Black Dog

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

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Big Surprise--I Am NOT Project Monogamous

Big surprise, eh? As if I could keep my hands off of new yarns and/or new patterns.... To my defense, I have continued to knit on Yelena a little bit and both fronts are now completed. I also cast on for the first sleeve yesterday morning...see

The sleeve is that tiny bit on the left side of the picture. I do intend to finish the garment soon, maybe even in time for the gold medal ceremony on Sunday. The pieces have been sent off to Matt for seaming so I can add the collar while knitting the sleeves. (Yes, Matt does all of my finishing). I think he's seaming right now, actually....seriously.

What lured me away from the beautiful Yelena? Why.......Mountain Colors' new yarn called Twizzle (scroll down to see the specs on it). It's 85% merino wool and 15% silk, and the silk part is one ply, making the finished yarn look really interesting. There's 250 yards in a skein and it works up around 4-5 stitches per inch and it's $22 per skein. One hank would make a lovely scarf, a pair of mittens, or a stunning hat. At this gauge, there's tons of options as far as other sweater projects, too (one of my favorites would be Cabin Fever's "Take It From The Top", a great top-down sweater with no seaming required).

Of course, the color sensibility is incredible, as it's dyed by the great folks from Mountain Colors. Wanna see some options?

and some others

and more

Each of the above we have just one or two hanks of right now. These below

and these

we have ten each (hooray! sweater quantities!). Speaking of sweater quantities, they sent these three patterns along with the most recent shipment

Two are very beginner friendly (one's a cardi, one's a pullover) and the third is a lovely lace design, and each takes between five and seven skeins to complete, depending on your finished bust measurement. I've started the cardigan and I'm working my way up the back of the sweater...see

I'm using the Meadow colourway, and it's just lovely knitted up. This is one yarn that's way WAY prettier in the knitted fabric than in the hank, as the silk strand stands out in the hank but it blends right into the knitted fabric. And it is 85% merino and 15% silk, so you KNOW it's a soft, SOFT piece of knitting.

If you're interested in any of these little goodies, just slip me an e-mail or use our new toll-free line (866-939-BEAR) and we'll get stuff in the mail to you right away!

I'm off to go knit....have a great weekend and enjoy the last weekend in February and the last one before the Lenten season arrives.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday Special

Change....always the watch word with me. And always a good thing! Remember, I was starting out making this

and then switched projects to this

for two main reasons--speedy progress on project #1 and renewed interest in more Olympic-like knitting from #2 (and the need for a good challenge). I'm still working on the Norgi, but in the interest in completing project #1 (and earning my gold medal), I present to you this progress report

That's the finished back, the finished left side, and the start of the right side. All that will soon remain is the sleeves, then it's off to Matt for seaming. I'll add the quickie collar after that and claim my place on the podium.

The other project..........he continues to grow

I'm enjoying the textured part of the pattern, but I'm itching to get back to the colorwork portion of our program, which begins after just 14" of body are completed (I'm pushin' 12" right now). HOORAY!

And on the GOOD NEWS front, look what arrived on Friday

That's 14 skeins of saving grace, courtesy of the fantastic folks at Lamb's Ear Farm in Tacoma, WA. THANKS, saved my project! I only needed five, but since it was a discontinued color, I cleaned her out completely (partially in case I want to make any matching accessories and partially to be nice and not leave her with odd skeins of a discontinued shade). I also received a nice little package from the sweet lady at with a partial, unlabeled skein out of her stash. I had called last Sunday in terror of not finding enough to finish and she was SURE what she had in her personal stash was the same shade...sure enough, it was! KNITTERS ARE AMAZING PEOPLE!

There's been some random poo-pooing of the idea of 4,000+ people all joining in on the Knitting Olympics, particularly with some of the more snarky bloggers out there. One specific person asked those who are participating to distinguish what we're doing from the behaviour of sheep (who tend to be mindless and follow in packs). Also, said blogger challenged participants to think about what they're gaining from the knit along, and why it should be an interesting thing to be a part of.

Well, for me, I can say I've got at least these positives out of the experience

  • Being a part of something larger than my local sphere of influence (there's twice as many knitters as Olympians..actual participants...along for the ride)

  • A little extra boost to finish something under a deadline (I typically RESIST deadlines completely and I tend to DESPISE knowing I have to be done by X date). I want to have "Yelena" done as a shop model in short order so she doesn't languish in a bag, 85% complete like so many others have/are, in the limbo area behind the sofa at home (don't ask....I may share pix of that little personal horror shortly)

  • Rekindling my love for colourwork, particularly stranding (versus weaving, a la Philosopher's Wool). As I've mentioned here, I haven't done this type of knitting since early 2001, and I'm thoroughly enojoying it. So much so that I may do another Dale official design, but I'm also looking at something from SandnesGarn (we're ramping up stock in yarn from this company).

  • Part of this I knew, but part I've knitting my Norgi in public (at our shop), people have expressed an interest in making similar types of projects. While I know that what Matt and I knit on tends to generate interest in a particular yarn/project/pattern/technique, I'm surprised by the number of people who have responded positively to my sweater! We've always had a hard time with Heilo, but maybe this is the turning point. I know I can attribute my interest to a certain pair of customers (Dani & Beth...THANKS!). Plus, I get to make something that I've lusted for since 2000

  • A rekindled love of traditional knitting and designs. While I knew that I liked texture and color knitting, I almost never make specific projects like this, due to the need for shop models. I need to do more traditional things more often.

  • I've actually committed to making something for myself. HOORAY! They're no small projects, but it's important that I wear my own handknits....and I have two, after 36 years of knitting (both made in the past six months, too).

    And with that, I'm off to go work on my sweater (or should that be sweaters, plural)!