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, March 24, 2007

This Is Why I Love My Life

Today was the inaugural meeting of our Manos del Uruguay Block-Of-The-Month group here at the shop. It was on hold for a bit while we waited for the pattern books to arrive, and once they arrived we got the project underway.

Here's a group photo of the 26 happy knitters (and happy group leader, me) that gathered today

The really neat part is that I know of at least four people who wanted to be here today but couldn't, so our numbers will swell to over thirty next time! WOW. I couldn't be any more thrilled, as I get to share my love of both this yarn and these designs with so many people.

We were intensely working on their choice of two different blocks this month

in three different seating areas

across the center of the shop. I let folks choose which of the two blocks they wanted to do and then turned them loose to work on their block under my watchful eye.

As the workshop continued, Matt provided color consultation to folks based on their favorite colors, interior decorating needs, and his amazing innate sense of color. Each basket

is an inspiration all its own. I want to make every single one of them--yes, I'm horribly greedy.

About 90 minutes after starting, we broke for the month, all set to meet again in four weeks (every fourth Saturday of the month, at 11 a.m.). If you're interested in joining along, come on by the shop to get your materials for the next session. If you're at a distance and want to join us in a virtual manner, we'd love to have you along for the ride, as there are three or four people that I know of who are doing it at a distance, too.

Curious about what we're making? Here's one example, direct from the pattern booklet.

That's the Fall colourway and block combination, exactly as suggested in the book. It calls for twelve skeins of Manos del Uruguay wool, a pattern book, and 5.5mm (US 9) knitting needles. Here it is close up

and here it is flat, so you can see the color play in this colourway

Care to play along? Just gimme a hollah!

Friday, March 23, 2007

In All It's Glory

I warned you it was a beautiful, quick knit.....

That's one of our locals, Amy (stop quilting so much!), who dropped by the shop to get a skein of yarn to start her Manos del Uruguay Block-Of-The-Month project (free workshop tomorrow morning and every fourth Saturday, at 11 a.m.--just buy yarn/pattern from us and the lesson is gratis). I forced her to put the shrug on and she fell in love, so of course she left with two skeins of "Giant Peach" and the pattern, along with her Manos and that book. I am the devil....haven't you folks learned that yet?

Plain and simple, this was a fast, easy knit. The pattern is very straight forward, the instructions are well written, and the finishing was a breeze. Surprise--I did it all myself, from the seaming to the end darning to the picking up of the border. I'm a big boy now--I finished my own project! I would recommend this to anyone who would like to investigate lace knitting or as a gateway to more complicated lace projects, or to anyone who's interested in making a cute and quick cover up for those spring (or summer) evenings when you're going out and want something over your shoulders. Check out the coverage on the back to see what I mean

Plus, you get to see the great stitch patterning from the simple lace stitch in the design. LOVELY stuff!

More Dream in Color yarns arrived today

All Smooshy (their superwash merino sock-weight yarn), in the 200 series colors. We have the sock weight in all shades and the worsted in all of the 100s and a couple of the 200s. I've ordered more of both the 100 and 200 series, as well as the 300 series--all for delivery in April (just in time for our Yarn Tasting on the 14th and 15th). This is some seriously yummy stuff!

All Done!

Matt is out taking a photo of the shrug on a real, live human (and a pretty one, too!). I'll have a picture up here shortly, but I did want to let Sheila know (despite her conceding last night) that I'm all finished, as of 1:28 p.m. EDT today.

It's lovely, in my opinion. But that's due to the great pattern and beautiful yarn. Oh, and our third order of their yarn arrives today (more sock-weight stuff) and our fourth and fifth should be here in the next couple weeks (mostly worsted, but the upcoming colors would make some pretty socks, too).

Glamour shots will be up shortly---PROMISE!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Dream In Color, Too

Kinda like my buddy Sheila, who owns a yarn shop down in the Nashville, TN, area, we got our first order of Dream in Color yarns last week (ours landed on Friday, as you'll see from a blog post below). I say first order, as our second delivery arrived today

That's a big ol' pile of their sock/fingering-weight 100% superwash merino that's oh-so-squooshy (yes, that's a technical term). You may remember that I snatched a skein of the Kermit-green (the more blue of the greens--that they call Happy Forest) out of the first shipment, and it's destined to be socks for me. I've swatched, but that's as far as it's gone to date.

I did, however, take a couple skeins of the worsted out of stock in November Muse and started something. By the way, here's a skein of November Muse

Not being the biggest fan of brown, I was a bit dismayed when Matt selected this shade to do our first shop model out of. Being a blond and being predictable, I would have chosen a blue or a green or a purple, or even considered a lively red or pink.

Last night, at our local knitting guild meeting, I cast on and got started on their shrug pattern. I made some serious progress in the first 18 hours of it's life (I haven't touched it in over 6 hours, so it's still fresh). See

Now that's some serious pretty right there. Check it out close up

Who knew that all of that color was hiding in that skein of brown yarn you see above? I'm a TOTAL convert......TOTAL. Someone commented today that she would have called the shade "Cinnamon", due to the rosey tones in there, and I'm a fan of the steely-blue/grey that you see. WOW, there's some serious depth of color to this yarn (my green sock swatch is stunning....). And yes, I cannot wait to knit with more and more and more of their yarns (I got a little sneak preview of some upcoming things from them in the box today, and I'm ecstatic at what I me, we'll have it shortly after the first of the month, when they're commercially available).

Yes, I've already placed a third order (and soon a fourth, after consulting with Matt tonight or tomorrow on the new stuff). The worsted is TO DIE FOR soft, as is the sock. Being 100% merino, you KNOW how smooshy this stuff feels when you squeeze it. Being machine wash and dry only makes it nearly perfect! (the colors take you to perfect.....). Here's a shot of the "nearly perfect" stock already on hand

I've also been knitting on a cute little top out of a brand-new yarn lately (pictures to follow in my next post). I cast on for it on Saturday night and I'm nearly finished with the back, even though I'm knitting at 22 sts/4" (10cm). It's been fun to knit with...until the above-mentioned vixen took over my attention.

Specs on the Dream in Color stuff:

  • Worsted--$16 each for 250 yards of 100% superwash merino (wash/dry) that knits around 4 to 4.5 sts/inch on around a US 7 or 8 (4.5mm to 5mm)

  • Fingering--$21 each for 450 yards of same, knitting around 7 sts/inch on US 2 (your mm will vary by brand) needles

  • Shrug Pattern just $4 each (two hanks for a shrug, and you'll have a ton left over, as I'm over half way done and am nowhere near finishing the skein). There's also a scarf pattern that uses three shades and is quite ingenious).

    Need more info? E-mail me........oh, and did I mention? LUCY NEATBY IS COMING TO THREADBEAR...May 1/2/3 for three workshops and an author meet-n-greet. Details on the shop website by Thursday morning.

    PS--Sheila....knitting cage match to the finish? I'm game if you far along have you gotten?

  • Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Better Late Than Never?

    So, maybe my idea of "tomorrow" is different than yours. Or maybe I live on a different calendar. Or maybe it's not good to promise a Saturday post to your blog when you own a yarn shop, a busy yarn shop. So you get a Sunday morning post instead (although I promised myself I'd be working on Swedish Thora this morning). Hopefully I'll get to knock out a couple lines on it shortly, as it's not good shop knitting (I cast on last night for something mindless for shop knitting for later today, while I'm teaching Day 2 of "Intro To Socks", where we turn heels, pick up gussets, and work the decreases into the foot).

    Yes, another 11 boxes of yarn appeared at the shop on Friday. A comment was made by me and seconded by staff yesterday that maybe we should stop with the constant ordering and delivery of yarns (especially brand-new yarns) for a little bit, as the shop is getting "full up to the gills" (her line, not mine). There may be some truth in what she said, but who am I to stop ordering? We did empty out a good bit after the bit weekend sale a couple weeks ago, but empty racks and/or space to construct new ones is at a premium, even in our 6,500 square feet of space.

    Let's go chronologically for Friday. While I wasn't there at the very beginning of the day, it appears that Mr. DHL was

    Those two boxes were in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Wednesday the 14th and landed in Lansing, Michigan, at 9:05 a.m. on Friday. I am often amazed at the swift service of delivery companies--they can get packages around the globe in 48 hours, but the US Postal Service sometimes has trouble with a copy of "The Wonderful Wallaby" and getting it to Louisville within two weeks. URGH.....don't get me started.

    On a happier note, what you see is the remainder of our wool order that we placed in early February, which was for over 60 bags of the merino, a couple bags of each of two shades of the chunky (bulky), and some pattern support for the worsted. On top of the boxes you'll see two shades of chunky--Vaa (deep greens) and Stonechat (browns/rusts). The Vaa is destined to be Amy's fantastic Emerald, from Knitty. Not because it's green, but because there's low contrast in the colors, which I think is important for using a hand-dyed yarn in a stitch pattern like cables. The other shade, Stonechat, was going to languish on the shelves here at the shop until I spent some time wandering down memory lane, reading through the archives of the blog of a very dear friend of ours. She reminded me of a great design by the fabulous Bonne Marie. Yahoo! Two great projects to work on in the upcoming weeks!

    Keeping with the Uruguayan theme, we did receive a nice shipment of four boxes just CRAMMED FULL of goodies from Design Source, the US distributor of Manos del Uruguay yarns and supporting patterns.

    I'm completely in lust with the three newest shades, seen here in the very center of the photo on top (purples mix, plum/tan mix, and blues/greys/tans mix), but there's almost no shade of this yarn I can't love. We're starting a "Block of the Month" group (free of charge) at the shop this coming Saturday, so we picked up some fresh stock to support that and the other Manos addicts in the area. Feeding was fast and furious on this stuff early Saturday morning, even before it was stickered (we left it out Friday night instead of keeping it in the back stockroom).

    Keeping in the hand-dyed theme but sticking a little closer to home, a heavy box arrived after a one-day trip from these talented folks

    Yup, that's Dream in Color yarns, and we now have over 100 hanks of the worsted and several of the sock on the shelves. It's 100% merino superwash that can even take a little trip through the dryer, too (only until just damp, not until BONE dry). It's a lovely yarn that's almost solid but not quite, and we ordered it because of that trait (that and the fact that our friend and part-time staffer Suann demanded it, because one of her daughters would look FAB in one of the blue shades). I scored a hank of the sock yarn in the most amazing SPRING green that's destined to be on my feet soon--I even did the gauge swatch last night at our knit night at the shop (see, sock class participants--even I swatch, especially with a new yarn). I look forward to lots and lots more of their yarns in the near future, as I already placed a couple orders based on how pretty this box was.

    If it's socks you want, then we're the place to go! Another big batch of German stuff arrived this week

    That's a mountain of Trekking, Step, and Fortissima/Socka Disco (yes, with a glitter strand spun it). I'll do a shot of the well-packed sock racks shortly, as we have had a TON of sock yarn arrive this week (lots of new Meilenweit, all of the above, plus more Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and her brand-new Supersock DK, which is nummy!, not to mention more from Meg (seen below), and more Interlacements Tiny Toes.

    Lest you think that all I order is wool, we do receive some seasonal yarns as well

    That's the first installment of our Cotton Classic orders for Spring, including over 30 shades of Cotton Classic, some Tweedy Cotton Classic, and some Cotton Classic Color (some even makes stripes!), as well as three pattern collections for the yarn (the new one is INCREDIBLE, and there's even a book for you crocheters out there). This big batch of bright, fun color will be on the shelves today, as it's finally stickered and ready to roll out the door.

    And as to Kathy's comment that despite our having 6,500 square feet at the shop, we're probably at capacity again as far as product and displays, I might agree with her to some extent......I might just have to stop buying yarn in the near future, as we're out of room.......WHO AM I KIDDING?!?!?!?! LOL. There's tons more in transit for delivery next week, and there's even more coming after that. So I suppose I had better get busy making more to work I go, ready to teach this afternoon as well as work on a couple fun projects (if time permits). If there's anything you see above that you need details on, just slip me a note and we'll get the process rolling! Have a great Sunday and do be in touch!