We got more new stuff at the shop! The most exciting (for me, anyway) is the needles and crochet hooks that light up -- the ones from Wisconsin. Misty and I had a great time playing with them when they came in. Here are some pictures:
The needles and hooks are only available in limited size ranges; I got needles in sizes 8, 10 1/2, and 17, 2 pairs each (and Misty already bought one of the size 17's). The crochet hooks I only got a few of, in large sizes; I know I got 2 size K and one size N, and I think I got one more size, but now I can't remember. We're selling both the crochet hooks and the needles for $39.95. If they sell well, I'll order more soon. I know they're expensive, but the cool factor is just HUGE on these babies. They'd make a great gift for a knitter, so I'll have them in stock during the holiday shopping season later this year.
We also got some fabulous alpaca yarn from Camden's own Blueberry Farm, in brown and in black, the alpacas' natural colors. I can't get over how deep and black the black is. No dyed-black could ever be that perfect a black. The brown is also a beautiful brown. The alpacas who contributed this fiber are named Cecilia and Lady Pepperell:
A big hit at our Wednesday night knitting group was a new lace weight yarn we got that is in variegated colors with looooooong color repeats. The yarn is called "Graceful" and it is lighter than regular lace weight yarn. Closer to cobweb weight, I'd say. It's from Japan and distributed from California. Picture Noro yarn crossed with Lacy Lamb lace yarn, and that's what Graceful is like. Each ball is 2400 yards and it costs $22.99. Here's what we got (actually, some of it sold right out of the shipping box before we even got it out on the floor):
I got pictures of the shrug I knit on the Isaac Evans during the knitting cruise earlier this month:
It looks better in person. As a matter of fact, it's been a great model for the store and has sold all but a couple of the magazine needed to knit it (Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2006). So I am pretty happy with it. Also, as soon as the magazines are all sold and I can't use it as a model anymore, I get to take it and wear it, and I love wearing it! It was so much fun to knit, too; you can use any yarn and any needle you like. You just need to measure across your back from underarm to underarm. You start at the center bottom back, and cast on just 3 stitches. You increase to make a triangle until the width across the bottom of the triangle equals the measurement across your back. Then you put half the stitches on a piece of yarn to hold it. Working on half the stitches, you work straight garter stitch to make a "sleeve". At that point you cast on more stitches at the end of the needle. Then you do a decrease triangle the way you did an increase triangle on the back. Go back and put the stitches from the yarn holder on your needles and knit the other side the same way. Tack the "underarm" together with a couple of stitches, and there you have it: a cute "shawl" that won't keep falling off your shoulders as you move! It would have been better if I had used a variegated yarn like Artyarns' Super Merino 8 or another hand-dyed yarn, because it would really have shown off the intriguing construction of the garment. That Iris Schreier, she's a marvel! I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of that Vogue Knitting issue & read her "Geometry Lessons" article, which is what got me started on this whole thing. Also, she has a great book out called "Modular Knits" that has 24 designs using her multi-directional magic knitting techniques. After my shrug experience, now I want to make all of them!
I also finished the scarf I crocheted from Alchemy Yarns "Silken Straw" yarn:
I used a medium sized crochet hook and just did a simple trellis stitch (the pattern for the scarf will be in our next newsletter, due to be published in mid-July). (Don't worry, there will be a knitting pattern in the newsletter too for non-crocheters). Because the yarn is kind of a mini tape yarn, the resulting fabric felt slightly crunchy -- but it's silk; I wanted it to be silky feeling, like the yarn is in the skein. So I steam ironed it! It came out beautiful, lustrous and silky and nice and flat. It's really pretty. Again, much prettier in person than in the picture. I took a picture of Victoria wearing it, but the photo was all fuzzy. She looked charmin' in it, too!
My blog posts are always too long, but I just wanted to say one thing: we've had so many people in the store this summer who mention they read & enjoy my blog. People from all over the world! It just thrills me to think you all are joining me in my not-quite-daily ramblings and rants about, well, whatever I write about. Thank you for reading!! (And Marianne, I'm glad you liked the "Herding Cats" video!! Love ya.)
Oh, yeah, and one more thing: pick up the current copy of a little newspaper called No Umbrella (I think it is only distributed in Maine, but you can subscribe) and you can read my short story called "The Road Home". It's based on a near-deer experience I had while driving home after our knitting circle late one night. I'll also have another, shorter piece in next month's issue, I think. And possibly more after that, if people email them and say "Great newspaper! I 'specially like the fiction from that great writer, Beth Collins!" heh heh.