Sunday, July 26, 2009


knittin' up a sweat

It's so dadburn hot here that all I've been able to do is sit in front of the floor fan, watch TV and knit!

Here is a sock I designed last year, but since I was just starting out as a dyer, I wasn't doing semisolids yet. And this stitch pattern needs a semi-solid colorway to show it off. It's called "Chain Lightning" and is an easy peasy chain rib stitch you can do while watching TV, reading Twitter-pated posts or what have you. The sample is knit in Stitchjones 100% merino sock yarn, although Titanium Sock would work well too. I used size 2 needles and zipped through this sucker in just a few days, where it normally takes me at least a week to finish a sock.

This is a new colorway I call "Shadow Rose". I love coral-y pink. Since we're getting down to the wire with Sock Summit, and I only have 5 or so skeins of sock yarn left to add to my inventory--the rest is committed to wholesale orders--I may or may not have this color available in my booth. I'll try, but I think I'd better make extra skeins of my Sock Summit colorway, "Magic Judy", so created and named for Judy of Judy's Magic Cast-on fame. Fortunately, Judy granted me permission to use her name even though I forgot to ask her! -blush. I got excited when I heard "Sock Summit dyers' contest" and all protocol went out the window.

Magic Judy - Stitchjones Titanium Sock

Before the voting started in the Dye for Glory contest on Ravelry, I thought I only needed a half dozen skeins or so. Even though there are yarns far more beautiful than mine entered in the contest and I don't have a snowball's chance of winning, this yarn has been seen by so many folks that I think I'd better stockpile! 'Cause ya never know. If it sells out at Sock Summit, I'll take orders. And if you haven't gone over to Ravelry and voted, please do so! It's hard to make choices because they're all so nice. Mine is in the "Painted" category.

And now for another of my sock patterns, "Carole's Socks".

The sample was knit by Bobbie of Tiggywinkle Knits in Stitchjones 100% Merino sock yarn in "Bliss". Didn't she do a lovely job?

Both patterns are available as Ravelry downloads, they're dirt cheap at just $4. They are also in the Etsy shop, along with Magic Judy in Titanium Sock.

But the pretty colored FO's don't stop there! Here is a Diagonal Baby Blanket, made with 11 oz. of cuddly Cormo wool in neon green from Dayspring Farm in Corvallis, Oregon. (Yarn was purchased from Bellwether Wool Co. at Black Sheep Gathering.)

I haven't washed and blocked it yet--just folded it up and put away for now. When the weather cools off, I'll wash it. I've decided to keep this for the grandbabies I might someday have. I've also bought other yarn and picked out baby items to knit this fall and winter, to add to the collection. Not that I'm in any hurry to be a grandma; I want Michelle to finish college and have the hit TV show she's already writing before she becomes a mom! If and when the day comes, though, this Nana will be prepared.


OK now, brace yourself. Here is a photo of Noel Fielding of the hit BBC comedy show The Mighty Boosh, in character as "Tony Harrison".

Yeah I know, "WTF"? I mean, "WTF-ing F!?"

I share this with you my friends, because ever since I first saw Monty Python's Flying Circus I have loved British comedy. My daughter has a big crush on Noel and is obsessed with his show. The first time I saw this whack character, (who talks like an upperclass twit by the way,) I couldn't stop laughing. I even bought some pepto-bismol pink yarn and tried to knit a stuffed toy of Tony Harrison. It so happens Michelle is flying down to L.A. on Tuesday to meet Noel at a personal appearance! She'll be accompanied by her dad, who will already be down there on business. Lucky girl, eh?

My idea was to knit a stuffed-toy version of this character for Michelle to give to Noel when she meets him. However, even though a designer friend was helping me figure it out, I just didn't have the mojo. I got discouraged when I realized I'd have to make all those tentacles, then sew the whole thing up--and I hate sewing!

As I get older I'm becoming more scatterbrained, a la Lucy and Ethel hair-brained schemes. My heart is still in the right place, though...no matter what you may have heard!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I Heart Risotto

Yes, I'm talkin' Risotto. Creamy texture, firm individual grains of Italian rice...flavorful and comforting. Typically a side dish but just as good by itself. Perfect for cold weather. Never mind that it was near 90 today and the temp is supposed to be up into the triple digits next few days...I have a hankering for Risotto!! I probably won't make it during the heat wave though; it needs constant attention and it's just too hot to stand at the stove that long.

I made a batch about 2 weeks ago, and like a dumbbell I didn't take any pictures. However, for a long time I've been meaning to write out all my favorite recipes. Here, then, is my good ol' basic down-home Risotto; a nod to my Italian-American roots.

Risotto a la Chickenlips


1 cup short-grain Arborio rice (can also be found as Risotto rice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. When butter starts to sizzle, add rice. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, or until rice grains turn translucent. Add onion and garlic. Continue stirring a few more minutes, until onion softens and rice grains turn pale golden in color.

Add broth gradually; about 1/3 cup at a time. After each addition, stir until rice mixture absorbs the liquid. (The whole process will take almost 15 minutes or so.) When the last of the liquid has been added and almost all liquid is absorbed into the rice, remove mixture from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Mangia!

Some nice variations: use beef broth instead of chicken broth, and add fresh sliced mushrooms when adding the onion and garlic. Or add cooked vegetables cut in 1" pieces to finished dish, such as broccoli, green beans, asparagus, carrots, for Primavera. Cooked shrimp or other shellfish is lovely in Risotto, too. I usually make mine plain, just as written, and have it as a side dish with chicken--or by itself!


I re-worked one of my sock patterns and finished knitting the sample this afternoon. It's drying on a sock blocker right now, so I'll get a photo when it's dry. I'm planning to display it at Sock Summit and offer the pattern for sale (cheap!) only $4.


Before I sign off, I want to direct you to Yarnhog's blog. Ms. Yarnhog recently rescued a dog and her litter of puppies from a horribly abusive "shelter"; there is a link to an online petition to put a stop to the cruelty being perpetrated at this shelter, and there are also adorable pictures of the puppies getting their first baths. I signed the petition and encourage you all to sign it, too. The poor dog's story is appalling. We can put a stop to this kind of treatment, though.

Thanks, everybody. Stay cool in the heat.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I clean forgot

that I started this blog three years ago last month! How time does fly, when one is busy trying to keep the wolves away from the door. They're at the edge of the yard, where I can see them and they can see me, but I'm not ready to become wolf nummies just yet!

Here on the upper left coast we have some hot weather going on. Working on the wholesale order I received last month is keeping me at home and as close to the air conditioner as possible. My left arm still aches, so I try to restructure the work as best I can to avoid it really hurting. I'm maintaining for the time being, even though I ran out of the Tylenol + codeine. Rats. Ibuprofen does help, though.

I have random news tidbits, but first let me show you a sock.

This is my original pattern, Traffic Stoppin' Boot Sock (link to free pattern). I'm at the toe of the second sock--these are knit top down. They're for Mr. Stitchjones, so for the photo I got to use my real fake foot! The yarn is On Line Merino & Silk, which is soft and wonderful and lovely and shiny--although I can tell it's going to be pilly as all getout. No worries, the socks I most enjoy making are those for mah man. As long as he keeps wearing 'em I'll keep knitting 'em. My sock yarn stash contains an excellent selection of guy colors.

Speaking of guy colors (or unisex colors) in sock yarn, here is a goodie I made a while back as a special request for a fellow Rush fan. I made a couple more in Titanium Sock.

This colorway is called "Fly By Night". It's good to have some quieter, more mellow selections in my high-octane inventory.

Mommy is so happy!

Michelle landed herself a summer job! She will be a receptionist at her dad's company all next month, which is the busiest month of the year for them. I know she'll do great at it, and she'll even have a few weeks to decompress before starting classes at PCC. One of the things I loved about being a PCC student was the late start to the fall quarter; those breaks were really nice too. Anyway, I am extremely relieved at this news, not only because she'll earn some money for herself, but also because when you're trying to work at home and your 18 year old and her friends are in the house all day, you start to go a little nuts. In fact, I had to minimize the screen just now, because she came into the room. Arrgh...

Another thing that makes me happy as a mother is that she is no longer involved with the local cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show. I know she loved playing Magenta, and when she was put in positions of responsibility and worked her way up to Director, that was good experience for her. But I know I was also pushing the limits of responsible parenting by letting her participate in a midnight show for the past few years, it wasn't good for her health-wise and we'd also have a complete grouch on our hands all day Sunday after a Rocky Saturday because she wasn't getting proper rest. Even when I didn't have to drive her anymore because she could drive herself, it wasn't like I was able to go to sleep until I knew she was safely home. So this is something we made it through as a family, and I'm relieved that, for various reasons, she's no longer interested in participating.

I started writing this post Friday night, and now it's Saturday afternoon and shaping up to be another hot day. I'm gonna get back to making lots of pretty, fun sock yarns to send to Australia. Fair dinkum!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Taking a spill

Last Wednesday, I was leaving a spinning get-together and was carrying 2 bins of fiber stacked one on top of the other. The entry to the meeting place is somewhat dicey, especially for someone like me who is rather lumpy, misshapen and unsteady on her feet at best. There's a ramp on the inside, the door is partway propped open and just outside the door, on the left, there's a concrete curb-like thing. Well, not being able to see my feet and forgetting the curb thing was there, I tripped right over it and went ass over teakettle and splat! Landed hard on my left shoulder, had the wind knocked out of me, and a few scrapes as I landed on gravel. I was able to get up by myself, but I knew something was wrong with my left shoulder as I could barely move my arm without considerable pain.

I went home and had Michelle drive me to urgent care. It turns out I messed up my shoulder bursa. The doc gave me an anti-inflammatory and painkillers, and told me to take it easy, that in five days I'd be feeling better. Oh no, I thought, a big shipment of yarn and fiber is due any day, and I'm out of commission for dyeing! Actually, I'm not out of commission--about the only thing I can't do is carry basins full of water and yarn to the sink. Michelle's been doing that for me. And the shipment I was supposed to have received quite some time ago? The Postal Service got it from its originating point in Virginia to the sort center in Federal Way, WA, on July 3rd. Only three hours from here. But then what did they do? They sent it to another sort center, in Jacksonville, Florida! Hmmm. Somebody dropped the ball, obviously. According to their tracking thingy, my shipment is still "in transit" so all I can do is continue to wait. By the time it gets here, I should be pretty well healed up. I'm feeling a lot better than I did when it happened, but I still get a sharp twinge if I move the arm the wrong way. Lesson learned: from now on I'll watch my footing!


A light dyeing schedule has left me quite a bit of extra time for knitting, so I am on the homestretch with the Svale top. Can't wait to finish this baby. A size 3x in DK-weight yarn on US 5 needles makes for a lot of knitting! My plan for it is to get the best photographs of it that I can; I may have to ask a friend to help with that--then write up the pattern and offer it for sale on Ravelry. I'll need to figure out how to size it down, I guess. That will be challenging for me, but not impossible. Stay tuned.

I had a wild hair inspiration this afternoon, while pondering the future of my nearly completed design. There are a lot of books out there for plus size patterns, which is awesome, but how about a website, blog, or online mag devoted exclusively to BBW knitting patterns? I don't think one exists--yet--and I'm intrigued. Dear readers, what do you think? I'd be gung ho for something like this!

Late Nite Yarn Pr0n
About all I have left to dye, until more gets here, is Titanium Sock. I've been adventurous of late and have created some new colorways. Here's one called "Dance The Night Away". So designed and named because the Van Halen fans have spoken. You may be hearing that song in your head now; you're welcome.

I also played around with veil dyeing, which is what "Salmon Dave" is before I knew about veil dyeing. Here's Salmon Dave, a colorway that's been around for about a year.

Then I tried to do a similar thing in green. I like the results, but may have been over-reaching or getting too cute with the name. Be that as it may, this is called "Tempest in a Dyepot".

I have always loved naming things, so my line of veil-dyed colorways is called "Shock Treatment". There will be a couple more for Sock Summit.


Feet Don't Fail Me Now!

Bobbie of Tiggywinkle Knits told me of this awesome place called Portland Store Fixtures where I could get mannequin feet to show off handknit socks in Stitchjones yarns. Went there last Tuesday with Mr. Stitchjones, and we got two mannequin feet for a very reasonable price. The only glitch is that they are men's sizes; that's all the store had in stock that day. This Vinnland sock from The Anticraft, which was sent to me by the lovely Andrea in New Mexico, is stretched out a little bit but I think it looks good, you can really see the pattern. I saw lots of cool stuff that I want to go back for, not only for the Stitchjones booth but also for me! If I'm going to design, I need a torso. They have zaftig ones, and I also learned that putting a bra on a man-torso will work great for displaying plus size fashions. So go crazy and cross-dress those mannequins!

Last Tuesday turned out to be a lovely day for me and the spousal unit. He took the day off, and after we went shopping for mannequin parts, we went to Chinatown for a dim sum lunch. Fong Chong Teahouse rocks! I could eat pork shumai and shrimp-spinach dumplings until they come out my ears.

That's about it, my doves. I'll be back when my Svale top is a shiny new FO.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009



I recently found out that due to production problems, the base yarn I ordered for Glam Sock won't even be manufactured until next month, and I have to wait until September before my order is shipped.

I'm bummed--not only will I not have it for Sock Summit, but also, I had my first order cancellation because of the delay. I don't blame my customer; I hate making people wait for their yarn and in fact, I gave my customer the option to cancel. It just sucks is all. I expect that quite a few indie dyers who have Sterling Silk & Silver in their product line are in the same boat.


My family's home, including Jimmy the longhaired mini dachshund. He got to go on the road trip and had a blast in Spokane; my inlaws have 19 acres, including horses and a barn, so it's a doggie paradise for running and playing. Here is one of my favorite Jimmy pictures. I've never had a dog who loves to play as much as this one does. It's hard to get him to keep still long enough to take a picture!

Buster, my first wiener dog, just turned 10. He has various health problems, so he stayed with me over the holiday weekend. Here is a picture of him from a couple of years ago.
He kept me company while I dyed, knitted, and watched all the episodes of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie". Love that show! I never watched "The Sopranos" but I sure am a fan of Edie Falco now. That girl has some prodigious acting chops. I also watched "Milk" on pay per view. I think it was an important film, well made and well acted, and I'm glad I saw it.

One of the things I didn't get to over the weekend was practicing my bass. I keep thinking about it though, and it's probably a pipe dream but I'd like to be a solid bass player someday. I had a few lessons and picked up the fundamentals quickly. About the only song I can actually play competently is a totally vulgar Denis Leary song (is there any other kind?) which I won't mention here! The reason it's easy to play is because it's a descending bass line and I don't have to think about it too much. Hey, budding musicians have to start somewhere, right?
Soon I'll have a finished project for show and tell; I got quite a bit of work done on the red Svale top. I'm glad 4th of July is over and done with. The older I get, the less tolerant I am of noisy celebrations and I'm increasingly more concerned about pets, mine and other people's. For a time on Saturday, I couldn't find our cat Hannibal, and I was worried he might bolt into the street and possibly be hit by a car. Thankfully, though, he came to the door late Saturday night, after the neighbors ran out of fireworks.
I'm also glad the heat wave is over--it's early summer so I'm sure we'll get more of them, but it's nice to have some cool weather. Anyway, I hope you all had some good times over the weekend, and thank you for reading my rather dull blog. Between the anger management courses and industrial-strength antidepressants, the noise in my head seems to have subsided, along with anything interesting I might have to say.
(That last sentence was a joke.)

Thursday, July 02, 2009


working vacation

Mr. Stitchjones and our darling daughter are heading to Spokane tomorrow for the long weekend. As much as I will miss the delightful company of my brother-in-law, I've chosen to stay home and tackle my to-do pile.

This represents only part of what I'll be dyeing, because today 2 more kilos of Titanium Sock came in. No sign of Glam Sock yet, regrettably, although I'm still hoping it will be here in time to get it ready for Sock Summit.

Speaking of the Summit--you may have already seen this on Ravelry, but here is my entry in the "Dye for Glory" contest in the Painted category.

This colorway is "Magic Judy" in honor of Judy Becker, inventor of Judy's Magic Cast-on and one of the teachers at Sock Summit. It has several of Judy's favorite colors, and she seemed pleased with how it came out. I've already had a couple of requests for the yarn, so I'll be dyeing up at least a half dozen skeins of it over the weekend.

I'm not sure if I was supposed to wait before unveiling my colorway. According to the Ravelry rules, the entries can be posted to Ravelry up until July 22nd or something like that, and then voting commences. You know me; I have poor impulse control and tend to shoot my wad no matter what's at stake. In this case, though, I think I'm OK; it's yarn after all, not state secrets.

Got Swag?

I now have a Zazzle panel, although it's hard to see because the blog layout put it waaaay down at the bottom. To save you from having to scroll, here is a linky to the Stitchjones Zazzle store. We've already sold a t-shirt and a couple of buttons, plus I just got 10 of the buttons in today's mail. I'll be wearing one at Sock Summit, and will have some for sale in the booth.

Yeah, "Accept No Substitutes". Don't read too much into it. Or do; whatever turns yer crank. I just thought it was funny.

Love Affair with Laceweight Continues

This is alpaca laceweight in Chartreuse, prior to reskeining. It's now for sale at The Naked Sheep Knit Shop, along with 6 other skeins of alpaca lace yarn in assorted colors. I seem to be alternating between whatever is easiest to get--sometimes the alpaca, and sometimes the 70% alpaca/20% silk/10% cashmere. Believe me, it's much yummier than the 100% alpaca, yet it's obviously much more expensive. I have just enough of it on hand--or will, as soon as my shipment gets here--to fill a wholesale order, and can't wait to get my hands on more. I think I should focus on sock yarn for the time being, and try to keep that urge at bay until after next month's big event.

WIPs will have to do.

Just as all the vendors were packing up at the close of Black Sheep Gathering, I went into the exhibition hall and purchased 2 lovely skeins of Cormo wool in neon green from Bellwether Wool Co. The softness of the fiber and the eyecatching color had me feeling sparkly, and I vowed to myself that if they hadn't sold the two 6 oz. skeins by show's end, they were going home with me. Score! I'm turning them into a quick and easy Diagonal Baby Blanket. I cast on a couple of days ago, and am already half finished.

(protective eyewear recommended for next photo.)

This is all I can show you of a painstaking design I'm cooking up, with Dale of Norway Svale in Chinese red. I am nearly half finished with this summer garment, which means that by summer's end it should be a FO. Even though it just looks like miles of unexplored knot stitch, I think it's gonna be pretty sweet if I can keep plugging at it.

That's it--have a happy, safe and cool Fourth, no matter how you spend it. It's a very hot day, so I think I'll head into the kitchen/family room for an iced beverage and some knitting.

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

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]