Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fingerless Texting Mittens Pattern

I have been making quite a few pairs of these fingerless mittens for our new Etsy shop.  Of course, nothing has sold yet.  We've been open less than a month and it is still summer after all.  Most people don't even know what they're having for dinner tonight; thinking that people would actually plan ahead for winter would be unreasonable.  But for now I'm spinning, dyeing, and knitting up a storm.

Lydia really likes the colors in these mittens.

And I'm really loving it.

These are Charlotte's favorites.

You see, with smaller amounts of yarn, it's a little easier to experiment.  If I decide that I don't like the result, well, it was only 80 yards, not over a thousand like I need for a sweater.

I liked how this turned out so much that I dyed 1500 yards of angora/alpaca blend to make a sweater.

So far I've really liked most of the results, and there are some mittens that we just really love.  The girls hope they don't sell so that they can have them for Christmas.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the pattern.

80 yards handspun art yarn  (Sometimes I use 100% angora, sometimes it's a 50/50 of angora and merino or alpaca)
Needles size US2 and US4
Yarn needle
Stitch markers

Everybody's hand spun yarn is going to be different.  What I am spinning right now is thick and thin.  And the thickness of the yarn ultimately determines how many stitches you should cast on.  Normally (at least at this point in time), I cast on 56-64 stitches.  I knit a few rows, and sometimes I find that the mitten is going to be too large or too small and I have to start over.

Using smaller needles, cast on 64 stitches, place marker, and join to work in the round.

Row 1:  K2 together, P2 together for one row (32 sts).  This is to make a more elastic cast on that is necessary for angora mittens. 
Rows 2-12:  K1P1 rib. 
Rows 13-15:  Change to larger needles and work three rows in stockinette stitch.

To form the thumb gusset:
Row 16:  Slip marker, knit one front and back (k1fb), place marker, k to end.
Rows 17, 19, 21, 23, 25: Knit
Row 18:  Slip m, k1fb twice, sm, k to end.
Rows 20, 22, 24: Slip m, k1fb, k to st before m, k1fb, sm, k to end.

You should now have ten stitches for the thumb gusset.

Rows 26-27:  Knit.

Row 28:  Remove marker, bind off ten stitches for thumb, k to end.
Rows 29-36: Knit.
Rows 37-41: Switch to smaller needles, k1p1 rib.
Row 42:  Using larger needles, bind off loosely.  Weave in ends.  Repeat for second mitten.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CoyoteRidgeKnits--Our Etsy Shop

So last month the girls and I decided to open an Etsy shop.  Probably the most difficult part of the decision was what to name our new venture.  I thought it best to stick with the Black Diamond name, but the girls insisted that Black Diamond belonged only to the bunnies, and that we needed something else to cover the sheep that they now raise as well.

Using anything with our surname or obvious physical location was out of the question.  So was anything that sounded too cutesy.  I suggested something with Juniper Ridge in the name, as that is what detailed topographical maps call our exact location.  But the girls don't like the name Juniper.  So then I suggested Coyote Ridge, which is the name of the ridge that we look at through our windows.  They liked that.

CoyoteRidgeKnits (Etsy doesn't permit any spaces in shop names) is open for business.

The girls knit and sell mostly cute animals (naturally there are lots of bunnies) of all sizes.

I currently focus on mittens and booties.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two Thousand Pageviews in the Last Month

That's a lot of people looking at and learning about French angoras.

It's over double our monthly average.  I keep wondering if somehow something spooky is going on. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sage's Kits For Sale

This post is long overdue.  The days keep zooming by.  We look forward to the fall when our schedule slows down.

Anyway, here are current pictures of Sage's kits and assessments of their bodies and wool.

From left to right, chocolate steel, agouti, black, chocolate agouti, chocolate.

BD512, "Cassiopeia," doe, junior, self-black, known genotype aaBbC_D_E_, show quality, $90.  A little catchy at the hips, lesser flesh condition.  Not as smooth as the others.  Ranked 4/5 in the litter.

BD510, "Orion," buck, junior, chocolate agouti, known genotype AabbC_D_E_, show quality, pick of the litter, $110.  Overall very smooth, super sweet, great flesh condition, legs don't sprawl, nice fiber.

BD511, "Leo," buck, junior, self-chocolate, known genotype aabbC_D_E_, wool quality, $70.  Short body, not great flesh condition, catchy on the hips.  Beautiful crimp to his fiber.

BD513, "Lyra," doe, junior, chocolate steel, known genotype aabbC_D_Es_, show quality $100.  Super duper sweet.  Sweetest of them all, super nice wool, good finish to the fiber, smooth body, good flesh condition.  Ranked 2/5 (can't decide between her and her sister).

BD514, "Vela," doe, junior, chestnut agouti, known genotype AaBbC_D_E_, show quality $100.  Super sweet personality, sweet body, a little on the smaller side, a little lacking in flesh condition--nothing more food and time won't fix, really pretty wool.  Overall a really nice doe.  Ranked 2/5 (can't decide between her and her sister).