Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm proud

First of all, I'm proud of my husband, who got all he-man

to cut down the Christmas tree (living room version) himself. He of course had help on this gorgeous day from the kids

who helped pick just the right one.

Isn't life grand when you are able to look cute for the camera in your new pink corduroys while your dad and brothers do all the work?

While the tree was being taken off the car roof and put in the stand, I took the opportunity to examine the new Interweave Knits. Which caused me to swell with another burst of pride at the essay in the back, wonderfully written by Ms. Bridget Arthur Clancy herself. Well done, missy.

Now that the BBF Open House is over (but the on-line shop still has some clearance items -- and through December 1st, free shipping for orders over $25 with the code "THANKS"), I am knitting like the wind on a sample sweater for one of the spring magazines. But I have a bunch of books I'm planning to review, along with my usual end-of-the-year retrospectives and a few "best-of-2009" lists. So I'll try not to neglect the blog for the next few weeks. . .

Monday, November 23, 2009


A huge thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday to the BBF Open House and Sale! We had a great time. My kids were so sweet. Elvis came down at 7 a.m. and said "Mom, no arguing -- just put me to work." So I did. He and the twins made bunny signs based on my logo to help direct cars, and they made labels and filled bins and made sure the inventory looked good. Meanwhile, Mindy was in charge of quality control; she examined each and every hank of yarn and bundle of roving by hand to make sure she had first dibs it was of the finest quality. Here is my ragtag band of helpers:

and here is what some of the inventory looked like, when artfully arranged:

and here is the "buffet" full of snacks and wine (Anne Marie thoughtfully brought two yummy bottles of wine, which we promptly polished off).

I was happy to see so many good knitting friends -- Knitty D and her lovely mom (who does NOT look old enough to have a grown daughter, either, thank you very much),

Allison, Sherry, Robin,

the Norristown SnB gang (A-M, Liz, Sally, Aileen, Maria, and newcomer Delores), Anmiryam, Joanne, Jody & Christy, Linda, Elizabeth

and Kathy (once again, I was not able to adequately capture Kathy's loveliness on film, which is the only reason there are no photos of her) and I met some new knitting friends, like Uncle Lori and the lovely lady from Wayne whose name I am blanking on (see, Heather, I am bad with names!). Some folks very kindly brought their BBF projects, like Anne Marie's gorgeous soy silk scarf, the yarn for which was one of the Yarn Club Shipments this year:

It's the perfect marriage of pattern to yarn and it's extremely gratifying to see my yarns knitted up!

I was so happy to see customers and club members, like Heather (sparkcrafted), who brought her portable wheel and proceeded to spin one of the rovings she purchased on the spot:

Heather did some Navajo-plying which looked a little like the cat's cradle games we used to play as kids. Heather's hands just flew over over the wheel and in short order, she'd produced a beautiful bobbinful of yarn from a roving called "Mudslide". There was much browsing and fondling, and speaking of fondling, rumor has it that one enthusiastic knitter wanted to know if my husband was for sale (he won't tell me who said it, though....)

So it seems that the BBF Open House will have to become an annual (semi-annual?) tradition....

To all of those who came, thank you so much! And to those who couldn't make it -- I promise there'll be a next time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BBF Studio Sale: A sneak peek

Sorry I've been so quiet lately -- it's been dye, dye, dye and wind, wind, wind.

That is some of the stuff I've got (including two sad club shipments in the Priority Mail envelopes that were never paid for by their members, sniffle. Any club shipments not paid for by Sunday will get sold....)

A few days ago, Mindy emailed me to ask "So exactly what will you have at this Black Bunny sale?" Good question from Mindy, who in her clever way is arriving Saturday to get first dibs on the yarn help with the sale.

At the Open House/Sale, you will find the following:
  • anything and everything that is currently in stock on the BBF website. I'm going to take the shop offline for the duration of the sale, which will give you a chance to look at and fondle and purchase my regular base yarns, like Bump, Candy Stripe, Superwash Merino Classic, and Flutter, and whatever is left of the BFLapalooza.
  • discontinued base yarns. I had a couple of skeins of a lovely, pure silk DK weight yarn that I used for a Yarn Club shipment last year. Unfortunately, the yarn is discontinued, so I dyed 'em up and priced 'em to move. I've also got some softly-spun sportweight wool/mohair, some Falkland worsted weight wool in 200-yd skeins (at least 4 in each colorway), some supersoft mohair loup boucle...
  • trial yarns and sample yarns. For example, last year, my regular sock yarn was backordered for a long time, and I tried a different base yarn to see if I'd like it. It's a lovely yarn -- 100% merino, extremely soft, springy -- but I really only need one superwash merino sock base, so I've dyed up all that's left. To make it extra fun, I did a whole bunch of 100-yard skeins (I have close to fifty of them) in different semisolid colors; you can pick up a bunch to do stripes, contrasting heels and toes, or stranded knitting (mittens or a hat, if you're not up for stranded socks). I also did a bunch in 200-yd. skeins so that you can get two and do stripes. Lastly, I did some regular 400-yd skeins in semisolids, then dyed special, matching multicolored skeins of 100 yds so you can do contrasting heels and toes. Again, since this isn't a base I'm carrying regularly, you'll find some excellent prices! I've got some bamboo tape that I tried out in batches perfect for quick-knitting spring scarves, some alternate wool/nylon base yarn (again, perfectly nice, purchased when I was trying out different base yarns)...
  • Odd batches from the yarn closet. If you're adventurous, you'll keep an eye out for these -- single skeins I've purchased or been given to try out the base, skeins I bought at fiber festivals where I thought a yarn or fiber seemed like a great bargain, leftover skeins or fibers from one of my clubs. I've got some Salt Spring wool roving, some soy silk/bamboo roving, a few skeins of organic merino DK, some lovely fingering-weight softly-twisted wool (great for lace)...
  • The return of Jingle Bells sock yarn! I've dyed up some more batches of the red and green on cream sock yarn that was so popular last year in my Superwash Merino Classic base. Get 'em while they last!
I'll have door prizes to give away, too, and some snacks and beverages (including wine). Right now, the weather forecast does not include rain, which means you can hang out on the patio and knit or mingle. I hope to see some of you there! If I don't sell some of this inventory, Mr. Go-Knit-In-Your-Hat is going to be awfully cranky with me. . .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Here's something to look forward to

On Amazon's pre-orders, Knitting 24/7: 30 Projects to Knit, Wear, and Enjoy, On the Go and Around the Clock Veve's second book!

It's a shame we'll have to wait until (sigh) next May to get it...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

To all those who served

and those who continue to serve

and their families and friends,

we honor and thank you on this Veteran's Day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BFL-apalooza at BBF

Today I've updated the Black Bunny Fibers shop with some great blue-faced leicester yarns and rovings. You'll find 100% superwash BFL sock yarn:

Red Light

Electric Navy

a terrific, tightly-twisted blend of 75% BFL and 25% nylon:


Cabbage Rose

some batches of superwash BFL roving:


and some non-superwash BFL roving:

Go get 'em while they last! (It's the last update before my big studio sale on Nov. 22d...)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

October Book Report

Another month flies by; here's what I read. Don't forget to comment if you've read anything good lately that you think I might like -- I get lots of great recommendations that way... and I'm still looking for some of the ones you recommended last time.

A Darker Domain by Val McDermid. McDermid's Tony Hill books are among the most creepy ever (and I enjoyed the British teevee series based on McDermid's characters, available on Netflix) -- but this one seemed a bit anemic by comparison. Karen Pirie is a Scottish police inspector assigned to the Cold Case team. One day, a woman walks in to report her father missing -- the clincher is that he disappeared twenty years ago. Although not technically her kind of cold case, Pirie decides to look into the man's disappearance. At the same time, new evidence is discovered relating to a twenty-year-old unsolved kidnapping case. I saw where this one was headed pretty early on, and I found the constant shifts between time and point-of-view to be jarring. So I'd rate this one okay but not McDermid's best, not by a long shot.

My Soul to Take: A Novel of Iceland, by Yrsa Sigurdadottir, was the sequel to Last Rituals, which I read earlier this summer. I didn't like this quite as much, but it was overall a good mystery with the interesting backdrop of Icelandic culture. The main character is a lawyer (the same one as in Last Rituals) who is called out to help a new-age client who has just built a spa/hotel in a rural beach area; while the lawyer is there, the hotel's architect is brutally murdered.

Manic: A Memoir by Terry Cheney, was recommended by a blog-reader (Hyphenated Carol, maybe?) and I found it to be a quick and fascinating read. The author is a former entertainment lawyer who is bipolar, and she has written a memoir discussing her life and how being bipolar has affected it. What I found especially compelling were Cheney's vivid descriptions of what it is like to be manic (well, as she experiences it; apparently, different people experience different flavors of mania) and the crippling depressions that followed her manic episodes. She also describes the toll that her disease has taken on her personal life -- her job, relationships, friendships. If you're bipolar or know someone who is, you might want to take a look.

Sun and Shadow: An Erik Winter Novel by Ake Edwardson. This was another (all together now) brooding Scandinavian mystery -- although a new series for me. The protagonist is Erik Winter, Sweden's youngest chief inspector, mulling over the impending birth of his first child. He's called in to solve a creepy double murder in which an extremely violence-laden form of heavy metal music plays a role. The book seemed a bit slow and a bit long to me, although it wasn't a bad read by any means. This was one of those books that may have suffered simply because I read it stretched out over a longer-than-usual period of time (and I went to Rhinebeck in the middle of it, which totally discombobulated me).

From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell. Rendell's debut novel isn't as complex or as polished as her later ones are, but it's still damn good. A classic English mystery, set in the countryside, in which a limited number of suspects are winnowed down until the climatic scene, in which the clever inspector (in this case, Reg Wexford) reveals how it was done, as the suspect confesses. I suspect the twist in the ending was a bit more unexpected and controversial when this book was first published (1964ish) but still a good read.

Casting Off by Nicole Dickson. I received a review copy of this book which falls into the category I think of as "knit lit" -- works of fiction intended to appeal to knitters, or at least female knitters of a certain age, in which knitting plays a role in plot or character development. I tend not to read these books, partly because I find myself irritated whenever the books get something wrong about knitting but mostly because I tend to look for books that take me out of my daily life rather than remind me of it.

I gave Casting Off a go, but my heart wasn't in it. I suspect that if you liked The Shop on Blossom Street (which I also haven't read), you might find this book enjoyable. The main character is Rebecca Moray (couldn't stop thinking of Rebecca DeMornay on Seinfeld -- "the homeless don't want your muffin stumps"), a textile scholar who goes to an island off the coast of Ireland to study fisherman's sweaters. Rebecca has a six-year-old daughter named Rowan (ha! now there's a knitting detail I like) and is still recovering from the death of Rowan's father shortly after Rowan's birth. It won't spoil the plot to tell you that Rebecca's relationship with the late Dennis was abusive and she still bears the emotional scars of her experiences. So she comes to the island seeking more than just to study sweaters; she's also looking for healing, closure, putting paid to the past.

Alas, I found myself too obsessed with knitting to be able to take the book at face value. This is clearly my problem, being an obsessive compulsive anal-retentive control freak a passionate knitter. I should be able to overlook the lovely but inaccurate book cover (how you gonna finish the bottom edging on that otherwise-finished, apparently knit in the round sweater, with those two straight needles, Rebecca?). I shouldn't have been irritated by the invented book on gansey knitting, quotes from which preface each chapter (what? there weren't enough REAL books on knitting to quote from?). I should have been able to overlook the fact that the textile scholar accepts at face value the sweet but historically-questionable theory that gansey patterns were knit so that family members could identify the bodies of dead fisherman that washed up on shore, too battered by the rocks to be recognized (a textile knitter who wants to write a scholarly treatise on ganseys didn't bother to research this?). See how irritating my internal monologue was?

So while Casting Off seems like a sweet and likeable book in the chick-lit and knit-lit genre, it just wasn't for me. I'd be happy to pass the copy on to someone else -- just leave a comment and I'll give it to the first one who asks.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fresh BBF stock at the Loopy Ewe...

If you are in the mood for some Superwash Merino Classic, check out The Loopy Ewe, which just uploaded a whole bunch of Black Bunny Fibers sock yarn yesterday. There are some more of the Dye For Glory colorways, as well as some lovely semi-solids (I've been in a semi-solid mood lately). Of course, Sheri always has tons of other goodies there, too, so proceed at your wallet's peril! (But hey, it's free shipping over $75...)

Monday, November 02, 2009

BBF Studio Sale: Sun. Nov. 22nd, 12 to 5 p.m.

It's official: the Black Bunny Fibers Studio Sale has been scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd, from noon to 5 p.m. I'll have my regular base yarns, like Superwash Merino Classic, at special prices, as well as some oddballs, sample skeins, discontinued bases and other one-of-a-kind yarns and fibers at deeply discounted prices. I'll have copies of my books if you'd like to pick up a gift for a friend (or yourself!) and I'd be happy to inscribe them for you. Rumor has it that Mindy will be here for the weekend, too. . .I know she is looking to meet some of the Philly crowd. Cash only, please....

I sent out some Evites to people whose email addresses I had, but my list is incomplete and some of them bounced, so don't be insulted if you didn't get one. Feel free to bring a friend and tell others who might be interested about it. You can shoot me an email using the side bar (the one called "We never talk") if you need the address or information on how to get here via car or SEPTA (there's a Rt 100 stop two blocks away and the R5 also stops close to here; maybe we can convince Mr. Go-Knit-In-Your-Hat to do some pick-ups and drop-offs at the R5 station).

Weather permitting, people can sit on the porch or in the back yard and mingle and knit or crochet.

Hope you can make it!

Sunday, November 01, 2009