Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Stitchjones in Seattle

Yes, that cheesy looking thing in the upper right corner of the photo, sporting a Christmas light display on the tippy top, is sho' nuff the Space Needle. Weak shot, I know, but have you tried to park your car in the middle of Seattle lately?
It was just a quick overnight trip. Michelle and I went up on Monday and came home last night. We visited her first cousin Valerie, who has been married for almost a year and lives at the base of Queen Anne Hill, where she recently was "caught on tape" by a local TV news team, snowboarding down the hill during the storm of a couple weeks ago. It was my first time meeting Valerie's husband; he's a cool cat! I hardly ever visit Seattle, though, so trying to find their place amid rush hour traffic was a bit harrowing. The sumptuous dinner we had where Valerie works part time helped make up for the gut-churning driving.
Then yesterday morning, I visited a charming LYS in Burien (near Sea-Tac airport). It's called the Yarn Stash and is owned by a dynamic mother-daughter duo. Bonnie and Beth are awesome, and I'm happy to tell you that Stitchjones roving and sock kits are now available in the Seattle area, with the new Titanium Sock merino-nylon sock yarn to arrive about a month from now. This shop is the exclusive Seattle area retailer of Stitchjones products.
I'm just now feeling recovered from what's normally a 3-hour drive, yet took close to five hours to get home due to heavy traffic and freeway construction. It doesn't seem like New Year's Eve at all; our snow-jumbled holidays mean that we're celebrating Christmas with my family tomorrow. Spending all that time behind the wheel of the car means I didn't get to knit a stitch in two days. I plan to make up for that tonight, however, while chilling at home with sparkling cider and maybe some popcorn.
Reflecting on the past year, I've been really lucky to have gotten to know several really talented, amazing people whom a year ago were strangers or slight acquaintances. You have helped me build the kind of business I dreamed of. I appreciate you more than I could ever say, and I wish you good health, good luck, prosperity and happiness in 2009. There are many other folks whose help, support, advice, and friendship I'm grateful for. I may not have mentioned everybody, but I lerves you one and all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Crazy Christmas

Last post, I described Winston the puppy as a Dachshund/Chihuahua/Pug mix. I was wrong! He is not part Pug; he is part Miniature Pinscher. Which explains why he has the dachsie ear placing, Chihuahua face and tail, and Min Pin-esque lanky body.

Here he is modeling his Stitchjones sweater, made from less than 1/2 skein Dyepot Superwash Merino Worsted in Christmas Coral. I stuck with 1x1 rib for the collar and bottom edge and garter stitch for the body, although when seaming the neck I forgot to hide the seam so it wouldn't show when the collar is folded in half. Oh well. He'll grow out of it in a nanosecond.

To borrow a quote from one of my favorite films in recent years, Best In Show, "have you ever seen a happier kind of attitude? A happy-to-know-ya kind of attitude?"

The little guy and his owner stayed overnight last night, as the roads around here are still snowy/icy, and doing any driving--even with chains-- is taking a calculated risk. I was going to stay home and dye up yarns all afternoon, but that plan went down the crapper when Mr. Stitchjones had a work emergency, even though he's supposed to be on vacation and his office is closed due to the bad weather. So I ended up driving Michelle and Tess to go shopping, then drove Tess and her puppy home. I only spun out once; that was less than a mile from home. I'm glad to report that we didn't hit anything. I just backed up and got 'er going in the right direction. Now I'm going to take some PTSD medication and knit awhile.

Sure enough, my family's Christmas Eve to-do is postponed until probably sometime next week. My mom and dad are in their 70's, and Mom doesn't want to slog through any snowy or slushy mess. I don't blame her, it's not my cup of jasmine tea either. We're scheduled for 1 to 3 more inches of snow tomorrow, with a very gradual transition to rain over the next few days. Mr. Stitchjones has a business trip scheduled on Sunday the 28th, returning on the 31st, and I'm planning a stealth road trip, business-related, for next Monday and Tuesday. I may post again before all this gets under way, but if I don't, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and Happy Solstice. Be safe, warm, and loved.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Christmastime joy

I promised to bring tha cute, and here it is, the "baby" I was referring to last post. Nobody asked, so I figure you knew I was talking about a puppy.

Meet Sir Winston, an 8-week old mix of Dachshund, Chihuahua and Pug. Three of my favorite breeds in one. Isn't he precious? No, he's not ours, although if Santa were to bring us a little guy who looked like this, I wouldn't mind a bit. He belongs to Michelle's friend Tess, who is just over the moon about her Christmas present. I would be too.

Sir Winston already has a snow parka, but he is also getting a sweater made from Stitchjones Dyepot Worsted. Christmas red, of course!


There continues to be severe suckage in our weather. I won't bore you with another picture of snow, but we have about 8 inches on the ground and last night freezing rain moved in, covering everything with an icy glaze. I'm getting desperate for a trip to Starbucks. However, knitting and the dyeing process keep my hands and mind plenty busy. Our annual Christmas Eve bash that starts at a Chinese restaurant with my side of the family and ends at my mom's house over dessert and unwrapping gifts, is up in the air because of the weather forecast.

Last week, I went over to Yarn Garden and bought a bag of this in the Desert Sand colorway. I started knitting this for Mr. Stitchjones, and I absolutely love how it's working up. There really isn't much else to blog about--being stuck in the house makes for frequent blog posts from Chickenlips but short on content. Here's a parting shot of Sir Winston (being held by his proud owner) for your enjoyment.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Let's not diss those Ice Age predictions from the 70's just yet.

Oh, those wacky scientists of the last century. No doubt the same ones who predicted we'd be zipping around in flying cars by now like the Jetsons. I know the "real" climate change is warming, and maybe that trend is shifting weather patterns so that we get more than our usual winter quota of Arctic air masses.

Another view from our front door, this one taken Wednesday, Dec. 17th. I'm impressed as all getout by you all quoting South Park theme lyrics! I so wanted to title this post "Screw you guys, I'm going home" but other than the mandatory trips to the post office, always a joy this time of year, I've been staying home. Post office, yeah. I loooove standing in 30-minute lines for the Automated Postal Center behind people who only ship stuff once a year and have no clue what they're doing!

But that's a minor gripe. I did major procrastinating with dyeing this week, in favor of knitting. Stuff is getting done, too. Here's the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf, one of the coolest free scarf patterns there is.

I had treated myself to an ultra-posh skein of Great Adirondack yarn awhile back, and it percolated in the stash until I figured out what to do with it. Being one of the world's great misplacers of stuff in general and yarn ball bands in particular, I can't remember the name of the yarn but I think it's "Bighorn". It's a handpainted wool-mohair blend, somewhere around 300 yards and I have a little left. The purples really stand out in the skein. I have a tough time photographing blues and purples. Anyway, it came out to a decent length, about 45" or so. I do occasionally sell hand knits in my Etsy shop, so I listed the scarf and priced it for only $10 more than I paid for the yarn. (Pattern cops: The pattern copyright doesn't say you can't sell items made from it--I checked.) I figure if all I sold in my shop was handknit items, I'd charge more; it's just that since I'm paying for advertising on Ravelry and Google Ad-words, I like to have a variety of items for site visitors to browse.

And now to show you what I promised last time, some very cool indie-dyed (not by me) sock yarns! Neil, hit it.

A very beautiful sport yarn from Jenny of Bare Sheep Yarn Co. Colorway: "Bleeding Hearts". The photo doesn't do it justice; I'm intrigued by those purples and plums against stark white, but since I've got WIP's galore I'm not starting another project until I finish at least two.

Jenny very thoughtfully sent a gift with purchase. This is a silk-merino blend in pale greens, named "Irish Luck". I can totally see this as a baby kimono and hat set for a friend who is expecting a baby in June. Hey, I just got a wild hair. I could do a little sweater with some sort of shamrock motif! Whoa.

And this is Madelinetosh "Baltic". It just glows. Who needs Sea Silk, anyway?! Never mind that I can't afford it.

Folks, we've been under freezing temperatures and snow siege since last Sunday; and our local weather people are saying we "ain't seen nothing yet". I'm going to get some stuff dyed now, because it's been soaking in vinegar water long enough to disintegrate, but I'll be back in a day or two with pics that will be sure to send you into cute fits! I had the opportunity to do some "baby-sitting" this afternoon, and got some pictures of the "baby". I am now knitting a sweater for the "baby". That is all!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Did we move to South Park and nobody told me!?

This is the view from our front door. If you're in the Portland metro area, you know we're freezing our tookuses off and the streets are icy. At least they were yesterday and earlier today, when a couple of inches of snow fell and the temperature dropped to below freezing with wind-chill factor in the single digits. And it's supposed to stay below freezing for the rest of the week! I did venture out today for errands and Christmas shopping, but dang, it's cold out there.

I did get some knitting done over the weekend though. Behold the One Row Scarf made with one skein of Stitchjones Tribute DK merino in "Charlize", finished just when I really need a scarf. I rather like it, and I'm keeping it.

Hallelujah and oh my aching wrists, Annette's Christmas present is finally ready! I started this in August and finished it in the wee hours of last night/this morning while watching "Chicago" on IFC. And all that jazz. Here is the Sugarcubes wrap from Gardiner Yarn Works. I've made no less than three of these in one calendar year, and I think I'm done.

The story: 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Prima on US 3 needles...ouch. Finished length: about 55". Width: 21" or so. I don't really give a rip; it's wide enough. I do lurve the yarn though. It's 80% bamboo and 20% wool--soft, lightweight and warm. The actual color is closer to the above photo; I used a different camera setting for the stitch detail. I decided, and Michelle backed me up, that it doesn't need blocking. It's going directly into the giftwrap queue. (Now that I have enough shopping done to actually have a queue.)

I'm almost done knitting a pair of socks for my dad.

These are Wide Wale rib socks from an Ann Norling pattern. I'm using Koigu Premium Merino in a dark green and size 2 needles. As you can see, the second sock should be done by tonight. So I'm gonna get to it. My sweet new sock yarns arrived in the mail today, and I did photograph them. First things first though--those Christmas projects aren't gonna knit themselves!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Now back to our regularly scheduled yarn worship

I couldn't let Dec. 8th go by without observing John Lennon's death on that Monday evening, twenty-eight years ago. Like Kiki, I also remember very clearly hearing the news. I was in the car, searching the FM band as usual. It seemed like almost every station was playing John's music, either Beatles or his solo work. Then a deejay broke in with the announcement that John had been shot. His death wasn't confirmed until later. The shock and sadness I felt, along with millions of others. Not to dwell on it, but I grew up loving the Beatles and their music meant a lot to my generation. So it's something that will stay with me always.

I don't usually do much knitting with my own hand dyed yarns--it's like a busman's holiday to me. Like back in the day when I used to cook elaborate dinners, those days that Mr. Stitchjones misses so very much :P, I wasn't hungry when I sat down because I'd spent hours over the meal. However, this yarn is different; for some reason it called to me to make it into something.

It's Tribute Merino DK, colorway "Charlize". Even though I wouldn't call those colors my favorites, I was still curious about how they'd look knit up. After a couple of false starts, including a seafoam stitch scarf debacle that looked like so much urp, I started this at the suggestion of my knit night homegirls. I have come to rely on their knitting wisdom, as it was the right call.

The pattern is the One Row Scarf from the Yarn Harlot. It's "mistake rib" over a multiple of 4 stitches plus 3. I cast on 31 stitches on size 6 needles, so it'll be a long skinny scarf, but the color distribution is interesting enough that the width shouldn't matter.

I'm such a yarn hound that I initiated a trade with a fellow Etsian this week.

Is this not absolutely breathtaking? I recognized it as a Kraemer base yarn, worsted weight, merino with mohair, nylon thread wrap and a bit of polyester bling. Lindsay of Storm Moon Knits graciously sent me this skein in the colorway "Mandragora" in exchange for some of my roving. Now I'm on a quest for just the right project for it!

Because hand dyed yarn is the fiber equivalent of Lay's potato chips to me, I ordered a couple more skeins off Etsy last night. But I'll save the photos for next post.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I will never forget.

We're playing those mind games together
Pushing the barriers, planting seeds
Playing the mind guerrilla
Chanting the mantra, peace on earth
We all been playing those mind games forever
Some kinda druid dudes lifting the veil
Doing the mind guerrilla
Some call it magic, the search for the grail
Love is the answer and you know that for sure
Love is a flower, you got to let it, you got to let it grow
So keep on playing those mind games together
Faith in the future, outta the now
You just can't beat on those mind guerrillas
Absolute elsewhere in the stones of your mind
Yeah we're playing those mind games forever
Projecting our images in space and in time
Yes is the answer and you know that for sure
Yes is surrender, you got to let it, you got to let it go
So keep on playing those mind games together
Doing the ritual dance in the sun
Millions of mind guerrillas
Putting their soul power to the karmic wheel
Keep on playing those mind games forever
Raising the spirit of peace and love
(I want you to make love not war, I know you've heard it before)
RIP John Lennon
October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980

Saturday, December 06, 2008


A small FO on a frosty morning

Brrr! It dipped below freezing overnight, and even though our house is well insulated, it's chilly. I'm easing into my Saturday with a steaming cuppa joe and a blog post.

This week I tried a really cute, easy and fun cabled hat pattern. It's "Frequency" from Gardiner Yarn Works.

I used a wee bit of Nature Spun Sport. (It looks a bit stretched out because it's on an adult size wig form.) One of my customers, Olga of the adorable T-Spot in Manzanita, OR, is sponsoring a kids' hat drive and contest for Secret Angels of Tillamook County. The deadline is Dec. 10 if you're interested--I don't think her website is up yet, but you can google and call the shop. Anyway, a child's hat is something I could actually finish in time, so I knit it up and bob's your uncle, got it in the mail.

Here is a brand spanking new sock colorway from my alter ego, Stitchjones. It's called "Persistent Illusion" in honor of the mighty Judy, inventor of Judy's Magic Cast-on for toe-up socks.

I tried to capture Judy's blog colors. If you visit her blog, you can see the prototype skein I made for her, which is probably more color-accurate.

Some sad news

At my Wednesday night group where there is knitting, spinning, snacks, networking, occasional bouts of hysterical laughter and spontaneous breaking into song, I heard that a prominent person in the Portland knitting community died of a sudden heart attack. Linda was the owner of Yarn Garden, which has been in Southeast Portland for many years and offers an amazing selection. I was especially shocked by the news, because she passed away on the day I delivered a large order of sock yarn to the shop. There's been no word as yet on the future of the shop; I'm hoping it will continue to be open. The last time I saw Linda was at a sales appointment in early November, and I'm sad that not only have I lost a great customer, but our community has lost someone who helped create many new knitters. Many of whom have gone on to become designers, dyers, teachers, etc. I also heard that there will be a memorial for her at the shop. I'm planning to be there.

Now the brisk December morning quiet has been shattered, as Mr. Stitchjones and our darling offspring have returned from their annual expedition to get the Christmas tree. I don't mind though, because we will soon have that fresh tree scent wafting through the house. Ahh...

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