Friday, June 26, 2009


musings of an old knitblogger...

Ever been to Victoria, Australia? I sure haven't. But hey, guess what--Stitchjones 100% merino sock yarn is going there! I love sending my yarn to far flung places; I just wish it'd send back some photos. A postcard, at least. =)

A new online shop is coming soon: Stitch Culture. The website is still under construction, although a lot of progress has been made on it in the past week. The owner, a lady with the lovely name of Chantal, found me through Etsy and ordered 24 colorways! Working on this order, in addition to prepping for Sock Summit, will make for a busy July. I'm grateful to receive the business.

Speaking of Sock Summit...yes I'm excited about it, I look forward to it, but I sometimes wonder if the actual experience of it won't be somewhat anti-climactic. The buzz has reached absolute tsunami proportions; my base yarn suppliers are backordered due to the demand created by the event, which means some of my customers are still waiting for yarn they should've received by now. I can't dye it if I don't have it, and that's a bit frustrating for me. However, I know it will all get ironed out and we'll all have a great time at SS09. I found out today that I'm vendor #1119--still in the Oregon Convention Center, just barely! Put on yer roller skates, and come see me.

My Knitting, My Yarn, and other matters dear to my heart

Yesterday I chugged along on the back of a sleeveless baby-doll style top I've been making in this beautiful yarn.

I started with a pattern but am changing this and that on the fly. I was so proud of myself, having gotten to 16" but realized that I needed to do the decrease row about 3" lower than that, in order to make it pooch below the girls, then add a fetching inch of seed stitch, then continue for several inches before beginning armhole decreases! Rrrrip, rrrrip, is how I'll be spending my Friday evening. While I wait for my undyed yarn shipments to come in, I plan to try to catch up on some languishing knitting projects.

Yarn Updates: Remember the pretty chartreuse laceweight I mentioned before going to Black Sheep? It sold! Now I get to make more. I love it when that happens. And perhaps you may have heard of "Dye for Glory", the Sock Summit yarn colorway contest. I haven't heard if there are going to be prizes or what; rest assured that Stitchjones plans to enter at least one special Sock Summit colorway. Even if there are no prizes awarded, I'll be content with just the glory! ;)

A good friend of my daughter's who had to move away when his dad died is here visiting. It's been nice having him around. He also just graduated, and is going to Western Washington University in the fall. Michelle's diploma arrived in the mail yesterday--sigh. It's official; my girl who just yesterday was a tot, is a high school graduate and heading for community college in September. In order to help pay tuition and buy textbooks, Mama needs to sell a lotta yarn!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


BSG Report

Arrived home Sunday evening sunburned and weary, yet satisfied overall. Here's my outdoor booth, of which I was very proud. Kudos to booth stylist extraordinaire Kathleen for making it look so awesome.

Quite a bit of Titanium Sock sold, no doubt because of how pretty the skeins looked hanging on the peg board.

We also sold several copies of Judy's Mint Parfait Socks pattern, along with the Good Day Sunshine Tote (Ravelry links) and baby vest pattern from Katherine Vaughan Designs.

Kathleen's clever sample display generated lots of oohs and ahhs!

More sexy sock yarn.

I love this! It's made from 1 skein Glam Sock. It's Kathleen's design, and was knit by Melissa. Hopefully I can prevail upon Kathleen for a pattern.

This, knit in Stitchjones Dyepot Chunky, turned out to be the runaway hit of the booth. Like an ee-jit, I didn't take a photo of it all buttoned up into a shrug and hanging up for display, but it helped sell a lot of the Dyepot Chunky wool. Many thanks to Angela for knitting the sample!

Now that I've had the experience of my first big show, I can say I learned a lot. Being an outdoor vendor makes one completely powerless over the weather whims of Oregon. Up until Sunday afternoon, there was a negligible amount of rain, and we wrapped the booth in tarps at the close of each day so everything stayed dry. Sunday afternoon, however, brought enough rain showers that I couldn't keep my products from getting wet, so I felt there was no choice but to tear down early. I can deal with sun and wind, but rain is a different animal altogether. I will definitely apply to vend at Black Sheep Gathering again next year, but I don't think I'll want to be on the lawn!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


start your engines

Everything is just about ready to be loaded into the vehicle for tomorrow's trip to Black Sheep Gathering. Yesterday I dyed up some alpaca laceweight. It's almost dry and needs reskeining and labeling, then into the bin it goes. I was going to stick to plan and make only colors that are proven sellers--however, since art is driven by inspiration, my curiosity got the better of me and I did a skein in an "experimental" color--chartreuse. Swoon! It's subtle and complex, not day glo at all. If it doesn't sell down at Black Sheep, I'll bring it home with me and photograph it. I might even put it into my personal stash.

Various factors, not necessarily fiber festival prep, have made this a stressful week. One of the casualties is that I have a huge zit on my face! Yes, over 50 and still breaking out--whaddya know. Concealer and MAC makeup should help my outside appearance, but this is how I've been feeling on the inside.

I know that pleasant interaction with lots of fiber lovers over the next few days is going to help tremendously, though, and right now I'm doing OK. It just seems to take a while for my psyche to become clear of negativity and emotional upsets. Many friends are going to be there, including some that I haven't seen in a long time, and just thinking of that helps cheer me up.

I did the Facebook thing a couple of days ago and it's a blast! Don't know what took me so long. So many of my buddies are there, connecting with one another and chatting.

Not much else to say, except See ya! I'll be back next week with a full report.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I promised knitting

...and I'll deliver.

This is a net lace panel I'm working on, using Jojoland Cashmere laceweight in Cream. It's just a rectangle about 18" wide with garter stitch edges, and I got about 26" in length from one skein. I bought 2 skeins from All About Yarn. I asked for one extra skein to be reserved for me, and if they still have it next week I'll pick it up. The desired length for this piece is at least 60 inches, and I plan to add fringe. It's easy and fun--when I'm using really fine yarn, I like doing mesh lace patterns. They're mindless, and there's a lot less likelihood that I'll goof them up. It still happens, but less often than if I were doing, say, the Frost Flowers stitch pattern!

Once I finish this wrap, which is almost gossamer lightweight yet warm, I'm thinking about making a scarf version in this.

Karabella Merino Lace from Knit Knot Studio.

Besides projects using fancy LYS yarns, I've also been working on samples for the upcoming Black Sheep Gathering, Sock Summit and OFFF. The Earth Angel baby hat in garter rib now has a sweater to go with it--Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Baby Sweater. It's a bit "cropped" in length; I was running out of yarn. Kathleen's fine, 2-ply handspun from a small amount of Stitchjones merino roving in Earth Angel yielded enough for a baby set.

I know--the right sleeve looks wonky. Could it be an optical illusion caused by the color interplay? Just kidding. When we put it on display, maybe we can pin it somehow so it's not so obvious.

Even though I kept missing yarnovers while knitting, I still like the contrasting color bands.
WWKIP Day '09 - Hillsboro
What a great event that was! My friend Cindy aka Maxfun has some photos up on her blog. I had a lovely time and sold some goodies. Hope it becomes an annual event, and keeps growing.
I'll probably post once more before leaving for BSG. Can't believe it's almost time!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I can has strawberries?

Reason #342 why it's good to live in the Pacific Northwest: a fresh-picked Oregon strawberry orgy. Table for one, yo!

These are delicate, fragrant, sweet Hood strawberries, and best of all, they were grown less than 5 miles from my house. They don't need cream, sugar or honey. My favorite way to eat them is to hold them by the hulls and devour them whole, standing at the sink with juice dribbling down my chin. Sorry if that was more than you wanted to know!

Reports of all sorts

My forays into handspinning have been put on temporary hold while I make final preparations for Black Sheep Gathering. That means dyeing everything not nailed down, skeining, reskeining, labeling, printing patterns, organizing all samples and booth items...oi. I know it's all going to come together; it's just that this is the biggest event I've done in my semi-illustrious dyer career so far and I'm feeling a bit edgy, along with excited!

There is also a very cool event coming up right in my town of Hillsboro. This Saturday at 10 am, the Westside Wednesday arm of PDX KnitBloggers is holding a WWKiP (that's World Wide Knit in Public) event at Glenn and Viola Walters Cultural Center. Stitchjones will be there with bells on, you'll love me in bells. I might even be hawking a skein or two of hand dyed yarn; after all, ol' Stitch needs gas money for the trip to Eugene next week!

Non-fiber report: My brother is starting a blog! With a pseudonym and everything. He hasn't written anything yet. Most of his rants have varying degrees of political incorrectness, and as obnoxious as he can be at times, he understands that the Internet is forever. As Super Eggplant says about her brother, so I say about mine: "Don't encourage him."

All this smoke and mirrors is so you won't notice I don't have any knitting to blog about. Seems like I've been doing far too much knitting and not nearly enough finishing of projects, although this evening I did make headway towards completing a measly pair of socks.

I do have some pretty yarn to show you. Here is some alpaca laceweight, in a new color, "Quince Blossom".

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Yes and no

...which is of course the answer to the question, "am I spinning yet"?

Last Wednesday, I did make something that experienced spinners call "art yarn". I think they're just being nice, though. Before I show you what I made, Hannibal wants me to let you know that he had nothing to do with it. He was asleep at the time.

(cat disclaimer)

Anyway, here's the art yarn, which is from a bit of South African Fine wool top that I dyed some time ago. It was truly a team effort: the really fine stuff was spun by pnwbookgirl; it wraps around the fat stuff I made. And Trtlgrl helped me ply it.

It's really overspun, typical noob-spinner stuff. Still learning all the moves; it got a little thinner with practice, even though it's corkscrewy.

Here's the loaner wheel, which I've dubbed "Miss Lucy".

The jury isn't out yet as to whether I'll be buying it. It has a really strong, fast take-up, which makes it good for plying but for newbie learning, not so much. Also, I figured out right away that I like a double treadle wheel better.

This afternoon on my travels, I stopped at Woodland WoolWorks, and picked up a no-frills drop spindle for $6. I did go upstairs and visit the spinning wheels; however, I think I'll be playing with the drop spindle for a while, until my brain can wrap around what to do with my hands when trying to spin!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


spin cycle

Yes my friends, I've fallen and I can't get up. There's now a Louet spinning wheel in my living room, and I must say it looks quite at home there. I mentioned at Wednesday night knitting/spinning/etc. that I wanted to learn to spin, once and for all, because my two previous attempts at learning were half-hearted and half-assed at best. I received coaching and support, and also the loan of this really nice wheel that I have the option to buy. My fiber friends are the best, where would I be without them?!

Now this isn't to say, that I can actually spin. In truth I am horribly, maddeningly stuck because on my own I can't get the rhythm of drafting and treadling, hell I never was good at multi-tasking. I have a big mess on the bobbin, of fiber that wants to become yarn but is twisted back on itself and sticking through the damn orifice. Fortunately, tomorrow morning and early afternoon is spinners' guild, and I can take the whole kit-n-kaboodle in there and say "Help!" and kind souls will rescue me, I have no doubt. I'll stick with it until I can actually make yarn, and will keep you posted on this saga as it unfolds. Not that my spinning, knitting or dyeing is all that exciting, but it's got to be better than what's on the news.

I enjoyed your comments last post about my hot guy wallpaper and my family's reaction to it. I didn't mind taking Russell down; but I did get the last laugh, in my usual passive-aggressive way. I just gently reminded husband and daughter that they have a tendency to react negatively whenever I do something that's the least bit out of the ordinary, case in point my Russell Brand wallpaper, and when they began to protest, I informed them, "I am so blogging this".

What, after all, could they say to that?

-ps. Oh yeah, I did see "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and I totally agree with Kiki!

BSG in 2 weeks? No freaking way.

Yes way. All the checks have cleared, and if you go to Black Sheep Gathering and Sock Summit websites and follow the Trade Show/Vendor links, you will see Stitchjones on the list. It's as official as it's ever gonna get. So now is crunch time, and my inventory looks woefully inadequate for a 3-day fiber festival. I can get dyeing, sure. The only thing is, cash is a bit short and there's just so much time to get in what I think is enough undyed fiber and dye it! So now I have a small taste of what the intrepid planners of Sock Summit have been dealing with. They are doing something that's never been done before, so how could they know what they would need in terms of bandwidth? BSG is my first really big fiber event. I have about 40 skeins of kettle dyed superwash worsted, 30-odd skeins handpainted worsted, 100 skeins various types of sock yarns, and a rough guesstimate of 10 lbs. fiber. There will be about 5 more pounds of fiber done up within the next week or so. I have no idea what to expect. Given the sheer number of great vendors, I could be sitting on my hands like the Maytag repairman. However, I sold quite a bit of fiber at the last spin-in I attended. I want to have enough on hand to not sell out the first day! It's a tightrope walk, to be sure, but a really exciting one. And I'm still close enough to my last job to be grateful that I'm not working for some jerk who treats me like crap. Proving myself competent in the yarn business, after the hatchet job my last boss did on my self-confidence, has been my prime motivator to succeed. If you'll pardon my tendency to be a bit of a drama queen, that experience was my personal 9-11, and I will never forget.

Before this devolves into a post-midnight ramble, here is some yarn. It's Titanium Sock in Light Mulberry. Somehow, just looking at the color of it mellows me out.

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