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, February 24, 2007

Welcome to Swatchland

If I'm starting new projects (yes, multiple), then I'm off it swatchland, as I'm back to knitting with Addi Turbos. I am a loose knitter, but when I use Denise needles, I'm bang on for gauge. When I use nickel-plated needles, I have to drop either one or two needle sizes (typically two, but sometimes just one), so I need to swatch. So, here's our stage

You see the basics spread out on the table--diet soda, Hershey's kisses, various patterns and books, and a smattering of yarns. Let's peruse my choices and swatchy goodness.

That's WoolPak 14-ply, in a lovely deep purple shade (I think I showed it to you a few days ago). Pattern calls for a US 10, I couldn't find an 8, so I tried it out on the US 9 and got gauge the first attempt (HOORAY). So, that's ready for casting on and knitting--it's my new "go to" idiot knitting project--all garter stitch, all the time. But wow, that's alotta garter!

Someone was trying to horn in on the action when I was taking pictures, and little brother couldn't resist sticking his face in

I think the fact that Tate's smoochin' on big sister Connor is too adorable.

Riding in this morning, I had started a little swatch in Classic Elite Classic Silk, which I'm in major lust with

The gauge is, once again, bang on for the 19 sts/4" for Bonne Marie's Ariann, a beautiful cardigan--knitted in one piece--with beautiful lace detailing on the bottom (under the rib cage). It's a beautiful swatch and I look forward to casting on for this project later tonight.

Last night I did a little swatching with the red for this project

First the baby blanket (lower left-hand corner), then the cardi to match, coupled with another pullover and hat (not shown--comes from the front of the booklet). These adorable baby projects, from Filatura di Crosa, are going to make great models for the shop once they're completed. We've been looking for fun and interesting baby projects of late, and there's a set of four books packed with adorable baby things to knit.

Last (for now), I *finally* found a project to use the Cabo Verde for. We struggled to find the right pattern, one that complimented the yarn, was spring/summery, and would be a nice model for the shop (one we looked at was sized up to a XXL, which they claim is a 40" odd is that?!?!?!). Here we go!

That's the split-neck henley from Knitting Pure and Simple, and I've already cast on and worked a few rows of the neck. That's tonight's at home knitting, with my butt buried in the sofa watching tv or listening to music.

Someone asked me about why I had to swatch, after 38 years of knitting. I said that everyone has to swatch, for several reasons (most of which we all know, that I covered with her). Most of all, I explained what I learned in the fabulous Amy Singer's newest book, "No Sheep For You" (which we have at the shop, and it's a WONDERFUL book....YAY for Amy!). She calls swatches "Geeky Things" and tells you to make them so you get to know your fibers and how they behave in fabric and the like. I shared this with the customer, and that drew a few other listeners, and suddenly I had several converts to swatching (I have to laugh at Amy's story of how Jillian buys a single skein of several yarns and knits them up just to see how the yarn behaves, how she bought a ton of sock yarn and knitted a tube of it on various needles to learn more, and how I've seen Jillian work entire skeins of yarn into various lace swatches just to test drive stitch patterns and colourways in an effort to design the best possible combination she could). As someone who's sticking a toe or two into the design waters again of late, I'm learning that these women are terribly smart and that swatching is NOT time wasted--it's really tons of time saved (and money saved in yarn going to best use). And that is the end of that speech from me.....

I still have three designs rolling around in my head that I may actually get started on (well, maybe one) this weekend. I'll do a little chronicle of it here, just because. I survived sock class this afternoon, but I'm tired as hell right now (short night--I was up too late watching tv and goofin' on the internet. Stupid Rob, especially with a busy day on tap for today at the shop. There's something else I wanted to share right now, but my mind is a blank and I wanna go here's to a quiet Saturday night! Hopefully yours will be as well.

Friday, February 23, 2007

All Hail The Shawl....Prostrate Yourselves Before The Shawl

It's done....

Well, done save the crocheted border, which I'll get right on after some swatching tonight. I haven't had time to do the swatching that I promised myself, so that's on tap for tonight. (big thanks to, from left to right, Kathy, me, Mara, and Marti for helping wall-block for visual emphasis). Major thanks to Laurie for snapping the photo, too!

Blocking is going to really make this project, so I've got my eye on a blocking wire set that we stock at the shop that's really reasonably priced, so between that and a large, empty (dog-free) bed in the guest room, we'll be all set to go (I say dog-free bed because there was evidence of Tate on the last sweater I blocked on that bed, earlier this week).

I owe y'all a substantive post sometime soon, but this week has been one of hurry-scurry, and today was no exception. Matt's back on board after a few days in the sick bay, but we still had plenty to keep us busy around here today. I teach a sock class tomorrow (day 2 of three, which means we're turning heels and picking up gussets and heading towards the foot), so I'll have a little bit of busy time in the afternoon. After that, however, I hope to be able to post ASAP. And with the impending storm on Sunday, I doubt we'll be that busy then (tomorrow may be a good way, as we're always busy before major weather events).

See y'all then....and be well!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yet Another Drive-By Post

Matt's out ill again today, so I've been busier than six long-tailed cats in a room fulla...well, you know the drill. We had a busy day of deliveries today at the shop, including a huge book shipment from Unicorn, more cottons from SandnessGarn, and a big order of baby stuff and spring yarns from Ornaghi Filati. And yet again tonight I had to teach, so my time has been short for posting. Many apologies....but thanks for hanging in with me.

Here's the glam shot of the finished woobie

Specs are: Free pattern available with purchase (a Unique Kolours design), made with four skeins of Colinette Silky Chic. My particular option is two hanks of Jamboree and two of Florentina (you hold one of each together for the knitting), or you can do it in four hanks of the same colourway, double stranding of course. Easy knitting, nice and soft knitted fabric, and a great binkie that would take a newborn all the way to kindergarten (nap blanket, anyone?). A local (HI DELAINE!) even made one for herself, using Castagna (browns/greens) and Madras (golds and greens) and it was lovely. I can vouch for the warmth of the project, as I had it over my legs while riding in the Explorer over the weekend and it definitely held in the body heat and kept out the cold. And yes, the size as is (approx 40" x 30") would be the perfect lap blanket for any adult.

Ocean Waves isn't quite finished yet (I'm halfway through the last repeat), so I'll bind off sometime tonight or early tomorrow and get to the crocheted loopy edging thereafter. I'll also do a little swatching, too!

I'm outta here for now, but I did promise binkie pix....see above!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hit And Run Post

No pictures today, and only a smidge of text. More tomorrow--PROMISE!

The Psychedelic Woobie is finished, and I'm closing in on the Ocean Waves Shawl (seven repeats total, and I'm over half way through number six). That means that I get to start at least two, maybe three, new projects in the coming days. Swatching is about to commence for a DARNED CUTE baby set out of fun yar (Filatura di Crosa PomPom), an Ariann (Classic Elite Classic Silk), and a pretty wrap cardi (GarnStudio Angora Tweed--recently resurrected by the company and a beauuuutiful yarn). I've also got some design ideas packed into my skull that are aching to come out (damn that Matt for inspiring me to design again)--a sock and a cable/lace cardi, as well as my own idea for a men's vest in a stunning tweed yarn). Remember, that's on top of at least three things in GGH yarns from the newest Rebecca magazine. OUCH.

Look for pictures here tomorrow, along with swatch results (or a finished shawl--depends on what strikes me when I get home tonight).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Progress Post

Not much to say today (big surprise, no?), but I did want to post progress shots on the two projects filling my knitting dance card these days (there are four others waiting, like wallflowers, with two or three others trying to cut in). Here's the "Ocean Waves Shawl",

Thanks goes out to Jane S, Mara, Sabrina, and Diana for sharing their hands to "hand block" the shawl so you can see the detail better. I'm halfway through the fifth repeat (of seven) and I'm so completely loving this project it isn't funny! The yarn is LOVELY and the pattern is deceptively simple (yes, I'm serious about that). Best of all, the designer included a couple really awesome tools IN THE PATTERN that all but guarantee success in the knitting (including "flash cards" for the stitch patterns with instructions on how to use them). I started it on Friday morning and there wasn't tons of knitting time over the weekend for me, but it is going quite rapidly! I am all about this project right now, as anyone who visited the shop this weekend will tell you. I know of at least four other people who fell in love with it this weekend, and one of our customers (Suzanne, that means YOU) is who made me finally start mine. Hers is in Foxy Lady Supersock Merino from Cherry Tree Hill (mine is Misty Moor) and it is just simply stunning! Jane S was in today working on hers (in Peacock Cherry Tree Hill) and seeing hers makes me want to make one in her colourway, too!

A little more was completed on the "So Soft Toddler Blanket" (a.k.a. "Psychedelic Woobie")

I'm about halfway through the second skeins (so about 3/4 finished) and would expect it to be finished this week--so I can start something else soon, too! LOL

The wallflowers right now include the Polo cabled cardigan from the newest Rebecca (which I showed last week) and two new garments---the first of which is a ChicKnits design called Ariann (Kristi just finished hers and it's STUNNING, so this is all her fault). I'm still auditioning yarns, switching between Classic Elite Classic Silk (a blend of silk/cotton/nylon) and Jo Sharp Silk Road DK Tweed (yum). The Jo Sharp may also be used for a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern that someone was wearing in the shop this weekend (Janelle, it's all your fault) that is now a "must knit" on my list. Also waiting for my attention are several baby items from new books from Filatura di Crosa (their newer baby stuff is AMAZING and too cute!).

It's true....I'm just seduced by too many projects at once...and I'm weak. Very, very weak. Today, six shades of the Wool Pak 8-ply arrived, four of which are for me to choose among for a design that's rolling around in my head (swatching will commence tomorrow and it's gonna be a sharp ladies garment), one may well be for a cabled garment that I am to design for Matt's book (I will decide if this is the right yarn shortly, but the color is amazing), and the other is a lovely teal that is destined to be a gansey sweater that will be in the book as well (I'm certain as to the yarn and certain as to the color---now I just have to design it!). Readers of his blog know that he's working on a book of wearable men's designs and he's asked me to design a few things that overlap my favorite area of knitting--classic textures!

With that, I'm outta here for now (that shawl is calling, folks!). See you soon