Saturday, November 29, 2008


Bombshells away!

The deets: 5 balls Berroco Comfort. Needles: Size 7 for body, Size 3 for waist ribbing, sleeve and neckline borders. Size made: 1.5x. Pattern is "Bombshell" from the first Big Girl Knits book.

Can't believe I've made two of these this fall. Now I'm ready to knit something else!

Friday, November 28, 2008


Twas the day after Thanksgiving...

...and all through the house, not a frickin thing is stirring. I handpainted 18 skeins of sock yarn last night, and I'm still tired!

Jeez, I've let my poor ol' blog go for much too long. I've been in the habit of posting once or twice a week pretty regularly since I started it in the summer of 2006. Lately, though, I can't seem to finish anything on the needles. I made another Bombshell sweater, this one for my teen queen. I think it looks great on her, however she thinks it's too tight around the ol' "muffin top". So once I finish the futzy bits--neckline border, weaving in ends and such--I'll post a pic, although I doubt I can get her to model it. Durn. If she won't wear it, by gum, I'll find somebody who will! That sweater looks too good not to see the light of day.

Hope you all had lovely times on Thanksgiving day. I had dinner with my parents at their house. The spousal unit and our offspring are up in Spokane with his family. I begged off the trip, as I had to finish up a big order and I need to do some marketing over the weekend. So while yes, Thanksgiving is traditionally about getting together with family, there is definitely something to be said for solitude, especially if you've been a mom for the past 18 years. True, I just have one kid of my own, but this house has been the gathering place for scores of kids over the years, with no place for me to beat a hasty retreat. While I wouldn't call myself anti-social, I am damn selfish when it comes to my "alone time" or "down time". Right now everything's calm and quiet, no Metal Mania, no video-game-induced yelling. Ahhh...going into my happy place...

I do have a new sock colorway to show you.

This is called "Electric Mayhem", a homage to the headbangers from Sesame Street, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. One of the colorways in the Colinette Jitterbug line of sock yarn inspired me.
While opening the mail, I managed to slice open my left index finger, so I'm going to slip away quietly to my knitting chair and try to finish something--that is, if the band-aid doesn't get in the way too much. Tomorrow I'm off to the Oregon Coast to visit one of my yarn shop customers. This afternoon I drove up to StitchCraft in Vancouver, WA and met the owner. I actually "know" her from Ravelry--she's in the Rush fan group I started! Brainy ladies rule. Anyway, if you're in PDX metro and feel like going up to The Couv, do stop in at StitchCraft, there's lots of nice yarns plus sewing stuff!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


No more PSA's, I promise

Last post I got a tetch emotional talking about the increased numbers of abandoned pets as a result of the severe recession. Thank you for indulging me. Harper's owners borrowed Jimmy's leash to take him home and never brought it back, so when I was at the neighborhood Petsmart buying a new one I saw the kitty adoption center at the store (as the shelter is full). A great deal of veterinary care, including spaying/neutering and microchipping, is done prior to adoption whereas it used to cost quite a bit to have it done after adopting the pet. I saw the kitties being exercised, and I was told by an employee that this is done regularly to keep them healthy and happy. Another bit of encouraging news is that there is a local cat food bank. Cat owners experiencing severe financial difficulties can get free cat food, and this will no doubt help reduce the numbers of abandoned kitties. I wonder if there is a similar program for dogs. Note to self: look into this.

So I'm cheered up today, and despite the mad crazy Stitchjones production schedule, I've made some socks for myself and bought fab yarn. I started these socks on election night; thus I'm calling them my "Election Night Socks".

The blurry first photo doesn't show the colors very well, so here's an X-treme closeup. The yarn is Austermann Step, the kind that's supposed to be good for your hands because it has Aloe Vera or Jojoba oil in it. I think that's hype, but it is nice yarn and I have a considerable amount left over. I just used a plain-vanilla sock recipe so the yarn could do its stripey thing.

Webs is one of my slippery places. I was getting regular emails from them, and couldn't stop ordering stuff, so I stopped the emails. Here is some of the damage before I came to my senses.

Malabrigo Lace

Silk Garden Sock


My only occupational hazard is not being able to resist yarn when I visit LYS's to sell my wares. Here is a local indie dyed sock yarn that's incredibly soft. It took me a long time to pick out a color because they're all great. The dyers are called Spinners' Web; I googled but couldn't find their website. Their yarn is sold at The Naked Sheep Knit Shop. I actually met the dyers while at the shop, they're super nice folks!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The night Harper was lost and found.

I'm going to depart from my usual and favorite subject of yarn and the infinite variety of stuff that can be made from it, for just a bit. I'm concerned about yet another distressing trend that is coming out of these economic hard times, but first let me tell you what happened last night.

While I was in the thick of a dyeing session, my daughter saw a huge, black Lab dog wandering about the neighborhood and hanging out in our yard. He wore a collar but no tag, and no one appeared to be looking for him. We live on the corner of a busy street, and quite a few drivers disregard the 25-mph speed limit, thus endangering children and animals. Michelle approached the friendly, although confused and lost, dog and brought him into our fenced back yard to keep him safe. The dog could also hear his owners if they came by looking for him.

Several hours went by with the dog barking and jumping on the sliding glass doors, making me worry if its sheer size would break the door down! Needless to say, my little wiener dog guys, Buster and Jimmy, were barking their heads off. If you are familiar with mini Dachshunds, they have a very loud and sharp bark for a small breed. So to stave off the threat of a migraine, I put them in a crate in the garage.

Finally, after dinner, the dog's owners came by and took him home. As it turns out he is named Harper. Harper is one of the lucky ones. He has a home and owners who love him, and we were relieved to discover this. We were beginning to worry that he may have been abandoned, because this is a sad and unfortunate reality of bad economic times.

And so, as hard as it is to donate when there is little or no extra money, I ask you my friends to consider giving to your local animal shelter. The numbers of abandoned pets will no doubt increase before the economy begins to improve. If you forego that skein of sock yarn, even the one you may be wanting to buy from me, it could make a big difference in the life of a frightened small animal.

Thank you. I love you all.


Saturday, November 08, 2008


"Throwaway" knitting

I have to admit that I got caught up in national politics and was pretty tense in the days just before last week's election! I started a pair of plain-vanilla socks on election night, and everything else OTN will take a while, such as Michelle's Bombshell sweater and a couple of cabled scarves. So I needed the rush from a small project FO. I had several skeins of cool handspun and thick/thin single ply wool in my stash, knit them up on size 11 needles until I ran out of yarn, and -- zah! Neckwarmers.

The lowdown: 66 yards of handpainted, handspun Shetland (it's pretty soft though) from The Fox Hop. Not only do I love this shade of yellow-green, but it was named "Squashed"--perfect. I found the directions on a blog somewhere (sorry, I forget where). Basically you CO 20 sts and do K2 P2 rib until it's as long as you want. For the rest of the knitting population who doesn't automatically have to go down a couple of needle sizes, use chunky or bulky weight yarn and size 13 or 15 needles. I threw on toggle buttons, and because of the loose gauge didn't bother with buttonholes, which is cool because that makes it adjustable! I put these up in my Etsy shop for fun.

This one is a 100% merino from Aslan Trends. I think there was something like 80 yards in the skein. I put cloisonne fan buttons on this one--I was feeling edgy--but if it doesn't sell, I may keep it because the yarn is unbelievably soft and cuddly! If I didn't overheat so easily and could wear bulky knit sweaters, instead of the fine-to-medium gauge ones that take forever, this is the yarn I would use.

This is a handpainted wool I've had in my stash for about a year and a half. It was gorgeously handpainted by Shelly of Butternut Woolens. Generous yardage, this--I've still got some left, but to make another neckwarmer I'll no doubt need to combine it with another yarn. The buttons are oblong shaped goldtone.

Note our newly painted porch rail--our house is now light beige with purple trim. Thank you Mr. Stitchjones, for doing such a bang-up job all by yourself on weekends from late summer through early October, while I remained indoors turning out my yarn and fiber creations. Yes folks, it's the Stitchjones family's "stay-cation '08".

So now I have it bad for this kind of handspun (it ain't gonna happen, my spinning friends--I have to draw the line, because my yarn shopping addiction goes bone deep). Yesterday I ordered this.

Isn't it beautiful? This is thick/thin spun wool & mohair with a bit of sparkly Angelina. The colorway is "Green Thumb" and it's from another fellow Etsian, Wildethyme. I guess you could say I was paying the Etsy karma fairy--there's even a Ravelry thread in the "Etsy Shops" group called that!--and it worked, because I sold two Little Feet kits today! My Etsy shop had been deader than the McCain campaign the proverbial doornail for over two weeks, so it feels particularly good to have made a sale at last.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


It's their time now

My daughter turned 18 last month, and was a first-time voter in yesterday's election. And like many thousands of new voters, she helped elect Barack Obama the first black president of the United States.
When the election was called for Obama, my family and I watched the jubilation in Grant Park. Tears were in my eyes. My husband and I are old enough to remember the racial strife of the 1960's and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. We understand and appreciate the significance of electing an American leader who represents limitless possibility, who has energized people everywhere.
Yet last night, as my daughter and I celebrated with a big crowd in Portland, I realized that the election of Barack Obama means something different to her than it does to her parents. We found a noisy celebration going on in front of the Bagdad Theater on Southeast Hawthorne Blvd. It was mostly young people, I estimated a couple hundred, with the Portland Police Dept. well represented. There were fireworks, chanting, group drumming (on refuse receptacles, some of which took a good beating and may need to be replaced), crowds running across the intersections and high-fiving one another. There was even a young man playing "Scotland the Brave" on bagpipes, while riding a unicycle. I mean dude, this is Portland we're talking about! But I couldn't even begin to imagine the mental gymnastics of coordination that must take.
At first I joined in the intersection-crossing bit, but my knees quickly reminded me that my street-dancing days are over. So I hung out in the doorway of the Oasis Cafe and watched my daughter partying it up with the rest. And I remembered when I was eighteen and voted for the first time. There was no street revelry, at least not any that I saw. People were saying how impressive it was that a "peanut farmer from Georgia" got elected, but certainly not that it was a different world, or that it changed history.
Last night I watched those young people whooping it up, excited about having a better future, and I realized that this is not just about one man; it's just as much about the message he carries. It's a message no Presidential candidate ever got across quite like this: that the world, and the future, are what we make of it. All of us. And if Barack Obama reached my daughter and her generation as they make their transition into adulthood, then I am grateful to him and will support his presidency as I supported his campaign.
I've perused about a dozen blogs since last night, and among those who posted about the election results there was joy and hope, also some cynicism and snark. Regardless, I've been enriched by reading everyone's take on it. This national election has engaged more of us than any I've ever experienced, and that's a good thing.
Perhaps it's true that John McCain's thoughts and outlook are colored by his years as a POW in Hanoi; I don't know. It might offer some insight into his slip at the end of the campaign when he addressed his audience as "my fellow prisoners". All I know for certain, is that my worldview forever changed when I became a mother. I can't help but be sentimental. I see my only child coming into her own, and the woman she will become. While I look forward to experiences yet to come, I also know that I've raised an activist and a leader--something this century definitely needs!

Monday, November 03, 2008


Is he elected yet?

I've been a fan of Zippy the Pinhead cartoons for over 20 years. Zippy's creator, Bill Griffith, has portrayed his muu-muu-clad, stubbly cartoon character as a "candidate" in every Presidential election since I've been a reader, usually with the slogan "Put a real pinhead in the Oval Office". Unfortunately the Oval Office's occupant for the last eight years has been in fact a pinhead, although not Zippy, so I haven't been seeing that slogan much during this election year. Believe me, there have been Presidential elections where I was tempted to write him in!
"Zippy" cartoons used to be in the Friday Arts & Entertainment section of The Oregonian. However, as newspaper comics continue to shrink, and the continual dumbing-down culture becomes less friendly to elliptical-logic humor that one isn't necessarily supposed to "get" instantly, "Zippy" is disappearing from more and more publications where it was syndicated. I subscribe to the daily strip via email.
One bit of trivia I wanted to pass along: everyone's no doubt familiar with the catch phrase "Are we having fun yet?" The originator of that phrase, which found its way into the mainstream even if the comic strip never did, was Zippy the Pinhead.
Not much to report; today was rainy, so I stayed in and worked on the dyeing of 6 dozen skeins of sock yarn for the children's kits. Even though four dozen are already sold, I'll have some extra to sell. By Wednesday I should be finished with the kits--now if my 10 kilo cones of sock yarn that have been backordered for weeks would just get here! I've got folks waiting patiently for their yarn. Thank God I have such awesome customers.
Today all three of us were literally feeling "under the weather". I seem to be bothered by allergies when the weather gets damp, so I'm feeling kind of crummy. Michelle didn't get up for school because she felt "crusty". And Jason came home headache-y. Could be a combination of the time change, which has a tendency to throw one off balance even though we may not realize it, the damp chill, and of course this great American drama that has turned us into a family of MSNBC junkies and is almost over. We've all voted, our daughter being a first-time voter, and because we can't be too careful what with election-fixing crooks and vote fraud shenanigans, I verified with the county elections office that our ballots were received. (They were.) So tomorrow, I think, will be more of the same--trying to achieve physical equilibrium while going about business as usual, and watching election returns all day. I hope you all have voted too, and if you haven't there's still time. Not to get all preachy about it, but it just seems more important than ever to me that we use the voice we've been given. May the results bring America the kind of leadership we deserve--we've gone without it for far too long!

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