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, October 05, 2007

Gone Too Long

Ya know, it's been too hard to drag myself back in front of the monitor and too easy to silence myself, but I feel like I need to get "back on the horse" so to speak and get back to blogging and rejoin life, already in progress. Sorry for the blackout period, and here's to increased communication from this end from here on.

A quick recap.....well, Annie Modesitt was here for workshops at the start of August (wow, was that really two months ago) and we were busy in and around her wonderful visit, but little did I know what was in store. Matt left for a week in Georgia to visit his family shortly thereafter, and it's a bitch and a half trying to shepherd this place by myself. I did garner a little bit of respect and some thanks, too, for him with the absence. Right after he got back, it was headlong into preparing for our Fall Yarn Tasting events (two weekend nights in early September), which for me meant speed knitting on models, juggling finances and getting tons of new product into the shop, ordering patterns and model garments galore to support the function, and in general, just lots of BUSY in and around regular shop operations. WHEW! It wasn't easy. Then the fun stuff kicked in.

Once again, we began having some pretty serious problems in our personal life--as chronicled previously (the April 24, 2006 entry--also the first one after a long silent period by me)'s never been easy for the two of us, and we don't really get along well on an interpersonal level. He can't stand several major traits of mine and I abhor several behaviours he exhibits and there's just lots of mistrust, disrespect, and overall hard feelings between us, on a daily and ongoing basis. There's been periods of "let's make it work" and sections of time where "we need to both be flexible and more understanding" that things got better, but it typically and quickly descended back into the yuck-pit of anger and disappointment. Things are tough, and at times it seems kinda bleak, but it's weird on some fronts---I almost feel like we HAVE to make it work between us, for a variety of reasons (the shop, the dogs, etc.). Is this how married folks with children feel? And I hate that things like this tend to keep me from here and snuff my voice, as it isn't fair to me, it isn't fair to readers, and it's damaging to the shop as a whole because this isn't so much a personal blog as it is a shlog--part shop, part blog. So I find it hard to explains things here......

Another unfortunate thing for me is that when we're fighting, I don't feel like I have anyone to confide in--no "gal pal" sort of a friend (tho Deb from Indiana did a good impression of one, or at least of an understanding ear to yell into, earlier this afternoon). I don't have a non-work-related blog where I can vent, I don't have any really close friends here (or anywhere else, really), and I'm not overly close with my immediate family (who's not that immediate at 741.43 miles from here. So I'm stuck sitting on the anger, so to speak, and swallowing hard on it only makes me resent everything even more. Oh, to have a confidant! But then gain, I'm a scorpio--we play our cards close to the vest, so to speak. (wow, this couldn't be more wrong, on every single level). Few get past the outer shell.

So, in and around everything else, the shop has been doing quite well (we've been very pleased with how busy things stayed all summer and now continue to build into the fall, despite the unseasonably warm weather we're having right now, more than 20F warmer than normal). Matt's blogging again, he's spending a good bit of time on Ravelry, and he's getting more product online (just last week two yarns from Habu Textiles went up, along with the ULTRA-fab sock yarn from Neighborhood Fiber Co and the awesome Karida). We had a nice, smallish delivery of Koigu today, with more coming soon and hopefully the pipelines opening up to what they were four or five years ago (right, Taiu?). Matt's made up some Charlotte's Web kits again that will "go live" on the main website sometime in the next 24 hours (there's four, and ONLY four, kits available right now). And we've had TONS of new product arrive, some brand new to us and some restocks from our wonderful vendor/partners. I'm so very fortunate to be working with such wonderful yarn companies, pattern suppliers, designers, and more.

Oh, I nearly forgot---in the middle of everything outlined above, our trusty Sony Mavica, the digital camera that has been with ThreadBear since the very beginning, finally gave up and quit working. Cut to a couple weeks later, Matt gets me to purchase the digital camera of his dreams--a Cannon Rebel--that comes with a hefty price tag! OUCH! It was hard to let the old Mavica go, but I have to admit that the new photos are really nice with the new camera....but I don't have as easy an access to the new camera as I did the old one (the old one used to live in a drawer up front at the shop....Matt keeps the new one on his person almost 24/7, and the only way I know to upload photos right now is to do it to HIS laptop, which makes it difficult to blog on a whim for me.

I've been knitting up a storm, but I haven't much COMPLETED things to show right now (several are off for finishing to a couple special people who are helping me with this, currently--THANK YOU, special people!), but I have lots in progress! I've also been teaching a ton, as most, if not all, of my classes seem to be "making" right now, which is FANTASTIC in my book. I truly enjoy teaching (it's what I did prior to starting ThreadBear, both at the high school and university level). There's something really special (to me) about watching someone learn, about seeing that inner light bulb go off, and to know that they're expanding their skill set and knowledge in a topic or area. That's so incredibly rewarding to me...and I truly thank my students for feeding that very positive part of my personality.

Speaking of classes, I'm in the midst of teaching a class of nine who are working on The Einstein Coat from Sally Melville's "The Knit Stitch".

That's a group shot of eight of the nine, as one had a previous engagement on the East Coast for that evening.

I think I paced the sessions well, as everyone had their skirt knitted by the second meeting, and they're beautiful to behold

That's Pam's on the right (in Malabrigo Chunky--Lime Blue) and LuAnn's on the left (in Madil Iceland Print).

Ginny is working hers up in a strand of WoolPak 14-ply held with a strand of Sockittome by Cherry Tree Hill

with great effect! Monica is using Malabrigo Chunky as well,

and her shade is Jaen (a very lovely shade for her!). She didn't believe me when I said the skirt was the right size

Please excuse her attire--she comes to knitting class right after ballet class. Such a well-rounded person!

You really can't appreciate it from this photo,

but Deb is making beautiful fabric by holding two strands of Cascade 220 together--one heathered and one solid (but both very close in shade). The resulting fabric is a very subtle tweed that's going to be a wardrobe staple for her this season and beyond! Also in the above photo is Melinda's in Malabrigo Chunky in Lettuce (that's the BRIGHT green)--she's being a good person and knitting one for her friend! And on the left is Kathleen's beauty, in Malabrigo Chunky in Stone Chat (LOVELY in person, too!). You also see a smidge of my own project, out of a rich purple shade of Touch Me (yup, I'm doing the felted version--truly decadent).

Rita's working hard on hers in Cascade 128

in a very versatile navy--she and LuAnn have some awesome buttons picked out (I don't recommend choosing buttons until a garment is finished, but if you saw the buttons with the fabric they're knitting, you'd understand why I "let" them choose buttons first).

Overall, there's one more in progress, out of Malabrigo Chunky (Noviembre)...the breakdown is five in Malabrigo Chunky, one with doubled Cascade 220, one with Madil Iceland, one with Cascade 128, and one with Madil Iceland, and me with Touch Me. Each of the nine will be a beautiful and useful coat that will be worn and worn again in the colder months ahead. You'll see more photos here, as class winds down and they start finishing up their awesome projects. There's also talk of a "class reunion" over a meal in the near future, too! What a great group of people I'm working with....I'm so fortunate!

I've heard it said that there's nothing to teach on a project like this, but I heartily disagree, if you plan the "curriculum" properly. So far we've worked on the project itself (skirt, yoke pieces, and now sleeves), and I've thrown in things like a new cast on, ways of reading your knitting, a different/fast bind off, and why you slip as if to knit or slip as if to purl and how to tell the difference. Next session we seam--sleeves and shoulders--and I intend to present some other tips about that and picking up for collars, etc. I've also helped a couple in the class modify the buttonholes to fit really special buttons they've chosen for their coats (Rita has beautiful ceramic ones that match PERFECTLY and LuAnn chose a dyed Tauga Nut button that's a bang-on match for the blue in her multi). So see--if you look for opportunities, they present themselves.

I've got tons of other photos to share (currently stored on the laptop that Matt uses, so not readily accessible right now), including some shots of my socks (yes, plural) in progress as of this week, of my Ramblin' Rows Afghan, and more. And after later tonight, I'll have a new Charlotte's Web on the go with the Alchemy Yarns' Naturalist that's almost completed, some skeins marinating to become a Babies & Bears for GrownUps, and so much more. Hold on tight---here comes abundance!

Be well, knit like mad, and thanks for reading.....and for coming back after a much-too-long hiatus.