Crowing Ram

Monday, October 01, 2007
Our good friend, Honnay, has expressed interest in starting a ThreadBear group at Ravelry (which I've just recently gotten into, by the way, and boy, are my arms tired). However, she needs a snappy name for said group.
My initial thoughts:
  • ThreadBearers
  • Bearin' it All
  • BearSpray
  • Knitting in the Woods: Bears Will Be Bears
  • Great Big Honkin' ThreadBear Group
  • Ursa Major
I'm dyin' here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wait. What August?
Yeah, as a matter of fact, I did miss the entire month of August. Yup, I even missed most of September. But guess what. I got to go see my mom. That made a whole lot of issues seem not quite so important. Love you, Moma!
I'm back at ThreadBear, now, though, and we've been through a series of classes with Modeknit star, Annie Modesitt, a blowout summer clearance, a phenomenal Yarn Tasting, and a whole heaping pile of catch-up. No, not ketchup. Catch-up. As in dragging my ass out of the fire back into the frying pan for a change. I don't know if it's just me, but I feel like I've had my head up ass for the last several months, and I feel like I'm just starting to get that crick out of my neck, when low and behold, the weather's starting to cool off. That means our season's a-comin', folks. We're wool people. And it's looking like a seriously major season on the horizon.
I'm just now catching up on getting classes scheduled and published. Rob, Sabrina, our independent instructors, and I are being joined this season by staff Malabrigo monster, Suann, and our friend and regular face (and laugh) about the shop, Jean, for a few interesting offerings of their own. Amy Singer of Knitty and Jillian Moreno of Acme Knitting Company (co-authors of Big Girl Knits) are rolling in come late November for a series of weekend classes, and we're gearing up for a blow-out weekend. It's never a dull time with those two around, and this time, we're doing pajama parties on the river all weekend. Lord, Old Town won't know what hit it.
As of today, I am thirty-eight years old, and I am morbidly obese. That's the medical term for it. I'm so overweight that it could literally kill me. No, I'm not going on a crash diet. No, I'm not having liposuction or joining a cult. What I am doing is getting things under control. ThreadBear is a big boy, anymore, and while it still needs constant supervision, it doesn't need every moment of our time and energy. And we... I, in particular, need to spend some real time getting life back in order.
For now, though, I'm back to work to get yet more on the calendar that's already been scheduled. Like I said: catch-up. But there are lots of site updates and other such projects looming. And today, we finally replaced the trusty Sony Mavica that has been our stock and trade for the last six years at ThreadBear. It was a workhorse, but I'm very happy with the quality of the images we're turning out with the new camera. I'll leave you with a few samples shot in the shop this afternoon.

Shop shot... click for enlargement



Her highness, Connor. Our own dowager queen.

And his highness, Tate. The beautiful but oft daft prince.
See you soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harley Davidson FXCWC Rocker C
As much as I'd like to say, yes... no, I've not gotten a new motorcycle. It is lovely, though, isn't it? Brooding, yet full of the potential for noise and movement. It's easy to see why these spectacular machines are so popular.
Realistically, though, I run a yarn shop, and the overwhelming majority of our income goes right back into the business. *evil grin* But not all.

Raleigh Passage 4.0 Hybrid... in Green
I spent the morning with this bad boy under me riding Lansing's Riverwalk. Um... if you haven't been on a nice bike lately, you really should consider it. I had the most wonderful ride. The wind was in my face, the morning air was cool but sunny, and the views (despite the low level of the Grand River at the moment) were spectacular. And that was nothing to how good it felt... to be out... knowing that you're doing something pleasurable that is also very, very good for you. I'd forgotten what that endorphin buzz could do for you. I like it.
As of today, I am thirty-eight years old, and I am morbidly obese. That's the medical term for it. I'm so overweight that it could literally kill me. No, I'm not going on a crash diet. No, I'm not having liposuction or joining a cult. What I am doing is getting things under control. ThreadBear is a big boy, anymore, and while it still needs constant supervision, it doesn't need every moment of our time and energy. And we... I, in particular, need to spend some real time getting life back in order.
Exercise, certainly, is one of the things that I'm doing. I'm also putting a significant focus back into my teaching. I won't be teaching every other day, but I think I can reasonably dedicate a little more time to being "in the classroom." I'm also hoping to spend a little more time in the kitchen, so keep an eye out for good recipes or places to find them. And, of course, I'll be reading.
Most of all, though, I'm pointing my rocket toward design. I've had several designs in my head or in the drawing or swatching stage for too long. That's about to end. And it will end, very specifically, with this:

Schematic for Bad Ass Baby
This is the rough schematic for a plush baby biker's jacket... for the biker-to-be with a very understanding old lady. ;-) The pattern is forthcoming, but the yarn arrived today, and I'll be casting on tonight for the prototype.
Now, does anyone know where to get very tiny chains?

Friday, July 20, 2007
I'll have to motor through today, but I'm frantic to get a post up. We've got company in from Atlanta/Baltimore in our old friend Crystal B (Sister Paul, to those who know her well), and it's been a busy week to boot.
There's tons going on at the shop as we continue to bring in summer fibers and work on bringing in fall stock. We've pushed out our next Yarn Tasting since several of the yarns that we wanted in either weren't in the States yet or needed models knit and weren't yet in the store. Every yarn has to have at least one model for the event to make sense, and if the yarn's still on a boat, then nothing's on the needles yet. EEK! So that's pushed back.
Yarn's still pouring in, though, and we're very excited to be working with Alchemy again. We'd tried a bit out when we were still in Indiana, but A) we didn't have models, and B) we never reordered, so that went the way of the dodo. We had a long, wonderful conversation (if an hour or so of giggling and being generally evil with Austin and Gina constitutes a conversation), picked out tons of patterns, got offers from them to supply us with some fantastic models, and we're back in the game. They've got beautiful product, and I'm really happy with what's come in so far.
So much so, in fact, that you're soaking in it. Yup. The swatch from my last post is Alchemy-based. What is it? Oh, silly reader. You know better than that. I'll get there eventually. But not today.
Today, I want to talk about inspiration. As corny as it sounds, my family has been much of my inspiration lately.

Ailing Connor resting her weary head on Tate's back
Well, yeah, they're my inspiration, too, but I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about Rob. When we're together and talking and generally relaxed, I see things that just make me want to design something. Sometimes it's an architectural thing.

Stained glass dome inside Houlihan's Restaurant. Lansing, Michigan.
Every time we eat at Houlihan's not far from the shop, my eye is drawn to this dome. How it's going to show up in a knitted piece, I have no idea, but it's in my head, and it won't go away.

Decorator pillow from a recent visit to Pier 1.
Sometimes it's a combination of colors or shapes that catches my eye. This decorator pillow didn't leave Pier 1 with me, but it's with me constantly. I can't get the multiple tones of each color our of my head, and the sections of colors over multiple blocks is making my teeth itch. I want to translate this into fabric... badly. My own fabric, I mean. Knitted fabric!
How will it happen? Hell if I know. When will it happen? Ha! That's funnier than the first question. The point is that it's in the cooker. It's rolling around, banging into the sides of the pot with steam roiling around it. Eventually, it's going to hit something and stick. Hopefully, it won't be cauliflower. I'm not a big fan of bland design, and cauliflower doesn't particularly excite me.
What does excite me, though, is happening. Change. I don't know how, but my life appears to be changing. I'd like to say I'm at the helm of this boat, but I think I might not be. But I can feel the engines. And they're rumbling pretty hard.

And on a final note, this is me. First of all, the rest of the picture was horribly overexposed as many of my images lately have been. Why? I'm using my phone to take pictures. They suck, in my less than humble opinion, but that's what I've got at the moment. We keep the good camera at the shop, but I'm looking strongly at having a nice, new camera soon. Why? Well, because I'm a raccoon, and I like new and sparkly things. But more realistically, I see wonderful things all over the place very, very frequently, and I sincerely want to share them with you. And if my camera sucks, you might not see the beauty that I do. And we simply can't have that.
P. S. What I'm working on: updates to the website. Here's yet another teaser:

Screenshot of new ThreadBear main page under construction.

Sunday, July 15, 2007
More Magical Knitting
While I've got Harry Potter on the brain, I'd like to present you with a little bit of a teaser. One of my dearest knitting friends fell in love with a swatch that I was playing with and inspired me to design a women's cardigan with a touch of her essence about it. Her name is Sheila, and I credit her and our mutual friend Judith with bringing me back into knitting full-force as an adult... and helping cement the decision to return to Lansing. Her design is Bewitching.

Swatch for Bewitching
No, that doesn't mean that the men's book is on hold. It means that I'm impatient, and I'm positively giddy to get a design into the hands of knitters. The men's book is coming, and you'll get teases of that along the way, too. For now, though... keep an eye out specifically for this one.

Saturday, July 14, 2007
I won't lie about it. I'm a geek from the word "GO." I love Sci-Fi, animation, crossword puzzles, reading, Beltane (and really, what self-respecting hedonist can't get into Beltane?), Star Trek (Enterprise, but not DS9—yeah, I'm a geek, but there are limits), finishing, swatching, and of course, Harry Potter. "What?!?" you ask. "Harry Potter isn't just for geeks!"
No, of course not. Harry Potter is for all of the really cool people. And if you've ever been called a geek, then you probably realize that geeks generally are some of the world's coolest people. We not be the most popular. We may not even be the smoothest. But we really are cool. Think Farmer Ted, people. Cool is just cool. (Screw it, everybody knows I'm really thinking Jake Ryan, but you see what I mean, no?)
But have you taken the quiz? I have.
Yeah, we're geeked—excuse the pun—over Harry. We've got one of our model knitters crankin' out the house colors hat, mittens, and scarves from the Charmed Knits book by Alison Hansel. You haven't heard? Get with the program, people! There's a m**f** Knit-Along! (With all apologies to Daniel Vosovic.)

The book

Baskets of yarn sporting house colors in various yarns

EEK!! Slytherin!

Other projects from the book
Images photographed from Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel
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Crowing Ram

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Black Dog

And She Knits Too



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