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, April 27, 2006

zoooooooooooooooooooooom...That's My Day, Flying By

Well, I was a lazy bum and didn't leave the house (other than to knit on the back deck this morning) until after 1 p.m. today. A trip to Hobby Lobby (we buy little zipper-seal bags from them to package buttons when people purchase them at the shop) and then a grocery shopping run to the local Asian market (oh how I love the eccentricities you can purchase there---frozen duck blood, whole stewing chickens that include the feet, beef pizzle...don't ask). Their produce is wonderfully inexpensive, you can get things there to make incredible Asian dishes of all types (I have a large cookbook collection, with the Asian section being the largest---lots of Thai, several Chinese in all sorts of types, a couple Indian, and one multi-ethnic that covers the entire region of the globe). Tonight's dinner is a tasty pork dish that includes ginger, spicy bean paste, black fungus, and more. I can't wait to get home to cook tonight!

But you were promised a blog post...and I want to share progress (and hint at what tomorrow will bring).

We received a big box of Rebecca magazines on Tuesday, including two older issues (101 and 106, which are really #1 and #6), three different children's collections (6, 7, and 8), and the latest Rebecca Home (from last year). I dug through all of the children's books, as I've been looking for quick projects to knit up as shop models to support the GGH yarns, and wow--did I ever find some good ones! So yes, my list of "what to knit" is loading up nicely, and I've even cast on for two of them as of last night (and maybe a third tonight). Here's what's coming over the next couple weeks

I started this cute little number last night

out of Aspen. I've not liked the "hand" of Aspen in the ball, but knitted fabric out of it is sooooooo incredibly soft (it's a 50/50 blend of merino and microfiber that knits up around 2.5 sts/inch). This kid's sweater is a textured pattern, sorta like seed stitch, and going quickly. In about 30 minutes I made over six inches of fabric (pictures tomorrow). I like the peach/teal combo that Matt picked out (he's such a wizard with color--no, I mean seriously talented). It's going to be a little stunner of a sweater!

Also on my list of NOW NOW NOW models is this cutie,

which I also cast on for last night. I made it up to the welt and set the pattern for the cabled panel and then quit. I absolutley adore knitting with Samoa, a cotton/microfiber blend that's about 4 sts/inch, so nice and quick. The great part is that it's machine washable, so good for kid things.

This little cabled number caught my eye a year ago, when the book first came in

The cables intrigue me, but the little one in the sweater is terribly adorable (this entire book is packed with children so cute that you ALMOST want one...almost). Davos Mouline is a beautiful "barber pole" wool that should knit up quickly!

Last on the "new knits in progress" list is this little romper out of Bali

Bali is the lighter-weight cousin of Samoa, a true worsted-weight yarn. I'm not sure what's going on in the picture with that bottle....(shudder)....but the project is cute. The instructions are going to need a little translating, I'm afraid, unless I read them to mean that you do a double-knitting technique (anyone out there made this one?). I'll call my buddy Kirstin at Muench Yarns and find out if I'm reading it right. She's aces when it comes to taking great care of me!

Mason-Dixon Moderne Log Cabin Throw Update

Here's what I chose as my original color combination

That's GarnStudio Silke-Tweed, a lovely blend of raw silk and lambswool. YUM YUM. But of course, Color Wizard had to step in and recommend slight changes

He swapped out the blue (which he found dull) for a rich purple and changed the brick to a sharp orange (at my suggestion, actually). I like's strong, yet still has the fun shades I wanted. And I'm never going to turn down working with purple. So here they are, side by side

and here's what he wanted to do, but I nixed

I didn't like the lavender (their color name) at all, as it was TOO bright in the mix. So we both gave a little ground and came up with a great colourway that will make a stunning throw for the shop (and eventually my livingroom). As for progress on the throw, I cast on for the first piece and knitted maybe 10 rows (it's garter stitch, so it's slow going for fabric progress). It will be my brainless knitting, for watching DVDs or car knitting or social knitting where I don't want to have to think about increases/decreases and the like.

That's about it for now. Tomorrow will bring a progress shot of the quick-knit pullover I'm making out of Filtes King Kim (a cotton/acrylic blend that's very well much so that the largest size on the pattern, a 42" finished bust, is only $25.20 to knit. I'm outta here for well and be good to yourself and those you love!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Post Alert

A morning off, the weekly newsletter, teaching a class, and a semi-busy day make for less time to blog. I took pictures, I cleaned them up in PhotoShop, and uploaded them to the server. But there was no time to write the text.........

Look for a "real" post on Thursday!

Monday, April 24, 2006

What's So Funny 'bout Peace, Love, and Understanding....

Gawd, I loves me some Elvis...(I'm of the generation that Elvis means Costello, not Presley). I listened to him almost religiously in college (my undergrad years were '81-'85) and still catch as much as I can find, as I don't own anything of his on any format--vinyl, tape, or CD. But there's a reason for the title of today's entry.

Peace--I am actually working hard to attain a peaceful existence these days. I mentioned in a post last week that there's been some major tumult in my life so far this year, so let's drag it out in the open. Around the middle/end of January, Matt and I started to have some serious problems--more serious than in the past (it's always been a bumpy ride). It must be the year for this, because another friend of ours that runs a yarn shop started to have issues with their spouse/partner, at almost the exact same time. Theirs ended, as now has ours. We're no longer a couple and we're in the process of getting ready to live apart, but the shop will continue on and thrive and we'll peacefully co-exist and work hard to get along as business partners, but not life partners. That's what's consumed an awful lot of energy and time and effort of late......having problems, fighting alot, discovering that Matt had re-acquired a bad habit he had dropped (and picked up another one that I absolutely abhor......) and then add in that I'm no saint to live with (we Scorpios are a piece of work, lemme tell ya--and I'm a poster child). 'Nuff said about all that....

Love--well, it's fun to think about, but I'm in no mood to be on the lookout for that in my own life right now, other than the love of friends and colleagues (love you, too, Sheila, tho I don't say it enough) and customers. I love what I do, I love my industry, and I love the bursts of creativity that I get to have...working with yarns and patterns and creative people of all sorts. About as close to "love" as I'm getting these days is to be more social, meet new people, and hang out with others that I find interesting and entertaining (and think the same, in reverse, of me).

Understanding--thanks to all of my readers (and ardent supporters, who back to blogging again). It's been hard to be away, to have silenced my voice, and to not share fun projects and goodies with you folks over the past few I'm back. In full daily as possible! In the mean time, here's a little bit of recap for you....and catch-up on projects.

I finished the socks for my mom that I showed you (one of) earlier

Mailed 'em off last week and mom got them on Thursday, pronounced them "pretty colors" and "too big". That's all I've heard about them and she seemed underwhelmed, so I'm not sure if she's up for any more hand-knit socks. I'm gonna make a pair for my Dad out of Schaefer Anne (a luscious merino/nylon/mohair blend) that I started on Friday (forgot to take a picture of it--there's something for my next post). We'll see how he reacts to hand-knit socks in a month or so, when they're done.

The Colinette Matinee Jacket in Wigwam has been finished for awhile

It was a fun project to make and I love knitting with Wigwam, so this was a no-brainer for me to finish in a hurry (and Matt did a great job of assembling it, as he does with all of the shop models that I knit). The garment hangs in the very front of the shop, when you first come in (for those who want to see it in person and even try it on!).

I whipped up a Rowan Summer Tweed sweater in about a week (and again, had the finishing taken care of for me---ain't I lucky!)

I really like knitting with Summer Tweed, and I'm looking for a reason to do so again, soon.

The Mountain Colors Twizzle "Back to Basics Cardi" is coming along well now that I've picked it up again.

That's 23 inches of back (of the 24 needed). It makes beautiful fabric

and the single ply of silk makes for great highlights in a soft merino wool base. I did another sweater out of a different yarn of theirs (Merino Ribbon) that's coming in around the first of May. It was a quick knit and it's off to Matt for finishing (simple shoulder seams and side/sleeve seams and we're good to go). I'll show it off as soon as the yarn is available, but I'm in MAJOR LUST with this fiber, without question!

I have a major obsession of late, no thanks to the gals at Mason-Dixon Knitting. I'm completely and totally entranced by their "Moderne Log Cabin" design

So much so that I need to make my own, which will do double-duty as a shop model (bwahahah---well, for awhile) and eventually live in my new living room (change brings more change--I'll be looking for furniture soon, as the current living room stuff will be leaving with Matt). I have four stunning colors picked out and left them all at the house today...dork that I am. I had originally planned to make this larger (1.7 times the original size....) and use it as a spring/summer bed coverlet (to replace the duvet/feather comforter that's on the bed now). I'm scaling it back down to the original size to be useful in the shop. I started the first square and was off on my gauge, so I tore it all out (no, I didn't do a gauge swatch). I hope to show you progress sometime soon!

I have another project tumbling around in my knitting bag right now, and it shows some progress from time to time. It's a leaf lace tank (or sleeved sweater, if you so choose)

It uses a great new yarn called "Bamboo" from idena, which is a Scandic yarn company. It's distributed through Swedish Yarn Imports here in the US, and here's a link to the color card and pattern gallery on their site. We stock all of these patterns and have all but one or two shades (the lime and the white are on backorder at present). The yarn is 70% bamboo and 30% cotton, knits around 4 sts/inch, and is machine washable! GREAT for baby stuff as well as adult garments. HOORAY...and it's so incredibly SOFT to the touch. The project isn't "car knitting" for me, due to having to follow a chart for the openwork design, so it languishes from time to time in my knitting bag.

Something else going on my needles shortly would be this lovely little number

which is from a great collection of patterns from Garnstudio in Drops 51. There's probably 6 or 7 sweaters in that book I'd love to have as shop models, so I'll be knitting more out of it shortly. This one

is going to be on my needles soon, as well. It's a sharp cardigan in a worsted-weight cotton that's very, very soft called Paris. Yes, I know I've talked about 73 different projects, most on the needles (there's more that I've not confessed to) and some to be cast on soon. But that's how I am....fairly short-attention-span when it comes to knitting projects. But they all eventually get finished (like the poncho/wrap thing that I cast on in August 2004 that I finally bound off last week and sent to Matt for brief finishing). I'm lucky enough to be able to have access to so much yarn and so many patterns and options that it distracts me immensely at times (ask me about my stalled Hanne Falkenberg "Promenade" colourway is #5)

With that, I'm outta here....thanks for reading, thanks for being around when I wasn't, and thanks for providing muse to this muse.

He's Done It, Just As Promised!

Matt updated the front page to the shop website and added new merchandise, including the fabulous NoniBags patterns.

Hooray!.....and more from me later today.