Black Dog

Just a little outpost on the web for me to ramble, post pix, share ideas, and be a part of the crowd.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where Time Just Slips Away From You

That's where I live right now, as I can't seem to eek out a meager block of time to post something on here. So tonight, against my better judgment (I'd rather be at home, in sweats, on the couch, knitting). So here goes...(any bonus points for dedication?)

There's been some knitting going on. I finished a couple things recently

That's a new-to-us design called "Don't Spit The Seeds" that is made with Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted. It's sized for kids in a 1, 2, and 4 and is a dream to work up and assembles quickly. I thought that the duplicate stitch might be tedious, but it went VERY quickly! I made the size 2, and with another skein of the main color (deep pink), you could make another out of the remainders of the CC colors. COOL!

I also finished my Charlotte's Web, and it's at home waiting to be blocked by the master. I fully and readily admit that I don't have the patience for things like that, and I'm very thankful that Matt does, as I'd probably finish it off with lighte fluid and a match (it's not hard to do, I just don't have that kind of discipline). Pictures early next week, as I'm sure it will take a couple days to dry--we're expecting rain the next couple days in these parts.

Of course, two FOs means that I get to start four things, right? Well, I've shown some discipline of late. I went back to something I started about a month ago....with this pattern using these fun colors

That's Blue Sky Dyed Cotton in five slightly lively shades. And here's my progress as of this afternoon

which is even further along now (the gap has been filled in on the left, with a yellow rectangle, and I've made progress on the first module of the next row, a large orange square beneath the yellow and orange pieces). Curious about how it will look, all laid out and completed (me too!)

That's a page we create for our customers at the shop to illustrate the layout with different colors in different places. Matt has created a file that he uses with scans of the yarns to show how much the overall impact changes with an alteration in color placement. I had a different layout that was a close second, with the blue elsewhere and one of the "hot" colors in that spot, and it just wasn't as nice as this layout. It's amazing to see the results that he prints out with a little digital manipulation. This all started awhile back when our friend Rachel knit one as a baby gift waaaay back in the dark ages of ThreadBear--so far back that I can't find the picture in Matt's archives right now (all that blasted moving back and forth from Blogger to Moveable Type to Blogger and now to WordPress. Hers was in Cascade Sierra in very non-traditional baby colors (purple, orange, sea blues and greens) and quite lovely!

So, what I really did start is a project I've been obsessed with for a few months, but I've never broken down and cast on to start. It's Spanish Dancer, from Knitty

but you would never know by my meager progress to date. It's turning out pretty so far, tho

The colourway is called "JohnB", and I really like it alot. It's the same colourway as my coveted skein of lace silk from them

and I've since learned it's named from one John Brinegar. Hmmmmmmm. I wonder what I have to do to get my own.....

You may have noticed the monstrous yarn cake in the first shot of the shawl. Yup--that's a full seven hanks of Claudia Handpaints Fingering--all 1,295 yards/350g of it, possibly without a single knot! Odd, you might say, but so am I. Awhile back we ordered "shawl bundles" of the Fingering from the great folks at Claudia and they delivered! We've sold several, but we still have several on hand

Some are 7-hank/350g size and some are a full 10-hank/500g (the 10-hank option is a full 1,850 yards!). If you're a shawl knitter, they're a great find, as you don't have knots to contend with (well, extra knots--they're not guaranteed to be knot free, as breaks happen in the spinning process). The pricing on them is $70 for the 350g and $120 for the big-uns (500g). We got the 350g ones at a bit of a price break, so they're passed on to you at that same discounted rate (they should be $84 for that much yarn).

Progress pics as they are warranted, I promise. And I am about to embark on a new WIP, so I'll show the basket of loveliness here on Friday (later today, if you're reading this overnight or in the morning).

Shameless commerce time!

Over the weekend we received a new influx of sock yarn from Susie. It's her lovely 100% merino superwash that we carry for $25 a skein, with tons of yardage (over 400 yards) and a hand-beaded stitch marker, complete with Swarovsky crystal, attached

Click on the above picture to see the larger version, which includes colourway names. We have only one left of some of these colors, but several have multiple skeins available. Pretty pretty stuf, and Susie promised that we'd have more by week's end....and tomorrow's Friday! HOORAY!

If you're looking for a kit to make your very own Tulip Cardigan, a Dream in Color pattern, we have what you're looking for

There's one, and only one, of these on hand right now )in the "Original" colourway). Almost all of the kits we sold this summer were hand-wound by our own Suann amd we declared a truce as of September 1st. From then on, we only have what we have on hand, and right now we have this kit ONLY and in this colourway ONLY. They're $32 and include the pattern, so if you're interested, the first one to claim it via e-mail and then finalize everything (address, payment info) will be the recipient. She will be making more later on, but we have what we have until her burnout retracts a little bit.

And with that, I'm out for now. Time to take Tater home and for me to relax a little bit with some cotton modules on a vibrant baby binkie. And then off to beddy bye! More later, but if you need more info about anything you see above, slip us an e-mail or contact the shop after 9:30 a.m. EDT at 866-939-BEAR (toll free) and anyone here can help!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I find myself at the shop at 6 p.m. EDT on a Sunday afternoon, after a busy weekend. We had a fantastic Saturday with five different merchants set up in the shop offering their wares as part of our Third Annual Fall Festival and foot traffic was strong all weekend. Today is the second day of above-normal temperatures, cloud-spotted skies, and seasonal color across the entire area. The trees along the Grand River are smashingly beautiful, and we're fortunate to live right along the banks, just north of the downtown Lansing core in an area called Old Town.

We've had a weekend of amazing friends and customers and family coming through the shop offering hugs, cards, flowers, remembrances, wonderful stories, treats for Tate, and so many more supportive and understanding gestures. Saturday night was "Fiber Klatsch" night (everyone brings something to share and their projects in progress and carries on for the evening) and Matt and I left around midnight, sat up and unwound for a bit until about 2 a.m., and turned in for a night of sleep. Today brought a fun and final class of "Intro To Socks" for me to teach, and we spent the day doing toe decrease and kitchener stitch to close up the toes, followed by the catwalk strut of showing off a finished sock to anyone who happens to be in the shop at that time.

Sounds almost idyllic, no? I've spent the past hour, after closing, catching up on some paperwork and doing a little ordering to refresh stock over the coming days. I've gotten better about my grief, knowing that I'm grieving for the empty spot that's in my heart right now, still packed with memories and anecdotes and giggles about the happy times I've shared for 11 years with Connor in my life. And then I go to my blog and scroll down to the picture I posted on Tuesday night, after she passed. And I burst into tears and lose it.....completely lose it.

After reaching out for the screen and trying to scruff behind her ears, I open the comments to a recent post and find this

We who choose to surround ourselves with lives more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.

Unable to accept it's awful gaps, we still would live no other way....We cherish memory as the only certain immortality.


I'm not sure who this is, but her words serve as an amazing salve for the wound I've reopened with this quick check of my blog. Thank you, Ellen, and so many others, for your words of comfort, hugs of understanding, and cards and flowers of support. Matt and I and Tate and Connor cannot thank you enough.