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, May 19, 2006

The 48-Hour Project

Yes, I swear it's true.....and that's not a marathon 48-hour knitting session, but the total time lapsed between casting on and binding off for a project I just completed today.

In my last post, I referenced having been blindsided by a shipment that arrived Tuesday afternoon, when Matt and I dropped by the shop before heading off on another Tuesday adventure....I mean how could I resist this

That's Colinette's Point Five, in one of my two favorite colourways from them called Dusk (#77 for those that care about that stuff!). No matter the fiber, I'm always enamoured with this color combination--it's STUNNING in the mohair (my other favorites are Toscana #55 and Brite Charcoal #87). I opened the box that came Tuesday afternoon and I took the entire bag of 10 (one hank was a special order, so I had to surrender it) and headed to our pattern drawers to find something to make. Low and behold, I was rewarded with Allison

Coincidentally, I'm using the same colourway that they did (rare for me, as I like shop models to be a different color than the picture, to inspire folks to use other colors to make things--you'd be surprised how many people come in wanting to make THAT, which is the exact same shade as what's shown in the picture/pattern/book).

Here's my progress, as of earlier today

The knitting is complete at this writing, and Matt's agreed to knock out the assembly (two small side seams) tonight, so we'll have a brand new sweater by morning (as long as I get the crocheted edge done around the neckline, too!). A true 48-hour sweater!

I'm fleeing the country tomorrow, going to Philosopher's Wool for the day--every year we take a day trip to the farm to visit the good folks from PW and hug a sheep and have lunch at a provincial park. The best part--four plus hours each way, which means a good 8-10 hours of uninterrupted knitting time! WAHOO! (bet I'll have new projects to show you when I return........mwahahahahaha).

In the mean time, have a great weekend and BE WELL!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Whoops, I Kinda Forgot About Sock Class

Between coming into the shop late today (not until about 3 p.m.) and having to teach the third/final installment of my "Intro To Socks" class tonight, it was a busy day and I didn't get everything done in time to blog earlier today. My sincere apologies to everyone out there patiently waiting (or impatiently checking back regularly today).

First off, the new goodies from Colinette, as promised. They are introducing two new yarns for Fall/Winter '06, and I'm waaaay past smitten with both of them--finer gauge knitting, classic designs, amazingly-beautiful hand-dyed colourways.....let's take a look

That's their new lace-weight mohair called Parisienne, and it is STUNNING in person. At over 200 yards in a skein (around 5 sts/inch suggested gauge), it's a lovely weight and the designs in the accompanying pattern book are BEAUTIFUL and classic and very knittable (and crochetable!). Yarn requirements are 3-8 skeins (the crocheted stuff takes more and is the 8) and at a suggested retail of $13US, it's a steal of a deal. There's a shrug that's shown with and without beads that's spectacular (especially with beads, as it gives the back incredible drape). We ordered DEEP in this fiber and in copies of the pattern collection. I cannot WAIT to work with this stuff.

The second new yarn will knit up at about 5.5 sts/inch on a suggested 4mm/US6 needle and is called Tao

and is 100% cultivated silk. The hand of the yarn in the hank is incredible, but Matt got to knit with the yarn (the rep handed him the ball and said "go to it"---we adore Mary!). In stockinette, the supple nature of the fabric made me weep it was so soft. Matt played with a variety of stitches and such and the resulting swatch was divine. And yes, we ordered a good bit of this and the pattern books, which there were no mock-ups of, but we understand are lots of accessories and smaller projects. It will retail for $26.50 (suggested) and is worth every single penny--imagine the hand of pure silk crossed with the color sensibility of Colinette yarns. I nearly ripped the Brite Charcoal strands from the rings when Mary pulled it out of her bags. It is AMAZING stuff!

And of course, with rep visits comes good knitting time, between making decisions, viewing new collections, and writing up orders (while only looking at Colinette yarns and a couple side companies, we still managed to spend over $13,000 WHOLESALE in about three hours). After dropping by the shop, Matt and I headed to Grand Rapids on a lark. We went to the eclectic neighborhood called Eastowne and visited a shop called City Knitting, owned by a fantastic person named Lorilee. Not only was it very well appointed, amazingly cozy, very well stocked, and just a joy to find (I see why Marcia is enamoured with this shop), the people were simply amazing--welcoming, kind, helpful, informed, and just plain NICE (a rarity at times, especially in yarn shops). We visited, Matt shopped, and we enjoyed every minute of it! Better yet--they asked us to stay for their knit night (every Tuesday, until 9 p.m.). We ran a couple other errands and came back and stayed until the very last minute, and the crowd there was very warm and welcoming, despite being very familiar with eachother and very (pun intended) close knit. We spotted a friend (HI DAVID) when we returned and joined the group for knitting and cavorting and carrying on (I even got to teach Ursula a few things......that she giggled about..including needle envy). It was a fantastic visit and we're looking forward to going back soon.....

Lots of knitting time, car travel time, and a rep visit means that I was able to make some decent progress on my Moderne Log Cabin. See

FINALLY! I was able (on the ride home last night, in the dark) to add on the fourth and final color--deep, rich purple. It brings a nice balance to the entire project, which was looking a bit jaundiced. Each section takes quite a bit of time any more, so progress updates will be getting further and further apart. I have been busy with other things, however. Here's proof

That's the final beauty shot of Cozy (thanks for modeling, Sarita). It's been quite popular and she's been getting around. Many think it's the perfect garment for an evening out on the town, and they'd be right. Best of all, it was an easy knit and a quick finishing project (thanks to Matt for that). Also on the "finished" docket

Fresh off the blocking circuit, that's the baby sweater from Rebecca Babies/Kids #8 in Samoa. It looks weird/lopsided in this picture, but I'll roll with it anyway. Also newly dry and just too freakin' adorable

The Heartbreakingly-Cute Baby Kimono from "Mason-Dixon Knitting", out of Biberon from Ornaghi Filati (only 1.5 skeins...amazing!). Appropriately named, this little beauty has caused quite a stir around the shop since going on display this afternoon (and some sales, to boot!). It was a quick knit that took longer to dry after blocking thanks to the wet weather we've had for a week now. I'm just glad to see it look so adorable (and soooooooooft).

I also finished and felted the crocheted scarf out of Touch Me

Knitters had their version in "Scarf Style" so now crocheters can make their own, albiet a little different (this one isn't cabled, but the finished/felted scarf does curl nicely to add a special detail). It was a quick stitch, too!

This morning I cast on for a shop model for a class I'll be teaching in about a week. It's a modular-knit v-neck out of the book "The Ultimate Knitted Tee" (I've done another sweater out of this book about a year ago....for a class as well).

Unfortunately, poor yarn choices and a great pattern do not a project make, as I selected Blue Heron's Silk/Rayon Twist, a lovely blend of silk and rayon in a unique construction that has GREAT drape. Unfortunately, it's heavier than what the pattern calls for, so my knitted fabric was hard as HELL and way too dense to show off the beauty of this yarn.

Yup--as you knit, so shall you rip. Back into stash these two hanks go, marinating and looking for a new project for a yarn that's more like 3 or 3.5 sts/inch instead of cramming into 4 sts/inch, as the pattern calls for. No big deal--just a part of a morning of knitting time and a good learning experience.

I cast on for a new project today, during sock class. I had swatched last night to get gauge and needle size (while at City Knitting, as above). You'll see the beginnings of a sleeve with my next post, hopefully tomorrow. With that, I'm out of here....have a great night and come back for more fun and hopefully inspiration. THANKS FOR READING!

Tuesday Madness Begets A Wednesday Post

Once again, our favorite rep (HI MARY) came by, this time with Colinette goodies. Their two new yarns for Fall '06 are TO DIE me on this. I'm a complete Colinette whore, but this stuff will put anyone over the edge. We have photos of the sample rings, and I'll take more pix of other goodies (progress pix, project pix, finished goodies pix, and more) and post again during the day on Wednesday.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday Morning Wet Post

It's been raining here since Wednesday night or Thursday morning, with overcast skies ever since. There were spots of sunshine yesterday (Sunday) morning, but for the most part, folks are starting to get cranky without their flaming orb. It did, however, lead to a busy weekend at the shop, which is a good thing.

I made good progress on my projects, as I had some good chunks of time here and there throughout the weekend (including some while watching DVDs with Matt in the evening). We watched a very different movie on Saturday ("The Squid And The Whale") along with a couple others. As for progress, I'll lead with the Circular Tank (pattern pic in previous post)

I've made it past the 12.5 inches of 3 x 1 ribbing to the armhole splits, so it has ceased to be what I call idiot knitting (good for the car, good for in the dark, or even while watching movies with subtitles, and the like). What's left isn't difficult--I just have to pay attention as well as knit back and forth. The "pay attention" is due to there being a finished edge on the armholes and neck that are included in while you knit the main body (a clever way of including the finishing in the knitting).

Also in the show-off category, lookie at the progress I made on my Moderne Log Cabin

The sections are getting larger and larger, so the progress, while impressive, doesn't yet show all four colors included in the throw (there's a dark purple yet to come). I've been asked what I'm using for this project--it's GarnStudio's Silke-Tweed, a lovely blend of 52% raw silk and 48% lamb's wool, so you know this knitted piece has incredible drape. I'm most pleased with the project to date and look forward to continuing to work on it as much as possible (I used it as a reward for myself over the weekend--complete a ball of the cotton on the tank and you get to knit on the throw for a little bit...LOL). I hope to be able to bring you progress pics in a day or two that include the next color section, as the purple is so deep and rich and makes a nice color foil for the brightness of the other shades.

Also in the mix right now would be the Mango Moon Silk Ribbon that I showed you last week. I tried to work it with the pattern I showed from FiberTrends, and while it's a great pattern that will work for a different yarns, this ribbon was too dense at that gauge (13 sts/4 inches). A new swatch on larger needles

yields a gauge of 2.5 sts/inch (10 over 4, if you're of that mindset) and is much more fluid and will be more comfortable in a garment. My only question is should it be a self-designed tank pattern (and if so, what kind of neckline or other options) or should it be a more lacey ribbon cardigan type of thing (that would be self-designed as well). I think it's going to need to marinate for a little while before coming out as an idea, but I'm always up for suggestions via e-mail, should anyone want to provide input. Specs on the yarn would be silk/rayon blend (great drape), hand-dyed, reasonable ($10 for 75 yards) and rather broad (it appears to be as wide as Colinette's Giotto, actually).

So while that stews a bit, I'm entertaining new project ideas. I do have three different baby sweaters that I want to see started/finished (one is that Aspen pullover I showed a couple weeks ago--it's still at that same stage and would be a QUICK knit) as well as the other two from various Rebecca magazines. The red cabled pullover is in the middle of the finishing process at my finishing factory, who may go out on strike soon (too many finished items being tossed his way lately...oops!). I may even break a little tradition and turn to just one hook and re-start this project (scroll down to near the bottom--the Willow Crocheted Throw). I have the chain and one row of double crochets completed, so I'm ready to start the rollicking pattern with my next row. I haven't done anything with crochet in awhile, so it may well be time!

That's it for a Monday morning. Thanks for reading, thanks for the kind and supportive e-mails, and pre-thanks if you send suggestions or ideas for the ribbon project. It's in the 50s (F) here today and overcast/wet again, so I'm off to go lounge around the living room, knit a bit, and then come back to the shop to complete the day. Be well!