Sunday, November 29, 2009


Early Christmas

We're back from Spokane, and it is oh so good to be home! Not that all of it was bad; the weather was cold but clear, and being away from home gave me extra time to knit so I finished a couple of projects.

This is the Beginner Sock pattern from Knitting Pure & Simple. It uses worsted weight yarn. I'm excited to be leading a workshop at The Naked Sheep Knit Shop this winter for these beginner socks, using my own Stitchjones Dyepot Worsted. Here is a class sample in the colorway "Salmon Dave".

It took a couple months, 6 balls Rowan Kid Classic in "Tile"--a tangerine orange which I think is a discontinued color--and 1 ball Kid Classic in red for the sleeve and neck trim--but I finally finished my St. James.

There are no words for how much I enjoyed knitting this, and the yarn! Great drape, soft and comfy, even if it is extremely warm. I need the kind of cold snap we had a year ago--without the snow, thanks--in order to be comfortable in it. At my mother-in-law's house, the heat always seems to be up around 74, which is too warm for me. I went around all weekend in T-shirts and tank tops. And all day today on the drive home and since we arrived at 4 pm, I've been zooming around like Moses on a motorcycle doing mountains of laundry, unpacking and what have you, and I've been feeling feverish! I took my temp and it was normal, so I'm not sure what's going on. Hopefully not the onset of flu; I feel fine otherwise.

One more note about my sweater; necklines still give me fits. It's a sort of modified boat neck and is quite wide on me, since I'm basically shoulderless. I'll just have to adjust the undergarments so straps won't show. It could also benefit from some blocking, as the neck trim is a bit floppy and needs to stand up more.


Mystery Date With Mystery Wool

I forgot to show you this last time I posted...I got some undyed mystery wool yarn in a swap. I think it's Wensleydale handspun. There are lots of broken ends, but there's about 350 grams, enough to make something, and it has a nice hand to it. I tried to handpaint it in Mulberry, and the dye sort of broke up and it came out looking kettle dyed a la Malabrigo! The photo is horrid; it's much prettier close up. I won't be selling this, as the swap was part of the Shawl Ministry--it'll probably end up becoming a shoulder shawl.


Ooooo-kayyy! Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook probably already know this, but my Christmas wish came true on Friday. Meet Toki Wartooth*. He says to please call him Toki.

Toki is a PomChi; his daddy is a beautiful fluffy Pomeranian and his mom a smooth coat Chihuahua. He's 7 weeks old. There aren't enough A's in Adorable to describe him--he is the precious baby I ached for since losing little Buster. I happened to find him on kijiji.com and had to bring him home with me.

The adoption story: Toki was born on a little farm in Spirit Lake, Idaho. Out of a litter of 4 babies who were all different colors, he and his sister were left. The 2 puppies were being offered at a very good price, as homes were urgently needed for them. The lady who sold him to me met me in Post Falls, Idaho, about 35 minutes from Spokane. I had Jimmy with me in his pet taxi, because no one was home at my mother-in-law's and I didn't want to leave him. It was kind of weird; the lady gave Toki his booster shot right there in the freezing cold parking lot of a truck stop off I-90! She was going to give him the wormer as well, but he started drooling a lot and I just wanted to get him to a warm house, so I said we'd take care of it as soon as we could in Portland.

She drove away with her daughter, the little girl puppy and $120 in cash--and I then realized I had absolutely nothing for the poor little guy. I was away from home and definitely needed to pick up a few things! Necessity and a slim budget (there's that word again) dictated a stop at the Wal-Mart in Spokane Valley. I put Toki inside my zip front hoodie sweater and took him into the store with me. While getting a pet carrier, training pads and some toys, I didn't realize it but Toki had become nauseated from the vaccine and decorated my sweater sleeve. Here I have to stop and say how nice all the Wal-Mart employees were that I came in contact with! On Black Friday no less, the busiest shopping day of the whole year. Amazing. A young man led me to some paper towels and water so I could clean off. Then in the checkout line, the cashier took the time to remove all the tags from the carrier and wrap a training pad around the bottom so I could transport the puppy safely. I never expected that kind of customer service from Wal-Mart and I later called the store manager to let her know the cashier did a great job. Even the customer behind me in line was really nice and patient! I realize that part of this extreme widespread good will had to have been in direct correlation to the cuteness of my puppy, but who am I to be picky!?

Fortunately, my MIL loves animals and she was the one who encouraged me to look at the ads. Little Toki settled in very well at "Grandma's house" and for a tiny one who's been through a lot, he is doing fine the first night in his new home.

*"Toki Wartooth" is the name of a Norwegian guitar player in the animated show Metalocalypse, which is a satire about a fictional Scandinavian death metal band. Being a huge fan of Spinal Tap, I think the show is hilarious. Jason, Michelle and I deliberated for an entire day over what to name the puppy, and Toki was the only one all three of us could live with!

Now to catch up on some extremely overdue dye work. Tonight I'm a very happy knitter and dog owner, and I hope the Thanksgiving weekend brought joy to you all too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009



I realize that for just one week, this is way too much yarn for me to have purchased. Necessity is forcing me to curb my stashing. All I can do is use the "b" word--budget. As in setting one and enforcing one and therefore never having fun ever again. Of course, time was when I felt that way about drinking, which I no longer do. But the question is, was I really having fun when I was finishing off two bottles of wine and passing out?

I'd much rather talk about the yarn than how I was 25 years ago; it's far more enjoyable. And if it ain't obvious by now, I'm nothing if not a pleasure seeker!

Good ol' Lamb's Pride Worsted, in the perfect Cartman hat colors. For a wacky friend of Michelle's.

Enough DIC Classy in Absolute Magenta to complete my February Lady Sweater.

Boring Subtly colored Kroy sock yarn, to knit another pair for Mr. Stitchjones. Of course I clean forgot my knitblogging friend's discovery, that the yardage on these is a scant 162 per ball, which means I should have bought 3 balls instead of just 2. Thankfully, it's readily available!

Drool inducing Malabrigo Worsted in "Oceanos". I fell so hard for this stuff that they practically had to pick me up off the floor of Knitting Bee. Can you envision the Clapotis I could make for my mother-in-law? I get choked up just thinking about it.

Heading to Spo-Compton tomorrow. I'm still planning to go to Paradise Fibers, but I am making a solemn promise to be good (spending-wise; there are no guarantees about in whose shoes Jimmy might "accidentally" poop) and only buy things needed to keep Stitchjones rolling...like dye. And Gawd as mah witness, I won't be going to any freakin' malls! This marks the first year where I am eliminating "Christmas shopping" as I have known it all my adult life. Not that I plan to make many gifts, as time is short; I just hate with a passion the fact that so much emphasis is on the retail aspect of the Christmas season, especially in these lean times, and I feel pressure to go out and do things I quit enjoying some time ago. I never go to department stores like Macy's and Nordstrom anymore, and so to please those on my list who really like stuff from those stores, I'll have to rely on my creative inspiration. Not necessarily knitting. I think my folks will get stuff like postage stamps, maybe a gift card to the Olive Garden, or whatever I can come up with to minimize their need to go out as they're both in their seventies and being a passenger with either one is terror inducing. I realize I could shop online at Macy's or Nordstrom, but doing so makes me feel like an unwilling participant in some sort of diabolical Christmas-shopping-department-store-artificially-generated-happiness machine. Or maybe I'm just getting older and more befuddled. It's just that there's something undeniably appealing about being able to get gifts at the same places I get groceries!

Rant over. I wanted to natter on some more about knitting, but I'll cut it short because Michelle wants to use this machine for audio uploading EVEN THOUGH SHE HAS HER OWN DAMN COMPUTER dang there goes my evil twin again.
Love to all. May your Thanksgiving be filled with love, joy and peace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009



...bridesmaids catch the bouquet.

...perpetual losers win.

I've worn my share of ugly bridesmaid dresses and never caught the bouquet, and while I can't call myself a perpetual loser, I'm certainly an infrequent winner. I'm not grousing (much) because *some* things in my life are going right; I mean hey, I've got the world's greatest husband and a beautiful, talented, smart and kindhearted daughter, right?! Still and all, I won a lovely prize in a contest, which makes it incumbent upon me to gloat!

This plum ruched fabric knitting bag with lavender piping, magnetic closure and velvety black handle (don't I sound like Johnny on Let's Make A Deal?) is from Lantern Moon and I won it in the October photo contest at the Twisted website. The theme was "Animals and Knits" and I posted this picture of the adorable Winston wearing a Stitchjones original.

My daughter and Winston's owner have since had a falling out, and now they are not on speaking terms other than to mutter "skank" at one another should they happen to run into each other at Jamba Juice, but dang, Tess's puppy was cute!

Be that as it may, I love my prize, and of course when picking it up at Twisted, I bought enough Dream in Color Classy in Absolute Magenta to finish the February Lady Sweater I started a couple months ago. It'll be a good project for the upcoming slog trek to Spokane for Thanksgiving. Last year I stayed home to dye yarn, so there's no weaseling out of it this year. Please pray for my self-restraint, so that I won't assassinate my waste of skin brother-in-law. While at Twisted I also cleaned them out of white pear tea. My mother-in-law enjoys that, so I will brew us some of it for when we have our pumpkin pie.

Show 'em what she's knit, Johnny!

Recent FO's: a Simple yet Effective shawl for the UU church Shawl Ministry, knit with about 650 yards of Patons Classic Wool in 2 different shades of brown. It blocked out to about 33" deep and 60" wide. The side edgings are not I-cord; the photo's not good enough to tell where the stockinette and garter stitch bands are, but I finished with about 1" of stockinette stitch, and it rolled rather nicely, creating a built-in edging.

I loves me some color pooling! I finally knit up that skein of STR Lightweight in "Backstabber". This will be my last pair of plain vanilla socks for a while; I'm working on some lace socks right now and have downloaded great patterns and planned out my sock knitting agenda right up through January.

"WTF" Photo of the week, or Michelle in disguise

Just had to post this picture of Michelle being Michelle. She is a huge fan of the British girl group Robots in Disguise. Being a skillful makeup artist, this was her getup for Halloween, along with a vintage black lace dress (think Morticia Addams).

That's all the blog fodder I got for now, good people. The KISS concert in Portland is happening right now, I mean *this very minute*, and I am not there...sigh. Trying not to think about it. Into the kitchen for a bit of dyeing now. I'll get in a post before we leave next Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Living EZ's words

We all know the Elizabeth Zimmermann quote..."knit on with confidence and hope through all crises". I like to think that knitters know what to do at those moments in life when the non-enlightened (or "muggles") are at a loss. Even though the passing of my sweet doggy has hit me hard, I'm still knitting and have even finished a couple of small projects.

But before I put up pictures, I want to take a moment to let you know how much I appreciate your words of condolence in the comments and on Facebook. I believe that shared sorrow is easier to bear, and many of you have cherished pets and understand the empty place they leave behind when they are gone. Each day I'm taking time to remember little Buster. Because I especially love having a tiny dog that I can hold, carry, and knit sweaters for, I may at some point adopt a puppy, but I'm nowhere near ready for that--I still find myself looking around for him. Anyway, thank you for being there with me as I go through this process; it really does help to know I'm not alone.

So here is a pair of socks I knit for my friend Janet. She lives on the North Shore of Boston, close to New Hampshire, and we went to junior high and high school together.

The yarn is Kraemer Saucon Sock, a cotton-acrylic blend which was a great score from my friend Cindy's de-clutter sale last month! I don't think I've made socks before that weren't wool. I used size zero needles, so they are densely knit and will probably be snug, hopefully not too tight! I have one more pair of plain-vanilla socks on the needles. When they're done, I plan to get jiggy with it and make either these or these.

I wanted to send Janet something extra in case she wasn't thrilled with the socks, so I also made her a pair of Irish Hiking Handwarmers.

(extreme closeup of cable action)

I used some mystery wool from my friend Gail's destash last year. I think it's Manos; it's thick/thin and soft.

My WIP's are calling to me with plaintive little voices, and the stash is eager to be knit...so I'm going back into the knitting salon now, which is just a high falutin' term for the family room. But I'll be back soon with some retina-searing socks from one of my most treasured stash items, the Blue Moon STR Lightweight! There's one stash yarn I'm not touching yet though, because I firmly believe that you cannot have your Wollmeise and knit it too. Even though it reeeeallllly wants to become a scarf...

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Buster, 1999-2009

I will always love you and miss you, my little friend. I wish you hadn't been in pain and could have stayed with us longer.

Thank you for being a wonderful pet.

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