Thursday, April 23, 2009


time out

I'll be maintaining radio silence for a while. My husband's father died today, so we'll be heading up to Spokane in the next day or two.

My father-in-law's health had been in steep decline for the past couple of years, with advancing Alzheimer's. Last fall he was moved into an assisted care facility, and almost a month ago he had a massive stroke that put him into a nursing home. Over the last couple of days, his vital signs became steadily weaker. I don't know for sure, but I don't think he was conscious at the end.

I've written about it before on my blog, that he was not an easy person to love, or even to like. None of that matters now, though. My husband's relationship with his father was strained, and in his usual way he's trying to be efficient and organized, getting the car ready for the trip, making phone calls, etc. I try to gently remind him that while he may not be feeling acute grief, he's still under stress, and I will be at his side while he goes through this. I'll be bringing several bags full of knitting, and just be the embodiment of Elizabeth Zimmermann's advice "knit on with confidence through all crises" (paraphrasing).

So, when the dust settles and we can get back to routine, I'll be back. Here is a picture of a flowering tree just over the back fence in our neighbor's yard. I just like to look at it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Back in town.

I re-read my last post, and jeez, what a whiner I sounded like! Y'all must have been going, "Call a WAAmbulance already". As always, I appreciate your supportive comments, and I thank you for continuing to read this blog through all my ups and downs, whether I'm on a sugar/caffeine high or having the mother of all pity parties.

Today I'm feeling much better about things in general. One thing I'm keeping in mind is that I knew, going into this venture, that I had no guarantee whatsoever of making money. Right now I am making exactly enough to not run out of stuff to dye, with nothing left over. Which means that if I think of what I'm doing as a "job", then I'm working for no pay, and that can be disheartening. Who wants to do that? So I changed my perspective to regard what I do as "fiber art". I was so hesitant the first year to refer to myself as anything but a "dyer". But now, I'm much more comfortable billing myself as an "artist". Because generally, dyers get paid. Artists, characteristically, do not. Therein lies the "aha" factor, at least for me. D'oh!

Semantics aside though, I've been doing a lot of knitting, and working on both a stealth knitting project and a commissioned dye project for a local textile artist. I'm especially stoked about the knitting, because I just love how it's coming out! It's a surprise for someone, so I'll have to wait awhile before I can blog it. And the other thing, well, it took some getting used to, being a dyer-for-hire. Somehow, between the textile artist's need to be exacting about the colors she wanted (a range of browns and flesh tones--not the easiest for any hand dyer, I'm sure), and my need to insist that hand dyeing is not an exact science, we were able to come to agreement after I dyed quite a few test skeins, and I'm about halfway through the work. I'm finding it more enjoyable as I go along. Within a week or so, the work should be completed. I'll post a pic when all the yarn--21 humungous skeins of alpaca laceweight!--is finished and ready to deliver. Provided, of course, that I have the artist's permission to do so. I hope she'll allow me to blog about it, because her project is so original and unique that it'll knock your handknit socks off!

Since I like to post at least one picture per blog entry, here are some spinning fibers I did recently.

New and improved "Earth Angel" colorway on merino

"Leo Rising" colorway on New Zealand Coopworth

Unnamed colorway on Merino/Kid Mohair blend

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


new sock pattern!

My pictures suck as usual, but anyway, here's a "little pink sock" I dreamed up! They're called "Carole's Socks" and the pattern is here (Ravelry link). In a futile attempt to use up my sock yarn stash, I made these out of Shibui, but wouldn't they look fab in just about any color of Stitchjones? Nudge, nudge.

The highlights: the eyelet pattern is Cloverleaf Eyelet from Barbara Walker's stitch pattern Bible. Since it's a top-down sock, the pattern is inverted which I thought was kind of cool. Ace sock knitters can do it toe-up and have the pattern come out right side up. And I fudged the math, so there is a slight jog to the pattern at the back of the sock, where I guaran-damn-tee only the most persnickety of sock knitters is gonna look when you have these on! OK, if you want perfection, buy Cookie A.'s new book--but if you like this, consider downloading a copy and help a broke sista out.

I'm not gonna sugar coat it; Stitch needs some revenue enhancement. Paying for vendor space for upcoming fiber events has left me tapped out. My sales have been so agonizingly slow for the past month that I actually had to ask my sweet elderly mom for a temporary loan! It was something I would rather stab myself in the jugular with a fork than have to do, but it came down to saving Stitchjones. I'm proud of the business I've spent the last 18 months building, and this shitty economy be damned, I am not going to go gentle into any good night! What else would I do if I could no longer dye yarn and fiber? Even if my family are the only ones who still believe in me, I'm gonna suck it up, keep going and do whatever I have to do to be successful at this game. I can feel tears behind my eyes as I write this, but my mom didn't hesitate to send me a check, with a little note that said "Good luck at the fair". Just so you know, my vendor spaces at the big shows will be dedicated to Shirley Fletcher!

Moms are the best. I love mine, and only appreciate her more as I get older.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Friday eye candy and sentimental musings

This week's dye highlights, from top to bottom: New Wool Worsted in Milan, New Wool Worsted in Another Rainbow, Glam Sock in Hot Pink, and British Invasion BFL Sock in Plum Tree.
What, you thought there would be knitting!? Ha! Actually, I am close to finishing a sweater, because it's a "deadline" project. Michelle is about to graduate from high school (sniff, emotional, and hooray! because now I won't have to listen to her daily harangue about how much high school sucks) and she's been lucky enough to have had the guidance of a wonderful teacher/mentor. Someone like that is worth their weight in gold, as far as I'm concerned, because when my girl started freshman year, she was a pissed off kid who'd been homeschooled during 8th grade because middle school was so bloody awful. It really was; I remembered what I had to live through, and it's so much worse now that I wouldn't force my kid to go through it. So yeah, she was pissed off about being put back into public school, defiantly wore Motley Crue makeup every day despite warnings to knock it off, and generally projected an attitude of hate and discontent. I had more than one conversation with one of the (superfluous, if you ask me) assistant principals about my kid being a scofflaw.

Lucky for us, though, she had a wonderful English teacher in her sophomore year who was a positive role model, confidante, shoulder to cry on and beacon. Slowly but surely, Michelle began to transition from gothy makeup and hair metal T-shirts into a more feminine wardrobe. She is now a beautiful, college bound young woman, an A student, and will be featured in her class yearbook as "Most Original Student". I wonder if all these good things would be happening were it not for Ms. K's influence.
So that "deadline" project I mentioned, because I can't tell a story in a linear fashion, is a Bombshell sweater for Ms. K. When Michelle wore her red Bombshell to school and the teacher found out that I had made it, she said she'd love to have one in blue. For someone who's made such a difference in my child's life, I am all about making wishes come true! So that's what's OTN and I'm cranking on it, a blue Bombshell, which must and will be done by the end of the school year.
Although we had gorgeous senior portraits done last fall, I have yet to scan them. So here is a fond memory of my one and only, at her most original, at the beginning of high school.

Monday, April 06, 2009



Destash on sale now at my Etsy shop--3 hanks Malabrigo kettle dyed worsted! I stocked up last fall when one of my favorite LYS got their new shipment, because I was going to make a sweater. Well, duh--
I don't usually wear sweaters, I get too warm! Since I made the shawl with the first 3 hanks, I'm thinking I probably won't use this for anything, so have at it, folks. All 3 for just $28.

In other bloggy news...I disabled the blog's playlist. While it's all music I enjoy, I got a dose of reality when at a friend's house. We were at her computer and pulled up my blog--and the music suddenly started blasting. I don't usually have my speakers on, but many folks do when online, so I apologize if you've been annoyed by a sudden jolt of power chords--I realize that my music isn't everyone's cup of Darjeeling!

Last night I had a dye session into the wee hours. I came up with experimental colorways and am planning more for an upcoming sock club project. No, not Stitchjones' sock club, although hopefully we'll do that at some point!
Just popping up like a whack-a-mole, not much else to report. Yesterday was such a beautiful, warm, sunny day that DD and I went to my brother's house, hung out on the deck and got some sun. It's lovely here today too; I may sit outside with some knitting! Hope spring brings you the good feelings it's supposed to, wherever you may be.

Friday, April 03, 2009


make mine Malabrigo

Quite done: the Simple Yet Effective shawl, using just shy of 3 hanks Malabrigo Kettle Dyed Worsted in "Brillante". I wore it all day yesterday while I was out and about, and although it's lightweight, it kept me comfortably warm on one of those half rainy-half sunny spring days here in Portland.

I've been making the LYS circuit, catching up on visiting my customers, taking and/or filling reorders to keep Stitchjones colors on the needles of PDX knitters! Today I spent some time hanging out with Tami at All About Yarn. Among the colorways of Titanium Sock I delivered to the shop--which has a new Malabrigo shipment, BTW-- is "Anjelica", a Tribute Merino DK colorway that translated well to fingering weight yarn.

For the last two weeks of March, my business rather languished, and that always gives me the heebie jeebies. I know the yarn biz is seasonal and cyclical, and spotty rather than steady--my business is a freakin Scud missile, for crissakes! Either the dyepots are quiet and I'm about to revive my stalled design career (ha), or I've got almost more than I can handle. Today, however, is the first time I've had both situations in the same day! You see, I just found out that I made the vendor list for Black Sheep Gathering in late June, so I've been going "squee" and phoning and emailing absolutely everybody--then right after that, I found out I have a potential opportunity to break into the Bay Area yarn and fiber market! I mean, could you die?! I can't reveal more than that right now, but as the details unfold I'll share them.

Since I'm always looking for unique ways to begin and end my blog posts, the remainder of this post will be written in French.

(Very bad French.)

C'est tout, mes amies!

Amour toujours,

Les levres de poulet

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

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]