Many Hats

008I’ve been for weeks swimming in a sea of calculations, recalculations, and stifling self-doubt, but then there are occasional delightful bursts of confidence like rays of sun after the rain ~~ and all the while I am knitting like a mad woman. Often I fall asleep anxious and mired down in a problem, but wake with clarity and the vision of how to proceed.  What keeps me from drowning I wonder, and I think it’s sheer dogged determination to finally Get It .   Also I am learning to be kind to myself , to be patient in a slower pace and satisfied with one small accomplishment at a time. Most important is to check my ego at the door as I try to accept that mistakes are a part of the process, and not to let others’ opinions cripple me or cloud my way.

I don’t have a fancy knitwear design program as many designers use nowadays,  and honestly I don’t even know what they can do.  I do know that a lot of designers hire out tech editors, at the very least.  As I ponder the modern world of indie knitwear design, I am left guessing at every turn.  I want to simplify it, minimize expense,  and go at it the ‘old-fashioned’ way, where I wear all the hats so to speak, and then when I offer tech support on one of my patterns, I am able to communicate with a knitter one-on-one with confidence of knowing every corner of the design and how to figure the problems when asked. That makes me really feel good about it all.

There is so much involved in getting a pattern off the ground.  Conception of idea , and then the ability to put concept into a map.  To stretch the size run as far as I personally feel is reasonable for the design and then get the math fitting exact for all sizes  (I did in fact, have a horrible & traumatic time with mathematics in school, so this is a very interesting twist of fate that I would learn to depend on it).  Lastly and almost least I must have the time and the ability to knit up however many prototypes I want involved (this one at present will be at least two, possibly three I’ll be knitting!) then there’s the photographing, pattern writing, schematic hand-drawing, charts made, creating the pdf,  and submitting on to Ravelry with all the linking in the world so that all roads lead to Rome with the Ravelry data.

Its crazy, and the more I immerse myself in this madness the more I am dang proud of myself for following through on it.  There are no deadlines, and I am relying only on myself, and I must say, even though my worrisome pains are at times exasperating,  I love what I’m doing.

Braided Rug

jenjoycedesign©braided-rug
I think I’ve met my match.  Another braided rug has lumbered into my life and I’m not talking about a small thing.  I am nearly helpless when face-to-face with a deal when I see one, at my favorite thrift shop, you know, and it happens to me so often I’m beginning to worry.  Well, just yesterday I was there looking about and I saw this massive roll on the floor, in front of the frames and pictures and folks were nearly tripping over it. I made a bee-line to it and with a quick glance, I knew it was rare and valuable. I rather wondered how it could be that nobody else noticed, and was worried that by noticing me noticing it, someone might snatch it up, so I do the ‘act-casual-like-I’m-not-noticing’ as I flag down one of the shop volunteers and give the nod that I want to buy the rug.  I didn’t even ask to untie & unroll it.  The label said 10′ x 15′ and $30.  I’m talking about the hand-made variety of pure wool braided rugs with saturated dyes that are stitched by hand together. I didn’t care what it looked like unrolled.  But really, how could it possibly be ten by fifteen feet ???

jenjoycedesign©stitching

I know because I overhauled another of it’s kind only 5 years ago, involving over-dying and re-braiding and a lot of work, which sits in our living room .   My thoughts were that it can’t be perfect, there’s got to be major stains or stink or horrid colors, or something which couldn’t be seen from being rolled up and tied.  I realized even if it were all those things that the material in this rug was fine to make several medium sized rugs and a few small ones to boot. I convinced myself I absolutely had to buy it !

jenjoycedesign©colors in rug

So I paid, and got help loading it into the back of my Toyota, we just stuffed it in there, and I hauled it home. This thing that I just impulsively brought home like a stray kitten (okay, more like a stray crocodile) and I didn’t even bother to unroll it until Jeff got home from work last night. And that we did.  I was correct, there was a major thing about it that made it so I couldn’t just uncoil off about 2 feet of braid all around and keep the inside as a complete rug, for it is mostly yellow.   I don’t like this particular shade of yellow, and it will not do in the house, I know, I’m so strange that way.

jenjoycedesign©braided-rug-yellow

Maybe I will reconsider, but for now  I’m face-to-face with this huge soon-to-be carcass of a hand-made wool braided rug which is much too big to fit anywhere in our house, it will have to be down-sized in one way or another.

jenjoycedesign©rug

I suppose soon I’ll begin guiltily snipping someone else’s original stitching and coiling & doing some new stitching of loose braids to my useful liking.  Oh joy! But I have so many other things need doing too, this is just the deal that will do me in I”m afraid.  Determined to make this rare find worth every hour of rework I am gearing up to spend on it ~~ and I’m  feeling very much  like an old-fashioned farm wife who never sees an idle moment.

Autumnal Equinox Sneak Preview

jenjoycedesign©one-down & one-to-go

Autumn Sweater Sneak Preview

One down, the most colorful for youngest Niece of Eleven, which is now finished. I basically knit this critter twice! This Autumn’s sweaters will be a relative of Penny Candy Tee.  It is in worsted-weight yarn and construction is altogether different enough to warrant a whole different design .  Backstory: I knit this one up to the underarms somewhere in the first week of August, thinking I was ahead of the game, to have two Autumn sweaters designed and knit for the traditional Autumnal Equinox sweater photo shoot. Way ahead. Um… small detail… youngest niece grew like a rampant ninja weed all spring & summer, and when they came for a mid-summer visit a few weeks back,  I slipped it over her to try on and to my horror it was already way too fitted, with not much room for this Slipover to be slipped over anything.

I just couldn’t carry on with it, so ripped that out, knit over to underarms. Knit one sleeve half-way, but didn’t like the cuff and knit over, and finished two sleeves finally. Joined at the yoke and was going to go entirely circular, knit all the way up to the lace yoke section,  decided it was going to be floppy as heck, ripped back to armholes.  Decided to do raglan , and a wide decreasing  lace neckline, but it was too wide and lacy (therefore see-thru), and also discovered where I missed a decrease on one corner down near the armhole… ripped out the whole yoke back to the mistake, and reknit the raglan decreases, though higher.  Finally, the lace neckline!  Okay, so too wide, ripped ripped back and knit over narrower, i-cord cast-off too loose, ripped back did over again. There you have it. I knit it twice I figured.  I can’t believe I went and showed off one without the other, so uncharacteristic of me, as the two sweaters always make an appearance togethr. However, I just felt like I needed to cheer up Yarnings a bit, and feel some sort of reward in Show & Tell, as I am just in the middle of such a knitting grind.

The good news is that I practically wrote the pattern with that one, so IF & WHEN I ever get around to writing the official pattern, it won’t be such a bear. I am honestly hoping  I can get it together by November, but Christmas knitting kind of gets in the way too… so I’ll try my best.  Oh, and Eldest Niece of Fourteen’s  will only be in two colors , subtle wintery colors, and will rattle off like quick.  It will be nothing short of a miracle if I get these done by the Autumnal Equinox, but I am going for it!

1st Place !

1st place x-country meet Sept 6, 2014

My Fourteen-Year-Old Niece is a running superstar !!! Here she is today, having won first place in junior varsity for her school, in an invitational meet of over sixty schools participating. She raced the 2-mile cross-country and I am so proud of her. She is my super duper model and an absolutely killer runner !!!!

*   *   *

Autumn Sweater News Flash : One down, the most colorful for youngest niece & blocking right now. Casting on a more subtle colorway  for the Running Superstar’s tonight!  It will be nothing short of a miracle if I get these done by the Autumnal Equinox, but I am going for it.

Lazy Hazy Dog Days Of Summer

jenjoycedesign©dog-days-of-summer
Well folks, we’re in the dog days of summer.  Such a funny expression…. ‘dog days’ … let me look it up.
jenjoycedesign©dog-days2

dog days
noun
  1. the hottest period of the year (reckoned in antiquity from the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star).
    • a period of inactivity or sluggishness.
      “in August the baseball races are in the dog days”

jenjoycedesign©dog-days3
I can bet that Emma is as tired of them as I am.  Everything dry as parchment outside, and no rain in sight for another month.  Another month or longer !

This early morning we are pacing ourselves …
jenjoycedesign©dog-days4
At the very  least… er…most… there’s lots of knitting going on.
015

How is your summer going? ( Or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

What are you up to?

Napa Earthquake After

Alexander building after quake
topped barrels from Napa Quake
Napa quake fault
historic courthouse of Napa after earthquakeAs the post-quake mess is being more accurately assessed, on the second day after the 6.0 Napa Earthquake,  we are finding a lot of homes damaged, and loss of inventory of downtown business, and in wineries, 90 water lines broken, some fires, 60 buildings red-tagged, 210 injuries, no fatalities, and 5 km of fault line crack being examined, to list a few.  And still getting aftershocks. You can see all seismographic readings on the quake and it’s aftershocks over on USGS site for the Napa Earthquake here .

Personally I am touched at so many folks who have checked in to see if we are okay.  Big hug to all of you!

Napa Earthquake ~ We Are OK

At 3:20 a.m. this morning a horrible rumble shook Napa Valley, as historic buildings fractured, water lines broke, fires started, thousands of wine bottles (and probably a hundred thousand wine glasses) fell from cabinets and even wine barrels toppled off of their stands.  Epicenter of a 6.1 earthquake hit Southwest Napa and energy shot northward. Napa town got struck the worst. Still in all, I’ve heard of no fatalities yet but hurt people sent to the hospital by the many dozens, injuries mostly from broken glass.  Chunks of bricks shook off of Napa’s historic courthouse, and a handful of other historic structures badly injured, as inventory of many local businesses has been decimated in downtown.  We’re still watching news, as the power only was restored a little over an hour ago.

First thing I thought as I was shaken awake in the early morning hours from a jarring swaying motion rocking our rugged post & beam house, and as sounds of crashing objects shattered the night silence, and flashing like lightening I saw out of the windows in the distance, was that all of California had been leveled. I thought earthquake-prone San Francisco would be ground zero if we felt it so hard way up here in the mountains of Napa Valley.  I worried while still half asleep that those flashes were fire, but they were only transformers blowing as the power went out in Napa & Sonoma valleys. I was shocked a couple of hours later when talking to my brother (my nieces father) who lives a ways north of Napa Valley who had been privy to breaking news (excuse the pun) that WE were the epicenter!

Now having a noontime cup of tea I am realizing how lucky we were.  California is earthquake country, this is the third frightful earthquake I have personally experienced in my lifetime, while the memories of little shakes are soon forgotten, the eerie memory of the really dramatic ones are etched in my mind forever.

The worst of the crashing things in our house up on the mountain (not in the town) was in my knitting loft…

jenjoycedesign©earthquake-mess

jenjoycedesign©eath-quake Just a few things fell off of my desk, camera & tripod fell over, and a small crack in my Osborne mandolin, it mostly it went out of tune (though of course this is not my main playing mandolin, so no worries there!)  A couple of the large rock stacks which stand along our walk toppled . . .

jenjoycedesign©toppled-rock-stacksSo you see, everything is fine here in our neck of the woods, up on Mt Veeder in Northwest Napa, we’re just a little shook up is all, and Emma very insecure, as dogs become in these incidents.  Now back to some straightening up & knitting to calm down, and staying out of the chaos in town for a few days and put everything back in place.

jenjoycedesign©everything-fine

If you would like to find out more information about the earthquake which has hit Napa this morning, there is already a wikipedia page up on the net, which is still being updated, here.

Stash

jenjoycedesign©stash-cabinet 5

The other day I made a great find at my favorite local thrift shop. Admittedly it needed work to up-cycle it into the long thought-about colorwork yarn stash cabinet I’d been dreaming of putting on the wall in front of my work table. Just something to show which colors I have on hand , rather than perpetually digging out bags and boxes and dumping about to sift through.   Well, this little cabinet is of very old redwood, and the 3/4″ boards which made up the back were recessed into the frame.

I wanted shelves, and I wanted extra width in the depth than it had ~~ enough for balls & skeins of yarn for colorwork.  So I needed to take that back off in order to get enough width, and to make shelves out of it, and that is exactly what I did (well, with the help mostly of Jeff too) . Here it is as I found it… very dark aged redwood cabinet thing, looking like it may have been a little workshop cabinet once, as it is not in the least bit refined cabinetry, but rough, as I like it.

cabinet

jenjoycedesign©removing back boards

I removed the back boards by cutting through the nails with a coping saw blade, gave it a light sanding, then created shelves with the 3/4″ boards that were on the back.  Voila, a framed shelf with glass door ~~ a colorwork stash cabinet made to order !

jenjoycedesign©stash-cabinet 1

My humble work space is now much improved with a glass encased colorwork stash to inspire !

jenjoycedesign©job-done&dusted

In The Kitchen

jenjoycedesign©noodle-making As I mentioned in previous post, my nieces came for a visit for a couple of days.  We mostly ‘chillaxed’ around together with our EDC’s (electronic devices of choice: iphone, kindle, laptop) but with plenty of time in the kitchen, just the way the last days of summer vacation should be spent, after a very busy one they had.  Both nieces had a busy summer, but Miss Eleven had and an incredible growth spurt ~~ and this visit was special, as for the first and last time, we are all three the same height !

Two days, one night, and four times we flung flour. jenjoycedesign©making-noodles The first time was making noodles (flour & egg) for upon their arrival they were good and hungry and I had some home-made chicken soup all ready for their expert noodle work.  By the way, Miss Fourteen could easily win a chicken-noodle-soup-eating contest … hands down! jenjoycedesign©bakers Second time, made Amish moon pies ( flour & butter) with apple filling I had made ahead of time waiting in the freezer , and came to life good & proper with their very experienced moon-pie-making magic touch.  How many moon pies did I personally eat? Don’t ask, I lost count! jenjoycedesign©making-moon-pies jenjoycedesign©moon-pies! Third time, pizza for dinner (flour & yeast) which means of course, pizza dough… and lots more flour (sorry , no photo of pizza) .  Fourth time, next day repeat noodle making for to finish off the chicken soup. Thats about it, a whirl-wind couple of days flinging flour and exhausting relaxation.  We three girls thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and that’s certain.

What totally killed me was in our last hour before I had to bring them back to Calistoga to meet their mom,  Miss Eleven says ” Lets bake something ! ”  Can you believe that? C’mon kid ! She cracks me up. Anyway,  we will leave you with our humble little noodle recipe . . .

jenjoycedesign©moon-pies

~ My Niece’s Way of Noodle-Making ~

Crack one egg into bowl. Add a pinch of salt, and maybe pepper and other herbs & flavors ‘to taste’~ whatever strikes your fancy. Add flour and stir with fork until ball forms. Add only enough flour to keep very moist wad of dough so that you can pick it up with your hands, the rest of the flour will be added from well-floured hands and surface. Break off small chunks and roll out with your hands. When all rolled out, into a pan of rapidly boiling water, or chicken broth, or soup, add all noodles quickly and at once,  Stir , then let simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. Eat and savor the hand-made goodness.

Camp Socks

jenjoycedesign©camp knitting
Its already been almost three weeks since we were at 9000 ft elevation and I was knitting-in-the-wild beneath a lovely brewing storm on a huge granite rock. I had so thoroughly enjoyed the quick packing trek to Granite Lake, the sitting cross-legged on the granite in complete stitching meditation, one with the darkening sky and gathering storm, the quiet of everything before the outbreak, even the fish hunkering down.  Yet I remember yet distinct intermittent sounds ~~  the wind whipping the tent about and water boiling to make trail coffee. And it just doesn’t get any better than that ( High Sierra trip posted here ).

So here my friends, are another pair of Penny Candy Socks. Just a simple, wild & maybe even frivolous (and very blue) pair of socks, made on that High Sierra excursion but I hadn’t gotten around to washing & blocking them until just now.

jenjoycedesign©camp socks finished !

 

jenjoycedesign©finished camp socks

And they are added to the slowly growing pile of knitted socks designated for xmas gifts….

jenjoycedesign©pile of socks

 

Gad… already LESS than only five months away!   Horror of the crafting gift-maker-and-giver is that xmas appears in a blink after sweltering heat of summer, when one couldn’t feel further away from the winter solstice and gift-giving frenzy. But I’m wise now, at my age, I’ve learned, and I am already stashing knitted gifts…

jenjoycedesign©box of sox

 *  *  *

I’ve already gotten about 12″ into one of two Autumn Sweaters 2014 , but no hints on that yet (top top secret!) .  In contrast to tiny stitches of fingering & fine fingering yarn for socks, gloves, hats….  I am knitting rounds and rounds of worsted-weight, and how refreshingly speedy I’m turning out the rounds for a change!

In the next few days my nieces will be visiting up here in the Hermitage again, for a visit in their last week of summer vacation, so we’ll be up to baking in the kitchen, in addition to just generally “chil-laxing” as they put it,  and not without their ECD’s ((electronic devices of choice ))~~ but no doubt the visit will be  punctuated with famously artistic and fun photo-shoot after digging through my cedar trunk now becoming quite full of knitteds.  Looking forward to that,  and we’ll see you on the flipside of the riotous occasion!

Note:  Oh! The hand-made wooden Shaker-style box, if not authentic Shaker box, was found last week at my favorite thrift shop for $4 ~ a bargain !  It is now a lovely knitting notions box & photo prop as well, and I’m super pleased with myself for finding it.

Chaltén Beret : The Pattern

Chalten3I talked at length in previous post the inspiration behind this design, which I’ve named Chaltén Beret. Now with my lovely nieces having modelled in an absolutely stellar photo shoot yesterday, against the stone walls of a gothic Catholic church in St. Helena, with an intriguing landscape of grasses…. 053 I am finally ready to present to you the pattern !  You can find it on Yarnings HERE … or in Ravelry HERE. Either way, I hope that you knit it, and try out making the adorable chuflines (tassels) , because believe me, they are the most fun that I’ve had in a long time.

Eldest Niece is modelling the pattern prototype with dos chuflines, knit in Jamiesons Spindrift  (details can be found for this project on Ravelry project here, and Youngest Niece is modelling (a slightly larger) pre-prototype version with un chuflín, knit in Alice Starmore Hebridean 2ply yarn (details can be found on Ravelry project over here. Lastly, I have made a step-by-step photo tutorial on , found on my Tips From The Table on  How to make a “chuflín” tassel. Now I will leave you with many more great moments from our photo shoot yesterday…

Now, if you haven’t yet read the  PREVIOUS POST   about the inspiration and name-sake of this design, then you really must, as it really is such  a very spectacular  & special place, you’ll want to knit the beret!

jenjoycedesign©Chaltén Beret 2 - Copy

Chaltén

Mount Chaltén

Dear Jen,
when you asked me what is the paradigmatic mountain of Patagonia, I did not hesitate in giving you the answer: Chaltén, the blue smoking mountain. In the last trench of the Andes range, Chaltén raises like a magnificent tower transmitting majesty and ferociousness. It is the main summit of a range that has the shape of a croissant opening onto the East.
The mountain, also called Fitz Roy in memory of the British sailor that explored the Patagonian coast with Darwin, is one of the most challenging peaks in the world, with vertical slippery slabs constantly hit by the icy winds of the South Pacific Ocean. These winds bring about the rare aeolic phenomenon that makes its top always appear as it was surrounded by clouds, which give the mountain the smoking volcano look its name is derived from.
In the rare occasions of good weather, its massive granite structure turns rose hue at sunrise. During the day, if it is not hidden behind the clouds, its image reflects on the Lagoon of the Three. By nightfall, the clouds usually thin out and wisp around its peak.
Mount Chaltén is certainly one of the most emblematic places of Patagonia, for its magesty and its wilderness.
Alejandro

*  *  *

Since before the recent June Solstice (that’s winter solstice in Argentina) I’ve been working on designing a beret that I now present, and that I’m naming ” Chaltén “.  As my dear and wonderful Argentine friend, professor, and naturalist Alejandro has taught me so many things about Patagonia, from the spectacular Andes Mountains to the wildlife & botany of the place, to the history of the Welsh settlements in Chubut. ( I mustn’t forget that I’ve also learned much about the making & drinking of Yerbe Mate , having many different kinds in my cupboard, sent to me by Alejandro. ) It was in fact , a daunting etherial image of Chaltén which being etched in my mind from a dream,  which was the force of curiosity to bring us to meet (on an internet pen-pal site, nearly four years ago, as I wanted to meet a Patagonian to write to).

Thank you Alejandro ~~ this Chaltén Beret is dedicated to our many letters over the years, our story we are writing, your kindness, and all that you have taught me ! And thank you , thank you for the letter about Chaltén which I so wanted to have in this debut post.  xx Jen 

*  * *

Here is the pattern prototype, knit with Jamiesons Spindrift , and embellished with dos chuflines (two tassels) . . .

Chaltén’s  snowy white teeth seem to leap toward the sky, shrouded by mist and blueish atmosphere ~~ here is my knitted interpretation of Chaltén in a colorwork beret.  Colorwork motifs inspired by “Guarda Pampa” patterns, symbols of Patagonia, profiles of  peaks of the Andes Range and reflections of them in the mountain lakes. The Argentine gauchos (shepherds & cattlemen)  adopted some elements of the Mapuche design and incorporated them in their Ponchos and other fabric pieces, reinforcing regional identities of the provincial groups of Gauchos, almost along the lines of Tartans in Scotland.

guarda pampa

example of guarda pampa design

And a second, the first prototype, knit in Alice Starmore Hebridean 2ply I had in my stash … embellished with a single chuflín (tassel)

Chaltén beret features a unique two-inch-wide shaped colorwork faced band, comprising of two mirrored shaped stockinette layers, a crown of concentric decreases and second colorwork motif just above the rim.  Finished with Andean Folk style tassels known colloquially by Patagonians as chuflines ( much of yesterday was spent photographing for a tutorial on making these , which will debut with the pattern , a ‘chuflín-making’ tutorial on my Tips From The Table tutorial page.)

Here’s my own very sketchy hand-drawn schematic .  Measurement A is diameter, measures 10-10.5 inches laying flat.  B is depth, measures 8 – 8.5 inches when folded into quarters.  C is circumference of band, measures 20 inches. Chaltén schematic

Chau !  In the near future I will be augmenting “Chaltén  Beret” with a straight-sided ski hat version, the “Chaltén Skier” … it will be so re-loco … I am looking forward to designing it ! ((  Note: All who purchase the pattern will recieve updates  when the ski hat is augmented into the pattern. ))  I have decided to make the debut of Chaltén Beret in two installments, this first being more informative and about the inspiration behind the design, and the second, featuring my nieces modelling (which I’m going to do this afternoon !) .. and also presenting the pattern.  So watch this space, Chaltén Beret pattern arrives this week!

Edit in next day:  Introducing the pattern & photo shoot presentation of this design, you must see ! :)

jenjoycedesign©Chaltén Berets

Read about Mount Chaltén in Wikipedia 

Fitz Roy

Back From The High Sierra.

038

We three ~ Jeff, Emma, & me ~ went for a short & sweet trip to High Sierras over the weekend for our anniversary.  There was a little hiking, cooking, tea & coffee drinking, fishing & knitting, sniffing around…. and photos of it all.

012
065

Restorative in many ways, as always, the alpine scenery soothed a yearning that only it can do. What is it about pitching a tent in the wilderness at high altitude to claim some spot in nature for a few days?
061

Something about the fragile alpine flowers
042
and gnarled trees
040047
The granite everywhere and deep crystal clear blue lakes

Granite Lake

wide horizon of jagged ridges and expressive skies,

041
044053

Windy thunder & rain storms which suddenly take hold for a couple of hours in the afternoon,

022

sending us for cover in our cozy tent to wait it out.
018

Granite Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness was just what I craved.  Here with coffee & knitting, bundled up while the storm calmed …

032
029
Jeff got to fish a couple of times, though he didn’t get even one bite

025
027

 

Then it was time for trail coffee & tea !!!

034

033

We found that Emma was perfectly able to handle carrying a doggie pack and hike as she did once before, and it was as if her little arthritic limp of late almost disappeared completely. 072007

She is in top form !

057
052

Most importantly, this trip to the Sierras was to celebrate a very important mark in our partnership,

059

We all did well.  It was our first on this particular trail, and were so lucky to have Granite Lake all to ourselves, as it is an extremely populated lake , at near 9000′ elevation & less than three miles from the trail-head. It is my theory that the forecast dramatic thunderstorms cleared the lake for us. We were prepared to hike cross-country (off-trail) to another lake for privacy, but had no need, it was a total stroke of luck.

One thing is for sure, we found that with only a little over 3 hour drive, we can be in the High Sierra and fish & knit & drink coffee at a granite bowl. It just doesn’t get any better than that ! Off we go back home, but we’ll be back . . .
064

Off to the Sierras !

IMG_0046

The High Sierras beckon us this year on our anniversary. Last time we went, Jeff, Emma & I had a great time , it was in the Inyo National Forest of the High Sierras, on the McGee Pass trail, hovering around 10,000 – 12,000′ elevation. This  (slightly blurry) photo was taken while walking along a meadow on the trail, and it was in fact the last backpack trip I was on. Emma was a two-year-old packing puppy and that was seven years ago. Ages !

I can’t believe how long it’s been, and astonished at the pace life just races by.  Here is Emma waiting for me as we climbed over the pass, the rock in the trail so sharp she had to wear her boots.
IMG_0065

And just beneath the pass, resting a poor exhausted puppy Emma in the snow with Jeff looking a little impatient . . .
Jeff and Emma in snow,  beneath McGee Pass

That trip was a stunning one, a beauty for sure,  but I’m not feeling very confident in my packing abilities at all now.   Though Jeff has promised me that we will go slowly and not far, for if I am going to want to backpack regularly ~ again ~  it is important that Emma and I do not get whipped by the trek.  Emma is already a little bit limpy with onset arthritis, and I’m not much better, worried about carrying a pack for any distance.

But hey , the altitude & elements I can handle ! How can I not crave to sit and knit for hours with camp coffee by high mountain lakes such as these . . .

IMG_0083

Fact is, I can’t wait !!! But just to give perspective, here’s a photo of me taken around 1990, during very likely my first backpack trip, resting & reading in camp over a glacier-melt filled bowl far below in the backdrop ~ Lake Ana in Trinity Alps . . .
Trinity's 1990 Jennifer Lake Ana

So interesting that being in the really high mountains has been such a part of me for as long as I can remember.  Jeff and I are making a vow of sorts, to go regularly again, and this is a bit of a kick-start trek.  Well folks, its time for me to go pull out all of my packing gear and assemble things ~ knitting included ~ see you all on the flip-side. Sierra Nevada mountains, here we come.

Just Hanging Around Knitting . . .

jenjoycedesign©azul-band

I’m pleased with myself for I indeed got the Dicey Highland Bonnet pattern updated yesterday to include the Dicey Highland Beret, and now I am squeezing in a quickie before I have to wind myself up to the max for the big Autumn Sweater Thing that I do every Autumnal Equinox for my nieces.

Backstory. Last Friday was the Independence Day holiday here, and we went on over to my brother’s  as there was quite the party happening in his little Appalachian-esque neighborhood. Well, there I am knitting, you know ‘on-the-go’ , with the knitting bag slung over my shoulder and knitting as I always do. My youngest niece, Miss Eleven-Years-Old  knows how to knit,  and is getting better, so I said “Lets get you some knitting ! ” … so we walked down to her house and raided her mom’s stash & needles, and found a darling knitting bag and we set her up to knit-on-the-go too. So there’s the two of us among the wild & crazy dancing & feasting folk outside, she and I knitting together  near the whole time, while walking about here and there with knitting satchels slung over our shoulders, swaying to the music … knit-dancing ! … and thoroughly enjoying our peaceful & productive selves ( stopping only to munch cake and other wonderful things ) . She got nearly half of a garter-stitch cotton dish cloth finished, and I made great progress on my hat band.  I knit until it was too dark to knit any longer, however, Miss Eleven carried on knitting into the darkness which totally killed me, her eyes like a hawk’s .

Backstory over. About the forthcoming big Autumn Thing, this year I’ve got some ideas, I may either come up with a whole new design from which I will write & submit a pattern, or, I’ll just add some sleeves to my Penny Candy Tee.  ((By the way, many folk have been making them, and I’ve been so proud !)) Whichever way I go, I must say, I better get cracking because it’s already first week over in July, and at the speed the seasons are going, I best not dawdle.

But I have a bee in my bonnet for the moment, about a wide and shaped band for a hat, and playing with some Alice Starmore Hebridean 2ply I’m on a roll.  I’ve got most of my big chores out of the way for the week, so looking forward to just hanging around knitting !

Dicey Beret !

jenjoycedesign©Dicey Beret

Hey, guess what !?

I have finally settled on a second shape for my Dicey pattern, the lesser voluminous  ~~ beret...

jenjoycedesign©beret-draped

A smart rascally sort of cap,  with a perky attitude.

It is a lot less hat, both in diameter and height, than the original Dicey Highland Bonnet .

jenjoycedesign©Dicey Beret 2

Done & dusted , and the Dicey Highland Bonnet  pattern is now updated to include the Highland Beret.

Two shape options in one pattern,  and two flourishes to choose from (the toorie or the i-cord loop)

Now available~~~  Dicey Bonnet & Beret ! 

011

Frankly , I am so happyt to get this beret design outa my hair ,

and have you knitters out there knitting it ! :)

*  *  *

Details of this project can be found on Ravelry HERE.

 

Its Only Knitting

I’ve been busy as a bee working away on my designs, coming up with new ones and further test-knitting my existing ones.  Add now tutorials.  I have gotten to the point in the whole knitting Thing where I really don’t have time or energy to put into anything which is not my own design.  I really can’t regret this , because whether or not I endeavor to write the design into a pattern, I’ve just come to face the fact that I have to make up for lost time.  I’ve embraced Indie Design, and am committed, and I’m ready for a lot of hard work ahead. The more I tell myself this the more I want to work like an ox towards succeeding. However, the elusive truth often escapes me, and that is ” Its only knitting. ”   A quote of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s used by over-zealous knitters everywhere.  Although it is ‘only knitting’ ,  I am practically ‘only knitting’. I have little chalkboards I’ve made which I’ve placed in prominent places of my work space ,  with lists or sage messages to give me perspective, and I use them to keep my focus clear wherever I turn.  Today’s brilliant message . . .

jenjoycedesign©its-only-knitting

Introducing Tips From The Table !

jenjoycedesign©tips-from-the-table

Hi folks !  Remember this post  months and months ago?  Well, the table finally has made it’s way into a permanent feature of Yarnings !   You’ll see it up there , between the ‘My Own’ and ‘ My Patterns’ pages .  Please go see , and be sure to read my first tutorial intallment within  , all about ” Three -in-one swatching” .

I’m so excited it’s not even funny . . .

⇓⇓⇓

Tips From The Table 

⇑⇑⇑

Here is the table with tutorial in process, tripod set up, taken  from over the ledge of my work loft. It was a lot of work to get this tutorial done, but I really have wanted to do this for a long long time. I am so relieved, and there’s so many more idea’s I’ve had over the last years in knitting, now I have a place to talk & teach them all.

jenjoycedesign©Tips From The Table

Jamieson’s Dicey

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey 4 I’ve been busy making some shaping improvements to my Dicey Highlands Bonnet design. Here knit with Jamiesons Of Shetland Spindrift 2ply wool yarn, with my new favorite diced band style using three colors. I think this particular one is more a man’s cap, and there is a particular Scottish fellow who may just have his name on it come Christmas. About the design elements.  I’ve come to the opinion that it should be blocked flat , with the diced band brim eased into flatness as well , instead of blocking it with faced-band standing up  . . .

jenjoycedesign©steam-flat The toorie is as before, one simply threads the ties of the toorie through the middle of the crown and ties it on . . .

jenjoycedesign©tie-on-toorie Simple & pure ,

strong & good mannered too . . .

jenjoycedesign©toorie-tied-on Such personality !

I am smitten already with this handsome creature . . .

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey The confident,  all-natural, pragmatic sort . . .

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey 2

My Dicey pattern is already a year old, and now I am only just now studying it’s many facets  while trying out all kinds of yarns and test-knitting, for I honestly feel that the design is so deserving of every attention.  This pattern will be having extensive test-knit samples knit up by myself and some friends, and is undergoing an update soon.

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey 3 I’m already casting on another , testing my new shaping ideas,  in a lively ensemble of colors… so watch this space ! :)

* * *

Details on Ravelry HERE