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, November 02, 2007

I Couldn't Be Any More Fortunate!

While my Mom went into labor on Hallowe'en 44 years ago, she managed to stave off birth until 6:30 on the morning of November 1st. That means that yesterday was my birthday, and I had a fantastic and joyous day.

It actually began the night before, when we got home from the shop around 11:30 p.m. (Wednesday is when we send out our weekly newsletter, and it is typically a long evening for us). I got home first, as Matt lagged behind with shutting down computers and the like. I got to the end of our block (we live on the end of the street, right along the Grand River) and started to turn into our driveway, only to spie this

(yes, our home has two front doors--not our choice, we rent--and we don't know why we have two front doors). We were gifted with the pumpkins from our customer-friend Margaret two weeks prior, when we visited her home, which includes a herd of 13 alpaca and a big vegetable garden. They decorated the stairs for awhile, and some wonderful soul decided to be very kind to us and transform them just a little bit

That's a scarey face on top and a big dog paw on the lower stair. They were illuminated from inside with a candle and were the perfect kind gesture at the end of a long day. I have my suspicions, but there were no damning clues (other than the dog paw, but our love of dogs is no secret). Whomever did it, THANK YOU, and you made me actually tear up while pulling in the driveway. To think that someone cares enough to take the time to do this for us.....I am blessed with amazing friends and customers and family--no doubt!

The day yesterday was filled with lunch with staff/friends, a tasty ice cream cake that Matt picked out, my gift from my Mom, and countless e-mails and cards from a number of folks. To all that made my day so special, THANK YOU! Fourty four ain't so bad!

Today we got to the shop earlier than normal, as we had a visit from a sales rep scheduled for 10 a.m. Had I not slept in, this post would have been up early! We finished up with Therese and then I got to dig through the new stock that came in today. I think my favorite delivery would have to be from our good friends at Lorna's Laces....check these out!

They're a little plastic paint can that has two skeins of Shepherd Sock and a basic sock pattern, all for just $25. Given that Shepherd Sock is $11 a hank and patterns run $4 to $6 for basic socks, it's like getting an ADORABLE storage container for free! Check out a close up

These would be a phenomenal gift for a knitter (or yourself!) and would be fab as a stocking stuffer, no? We have random colourways of the sock yarn and will continue to get more in over the coming weeks. If you're interested, just call the shop (866-939-BEAR), drop by and check the out, or slip us an e-mail and anyone here can help! I'm sure these will be scooting out the door soon!

I've not had much time for knitting lately, but the Ramblin' Rows Afghan out of Blue Sky Dyed Cotton moves along at a decent clip

I'm a couple more blocks further along since this photo, taken last night, and I'm closing in on the finish--under 10 blocks remain. So we all know what that means....NEW PROJECT!!!

Manos del Uruguay is a wonderful company that hand-crafts and hand-dyes beautiful yarns for hand knitting. Their newest addition to the line is part of their Spring/Summer 2008 offerings, and it is amazing stuff

That's 70% merino and 30% silk in a single-ply yarn that's about sport/dk-weight (6 or 5.5 sts/inch), and hanks will be $11.50 retail for 110 yards of loveliness. I have ten hanks of it in the colourway Adobe, so we can get a shop model knitted up in advance of the delivery. Supposedly the first shipment left Uruguay yesterday, with an anticipated delivery date of the 10th in Phillidelphia (where the US distributor is located). I do believe we're the first order in the can, thanks to our fab sales rep, so we should have ours before Thanksgiving, more likely around the 15th.

Last night I resurrected my toe-up sock in Schaefer Heather, as seen here before.

I've pulled the waste yarn and put stitches on dpns for the afterthought heel. That means I'm gonna put that heel in shortly (maybe even tonight). You know you'll see it here when I do.

For now, I'm off to eat lunch with Matt and Sabrina--time for chinese take out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Been Tryin' To Get To This All Day!

I snapped a bunch of photos yesterday, cleaned them up and labeled them this morning, and then life got in the way. But I'm fortunate to lead the life I lead, bumps and detours aside.

Being a "day off", I got up this morning around 8 a.m. (that's about an hour later than usual--but getting up can now be a little later, since Connor isn't needing to go out first thing in the morning; we're still missing her greatly in these parts, but it's moved into the "she had a great life and is now part of our beautiful memories" phase for me....tho when I bumped into her collar and tags this evening in the kitchen, Tate's head popped up and he came running as if to find her and I had a tear or two fall while he sniffed her empty collar). I worked on my photos and got several "blog ready" before one of our sales rep/friends called--she was in the Detroit area yesterday and was going to stop by here on her way back home (St. Louis), so I got an ETA on her arrival. I started to make a cinnamon/sour cream coffee cake so we'd have nibbles while we visited, and that got Matt up from his slumber.

Dianna arrived a little earlier than I expected, we visited over coffee and snacks, and we then moved into ordering some new product for the shop. Some of it was restock, but a good bit of the order from one company is new to us. With this new order, we'll expand the types of wool roving and spinning equipment available at the shop--not that we haven't carried spinning fiber and wheels from Louet, but we just placed an order for significantly more product, plus restocks on several yarns that were getting low. While she was here, I decided to order a ton more sock yarns (Fortissima and Zitron Trekking stuff) and restock on other things as well. And after she took off, I ran to the shop for a little bit to knock out a couple errands (toner cartridge, note cards, yadda yadda) and to see the new shipment of Cascade 220 Superwash that arrived (nearly 100 pounds of it, and all but two were new-to-us shades!). And now I'm home again, about to have a treat--Matt's "nesting" and had reorganized the kitchen and dining room at home and is about to make dinner for us by himself!. And you're wanting pictures, not text!

First off, glam shots of Charlotte's Web, completely blocked and ready for fringing. See?

Damn, Matt did a good job of blocking on this puppy! (thanks, darlin'). Check out an extreme close-up of my stitching

I hope to work on the fringe tonight and have it 100% completed! HOORAY (we all know that a finished project means I can start two new ones, right?)

I've also made some serious progress on the Ramblin' Rows Afghan out of Blue Sky Dyed Cotton

There's even a couple more squares done since this photo was taken on Monday, so it's really getting close to being finished as well! This has been a VERY fun project to work on, and I know the bright colors will attract much attention as a shop model. This is what I intend to work on this evening, after dinner.

With the big focus on the baby afghan, I've not spent much time with my Spanish Dancer Shawl

Right now, this is mainly my "sitting in the car while Matt drives" or "knitting at night in the dark" project, but it will move up the food chain as soon as the binkie is completed. And I have about three or four major contendors on deck for new projects once I am able to start something (but not until something else is finished). There's not been enough sock progress to bother you and share right now, so that's about it for projects and progress.

We did get some F-U-N new stuff in on Monday. Check out this new shipment of Mountain Colors Bearfoot

and yes, even more

We received over three dozen hanks, along with some patterns, in our most recent shipment. My only sad news is that with this shipment, the price went up to $24 a hank, but that's still a great price on an amazing yarn. I'm thrilled to have some of their newest colourways, too (Eureka, Red Willow, Sun River, and Sapphire Trail), and at 350 yards of superwash wool, mohair, and nylon that's lovingly hand-dyed into smashing colourways from these talented dyers, purchasing this stuff is a slam-dunk for me.

Not to be left out, we got another influx of Dream in Color Smooshy as well

which also went up to $21.50 a hank (we had just gotten some at $21 a hank, within the past month). Ah, the joys of price increases thanks to the weak US dollar. Either way, this, too, is an amazing bargain, given that it's 450 yards of hand-dyed superwash merino that's uber soft and beautiful colors. But wait, there was more in the box.....

We had received a sample skein of this evil stuff with our last Smooshy order and boy howdy was I thrilled to see it. That's 100% superwash merino LACEWEIGHT by Dream in Color, in their stunning colourways, in 700-yard hanks. They're thinking about carrying this as a product and we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the fiber, which I promptly ordered up right away. It's lighter than sock yarn at 9 stitches per inch, but it's also slightly heavier than "traditional" laceweight yarn. Our first sample skein is already on the needles somewhere (not mine--the project in progress is a stealth one that someone else is working on for me). For now, we have the above skeins (several of each colourway) and they're $21.50 each. YUM YUM!

In need of further information or want some of what you see above for yourself? Slip us an e-mail or call the shop at 866-939-BEAR and anyone here can help. In the mean time, I'm gonna go knock out a few more modules! BE WELL!!!