Black Dog

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

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Greetings From Ground Zero

Wow, it's just after 2 p.m. EST on Saturday and we're still rather slung up with folks waiting for their turn in the hotseat, so to speak. The photo shoot is going well

with Franklin going strong (that's our own Suann in the chair, knitting away) and dear Franklin just now taking a moment off to eat (he has yet to take a potty break, to my knowledge). Yup--he went over five hours without stopping. Supposedly we've broken his single-day record (it was 50) and headed on for several more than that before we call it quits for the day.

The day at the shop started off normally (well, as normal as it gets in these parts), with extra folks inside for the event as well as my Manos del Uruguay "Block of the Month" group meeting at 11 a.m.

The group was a little smaller than normal (probably due to the other hubub going on), but we had fun and worked on two different blocks. As stated above, it's shaping up to be a normal day around here

with food and good folks (big thanks to Dirty Sue for showing us how to properly eat one of the FAB doughnuts she brought in this morning). And then there was the arrival of another carload from Ann Arbor

complete with Jillian ....meaning....the party is ON! If you're in the area (or can get here by 5 p.m. today), do stop by and have your photo taken as part of the merriment.'s tons of fun in these parts (today and always, we think!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rockin' The Socks

Matt tells me that the photos from our trip to TNNA are in a public folder on the laptop, but since I wanna watch something on tv in about 11 minutes, those will once again be promised to you in another post (hopefully a Friday morning post! SURPRISE!).

In the mean time, today was our official "day off" from the shop, meaning it was totally and completely run by staff, WONDERFUL staff, without our input. Well, I did call in a few times over the course of the day, but nothing major. So I planted my fat ass into the sofa in the living room about 8:30 this morning (the first 45 minutes of my day were spent online, e-mailing vendors, checking out bank balances, and other exciting stuff) and commenced to knitting a new sock.

I had started this sock on the plane westward two weeks ago today, heading to Long Beach. The cuff was a simple one, but for some reason I mucked up the patterning on the fourth round (well, I FOUND the error on the fourth round, which means it was in round two, most likely) and ripped back down to the end of the ribbing, where the pattern starts. It quickly went into "project time out" and was upgraded to "in progress" status late last night, around midnight, when I got home. Mistake! I mucked it up again, so I decided that the cuff was imbibed with bad knitting juju and broke the strand, convinced to cast on in the morning to start anew. And so I did.....

I knitted and knitted all day, completely clicking with the pattern this time around, feeling at one with the sock. See....legus completus

That's the leg of the Sweet Dreams Sock by Monica Nappe, a Dream in Color pattern, worked up in Spring Tickle Smooshy. I love the blend of cables and lace and the pattern is actually quite simple to follow, once you get the rhythm down. Huzzah! Once I'm done here, I get to finish the heel flap and get busy on the foot portion of our program. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of the weekend, as I need the sock for a function on Monday evening.

Speaking of finished socks, yesterday morning was all about knitting the foot of the Sleepwalker sock

displayed above on a FiberTrends sock blocker. And here's an action shot, courtesy of Miss Kellie's foot

Kellie is our new assistant manager at the shop, and that's part of the great reason why Matt and I are planning on having a more normal life in the coming weeks. That and she's quite fab and makes a great addition to our team (well, she was part of the floor team until this week....when we punished her...I mean promoted her). The sock turned out great and eventually I'll make the second one to complete the pair.

One gentle reader asked me about our stock in Smooshy, as it isn't on the website yet. So here's a glam shot of the entire wall

still packed with every single shade. The 100 series is on the left and the 400 series on the right, with 200s and 300s between. They're also stacked from 110 to 180, 210 to 280 (you get the picture), top to bottom. Nice and neat. And a fun display of books on top, complete with my new sock on the far right. This is what greets you when you first walk into the shop. Yum!

Another reader asked about the Trekking Hand Art that was in the "on deck" picture last time around. Here's the three shades currently in stock

complete with names. There are more shades coming, but for now, all three are available for adoption via phone (866-939-BEAR) or e-mail. There's 459 yards (420m) in a hank, and if memory serves they're under $20 each (it just arrived late last week and I'm at home...sorry).

Speaking of familiar sights at the shop, here's a peek at some of the crew knitting and carrying on in the middle seating area last night

Jeanne and LuAnn are two of the many regulars you can find hanging out and knitting any day of the week. Closer examination of the ottoman reveals this

Yup, Tater and The BuzzMan were crashed out together and probably curling up for the communal warmth. That is my parting glance for this post....isn't it adorable?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Skipping Over Promises

I'll post some photos from our trip last week in my next post, despite promising them when last we met here. They're somewhere on Matt's side of the laptop that we share, and I don't have access to them right now. He's off at an appointment and I'll do a little TNNA recap in my next post (most likely tomorrow). Suffice to say that re-entry to our "regular world" last week wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I adjusted to East-Coast-to-West-Coast time alright, but coming back the change in sleeping schedule (and getting back into the swing of things at the shop) didn't go as smoothly as I thought it might. It was Saturday before my internal clock (that gets me up at 7:30 every morning, withotu fail) was reset, and it was the weekend before I got caught up on life around me, too (bills, errands, and the like). But for now, I've been a busy little's proof after a picture and paragraph of thanks

We have some of the most amazing people in our lives, partly through the shop and partly through everyday interactions. As you're probably well aware from our blogs and maybe knowing us in person, we work a TON at ThreadBear. We also have phenomenal staff that work with us and while we're not there, and we couldn't do it without them (THANK YOU, LADIES!). Our management team is amazing, and the hourly staff that put up with us are awesome. Other folks take great care of Matt and I and the pups in a myriad of ways, from bringing us all treats, providing moral support, and a wide range of other "spoilings" (little luxuries they lavish upon us). One of the most amazing things that happens is that one of our custo-friends is an excellent cleaner--she cleans at the shop and also does our home on a weekly basis. Mondays are a treat, as we typically go in early and come home late to a fresh home, complete with a variety of little touches that make our lives much nicer.

Well, yesterday was Monday, and we got home around 11 p.m. (both Matt and I taught a class last night, and by the time we finished fingertailing around and closing out the register, it got late). I got home first, went upstairs to change into what I like to (somewhat jokingly, somewhat not) call "my eatin' clothes"--casual sweats and a grubby t-shirt--and Matt brought home take out. While upstairs, I found this

on the wall near my bed. Janeen had given me the shelf (and a photo frame which isn't filled yet) as a gift, but I hadn't taken the time to put it up. She took the initiative yesterday, and when I walked into the room and flipped on the light, what I saw actually made me cry--that's a photo of Connor I've had for years (of her as a tiny puppy), her red leather collar and tags, and a (now dried) flower arrangement we received from someone wonderful when Connor passed away in October. I added the red canister on the left (her ashes) and it is a lovely memorial/tribute to my beloved black lab, courtesy of the wonderful intentions of some great friends. THANK YOU, ALL OF YOU INVOLVED. You make me cry (then and right now).

Now, onto the knitting portion of our program.....I've made some serious progress on my Charlie Vest

but it has come to a complete halt as of the trip to Long Beach nearly two weeks ago. I knitted on it a little bit on the flight out there, but not since. It rides around in my knitting basket, but other things have taken over. Charlie, I'll be back to you soon! This weekend's project (seriously--started Friday afternoon and blocked on Sunday afternoon) is a new design from Colinette

It's called "Cadenza Crossover" and is a free sheet pattern when you purchase the two hanks of their Cadenza (superwash merino that can also be partially machine dried!) called for in the pattern (PS--sizing is ONE size, newborn to nine months). This dk-weight yarn is very soft and quite affordable (our price is $9.50 a skein, so it's an "under $20 baby gift" for sure). We have every single shade of the yarn in stock, so come on by and/or ring up the phone (toll free at 866-939-BEAR) or e-mail us and get going on yours now!

Socks are mission #1 in these parts for me right now, but there's two other projects that trundle around with me daily in my knitting basket. First off, I'm going to work up another variation on the ribbed bi-color scarf out of Elegant Yarns' Kaleidoscope, a self-striping wool that we stock by the ton

That's one skein each of two different shades (high contrast!) that I'll use with a great reversible stitch pattern to create a long scarf on the cheap ($16, with a free pattern!). You'll see it develop here--PROMISE. The next one that's still getting a little attention (but none since Thursday of last week, unfortunately) is my Habu Textiles Shippo Tail jacket

It's made with a strand of Shosonshei Linen Paper (we have all shades on hand, but not yet online) held with a strand of their Silk Stainless Steel. It's been a fun knit so far, as I cast on for it on New Year's Eve, put it down for a week or so, and picked it up as plane knitting for the trip to TNNA. I did a little bit on it on the way out, knitted an entire sock while there, and picked it up again on the way home (mostly on the Salt Lake City to Cincy leg of our return flight). It's a fun and easy knit, with great results. Check out the texture working in the fabric

I'm in the "brainless" section of the project, but it's not quite knitting-in-the-dark work, as there's two strands to manage and the stainless one is fine and can be dropped if you're not watching somewhat closely. You'll definitely see more of this one soon. On to socks!

I cast on for the cuff of a sock during dinner on Sunday (waiting for sushi with Matt and blogless Delaine). I also worked on the last few rounds while someone polished off the remaining slices, finishing the cuff while riding back to the shop afterwards. Monday (yesterday) morning I picked up the sock and got busy with the stitch pattern, called "Sleepwalker Socks" from Dream in Color Yarns. Yes, mine's done in Smooshy (their dreamy superwash merino--and we have EVERY SINGLE shade in stock right now). Check out the progress

Yup, that's the entire leg of the sock, with a few rows of the heel flap. I worked on it a little bit during my "Intro to Socks" class last night, while they worked on their cuffs (such good worker-bees they were, too!). I'm totally enamoured with the stitch pattern

Great effect and not too difficult (there's no cabling, just YO and either SSK or K2Tog...woohoo!), and just beautiful in the semi-solids from Dream in Color (even with a little bit of Tate fur, as seen near the bottom of that photo). Mine's in Lipstick Lava, from their 200 series. This will e completed SOON, as it's high priority for me.

Also in progress (a less thinking sock, as it's straight stockinette) is this little beauty

made from Rio de la Plata's marled hand-dyed sock yarn. We just got a MONSTER shipment in on Friday of both the marls and the "regular" hand dyed beauties. I should take photos today, just to tempt you. Yes! I shall. This sock is for me, so it's not high priority, but I want to see this pair through to completion.

There are four more socks "on deck" (well, pairs of socks) and needing attention.

The Smooshy (bottom right) is the next sock to be tackled after the one above. It's going to be the other pattern from DIC, called "Sweet Dreams" (both, by the way, are the brainchildren of Monica, who we've had the pleasure of meeting several years ago and a few times since!). I look forward to this "thinking sock", and I hope to start it .... tomorrow. (well, you see the cuff is done)

Others in the picture include Alpaca Sox (upper right), destined to be a pair of socks for someone who works in the knitting industry but doesn't believe in the power of hand-knitted socks (but will be converted with these!). The other two will become shop models, as the Trekking Hand Art arrived on Friday and we have none knitted up (yet) and we have a good bit on hand (hurry up and score some of this awesome stuff--hand dyed TREKKING!) and the Pagewood came and went quickly last week (more shipped out today--38 hanks) but I scored one to use as a shop model. YUMMMMY stuff, all of it.

With that, I'm outta here (plus Matt's on me about needing the laptop to work, which means he'll be adding new yarns to the website very shortly!). If you need anything you've seen above, just contact the shop by phone (toll free at 866-939-BEAR) or by e-mail and we'll do our best to make sure you're well taken care of! See you!