But Wait! You Also Get:

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Abstract Fiber Supersock, in "Bonfire".  Yeah, Baby!

Yesterday I met Susan Stambaugh at her studio to show her the Desert Rain, and to continue sorting our cunning plan for Sock Summit.  What a field trip!  Her studio is a wonderland of color, in all different stages of preparation.  I could have spent the entire day peppering her with questions about the dye process.  She's also a wicked-cool spinner, which could easily have taken up another day.  But back to the above: we decided to make a second Desert Rain in this color, just because.  I am so besotted with this yarn that I can't even tell you.  I, who never knit the same thing twice (in fact, I'm usually in hate with my projects when I first finish them - there has to be a cooling period before I love them again) cannot WAIT to make this camisole a second time.  There is something addictive about it - the lace is so easy and accumulates so quickly - it's really hard to put down.  You are going to love this thing.

And here's the really big news:  You will be able to buy Desert Rain in KIT FORM!  That's right: the yarn, pattern, beads and ribbon, all conveniently pulled together for you in a ready-to-rumble package!  I just love a good kit - All the decisions have been made for you; just add needles.

So this week is all about patterns for me:  I'm in the final stages of formatting the new Sommelier (which you will be seeing soon), I threw together Desert Rain for tech editing, I'm in full-throttle sample-making on Juliette (which you will see in Cast-On this winter), I'm ramping up for the Frog Prince Cardigan (which I want you to have in September), and I'm toying with a big fat idea for a pattern that will be good for handspun, with instructions for different gauges and sizes.  My head is as full as a sack full of cats.  And similarly well-organized.  This weekend is the trip to Oregon wine country for the Sommelier photo shoot.  There will be real models and makeup and everything.  I have declared that we will have fun, and we all get paid in wine.  When you are the boss and also all of the employees, you can make sweeping proclamations like that.

Thus Spoke The Queen.

Rain in the Desert

You might remember my telling you a few posts back about meeting the lovely and talented Susan Stambaugh of Abstract Fiber at the TKGA show here in Portland.  It turns out that Susan has been working her handpainted magic right here in my own back yard all along.  She lives in Portland, too, and I drive right past her studio all the time.  Together we hatched a cunning plan, whereby there would be a new pattern that uses her yarn available for you at Sock Summit.  As an esteemed vendor at the big show, Susan will have the yarn and the pattern available for your knitting delight!  Both will be available online, too, so you won't miss out if you can't make it to Portland this year.

Let me tell you about making Desert Rain:  I was thinking about something I might be inclined to knit in August, when it's hot even here in the Pacific Northwest.  I knew I didn't want it to be socks, since this yarn is already supported nicely in that department..  And my rebellious nature prohibits me from making socks for Sock Summit.  Plus, I liked the painting on this yarn so much that I decided it needed some acreage in which to show off - an i-pod cover was not going to be large enough to showcase its gorgeous colors. 

All of these thoughts tore through my mind before I even left Susan's booth at TKGA.  I was carrying (okay, I may have clutched it protectively to my chest) my 2 perfect skeins and daydreaming a million things about what it wanted to be when I bumped (literally - I have the shin bruise to prove it) into the booth next door.  They had buttons, baubles and beads galore.  And they had the singular shade of blue you see above, which naturally came straight home with me.  I have never knitted with beads before this project: What A Hoot!  It is so much fun, and adds just the right texture and sparkle.

Once I had those beads, everything seemed to click into place, and I had the sample done in a week.  Dontcha just love a fast knit?  The lace pattern is fun, the beads are sparkly, and the ribbon adds just the right finish.  And here's the best part: this is some really good yarn.  There are beautiful, temperamental yarns.  There are some yarns that are easy-going and compliant, but not superstar pretty.  SuperSock has the best of both worlds.  Sproingy, snagless, and well-behaved; it also has the perfect pearly sheen to highlight Susan's gorgeous painting.  But that's enough talking - time to get to the Eye Candy:

This is only a little snapshot I grabbed as I flew out the door.  Wait till you see it in the light of day.  It comes in sizes 32"-52", and probably fits more than that, knit with negative ease, as it is.  Lace is so forgiving and so flattering - no wonder we love it so.  Check out the drape and swish on this baby - Sassy, No?

So that's Desert Rain, in progress to publication.  A project that designed itself: no gut-wrenching frogging, no lost skeins, no kitchen fires.  Hardly seems like I worked at all. Oh man, I love my job.