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, March 05, 2005

Flowers Found

Kindly, Joy recommended the February Flower Exchange Blog as a source for flower designs of all sorts. There's crochet and knit pattern links along the right side, and Michelle recommended Nicky Epstein's "Knitted Embellishments" as another source. Both are great suggestions, as well as the designs from KnitWhit and Pick Up Sticks, which we stock deeply on each. This is in addition to "Wooly Embellishments" from Two Old Bags, which we've had for over a year now.

All of these options aren't quite as dimensional as the ones in Patternworks, so let's hear from some designers.....and iffin' you're needing a little boost or some creative mojo, do e-mail me and we'll get the ball rollin'.

Keep those suggestions rolling in!

Heads Up, Designers

There's a pattern on the back of the brand-new Patternworks catalogue there's a listing for Cascade 220 yarns (new to them--FINALLY--but at $6.75 a skein, whereas we're $5.94) and a pattern for feltable flowers. We've been just DELUGED with requests for this pattern, but all evidence pointed to it not being available until mid-March. We talked to the proper authorities at Cascade Yarns, and it seems that the pattern will be a Patternworks exclusive (hooray for them--it's a SHARP collection of felted flowers). Too bad for independent retail yarn shops everywhere, as there's definitely a market for such a goodie.

We know of two different design houses that have some flat felted flower patterns (that we do stock already), but this new one appears to be a great collection of various flower shapes that are more three-dimensional.

My idea is that any designer who wants to come up with a collection of spring-like flowers with a dimensional quality to them, you've got a definite market for them and we'd DEFINITELY be interested in carrying the design. I'm not saying to knock off currently-available patterns, but if you were to knit/write your own, we'd be soooooo interested in it.

Go forth-----DESIGN!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Da-du-du-du, Da-da-da-da

For those who are curious..........we did NOT order brown Dudu.

We picked a nice, fresh SPRING shade of Dudu.

Sleep well.........knowing we don't have brown coming.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

One-Day Delay (Not My Fault...Blame UPS)

For some strange reason, our shipment of yarns from Lorna's Laces should have arrived yesterday but didn't, despite the UPS tracking code saying it was out for delivery. Well, without yarn, I couldn't post......right? (far be it from me to just share my current 6,937 knitting projects, right? oh, and one hairpin lace/crochet project). More on those tomorrow, or next entry (I make no promises about tomorrow and posting--tomorrow should be a crazy day, as we're doing a little "Spring Ponchos, Wraps, and Accessories" workshop from 6:30 p.m. until ??? (yes, it's more folks, sorry). We'll be reviewing new patterns, new yarns, new designs, fashion trends, and more.....all with an eye towards knitting for fashion and warmer weather.

So, I did mention that the Lorna's arrived......curious about what we've now got on hand? Here we go........

That's the ever-popular Angel, their 70% angora 30% lamb's wool blend that's perfect for the Ribbed Angel Scarf from the brilliant Theresa (stop by to check out her latest project, a knitted spiral rug). Four skeins makes a divine scarf, and they're just $10.35 ($11.50 retail) each from us, so you can indulge yourself in a (quick-knit) luxury scarf for under $50, mailed to your door (postage inside the US is just 83 cents, actually). Heckuva deal, no?

Or maybe you'll fall in love with a little Helen's Lace, their decadent 50% silk 50% wool lace-weight yarn

Those are three of the brand-new 2005 shades and I've got plenty of each! There's a free pattern on the back of the label for a sharp pie-wedge shawl that calls for one hank (with plenty left over) that's perfect for knitters of all levels (beginners can complete this with no problems, while more advanced knitters find it a good knit to work on between more challenging projects). Retail on this is $48, so our price is $43.20 each.

Attention all you Clappers out there, more new shades are in da house

In addition to the four lovelies above, I also have Glenwood (arrived last week--colors as above in the Helen's Lace). Standard retail for the yarn is $29, so our price is $26.10 each. The Safari Lion & Lamb from Sunday is going quick--if you thought about wanting some, call fast!

Need some yarn? Slip me a note....we'll ship immediately!

And now, for the humor portion of our post.......we had another sales rep with us this morning, and she carries a number of different lines of yarns from various companies. We ordered some of our old staples (things from Needful Yarns, Southwest Trading, and Norwegian Spirit), but we took a second look at a newer Turkish yarn collection from a distributor by the name of Feza. Of course, stories about companies naming a product that gets translated or carried to another country and is not....appropriate....abound. We all know about the Chevy Nova in Spanish-language countries, about Coca-Cola translating to "Bite the wax tadpole" in Chinese, and so forth...but I think this one just about takes the cake

Yes, they named their yarn Dudu....and it comes in Big and Little balls......and don'cha know we had a field day with that one. "Just how much will it cost me to buy a big ball o' Dudu?" and "How many balls of little Dudu are in a bag?" and "how much Dudu comes in a bag?" and more. We laughed and made fun of it all day long, well into the evening.

If you're the least bit curious about the stats of Dudu, the big balls of Dudu will be about $30 retail and have 850 yards on them, and the yarn is 100% acrylic boucle. It appears that Dudu is another ombre yarn that changes color (yes, your Dudu will change as you knit it). The top in the picture is made with one Big Dudu. I'm thinking you can make a sweater with sleeves out of a Big Dudu and two Little Dudus (so the sleeves match, right?).

We had a really hard time choosing a color for our sample ball of Big Dudu ("What color Dudu should I order......?" and "What's the best color in Dudu?" ... need I continue?). So I'm having them ship me one Big Dudu and two Little Dudus. Bwahahahahahaah.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Tutorial Time

Well, I've been a busy boy, both at the shop and at home. I've not been doing that much at home, but the shop's been busy and I've been trying to knit more (well, not all knitting, as you'll see below). Speaking of cooking and working at home, several of you have e-mailed or commented about how tasty the recipes sounded, so I'll whip up a PDF or TXT file with them in it and post it here shortly (hopefully this week...I'm trying to be realistic with expectations here...OK?).

First off, new shades of sock yarn from Lorna's Laces that came in last week

That's (obviously) Safari (a blend of a bronzey-gold, brown, and black) and Georgetown (pastel shades of icey blues, minty greens, and just a touch of lavender. As always, they're $8.32 a hank and if you're up for something fun to knit for new springs socks, think of either of these and drop me a note. There's more Lorna's arriving tomorrow, including more of the new shades in Lion and Lamb. Wait........speaking of L&L, how's about a peek at one of the new shades (Safari) in Lion & Lamb that I have on hand right now

So, for all of you "Second Generation Clapotis" folks out there (there's alot of "Clapotis Envy" out there, based on the amount of L&L I've been selling these days). I can ship immediately, if you like, and our price is $26.10 each ($29 retail). You know the drill....

So, why this title for today's entry? I've been enamoured with this book

from Berroco. Inside the front cover are these three designs

And I've been working on this one

as a shop model. It uses an "ancient" technique called hairpin lace. I say ancient because the last time I did anything with this technique my age was in the single digits (and I'm 41 now). It's a variation on crocheting, and it's kinda fun! To do this, here's what you need

That's a crochet hook, a ball of yarn (Berroco's Glace, which we do carry and the pattern calls for, specifically), and a hairpin lace tool, currently known as a crochet fork (fork? um.......I don't see no stinkin' tines on that fork!). Interested? Let's review (and this is no great secret--you can find the technique all over the web and also on the back of the package).

With the tail of your yarn trailing off towards the left, lay the crochet fork over the yarn thusly

Tie a knot around the fork, kinda like a bow knot on your shoes (or like you do with ribbon on a package)

I passed the yarn under and around and tied a knot, making a bow emanating from the center and wrapped around the two side bars.

See, nothing that difficult yet....or coming up, really. Next, with the yarn held off to the left (continental knitters, this is easy for you!), stick the crochet hook INSIDE of the loop from front to back

Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull up a loop (kinda like a slip stitch) and then wrap the yarn around the hook again and pull through the new loop, making a slip stitch.

Here's where it gets weird (especially trying to follow the directions on the back of the forks we have on hand--or at least for me). Flip the crochet hook from front to back so that it's now on the BACKSIDE of the fork. Basically, you're going to turn it topsy-turvy and push the butt of the crochet hook under the black support and around to the back.

Your hook and your yarn are now on the back side of your work

Flip the fork to the left (flip the right post to the left) wrapping the yarn around the side and to the backside

and hold it with your left hand again, making a loop around the right post.

To start making the next loop, insert the crochet hook INSIDE the loop (as before) and pull up a loop,

Wrap the yarn around the crochet hook again and pull through BOTH loops on the hook, just like a single crochet (you are making a single crochet stitch, actually).
Repeat as above, flipping the crochet hook through and to the back, flipping the fork to the left, wrapping the yarn to the left again. This time, instead of inserting the crochet hook INSIDE the loop, in goes BETWEEN the two loops

and continuing with the single crochet portion of our show as above. Repeat these steps again and again and again until the specific number of loops are on BOTH sides (yes, you have to count both sides to make sure they are completely equal). To finish off, you leave a long-ish tail (about eight inches) and pull that tail through the remaining loop at the top of your piece and tighten up (just like you finish off any crochet piece, really). Your finished piece should resemble this once you pop it off of the fork

You make a number of these pieces and then join them together (I'll show this later, when I'm ready to join my pieces). For those out there who are less patient, you basically pull three loops from one piece through three loops from a second piece, then pull these three through three more from the first piece, repeating back and forth. Then you pull one of the tails (from above) through the remaining three loops, hide your ends, and you're finished!'re reinvigorating a long-lost fiber art!