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, August 03, 2007

In The Company of Knitting Royalty

Yup, it's true...I lead a charmed existence. Check this out

Yup, it's Annie Modesitt in the house..currently teaching the first of five classes at the shop this weekend. She's currently knee deep in Combination Knitting, cracking jokes, wearing hats

and imparting wisdom by the bucket load. My favorite part of the day is that Matt and I spent the afternoon with Annie cutting up, eating lunch, scarfing chocolate, consuming Diet Coke, and more. She's a joy to have here in Lansing and I can't wait to see how the entire weekend unfolds. We're honored to have here as a final stop on tour until she returns to her family, her husband Gerry has his scheduled treatments and is better, and her life returns to some sort of interesting shade of normal. And yes, we've already asked her to return next Spring, as her classes were full IMMEDIATELY and lots of folks were disappointed not to be able to have a seat.

See you again shortly....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Brain is Melting

This was taken on Tuesday afternoon, from the front seat of my Ford Exploder For some reason, the temp was registering about 10-14 degrees hotter than it really was, but I thought it was funny to see, as that car hasn't registered heat like that since it lived in South Carolina and Georgia, several years ago. It ended up being a quick anomaly that was righted by moving the car out of the driveway and into shade on the street. Still, it's about 10 degrees warmer than "normal" right now, so everyone's hunkering down in the AC at the shop or at movie theaters or just staying home (not everyone here has AC, mind you...especially in some older homes). Worse yet, there's no relief in sight for about a week or

As a tease to keep you coming back, my next entry will include a detailed listing and photo session with some of the 104 skeins of Schaefer Anne that arrived today
(we're well under 100 in the new stuff, as some locals have come by and picked off a few hanks). There's three "special order" things in the box--a BIG bag of "Scotch Thistle" colourway (much similar to the one used in the HeartStrings stole of the same name), two bags of the green/black mix like my dad's socks, and a bag of solid black (a perennial favorite in these parts, and hard to find cuz it's hard to dye), plus tons and tons of random colors from one end of the spectrum to the other. We love Cheryl Schaefer and yer crew--beautiful yarn from great people!

Recent deliveries include the following num-nums

Helen's Lace in Forest....three hanks available, $56 each for over 1,200 yards. Additional colors of Shepherd Sock

arrived as well, and are $11 a hank for 210 yards of sock-weight loveliness. We love yarns from the wonderful folks at Lorna's, and they've also sent two version sof the FiberTrends Landscape Shawl (one in Lion & Lamb and one in Shepherd Sock) for us to display for awhile and to support a class our store manager Sabrina will teach in a couple weeks.

Something new to the shop would be the Mac & Me patterns, a few of which I'll show you here

Just a few of the whimsical baby/toddler hats that we stock the pattern for. They're terribly adorable, and only at this age will you be able to put snakes or Frankenstein on their heads without a giant NO.

They do a great job of baby blankets, too, including several that are made with the fab Blue Sky Cotton (I covet making the ones in the bottom right corner of that photo). Speaking of coveting

these are just three of the wonderful scarf/wrap patterns from this designer. Laurie covets the babushka pattern a big ton and wants to make SOMETHING out of the Alpaca & Silk that we's lovely stuff.

Something unusual and fun appeared on Monday

Yup--those are electric ball winders, on our winding table at the shop. We have them out for those who want to speed up the winding process (with staff supervision, of course), and we have a couple of the small ones for sale. As I suspected (and has been reinforced with watching the reactions the past couple days), the target market for these won't be female knitters, but more likely their husbands/partners. They're the ones that wind much of the yarn and/or are fascinated by anything with an electric motor inside. Nuff said on that one!

The latest issue of Vogue Knitting arrived on Friday

to rave reviews, and with good reason. It's still at $6.99 for the issue, but this time around it's the 25th anniversary issue, packed with over 70 designs, great articles, fantastic display advertising, and free patterns from Tahki/Stacy Charles/Filatura di Crosa (hooray! we stock their stuff). From cover to cover, it's a winner (and we even have the yarns needed to make the scarf design on the front, by Nicky Epstein).

A little bit of samplin' yarn came in yesterday

That's the new Soxx Appeal from K1CToo, and I want to try it before committing to adding it to our shelves. I've heard good things, and the texture and sproing makes me very curious to see how it knits up. You'll know here when I get me!

And last (well, for new product stuff) is this sample/swatch book

Yup, two weeks later than I expected, it's a color card for the Kauni Effektgarn. We're talking about ordering right away, so given current lead times, I'd expect the yarn to be here late September, maybe October.....and the Rainbow (Harlot colourway) may take even longer to get here due to tremendous demand and large backorders. As you can see, it comes in several shades across the spectrum, and we'll probably bring in several of them, if not all. I don't have answers as to price yet, but I'm working on that (it was quoted to us in Euros, and I have to make sure that we also account for significant shipping costs, as it comes from The Continent). Suffice to say that it won't be winning any "uber-softness" awards any time soon, as the yarn is spun from Shetland fleece and has all of the (wonderful) characteristics of Shetland yarn--and it will be durable as HELL and last FOREVER with proper care. That is how a yarn should behave!! They also sent a full catalogue and a poster

that shows another design in the rainbow colourway (STOP's hard enough to get now!). Details forthcoming, as soon as I know more...promise


The hoodie, she is blocked and ready to be shipped out

Sorry, but while it was drying on the bed in the spare room, it reminded me of the death eaters from the Harry Potter movies. Mostly because of that long hood. And yes, I'm weird. As Emily would say, "Bless it and move on!" Please excuse the hindquarters of Mr. Tater in that picture--he insists on reclining on the bed in the sun during the morning and afternoon. And trust me, he would NOT have stood for being pushed off for a photo shoot.

Progress for days on projects old and new

That's the first front from the Torino cardigan, which continues to plod along nicely. I've already completed the ribbing for the second front, so I'm into the lacey patterning and headed northward, towards the armhole decreases.

Other fronts have been completed, too

That's both of the Iona cardigan (called Tully), completed earlier this week and now I have a sleeve on the needles for that project. But not much progress to show as of today.

I'm wranglin' around with what to do with the sock yarn from Neighborhood Fiber that we'll be using in our next monthly Sock-It-To-Me Group, which meets on Monday, August 27th @ 6:30 p.m. I think the options are

these three designs from Kalamzaoo Knits, a local group of designers with some pretty darned good patterns. Each of the three designs incorporates cables, so I'm definitely in a cable mood for this specific yarn. I may gauge swatch tonight to make sure I get the required gauge for these patterns.

I'm sneaking the above-mentioned knitting for the shop in and around some serious knitting I"m doing for the US Colinette distributor. There's currently six different garments here for knitting for them, and three different people (myself, Kathy, and Suann) are all working on a project called Boogie Woogie from the latest book of patterns for Jitterbug. There are two options....the ladie's version, with a high waist

and the men's (or unisex), with a shorter welt

I'm working on the latter, as is Kathy; Suann has the former. Hers is in Kingfisher (STUNNING), Kathy is working with Copperbeech, and me....I'm using one of my favourite colourways...

Yup, that's Dusk, a beautiful blend of blues and greens, with smidge of red tossed in. At the time I took these photos I wasn't very far along

but I've made significant progress today, during meetings with Matt and Sabrina (our store manager) and while working on things online this morning. It's not exactly speedy knitting, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it and the resulting fabric is just decadent. Num num!

With that, I'm out for now. If you need any of the above-mentioned goodies or you have further questions, please be in touch via e-mail or phone (866-939-BEAR toll free) and anyone here can help you!

I'm off to go knit some more and get ready for another BUSY day at the shop on Thursday. We have preparations to handle for our upcoming visit from Annie Modesitt, who arrives on Friday. I also have a day of stuff to take care of and probably significant deliveries of new goods. And then in the late afternoon one of our other favorite sales reps, Diana, shows up for the evening. Plus there's always supervising the hanging of our Second Annual Customer Trunk Show, which is going up right now for a weekend opening. Since Sabrina's gone on a long weekend of knitting fun, I suppose I get to take the helm on the floor in her absence. OK--I'm already tired. C-YA!