Black Dog

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

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Not a whole lot new around these parts as of this morning, as I posted yesterday, it was a fairly busy day at the shop, and I taught the final session of my "Intro to Socks" class last night. Basically, I came home late, fell asleep on the couch (again), and eventually turned in for the night. Not a single stitch of knitting was accomplished last evening. Bad Rob.

The Pagewood fairies delivered again late last week (Friday, I believe). With this batch, we've exhausted our TNNA orders for her 2-ply Chugiak yarn (from now on we'll do reorders with specific colors). There may be another shipment already in transit (typically they leave on Friday and are here the following Friday), this time in her sock-weight yarn that's a blend of Blueface Leicester and a little nylon for strength (but not a superwash fiber...just so ya know). But for now, I present the beauty of Chugiak, in 450-yard skeins of superwash merino

Three new-to-us colourways in this batch, including Seabreeze (not as electric blue in real life), Misty (a stunning blend of dusky greens, interesting neutrals, and a little bit of teal), and Pretty Pastels (this one just screams SPRING and EASTER), as well as a rerun of Mississippi Mud (that alwyas sells out fast).

Three more new shades, including Navajo (there's some khaki greens in there that balance the turquoise quite well), Really Red (which is just that!), and Cotton Candy (perfect for textured patterns).

Grape Juice and Fabulous Fall (really, really pretty knitted up) have been seen here before, but Forest Camo is a new one for us. All three are nearly monochromatic and would be great in designs with texture or patterning (think CookieA designs), yet have a little bit of color going on that make the fabric really interesting. (We have a customer sock trunk show on display right now and someone took a Fabulous Fall and combined it with a Gardiner Yarn Works "Autumn in Oregon" sock pattern for great results!).

If you need any of this beautiful and affordable yarn, they're $17 each and we have as many as four per colourway available. Contact us by phone (866-939-BEAR) or e-mail to get the ball rolling!

A few other things arrived yesterday, including a fun new yarn for the Spring/Summer season that comes to us from Filatura di Crosa, purveyor of beautiful yarns from Italy. It's called Dusk

and is a color-rambling cotton blend that knits up around worsted weight, 115 yards for $9.95. Pretty stuff! I've already cast on for a garment from one of their new pattern collections

and Lisa took home yarn to start on a cute shell

both of which will serve as shop models as soon as they are completed. The hand of the yarn is quite nice, and I'll show my progress later (hopefully tomorrow!), as all I have done right now is a cast on and two rows of ribbing--not that exciting.

That's about it for today, as almost no knitting happened yesterday. I made a little bit of progress on the Habu Shippo Tail Jacket, but most of what I accomplished got ripped out due to a small issue with the pattern/directions. Well, that and the fact I did the "crash and burn" on the sofa last night. I hope to get some knitting done today, as it's the day for my monthly hoof trimming, which gives me an hour of uninterrupted ME time. That's a rarity!

See you here again very soon...........

Monday, March 03, 2008

Getting Caught Up

Wow, so much has happened since we were together last. The week was filled with all sorts of interesting events, from big deliveries of new yarn at the shop (including every single shade of Opal Rendez-Vous) to the arrival of Terri Shea for a weekend of traditional knitting events (she of "Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition" fame), to wild weather and more. Speaking of wild weather, it was 49F when I turned in last night (around 1 a.m.) and we expect a weather trifecta over the course of today--rain in the form of thundershowers, ice, and snow (weather radar shows a three-layer cake over Lake Michigan and Wisconsin, coming our way--green, pink, and blue). Yup, it must be Spring in Michigan.....or at least soon. And Terri's visit was awesome--her presentation on Friday was sparsely attended due to some pretty hefty snowflakes that fell all day, but her Saturday class was filled to capacity and they definitely learned AND enjoyed themselves.

Being busy doesn't always leave much time for knitting, but since we've not been together here for a week, I do have a little bit of progress to share. First off, the uber-quick Inca Cotton t-shirt/pullover I knitted up in three days

The pattern is a "Designs by Judith" leaflet that is great for various gauges (2.5 sts/inch through 5.5 sts/inch). I can't recall the name of it right now, but I'll share as soon as the sweater is completely finished. Right now, it's off to Matt for the rudimentary finishing needed, so you'll see it on a human form shortly. The yarn is Inca Cotton, which just arrived and comes in 8-ounce, 325-yard hanks of organic cotton that is GROWN in very subtle shades (no dyeing!), available in natural (as you see above), a sand shade, a light sage shade, and then sand/natural and sage/natural twist. It's a thick-and-thin, and knits up around 3.5 to 4 sts/inch, so the knitted fabric is awesome

and that's just stockinette! It's also machine washable and VERY soft. Digging around in Ravelry, I see several folks have used it for baby items as well as adult pieces. Each 8-ounce hank is just $14, so it's a great bargain, too!

I've made slight progress on two projects that keep appearing here

That's the Shippo Tail Jacket--front #1. I'm past the armhole shaping now and headed towards the finish line on it. Hopefully I'll wrap it up today. And there's been minimal progress on Kaz

my toe-up socks made with Opal Rainforest 3 in Kasimir the Daredevil. Bad me...I've fallen for another sock pattern and yarn

The pattern is Primavera, a freebie I found courtesy of Franklin. I mean, how can you NOT be pulled in when the knitted fabric is this beautiful

I'm using Elegant Yarns Charming, a fingering-weight yarn with a very subtle color ramble (and much the same as Jojoland yarns, only these come from a Michigan supplier--gotta support the local economy!). Better yet, the pattern is a six-row repeat, five of which are VERY simple (and the same) and the sixth, which causes the texturing, is not the least bit difficult to execute. WOO-HOO for simple elegance. Better yet, BIG woo-hoo for 100% wool yarn that's this pretty and just $6 a skein for 220yds/50g skein.

One of our awesome custo-friends came by the shop on Sunday and caused a little flutter. I call her awesome cuz she's whipped cancer, gives amazing hugs, fawns over the dogs (and us), spins, knits, socializes, is a great person......I could go on for awhile about her. Well, she was wearing an amazing alpaca sweater (she invited me to pet her/it) that made my mind start to click and fire

I have no idea where that will lead, but I was drawn to the colors as a group as well as the individual bands of color combinations as well as the patterning as well as the soft fabric. I don't fancy myself a big-time designer, but I seem to be smacked by The Muse a good bit of late. If I could just get my knitting done for Yarn Tasting (coming up in four weeks!!!) then we could all see where this kind of inspiration is headed.

And now, for the shameless commerce part of our presentation. Yes, we had another big influx of amazing yarns from Pagewood Farm. At just $17 for 450 yards of fingering-weight, hand-dyed superwash merino, this stuff is a steal (and a sock knitter's dream....or anyone else who likes finer-gauge yarns in spectacular color combinations). Check them out

Those are (top to bottom) Custom, Camo, Prism, and Ireland. I'm intrigued by the Custom, which is a fun blend of taupes, aqua blues, and a touch of green. Camo is very guy friendly (HOORAY), while the colorful and fun Prism intrigues me, and Ireland would be simply beautiful in a textured design or a simple stockinette sock.

If it's brights/nearly solids you crave, how about Greens, Orange Spice, Denim, and Golden. I've already seen Golden in a sock in progress and it's BEAUTIFUL. These are the kind of colors you need when Michigan winters start to linger.

Bird of Paradise, Mocha, and Crayon are all beautiful, and the richness of the green in BoP is stunning in person. Mocha is a lovely, yet subtle, combo, and the Crayon never disappoints.

River Rock, Meadow, and Harvest are all lovely. The River Rock we received runs from purple with tones of gold and brown through more neutral/less purple base with tans; Meadow is a fun, almost beach-glass combination; and Harvest is gonna be just smashing knitting up.

Up for any of of the goodies mentioned above? Just be in touch with us via e-mail or by phone (toll free at 866-939-BEAR) and we'll do our best to get you happy! A little bird tells me there's even more Pagewood to share soon, so don't be a stranger in these parts.

In the mean time, layer #1 must have arrived, as the wind picked up about 30 minutes ago and I hear rain (probably COLD rain) crashing against the southern-exposure windows. Hooray! Weather buffet! perfect weather for knitting! I'm off to go do some. Be well