Saturday, July 26, 2008


Free pattern!

Knitting friends, I give you an original design, the "Traffic-Stoppin' Boot Sock". It was a challenge to photograph! I think the stitch pattern is visible enough in the photo though. I'm no ace pattern writer, so here goes nothing!


-Approx. 400 yards fingering weight yarn in a solid color - I used Regia 4 ply in bright screaming orange, which looks more like traffic cone orange in natural light

-Double point needles, US size 1.5


Fits up to 9" foot circumference

Approx. 9 stitches per inch in Swiss Dot stitch

Swiss Dot stitch:

Rounds 1 & 3: Knit.
Round 2: *K5, P1* around.
Round 4: K2, *P1, K5* to last 4 sts, P1, K3.

Repeat Rounds 1-4 for pattern.


Cast on 72 stitches and divide evenly on 3 needles. Join in round and work K2, P2 ribbing for 1" (about 11 rounds). Begin Swiss Dot Pattern and work until leg is 6" from cast on, or to desired length. Divide for heel: Knit 18 stitches from first needle; move rest of sts to second needle. Turn and work heel flap over 36 stitches as follows:

Row 1: Slip 1, purl to end of row.
Row 2: Slip 1, knit 1 across.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until heel is approx. 2.5" long, ending with right side facing. Turn heel:

Row 1: Knit 20, ssk, knit 1.
Row 2: Slip 1, purl 4, purl 2 tog, purl 1.
Row 3: Slip 1, knit 5, ssk, knit 1.

Continue until all heel stitches are worked; 20 stitches remain.

Gussets: Knit 10 heel stitches, with free needle knit the other 10 heel stitches and pick up 17 stitches along heel flap. Using another free needle, work across 36 instep stitches in established stitch pattern. With 3rd needle, pick up 17 stitches along heel flap and knit the first 10 heel stitches.

Gusset decreases:
Round 1- knit to the last 3 stitches on first needle, K2 tog, K1. Needle 2-work across instep stitches in pattern. Needle 3-knit 1, ssk, knit to end.
Round 2: Knit all stitches on first needle. Needle 2-work across instep stitches in pattern. Needle 3-knit to end.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 72 stitches remain. Continuing to knit all stitches on Needles 1 and 3 and working Swiss Dot stitch pattern on instep stitches, work to 2" less than desired foot length.

Toe decreases:

Round 1: Knit to last 3 sts on first needle, K2 tog, K1. Needle 2-K1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1. Needle 3-K1, ssk, knit to end.
Round 2: Knit all sts.

Work rounds 1 and 2 until 32 sts remain. Knit stitches from Needle 1 onto needle 3 so there are 16 stitches on top needle and 16 stitches on bottom needle. Graft toe sts closed with Kitchener stitch.

In other news: I have been on a sock yarn buying rampage of late! I fell prey to The Loopy Ewe this week and got these sweet sweet yarns.

My first Shibui, in Blossom. Photo doesn't even begin to tell the story of how pretty the pink is.

Trekking XXL in the perfect color, the one I have been searching low and high for, to make Mr. Stitchjones some socks.

While visiting Kathy's Knit Korner in downtown Hillsboro, I lost the fight with myself to stop the madness, and bought a ball of Austermann Step.

The development of those children's sock kits, the ones I can't stop talking about, continues. Here are 2 more colorways ready to go:


Happily Ever After

Just 2 more to go, and we'll be all set--except for the patterns, of course, and the knitting of samples (at least they're kids socks and will go quick,) and then the package insert design and printing...that's going to be far and away the biggest challenge. Hopefully I can get some professional help (no, not that kind, although it's not a bad idea) next month.

To prove it isn't all yarn, yarn, yarn around here, here's a picture of Jimmy the wiener dog. His eyes compel you to "obey the dachshund".

I'll have to end the post now, 'cuz every time I upload a pic I lose text formatting. Stoopid Blogger. But something lovely happened today which I'll share next time, so I'll be back in a few days.

(edited to correct Swiss Dot stitch pattern instructions. My apologies for the error.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


That was the week that was

Does anybody remember that? It was the name of a TV show from the 60's, I think...my memory is somewhat foggy. But it aptly describes my week, or at least life around here since my last post.

A few days ago, my Etsy shop was featured on Lime & Violet's Daily Chum as the Etsy Shop of the Day! (now I know what ESotD means, heh.) That was like, right on the heels of Rush appearing on Colbert Report, so I was so jacked I was barely coherent! I got several orders in rapid succession, which was awesome. Then yesterday, having found some nice dyeable yarn on sale at a small LYS in the Pearl District (no, not the one that a lot of people think is an Irish pub, the other one :P), I told the owner I'm a dyer, bought all the sale dyeable wool she had and gave her a sample of my kettle dyed. She is very interested in either wholesale or consignment, since her shop is very small (but charming), and now I know I made a wise decision to offer various yarn weights and kettle dyed in addition to handpainted. So I've found yet another LYS owner who wants to offer her customers local products, because that's what they ask for, and that makes me glad.

But wait, that's not all! (That part, if it had been spoken rather than written, I would have used my cheesy TV announcer's voice.) You may remember I found T-Spot, a lovely new yarn, tea and chocolate shop in Manzanita at the coast, and my sock yarn is for sale there? Hang on to your hats people, 'cause little old me has been hired to teach a beginning sock class at that shop next month! Road trip to the coast? Write off all expenses because they're business related? Hells yes!

OK, time to settle in, because I'm planning a long-ass yarn rap. But there will be pictures, so that should break up the monotony. Here is the dyeing progress I've made so far on the kids' sock kits yarn.

The back row is "Toucan Rainforest", and up front (it's actually my "Rock the Casbah" colorway adapted for small circumference knitting,) is what I was going to call "Arabian Princess" but I'm thinking of dumping the Princess theme idea and calling it "Magic Lamp". There will be two more girly, fairy tale themed colorways and two more wildlife themed ones. So if this sort of thing turns yer crank, keep it right here!

I have found it's extremely difficult to sell a yarn kit without a pattern, so I'm working on a little girl sock and a little boy sock. And designing is so not my forte! Yeah, I know, I've had a couple patterns published, but it's the pattern writing that I find a bitch. However, I need kit patterns, so I soldiered on and did a test knit of a lace rib sock.

I thought it was cute, until I realized that the instep IS NOT SYMMETRICAL.

The bottom picture should have a reverse stockinette stitch rib "gutter", and it doesn't. Crap.

Some freakin' designer, huh? Back to the drawing board, as they say.

I promised to flash my newest stash, so here 'tis.

From the nice people at Jimmy Beans Wool, I bought 5 skeins of Manos wool in "Calypso" and 1 ball of Classic Elite Charmed (85% cashmere, thank God it was on sale)! I'm itching to cast on for the Lily of the Valley Shrug from my new book, "Inspired to Knit".

Anybody wanna venture a guess as to what this is? I may have told my Wednesday night knit buddies already.

If you said "a big screaming orange knitted thing that's hard to photograph," you win the case of fish balls and lizard testicles. It's another half assed design attempt, this one is a boot sock. If I can ever finish them and they come out halfway decent, I'll share the pattern.

I bought some rainbow dyed superwash merino from Jenny of Bare Sheep Yarn Company, and I've been playing around with a scarf design idea. I really should be working on the scarf idea I've been kicking around since January, intended for Stitchjones yarn, but I'm easily distracted by pretty colors. Here's the swatch I made, which is all I've had time for.

And with that I've blown my wad of yarn pics, so I guess that's it. 'Night, all!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Red Hot Chili Peppers!

No, not the band--the chili peppers I refer to are sewn onto my most recent FO, another Baby Surprise Jacket. I used 2 skeins of Stitchjones Grand Designs Worsted Merino in Pepper Patch and size 6 needles.

Extreme closeup of the too cute buttons!

I dyed the yarn some time ago, before I understood how this particular yarn takes dye--it sucks it up like a sponge and lots of color mixing happens on the skein. Now I know how to make that work to an advantage and how to minimize it, so when I make the Pepper Patch colorway it comes out a lot less muddy than this early batch did. Still, there's some interesting pooling, especially the orange sections near the bottom of the jacket.

This is another one of those late night posts. I do feel sleepy, but since Geddy, Alex & Neil made their first American TV appearance in 30+ years on The Colbert Report tonight, I'm still coming down from the high. The boys were jovial with Stephen Colbert--at his request, they all signed his hand, and I loved Neil's quip "I better not see that on Ebay!" However, it being Comedy Central, they didn't get to finish playing "Tom Sawyer", or I should say the show ended before the song did. Feh!

My head is exploding. Wait, let me qualify that, as I sense some of you pulling away. You know how the kid in "The Sixth Sense" saw dead people? Well, it's like that for me, except that what I see are knitwear designs. I've started making a sock that's a simple knit/purl combo, and the longer the leg gets the more I like how it's coming out, so I want to write up the pattern and post it here as a freebie. Also, I've got a scarf design for my dyepot worsted merino that needs to be knit up--it may be sweltering July, but fall isn't too far off! Uh oh, don't look now, but I've turned into a retail machine. Oh well, the rationale is, the only way to be able to keep dyeing is to sell my dyed stuff, right? Right.

My not-so-top-secret stealth project is a children's sock kit. Today I made some headway with the dyeing, as my goal is to have 3 to 4 dozen ready to go a month from now. The kit packaging has been ordered. There will be 6 kid-friendly colorways and 2 themes: "Princesses" and "Wildlife". I'm planning two different sock designs: one with lace or a ruffle or both, and the other will have some sort of textured rib stitch. To avoid gender exclusivity, my idea is to include both patterns in the kit (the sheet will be printed double-sided, as the packaging is nifty but rather small). And of course, package inserts are needed! I'm whipping up a design for that, as well.

There's also been some indulgent yarn stashing this week, but I'll have to show you that next time. I'm off to brush my teeth and collapse.

Saturday, July 12, 2008



Or "Biffle" as Kerin pronounces it (which I think is cute). However you say it, I've come up with one of the most truly satisfying knit objects--one that started as undyed fiber and became this.

I dyed 4 oz. of Bluefaced Leicester roving, gave it to Bobbie, and she made this gorgeous yarn out of it.

I was fascinated by the color changes and couldn't wait to see how it looked knit up, so I chose a straightforward brioche rib stitch and worked until I ran out of yarn. It's an ascot-length neck warmer, which would look very snazzy with one of Tool Man's shawl pins (hint! hint!) The texture must be felt to be believed. It's as soft as cashmere. I'll bring it to next knit night so it can be squeezed like Charmin.

Thank you for the supportive comments about my father-in-law. It occurred to me that ever since I've known the guy it's always been about him getting all the attention, how dysfunctional, and I can't believe I devoted that much space to him on my blog. Well, he certainly isn't worth further mention.

I have 2 1/2 new sock colorways! "2 1/2" because two are finished and up on Etsy, and one I did as a custom order but only made enough to ship. I'm going to add it to the line, though, because I really like how it came out.

It's "Salmon Dave" and the only one of my sock colorways that is kettle dyed rather than handpainted. I find kettle dyeing much trickier, so I'll be making mods to my process to try to make it less labor-intensive. Until I make another batch, look for "Salmon Dave" and a bunch of other colors coming to Woolgirl soon.

Here are a couple of handpaints. This one I came up with on a sweltering afternoon, a shaded solid I call "Icehouse".

And I tried Lanaset dye for the first time and love it! This is a meld of neutral black and beige, with a custom mixed hot coral and Lanaset "Magenta". I call it "Riff Raff". (say it with me--"Hey Riff!...") Yes, it's the beginning of a filthy Rocky Horror callback line. Unfortunately, with my kid's involvement in one cast or another at the Clinton St. Theater for the past five years, I know more than I ever wanted to about Rocky Horror Picture Show. Anyway, here's the yarn.

Odds and ends...there's an unannounced sale at my Etsy shop! I posted it in the Jonesin' for Stitchjones group on Ravelry, though. All current stock of handpainted fiber is just $10.00 until it's gone. I've got a good amount of "Biffle" waiting to dye but am running out of storage space. If you purchase fiber via my Etsy and use Paypal, I'll refund the price difference. C'mon, help a sista out!

Yesterday I splurged and bought another pattern book: "More Big Girl Knits". I love it! There are no less than 3 designs by Chrissy Gardiner of Gardiner Yarn Works, and everything in the book is lovely. I even ordered some yarn to knit the beautiful shrug in the other book I got recently, "Inspired To Knit". If I make a sweater or top from More Big Girls, I think I'll look into Knit Picks, so I don't break the bank!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008



My first Jaywalker sock!

Details: Jaywalker sock by Grumperina. Pattern available free on Ravelry. Yarn: Stitchjones Supersocks in "Summer of Love" colorway.

"Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

I'm rather pleased with the results, and now I know what the colorway looks like when knit up. To my two "rainbow" sock colorways, Summer of Love and Casual Friday, I've added another, previously done in worsted merino: "Pink Rainbow".

Needless to say, but I'm saying it anyway, we are back from Spokane, having made the joyless, but obligatory, visit to the in-laws. My FIL has always been mean as cat-dirt, especially when drunk (which was his usual state), but with advanced Alzheimer's he is either dishing out crazy pie, hallucinating and so forth, or treating his caregiver, my mother-in-law, like crap. The craziness is worse at night. He keeps getting up, convinced the water supply is poisoned or that his family is holding him hostage. It's awful, I know, and I'm sorry to admit this even though I must: I have no pity for him because he is an asshole. The only reason my MIL endures it all is because she is busy transferring all their assets out of his name, so Medicaid won't get them and she can save her kids and grandkids' inheritance. As soon as next month, though, he can be moved to a nursing home. The only thing that held me together during the visit was the knowledge that I never have to see him again.

It sure helps to vent! Now back to more interesting topics, like knitting and dyeing. I have exciting news to share. Stitchjones Supersocks is coming soon to The Yarn Grove, a very cool online shop! And that's my cue to cut this short, as I've got to finish up an order so everything will be ready to ship by the end of the week.

Oh, but one more thing. Mr. Stitchjones and I went shopping, and I got presents! This beautiful book by Michele Rose Orne--I am indeed "inspired to knit" even though I have no time for it these days. And a new CD by my boys, which keeps me rockin' out.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Srsly, dude.

OK, I admit that I've done an inordinate amount of thinking about this. After I finish this post, I'll stop thinking about it and let it go, so that I don't hurt myself. It's just that as a dyer, when it comes to naming yarn colorways, I try to come up with snappy ones and keep to Stitchjones' general theme of rock music. However, that isn't always possible, and I'm OK with that. Sometimes a BFL yarn will come out of the dyepot the shade of lilacs that bloom outside my bedroom window, and the yarn is dubbed "Lilac". No worries, all good. The crux of the matter, though, is this: A fellow knit blogger has made some cool looking socks with a handpainted sport yarn from the immensely talented Spunky Eclectic. Without passing judgment on the dyer for thinking up the colorway name or on the blogger for buying it, I have to say that the name assigned to this yarn bugs me. It's called "Monkey Farts".

Now I'm not trying to be Miss Priss here. I've been a kid, and raised a kid, and am still a kid in many respects, and I know that farts are funny. I still giggle at fart jokes. I even laughed at the little pooting Lego monkey in the photo, which was a nice touch. I'm aware that some form of flatulence is natural to every living being on Mother Earth. I just prefer to keep it out of my sock yarn, OK?!

Say what you will, that I just wish I'd thought of it first--but no. I might call such a yarn "French Toast", or given my preoccupation with carbohydrates and sweets I may do a little wordplay and call it "Banilla"--a cross between banana and vanilla, also very cute-sounding when said by a wee one expressing his or her preference of ice cream flavors. (I can sense this rant winding down. I've made my point and am now beating a dead horse.)

I may be just a tad out of sorts because I'm getting ready for the semi-annual jaunt to Spokane to visit the outlaws inlaws. And all the emotional baggage that goes with it is rearing its ugly head, so I'm sorry if I seem a bit grumpy. We're leaving Thursday morning and coming home Sunday afternoon. If I don't get another post in before we go, with photos of dyed stuff--of which there's been a lot lately--have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everybody, and I'll resurface next week with a much sweeter-smelling topic.

(Edited to add: Bleep me sideways! I forgot to wish my Canadian friends Happy Canada Day. Thank you, Yarn Harlot, for the reminder.)

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