Thursday, November 29, 2007


the way-yay-ting is the hardest part...

I've never been much of a Tom Petty fan, but sometimes it's pretty tough to play the waiting game. Been there and done that, such as with the home pregnancy test I took in February 1990 that came up pink, and the biopsy I underwent last winter for a rare, and usually deadly, form of breast cancer that thankfully came up negative (which is why I'm still here and blogging).

What I'm waiting on this time around is to find out if my design for a lace scarf that I submitted today to a local yarn company will be accepted or rejected. I can't share more of the particulars than that, as I'm finding that the knit design world can be dog-eat-dog, it's just that I'm more hopeful and eager to be published than I ever imagined I would be a short time ago! I'm repeating to myself that it's no big deal if these folks aren't interested, because that means I can shop the design (which I think is really cool, if I do say so myself) around to other places, and I also have plenty more ideas percolating around in my brain. I'm just hoping that my designs sell sooner rather than later, because my cash-flow woes continue. I love buying Christmas gifts for my friends and family, but because I chose to do what I'm doing, that's not going to be possible this year. While it's true that my hand dyed yarns are selling quite well, as are my stitch markers (they are now available at A Grand Yarn in Spokane as well as Twisted in Portland, so there, boss lady!), I'm just impatient for my post-corporate earnings to grow. Being a starving artist sucks big time, trust me on that.

When Mental Illness Strikes, Go To Your Fastball

Hoo boy. Guess what? I had a real big meltdown this week! Feelings of rage and helplessness, extreme irritability, with my teen bearing the brunt of it and my reactions to stress triggers way out of proportion to the situation. Before things could get any worse, I got myself to a doctor, who reassured me I wasn't bipolar (because I don't sleep anymore-- I'm skeining undyed yarn to be dyed, or skeining dyed yarn, or knitting up swatches--anything but taking care of myself,) but that my depression, which I have been managing by downing a 75 mg. Effexor with my morning coffee, heading out the door and forgetting about it, has gotten considerably worse and my meds needed to be doubled. He also prescribed a mild tranq for the short term, which is SCHWEET. I slept great last night. Better living through chemistry. With that, I'll be OK until my system ramps up to the new dose, and then da future's so bright I gotta wear shades! Back on the street with Doc Feelgood. Yes yes yes.

Yarn Pics

Here are the latest from my dyepot, and I have another one still drying.

"Secret Touch"

"YYZ" (Sold!)


"The Body Electric" (which I think is kind of meh)

Hey, thanks for being in the trenches with me--my love to you all. I'm now being kicked off the computer by the 17-year-old evil despot I live with; in actuality, I'd rather relinquish it to her than listen to her godawful music, so it's really a trade-off.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Yarn: fabulous no matter where you find it

Hi blog buddies, I'm ba-ack from frigid Spokane! There wasn't any snow, but the temperature didn't make it above 25 degrees the whole time we were there. Brrr! I hope you all found peace and joy in your Thanksgiving holidays. There were wonderful moments for us, to be sure, but Jason's dad has Alzheimer's and his health decline is picking up speed. My mother-in-law is taking care of him right now, however it was plain to see how hard it is on her, as he needs constant supervision so he doesn't take the wrong medicine or get otherwise confused. I'm hoping against it, but this may be the last time the regular cast is assembled, so to speak, for Thanksgiving.

Since it was too bloody cold to go much of anywhere, I stayed in mostly and knit. Here is my finished beaded shawl, modeled by my lovely sis-in-law Darla.

The second pic, although fuzzy, does show the little glints of the beads. Tomorrow I will send the shawl off for professional-quality photos, which along with the pattern will be submitted for publication. I'll keep youse all in the loop!

As cold as it was, you know me--I couldn't resist going on a yarn expedition. Here's the haul.

That's 8 hanks of Louet Riverstone in eggplant and 2 hanks of Mountain Colors 4/8 wool in Yellowstone. After much searching, I found the elusive Paradise Fiber & Yarn. Who would have thunk so much amazing yarn would be hiding behind a smut shack?

But yes, it was there and this is the only sign to be seen. As I was snapping the first pic, a "customer" (ick) pulled into the parking lot, and stared at me as if I were some sort of narc photographing license plate numbers for the web or something! When he saw me taking the second pic, he finally decided I wasn't trying to bust him and went in for some, er, reading material. I doubt he would have believed me had I tried to explain the concept of "knitblogging". Hey, I'm willing to take certain, calculated risks for my blog readers' enjoyment!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I have a blog?!

Whoa. The past week has been the proverbial whirlwind of activity. Let me break it down into manageable bits.

First, the dyeing. I know this is supposed to be a knitting blog, but I have such a thing for dyeing, and my hand dyes are selling as fast as I can make them--plus I've got folks waiting on colorways I can't make until I receive my backordered dyes! Anyway, here are my 4 newest, and the first three sold last night to a rabid Rush fan in Massachusetts. Yes, we're out there, just FYI.

In order from top to bottom: "Ghost Rider", "Syrinx", "A Passage to Bangkok" and "Summertime Blues." The last one is back by popular demand.

And My Big News

Remember this?

It was first shawl design, the "Cagney & Lacey" wrap. It's a simple, six row repeat with glitzy (expensive) yarn on huge needles (to get the most out of the yarn's price tag). I had it as a free pattern on Ravelry. A designer in Texas told me she was inspired to make this shawl, and when she discovered it was my design, she told me I should be paid for it, and submitted it on my behalf to Dreamweaver Yarns who publishes her patterns. They accepted it, and will publish it under my name provided it is re-knit in a yarn they carry. So here it is again, in Tilli Tomas' Rockstar, a beaded silk. I plotzed from the yarn's gorgeousness, and then again from the price tag.

To land my plane, save you from any more of my babbling and put it succinctly: the pattern is no longer available for free, as I am on the verge of becoming a published designer.

Is that the end of my pink cloud story? No, I say, no! Because while I was in Knit Purl shopping for the Tilli Tomas, I showed my original shawl to the sales manager for Shibui Knits, and she offered me the chance to design for their Silk Cloud laceweight.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007



Woohoo, it's here! This is 3/4 of my shipment of undyed fingering weight yarn. Tomorrow nothing's on the calendar except dyeing. I should have some pretty pictures up this weekend. All I need now is a skein winder--but that's going to have to wait, as taking the sizable pay cut to work in a yarn shop (see, I told ya, my practical self is saying to my passionate self, which says back, "you're such a bore") has made it necessary for me to get rather conversational with my creditors. Not the kind of stuff I really want to be blogging about, trust me on that. Back to skein winding--I've been using my handy-dandy niddy-noddy. The magic formula for manual winding: 250 reps = 100 grams. I'm getting either deltoids to die for or a separated shoulder, can't quite figure out which one. But it's all good.

Look Mom, I'm doing my moth impersonation!

Scene: My dining room table/workbench, strewn with assorted craft, knitting and beading projects. Silently and unbeknownst to me, working in tandem with my dachshunds Jimmy and Buster, Hannibal the kitten climbs up onto the dining room table, while I sit in my knitting chair in the next room a-knittin'. He knocks to the floor one of the finished "knitting bags" I have made as part of the set of five that someone ordered from me a few days ago. Fortunately, it was just the knitted miniature bag--I hadn't yet filled them with mini-yarn hanks and mini-needles. That last one especially would have been problematic, because as you have probably guessed, the next thing I hear is Buster happily chomping away on something. This is, incidentally, the first time he has ever eaten wool. I quickly snatched the soggy mess away from him, before he could eat enough to get sick, but not before he'd rendered the piece unsalvageable. A minor inconvenience, as I have to make a new one. I had no choice but to ground them both. Yesterday, I took both dogs to the new dog park in our area. They had a blast--Buster running around barking his little head off at everything and everybody, and Jimmy just running around with what was once a tennis ball in his mouth, approaching any and all two-legged creatures, as he assumes they all want to play with him.

Pure knitting bliss

Debbie who?

This is can't-put-it-down knitting. I've got to admit it--I work in a shop that's filled with high-end yarn I really have no business buying, even with the employee discount! However, this yarn was a birthday present. It's HandMaiden Camelspin, and I'm knitting up the Montego Bay scarf pattern from last spring's Interweave Knits. The stuff is like buttah.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Bagged and tagged

I've created a monster...I delivered four adorable, miniature knitting bag ornaments to my customer, who paid me in cash (I always like that) then she promptly ordered five more! Oy. I'm happy to have people pay me to knit, seriously it was my fiendish plot all along, ;) but I think I may get sick of making them before I can knit some up to sell online. No worries, though--while I'm temporarily out of undyed yarn, I sold some hand dyed yesterday, and the mister is sufficiently impressed! At this stage of the game, I could not ask for more.

Cindy tagged me for a meme! Aw, shucks, I'm flattered, even though I am not that interesting. I'll play, though--because if it's true that if the shoe fits you must acquit, it's also the blogger's code that if you're tagged, then you're "it". Here goes.

38 things about me that you may or may not want to know.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? My daughter--when she's not being a drama queen, she can be damn funny!

2. What were you doing at 0800? Making miniature knitting bag ornaments.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Turning on a movie called "Running With Scissors," then remembering that I needed to tend to the blog.

4. What happened to you in 2006? I got a job I was targeting since before graduation in '03.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "I'd like some ice cream."

6. How many beverages did you have today? 2 coffees and a few glasses of water.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Black with red doo-dads on the ends of the bristles.

8. What was the last thing you paid for? I stopped at Marie Callander's on the way home from work last night. That way, I could have the left-overs for lunch today!

9. Where were you last night? What is this, the Spanish Inquisition? Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! OK, seriously, I was at work until about 7:30, then Marie Callander's, then I went home.

10. What color is your front door? Turquoise. Ew. I have wanted a red door for as long as I can remember, but that will involve painting the whole house.

11. Where do you keep your change? I used to keep it in a little jar above the sink, but now it's all in my wallet as Michelle kept taking it.

12. What’s the weather like today? (Tonight) it's in the 40's and calm. We are in for a wowser of a windstorm tomorrow, though.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Chocolate, no question.

14. What excites you? Baseball playoffs, especially the Red Sox! The possibilities of yarn. Travel. Getting together with friends I haven't seen in a long time. Having something to look forward to.

15. Do you want to cut your hair? Nope, I like it the length that it is.

16. Are you over the age of 25? Are we talking human or dog years? ;) You know, for dyslexics, 25 is my right age.

17. Do you talk a lot? No, I don't say much, but I take it all in.

18. Do you watch the O.C.? Nope.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? I have in the past, but don't think so right now.

20. Do you make up your own words? No, I'm not that creative!

21. Are you a jealous person? Is the Pope Catholic? Hi, I'm a Scorpio, nice to meetcha. Next question.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Amy.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kristin.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Michelle.

25. What does the last text message you received say? "Thanks for doing that." It's from Jason--I did some sort of parenty thing last week.

26. Do you chew on your straw? No.

27. Do you have curly hair? Nope. Poker straight.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? Bed.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? My brother. He sucks.

30. What was the last thing you ate? Chicken and rice

31. Will you get married in the future? Am currently married, but can't envision being married to someone else.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? The Queen.

33. Is there anyone you like right now? Yes, I like lots of people.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes? Today at work.

35. Are you currently depressed? No, Effexor is a magic drug.

36. Did you cry today? No.

37. Why did you answer and post this? To honor those who have gone before me.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.* Kay, my knitting and crocheting friend extraordinaire; Knottykitty, who writes a good blog and leaves me nice comments whether I'm celebrating or whining; Sophanne, whose blog I always enjoy, especially her "Knit Night" posts; Kelly, who I'm tagging for the chance to get to know her better; and Mrs. H, who is a busy lady but nonetheless might do this meme!

*Edited Monday morning: I originally tagged Uberstrickenfrau, but then I saw that she just did a meme and decided to let her off the hook!

Friday, November 09, 2007


Christmas is coming! (look busy)

No need for me to look busy, as my previous post indicated. I recently had an inquiry from someone looking for handknit Christmas ornaments, and having seen this back in the Dark Ages of knitting (that would be around 2000 or 2001) in Family Circle Easy Knitting (are they now out of print? I stopped buying it after I discovered Interweave Knits), and filing it away in my subconcious until That Exact Moment, I proposed miniature knitting bag ornaments to her. She liked the idea and asked me to make her two, no wait, four. I just need to get another ball of Aran to finish the order, but here's what I have so far.

Since I never seem to throw away any yarn, I have a plastic bin full of oddments and endments, and I've been having a good time putting colors together. Also, I loved making the "needles"--just toothpicks, beads and Elmer's glue! Uh oh, I'm starting to sound like Martha Frickin' Stewart. I'm outta here before the SEC shows up, but I just wanted to run the idea by you guys and see if anybody thinks they might do well on Etsy. I'd sell them in sets of two or three.

It's been a great knitting workout this morning, but I'd best grab a shower and be off to work. Have a slammin' weekend!

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Busy, busy, busy!

Much has happened since my last post, and all of it good. I have a feeling my blogging frequency is going to fall off a bit, as I am working harder than ever--but when I do things that make me happy, such as beading, dyeing and knitting, it doesn't feel like work!

Without getting into the specifics of what transpired at Dublin Bay, let's just say that my hand dyed yarn and beaded accessories will not be available there. And that's fine--really! No one is obligated to buy my products. And by the same token, I am not obligated to do such things as I had previously been doing at the owner's behest--such as announcing new products at the shop using my Ravelry ID. I have my own business to promote and run! I'm also not under any obligation to disclose any details about Stitchjones to my employer, since we do not do business together.

But the happy news is, my gorgeous, hand-beaded stitch markers--both ring type and lobster clasp--are available at Twisted. Some of my hand dyed yarns are also available there. Twisted is a great place for sock yarn, and they are also incredibly supportive of local crafters and fiber artists, especially those like me, who are endeavoring to make a little money at it. So far, the response about my products has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am a happy busy girl!

Let me show you the newest of my hand dyes. I just put three up on Etsy.

In order from top to bottom, these are more Rush worship colorways: "The Trees," "Roll the Bones" (ever reminding me that sock yarn dyeing, like life, is a crapshoot,) and "Summertime Blues." The boys covered that teen-angst classic a couple of years ago. Michelle hates Rush, but she likes that cover, so it was she who suggested I do this colorway. Of course, she gets her cut when it sells.

And this one is custom dyed for the queen of all things dark and divine, Flutter.

There has also been knitting--honest! But I'll have to save that for next post. Now I'm going to calm down and eat some fruit or something. (thanks to M. Night Shyamalan for that great line from "Signs".)

Monday, November 05, 2007


Some days are like that.


Love knitting so much that you dream of working in a LYS? If you land a job in one, I hope it is truly everything you want it to be. Let me just say that there's a big, BEEG difference between being paid to sit and knit all day--(if you want to do that, be a test knitter)--and working in a LYS. Because as nice, friendly and charming as yarn shops are, (uh oh here comes the kvetching,) it is still retail, folks. Reee-tayylll. What you earn isn't enough to pay the bills, and sometimes--not all the time, but sometimes--you have to take crap. Sometimes from customers, sometimes from management. The crude expression I first heard at my first job as a teen still rings true: shit does, indeed, roll downhill.

Yeah, the honeymoon's over. Blinders came off today, so to speak, and I now have a much clearer picture of the establishment in which I work and how it is run. The reality is harsh when you finally see it for what it is: as an employee, you represent X amount of dollars. Expenditures: your wages. Those may be partially offset by the earning potential you bring to the establishment. Clearly, and contrary to what I believed when I started this job, what I have to offer is of no value to management. And even though it stung to find that out, I'm glad I know what's what. Very glad, in fact, that I learned the truth sooner rather than later.

Do I want to continue working there? Yes, for the time being. I can knit while at work, as long as the shop isn't busy and I am making something for the shop. I have a co-worker who is intelligent and pleasant, whose company I enjoy. The overwhelming majority of the shop's customers are nice people, and a lot of them bring their dogs, so that's a bonus. But it is just a job, after all. All I owe the proprietress is a full shift of required tasks correctly executed, nothing more. And I shall conduct myself accordingly from this day forward.

Website updated!

Since I'm no web wizardress, I used a sucky template from Yahoo Web Design--however, there is now a lot more to stitchjones.com than a single page. It'll take quite a lot more time and work to build the kind of website I want, but for now at least visitors can see who I am and what I do. My goal is to do something each day to develop and expand this fever dream I call a "business plan". I actually have a sales appointment tomorrow, so I really should get my beauty sleep. Nity nite all, thanks for staying up with me over warm milk. And I'll do my damndest not to grouse any more about where I work, because I'm well aware that the decision to cast myself into a sea of financial insecurity was mine. It's just that no matter how much we think we want something, the unforeseen has a way of knocking us on our round little asses. Such is the case with how my day went.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Dyer on fire

I seem to be taking a breather of sorts from knitting. It would probably be more accurate to say that dyeing has become my all-consuming passion! Oh, I'd never abandon the stix though--I'm way too much of a yarn ho to do that. It's just that I sold two of my hand dyes in twelve hours, on Etsy. I was thrilled--then alarmed, as I realized I was down to my last three, and the undyed yarn I ordered was nowhere in sight! So yesterday, it being a glorious fall day, I drove out to Woodland Woolworks in Carlton to get some more.

Here are the fruits of my labor, the thing that keeps me up nights, reskeining completely dry hanks and then coiling them seductively for photos.

The first two were dyed with Wilton icing dyes, and the yarn I used was Kona Superwash. The hanks have extremely generous yardage--around 560. The yarn weight also seems thicker to me than what I consider to be fingering weight, or "sock yarn".

Colorway: "Fly By Night". Sold.

This one started out to be something quite different from what it turned out to be. While I haven't quite made up my mind if I like it or not, it only costs 20 cents to list an item on Etsy, so WTF. It's called "Between Sun and Moon".

With this one, I was back in my comfort zone, materials-wise. Jacquard acid dyes and British Naturals sock yarn. I was trying for the "Red Barchetta" colorway--it being my second attempt to create it--and when the hank was dry, my heart sank because all I could think of was Bozo the clown. But wait! It's got silver-grey in it. Oh crap, Bozo's a senior citizen! Yeah, it's way past my bedtime and I've begun to stop making sense, (which was a kickass Talking Heads show, BTW.) One more and that's it.

Again, something else that didn't turn out as I envisioned. But if I let that stress me, then what's the freakin' point? It's all experimentation, it actually has to be, because most of these dye shades are ones I'm using for the first time and I have no idea how they'll translate to the fiber. The blue is actually lilac, thus making this look like an Easter egg hunt gone awry. My mind is so fogged in that I don't even know what to call it. Suggestions welcome!

And with that, I bid you a fond goodnight...

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