Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Home again (photo heavy post)

We're back from our mini-vacation, 5 days touring Washington's Olympic Peninsula by car. Amazing how we can anticipate our vacations for months, and then you set off on your journey and you're so stoked, then you have yourself a great time... and bada bing, it's over! Just. Like. That. And you come home to your: (choose all that apply)

-mountains of unfinished work.

-grody house.

-bratty kid.

-unpaid bills.

In my case, it's all of the above. However, I'm just not ready to think about any of it yet! Why don't I show you some pictures? What better way to savor good times and make them last longer? Here are a few highlights from our trip.
Our first morning in Port Angeles, I was eager to get out and explore, so we went to this very cool place for breakfast. (Shirley is my mother's name; I liked the sign.) They have a great collection of license plates from everywhere, and a model Amtrak train that runs all around the restaurant.
Black tailed deer were everywhere! We came upon several that evening at a house under construction; hanging out and playing Nintendo doing their thing.
Next day...we drove out onto this long arm of land that sticks out, creating the harbor on one side and the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the other, it's called Ediz something or other. Here's the inveterate rock jock, Mr. Stitchjones.
And while watching the ships in the Strait, we were visited by...yes...several Sea Otters!! Cute little critters ain't they? There were at least a couple of them. I think they were curious about us as well.
Between Port Angeles and Sequim there's another strip of land called Dungeness Spit. It sticks out into the strait about 5 miles with a lighthouse at the end. I did the 1/2 mile hike from the trailhead down to the beginning of the spit.
On our way down to Ocean Shores we visited the Hoh Rainforest and hiked the Spruce Trail...hand to God, this is an elk cow! I'm no photographer, and my mini dachsies are the closest I ever get to wildlife. But there were two of them, just watching us. There were signs at the park warning visitors about incidences of elk charging at people; we stepped lightly, believe you me. Didn't want to piss em off.

A much better photo...interesting growth of rainforest fungi.

Aaaand finally...sunset at Ocean Shores.

I'll probably post again tomorrow, because I have a couple more non-vacation photos to show you...but for now, I'll just quote the punchline of that time-worn joke, "break's over--everybody back on your heads!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009



...afterthought heels, that is!

Smacking myself in the forehead because I've been wanting to make afterthought-heel socks, but the thought of snipping a stitch and unraveling really spooked me. So I Googled up this method of knitting the heel stitches in waste yarn and then knitting them again, and dang if it isn't the exact same principle as Fetching fingerless mitts, which I've made several times! D'oh. *forehead slap*

There's something I love about the idea of socks that are off the needles, yet not quite finished, and they're waiting patiently while I futz around with other projects. The yarn I used is from Spinners' Web, lovely local folks who dye yarn and fiber. I made these with my pet sock needles, Kollage Square dpns size 2, which I now want to use for all sock knitting!

But doesn't everybody love orange?

Here are sample skeins of new fall colors in laceweight, done somewhat slap-dash. While I refuse to let product quality suffer, I do wish I could have made that screamin' orange somehow more red. These are only 600-yard skeins, which I'll probably keep around for display. I had a couple of wholesale customers wanting laceweight in darker colors, but the second from the left (which I dubbed "scarlet") seems to be a unanimous FAIL. Can't hit it out of the park every time, I guess! The other colors, left to right, are Hemlock, Royal Plum, and Crimson.

The other new item from your friendly neighborhood dye slinger is Glam Sock. Yes, it's back! For a limited time only, as I waited several months for the shipment. More than half of it is already spoken for.

New Glam Sock Multi: Rainbow Fish, Japanese Maple, Her Majesty, and Moonlight Meadow.

It's officially Mr. Stitchjones 50th birthday and I am fixing a steak dinner for him. He'll be home in like 10 minutes, so I'd best get my hiney in the kitchen. Our offspring baked him a cake that is most definitely NSFW--I'll have a pic up soon. And on Friday we're off!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


my camera has a happy

I don't usually remember to bring my camera when I go places, but I thought there might be a photo op or two at the beach on Wednesday. Alas, with my child being a stroppy little cow (thank you for that, Kiki, it was perfect!) there was neither the opportunity nor inspiration for picture taking. However, by Wednesday night we had declared a cease-fire, and yesterday, we went to PCC Rock Creek campus so she could locate her classrooms without any problems next week when school starts. It was a beautiful day and I was delighted to discover the camera still tucked into an inside pocket of my purse.

I graduated from PCC in 1995. Back then, there were three buildings at Rock Creek and they had just broken ground on a new sciences building. Now there are nine! And I forgot how pretty it is around there.

Thank you so much for your sympathetic comments and helpful suggestions on how to deal with my kid being such a PITA. Tranqs are great, but I've gotta say that as the mother, I've got dibs on any good prescription drugs that find their way into the house. :) Seriously, though, your support means a lot to me.

And to usher in this new era of domestic harmony, we collaborated on her dad's birthday cake.

She did the baking, icing and decorating; all I did was the cursive writing. Chocolate layers with cherry preserve filling. He loves Black Forest cake; before we were married I used to go all out with the three layers of chocolate cake, shaved sweet chocolate, cherry liqueur, fresh whipped cream, the works. Now? Feh! I love him not a jot less than ever, but all I make in the kitchen these days is yarn. And a mess. It so happens that the kid has a deft touch with doctoring cake mix. Culinary burnout that I am, I'm all about the shortcuts!
I even have new knitting for next post. Somehow, life seems a good deal sunnier than it did a couple of days ago!
Next week is going to be extremely busy, but I'll get that post in if I can. I did the goofiest thing this morning. Before having enough coffee, I called and scheduled my yearly mammogram for next Friday, totally forgetting that I'm actually going on vacation with my husband next Friday! So I called back, and scheduled it for the following Tuesday. Totally forgetting that we are coming home Tuesday. Yes, a whole five days, a real gosh darn vacation! I was too embarrassed at being such a dingbat that I'll wait until next week to call the imaging scheduler back. =)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


free to good home...

Girl, age 18. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Extremely bright and gifted, but has had an enormous 'tude with her mother for the past four days.

Seriously, WTF? We went through some stuff at age 15 and 16, but right now it's worse than ever, even though she's turning 19 next month. Everything I say is stupid and everything I do is inadequate. I embarrass and repulse her no matter what. Yet I can't ever go anywhere without her. Her wants are endless; it's like attaching a vacuum hose to my bank account, and then none of it makes her happy.

So I'm trying to figure out, is this hormonal? Or anxiety-related because she starts college classes next week? I've tied a knot to the end of my rope and am hanging on, but am starting to lose my grip!


Enough about that. One thing I've learned since I became a mother, is that the situation always gets different. But man, is this a tough one to ride out.

Yarn is the constant in my life; it's always there. Either I have made it as beautiful as I can, or others have, and knitting just a few rows helps so much to calm inner chaos. My long-awaited order of Glam Sock base yarn was on the doorstep when I got back from a day's drive down to Manzanita at the beach--I had the aforementioned kid in tow, so it wasn't as great as it could have been, but I sold some sock yarn to the wonderful Olga, who owns T-Spot Yarns, Teas and Chocolates.

I was invited to teach a class at that shop next month, and I'm so proud because it's on my original design!

Introducing the Dream Tote (Ravelry link).

This is a knitted, not felted, tote bag that can be made with any worsted weight yarn. It was intended to be a stash buster, so because the sides are squares of log cabin the color combinations are endless. The bag gusset is just a garter stitch strip and the handle is (oh I'm a feckin' genius, if I do say so myself) Purl-Twist fabric, a stitch pattern I found in the first Barbara Walker treasury. It creates a fabric that naturally rolls under, but is textured and much stronger than stockinette stitch or I-cord. Works perfectly for this purpose.

Sample details: about 600 yards total of worsted weight yarn; I used 2 hanks Punta Yarns Merisoft Handpainted for the sides and 1 skein Lamb's Pride Worsted for the gusset and handle. My gauge is very loose so I used a size 5 needle, although a 6 would probably work for most knitters, just so long as you're knitting a bit more tightly than worsted gauge. The finished size is 13" wide, 12" high and 2" deep. Fabric lining is optional, instructions included. I posted the pattern for sale on Ravelry and also in my Etsy shop.

I had more to blog about, unfortunately sleep was elusive last night and I'm a little muzzy. I think I'll finish the essential chores and go to bed!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


random is good

I hope it is! At least that's the slogan of a local FM radio station.

This is yet another one of those posts where I'm unfocused, but I wanted to make sure to tell those of you who do pickling, preserving and canning that my dear friend Kiki has posted some scrumptious recipes for pickled garlic and jalapeno jelly, in addition to pictures of her beautiful knitting and crochet! I have never pickled anything in my life, unless yarn soaking in vinegar water counts. But when I saw Kiki's recipe for pickled garlic, I immediately became hungry for it!

Pretty Yarn & Nice Pattern = Ugly Scarf?

If it's my project, unfortunately yes. I brought 7 balls of Galway wool out of my stash and decided to plow through at least some of it. With the best of intentions, I cast on for the Sunray neckwarmer (Ravelry link), except I made it full scarf length, at least 50" or long enough to wear any way you want. It used up about 2.25 balls of the Galway.

When oh when, will I learn to add edge stitches to a flat rectangular piece? Either a garter or seed stitch border would have been more than adequate to keep the piece from rolling, which it did like mad crazy. My knitting buddies suggested single crochet all around the edges, and I thought that would be just the ticket. What I didn't realize, though, is how much I suck at crochet. Instead of stabilizing the edge, I got a ruffle--after blocking, I mean--and a long aqua lasagna noodle is not what I was aiming for. Since I hardly ever wear scarves anyway, this will go in the Christmas gift/charity knitting bin, and I'll deal with it later.

I really love the stitch pattern, though. It's super easy and I had it down after a few repeats. I think next, I'll do this or this, and use up another ball or two of that Galway!

Got Purple?

As I chug along with dyeing up wholesale orders, I try to keep coming up with new colorways, or at least reproduce ones that have sold well, for my inventory. I probably reinvented the wheel with my "shock treatment" method of kettle dyeing--it's really just veil dyeing, adding one color at a time--but this is one of my favorite purples. I almost don't want to sell it!

Don't yell at my President!

Not to get political, but I had to weigh in on the news story of the week. While I'm working I like to have MSNBC on during the day. Sometimes I get a little tired of the talking heads, but I'm unable to focus on a movie while doing yarn, so liberal news is (pardon the pun) a happy medium. Anyway, the best quip I heard, regarding the Congressman who shouted "You lie" at President Obama during his speech, was "Join the Wilson Picket!"

My opinion and $3.50 will get you a grande latte. However, I think the whole undertone and psychology behind an outburst like this has to be racial at its core. The politician is from a Southern state and belongs to some ultra-conservative white people's group, the name of which escapes me at the moment. Apparently in British Parliament, they yell at the Prime Minister all the time; however, it's America I'm interested in. Other people have said that nobody in Congress ever yelled at W., although God knows somebody should have, and smacked him a few good ones while they were about it! I just don't see this week's incident as random or spontaneous; I see a cracker, for lack of a better term, forgetting that the black man speaking before him is the President of the United States, and letting loose what he really thought. There is no excuse for that. It's way worse than just rudeness; it is racism and unconscionable behavior for any elected leader.
Seven years ago, I was an exchange student at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata-Osaka, Japan. It was a year after the 9-11 attacks and six months before we invaded Iraq. Watching television news in another country and talking with Japanese people, I learned a great deal about how the rest of the world sees America, and it was a lesson in humility. Ever notice how if you look at a map of the world, the United States is smack in the center? A large map of the world was on the wall of the student lounge at KGU. What country was in the center? Japan. A US Air Force colonel's daughter from Texas was one of my classmates. On 9-11, she looked at the flags representing every nationality of students at the university, and was upset that the Stars and Stripes was not lowered to half-staff. I told her it would be, if we were at home.
A few Japanese people I spoke with wanted to know my opinion of President Bush. I told them in my poor Japanese that I didn't think he was a good president, and some of his policies made me feel embarrassed to be an American. I do love America and still think we have much to be proud of; it was just such an eye opener to see that in Japan America is viewed with skepticism along with curiosity, and regarded as no more important than any other country. In fact, for historical reasons, China is far more important to the Japanese than America is. Perhaps a prerequisite for political leadership should be to have spent some time in another country!
Well, had I had a topic for this blog post, I would really have gone off the rails. I'd better get back to work now; Mr. Stitchjones and Michelle left this morning for that garden spot, Spokane. The BIL hosts an annual golf tournament. Although Jason and his brothers grew up on a golf course because their dad was a PGA professional, he never plays golf and doesn't particularly enjoy it. However, he views it as a family obligation and attends it every year. They'll be back Monday, so I should get cranking and get as much yarn out as I can! At least it's going to cool off over the next few days. Yesterday was too dang hot.

Sunday, September 06, 2009



Mr. Stitchjones faithfully reads Willamette Week, a local free paper. Some may like Willy Week, but I don't, even though they have broken some major expose-type stories about local politicians in recent years. You know how it is, though; if it's laying around, you'll pick it up and read it. (Come on, we've all been in waiting rooms!) I think WW comes off as rather impressed with itself, journalistically speaking. Mind you, the equivalent of WW where I grew up was the Boston Phoenix, and right or wrong, my cultural bias remains.

I read something in this week's edition of WW which pissed me off, like, epic. Their cover piece "The Young and the Jobless" featured interviews with twentysomethings, and one 24-year-old woman (who is now employed, so technically doesn't qualify) said she took to knitting while job-hunting. Great, I thought. Then I read how she lamented the absence of people her own age in Portland. Nothing wrong with that, I thought. Then I read the last sentence. Her knitting group, "more often than not, has people my mom's age".


Yes, that's right. Poor lamb. Face time with fossils, how it must suck to be her. We obsolete, hopelessly out of touch knitters have absolutely nothing to offer Miss Thing, do we? Why, biddies and fusspots like us could never be social networkers and professional contacts, much less vast resources of information on all manner of fiber arts. Never could we be forces to be reckoned with, and we certainly would never do anything so audacious as to start our own businesses, carve our own niches, do whatever it takes to succeed and make our mark, and just generally kick ass and take names. We should just stay home, seeing as how we're such a blight on the so-young-and-hip-it-hurts social landscape of Portland, OR. How reassuring that demographics are apparently everything to this member of Generation Z. Don't worry dearie; menopause isn't contagious!

Willamette Week, who needs it?


Ahhh. That's more like it. Nothing makes me feel more alive than a good drip of sarcasm! And nobody needs a T-shirt that says, "51% sweetheart, 49% bitch, don't push it" more than me. So just to show you that I'm more sweetheart than bitch, without further ado, I'm going to announce the winner of the Name That Colorway contest.

The winner is: Bluebird49. In the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "I drank what?" the hand-dyed green sport yarn now has a name, and it is "Hemlock". You suggested "Socrates Shake" for a name, but said the color reminded you of Hemlock, and that nails it. You've won a Stitchjones gift certificate for $25. Email me at sharon AT stitchjones DOT com, and I'll send you info on how to claim your prize. Congratulations, Bluebird49, and thank you all for playing! Your suggestions were absolutely wonderful.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


just what the doctor ordered

Sometimes the best medicine...is a new doctor!

In an ongoing struggle to conserve funds, I found it necessary to fire my primary care physician, because she wasn't willing to work with me on generic substitutions for certain long-term maintenance meds. Which is a pretty good indicator that she's in bed with the drug companies and doesn't give a rat's ass about her patients! However, this afternoon I had a new patient appointment with a doctor who will not only help lower my monthly prescriptions cost by one-third, but is also closer to my house than the previous one and is very thorough, having counseled me on health issues no doctor had ever discussed with me before. She also, unlike my last doctor, didn't waste time harping on me about exercise. At my age, and given certain health conditions, if I were able to change habits and routines, I certainly would. I appreciated this new doctor's approach, and she did what I hoped, which was "just work the problem". All in all, I left the medical office today feeling better than I have in the past two years about the kind of care I'm receiving.

With all the stress of the past few months, culminating in the crappiest August I've ever lived through, I knew I needed to find a new doctor, but for various reasons--and this is going to sound lame--I felt I had to make my own health a low priority. Folks, don't let this happen to you! It's the oxygen mask principle. If you suddenly lose cabin pressure, you can't help the person in the seat next to you if you don't put your own mask on first. If I allow myself to become a falling-apart mess, what chance do I have of taking care of the other stuff? And so, to my marital obligations, to my financial struggles and especially to my shaming, hypercritical mother, I have only four words to say.

"Screw you, I matter."


Da Contest

You guys are suggesting such wonderful, interesting and creative names for that yarn! I'm enjoying your submissions. However, due to the fact that I recently had a "blog crasher", e.g. someone who left unwanted anonymous comments, I felt I had no choice but to turn on comment moderation. I usually get email notification of comments, however some comments fall through the cracks and I don't see them unless I sign into my Blogger interface. So if you don't see your contest entry posted, don't despair. I'll make sure they have all been published before the deadline comes and I announce the winner. Which is going to be difficult to determine!


Top Secret

Once again while delivering an order to a LYS, I succumbed to the siren call of beautiful yarn. This is 2 skeins of Punta Yarns Merisoft, a single ply, yummy-soft handpainted merino. I immediately began knitting it into an original design, and am still fascinated by the ever-changing colors. I bought it at Knit Knot Studio in the Pearl. Hopefully I will be able to offer a pattern soon! The photo does nothing to showcase the sheer gorgeousness.


I made socks and then forgot that I made socks.

Can't believe I forgot to post a pic of a finished pair of socks! Well, given all the trauma and drama in my life since Sock Summit, I actually can believe it. Anyway, I knit up that ball of Kureyon sock yarn that was in my stash since last winter, and finished the pair right after the Summit.

Kureyon sock yarn--ick. Kureyon sock yarn colors--swoon.

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