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, February 16, 2008

I'm Torn....

Should I post pix of:

  • the fourteen remaining skeins of my own hand-dyed sock-weight yarn (fourteen of 26 remain)


  • the newest shipment of Pagewood Farms Chugiak that arrived yesterday.

    Comment away!

  • Thursday, February 14, 2008

    A Quick Drive-By Post

    Day off..........but with some work thrown in for good measure. We delayed the weekly e-mail newsletter put out by the shop via e-mail by one day, so it had to be worked on today instead of last night. There was a smidgen of news we had to nail down before publishing, so now that we have details, out goes the newsletter (thanks to Matt, who's putting the icing on the cake right now, so to speak). I compile and write the text and he fancies it up.

    I haven't knitted much today, despite it being my day off. Lots of newsletter writing got in the way, and then I came by the shop to use a good internet connection, etc., and to make stickers for a LARGE shipment that arrived today (SR Kertzer Northern, a 100% acrylic worsted weight with a FAB price point--$3.49 for solids, $3.99 for multis, 100g/230yard skeins). It's gonna be stickered in the morning and on the shelves right away, so if you're in the market for a well-priced total easy care yarn, this is it!

    Otherwise, that's about it for now.......I'm headed home to knit some more on my Shippo Tail cardigan from Habu. YUM.....we received another shipment from them yesterday, so I got motivated and pulled that out again. Updates here, soon. C YA!

    OH--I nearly forgot! We expect a shipment from Koigu to arrive tomorrow (Friday, the 15th). Ten kilos/22 pounds of goodies, including some solids (KPM) and lots of KPPPM (multis).

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Deliveries, We Get Deliveries!

    While it wasn't quite the monster day I had planned for, it was a good delivery day nonetheless. We didn't get three of the orders I thought we would (they are each scheduled in for Wednesday delivery), we did get the big, monster sock yarn shipment I thought we would

    That's about $6,000 worth of sock yarns of various types, including Zitron Trekking, Fortissima Mexico Country, Zitron Trekking Pro Natura, Austermann Step, and Zitron Trekking Hand Art, as well as blank (undyed/natural) hanks of Zitron Trekking and Trekking Pro Natura yarns (perfect for you to add your own color to...mwahahah!). Our shelves for these yarns are now brimming with choices for your sock needles, including so many of your all-time favorites (yup, the coveted Trekking 100 is here again!). YUM YUM for new sock yarns!

    Speaking of socks, I was a busy beaver recently and finished up the Betsy's Sox

    Now all that remains is to wrap them up and get them off in the mail to their recipient. I sure hope she's as surprised as I think she'll be......more on this later, but they're winging their way east as of Wednesday morning.

    It's high tide I did something in the way of socks for myself. I whipped up a couple rounds on my long-forgotten toe-up socks out of Rio de la Plata plied sock yarn

    and I deem it long enough to lay in the waste yarn for the heel. I also got started on my Kasimir the Daredevil sock

    That's above the increases for the toes and into the straight foot part. This yarn is addictive due to the patterning--I couldn't put it down this morning, as once I finished the blue, I had to see the yellow added in, which then meant I had to see how the red would look, as it completed the three colors used in the patterning. See what I mean--addictive!

    Oh, and while we're still on sock yarns, I did dye over 20 hanks yesterday (Monica asks what I'm using for base--Treadsoft, a 100% merino superwash with 450 yards to the 4-ounce hank). They're still damp/cold today, so I brought them into the floor part of the shop (I did the dyeing in the back room, which is SPARSELY heated thanks to a crappy HVAC system at the shop), hopefully they'll finish drying overnight so we can rehank and I can share pictures. Hopefully tomorrow/Wednesday...if not, then Thursday for sure! THey are dropping like flies, so to speak, as local folk are getting some sneak peeks and some are latching onto skeins before they're even dry/rewound. At $22.50, I'm hearing that they're well worth the price. One semi-local mail order customer had us send one from the weekend batch yesterday (Monday) and she received it today; her e-mail of thanks (THANK YOU FOR ORDERING!!) said it was even prettier in person than on the picture, so I hope that's a good sign for y'all out there...once I do get pictures posted of individual skeins.

    The most fun part of the deliveries today were these little lovelies from Lorna's Laces
    Yup, those are the limited edition Duets kits, a collaborative project between Lorna's Laces and Mountain Colors, two amazing women-owned yarn companies. The idea is that they will jointly produce a limited edition kit every quarter, with a different designer and a different type of project each time around. The first project uses the Palette of Colors Shrug

    design by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer of HeartStrings Fiber Arts. It's a beautiful design making the most of two fabulous yarns--Helen's Lace from Lorna's and Wool Crepe from Mountain Colors. Check out the fibers, out of their boxes

    and now look at them individually

    Blackberry & Larkspur--just beautiful for you purple fans out there

    Gold Hill & Yellowstone--beautiful autumnal shades

    Sandridge & Chinook--perfect for that touch of neutrals and a little bit of subtle color (also the color in the finished garment, above)

    Red Rover & Ruby River--for those who aren't afraid of a bold color statement

    Black Watch & Evergreen--subtle sophistication with a blue/green overtone

    Kits include the pattern and one hank of each yarn and are packaged in a cute little see-through container that's perfect for holding small projects once this one is completed. They're $110 while they last, which is a great deal, as Helen retails for around $65, Half Crepe is over $40, and the pattern is included, along with the cute container. They're here and they're ready to ship out--and we might be the FIRST yarn shop to have theirs (seriously--the Half Crepe was delivered to Lorna's on Monday and they shipped out our order later that day, and it arrived today as we are just a single day away, via UPS). Interested in one? Just call us toll free at 866-939-BEAR or slip us an e-mail to get the ball rolling. We currently have two kits of every color on hand (the third one in Red Rover and Ruby River will become a ThreadBear shop model, to live her permanently).

    Time for gratuitous puppy shots. Buzz was stretching this morning, while I was doing the photo shoot of my Rio sock (seen above)

    He may not be the prize-winning beagle from Westminster last night, but he sure has won a number of hearts around these parts. Not to play favorites, Tate was stretched out end to end this evening

    causing several comments and at least two different photo shoot moments for him. It's kinda funny--he almost never got to sleep on the ottoman in the Connor years, but now you can find him out there all of the time (unless he's holed up in his little fort, behind the main counter--typically after a man comes into the building).

    That's it for now......I'm off to go close out the drawer and go home and KNIT! Time to resurrect a few long-forgotten projects out of the bottom of my knitting bag (and to avoid working on the Kasimir calls to me and I must resist!)

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Dangerous Times

    I spent about 4.5 hours in the back room of the shop today, dyeing more yarn. Matt's taken some pictures of the hanks while they're drying, so maybe I can add them here later tonight or early tomorrow. (Tuesday morning edit--there's one picture posted to his and see!) I managed to create about 25 different concoctions...just you wait and see!

    Tuesday should be a BIG day for inbound deliveries--I expect another box from Lorna's Laces, this time with our limited edition shrug kits; we'll get a big shipment of Kertzer Northern; and somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 balls of sock yarn as the first delivery in support of the soon-to-be-announced sock contest being sponsored by XRX, the folks who publish KNITTER'S Magazine. Nearly 400 skeins....that's alot of Fortissima, Trekking, Step, and more. WOOHOO!

    Gotta run....time to head home!!

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    A Quick Sunday Night Post

    Not much to say, and not much time left to squeeze this in on a Sunday night, so I'll be quick about it. Promise!

    Progress continues on Betsy's Sox #2

    I worked on it tonight while Matt and I watched the Grammy Show (gawd I love Amy Winehouse, and it was great to see her do so well...right Jillian?? I've been a fan clear back to 2006, before she was really popular on this side of the Atlantic..HOORAY for her and her live performance and five wins!) I did most of the gusset decreases and made good progress into the 'round-and-'round foot part, and I'd guess I'm about 5.5" down the foot, towards a total length of just shy of 9". That means I have about 2" of mindless stockinette left. WAHOO! Finish line in sight! I want these done, blocked, and off to their intended recipient THIS WEEK!

    I must confess to having started my Kasimir the Daredevil socks late last week

    Ok, so all I did was cast on, do one round of work even, one of increases, and one of work even. Not much to fess up about, but at least they're started and officially a WIP of mine. FOR ME!

    Yesterday (Saturday), I led a day-long hand-dyeing workshop at the shop, where we start at ten a.m. looking at various hand-dyeing methods/patterns, discuss some basic how-tos, and then launch into dyeing three different types of sock-weight yarn. We break for lunch after one rotation, enjoy great box lunches we bring in as part of the class, and then hit it again for two more rotations. If they want to, participants can dye as much as they want or have time for within the allotted time (10-4), be it more sock-weight yarn or something from our "undyed blanks" area, which has worsted, sock, textured, and other yarns, as well as spinning fiber of various breeds, some feltable and some superwash. We provide the first three hanks, all dye, my instruction, and lunch for a flat fee and participants play as much as they want to. Suffice to say folks leave with a good understanding of basic dyeing practices and three (or more) hanks of fun stuff!

    I did a little extra dyeing (partly to instruct and partly to play around, myself) and have something to show for it

    These are 4-ounce (113g), 450-yard hanks of sock-weight yarn (7-8 sts/inch on a US 2) in various colourways from yesterday. Just from reactions around the shop, I think I might start dyeing in earnest and offering them for sale. What do you think about a $22.50 price tag on the hank? Third from the left sold at that price today and the second from the right was one I custom made for Matt. Otherwise, they're all pretty much up for grabs, and I hope to be able to spend some time dyeing again on Monday. The left-most one is less yellow and more green that it appears here, with tiny pepperdots of purple and an orchid/red shade dusted over the top in places. I knitted up a small swatch yesterday with the part that was shorted from the skein thanks to a knot (so that hank is only $20, but it's still like 430 yards!), and it came out AMAZING (and yes, I'm a dolt and left it at the shop without a photo).

    The next session of this day-long workshop would be on Saturday, April 5th, if anyone out there is interested. Seats are available, but I keep the head count low for lots of contact time and plenty of working room for the learners. And once you've "graduated" from this class you are able to sit in on a "Dyeing With Rob" session for just the cost of yarn and a little bit more for the dyes--again, as many or as few hanks as you feel like playing with. The intention isn't to replace my class but to support those who want to experiment with dyeing but don't want the huge investment in dyes, yarns, equipment, etc. and don't want to have to deal with the MESS it makes.

    I'm outta here for tonight--more tomorrow, as I have tons of new product to share (including one brand-new shade from Lorna's Laces in their Shepherd Sock that appeared in Friday's shipment). Be well--I'm gonna go knit a little before turning in.