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, July 13, 2007

But I Wanna Knit!

I haven't taken a single stitch all day today, from waking up early and walking the dogs around 7:30 this morning (and summarily going back to bed until 9, thank you very much!) to coming into the shop around noon and going full steam ahead all day (we had a big book order come in, we were working on Tulip Cardigan kits, to helping customers all day's been a FULL day.

So let me share with you the progress from yesterday

Yup--both fronts completed of them plus about half of the other in the morning and the other upper part late last night, after coming home. It's going quickly and Matt is seaming the shoulders tonight so I can add the hood tonight, as I'll cast on for a sleeve as soon as I'm done here.

What's the hurry, you ask? Well, this arrived today

Yup--another project in Iona for the US Colinette distributor, this time out of the Blue Parrot colourway. They sent a second (third?) project as well,

for a vest (please excuse the dull color in the picture; it didn't photograph well). I think the parrot is for a cabled pullover, but since there's no pictures involved in the process, we're all guessing here. Suann, one of our team members, is going to knit that one while I'm working on the parrot pulli. I'm sure I'll share pictures here as soon as we both are underway.

I'm gonna go make a sleeve! See ya!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Name Is Rob, And I'm A Colinette Addict

All together now....."Hi Rob".

Yes, the pile shown below, in the earlier post, is definitely Colinette yarn and most definitely in Mardi Gras, one of my favorite colourways from them.

The good folks at the US distributor sent me nine hanks and a pre-release pattern from an upcoming pattern collection, all to be worked together to create a model garment that will travel around the US in their Fall '07 Trunk Show. Since our shop participates in these traveling trunk shows, it's always fun to see a garment that I made come back for a visit. I don't know when we'll see it this fall, but it will be back, I'm sure.

I did cast on for the project last night, but all I could muster before passing out was maybe four rows, back and forth. Today, however, is a different story. We met with another of our great sales reps (HI CAROL!) starting at 9 a.m. and running until after 6 p.m. (with several distractions, too!), so I had some serious knitting time (plus it's simple stockinette). Check out my progress

I've already cast on one of the fronts and have a few inches of that fabric done as well. Speaking of fabric, check out the closeup of this amazing stuff

First off, the yarn is a brand-new-for-fall fiber called Iona. It's 70% wool, 15% kid mohair, and 15% luxury silk that knits at around 4.5 stitches per inch (though I think it would be happy at 4 stitches). The label recommends a 4.5mm (US 7) needle, but I think I'd use a US 8/5mm and see what I got. There's approximately 160 yards in a hank and it's around $22 or $23 a skein, if memory serves. I'm motoring through this model garment, so they're sending a couple more for me to work on that will be single-strand projects. I'm sure you'll see them here, shortly.

As for shop stock of Iona, the yarn arrived in the US this week and should be done clearing customs. That means they'll be shipping to fill our shelves in the next week or so, and we ordered every single colourway plus the companion pattern collection. HOORAY for new goodies for fall/winter knitting! Also, there's a free pattern on the back of every label for a hat with ear flaps that can be done out of a single skein. Our store manager Sabrina is going to work on that plus a pair of mittens out of one of their red-based colourways (Fire, Tapis, and Earth tend to be her favorites).

It's not a humongous post, but I warn you--the enabling power of this yarn is strong. Much like the new Blue Sky Alpacas new yarn called Suri Merino. Some arrived last week and it's tooooo delicious for words.

Back soon, but for now, I'm off to go finish up the weekly newsletter and grab some dinner, before hunkering down with my left front (that will be done before turning in tonight!). See ya soon!

You Are Officially Put On Notice

Humongous enabling post coming later today.....involving this

that was sent to me by my great enabler.....thank you, Kristi. Job well done--I'm hooked.

If anyone has any doubt....yes, it's Colinette. Yes, it's their mardi Gras colourway. That Kristi knows how to hit me where it hurts....crow that I am.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bloggin' in the Midnight Hour

It seems I can only find time to catch up with y'all on here when it is late at night. The shop has been keeping us all busy of late, between foot traffic and mail order (THANK YOU! for both!), with incoming deliveries galore (some vendors are sure getting the show orders out quickly! and other orders are starting to trickle in as well), and with teaching quite a bit (almost daily in recent weeks). It's all good--I love what I do and I relish being this busy. THANK YOU to everyone involved, from our wonderful customers (near and at a distance), to my wonderful staff (I know many of you read this!), and my great partner Matt (he works so very hard, too!). I don't relish his world--having to put up with a work-a-holic for a life partner and an a@@hole for a business partner. Have I ever mentioned that I'm a total posterchild for Scorpio....'nuff said!

OK--I promised you update pix on my Nanako Jacket (a kit from Habu Textiles), so here you go

No progress in over a week, but I'm to the armhole shaping, which is quite a bit up from the bottom since you saw it last (it was a mere strip then). I'm really liking the way the Japanese knitting patterns are written--quite different from American/western nomenclature, and very refreshing!

The new a fun cardi out of Tahki's great merino yarn called Torino that I'm madly in lust with (it can't be love--it's far too animal in nature). This is the project I started last Tuesday, when we went to catch the live theater in SW Michigan and then I didn't work on for three ful days (or knit anything else). I picked it up again on Friday and have been working HARD on it since

Mind you, I'm making a 44" finished bust (see, Kathy--a good size, no?), so it's a semi-larger sweater and still going along quickly. I just love this stitch pattern

as it looks difficult but is DECEPTIVELY easy. Basically it's 2x2 rib with an alternating section of YO/K2tog stuff going on. Any beginner could work this stitch pattern, yet the results are very sharp. And the yarn......I make EVERYONE who comes into the shop touch this garment...and not just pet, but grab a big ol' handful of knitting to feel the squishy goodness of this multi-plied merino goodness. I should finish the back tonight (seriously--after I leave here, I'll go knit to relax and I'm nearly to the top of the armhole).

Other knitting has been going on (I'm far from project monogamous, folks). I finally completed Dad Sock #1

That's Schaefer Anne for yarn, in a deep, dark, rich green that's almost black. When this skein came in about a year ago (yes, it's been on my needles and bouncing around in my knitting basket for over a year now), I snagged it immediately for socks for my Dad (shortly after I made socks for my Mom, which were gifted to her on Mother's Day 2006, so there's your timeline). The color was PERFECT and very guy friendly (not bright, almost solid, yadda yadda). I had to have more, so I shared a little of this skein with Cheryl Schaefer while at yarn market last month, and they called today to say that I'll be getting more of it shortly (it's ready for shipping this week!). I've also ordered up some more, as I'm sure it will be popular (guy-friendly colors are rare in these parts, especially in this yarn). Check out the awesome richness

You can't tell, but I used my "trademark" 5x1 rib for the leg of the sock. I know my dad has thinner ankles, but I wanted to make sure there was room for his calves, as he golfs alot and walks a good bit. I like this for socks for me, too, as I have mongo calves and the extra room is nice--a great way to get calf shaping without having to do increases or other adjustments.

The shipments, they're a rollin' in these days. You saw the two (of three) boxes of Alchemy yarns and patterns here last Friday. Well first thing on Saturday morning, Molly (a new hire around here) made a nice display of the three new yarns and four model garments.

I'm really pleased to have all four of the garments, for different reasons. The hat, however, pleases me very much as it comes from the hands and brains and spirit of a long-distance friend, Mare, who no longer blogs (yet I hope she sees this...HI MARE!). Our first shipment included Silk Purse

in solids (the multis were dyed just before the folks at Alchemy left for Pitti Filati) as well as some multis in Haiku

and some Silken Straw

All of the model garments are lovely, and lots of folks have started to covet them or purchase yarn to make far it's been a popular line!

My lust grew even stronger, however, this afternoon when our FedEx driver brought by a couple boxes with kanji all over the side of one box. That could only mean one thing

Yup, that's a big, humongous sofa packed with bags and bags of Diakeito yarns of all types. They're such beautiful yarns that A) they've captured Connorls attention, or B) Connor is standing guard over them. (Truth? she was out COLD during these pictures being snapped). There's some Diagrouvefine, some Diamist F Mole, some Dialent, some Diamusee, some Diadomina, some Diamuseefine, and some Diavoyage (Matt's latest addiction). He stumbled into some over a year ago (last April??) when we went on a Tuesday (day off) yarn cruise to Ann Arbor and we stopped at Knit A Round to visit our buds Carrie and Sheri. It's a nice blend of alpaca and wool and around light worsted/dk weight, with amazing color in the yarn. Good stuff--all of it!

That's enough for one day...I'm outta here. I'll be back soon with even more, so come on by. Be well!