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, February 16, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

The new yarns from Meg are here, and they're LOVELY....see

The green/jeweltone mix is called Sherwood, the golden mix is Netherfield, the lavender/gold is Batty, and the green/brown is Ankh (for ordering purposes). There's 480 yards in a 100g skein, and they retail for $26 each. I have fewer than 10 of each, and just 6 of one, and some are pre-sold already. If you're interested, hop on the phone NOW and call us toll free at 866-939-BEAR to claim yours. Knitted up, they look like this (Batty forthcoming)

Our next delivery will be in two weeks (late afternoon on March 2nd) and will cover these colourways

and will be sock-weight yarn again. YUM YUM.

My knitting progress to show is small....I did a few more rows on the psychadelic woobie, but the big story is that I started my Ocean Waves shawl, out of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. See

That's one full repeat of the pattern (one of a total of seven), and it's going along BIG FUN. Someone came by the shop today with hers, four full repeats......and it's freaking beautiful!

More soon....I'm going to go teach my final session of this sock class, where we make toes and kitchener stitch them closed. WAHOO for new handknit socks!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ducking In Under The Wire

I promised you pictures, so I had to come through before folding up the tent tonight. Ah, progress as promised!

The day started nicely with a quiet morning of watching the histrionics of the local news after our part of the big snow storm--a total of 2 or 3 inches of snow (yeah, about 5cm for those out there who are metric). Granted, just 30 minutes due south they had over 7 inches and the further towards and into Indiana and Ohio you got, the worse the conditions got. From what I understand, the area between Indy and the IN/MI border is a snow-covered wasteland--over a foot of snow, blowing and drifting, and the like. Same for Ohio, north of Columbus, into Pennsylvania, and up into New York state. Those folks I have some sympathy for...the local news force, out en masse to show us how slick it was here in Lansing...not so much. Matt got up around 9:30, the dogs finally moved off of the sofas around 10, and I settled into watching Knitty Gritty on HGTV at 11 (all times Eastern). It was great to see Shannita Williams-Alleyne work her magic with a cute rasta hat. (I had given her credit here for a project that was actually one from another designer..MY apologies!). While that was on, I made a pot of chili to take into the shop for the staff, as well as a batch of brownies....just because.

We went to load up the dogs, the food, the car, and our knitting to head into the shop and my dang-blasted Explorer wouldn't start (well, I didn't say dang-blasted, but you get the picture). A quick call to our buddy Marcia for a ride and we were in. Cupid smiled on me, sorta, as the guy called to tow the vehicle to the Ford dealership tried to start it and it did, so he called, we worked a deal for a tow to the shop (just 3.5 miles from the house) and now we have the Explorer back, he was paid/tipped handsomely, and we're headed out shortly after a SLOW day at the shop (thanks, media, for making everyone afraid to venture out!)

So, that said, I promised you some progress pics on a project I hadn't even contemplated prior to last night. I cast on for what's known as a "So-Soft Toddler Blanket", a pattern from the US distributor of Colinette Yarns, and off I went this morning. Here's progress so far I made one of these before and it hung as a model in the shop for awhile, but I gifted it to our good friend/sales rep for Colinette for her to use as a sales enticement tool (she's so amazingly good to us that I didn't mind doing so). Here's the previous version that she now carries with her. WOW, that's awhile ago! This new one is a bit brighter, no? Specs on the project: pattern free with purchase of materials to make, which is four skeins of Colinette Silky Chic (two in each of two shades, or four of the same--both of mine are 2 and 2). It's a quick knit on US 11 needles, too! Other knitting has been going on (if you're a regular reader, you KNOW I'm far from project monogamous). With a delivery of new yarns from GGH/Muench on Monday (totally intended for model knitting, not for shop stock yet), I had to do some dreaming from Rebecca #33 (the new one, out a couple weeks ago). This is what I have in mind That's a great cabled jacket out of Polo, a two-ply yarn that's tone-on-tone and very easy to work with. My version is natural/vanilla, so it's a subtle fabric. Here's the swatch Yum, yum....and yes, I swatch. Twice, even (lower swatch too tight on US 6; upper on US 7 and just right) the pattern calls for 16 sts/4 inches on either a US 6 or 7...I hate that. And me, I'm such a loose knitter on Addi Turbos that I went for the smaller size first. Surprise! On gauge with the recommended needle. New merchandise at the shop today.....a big order of sock yarns, needles, and other yarns from Skacel, including more Trekking and Step. Here's the glam shot of the sock area now re-packed with their stuff (this is one half of one rack, and there's four large racks of sock yarn right now, with more coming in soon). More of their lovely Trekking ombres, more of the new Pro Natura (with bamboo), more of their newest self-patterning stuff, and more Austermann Step (restock on six shades, plus the six BRAND-NEW shades). BIG thanks to Marti for getting it stickered and stocked tonight...THANKS, MARTI! Which are new, you ask and how do they work up, you ask? They are, from left to right, 23 through 28. And they're all ready for adoption to a good home. With that, I'm outta here for now. Going home to cook a quick dinner for Matt, rebond with the dogs (they were left at home for the day, since we were relying on the kindness of others for a ride), and then knit some more. Be well, tell someone you love that you care, and if you need anything, do be in touch!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

You Officially Have Fair Warning

Remeber this stuff from a post last week?

that knits up this way?

Well, I just heard from the master dyer herself about this week's delivery. (she had been in the shop over the weekend drop off sample skeins (which are being knitted up into tubes to show her dyeing technique) and to confirm that she would deliver on Friday of this week, the 26th) We will be receiving 28 hanks of yarn with this delivery, and she's getting more base yarn shortly after that and (to quote her) that she's "ready to dye my ass off. So next time there will be more".

Given the amount of interest in this yarn since my posting the pictures above and how beautiful the yarns are, this batch of pretties won't last long. Here's the skinny on the yarn:

  • 480 yards of superwash merino wool per hank

  • One hank is obviously enough to make socks for almost any feet you want to cover

  • It's lighter than some sock yarns, so I'm recommending a US 1 or even US 0 for socks, even if you typically use a US 2 (I like *firm* sock fabric, so I'm gonna use the US 0 for my pair). It will probably knit up around 8-9 stitches per inch for sock fabric.

  • Cost per hank is going to be $26US--not bad considering it's a hand-dyed yarn and is created using a very unique dyeing technique that causes stripes when you knit it up, yet has that beautiful watercolored effect

    Of course, you'll see pictures of it here ASAP on Friday once it's in the shop. For today, we expect deliveries of tons of Addi Turbo needles, lots and lots of Trekking and Step sock yarns, and some other goodies from Unikat, including their Ethno (a beautiful boucle yarn in stunning colors). Yesterday brought a bunch of brand-new stuff from GGH/Muench, including Tara, Boulino, and Polo (all for model garment knitting for me, for things from the new Rebecca 33, which we've had for a couple weeks now). By Friday we'll have more Wool Pak in the store, too! And Thursday brings our weekly delivery of Cherry Tree Hill yarns....35 pounds of it this time around. YUM YUM YUM. So many choices for my needles....and me, wtih another project finished (yes, the Colinette Giotto shell is finished and off to Matt for seaming).

    On the weather front, we're on the northern-most edge of this messy storm, so we're only expecting 2-6 inches of snow. Just 30 minutes south of here (and east of here) is in the 4-8 inch band, and folks down around the IN/OH/MI borders are looking at 12+ inches (with blizzard conditions into northern Indiana and Ohio). Given that this is Michigan, we're more than adept at handling 2-6 inches of snow, so we're not in crisis mode up here. Just keep those folks in IN/OH in your thoughts--they're getting the roughest part of this storm. Me? I'll be knitting tonight...and this afternoon...after having started something new last night and working on it a little this morning. Pictures tomorrow....PROMISE!

  • Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Bad Blogger....No Biscuit

    Once again, I had grand ideals and didn't have the mad skills to back them up. It's been a B-U-S-Y week around these parts, and unfortunately blogging fell to the back seat while I did so many other things. But at least there's progress shots...

    Unfortunately, there's no progress pix to show of the Torino Bulky cabled men's pullover. The knitting is completed and I'm waiting for Matt to get the seaming completed. He's been too busy reformatting his blog this week to get to my stuff, so hopefully this post will shame him into getting the finishing completed. Suffice to say that the sweater is LOVELY.

    In the mean time, I have been knitting a little bit. I took a two-day hiatus from "supposed to" knitting to knock out this little jewel

    That's a one-skein wonder of a baby sweater, made with a single skein of Malabrigo worsted and a cute sheet pattern from a semi-local (Ohio) designer. We also have a six-skein patchwork baby blanket pattern from her (and you can make the same sweater out of your leftovers from the blanket). TOO CUTE! and soooo soft!

    I made good progress on the Colinette Giotto shell that I thought about starting last time I posted. See

    I made a little headway on the front today, while teaching my socks on two circs class. Hopefully I'll have it knitted up by tomorrow or Tuesday, so I can move on.

    Speaking of moving on, I'm already dreaming of what's next. We did get a tiny "scout shipment" of something fun and sorta new to us....see

    Yup, that's New Zealand Wool Pak (colloquially called Baabaajoe's by many). It's back in the US with a great distributor who's also a friend of ours (she's a former Skacel rep, too). Well, that lovely 14-ply purple up there is destined to be an Einstein Jacket, I do believe. And I have a couple other shades of 10-ply in the shop right now, too. I'm auditioning various garments for them and I think this may work out well

    It's a great design from Sarah James, so we'll see if that's next on the needles.

    I did swatch today, as I'm itchin' to start Amy's jacket called Emerald from Knitty. I've been trying to come up with the perfect yarn for this project, and I think I've found it

    That's Malabrigo Chunky, which we ordered about a month ago and expect in the shop sometime around March 1st (if not any day now). Amy herself said it would be a fab choice for the sweater, so I'm glad to have designer approval (HI AMY!!!). It's LOVELY knitted up at this gauge, so I think it's a good match for the project (and no, the color did not influence me, even if I do love that shade of green). We'll see what comes in over the next couple weeks and look at options then.

    We did get a nice shipment of Cherry Tree Hill yarns in at the shop on Thursday. Carol worked hard to prepare the area for the new stock

    and there was plenty of Supersock to get on the pegs and shelves

    add to that a little more Merino Laceweight

    and you've got another nice batch of beautiful yarns (that are selling like mad of late!). Good question!

    Again, with two projects completed this week and a third almost home, I'm itchin' to start something new. Here's a couple prospects

    This is a model I'll have to finish in time for our next Yarn Tasting event, in mid April. It was on my plate for last summer and just fell off into oblivion for some reason. So it's back again this year, in time for warmer-weather knitting and wearing (and yes, I'm aware that it was 7F this morning when I woke up around 8 a.m.). It's also a VERY reasonable project, as the medium and large take five skeins of yarn at under $6 each....WOW!

    Also in contention is this sweater (sorry for the crap picture, but it was the best I could do for some reason)

    From the recent garment booklet from Unikat Yarns, it's a ribbed pullover out of Unikat. And here's the yarn....yummmmyummmmmmmm

    I just love that stuff--so incredibly soft (like 30-something micron merino) in lovely hand-dyed colors that sorta stripe, sorta ramble, and with GREAT yardage. I hear it felts beautifully, too! Matt's leaning towards suggesting the blue/red version for our model, as we already have an Einstein Jacket in the orange/purple colourway.

    So, leave your opinion of "Project Next" in my comments, if you're so inspired. And keep your eyes peeled for what I actually do start (from this list or the one from last week--of what's taunting me) in the coming days. I'm still feeling a definite pull towards something traditional, and I think a Norgi sweater is winning out over a cabled/aran number. And don't forget that shawl is still on the docket, too!

    Questions, comments, or needs? Just slip me an e-mail and we'll get back with you right away. See you tomorrow! (Monday)