Friday, April 22, 2011


promises that happen*

As I looked back over the posts I've written since the end of 2010, I can't help but think I was being rather short-sighted. In several areas of my life I had come to the end of several relationships and situations, and the difficulties were real. What I didn't express or address was how I felt inside, and that was like I'd failed or was some crazy-how bad for not being able to produce as much yarn out of a home kitchen as other indies who have a basement, garage or studio. I admit to thinking more than once, that Stitchjones was probably over as a business.

Spring, however, has brought with it new ideas and fresh opportunities for things I didn't see coming, yet they do make sense. During my crisis time I felt strongly moved to share the knowledge and inspiration I've gained, and I've found that I love teaching people how to dye yarn! Earlier this month I had my first experience leading a dye workshop at Wynona Studios. I had some jitters, not knowing exactly what I would say or how I'd do the presentation in a way that helped people the most, so I approached it just as though I were in my own kitchen studio. Going step by step, I prepped the yarn, mixed the colors, handpainted a skein and put it in the steamer - and then the group went right to it! They'd brought bagfuls of naked yarn from Knitpicks, and they had a ball. I was blown away with the inventiveness of their colors and techniques; there was definitely more than one fiber artist there that day. And I found that mixing colors on the fly without really having a plan was somewhat risky - yet I got "in the zone" and ended up with some good, funky sock yarn (picture next post, I promise). The good news doesn't stop there - we've scheduled two more dye classes, in June and August!

Two other positive, exciting things converged last weekend. I had a vendor booth at the first-ever Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. It was an awesome event! I was inspired by the colorways and yarns of my fellow dyers - I traded some of mine for yarn from Abstract Fiber and Sincere Sheep, which was a great way to try merino-cashmere-nylon sock yarn base and an organic merino sportweight. In fact, I just ordered some MCN today!

One thing that had become clear to me is that I don't seem destined to become a spinner. I know how to spin; I've had the best teachers one could ask for - I guess making my own yarn just doesn't sparkle for me. I love to knit, dye and design, and have so much cooking with those interests that I decided to sell my new Lendrum. I hated the thought of it sitting around neglected when someone else could be enjoying it, so I sold it at CGFF. Seeing how happy the new owner was to have it showed me that I'd done the right thing.

I also finished another shawl.

This is the Bollywood Shawl pattern created for Stitchjones by Tara Miller (Ravelry link). The original was made with Dyepot Worsted in Bollywood. This one took 2 skeins of Baby Alpaca DK which I had kettle dyed in Sligo. I think more subtle colorway showed off the feather lace and lattice stitch patterns.

There are more good things happening, but drowsiness is taking over. I'll have to tell you about it in my next post, which will be sooner rather than later! Blogging has been filling my need to write, and while I can't let the cat out of the bag just yet, I can say that keeping my writing skills honed will be to my benefit this year! No, it isn't a book, although somehow that seems to feel like more than a pipe dream these days.


*"Promises" is one of my favorite parts of the original 12-step text, or "Big Book". If you will indulge me:

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and selfpity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Friday, April 01, 2011


just a fool

It's April Fools' Day, but there will be no jokes, pranks or jackanapes - just me! Haven't blogged in ages, so I wanted to make sure I got in on this action. Trying to make a blog post count.

Amid the various ups and downs of life and Spring upon us in full flower, there has been some knitting. However, my pictures kind of suck, so instead of doing the whole FO rotogravure I'll just hand pick a couple of significant items.

This is the "Little Glam Bag". Basic pattern is from the Not Just Socks book. The pattern's a bit futzy and whatnot, because rather than a simple eyelet row for the i-cord, you knit a casing for it and stitch it down. Totally worth it, though. I used about a half skein of Glam Sock in Hemlock, and I love it. It only took most of a weekend to finish, so by making a few more I could whittle down my sock yarn stash! Yeah, good mantra...rinse and repeat...

On a somber note, my dear friend Darla (she was married to my BIL Jonathan, who passed away in 1998) just began chemotherapy for breast cancer. I picked STR Lightweight in a beautiful colorway called "Sophie" to make a chemo cap for Darla. (And I love using my KISS stitch markers, which were a gift from trtlgrl!)

I'm not using a pattern, just winging it. 2 x 2 rib for 3", then stockinette stitch until it's long enough to begin the top decreases. Keeping the design plain because the yarn's so pretty.

Last but not least, I'm getting ready for spring & summer fiber festivals! I have lots of lovely baby alpaca & blends yarn in new colors. Here is "Secret Garden" (in Japanese, himitsu teien).

I gave the Japanese translation not to be a geek, but because I'm donating half my profits from the sale of this colorway to the Red Cross and designating the funds for Japan earthquake/tsunami relief. Here it is on a skein of Titanium Sock. Busy, yes, but if it helps, the color repeats are way short, so it shouldn't flash or pool.

Thanks to Michele over at PDXKnitterati for the banner!

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