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, January 31, 2008

A Completely Lazy Day Off

Matt and I are holding true to our promise to take Thursdays off, and that's a good thing. Wednesdays are typically a late day for us, as we prepare and send the weekly e-mail newsletter for the shop, the brunt of which falls on Matt as he handles it last (I write it, he does the formatting, sending), meaning he's up later, typically. Again, in typical fashion, I fell asleep on the couch after 1 a.m. and he got home around 3:30 a.m., chowed on the remains of pizza that I got on the way home, and then everyone turned in. I got up around 6:30 a.m. and farted around on the computer for awhile, then went back to bed util around 11 a.m. (lazy me!). The remainder of the day, for me, has been spent knitting (a little), online (a lot), and now blogging. Not a bad day! He's off getting his hair cut and then seeing "Sweeny Todd" with our mistress of the hair, Laurie (I didn't care to see the movie, so I'm home with the pups enjoying the solace of pups, an impending BIG snowstorm (predictions are up over a foot on the ground by the end of it all, tomorrow afternoon---none yet, as of 9:30ish), and now blogging.

I promised a little bit of "flash that new stock" in my last post, so lemme get that out of the way first off. We had a nice delivery from our good friends at Lorna's Laces, including several bags of Shepherd Sock (215 yds/50g hank, $11 retail). Check out these great multis

We've not had the Jay Pond since moving to Lansing, over 3.5 years ago. Odd, as we've had it in other yarns, and I like the shade. The Blackwatch is one of my faves from them (I carry a Polo Blackwatch Plaid wallet, purchased in the early 90s), and the Purple Club is a perennial favorite in these parts. The other two are seasonal favorites--Valentine and Mardi Gras. Best of all, the Mardi Gras is a ThreadBear exclusive (woohoo!). For those who want to do stitch work with a sock-weight yarn, we did get some solids, too

The Firefly is a relatively new shade for Lorna's, and we've not had Island Blue in forever. Peach, Brick, and Carrot are typically strong for us as well. There was one other sock-type yarn in the batch

Shepherd Sport in Denim (200 yds/70g hank, $11 retail). Ah, the joys of super-soft and pretty hand-dyed wools!

What was I knitting on all day? Well, it's about high time I get busy on that second version of the striped scarf out of Elegant Yarns Kaleidoscope, no? I tore out what I had knitted previously, as it was a little loose for my taste (colors were in my 1/22 post). I had a little fun this evening, lying on the floor and shooting artsy-fartsy pics for the blog. Check out one from the cast on upwards, while draped over a chair

and the other from the stitches on the needle cable downward

I was kinda bored/dissatisfied with how it started out, but I'm really liking the color play that's happening in the last six to eight inches, especially when combined with the texture from the rib stitch I'm using. I want this scarf completed ASAP, but I do have Betsy's Socks calling my name, out of the Classic Elite Alpaca Sox shown here previously. Hmmmmmmmm, maybe swatching is in order as soon as I finish up here.

Our store manager Sabrina called me after the shop closed at 8 p.m. tonight to talk over a few of the things that transpired over the course of the day. She's headed to some dogsled something-or-other with her husband tomorrow, way up towards the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Not quite the romantic get-away she had in mind,, I'm sure. She said that they're still working on the last part of the deliveries from Tuesday (I told you it was a massive delivery day!), and that new stuff galore arrived again today

  • Cones and hanks of undyed sock yarn for my Hands-On Dyeing Workshop next weekend

  • Patterns from Gardiner Yarn Works, hot off the press from Chrissy Gardiner (you may know her name from designs that have appeared in Interweave Knits. We were their first order of the recent trade show.....and gladly so! (WOOHOO! we're her only Michigan shop!)

  • Opal sock yarn, specifically all colourways that were in stock from Rainforest II and Rainforest III (both are new to our shop)

  • A generous batch of Addi Turbos in various sizes and lengths

  • Another restock of Nancy Lindberg patterns, which are some of the best-written basics you'll ever find (her sock pattern is GOSPEL in our shop, and several others are VERY popular)

  • A big shipment of wooly goodness from Jo Sharp

  • More Colinette yarns

    Yum yum means another busy day of entering invoices and making price tags for me, but for new product, I'll GLADLY do that sort of labor. Hopefully we can get it all stickered and out for the big weekend ahead. With our great staff, I'm sure it can happen!

    I promised, in my last post, a photo of the Tater this time around

    That's a shot nabbed from Matt's blog, where there's more pics of both dogs and a funny story about a dog-related purchase he made yesterday. Slide over there and check out the entire entry--it's well worth the click.

    Back soon with more progress and goodies, as we're being overrun with new goodies daily. If you need anything you see above, just contact the shop by phone (866-939-BEAR toll free) or slip us an e-mail to get the ball rolling. In the mean time, stay warm, and knit like hell!

  • Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    Get The License of the (Yarn) Truck That Hit Us Today

    Good lawdy, today (Tuesday) was an amazing day for deliveries at the shop--we received massive shipments from three distributors, two larger shipments from two other distributors, and at least three other deliveries over the course of the day. They came by USPS, by FedEx, by UPS.....from all directions. Don't let my carping fool you--I'm ecstatic to have all of this new product (some of it is BRAND new, while the vast majority of it is restocks on lots of our proven/favorite merchandise). Photos abound in the next post, but for now, check this out

    that's our management team, Sabrina and Kellie, checking in some of the mountain of boxes that arrived. There's even more waiting for them around the corner

    and a big ol' pile of pretty on the tables in the midst of being stickered

    Yup, if it looks like Shibui, it must be Shibui. That's our first influx from them, including a ton of the sock yarn and lots and lots of great patterns to support it. More here, in my next post, about this stuff. And big thanks to everyone who worked hard today to get this stuff processed--Susan C, Kathy, LuAnn (working hard in the photo above), Kellie, and Sabrina. It wasn't easy, and we appreciate you!

    We're still recovering from the wild weekend, playing host to Franklin and all of the merriment that's involved in a visit like this. It was a great weekend shared with tons of wonderful people, both new friends and old. Check out this great picture

    Poor thing--he was probably worried about being eaten alive by us, as we seem to envelope him. I think my comment, while this picture was being snapped, was that it had to look like he was the hotdog and we were the bun. That would frighten me...or anyone!

    More knitting has taken place....including the finishing of my "Sweet Dreams" sock from Dream in Color,

    in their lovely Smooshy (sock yarn) in the Spring Tickle colourway. My big thanks to Kathy Mac for serving as a very sexy foot model this morning. Here's the full-on foot

    but I like the side view better, as it shows off the stitches (cables and a little bit o'lace) much better. Great pattern, once again, by Monica Nappe. She's my hero!

    Over the weekend, scores of knitters traipsed through the shop for all of the functions (classes, photo shoot, workshops, and more) that were going on. Over the course of the weekend, someone gifted Matt and I with a most adorable item

    I believe it's called "Grandma's Gift" (the item is at home, proudly displayed on an end table in the living room) and Matt knew instantly about the where-froms of the cutie. Check it out a little closer

    It's a teenage sheep, wearing something hand-knitted by his (her?) grandmother. It's ill fitting, it's wild colors, it is looser at the bottom and tighter at the top, and the sheep is wearing tennis shoes (what teen wouldn't?). The look on his face is perfect--"get it off of me!" or some sheepish similar look (yes, I had to go there).

    What the gifter, who requests anonymity, doesn't know is that this couldn't be more perfect for the two of us. Each of us was taught to knit and crochet by our maternal grandmothers, and each of us attempted a sweater as our first major project--ending with similar results. While both of our grandmothers were amazingly handy women, neither turned out items that resembled this one, but we sure did. It's the perfect reminder of their friendship, it's the perfect reminder of our now-passed grandmothers, and it's the perfect gift for two yarn shop owners. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, as you couldn't have chosen anything more touching or appropriate if you had known our individual personal stories!!

    If you're curious, Busby seems to be settling in well in these parts

    Tater (pictures next time) has moved into Alpha Dog role quite readily, we're happy to have a family of four again, and all is well in the knitting world, or at least in this segment of it. We're expecting a nasty storm overnight--we've had horrible rain all evening, and then temps drop about 20F (and well below freezing), so our driveway will ice over and turn into a deathtrap for Matt (he fell three times in two days last week). Maybe Wednesdays should be all about staying home and knitting....but no, we'll be at the shop by 8:45 a.m. sharp. More soon!