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, March 16, 2007

It's Meg Day!

She just delivered, and boy howdy, did she deliver! Take a gander
From left to right, they are Octarine, Regiment, Sherwood, and Netherfield.

Unfortunately, there's not a bunch in this batch, as she's out of the base yarn she dyes and won't have any for awhile. Ah, the joys of being popular! If you need any, call the shop (toll free) at 866-939-BEAR and get your order in ASAP. They're $26 a hank for 480 yards of superwash merino at sock weight. YUM!

Next time, in two weeks, she'll be delivering surprise colourways in a new fiber for us, which is still sock weight, but it is 60% merino, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon. Still great for socks, but a little heathered in appearance (the bamboo doesn't take the dye like all wool does). More soon, but trust me, the luster from the bamboo is very much worth it.

One more housekeeping note--her next delivery of 100% merino sock yarn will be going up $1 or $2 a hank, due to price increases from her source. $28 is still a nice price for something so lovely and hand-dyed in a very unique way. I believe next time's bamboo yarn will be the same price, but more on that when it arrives in two weeks!

We received 11 more boxes of product today at the shop. Photos to come tomorrow. Promise!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Missing The Target

I keep trying to make the time to blog, but things keep getting in the way (good things, mind you). For example, this week we had the fantastic Beth Brown-Reinsel with us for two days of workshops centering around her favorite topic--traditional knitting techniques. We had a workshop on her Maine Mitten and on Aran Cardigans From The Top Down and both were wonderful, as was her evening lecture on Estonian knitting, based on her travels there. In addition to working with Matt to coordinate the arrangements for the classes, we have been busy with keeping Beth fed and entertained while she was here. That's the FUN part of what we do--trust me, she's a hoot over a huge plate of sushi! Suffice to say we look forward to her visiting us again next year (around the same time) for a weekend of workshops.

Also kinda getting in the way of my blogging has been a four-day sale (at the start of the month), an enormous amount of new stock arriving in the shop (after the sale, I had to go shopping, right?), and a little bit of just plain being tired. Yes, it's true--I'm human at times. Blech!

As I was saying, we've had a ton of new stock arrive over the past week or so, and more keeps streaming in every day. Let's take a peek at last week's deliveries, from Monday alone

That's a quick snapshot of what the back storeroom resembled last Tuesday, after 11 boxes of new product arrived on Monday alone (and more in the ensuing days). What you see includes

a big box of Jo Sharp cottons (both weights, Soho Summer DK and Desert Garden Aran) as well as her newest pattern collection, called Knit Issue 2; wools to replenish the shelves, and both of the new yarns (and pattern collection) from Adrienne Vittadini (Felicia and Alexa, if you are keeping track of things). We finally got all of these yarns on the shelf and I have to say I love both pattern collections--Vittadini finally "got it" and included sizing up into the higher 40s for finished busts.

Also in this shipment was the full palette of Reynolds Soft Sea Wool, a tightly-twisted dk-weight wool that they're promoting for sock knitting (the pattern collection for this stuff includes a dozen sock designs). It's a decent value at 160+ yards of yarn for $5.95, and the book is about $12. I'll show this stuff to you in an upcoming post!

Other tasty bits for summer included Reynolds Olympic and Artful Yarns Marine and Candy.

We're fully stocked on every single shade of all three of these yarns, as well as patterns to go with for summer knitting. Marine is particularly interesting, as it's a lightweight yarn with great texture and subdued colors.

It wouldn't be Michigan without a delivery of wool yarns, and the good folks at Malabrigo don't disappoint

That's nine boxes of their worsted-weight hand-dyed yummy-ness. Our shelves are once again packed, so we're ready for any Malabrigo-type project you'd like to make. Our next shipment is scheduled in shortly and includes their newer chunky/bulky wool as well as some of the new lace-weight stuff that's quite interesting. Hopefully soon......

Also fresh off the UPS truck last week was the first installment of our spring order from Classic Elite, which included something new to us

Their yarn called "Four Seasons" is a 70cotton/30wool blend that knits up around aran gauge (18 sts/4 inches). We purchased the prints, or speckled colourways. I really like this yarn and it comes in some great colors at a decent price point. Other bits in this shipment were all of the marled colors of Flash (can't beat it at $3.75 a skein), a good bit of Classic Silk (the new shades for spring are amazing), and all of the pattern collections for Spring '07 (three new books--"Summertime Knits", "City Park", and "Puddle Jumpers"). It's good to have spring!

One of the things in the boxes from JCA/Reynolds was two bags of a tweedy yarn that I had to swatch up right away

any guesses out there? Yup, it's true

I'm actually knitting up some Lopi, and I'm actually enjoying it! It's been years since I've worked with this stuff, and I think we'll carry it at the shop for the upcoming fall season. It is a little rustic, but I enjoy rustic yarns. Lots of folks have come in looking for it and/or asked us to carry it, so it's a strong contender for our fall order. Besides, how can I resist making a garment like this? (and yes, he's kinda cute....)

That's Snorri, from "The Best of Lopi" book that's been out a few years now. There's tons of wonderful things to knit in that book (and in other Lopi collections), but I just had to make that heavily-cabled sweater. I'm a cable whore!

We've since received dozens more boxes of various yarns and goodies for the shelves, which I'll be sharing in the coming days. Here's a little teaser of something that arrived this week

That's my playing around to get gauge and a happy fabric (ah, yes, another one of Amy's GKY things) with WoolPak 8-ply, a true dk-weight yarn from New Zealand. My garment of choice, now that I'm familiar with the gauge and have made fabric with a variety of needle sizes is this

Yup--Swedish Thora by Elsebeth Lavold from "Best of KNITTERS Arans & Celtics" by XRX. (and please forgive me, but the color is WAY off in these's called "Apple Blossom" and is much more subtle in person) I have started the garment and I'll share progress pics in my next post, once I get a little bit more fabric completed. Suffice to say that we have 43 shades of this yarn on hand as of Tuesday and I'm REALLY enjoying the knitting, due to both the yarn and the pattern (I'm a total cable whore).

Other knitting progress would includ FINALLY finishing my sock out of Tiny Toes,

based upon a free-with-purchase pattern from Interlacements. If ever there was a reason to block your socks, that shot would be it (based on your having seen it in the pre-blocked stage, shown below)

WOW, such a difference. Yes, I'm a total blocking convert now. What was once a wadded up lump of a sock actually looks great now that it's all dry and pretty. So now it's on to focusing on my dad's socks, out of Schaefer Anne in a very guy-friendly all-green colourway. Pics next time, but I have re-turned the heel (I tore it out the first time, after working down the gusset for a bit and deciding it wasn't quite what I wanted and ripped out to just before the heel flap). I received something WONDERFUL from an upcoming addition to our vendor list, and I have swatched with it already. I may just have to share that with you next time, too! And yes, it's TOTALLY NUMMY sock yarn...

Speaking of sock yarns, this Friday brings us another delivery from that uber-talented local dyer, Meg. Look for an update here tomorrow afternoon, after she drops off her newest creations. There's always a stir after Meg's been to the shop.

There's been other knitting going on, too. You may remember a swatch I shared with you last time we were together (ok, so it was three entries ago, when I was swatching)

well, that sweater is officially finished (it just needs to be blocked). But I did take a snap of it over the weekend, when it wasn't quite so finished

Even at the above stage, I was a fan of this garment. I put it up on the mannequin at the shop and liked how it was hanging on a body form, and now that there's sleeves and a placket and a collar, it really looks nice. Finished photo as soon as it dries from blocking--I promise!

Readers with a good memory may remember that I was going to make a baby blanket, two different sweaters (maybe three), and a hat from a new baby book we got in from Filatura di Crosa. Well, I did get it started

and it is coming along quite well. The yarn is called Pom Pom for obvious reasons

and is fun to work with. The orange stripe will be capped off with another section of white, and then I introduce the third shade of Pom Pom--bright aqua blue. Alternating stripes of color and white continue, with it going to red again, then blue, orange, and finishing with red. There's a seed stitch border that's a constant, both between the color blocks and around the edge like a frame. Overall, it's a simple knit that I'm enjoying. There's a matching cardi that I'll create, as well as a solid-color pullover (I'll do it in the white, just like the book). Yes, you'll see them here as progress dictates.

With that, I'm off to go make some progress on Swedish Thora. I am also having dreams of starting Snorri, but I shouldn't--it's not a traveling knitting project either, and I need something that falls into what I call the "dum-dum knitting" category (meaning simple stitching like stockinette or any type of sock--the perfect kind of knitting for meetings and the like). We did get a HUGE influx of Meilenweit sock yarns on Monday and I want to make something with several of them (maybe even that sideways baby sweater from HyphenBoy). Hmmmmmm, I think I sense a new project coming on.....HOORAY!

See you back here soon (maybe even later today or early tomorrow at the latest) with progress pix and more. If you need further information about any of the above-mentioned projects or materials, slip me an e-mail, as always. Be well!