“Wee Hearts” it is!

jenjoycedesign© Wee Hearts Tam (square)

Wee Hearts Tam

Folks, thank you so much for your great ideas in the last post about what to call my new tam.  I was tempted to keep with chess theme, and loved the jacks idea (I almost did that)… but then after I finished the tam (today) I realized that yes, there are indeed little tiny hearts in the motif, and stayed with the original title.  (If you click the the image of the tam, you will land on the pattern page for it. ) So after 5 or 6 days (I honestly lost track) of non-stop work designing, redesigning, knitting, ripping out & knitting over, cutting the band off and part of the tam, and reworking the band (plus Vikkel braid) , then making toorie, photographing, pattern writing, pdf editing, uploading… then doing myriad details on the pattern page on Ravelry with linking….

((huge sigh))… I must say, Emma and I were in dire need of a walk. So walk we did.

Thanks again for your feedback. I think I will engage you wonderful readers more often, I didn’t even know half of you were even out there. :)

a name

jenjoycedesign© tam

A progress photo of a tam I’m working on which has an all-over pattern, and that I’m really having a lot fun figuring the shaping & wheel. I’m also looking forward to showing it off more, very very soon… promise!

Backstory;  I saw a film recently about chess master Bobby Fischer, called “Pawn Sacrifice”. and well, totally apart from the actual film’s plot or historic depiction, I couldn’t help but notice the… um… Fair Isle yoked sweaters and vests which were worn, whether just popular at the time, or more a signature of Fischer’s. Perhaps also the chess scene promoted a bit of class in the realm of the game, and I’ve spotted a few shots (only a few, of many)  where some fine knitted sweaters are very chessy & stylish . . .

But really this isn’t about chess, or the film, or even the grand-master Bobby Fischer. Not at all. In fact, although the film was about Fischer, ironically the motif is from  a vest worn by Fischer’s opponent Spassky (much much later) that draws my attention…

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

It appears to be little hearts , or shamrocks, or whatever it looks like to you. As Valentines day is approaching I can’t help but think to name my tam “Wee Hearts” or something equally saccharine. But maybe a better name like “Chess Moves” or… well… this is where I’d love your help.   Above is a photo of my tam in progress with the same motif.  Can you see the tiny little hearts?

Here’s the thing,  I beckon you for your ideas as to what to name this tam, and although it is not finished, it will be the all over design just as you see, and the name would do well to reflect the motif, or the origin. What does the motif bring to mind for you? I will choose one of your ideas left in comments here on Yarnings~~ and so happy to hand it over… thanks! 

Sweater Descent

jenjoycedesign© sweater-descent-aran-tweed

Descent is a word which takes many directions in meaning, most typically it means to ‘move down’ or ‘lower’ as in a physical place of going, as ‘down from a high place’ as from the peak of a mountain. It has metaphorical meaning to me as well, which I absolutely groove on, like ‘making easier’ and ‘moving into a secure low-ground of the known’.  Of course there is the meaning of ‘lineage’ or ‘clan’, and far-off distant cultures or bloodlines one may have come from.  But for me, primarily  the relationship of the word refers to mountains, and walking, and in my case knitting while walking about the mountain on which I live.

Put it all together and I have myself a fun and meaningful project on hand to ~ finally ~ learn the knack of cardigan making, with focus on unique approaches and short-cuts, and designed for ease which one can actually knit-while-walking. My descent from a shaky high ground through the ‘scree field of mistakes’ into the known of a secure expanse of solid-ground of skill and know-how, to find place where the cardigan can be my ‘go to’ pattern when I want to throw something together and try a new kind of yarn.  (hint, hint… I’ve been wanting to try  Studio Donegal yarns from Donegal, Ireland… forever and a day, but more about that yarn and that place  is another subject for another post).  My favorite kind of clothing is a cardigan, so I am wondering why then is my wardrobe so cardigan-anorexic at this time in my life?

So as a picture tells a thousand words, I leave you fully introduced into my meaning & intent of Sweater Descent, and as there is now the first, that implies intention of a series.

Here forth the mystery will appear from the mist…



jenjoycedesign© Twists Mitts

Yesterday and today I made myself one of my most recent designs,

a pair of   Twists Mitts  to match the colorway of my favorite walking shirt…

I thought the result was pretty successful, and I love the yarn (Berocco Ultra Alpaca).  The shirt is an old wool thrift shop find from a few years ago, and I have worn just about every day 7 months out of the year. Anyway, I have been knitting up these mitts recently, trying different yarns and colors. I’m very happy with this simple & very rustic design with cables that almost seem asymmetric and give affect of deep waves which create amazing warmth.

I hope you try knitting yourself a pair to see for yourself how fun these are to make and how amazingly warm they are!



Yarn Cake

jenjoycedesign© yarn cakes
I’ve been making yarn cake!
jenjoycedesign© yarn mess
From a big mess of sock yarn, various sized balls with who-knows how many yards left on them. I can simply run the balls through this yarn meter thing, on to a ball-winder (both acquired very recently)…

… make a label of what it is and how many yards are on the ‘cake’, then  tie both ends together to the label and tuck label inside. No more loose ends getting tangled! Shown here, a full skein from the swift, through the meter, on to the ball winder.

Slowly I’m making order of chaos, and feeling a bit transformed by this insane yarn tidiness!

My Birthday

jenjoycedesign© Altitude Lace Cowl

A lovely cowl I finished yesterday, since casting on New Years Eve.

It is a pattern I named “Altitude Lace Cowl”  (photographed below on sassafras walking stick my brother gave me on my birthday decades ago).

jenjoycedesign© Altitude lace cowl on sassafrass walking stick

It is beautiful and I used especially for a present to myself in very plush & spendy Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn, 100g skein with oodles of yards, in the color “wellwater”

jenjoycedesign© Altitude Cowl in Pashmina

This sample is the biggest of the sizes, at 9 repeats (40″ circumference x 11″ wide).  As it is my birthday, I’d like to give-away this pattern TODAY thru Ravelry only, to all who do the following ;

((text removed as give-away is over))

Thank you! And now I’ll go on about my next birthday event by taking a walk in the woods with Emma, along our  knitting trail, while casting on another of these quick-knit lacey neck cozies.

jenjoycedesign© Altitude Lace Cowl 2


A January Day

jenjoycedesign© clouds

The weather has been fabulously wet and the cloud & fog shows as entertaining as can be, and nothing is better than cups of coffee and a little knitting, or in this case,  sweater surgery, as was needed this morning. Can you see the section I have added on? About 4 inches worth!


Remember this post  from mid November? Well apparently Miss Thirteen has totally outgrown her Autumn Sweater, and it needed lengthening, which I was very keen to do, for it was rather outgrown before she even recieved it. Backstory is that both my nieces were measured for their Autumn sweaters last July, then I had them all knit by mid August , just awaiting the equinox so we could have our Autumn Photo Spree. Well, a couple of weeks before the equinox, the devastating fire which consumed half of the county happened, and everybody was so displaced for weeks (my nieces’ home narrowly escaping destruction)  … and so this year they didn’t actually receive their Autumn Sweaters until Mid November.  Three months after they were measured, and  not difficult to guess that as Miss Thirteen is growing like a  weed,  some lengthening would be in order.

So, I’ve enjoyed doing a little sweater surgery today and made a tutorial to add to Tips From The Table. I hope you enjoy it and that it can be of use to you or any bottom-up sweaters you know which are in need of a little sweater surgery.

Lengthening Bottom-Up Tutorial HERE

jenjoycedesign© fixed

Thank You ~ 2015

jenjoycedesign©Altitude Mitts Lace (square)

Altitude Mitts “Lace”

jenjoycedesign©Altitude Ridges Mitts (square)

Altitude Mitts “Ridges”

jenjoycedesign©Altitude Twists Mitts !

Altitude Mitts “Twists”

jenjoycedesign©Altitude Lace

Altitude Cowl “Lace”

jenjoycedesign©Ridges Cowl

Altitude Cowl “Ridges”

jenjoycedesign©Altitude Cowl

Altitude Cowl “Twists”

Tartan & Tweed Tam

Tartan & Tweed Tam

Tartan & Tweed Mitts

Tartan & Tweed Mitts

jenjoycedesign©Snowmelt Mitts 3

Snowmelt Mitts

jenjoycedesign©Snowmelt Tam 4

Snowmelt Tam & Toque



Una Cosettina Mitts

Una Cosettina Mitts

2015 has been by far the busiest year for me in the three years I’ve been designing and redesigning, while learning to write a better pattern in my opinion. I rather impressed myself at how much I can accomplish when I pace myself  24/7, and I’ve laid it all out to see just what I have done this year. However, I must say that I have decided to abort mission with my recent attempt to design a steeked cardigan for Snowmelt, as hinted to in my last post, for my thumb is acting up and feeling rather sore. A soreness left over from my musical gigging days perhaps, but all this knitting huge amounts of fine yarn has certainly not helped. I refuse to admit I have the ‘a’ word, but its worrying me a lot. I’m drinking ginger tea like crazy, determined to manage my sore thumb. Then of course, with the new year comes a clean slate for new designs, which is encouraging. I am looking forward immensely to this coming year in good health and just want to say….

Happy New Year to everyone!

Forecast… Snowmelt

jenjoycedesign© forecast

Well, we never did get our snow, even at 2000′ elevation, for the rain stopped just as the freezing temperatures came. Its been hovering in the 30’s for nearly a week now. Waiting for that snow, but presently the sky is clear.  At least I have something snowy on my needles, so that by the time the snow in the Sierra Mtns is packed in, I’ll be able to look forward to another Snowmelting Something.

Christmas Eve

jenjoycedesign© snowman ornament

There is rumor that it will snow  tonight!  I’m watching the skyline over the ridge and it is indeed darkening, and the temperature is dropping. The mystery of Christmas Eve enchants me still, and every year the magic of the tree decorated with old and new  ornaments makes me giddy as a young girl. Merry Christmas everyone!

jenjoycedesign© ornaments


Winter Solstice

jenjoycedesign© mistletoe

Today, out for a short walk to photograph the shortest day of the year !

jenjoycedesign© blue oak


jenjoycedesign© old fence and Emma

We hope your Winter Solstice is a happy contemplation, with Christmas & New Year so near. I did manage to finish ALL my gift-making, a list too long to mention, but I’m quite proud its finished.  And now, I am off to do some cheerful decorating & gift wrapping!

Tangled Wool

At Oakville Grocery the other day, while in for a cup of coffee to go I found these…

Its motto “Rediscover wool”.

I thought how ‘retro’, how genius, how innovative and somehow modern and old-world at the same time.  I remembered how I made felted slippers decades ago, in my spinning class, by the same method of felting wool fleece into sheets of batting, then cutting the pieces from the batting to sew into slippers. Made me think… and remember how I did it.

I have made a tutorial of how to make wool scraps into felted wool scrubbers >> scrappy scrubbers .  They are seriously tough stuff folks!

Try something fun and innovative, and ecologically sensitive too! Recycle your yarn scraps into something useful, for scrubbing your skin (I even cut small rounds like the facial buffs you can buy, for face scrubbing), dishes,  anything else you might think to use them for. Stack them up and give as a gift!   When it is time to throw out after many uses, you can cut it up and compost, for natural hair makes great compost, and nothing is wasted. As you can see, I’ve made a few gifts from them, and think they are quite interesting and artful too.

Gather up your yarn scraps!

jenjoycedesign© yarn-scraps

These odd bits of wool which get vacuumed up or gathered and tossed, offered up outside to give to the birds, or in a bag for future ideas… now they can be bound for glorious new life!  
Gather up all scraps from your recent needlework involving pure animal hair or wool (sheep wool, mohair, rabbit, yak, musk ox…if it had four legs, it’s perfect for this!) because forthcoming I am going to show you in a new tutorial, how you can transform these scraps into a very useful, cheerful, and ecologically conscious little gift ~~ for another, or for yourself!

Making (2)


Emma has been so very patient, chillin’ out while I’ve been a Making Maniac.  We haven’t been doing much walking in recent days because I am seriously preoccupied, and besides, it’s been raining a lot lately too. I just want all the gifts made and then I can enjoy myself,  and the sooner the better!  

The latest is something I promised somebody closely related (I won’t say who,  or the surprise may be ruined)  I’ve been working on this stocking for 3 days, totally improvising as I go ~ pretty interesting heel turn huh?


Felted it partially this morning, and here it is, still quite damp.  Well, that is us here, filling the days with cheer of making. It just doesn’t get better than that, and  I hope you’re all having a magical December !





This little pile of wool is what is left of a weekend of fun woolly frolicking!  I have made two felted wool Kinder Bags, for Nora-Who-Is-Four, and her little brother Wee Finn who is already  running about wildly.  I can just see the little guy now, toddling about collectin’ stuff in his wee blue bag. How adorable that should be.

jenjoycedesign©kinder bags

Truth is, these are just the beginning of the second wave of hand-made gifts I’ve made, as the first wave is already gone with the post to far-off lands, as I was in such a rush and didn’t get a chance to photograph.  That’s me, just here,  a delirious maker-of-things … casting on , then off, then on…. forever in a frenzy of gift-making. Will it end? So far there’s no sign of it!

How are you all doing with your hand-made gifts?

November Chill

jenjoycedesign© Autum LandscapesEarly this morning I walked to my secret hidden knitting spot which from a neighboring high mountain vineyard overlooks a landscape of beautiful mountain ridges.  I caught the sun illuminating the gold on vines, and maple trees, a lovely sight which always takes my breath away.  Oh look!  Hot air balloons making their way from the valley floor up the side of the mountain!

jenjoycedesign© balloons

This morning, I managed to get a shrouded view of the majestic Mt Diablo in the background. Can you see it there, in the foggy atmosphere?

jenjoycedesign© November Landscape

This one is from yesterday morning, with the rather strikingly deco-esque water tank. . .


The forested paths seem to sparkle now with golden leaves falling from the trees to the ground,  I just love to knit while wandering over these paths which meander through the rustic forest.

jenjoycedesign© November Landscape 5

jenjoycedesign© Autumn Landcape 2


The chill of Autumn has begun to take hold. We’ve had some rain with more on the way, and the landscape is now turning shades of gold-to-crimson… and with shy sprouts of grasses coming up!  These weeks have been busy for me, as I’ve managed to make a string of six new patterns in a relatively short space~~  Altitude Cowls and Mitts (the last being the Twist Mitts)

Its time for walks shuffling through rustling leaves, fires in the wood-stove, and the kettle whistling as mugs are filled and sipped throughout the day ((my new favorite is fresh ginger tea!)) . . . and of course knitting till the cows come home for holiday gifts.  Being already past mid-November there are only a short five weeks left to this year, but I am working steady on the designing as well as keeping a firm hold on the homestead.

jenjoycedesign© November Landscape 6

Hoping lots of merriment to you this coming Thanksgiving Holiday!


Sweater Success !

A very bright but chilly November morning, in the usual places we photographed, the ‘four corners’ of Lincoln & Washington Streets in Calistoga. This year, things are quite different all around.
First of all, what normally would have been the actual time of equinox, the infamous and devastating wildfire of Lake County held things off for two months. But here we are, back to our familiar places. . .




032 - Copy

Other things about this year, as predicted, Miss Twelve is now Miss Thirteen, and has grown so tall that she is now beginning to tower over everybody, including her ‘big sister’, Miss Fifteen (but very soon-to-be-sixteen!).


Miss Thirteen is now in Middle School, and on the volleyball team (they smashed all the other teams and came in first for the season!) and Miss Fifteen is excelling in cross-country running 3rd year in a row, and about to go to the post-season competitions ~~  and about to get her drivers license too!


Since all is going well with them, I’ll get back to the business of the sweaters . . .

These two being modeled are samples of Calidez.


I knit these Autumn Sweaters as I did the prototype, in Cascade 120 superwash ~~ extremely lofty and poofy yarn~~ and these pullovers knit up at lightening speed being bulky-weight yarn, and the instant impression from my nieces was ‘oh they’re soooo soft ‘.  So I recommend this yarn if one wants a ridiculously soft but still pure wool experience.

And then . . . 

after the photo shoot we went on a book-buying spree for Miss Thirteen’s birthday !
I think this Autumn Sweater design for my nieces is up to par and is deserving of the usual title of  ‘Sweater Success!’   Now, those of you who are new to this blog,  you must see Sweater Successes past, go HERE and be sure to scroll all the way down~~ to 2010!



What do I have here? Something very tweedy for Autumn! A set of my Tartan & Tweed  Tam & Mitts for an Autumn birthday gift, and a pretty nice ensemble of Autumney finds of local acorns and fir cones.

jenjoycedesign© tweedy 7

I have used a lovely yarn of alpaca-wool blend called Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, which I really love, and adorned not with a pompom or toorie, or beret loop ~~ but a Dorset Button.

jenjoycedesign©tweedy detail

That is the news from my neck o’ the woods, and I’m roaring along rather productively on another mitt design, soon to be done & dusted with it.  I hope you are all having a wonderful Autumn and enjoying the turning of leaves and things to gold & rust, as I am. Its a slow turning in Northern California, but it is beginning!