving home. Kersti will be loved and treated fairly. Thanks for your attention to her.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Surreal Life

Yes, I'm completely copying my LYS-owning blog buddy Sheila on this one, but it's true. While she's having out-of-body experiences while starting her shop, I'm living a double life--one in Indiana and one in Michigan--while we are wrapping up down here and getting ready up there. Matt just called and said he's arrived safe and sound in Lansing (check his blog for a day-by-day schedule of his movements this week). And he's arrived in our new home, only to hear the sounds of the final evening of the Common Ground festival from the back deck of our home (the same deck that overlooks the Grand River as it winds through Lansing).

There's more pictures in his June 27th post--I've never seen the house in person, but I know I love it already. It's in a cool part of town, near great restaurants, not far from the shop, and pretty much centrally located in the greater Lansing area.

In the mean time, I'm here in Indiana, holding down the fort for the last week or so, filling orders as fast as I can and shortly packing boxes (of our personal goods and shop items). The dogs went bezerk when Matt left earlier this afternoon, but they're back to their usual routines again (sofa surfing and yipping to go out--it's just past 6:30 p.m. so Connor needed her regular feeding just now--you can all but set a clock by her stomach...twice a day, 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.). I've made quite a stack of boxes and Tyvek envelopes for our letter carrier to pick up tomorrow, but the pile will be growing shortly, as soon as I wrap up this post.

Temptations, you ask? What do I have for temptations.....well, while we were open yesterday, someone returned this little bit of pirate booty

That's Kersti K112, which was the yarn in the front left corner of the picture of the table o'yarn that arrived last Friday. Many of you asked about it, thinking it was KPPPM, but I had no information to share, as it was snatched up before I could even take pictures. Well, those ten skeins you see above (and ONLY ten skeins, mind you) are available again. That's enough to make the 40" bust version of either Sally's raglan in The Purl Stitch or the Kersti Pullover (pattern available from us...). Both are featured on our Kersti page at the main ThreadBear website. Soooooooooo, first one to e-mail me asking for it will be the proud owner of that beautiful Kersti.

As a sneak preview, here's a shot of the shelves

and of one tree

and another tree

of Alchemy Yarns. We received their Alpaca Punch, Alpaca Pure, Roots & Wings, Longhorn, Promise, Bamboo, Revelation, and Lickety Split (don't ask......I don't care for the name of that one, but it's big wool that knits up quickly......). We have them in the Elements colors (some of each in Air, Earth, Water, and Fire) and some in Repetitions, Migrations, and Saturations. At the request of several of you out there, I'm going to order some of their poncho kits once they return from Pitti Filati in Florence, Italy (this is the big yarn and fashion/design expo held twice yearly).

I'll share more specifics about the yarns, but I'm going back to packing orders and getting ready for good tv on a Sunday evening. Be well, and knit like mad!