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, December 23, 2006

I Promised, I Deliver

Just a quick hit-and-run post for today, and maybe more tomorrow--time allowing. We have crappy weather here today (chilly, overcast, mist falling but not raining), so the shop isn't overly busy today. We're steady, but not mobbed (which is kinda how I prefer it).

So, as promised, here's the glam shot of the Jitterbug in Jewel sock that blocked overnight

Told ya they shape up NICELY with a little damp blocking. The sock now hangs by our display of Jitterbug in the shop, and of course I've started yet another (always gotta have a sock in progress, ya know)

That's Castagna, which is one of the colourways that Jillian finds herself madly in lust with. Can you blame her? Excellent taste....

Also as promised, here's a beauty shot of the new Interlacements Tiny Toes

that arrived on Friday. It's 180 yards of superwash tightly-twisted merino at the fingering/sock weight, in a 50-gram skein. Two for a pair of socks (for most folks), they're $12 each and we can toss in a free pattern from Interlacements if you're interested in it.

If you're into instant gratification, we have the exact same colors in Toasty Toes (but the colors aren't as intense, due to difference in the base fibers), a worsted/dk-weight superwash merino that's great for socks, but you'd knit with around a US 5 needle instead of a US 2. They're 4oz hanks for $25 each, but you get thick, cushy socks in a jiffy. Oh, and we have spinning fibers in the same colourways, too. Eight ounces of BEAUTIFUL wool top for $30...

Far be it from me to keep you from seeing pretties.

Need anything? Drop me an e-mail or call the shop at 866-939-BEAR (toll free, baby) and we can hook you up. We're here until 6 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, 12-5 on Sunday (yes, Christmas Eve), closed on Monday, and open regular hours (10-8) on Tuesday and beyond.

Friday, December 22, 2006

This Devil, Unfortunately, Wears Wal-Mart

and some Polo, some Meijer, some Lands' End.....but has yet to wear any Prada.

But I'm definitely the devil. Just ask Jillian, who declared me the #1 Colinette Ho in her most recent post. Why thank you! I do resemble that remark!

On the devil front, I'm just gonna put up a few temptations and be gone for the afternoon, but here you go

Brand new Trekking (#78) that arrived on Thursday

Yum, yum. And still just $13.95 a skein, for a pair of socks. Or Entrelac Fish Mittens (yes, we do sell the pattern, thanks to an arrangement with the fabulous designer!)

I finished my own current Jitterbug sock in Jewel,

but it needs to be blocked (I'm a MAJOR fan of blocking socks now, so they look BEAUTIFUL). I'll dampen this one tonight and slap it on a FiberTrends Sock Blocker. I probably won't start the mate to it right away, as it's just another shop model (in the large size--that one is in the medium size, both following their label pattern). My next sock in progress is either one from the new yarns that came in today (I'll post on them on Saturday, most likely) or a custom-knitting project sock for our buddies at Unique Kolours, the US distributor for Colinette yarns. Speaking of them, I do custom knitting for them on occasion, and a new "rush job" for them appeared today

The yarn is called Banyan, in the colourway Cherry (which I think is a new color for them--as the #1 Colinette whore, I don't recognize the name). Banyan is to be introduced next month at the big TNNA trade show in San Diego, so they have some "scout skeins" on hand right now and I get to make a garment that will be displayed at the market. The yarn itself is dk-weight and 49% cotton, 51% viscose (rayon) and just lovely. It will retail for $9.50 when it's available (probably in February) and there's a new pattern collection (book) to accompany it. Best of all, any patterns from last fall's Cadenza book will work, too! You'll see progress shots of this garment as it grows, and I'll cast on for it this evening, without question (it's due back in Philly by the 5th, along with another pair of Jitterbug socks).

Back to why I'm the devil....because we order pretty things

That's a full box of Interlacements' Little Toes, brand new to ThreadBear as of today. It's tightly twisted superwash merino (which we're awash in right now...HOORAY!) and in the amazing color combinations from the ever-talented Judy Ditmore. More on this stuff after we get it tagged and out for purchasing/adoption.

Devil? Me? How's about a quick hit-and-run on one of the two new shipments of spinning fibers that also arrived today (traveling with the Little Toes, of course)

That's big braided hanks of spinning fiber (wool) from Interlacements. YUM YUM. Also in today's deliveries from Brown Santa was a box of spinning fibers from Ashland Bay, both the Merino Multicolored Top as well as a little Merino/Tussah Silk Multicolored Top. Dangerous.....simply dangerous!

And with that, I'm out for now, but now without a quick shot of the pups that I took this afternoon

They were swarming around my feet, with Tate smiling and Connor in her typical "cannot be bothered" mode. They send their love, however!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sock-It-To-Me Baby!

I've always enjoyed knitting socks, ever since I taught myself how to using the "Knit To Fit Socks" pattern by Nancy Lindberg (sometime around December '00 or January '01). To this day, I still think this is the best, most flexible pattern on the market, as you do your own personal gauge swatch and take three simple measurements from the intended wearer's foot, go to the formula in the pattern, and come out with a custom-fit number of stitches to cast on. All this plus some of Nancy's great tips is yours for a $4 pattern that's worth every penny (and then some--it's a bargain!). I think my first pair of socks were out of Koigu KPPPM and were gifted to Matt shortly after completion. He still has them, and we recently found some of the leftover yarn in the kitchen here in Lansing, after having been moved around several times in the mean time.

I haven't really knitted many pairs of socks in the past several years. I made a pair for my mom earlier this spring and gave them to her, to very little fanfair at the time. She recently did say that she was using them now that it was cold again. WHEW! I thought she really didn't like them! I did start another pair for my father, back in March, but they have languished in my knitting basket (and at the front counter of the shop). I'm to the heel flap on the first of the pair, so they will definitely NOT be a Christmas present for him--maybe birthday, as his is in late January.

I suppose I just needed the right muse, despite my being the person who teaches all of our "Intro To Socks" classes at the shop. Enter the new sock yarn from Colinette, Jitterbug. I'm all about this yarn, especially after getting an advance skein from the distributor when it first hit the US shores back in November. As of Tuesday of this week, I'm on pair #4 since Thanksgiving weekend (in and around other projects, mind you). One pair was made in two days, too (and not small socks--European size 42/43s). Here's my current pair in progress

That's the colourway "Jewel", with a full skein above for reference. I'm using the pattern provided on the label, making the medium size. I've made two large pairs and one small pair so far (here's the first one). The first round of this yarn that arrived went quickly, especially the Jewel. I nabbed a skein on Monday night when this batch arrived, and we're now fully stocked again. Check out the shades on hand

In that group, the Marble is the sleeper--it's GORGEOUS in it's subtlety, as it's a neutral main color with shots of sage green and a pinkish-lavender. I really like the Lagoon, too, and I'll probably make a pair of that colourway next. If you're looking for something more guy-friendly, check these out

Very masculine, very neutral, and very Colinette in their color combos. We're on our third bag of the Bright Charcoal, and the Sahara is what my first pair was out of. There's more, of course

This grouping is soooooooo yummy to me. Check out the Jewel and the Mardi Gras. We had a bag of ten each show up again on Monday and we're down to just four of the Mardi Gras left, and I *REALLY* wanted a pair for myself out of that one (which will be two hanks, the way I wanna make them). Oh well, next time around, as I'll leave these for other folks and get mine next time around. The other two pairs I made were in Popsicle (kinda like someone took a highliter to yarn) and Magenta (subtle, but GREAT color). And I cannot wait to see the Fruit Coulis knitted up!

Based on the initial success of Jitterbug, the good folks at Colinette decided to introduce five more shades, complete with a pattern collection for garments! While the book won't be available until late January, the yarns arrived weeks ahead of time on Monday, and I'm ECSTATIC to see them. Check out the five "nearly solid" shades, in what they call their "Velvet" line

Each is more beautiful than the last, but I'm going to have to do something with the Velvet Bilberry SOON (this shade was the first Colinette I ever saw in person, in their Mohair yarn). And I'm completely excited to see the patterns for garments next month....maybe sooner, if I sweet talk the US distributor.

We're fully stocked on Jitterbug at the shop, so if you're in the mood for some, drop me an e-mail and we can help from there. The yarn is $20.50 a hank, and there's a free pattern on the green label for socks sized from a European 34/35 (around a US 5) to a 38/39 (around an 8) to a 42/43 (around a US 10ish). One hank makes a pair using their pattern, and I've made it three times already, so I know it well.

That's not the only good stuff for knitters that's arrived lately....check out this display that you run into as soon as you walk into the shop

That's a quick display put up today, incorporating some of the great things for knitters that have arrived lately. You see sock blockers from FiberTrends (we have all three sizes in stock--I've become a MAJOR proponent for their use), various sock yarns from several vendors, cute baskets from Lantern Moon (perfect for toting around a sock project), and......what's that? YUP--Sox Stix from Lantern Moon. Check them out

Yup, all three woods, in all six sizes (US 0 to US 5), in good supply. The luxury woods are AMAZING to knit with (I'd almost consider giving up my two circs for these needles), and they're reasonably priced. Blondewood needles are $20, Rosewood run $21, and Ebony are $22. Remember, too, that there are five needles in a set and the little bag comes with! Again, be in touch if you want a set or two or three...

Still needing some inspiration for your sock needles? Today's UPS deliveries included more yarns from Great Adirondack, including some Silky Sock

This stuff has some silk to go along with the merino wool and nylon in the blend, which makes for some great color and luster in the yarn. We've had the Fire in stock before, and it always sells out quickly! I think it's $22 a hank, if you're curious.

Also newer to the shop would be several shipments of Supersock Merino from Cherry Tree Hill (well over 200 hanks, truth be told). Here they are in their new tower, constructed last Saturday

I'll provide a rundown of what shades are in stock shortly, but it runs from $20 (potluck shades) to $22 (repeatable colourways) a hank, which makes a pair of socks.

I did make a pair of socks on the quick last week, using ArtYarns Supermerino and the Cottage Creations pattern for "Iowa Crew/Cruise Socks"

They're nice, long, ribbed legs that can be folded back over, bobby-sox style, for cute wearing, or you can wear them up/unfolded for added warmth. As they are made with a worsted-weight wool, they're fast to make and nice and warm. Here's the sahdes of Supermerino on hand right now

Price varies from $8.50 to $9, depending on when we purchased the yarn (we don't arbitrarily raise prices on old stock when new stock comes in at a higher price). The pair above fit a medium woman (around a ladies' 7 shoe size) and took about 2.5 skeins of Supermerino. The pattern is easy to follow and quite well written, and it's sized from small children through larger men, all for just $6.

Lest you think I only knit socks (not that there's anything wrong with that!), I have found something fun to play with that arrived on Tuesday

(for some odd reason I left off two shades when I took the first picture earlier tonight). That nummy stuff is Vermont Organic Fiber's newest yarn called "O-Wool" or "Classic". Yes, it's 100% organic (and certified organic) merino wool from Vermont, and it has all of the spongy wonderfulness that you get with a good merino wool. The only difference is in how the sheep are raised and how the yarn is dyed/spun. At 198 yards in a 100g hank, it's a lovely aran-weight yarn that sells for just $12 a hank (for organic merino!). There's pattern support from the company

A scarf, two hats, wristers, and a sweater are in the first round of designs, and remember, at 18 sts/10cm on a US 8 needle, this is some very versatile stuff!

I've started something (duh!), from one of their patterns

in the shade "Thistle"

It's the Lace Pullover, knitted from top down and in one piece. The knitted fabric is very spongy and nicely soft! At just $12 a hank, this pullover is $48 to $84 to make; the 40" finished bust is just $60 (five hanks) and the patterns are downright cheap at just $3 each.

Amen! my first post in FOREVER is completed and you know a little more about what I'm up to these days. Hopefully I'll have some great progress to show you with the next post and next influx of great things for fiber folks. I know what's showing up between now and the weekend, and it's LOVELY! (and lots of sock stuff, again!). And again, if you're interested in acquiring some of the above-mentioned lovelies, just be in touch via e-mail or call the shop toll free at 866-939-BEAR. See you soon!

Monday, December 18, 2006

All New, All The Time

I know, I know....I've been remiss. Would you forgive me if I promise to post pictures of piles and piles and piles of BEEE-YOOOOOO-TEEEEE-FUL sock yarns tomorrow?

I thought you might......

Oh, and we just got inundated with new toys for sock knitters as well....details to follow (if yer gonna post sock yarns, ya gotta post toys, too!).

I'm been all about sock knitting for the past month or so, with good reason. Two words

Colinette Jitterbug

I'm a'll see why in our next installment.