Thursday, December 31, 2009


gratitude list

Some of my friends on Facebook, and at least one of the blogs I follow, are expressing relief that the year 2009 is about to be over. I'll admit to feeling that way myself, and looking to the new year with more than the usual amount of hope. I try to refrain from getting all South Park potty mouth on the blog, but a lot of things about this past year did in fact suck ass! The worst things were that loved ones died, and we got sued. Although obviously we could do nothing to change the first thing, we were able to make the second thing go away but not without it costing us a hell of a lot of money. At a time when it's most important for all of us to hold onto what we have, our retirement savings are about gone. So, bleah.

I certainly don't intend to write a bitchy post, though. Nor is this about New Year's resolutions. I don't make them, because to me they seem about as empty and meaningless as politician's campaign promises. In this reflective post, I just want to be honest, and that means gratefully acknowledging the things that were good or went right.

1. Neither Jason nor I suffered any major illnesses this past year. Over the past 6 years I've had my share of tumors, both malignant and benign, that needed surgery and also some close calls and scares. But none of that happened over the last 12 months.

2. Our daughter successfully navigated adolescence without any serious trauma. At 13 she was having such a tough time relating to peers and authority figures that I took her out of school for a year. She is now 19 and just completed her first quarter of community college with a 4.0 GPA, and she has a plan for her education and career. I consider us fortunate parents indeed.

3. My parents are still alive. While they are becoming more frail, they still have their house and seem nowhere near changing their living arrangements. Both are so very generous and good to us, and I'm thankful to have them around.

4. Over the past year I have felt closer to my brother than I have for many years. His personality can sometimes be irritating, but I now have a sense of comfort by his presence in my life.

5. I have the best husband a gal could ask for, and we were married 20 years last August.

6. We are still young enough to earn and save for retirement, replacing some of the funds we lost, while helping our daughter pursue her education.

7. Even with all the money mess, I have built a successful business that continues to grow. Amid the constraints and concerns, I am thankful to have something that gives me the creative expression I need to thrive, and is all mine. As scared as I was to step off the precipice, I understand and accept that that was what I needed to do to find peace within.

8. For the first 35 years of my life, I never felt connected to anything, or that I was part of a larger community, but now I have many friends who share my passion for wool. My connection with others has strengthened over the past year, and the fiber community keeps growing. Case in point--the bunch of new yarn shops that recently opened in our area! Are we in PDX the luckiest yarn ho's in America? Hell yeah!

9. At this moment, I am ready to let go of a grudge I have held for much of the past year. This may not seem like a big deal but I assure you that for me, it is. I'm a Scorpio and we are the biggest grudge holders in the zodiac! We never forget hurts or slights. The one that's bugged me the most is the anger I've felt towards my brother-in-law Mark, the operative words being "bugged ME the most". He isn't affected at all by my anger! So, being tired of what it's doing to me, I release it.

Whew. Glad I did this; it's gratifying to see what's piled up in the "Assets" column instead of focusing on the "Liabilities". Since I don't smoke or drink, I think I'll go into the kitchen for a piece of chocolate and watch the last hour of 2009 wind down. Love and good things in 2010 to you all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Poncho and a mini-reflection

I finished my version of A Very Harlot Poncho (.pdf) using 3.5 skeins of Malabrigo Kettle Dyed Worsted in "Oceanos". Like a dope I cast on with size 9 needles--"I don't need to make no steenking gauge swatch", y'know--then about 6" down switched to size 10's. So the opening is a bit snug, but not strangling; even without a scarf or high neck top the soft wool feels comfy. I haven't even blocked it yet and I wore it out shopping last night.
Since I'm not a fringe gal, and I didn't want to mess with making fringe out of single ply yarn anyway, I finished the bottom edge with 4 garter stitch ridges (8 rows). The length from neck edge to bottom point is about 29".
This year I've done fewer Christmas preparations than ever. I haven't gotten holiday cards out, at least the ones I need to enclose notes with. Still need to get a gift for my mom. The tree is up and some decorations are out, thanks to Jason and Michelle, but I haven't made any cookies and Christmas Eve is frickin' tomorrow night!
Relax, there's still time...as the emails I get from various retailers say. All the ingredients for my cookies and Christmas dinner have been bought. Dye work can wait until next week. I just wanted to get in a post to wish everyone who reads this blog (thank you! thank you!) a wonderful Christmas with people you love, and activities that bring you joy and peace.
And now for my mini-reflection.
This has been a very difficult year for us. I'm not going to re-hash the family deaths and money problems, but they bear at least a small mention because the emotional cost has been considerable. There were some joys as well though, which helps balance things out. Our DNA jackpot of a daughter graduated from high school and is an outstanding college student, and we celebrated being married 20 years. These are big things, great things. I'm blessed and I'm thankful.
At my worst moments during the past year, I confess to having felt pangs of regret for my decision to leave my job in September of 2007 to go to work in a yarn shop and start Stitchjones. However, a former co-worker had commissioned me to knit some fingerless mitts for her niece, so yesterday I went back to the company and visited with some of the folks who are still there. I found out that I had been replaced; however, my replacement was laid off less than a year later. So in essence, it turned out to be as I figured it might: the economic downturn would have caused my head to roll had I stayed with the company. And of course I have no regrets about leaving the yarn shop after only a few months. All drama aside, for me yarn shop employment was a trap, because I spent so much of my pay there! It's dangerous enough for me to have yarn shops as wholesale customers, because I can never leave without buying something.
What being the owner-operator of a small fiber art business has done for me, in terms of personal reputation and feelings of self-worth, business and personal contacts, and friendships--is tremendous. I've met amazing people I never would have met had I stayed where I was. I've done business with people all over the world via the Internet. I've discovered that I have things of value to offer and talents I didn't know were there but were waiting to bloom. What I'm trying to say is that I don't regret the path I chose and now walk. It's been an adventure and a privilege, and it still is. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2010 will bring. May it bring us all renewed prosperity, peace on earth, and dear God- Health care!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009



Behold, I give you a Sunday Swing Sock from Knitty. I seldom knit lace patterns into my socks, but this one is so easy even a short attention span knitter like me can fairly cruise. I'm using Misti Alpaca handpainted sock yarn, which has quite a nice feel and is beautifully dyed. Last night I finished dyeing an order of 40-plus skeins, so I'm going to take a brief Christmas break from Stitchjones and focus on finishing some things in my huge pile of WIPs, which can make me feel bad about myself if I let them.
This week tried its best to drive me insane. Very early Monday morning, Mr. Stitchjones and Michelle left for L.A. The night before, at 1:00 am, there was a knock at the door, and it was a police officer. Fortunately I was still awake. The officer told me that they'd had an anonymous tip that either our house or the one across the street was targeted for a burglary. Oh, goody. Pleasant dreams, Stitch! As it turned out, it was our neighbors' house, and the officer came by again Monday night at a more humane hour to let me know that the two creeps individuals planning the break-in had been arrested for some other dirty deed. All morning long on Monday, there was a police car parked close to the intersection--our house is on a corner--and that did help me to feel considerably safer.
Want the flip side? Of course you do. My road warriors came home late Wednesday night, both sick. He has a bad cold; she was feeling strep-ish but it didn't keep her from having fun shopping on Melrose Ave. So on Thursday I juggled dye work, running some yarn to a LYS, taking Michelle to a new doctor because she's outgrown pediatric care, making homemade chicken orzo soup, and oh yeah! I started Christmas shopping this week, too. There will be an iPod under the tree for Jason. We also got good news about our financial situation, and he got a sweet commission check yesterday. J has been a salesperson since before we even met, so that's going back some 25 years, but in his current job he doesn't receive commission until the company has been paid on the orders. Although that makes things dicey from time to time, today it's all good.
Toki Time
Remember the nefarious pile of WIP's I alluded to earlier? I usually have half the coffee table loaded up with yarn, books, patterns, needles and whatnot so everything's within easy reach. I've barely had time to catch my breath since bringing the puppy home, but this weekend I've got to put dedicated effort into rearranging all my knitting paraphernalia. Toki has been able to reach things I didn't think he could reach. He chewed the tip off one of my size 7 dpns and trashed a nice ball of soft chunky weight acrylic/wool blend in pale pink, which I had planned to use for a hat. Then the little ass monkey rascal got hold of a ball of my Noro and before I could get it away from him, he had spread it all over two rooms. Fortunately my patient daughter was able to wind it all back up for me, so I can salvage my beautiful scarf which is more than half finished!
Just wanted to get in a blog post before too much time gets away from me. Until next time...Amen, Shalom, and Blessed Be!

Friday, December 11, 2009


holiday spirit

Today for the first time, I felt some holiday joy instead of pressure to spend more than I have and do more than I'm able to. I'm unable to explain exactly what changed--but that's ok; I'm enjoying a good mood and don't need to examine it too closely!

I won't be giving handmade gifts this year. It's too late to start anything now; I have a lot of things on the needles but very little knitting time. I just delivered a sock yarn order today and have many skeins to get finished, shipped and/or delivered by the end of next week. It's good to be busy though; maybe that holiday spirit is the possibility of enough "jingle" to buy a couple of special things for my dearest loves! Mr. Stitchjones would love an iPod, and I would love to buy it for him and also a digital camera for Michelle. She hasn't asked for one, but I know it's something she'd like.

I found a free pattern for a Bow Knot scarf/neckwarmer and knit it up in just under 2 hours. The yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers in a color I liked when I bought it last February, but when I pulled it out of the stash it looked ghastly to me. I much prefer wearing this as a headband, even though it gives me a Miss Piggy look. What the hell, it was good for sh*ts-n-giggles last night with Michelle!

Jason is heading home from Cali tonight; thankfully his flight gets in early because it's supposed to snow overnight. Readers outside the Pacific NW--we've been in the deep freeze all week here in Portland, Oregon, and a storm is headed our way. I just pray it won't be as bad or prolonged as it was last year. Man, that was brutal. Then Monday morning, he and Michelle are going to L.A. for a couple of days. He has customers there to visit and now that finals are over, Michelle plans to amuse herself hanging out on Hollywood Blvd, hoping to get discovered I guess. During the first half of the year, she wrote sketches and plans for a TV comedy show with animated spots; now she's writing song lyrics for which her dad will compose the music. She and her friend Sara are very into "Electro" which is re-warmed 80's synthesizer rock/pop music, and neon colored makeup, clothes and jewelry. They've formed a band, and believe me I tried to talk the girls out of this, but they're calling themselves "Digital Twat".

I sense some of you pulling away from me. What can I say? She's 19. All I can do to ease the sting is to show you a photo of the adorable Toki catching up on a few Z's.

Hope you're enjoying your holiday preparations!

Sunday, December 06, 2009


cozy and content

Things have been and continue to be somewhat chaotic in our household, and I'm not talking about just the arrival of a new puppy, although because he's so tiny it does keep us on our toes and walking carefully lest we step on him! The icky legal situation we have been in for most of this year isn't exactly over, but there's finally light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm pretty sure it isn't the oncoming train, because that already done run us over.

And of course, Christmas is almost here. Already? I can still taste Thanksgiving dinner! Alright, that was probably an overshare. With every year that goes by, I become more thankful for the Internet. I was able to get a start on my gift shopping without leaving the house. I like that, because I dread malls and heavy traffic!

Even with all this schmattah going on, I managed to bang out an FO. Above is my version of Cartman's hat from South Park, for a zany--yes, even madcap!--friend of Michelle's. I used a basic stockinette roll-brim hat pattern that I found free on Ravelry. Now that we're in the deep freeze here, I hope she'll be able to deliver this hat to her friend tomorrow because it's plenty warm. I have most of the skein of yellow Lamb's Pride left over, and I might use it to make Toki a new sweater. I made him one out of leftovers of my Dyepot Worsted--don't have a decent pic--but that's OK, because it's already snug on him.

The rest of this post is puppy stuff, so if that's not your cup of tea, I'll be back in a week or so with something I can't stop knitting out of the Malabrigo I recently bought.

On Friday Toki had his new puppy exam. He's 2 lbs. 8 oz. and very healthy, except for a bit of dry skin. There's no evidence of it other than scratching, so some supplement oil was prescribed. I'm adding small amounts to his food daily; hopefully that will do the trick. We also got prescription shampoo, but with it being so especially cold right now I'm suspending bathing him until it warms up. It's not like he gets too stinky anyway--he weighs about as much as a meat loaf.

Antics report: the vet proclaims that Toki has the appearance of a Pomeranian, but the bravery of a Chihuahua, and I can see the fearlessness even now. He loves to chase Jimmy, who is very sweet and tolerant of the new baby. It's been a week and when they play, there's no loud yipping. Toki was on the couch beside Jason, but he decided to see what Jimmy was up to so he leapt off the couch, and instead of landing on the coffee table he bonked into it and landed on the carpet. I tell ya, who needs HBO?!

Intelligence: A-plus. This from a veteran owner of Dachshunds, who are wonderful dogs but impossible to house train; they do their business wherever they damn well feel like it, thank yew. "Training pads? We don't need no stinking training pads," say the Dachshunds. Toki, however, trots over to the wee-wee pad now without having to be put there, and it's only been a week. So much for the so-called "expert" at Nature's Pet, who told me I wouldn't have success at housetraining until he was 10 weeks. He's only 8 and catching on, so neener neener neener.

Why yes, I am over the moon about this little mutt. Why do you ask?

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

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]