Saturday, August 30, 2008



It's that time again, getting ready for back to school! Look who's about to begin her senior year.

Senior year of high school, that is! What a bombshell, no? Miss Girl here has always been in a hurry to grow up, and has loved makeup since she was tiny. She is a talented makeup artist, and not only directs and performs in a local cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show but also does makeup for most of the principal cast members before each show. Here she's borrowing Rose McGowan's look from Planet Terror.

We've got an appointment for fancy senior pictures next week, something I insisted on. For her part, she just wants to get school over with, but it's a milestone and I want to mark the occasion (and wow the grandmas) with nice pictures. But of course we first had to have a bit of a power struggle. She balked about it until she found out she should come to the photo shoot in full makeup and bring a minimum of 5 outfits! Now it doesn't seem like an ordeal at all.

Ruminations of the political kind

I try to avoid being overtly political on my blog, because while I don't think the CIA or Homeland Security Dept. spends a lot of time perusing the average, run of the mill knitting blog, I've always got the businesswoman part of my persona lurking, and of course mixing business with politics or religion is a no-no. However, I'll out myself as a lifelong Democrat--I grew up in Massachusetts, what do you expect?!--and along with everybody else, I was very surprised at the Republican choice of vice presidential running mate. She's accomplished a great deal, but someone better dispatch a team of gay men to give her an appearance makeover, stat! Remember Will Smith in "Men In Black"? "Get someone in here to redecorate, 'cause...damn!" I know I'm being snarky. It's just that the Sophia Loren collection eyewear and platform sandals don't cut it, now that she's on the world stage!

Seriously, though, I think the choice of Sarah Palin is McCain rolling the dice, trying to attract votes from Hillary Clinton's supporters who aren't completely behind Obama. I'm not the world's greatest wordsmith, so I hope I say this right: for McCain, the choice of a female VP running mate seems like tokenism to me. I don't see anything progressive about putting a woman in the second highest political office in the country, when she is bound to a political agenda that challenges women's rights. A female vice president in a Republican administration, and no amount of rhetoric can convince me it won't be a continuation of Bush's policies or worse, will have no bearing on the Iraq war or deterrent to possible war with other nations. It gives me a feeling of "so what?"

I hate being pessimistic, so I'm going to change the subject to yarn, which always makes me feel better.

Good news and pretty colors

I had myself quite the yarny week. Stitchjones acquired a new customer: Knit Divas in St. Helens, OR. It's a very cool shop. After the Knit and Crochet Guild of America show--which is the week after next, gulp!--I'll dye up their order. I'm still trying to dye up as much yarn and fiber as possible for this show. The neat thing is, though, that without an order in hand, it gives me license to be experimental. Today I had some exciting colorways in the steamer, and I'll try to remember to take photos for the blog since they're not going up on Etsy.

Gotta love those custom dye requests! They often end up becoming hit colorways.

This is "Olive Bar", handpainted on sock weight, created for Judy, inventor of Judy's Magic Cast On. And whoa, wouldja look at this!

No, I didn't design or knit it, but isn't it fabulous? I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. This is a sock design by a very talented lady named Kasha who I "met" on Ravelry. Her Rav ID is "Kashadilla". The yarn is Stitchjones "I'm With The Band" which was inspired by a custom dye for Flutter, o queen of mine!

Kasha's design will be published and marketed as part of Stitchjones' growing line of patterns. We need a kickass name for the design, so I'd love to get your suggestions. To me, the colorway says "heavy metal babe" which is how I came up with its name. Let's make this fun. I tell you what: if your suggestion becomes the name of the design, I'll send you both the pattern and a skein of the yarn. Pretty good huh? Fire away!

It's past midnight and my eyelids are getting droopy, so I'm off to beddy bye. I may nip down to the State Fair tomorrow, if it's still going on that is. My knitting and spinning buddies have been down their demonstrating their arts, and it just sounds like a pleasant place to be.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Me and Mr. Stitchjones, we got a thing going on

I don't believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate

I don't believe in forever or love as a mystical state

I don't believe in the stars and planets or angels watching from above

But I believe there's a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love

And make it last.

-Rush, "Ghost of a Chance"

Happy anniversary, Jason! Thank you for 19 years. I love you.

Sandy Eggo Recap

It was just a weekend vacation, as that's all our schedules and budget could accommodate, but we went here and there around SD. In the above photo, the extreme closeup of us, we were near Cabrillo National Monument at Point Loma. There would have been more background, except I took the picture and I have maddeningly short arms. This picture gives a better idea of the panoramic ocean view.

I'm not sure what I was trying to do here, except maybe keep my hair from blowing clean off my head, but that's as close as I get to being a hootchie mama these days.

FO? or abomination? You make the call.
Oh, I just don't know about this one.

It's the Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell, from Interweave Knits Spring '07. I made it in the biggest size, and it fits pretty good without sag. The armholes are a bit too long, and I goofed up the short row shaping but it blocked out better than I thought it would. All in all, the fit is OK, really. So what's my damage?

Well, for one thing, I hate hate hate the yarn. It's Rowan Summer Tweed, and I bought it last summer on sale. This yarn has absolutely no elasticity, it's like knitting with packaging twine. And the tweed is too nubby. I really don't care for tweedy yarn, and it seems I'll never learn because I keep buying the stuff. Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch, I know, but when you make something in size 3x, you have a lot more time for your resentment to grow, until it compresses your heart down to a diamond. And get this--I ran out of yarn, needing no more than 5 yards to finish the damn thing, after it sat neglected in a shopping bag for almost a year. As luck would have it, though, the LYS had the same yarn in the right color and even the same dye lot! So I finished and blocked the sucker the day before leaving town. It was completely dry and smooth when I got home, so now if we get a nice warm day I'll wear it!

Mr. Stitchjones is still in California. His 10-day business trip is winding down, though, and he'll be home Thursday night. I should make us a cake or something, lord knows I haven't done that since I started my dye business!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Not much to report

I wanted to have a little parade of FO's to show you a la Yarnhog, (you must see Suzanne's beautifully knit sweaters! I kept saying "I'm not worthy") but I keep getting sidetracked hither and yon. (Does anybody say "hither and yon" anymore?) I'll have to put off show and tell until next week, 'cause on Friday I'm off for a romantic weekend getaway (meeting Mr. Stitchjones while he's on an extended business trip). Meanwhile, what could possibly be the ugliest knit item ever made is almost finished, and I know you won't want to miss that!

Before I forget, blog contest news! Fibreholic is celebrating her blogiversary with a yarn contest. If you enter--and if you're here, I'm pretty sure you are interested in winning yarn!--say hi and tell her you heard about it from Chickenlips.

So while there may not be much knitting going on here, there is dyeing, and I'm excited as all getout about a new sock yarn I'll be offering this fall. It costs a bit more, but in my thoroughly unbiased opinion it's totally worth it. Introducing, Glam Sock!

"Glam Sock", shown here in Black Cherry, is 420 yards of fingering weight superwash merino with silk, nylon, and sterling silver threads. This skein is now up in my Etsy shop, so grab it and get your bling on.

I'm succumbing to the pressure to get off the computer now, as a certain teen I live with wants to resume her session of Heroes of Might and Magic. Is it September yet? I'll be back next week with lots to blog about!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Heating up

"Hot enough to boil a monkey's bum."

Crass, I know, but it's my favorite vintage Monty Python way of describing the current hundred-degree temperatures! Oi, I tell ya. My poor ancient drying rack, which I bought at a garage sale for something like $3, is groaning under the weight of what all I dyed up yesterday. I'm about due for one of those fancy shmancy racks from Ikea. Last night I put on lots of yarn to soak, but didn't get to the dyeing today. Just as well--even with the room AC that Mr. Stitchjones put in, it's just plain too hot. I did some skeining of undyed yarn today, trying to stay a step ahead of things. Tomorrow morning before the whole house heats up, hopefully I can get through a batch.

I placed my order today with Kraemer Yarns for 70 skeins of their superwash worsted merino, which is fabulous, some bulky weight wool for kettle dyeing, and a surprise. These folks are awesome. Their prices are competitive, and their yarn is high quality. How do I know? Because I contacted them, and they responded with a free sample kit offer (I did have to provide my tax ID number as proof that I'm in business). But was it just little 2-yard snippets of their yarns? Shoot, no--they sent me this deluxe box of full size skeins of each yarn in their Naturals hand dye collection! I'd show you a pic, but I've already started dyeing it up. When it's all dry, reskeined and pretty, I'll post photos.

Gearing up for a big gig

Stitchjones yarn, and lots of it, will be at next month's Knit and Crochet Guild of America show right here in Portland. So I'm cranking as much as I can, of all the different types of wool I can get my hands on. One of my wholesale customers, Naked Sheep Knit Shop, will be featuring local fiber artists at their booth, with a 5-tier basket full of Stitchjones handpainted sock yarn. Handpainted and kettle dyed worsteds, chunkies, DK and sportweights will be available at the Gardiner Yarn Works booth, along with...yup, you guessed it--those adorable kids' sock kits! Online unveiling of the kits will be early September, before the TKGA show if possible, so keep it right here friends--this is something you don't want to miss. Many thanks and mwah's to Kathleen of Busy Digits, for lending her talents, diligence and hard work to this project.

Beat goes on

Still trying to keep interest levels up in my Etsy shop, I've spiced up my sock yarn dyeing with a little flurry of pastels. One of them, the yellow, sold yesterday. Totally wrong season for pastels, but some part of my color instinct must have needed some. Anyway, here they are. Top to bottom: Baby Blue, Blush, Daffodil.

In his charming way, Elwood the cat is asking for attention and/or food by clawing at my leg. Sigh-- duty calls, as they say. Stay cool, everybody, I'll be back when things are less sticky! Um, that didn't quite come out right, did it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Ding ding ding

It's Sunday, and that means the deadline has passed for entries in the "What the bleeping bleep is Chickenlips making" contest. Thank you all for playing! All your guesses were good, and some of them cracked me up--like Kerin's . Nope, it's not a banana warmer. It's this.

The Clementine Shawlette from Interweave Knits' Spring 2007 issue. I'm in love with the designs of Michele Rose Orne, and in my must-knit queue is the Lily of the Valley Shrug from her book "Inspired to Knit". Two halves of the Clementine are knit identically and grafted together. I'm almost finished with the first half.

I'm using Louet Gems Merino Sport in French Blue. Even pre-blocking, I can tell this is going to be a hugely satisfying FO.

"So who won?" is most certainly the question of the moment. Well, friends, we have a tie! Heide came up with the exact name of the project. However, Kiki also guessed correctly that it's a shawl. Rather than trying to randomly determine a prize winner, I asked the question "WWSJD?" (What Would Stitch Jones Do?) and Stitch said, "They both should get yarn." I thought that was a splendid idea. So ladies, I will contact you both and send you prize packages of yarny goodness! Hearty congratulations.

It's My Traveling Skein (you don't know what I got)

A shout out to my friend Duffy for coming up with that wonderful "Traveling Sock" ditty for the Yarn Harlot! I hope you don't mind that I put my own spin on it. Yesterday I visited my Stitchjones wholesale customers at the Oregon Coast. I also taught my first beginners' sock class at T-Spot in Manzanita. A totally fun day in which nothing I did seemed like work, yet I got paid for teaching and for my hand dyed yarn and fiber. I didn't happen to have a sock project on needles, which is rare for me, and the wind was rather fierce, so here is my traveling skein enjoying the view at Oswald West State Park.

A better shot in which you can see Manzanita in the upper left corner.

Done to a turn

Since I knit my first Zimmermann Baby Surprise sweater last fall, I've made 7 more! Now I'm working on my first February Baby Sweater, having completed my Zimmermann library with the recent purchase of "Knitting Almanac". Here is the latest, in Stitchjones Grand Design handpainted merino in "Gelateria".

I know the edging looks a bit raggedy; I haven't blocked it yet. And I'll get around to sewing on those cute moose buttons one of these fine afternoons, I swear.

My original design, the Boomerang Lace Scarf, is done and blocked.

While it's soft and pretty, I feel as though I picked a totally wrong yarn to knit the design. (Feza mohair & acrylic. Too light, too meh, to show off the lace stitch pattern, which I invented, thank you very much! ) This was originally designed for Shibui in their Silk Cloud, and it was rejected. No matter--I have other plans for both the design, and this scarf. I think my MIL will get it for Christmas. In order to get the design published, though, it will have to be re-made in a completely different yarn. I of course couldn't walk out of either T-Spot or Coastal Yarns without buying something, so I'm thinking either of these would probably work to remake the scarf. I'm leaning toward the green.

Llama and silk sound like an intriguing combo, don't you think?

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Handspun heaven

No, pumpkins, I haven't taken up spinning, even though I have more appreciation than ever for the art of making beautiful yarn out of something that looks like this.

This week, I've added some fabulous handspun yarn to my stash, and the possibilities are careening around in my headspace. Sometimes they run into one another, and that's painful. Anyway, here is a Falkland single ply from Foxyie on Etsy:

I adore the color, which is more green in natural light, and it's wonderfully soft. I don't yet know what I'll make with it, but who cares? It's handspun and I love it. Foxyie also included a "surprise" with my shipment.

I'm too lazy to get up and go in the other room where the card is that lists all the fibers in this yarn. There's merino, silk, sparkly stuff and I dunno what else, but it's also beautiful and I love it.

Now Chickenlips has a big time jones for handspun. Here is some Corriedale from Susan of Abstract Fibers
also on Etsy, but I didn't get it from her Etsy shop. I'm fortunate, because Susan is in my Wednesday night fiber addicts group! It's a bad picture, but trust me, the colors in this yarn are spectacular and would knock your socks off.

So there you go, some handspun treasures for my stash. My dyeing has slowed down of late--I think it's because I'm getting really sick of working in the kitchen. Nevertheless, the yarn and fiber must be done, as folks are waiting on some of it.

On The Knitting Front

I finished the orange boot socks, blocked 'em, and love 'em. I didn't want to post a redundant pic. Finishing them should have been my cue to go back in time, as it were, and finish some abandoned WIP's. However, I never was any good at resisting the powerful urge to cast on for something new. I did today, and it's one of those totally addictive projects that you don't want to put down.

Which is a great segue for a contest! Haven't had one of those in a long time. Now before I go any further, I just have to say that the last time I had a contest and announced the winner, I never heard from the person, and I kind of lost momentum after that. So while I realize that Blogger has limits and kind of sucks, I must insist that you provide me with some sort of contact info if you don't have a blog. In other words, please make it easy for me to get a hold of you in case you win! Capiche? OK, here's the deal. Tell me what on Gawd's green earth Chickenlips is making. The only verbal hint I'll give is that it's a published pattern.

Leave your guesses in the comments. If there's more than one correct answer, I'll use the random number generator thingy. I'll announce the winner a week from tomorrow, which is Sunday, August 10th.

Ganbatte! ("good luck" in Japanese.)

(Edited to add: Duh! I forgot to mention the prize--Stitchjones yarn. Sorry about that.)

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