Monday, March 31, 2008


Putting my own spin on things

Top to bottom: 4 oz. each Azalea & Daffodil, Blues & Violet, Raspberry Cremosa, Emerald & Spruce.

These are my first efforts in dyeing roving. I managed not to felt it, and it dyed up quickly and dried out nice and soft and fluffy. I bought a pound of it Saturday at NW Wools. Not sure if it's Corriedale, Wensleydale, merino or what, it's just sold as "domestic wool". But it feels very soft and should spin up nicely. Since I don't spin, I had to do some research on how to dye fiber, but there's good info in the Twisted Sisters Sock Book and last summer's issue of Spin-Off magazine, which I bought while the notion of dyeing yarn was just a gleam in my eye. Anyway, I have a lot to learn, and my presentation isn't as artful as the real pros, but I'm fairly pleased with these results.

Got a yarn order to get out, so I'm off to spend the rest of the evening preparing skeins.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Bliss'd out

Hoo boy, have you ever seen so much frickin Debbie Bliss in your life?! It's a darkish photo, the colors are actually lighter than they look here. The Baby Cashmerino is for a pashmina-style wrap for a friend, (which I need to get crackin on because she needs it for a trip to Europe in May,) and the Cathay will more than likely be some sort of tank top. Last summer I broke down and bought a copy of Vogue Knitting, because I saw something fabulous and plus size. The last design in the issue is a short sleeve, buttonless cardigan made in something called "Posh", but I think it has wool or cashmere and I didn't want that for a summer item. Poo, Chickenlips turns her nose up at cashmere, what's the world coming to? Nope, it's just that this gal runs hot--they're power surges, not hot flashes, for the uninitiated--and so the Stella, a cotton/rayon/viscose blend, is just the ticket for a summer sweater. But as pretty as my summer yarns are, I will not cast on anything for myself until I finish Jodi's wrap.

Which I haven't cast on for yet. I know that's bad grammar. I blame it on being a knitter.

Another Madcap Manhattan Weekend

Er, not quite, but I LOVED that line as spoken by an impossibly cheery Jeff Daniels in "The Purple Rose of Cairo". Even though it's a Woody Allen flick. The thing is, though, I'm batching it for the next couple of days, as J. and our offspring went to Spo-Compton to visit his family. Mostly he's helping his mother with financial and legal issues related to care of his dad, whose Alzheimer's continues to worsen, (as it does--Alzheimer's never gets better, only worse,) and Michelle is on spring break and much prefers any kind of road trip to hanging out here with her mother. With nobody in the house but myself, two dogs and two cats, it's a prime opportunity to dye a bunch of yarn! After selling virtually nothing in my Etsy shop for the entire month of February, it has gone bonkers in March. I'm not complaining; I like money! My customers are fabulous. I'll need to start creating colorways for them.

I got in some BFL worsted and got re-acquainted with my dyepots. Top to bottom: "Sligo", which was interesting to see that the BFL took the dye mix differently than my hopelessly backordered merino superwash does; "Hood River Cherry" which is an overdye; and "Solid Gold", a repeat which tends to sell quickly.

Today I got in more kettle dyeing and a little handpainting, and tomorrow is a dye blitz for re-stocking colorways I'm about to run out of. Dang, there's that bad grammar again! That's my cue to sign off, so I don't mangle the English language any farther.

That's a joke.

Oh, but one more thing:

The boys are (almost) back in town. June 1st! Ah, Clark County. I can almost smell the cow manure...

Monday, March 24, 2008


too cool not to blog about

Just popping in to show you some cute creations with Stitchjones yarn! Top: Baby shoes crocheted by the wonderful Kat of My Sweetie Peas, in Stitchjones "Gelateria" handpainted worsted. It's part of Kat's "50 pairs from 50 shops" project. Bottom: Knit booties with crochet ties, made by the awesomely talented Angela in an experimental sock colorway dubbed "Sweetpea" by the Wednesday night Sip n' Stitchers. Thank you ladies, for creating adorable things I can proudly display at upcoming shows!

Oh yeah, Stitchjones yarn will be for sale at a fiber event this year! Things haven't been finalized yet, so I don't want to leak anything that may come back to bite me in the keister later on...but trust me, this one is big, and right here in Portland! When I have deets, you'll be first to know.

Guilty knitting pleasure #172: I still love to make scarves.

Here it is, friends and neighbors, in all its blocked glory: the scarf version of my Pashmina-style Wrap pattern. Although Chrissy is having someone make a sample for the published pattern, I wanted to see what it would look like. I used 3 balls of Baby Cashmerino and got about 53" in length and a little over 6" width. The color is a much brighter, springier green than what the pic shows, that's what I get for trying to take a decent pic in the laundry room!

It being spring break and a decent day weather-wise, with only the tiniest bit of hail, I actually did some gardening this afternoon, then spent the rest of the day dyeing. A good day all in all, but by the time I was done, my back was singing "Ave Maria". So I'll sign off to get some rest, and knit, because when I surface again I'll have yarn prOn of the highest caliber to share with you!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Swimming with the sharks

Just in case anybody was wondering, I don't particularly like Woody Allen. However, the Woodman has given the world some great quotes, many from what some call his "quintessential relationship movie" Annie Hall. One oft-quoted line: "A relationship is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we have is a dead shark." That may be the most off-the-wall segue yet into my topic, which is my relationship with this blog. I think I've fallen into something of a rut with it. I show yarns and the occasional FO, and blather about them, (and this post will be no exception,) but it's kind of slammed me upside the head the past week that I have become an artist of sorts. A fiber artist, if you will. Not that there's any mystique to it; I simply color yarn and try to sell it. That's what I do. The thing is, though, I'm alone for most of the time that I'm working, with way too much time and space in which to think. I sometimes have music on, but in order to focus, I prefer silence--as much as can be had living near a municipal airport and in a densely populated area. Unfortunately, the noise in my head has become louder. That is to say that long-buried childhood memories are surfacing, and feelings that were relegated to the back burner of my consciousness while I kept reinventing myself until I found a "me" I could live with, are becoming clear to me as I pursue this work. There are safe places where I can go with the memories and feelings, as I don't think a knitting blog is the appropriate place to share specifics. I could, of course, blog about whatever I wanted--it's just that I'm more comfortable keeping this a knitting blog, while carefully choosing which nuggets of personal truth make it onto here.

To clarify about my intentions for this blog--I'm not going to stop blogging, although I see the updates becoming a little less frequent as I work through whatever the hell this is. I've dealt with the spiral-like effects of certain life events long enough to know that experiences and feelings always change; I don't expect to be going through this "forever". I'll still be here, and I'll check in regularly. And I'm OK.

I did finish knitting something, mainly to satisfy my own curiosity about what another of my yarns looks like when knit up. It's the plain ribbed "Alice Cooper" sock.

I actually kind of like the stripe pattern; the way I positioned the colors on the skein, I was surprised at how regular and close together the stripes are. And here's a new sock colorway--I call it "Andes Mints".

Thanks, everybody, for reading my blog and being kind, sweet and supportive, as you always have been since I started. I'll be back in a week or so, or sooner should something really momentous (and fiber related) happen!

Oh, and for those of you who celebrate it...

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Music and yarn

This may shock you, but I do enjoy listening to different types of music! Friday night I went to a choral concert given by Confluence and it was wonderful. A knitting friend from my Wednesday night group and member of the PDX Knit Bloggers, Duffy, sings soprano. I hope more folks attend their concerts, as they are not only beautifully performed, but being the wife of a musician and former church choir member I know how much work and rehearsal goes into music programs! It takes the full commitment and dedication of each talented person to make it happen.

I didn't make it out of the house today at all, so it's good that I had something to do Friday night and did a bit of clothes shopping yesterday. Kind of a good news and bad news thing happening here, as DH is home for a while, that's the good news, but the bad news is that he's come down with a miserable cold. Given his murderously hectic travel schedule of the past three weeks, it was pretty much inevitable that he'd end up sick. So other than reskeining, taking pictures, and making progress on various knitting projects, Nurse Nancy made chicken soup and let DH sleep all day.

I dyed some sock yarns on Friday, and here they are. One new colorway and four solid handpaints.

I was going for a Middle Eastern palette here, and I may have missed the mark but I'm still calling it "Rock the Casbah" for that super funky 80's Clash hit.

Someone at my weekly group suggested "Cheetos" as a yarn color. That sounded like fun to me, so here is "Dangerously Cheesy".

Since I sold two of my three sock kits last week on Etsy, I was debating whether or not to split up these next two "Peacock" (blue) and "Dusk" (purple) and package them with Rock the Casbah as kits. But since my kit packaging has just been ordered and won't be here for about a week, I decided to sell each skein individually and full size, and do kits later. Besides, the LYS's want sock kits to have patterns, and those are still in development.

And the last one looks like a blah red in the photo, but it's a complex amalgam of pink, vermillion and cherry red. Anyway, I named it "Wild Irish Rose" not only because tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day and I am from Boston, but because it was a cheap and gross wine a la Thunderbird that my high school friends used to get hammered on.

And there you have it, hand dyed yarn inspired by overplayed New Wave funk, junk food and cheap wine!

I don't think there's going to be much in the way of dyeing for a while, unless a wholesale order does come in and then it'll be repeats of colorways I've already created. Which is fine, I'll give it my best effort but since I've already blogged about it, it'll be kinda like last Tuesday's meatloaf. I'm a little concerned about my supplier of superwash merino worsted. I ordered 2 lbs. last weekend, and not only is it not here yet, but my bank account was never charged. Stranger still is that I've tried calling them several times, but no one answers, there is no voice mail--just a beep which sounds like a fax line. Have these people been abducted by aliens? My DD is obsessed with "Monster Quest", so that's always my first thought. Seriously, though, I hope nothing's wrong, they're nice folks and I've bought a lot of stuff from them lately. Since I'm not getting anywhere with trying to contact them, I wonder if I should talk to my bank about this.

Ah well--tonight's one of those nights where I can't shut down the amusement park between my ears, so I took a little chemical help. The drowsiness has kicked in, so I'll end the ramble and wish you a very Happy St. Patrick's Day! DKM style.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Celebrate good times (come on)

OK, yes, I'll admit that I have been waiting to use this Stewie 'toon image for when I landed a big wholesale order. Although that hasn't quite happened yet, positive things are happening for Stitchjones. Yesterday I spoke with another LYS owner who is interested in carrying my sock yarn, and today I got a response from someone I contacted last month via Ravelry, who is opening a yarn shop at the Oregon coast. The owner would like to meet with me, which is just the excuse I've been looking for to take a road trip down to the beach. Can't share any more details than that yet, but I am so stoked! Woo Hoo! In the words of Elwood Blues just before he began dancing like a maniac, "and God Bless the United States of America!" One thing's for sure, God bless Ravelry. Once the deal goes through, I'm giving Jess and Casey a taste.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It's Tuesday, and you know what that means.

Yarn pOrn!

Sock solids:


Summer Solstice

Sock multicolor handpaint:


Kettle dyed Bluefaced Leicester worsted: (BTW, Bluefaced Leicester is as hard to type as it is to say!)

Cherries in the Snow (DD wanted to name this "Red Dawn", as her favorite thing to do these days is torture entertain me with her favorite mediocre '80's films, but I thought it might have a better chance of selling with a nicer name.)


Solid Gold


Handpainted worsteds:

Beautiful Boy (I thought it was a good "baby boy" colorway)

Last and also least, an "oops". However, I'm not putting this in the trash bin just yet, as a dyer's "oops" can be a knitter's treasure if they see possibility in the yarn. It has happened before.

Dirty Diamonds

That wraps up the yarn show for today. Thanks for coming, and be sure to tip your waitresses and bartenders! Oh, and the new Knitty is up, thought I'd pass that along.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


things fall apart

...and it's not always scientific. Such was the case with one of my freshly dyed hanks, which I was in the process of reskeining. While on the swift, it somehow became such a hopelessly tangled mess that I had to suck it up, salvage what intact yarn I could while chucking a good portion of it, and cast on for socks.

A little bright in the photo, but it's the "Alice Cooper" colorway. I cop to not using sock patterns anymore, just doing whatever I feel. In this case it's a 3 x 1 rib. Color me surprised at the stripe pattern, I think it'll make for a cool (if rather loud, attention-getting, but hey--so is Alice Cooper!) pair of socks.

My heart is a wee bit sad, because this marks the third consecutive week of travel for my road warrior salesman hubby. He's been coming home (exhausted) on Thursday or Friday night for the past couple weeks, then taking off on Sunday morning or afternoon to catch a flight out for the next trip. Happily, though, this is the last business trip scheduled for March.

I do find ways to keep occupied, though! I promised pics of that gorgeous Blue Moon sock yarn and the cone of magical wonderment from Yarnia, so here you go.

Who cares if it isn't plied, it's so pretty and sparkly. It so wants to be knit into a lace wrap. Patience, my jewel...

Seriously, friends, Yarnia is the shizzle! Yarnhog, Sophanne, Flutter, and any and all of my out-of-town knitblogging buddies I didn't mention but lurve nonetheless, you must come to Portland and we will do a yarn crawl. I have a minivan, so there's plenty room for all of us plus our purchases.

A Fledgling Dyer Makes Lemonade.

This is one of the first skeins I ever dyed, and the FO you're looking at must be the reason it never sold. First of all, it's "Monty," a Henry's Attic merino, which was marketed from where I bought it as "sock yarn" but it's really in the sport/DK weight range. Second, it's not superwash, and third, I dyed it in such a screaming Big Top colorway that it's no wonder nobody wanted to use this yarn for socks. However, it made a pretty cool Baby Surprise Sweater. And look what cute buttons I found for it, at Josephine's Dry Goods. Here, fishy fishy!

Was going to show you more pics of my hand dyed, unfortunately I must stop now because Blogger is being such a stubborn cuss that it craps out every other time I try to upload pics. But come back in a couple days, because since I figured out how to use the "best shot" feature on my camera, I've been taking such sexy yarn snapshots that it truly is yarn smut.

Have a lovely Sunday afternoon. Knit something you love.

Friday, March 07, 2008


In the mood

"Hey baby, it's a quarter to eight/I feel I'm in the mood/hey baby, the hour is late/I feel I've got to move..."

Yes, that was Rush, and it was so last century. Early 1970's, in fact. Thank God the other guy either was 86'd, or died in a bizarre gardening accident, and Neil Peart became their lyricist. I'm only quoting Rush lyrics because I needed a segue into my topic, which is that the hour is indeed late, nevertheless I'm in the mood to blog.

Have I got yarns to show you! Some are created by me, some by others, because even though I've had a mad week of dyeing, I cannot keep from succumbing to the lure of dyers more talented than I. Here are the most recent selections.

A generous hank of 2-ply merino superwash sock yarn from Fearless Fibers, in the "Marrakesh" colorway. Very soft and beautiful, and just the olive hues I've been looking for.

For some reason, perhaps because it's so late? Naah, can't be that, but the photo I took of my Blue Moon Lightweight sock yarn in Oregon Red Clover Honey appears to have gone missing, so I filched this from their website. The photo doesn't do justice to the perfect shaded amber of the colorway. I also can't find the picture I took of my design-a-yarn from Yarnia! Oh well, when I have another photo shoot I'll retake the pic. But it's pretty, trust me.

And now to roll out the latest from Stitchjones. Here are a couple of handpaint worsteds. I've run out of the worsted merino superwash I've been using, loving, and selling a lot of. I should be placing an order for more either tomorrow (today, that is) or Saturday. In the meantime, I'm using Patons Classic Merino in natural for my base yarn-- the only drawback is that it's felt-able. In spite of that, I have sold some on Etsy.

"I Want Candy". Sorta reminded me of the baskets that the Easter Bunny would bring for Michelle, with the lilac Easter grass and Jolly Rancher jelly beans. Hmmm...

"Gelateria". I don't know if that's even a real word in Spanish, Italian, or any other language, but if it doesn't exist I think it should, because it sounds cool. In any case, I love doing this ice-cream parlor colorway, and it's a good seller. I must be craving sweets! It should be noted that neither of these colorways contain any calories.

Although it's been a crazy skeining, dyeing and re-skeining kind of week, I have managed to knit here and there, and am close to finishing a BSJ with one of the first skeins I ever dyed. The sharp-eyed among you may also notice that I have finally figured out how to use the "Best Shot" feature on my new camera. Hey, better late than never! I hope my blog hasn't become boring, it's just that there isn't much going on in my life these days other than yarn. Which is fine as paint with me, considering the scare I had just over a year ago! So if my "all yarn, all the time" blogging mode keeps you coming back, I did a bunch of sock yarns today (Thursday) and will have improved-quality photos of them, and hopefully an FO, on the weekend. And so to bed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Dye, rinse and repeat

Hey, guess what? Hookers dig me! Check it out.

The wonderful Kat crochets baby shoes for charity, and she is doing a "50 pairs from 50 Etsy shops" project. This week, my Etsy shop is featured on her hooking blog! Schweet. I love those little shoesies, especially the ones made out of my handpainted yarn (blush). Makes me want to dye up more of the ice cream colored yarn. I don't make a lot of baby shoes, but right now I'm big time into making Baby Surprise Jackets. In fact I've got one on the needles right now--with some of my hand dyed! Eventually I'll have to make some socks with my own yarn. But that just seems like a busman's holiday. I'd much prefer to sample everybody else's sock yarn. I bought two new ones--Fearless Fibers and Blue Moon--in the last couple of days, and next post I will show you the gorgeousness. We all know that sock yarn doesn't count as stash, which is super lucky for me!

Here are the newest.

Introducing Stitchjones' Handpainted Solids! This one is called "Black Cherry". Last week I did a custom order of solid turquoise sock weight for a fellow knitter, and I liked the results so much that I'm going to do more. A solid color with varying intensity is just right for many of the patterns out there.

"My Michelle", named for my one and only offspring. She plays Magenta in a local cast of "Rocky Horror", and the pink, black cherry and solid black are the colors of her makeup and costume.

"Raga" because the colors mahogany, sandalwood and curry seemed like an Indian palette. Yet I wanted to keep with my overall music theme. (Naming colorways is part of the fun of being a dyer.)

"Summer of Love". The main color is acid green, looks yellow in the pic. I paired it with a psychedelic rainbow. Don't stare at it too long, you'll end up tripping balls!

And another incarnation of "Casual Friday". Today I sold the first one. More intense colors in this skein-- I mixed up the blue-denim a little stronger, to good effect for contrast.

You Have Now Reached This Post's Teaser

Today I went to Yarnia, and was blown away. I'm just wondering why it took so long for Portland, which BTW I have started a petition to change the city name to "Yarn Heaven", to get a yarn store like this! Can you imagine designing your own yarn, and then paying for it not by the yard but by the pound? Getting over 1000 yards of a cotton/rayon/metallic worsted weight for less than $25? What a concept. I hope it catches on in more cities. Not that it's going to put the "regular" yarn stores out of business, as there will always be a demand for such staples as Noro and Debbie Bliss, but it's a nice, budget-friendly alternative. Next post I will show you a pic of what I bought there, along with my recent sock purchases.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Dyers just want to have fun

I used a little of my yarn money to treat myself to some Malabrigo.
The color is called "Jacinto" and it's the prettiest lilac shade evar. Even though I haven't knit with it yet, and I'm planning a cuddly scarf and hat set, I now know what the fuss is about. Lovely stuff. I also ordered some yarn from Deb of Fearless Fibers. As much as I love to dye, when I think of the marathon sessions in the kitchen, the "oops-es" and overdyes to make it perfect, and the sweat and sore muscles (yes-from bending over the table to handpaint) which is not seen, just the finished product, I've decided to treat myself to some yarn buys for a while. Whenever a lean period hits, that'll be the time to knit from stash and stay out of the shops, both physical and online. Perhaps my DD will be less acerbic then. I've been rationalizing my recent yarn purchases thus: "I need this skein of yarn. I deserve it, after all, because of the way that kid treats me!" Instead of beating myself up about it, I'll just let yarn shopping be the band-aid that takes the sting out of being told I have no taste in home decorating, for example, or that I don't deserve a husband as good as J. This evening I'm taking a stroll in a half-assed effort to keep myself fit, so that I'll have the best chance of living long enough for her to be able to appreciate me. It's got to happen eventually--right?

I promised to show you the new colorway and sock kit. I'm still learning to take good pictures, but here you go: a jeans-rainbow motif I named "Casual Friday," as it reminds me of a favorite pair of jeans and an aloha shirt.

The newest sock kit is called "Girls, Girls, Girls" like the Motley Crue anthem to strippers, and it's packaged in an "extra large" clear vinyl tote. You can see that in my Etsy shop if interested.

I Heart My Customers

I don't know where I would be without my blog buddies who are prolific knitters! They are keeping me going with custom dye orders.

Above: 900 yards of merino DK, handpainted in the "Gene Simmons" colorway.

And 1400 yards worsted merino, kettle dyed in the "Sligo" colorway.

Have a great week everybody! I have a bunch new colorways planned, and more surprises on the way in the coming weeks. Oo! Life is good.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]