Fish a little, croft a little, weave a yard or two (2)

I am revisiting a very personal ambition of blending signature colors from local landscape and spinning into yarn, as is always the genius of Harris Tweed, and it all began for me in this post a few years ago.  Soon my own color blending experiments were born, and became a literal obsession with me, and I created Tweed Chronicles on this blog. But also it is about my intrigue of the life of a weaver, particularly the tweed weavers of the the Hebrides, their tradition and industry that has held on through the test of time.   Whenever I find an old film about textiles, or mills, I am sure to post it here, and I do look often for the most wonderful ones, and it appears that I have dug one up out of the vast archives of the internet.  The film opens with the weavers working their fields, cutting peat, doing the work of island life, but soon gets in to some great footage of the Harris Tweed company making warp bundles to deliver out to the resident weavers of the island, then once in the hands of the weavers, warp is set up on their looms, weft shuttles loaded, and then the shuttles fly.  I love how when the cloth is finished, its left out on the roadside to be picked up by the Harris Tweed people.  I know you’ll love this little gem as much as I do!

I got a new bag!

jenjoycedesign© felted Maiya'kma large bag 2

Well, you know what I mean,  I  made  a new bag. 

Knitted, then felted.

jenjoycedesign© felted Maiya'kma large bag 3

Just a perky large bag, big enough for me to put a whole sweater project into perhaps while I knit-walk for a little while, while knitting a body section . . . or whatever.

jenjoycedesign© felted Maiya'kma large bag 5

Shown on Abelene, a life-sized “woman thing”, this actually is the first prototype of three yarns held together, of three different colors, which in fact give even more of a texture visually, as well as a supremely thick and gorgeously rich color depth of felted fabric.

jenjoycedesign© felted Maiya'kma large bag 7

 Just two hot washes in the washer machine made this great thick plush wool bag from a big floppy giant one (( and wouldn’t  you know, how dumb was I to forget the before photo )) having shrunk at least 25% and weighing a little over 500g.  I cast on 100 sts and very gradually and randomly decreased throughout the body, attempting an improvised wedge shape,  with the turned-edge of the shaped bottom being only 80 sts.   I must say, I couldn’t be more pleased. 

jenjoycedesign© felted Maiya'kma large bag 4

Pattern: Maiya’kma 

Yarn: Wool Of The Andes worsted : colors garnet, brass, and amber for the rust, and varying changing shades of blues and greys for the blue. 

Project Details: on Ravelry here.

 

Nep Clouds 4

spun nep clouds

The final plied woolen spun skein, washed & dried, and my nep cloud experiment is finished !

The neps were so subtle and very difficult to get to show on the camera, so I had to intensify the color saturation of the photo just so that you could see them, the blue and green neps. The whole skein looks rather seafoam color when hanging out on the line.

This time of year the Black Oak leaves are budding out a soft fuzzy beautiful crimson velvet!

The landscape by the way, is healing slowly from the wildfire. We’ve had to cut down so many dead & dying old Black Oaks around the house, and since I was outside photographing yarn drying on the clothes line, I want to show you how the young shoots are vigorously growing from their parent trees, from root systems perhaps a hundred years old. I have been shaping the new growth, and now the tallest of these young oak trees is almost 10 feet tall. I’m so proud of these young darlings!

I was thinking of trying another variation of the technique I posted in my first Nep Clouds Recipe on my new hand-carders, but I don’t think I can really improve it, for it seems to do best I think , to achieve the affect of the traditional woollen spun rustic tweed, so drawing off the rolags from the blending board work very nicely ( I have made some more notes in the original Nep Clouds Recipe for those who don’t own hand-carders ). Alternatively one could spin from the batt, worsted technique. Anyway, this method suits me just fine, and I will look forward to blending up some more neppy colorways just as I did this skein, and that about wraps up this nep clouds experiment!

See all posts Nep Clouds.

See all posts Tweed Chronicles.

Nep Clouds 3

I am having a lot of fun documenting every step of my Nep Clouds “recipe” .  However, I think the improvement I will make on my next nep cloud experiment, I will avoid using bulky weight yarns for the snippet neps ( see first post Nep Clouds ) as I struggled with some of the neps being too stiff and unmalleable, so instead I’ll try fingering, sport, or dk weight. These are the single ply bobbins, and I wanted to show how present the blue and green neps are even at this stage. Next will be plied, skeined, and washed finale!

See all posts Nep Clouds.

See all posts Tweed Chronicles.

Nep Clouds 2

jenjoycedesign© nep-rolags

Nep clouds from last post have been layered on the blending board with more wool, then rolled off into lovely speckled neppy rolags! You can barely see the imbedded blue and green neps in the white cormo wool, but I know when I begin to spin they are going to pop! 

jenjoycedesign© nep-rolags3

Next is the spinning, but first, what I did . . .

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Techy Stuff . . .

I layered twice, actually with a different wool (undyed white Cormo) layered in-between nep clouds (see last post for how I made nep clouds ), wanting to be sure the neps were well homogenized. It would have been a good idea to use a light grey , to show the blending steps separate from the nep clouds. Next time! 

  • Layered first wool, then blue nep cloud, then wool, then green nep cloud, then wool — taking opportunity to evenly disperse with my hands, clumps of neps, and then l lifted batt off of board.
  • Layered handfuls of the batt again, to get all nice and well blended.
  • Drew rolags off with large knitting needles in a slightly tensioned  ” combing ” motion. 
  • Rolags ready to spin!  (click the 1st image below to go to slideshow) 
  • See Blending For Tweed Simplified for my basic blending board slideshow how-to.

See all posts Nep Clouds.

See all posts Tweed Chronicles.

Nep Clouds

jenjoycedesign© nep cloud premix

Hey look, nep clouds !  These are premixes from my new hand carders, and will be blended in with a main fiber on blending board next.  They can also be spun ” in cloud ” , made into rolags from the hand carders, or can get layered on the blending board to build up a more complex visual texture. I will try a few methods to see what gives the most pleasing results (for me).  For ages I have been thinking about how to go about spinning tweed yarn with colorful neps,  and how to achieve the affect I want using the yarns I have in my stash.  I am rather fixated on designing a yarn which has the characteristic flecks of color that pop in the final spinning, as in the traditional rustic spun from Ireland and British Isles. Anyway, this is a part 1 of a several neppy posts, and as is customary in my Tweed Chronicles.  Here’s the techy stuff .  .  . 

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Techy Stuff . . .

  • Decide the background color for your yarn that you want the tweedy neps to be imbedded in (shown in white Rambouillet) and brush lightly on to each carder, to encase the nepps so they don’t fly all over the place.
  • Choose yarn colors you want nepps to be (shown green in Cascade Ecological Wool, and light blue Alafosslopi). Take considerable thought to how these colors will not only work together, but how the nep premix will work with the main fiber, which may be further layered more heavily on the blending board, before making rolags or batts. 
  • For my first experiment I cut little bits of yarn, at least 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces, on to the fiber loaded bottom carder, my only thought at this point about how long to cut, is I think the snippets have to be long enough to get pulled into twist or they’ll just fly off, and you’ll have shedding bits of color everywhere.   It doesn’t take much to make a statement, and not wanting to over-do the neps, go lightly first trial, I just added a sprinkle– one could certainly go heavily in this step for a very flecked appearance — remember, when plied, the nep color flecks will double in number.  
  • Card, lift, repeat, until the yarn pieces have broken down and blended a little into the fiber and become a little frayed and “fuzzy”. Neps that are not pulled through the teeth in the carders will likely fly off when spinning having no loose fibers to help the neps stick,  so make sure the clouds are carded well & fully, and that all the little cut pieces are at least a little pulled apart a little.
  • I have made a separate cloud for each color, only two, but I should think as many colors together per cloud will be my next experiment. Here’s a little how-to slideshow of what I did ( click 1st image in mosaic below to see steps. )  See next step Nep Clouds 2, where I make a nep batt on the blending board.
  • Alternatively, if one does not own hand carders, one could ‘fray the yarn’ by combing with an eyebrow or mustache comb, or pet brush, then snip on to the blending board in between the layers. 
  • See all posts Nep Clouds.
  • See all posts archived in Tweed Chronicles

Wool carders, and an anniversary.

I have got an almost new pair of Schacht hand carders, for a great bargain, from someone who didn’t need or want them anymore, practically a gift.  These are an essential part of my blending experiments past and future! Rather a coincidence as before I had a nice pair of  carders given to me decades ago, along with a splendid drop spindle, from someone who couldn’t use them. Now that I think about it, that was the chance reason I started spinning in the first place. 

Little sentimental pieces of my creative life are falling into place,  one re-acquisition at a time, and I think I am fully kitted now, having all the bare essential tools of the trade.  Anyway, as creative energy slowly returns, so do lists of ideas, rolling out on the straight and narrow progressing path,  in patient commitment to my knitting & spinning,  and sharing the process here on my blog.  

Speaking of this blog, I want to mention that it was ten year anniversary a couple of days ago, when I started this WordPress blog  with this first post ( soon thereafter I transferred all the relevant earlier dated posts from another blog I had)   and ever since I have truly been immersed in what it has become, documenting my life and my creative endeavors,  things and details which may have otherwise been forgotten.  

I love blending colors and fibers , even more than spinning, and almost as much as knitting! The reason I wanted a pair of wool carders is because I hope to pre-blend some color and tweedy neps before layering on my blending board, as I have learned that my jumbo sized board really is a work of labor to load and reload, quite exhaustive for fine tuning blends. Sometimes I have to lift and reblend the 50g batts three or four times before it is nicely homogenized, then multiply that by about 10 to make 500g, it becomes a serious amount of work. So I am thinking about using hand carders to premix parts of the blend, and curious to see if I can have more control over the results as well as save myself a lot of effort.  Coming up– premixes from the hand carders to layer into a fully loaded blending board project — watch this space! 

A sock novelty.

The socks mentioned in my last post are at last finished, and just in time for Jeff’s birthday, although that is purely by accident. 

I am seriously pleased with the plush fabric made from holding two fine merino soft sock yarns together, and using my usual 2.5mm needles. Its like the two yarns balance each other and fill all the stitch together so that it is nearly like thick chamois.  I really love the aesthetic of of these socks, and all basic simple knits.

Getting to know Jeff through the years, a man of an extraordinary and somewhat intimidating physical work ethic, (not hard to guess is only three generations from Amish roots), and yet he can not stand scratchy itchy wool, nay, but as said before, this merino chamois is something I am sure will stand the test. And these are very much mens boot socks, even too big for the large sized sock blockers, and they did not take forever because of the two yarns held together.

Jeff’s first impressions on me, the Amish ” plain & simple ” aesthetic, was at first a novelty, but over the years has seeped and settled into me, and become a quiet smile of contentment, void of the superfluous.  If this could be expressed in socks , it would be in this very pair, only enough ribbing to hold the socks on through the boot tongue, to get the work done of staying on the leg and no unnecessary immodest fancy work beyond that.

What I am saying technically, is the rib/cables are worked through until the gusset is finished decreasing, then continue to knit the rest of the sock in stockinette. I have not paused for a minute, as soon as Jeff’s socks were laid out to dry, I cast on another!

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Pattern: Walking With Emma (above shown in chart D) 

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll, colors Granite and Midnight Heather

Project details on Ravelry Walking with Emma & Her Dad.

foot steps and paw prints . . .

jenjoycedesign© 2-at-a-time-socks 2 Walking With Emma socks, for Emma’s dad.   Two very fine soft merino sock yarns held together to get a great tweeded affect, a lovely marled rugged strong-but-so-soft boot sock. Yarn weight when held two-together falls within the dk weight range, so that I can knit not only faster, but  one (or two) sizes smaller , and these socks are racing along to the finish. This sample I’ve decided to show the option for rib patterning just through the gusset decreases, rather nifty as the patterning would disappear into the boot, but as this fabric tends to be very thick, I felt the foot section should be plain knitting only. Do you see what I’m talking about?

These Walking With Emma socks were cast on a year ago, in a knit-along with some pals on Ravelry to celebrate the life of Emma, and well,  time has just gotten away from me! All year long I was not making progress with very fine Knit Picks Stroll yarn, having started the 80st size, but then I stalled because I thought too big and they would take forever and a day to knit, so I started over again with the 70st size thinking maybe that would work . . .  but still not much knitting got done.   So, a couple of weeks ago I decided to change things up (rip out all that) and cast on the 60st size with two yarns held together for double thickness boot sock savvy!  In a week or so, I’ll come back and post the finished pair of Emma’s Dad’s socks and they’ll be washed and blocked nicely.

♥  ♥  ♥

Emma has been gone a whole year,  :tears:   and it hasn’t gotten any easier.   Not really.  A  dog’s life puts a frame around a time span in a human’s life it seems,  wherein the dog was central.  Emma framed almost a fifteen year period of my life;  over hill and dale, through some hard times,  but mostly in and around cherished times, walking the wild and magical places together, every day.  Knitting this sock pattern makes me think of her, and the way she helped me design them   in her own way,  two springs ago now,  so no wonder these socks are now continually on my needles!

Abelene speaks!

Hi, its me, Abelene. Its been a very long time since Jen has brought me out of my closet to model beautiful hand-knit things, but there is something really important that she wants me to show you right now . . .

um, something about recreating the original photo . . . what do you think?

After losing all of her lovely lace Fishwives prototypes within weeks of knitting them, and never even getting to wear even one of them in that fateful Autumn, Jen felt that loss almost as dearly as any. But after the wildfire, one of the first things she bought again was another ME, and the dear little hand-made fish shawl pin she had found on Etsy , which I had modelled the original prototypes with. Jen has just been waiting for another Fishwives stole to be completed, so she could put us all together, and here we are !

You see, Jen really wanted to bridge over to recreate the experience of ‘a pile o’ fishy shawls’ . . . and yet although she tried, she drowned herself in new designs to distract herself, which required a lot of knitting different and new non-lace prototypes, and never seemed to get around to making the Fishwives stole she wanted. An important anniversary of the year after the first one brought her to cast on but it sat, in a basket. Everytime she’d pick it up she had to relearn the chart, etc, typical knitterly & nonsensical excuses, which kept it from getting knit. Then very recently a real effort was made, and voila!

Splashing fish tails and waves are the Fishwives Lace Shoal signature theme, do you see them? ((shhh… but Jen is already casting on for another, a second in her pile o’ fishy shawls)) At last Jen has a lovely stole to wrap herself me in , again!

Ta ta for now, Abelene.

♣     ♣     ♣

Pattern: Fishwives Lace Shoal

Yarn: One very sentimental skein of Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Lace, brought with Jen when the wildfire came.

Project details: on Ravelry here.

All fun posts FISHY ! ~~ scroll to bottom of posts to read about the theme.!

very nearly finished…

A long awaited finished project is blocking finally ,

and attempting in part, to recreate this post of three and a half years ago, in our original house.

The summer of 2017 was a time when All Things Fishy was my focus, entertaining myself to a colossal degree while I researched subjects of “lace , as it related to fishing” . . . all the while whipping out on the needles four lace prototypes for the new pattern.

Two months later all four were burned to ashes in the wildfire. A year later, in summer of 2018, when we were living in the tiny house waiting for our house to be rebuilt, I cast on for this, really wanting to have a Fishwives Lace Shoal to wear. This stole has for some reason taken a really long time to get knit, but can now be posted next in a ” fully finished ” photo , very soon.

Brindle Beret & Gloves

This rustic tweedy ensemble tells a story of morning walks in the country, just come in from the cold foggy damp, and flung on to the nearest post as one urgently makes their way to the kitchen to put the kettle on!

My latest glove and beret set, a satisfying contribution to my drawer full of wintery woolens I have been busy making.

Basic beret & gloves are rather easy to knit if I may say so myself.

Oh, and a nifty way to attach a felted toorie (pom pom)

. . . just tie it on!

Both gloves and beret are featured in my latest pattern collection of basic & essential wintery accessories:

A Drawer Full of Winter

Details of these projects; yarns, sizes, all of that, can be found on Ravelry here and here.

drying . . .

A felted pompom, trimmed a little wild, like I like it.

And it’s perch, a brindle colored beret, dries flat, also ever-so-slightly felted.

Looking forward to soon bringing pom pom, beret and gloves all together in a fully finished ensemble!

in g(love) again

It is true, I’m in love again, with my just-knit gloves. A Valentine to myself, rustic, and lovingly imperfect. Not even dry yet, but as impatient in love that I am, I just had to photograph them, because the lighting beneath the sky window was ideal. The yarn is “unspun” that I made myself and which I talk about in last post , um, but embarrassingly I committed a cardinal error of yarn-making, and forgot to set the twist ((shhh… dont tell anybody!)) . . . therefore the energized wavy appearance.

These gloves will make another appearance, soon, with their head counterpart, which is only half-way finished. To me, gloves are an essential cool weather accessory . . . I love gloves!

The pattern of course, is my latest collection A Drawer Full of Winter,

Project details on here.

delving

jenjoycedesign© unspun 220

I was going to give myself January to work on knitting my drawer full of winter woolens, but January is over now, and I am still *quite* enjoying knitting the gloves, so much so, that I’ve decided to extend my winter woolen knitting for at least another month. Maybe the rest of Winter! So here I am, delving into my yarns for the perfect yarn to cast on yet another little something in the perfect heathered tweedy tones for my Drawer Full of Winter samples, I’ve brought out my drop spindle and revisited ideas for my Unspun, to create a lovely rustic sock & glove yarn I’m calling “Unspun 220”.

DSC_0139

Yup, you guessed it ~~ one 50g ball of Wool of the Andes worsted weight, un-plied into two balls of 2ply yarn that is a very relaxed and loosely wound together fingering weight of 220 yards at 25g each. So pleased with the results, I’m testing it on another pair of gloves. Here it is . . .The color is Amber Heather , one of my favorites, so complex with red, orange flecks in a brownish gold mix, tones that are so much like a wild animal, a fox or deer or rabbit, just screaming to be a pair of gloves I think.

See all posts Unspun,

(and for those of you who don’t know what it is,  scroll down to the first posts.)

g(love)

I have just finished another pair of gloves from my new pattern collection and let me tell you, these are completely addictive ( and I must cast on for another immediately! ) This pattern collection is great for using up stash of many weights (gauge substitution for gloves from light worsted to very fine fingering weight) , this short cuffed pair was knit from dk weight, and used less than 40g of yarn. It was once a sock that never had its sock-mate knit, what they call “second sock syndrome” . . . so I put the lonely sock out of its misery.

Pattern: Drawer Full of Winter.

Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed dk – color “Watery”

Ravelry details: HERE

All posts in this series

early morning blend . . .

Yesterday I was blending on my blending board in the early morning light, listening to the inauguration on NPR. I had just finished the gloves design and figured I’d dedicate the meditative hours of dawn to prepare for a new spinning project. I am using up some of the mystery roving I received as gifts from spinners a few years ago, and not sure what, but I figure blending together they would make a lovely 300grams of something beautifully natural looking with a teensy bit of color. I did five 60g batches layered on the blending board, of carefully divided and weighed segments, and got quite a massive pile of rolags! I am very pleased with the results, here now, the next day spinning it.

A select few rolags from the 300g pile.

I have used no particular recipe or technique as I have been documenting in Tweed Chronicles, rather, I just picked out three bags of mystery roving and layered on my blending board. I am attempting to only spin for a project in mind these days, so I scaled the total weight for possibly a vest I would like to have, so in the near future I will post again with finished yarn , and shortly thereafter begin knitting!

A drawer full of Winter.

In recent months I decided to make myself a drawer spilling over, full of knitted winter woolens for the cold days ahead, mostly in Isager Tweed (of which I happen to have recently hoarded). I explain at length in the previous post about the meaning behind this particular collection and introduced a pattern overhaul as I designed a few cowls, a plain & simple sock to add to my existing pattern set of hats & mitts. In its most recent overhauled form it is a five pattern collection of essential items, and I’ve named A Drawer Full Of Winter . After the last post I was about to let it go for a while, but as January was just getting started, the coldest month of the year, I knew I wasn’t finished, especially as I still didn’t own a pair of gloves. As I promised to update the collection whenever I wrote a new design to add to it, I have just this very minute have done. A new essential wardrobe item ~~ full fingered gloves~~ now added, done & dusted!

I am fascinated by gloves recently. I am in fact, smitten by the concept of a well knitted glove, how a truly good fitting glove allows one’s hand to articulate as if it had no glove on at all. I labored over the New Year while designing such a glove, which reflects every difference of each finger, and let me tell you, by taking such close study of my own fingers I never realized how each one is quite unique. I have observed that not all fingers are alike, thus not all knitted fingers should be alike, nor placed alike on the hand. The little finger is in fact knitted first, independent of the other three, more of the ‘ upper hand ‘ knitted, then the other three. And that is not even to mention the thumb! Oh the thumb, and its relation to its four counterparts, and the very relationship which creates a right and left essential fit. Oh , but the ring finger , middle finger, and index finger, are equally as different. I am telling you now, no finger is identical to the other of the hand, nor is it of the glove, this glove, my labor of love. Perhaps the biggest labor of knitterly love I have designed to date, and for such a simple thing. I find that I am quite absorbed into the simple essential things lately.

I’m feeling the long shadows of January, and my cozy winter woolens packing into their drawer, is a sight of comfort. Actually today is feeling quite lovely, on inauguration day, sunny and quiet after a couple of days of very strong gusting wind, and now I am letting my sails down for a short while, to let creative ideas build again, and let myself be kissed by a hopeful future.

A fresh and new year.

jenjoycedesign© A-Drawer-Full-of-Winter

I have been working on some lovely and meaningful projects recently, and am really rather excited to start posting a new mini series all about a re-do of an older pattern, and I’ve made a good start in the series, so get yourself comfortable, and read on for this is a much longer post than usual!

Since sometime in October I had made a realization which led me to actually overhaul an older pattern; rewriting, reknitting prototypes, and just having a wonderful time enjoying the last whispers of the year while out taking short walks  (while knitting them) and I hope to be sharing more glimpses of incoming finished knitteds over the remainder of winter.  You see,  I have been in need of a drawer full of wintery woolens , and at that point in early Autumn I decided it was time to put the chisel to the stone so to speak, and begin the work making myself a dresser drawer full of cowls, fingerless mitts, gloves, hats, in many weights of luxury & tweedy favorite yarns (oh, like Isager Irish Tweed, for one) and even my own handspun. It is really a matter of transforming a drawer full of tweed, into a drawer full of warm cozy knitted things, how fun is that! 

jenjoycedesign© A-Drawer-Full-of-Winter 4

Backstory: In the summer of 2017  I had become smitten with my blending board and was creating some incredibly rustic handspun, finding I needed a pattern that was adaptable to many gauges of handspun for basic hats & mitts.  The end result was that I wrote my pattern Calidez Hats & Mitts . That was just before the wildfire, and so of course I don’t have any of these prototypes anymore, nor any basic warm woolens at all, and I’ve gone through two more winters since not having even a basic knitted hat, cowl, or mitts to bundle up while I go out for walks in the winter landscape.  Presently I am knitting through the winter season and have managed thus far a good start. I’ve designed a couple of more to add to the collection, and knit these for myself:

A basic beret . . .

Two cowls . . .

And a pair of plain & simple socks I have been rather discrete about for a while. . . 

 Backstory on the socks: I had made a good start with these back in  “Unspun, revisited” , when I separated the plies a ball of worsted-weight Soft Donegal Tweed yarn left over from a sweater I knit for my niece.  Having then two balls of fingering weight tweedy yarn, I knit this plain & simple sock prototype .   Anyway, I think that a basic sock pattern which can be knit toe-up or cuff-down is a good one to have, and yet I wasn’t sure I wanted to write Plain & Simple Sock and submit it all by itself, so I decided to just add it in the Drawer Full of Winter collection, which has the usual colossal size-run , gauge substitution charts, and ideas for making a bunch of things from mini tree ornament socks to plush house socks ~~ voila, perfect fit! Most importantly I felt there is a niche for a super easy dual-directional sock, especially for those instances where, say a bit of precious handspun off the spindle,  must be worked flowingly from toe to cuff,  in the most efficient yarn-conserving way.  This is that sock.   

Rebuilding my seasonal wardrobe has been the inspiration born of necessity, and as I slowly build my drawer full of winter woolens, I am also building the pattern collection, having updated it to the present date and changed the name to  A Drawer Full of Winter .  The collection now includes four patterns in one download, in four categories :    (a drawer full of) Hats,  (a drawer full of) Mitts,  (a drawer full of) Cowls, and (a drawer full of) Socks, and, as I continue to develop my own Drawer Full, I will further augment the patterns to include more options, simply updating as I go.   

In closing, I’ll mention that I as I have been building a drawer full of winter,  Jeff has taken the sum of his due three vacation weeks at the last of the year to work on house-building projects, mainly to finish up the last of the window trim, and since we moved in he’s been working on this project diligently, but saving the most difficult trim for last. Living with ladders, tools, long levels, boxes of screws, pipe clamps, air compressor, and nail guns sitting about the house is really what I’m use to, now the second house-building in our lives, even over a year being back moved in,  but these recent weeks it has involved scaffolding and moving around the dining table in order to get to the sky windows, and it doesn’t ruffle my feathers in the least.  All the door and window trim is now finished, and I must say what a great finish carpenter he is, and how the rebuilt house seems nearly as beautiful as the original, maybe even more so in some ways. I never thought I’d say that, but the trim was Jeff’s most artful work I’ve ever seen, and so I am proud to think he’s done even a better and second time more experienced job of it.  A short pause, and then the next big task will be the flooring. 

Here & now , transitioning from a very dark 2020 into a much brighter 2021 ~~ have a wonderful happy new year everyone! 

Sweater Success!

Today we met at the castle for Autumn Sweaters 2020.

They are wearing my latest sweater design  Sol Inca,

 the “afterthought” pullover. 

The sweaters were so long in the making . . .

jenjoycedesign© sol inca at castle 16

and in the waiting even longer to get together . . .

then with so many tourists milling about the castle, we just made it quick.

Although fewer photos were taken, as usual my nieces were fabulous! 

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(click 1st image & see entire slideshow)  

out of autumn . . .

jenjoycedesign© birthday socks 5 (2)

I am not doing holiday knitting this year. . .

jenjoycedesign© birthday socks
but these are for a birthday coming up next week, my oldest niece will be 21!
I will give these lovely pair of  Walking With Emma socks  to her when I give both nieces  their sweaters  some time before the year is over,  when we will meet at the castle for a spontaneous photo shoot.

(( I can’t imagine being with them and not smothering them in hugs! ))

jenjoycedesign© birthday socks 4

So close to the winter solstice,  I go stepping out of autumn, walking with tender foot steps so I am careful not to wake nature from its much needed wintery slumber.  Waiting,  waiting,  waiting . . .  and staying creatively immersed and thoughtful while we get through another shelter-in-place for the remainder of the year.
Everybody, please stay home and stay well!
xx

A natural dye experiment: black oak leaves

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Going back a few decades in my life and realizing with a bit of surprise that I am caught again in the natural dye thing. Autumn in full swing, the golden yellow leaves falling and then turning quickly dull ochre, I could not resist scooping them up and boiling them into a leaf soup, filling the house with a spicy woody fragrance. I opened my sock yarn drawer and finding a bare Hawthorne ready to be dyed, I grabbed it, and prepared it for its dye bath and let it sink down in the lovely golden rusty liquid, and I knew I was going to find another signature color. But as everything in the kitchen, I do these things on pure instinct with a good splash of impatience in the mix too.

The next morning I lifted the sock yarn out of the leaf soup, as it had stewed overnight, and although the tint was subtle, I washed it in warm suds, rinsed, let dry on the clothes line, and quite pleased, I thought about trying some more! I went out and gathered more leaves, and stuffed all I could into my stock pot, and boiled again for about an hour, the liquid was again golden rusty brown, and so I pulled out about 400 grams of Knit Picks Simply Wool (Wilbur) I had rejected for another project and decided to sacrifice it for the cause, hoping it would transform from dull medium grey/brown to a deep golden hue. Oh, but chaos began to emanate from the kitchen at this point. I strained out the leaves from the pot, certain my five skeins would fit. They didn’t, yet they were already partially dunked. I switched pots, to big cast iron, thinking a little iron would only improve. Even smaller! I began to panic, texted Jeff’s daughter in the tiny house to please let me use her large slow cooker, woke her up, ran down there, and when I brought it back up to meet the occasion, such relief, yes it fit! During all this time there was a power outage, and I had to also switch out the power to generator, and then it came back on and switch it again. By the afternoon I was poking the slow-cooking yarn to see if any of the brown fluid would go into the yarn, like it did with the Hawthorn Bare sock yarn. Um, no such luck, even though I did the right things, splash of white vinegar for the protein fiber and good luck. All day this continued, and determined to see some color, poking, gently lifting and then submerging. Nothing showed over the natural grey, not even the tie yarns showed much. In disbelief I fetched a white skein of Simply Wool I also had left over, and tried my luck ( I had two dye baths going at this point), and the best it got was “off – white” . Still determined, I fetched some unspun roving. A splash more vinegar in the dye bath, probably unnecessary, and put 100g of Targhee Top roving I recently bought in to soak, nearly on my knees praying to the providence. Nothing. Actually, maybe an ever-so-slight tint of color, and I decided to let it stew overnight if maybe something of a miracle could happen. I don’t think there are many miracles in natural dying though.

Thinking about it more technically: The superwash sock yarn worked beautifully, right in front of my eyes, I saw it happen. I repeated the same process with the other fiber, and it failed. Natural dying is nothing like chemical color dying, and I’m finding the only sure thing in this experiment was the type of fiber that made the difference. The minimally processed “Simply Wool” yarn must have natural oils in the yarn ( which I recall bled out in the garment wash at blocking) so perhaps not a good yarn to natural dye with, but also the immaculately clean white targhee top roving failed to absorb the dye, even after soaking over night. Just a slight beige off-white color.

I am referring to my dye process as “easy” because I’m not using any mordants, just a splash of vinegar for the protein wool fibers to open up a bit, definitely nothing toxic or chemical to poison my cooking pans & spoons. Besides, black oak leaves have quite a lot of natural tannic acid, so I figured that I wouldn’t be needing much else. I also would like to add that my choice of dyable material is limited to what I find around outside our house, as I did madrone bark last summer, and I won’t be ordering exotic plant based dyes from elsewhere for I am exploring my micro environment for a very personal seasonal palette. In the next experiment I will not be using five hundred grams of over-confidence, but limit my first tests to one skein of superwash sock yarn, if I am to continue casually dying with gathered natural ingredients I find about the woods here. At least I’ve got one very cheery little skein of golden ochre sock yarn as a souvenir.

two done . . .

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am finally finished Autumn Sweaters 2020, two Sol Inca “after-thought” pullovers. Admittedly, I have struggled getting these finished this year, no question these are the most involved Autumn Sweaters I have knit for my nieces to date, but at last a celebratory end to all deadline knitting! I finished the first one last September, and its taken me this long to wait for yarn and knit the second. Next time you see these sweaters my nieces will be wearing them, and it likely wont be until later this month at the soonest. It is just as well because it is still a mild 50’s to 60’s in the December days, the real cold doesn’t come around until January and February in this part of the world, when it will get as cold as an average in the 40’s and 50’s , and sometimes in the 30’s in the day. With those temperatures, the grape vines are going into dormancy and Napa Valley is having a short nap, and by then my nieces might be happier to slip on these very heavy weight sweaters. And, if my nieces are more comfortable and cozy and not breaking out in a sweat, I shall be a happier auntie photographer . So maybe even better to wait until January.

I found a lovely detail was to over-dye some of the light grey with Yorkshire Tea, and it made a lovely tone of dark gold in the middle of the suns in the light grey sweater, and I must say I’m very pleased with with the ease of tea over-dye. And hey, do you notice the labels? I ordered labels some time in the summer, and I really like them, and what a simple polish it gives a finished sweater. Makes me dream a little, about selling a few hand-knits right from my blog here. What do you think? That about wraps it up for my deadline knitting, and as I am just working on new ideas for the rest of the weeks, I am going to brace myself for some cozy sheltering in while I get immersed into the next projects I have had on the back burner while I finished these colossal labors of love.

Quick Mix Spun

Taking a break from sweater knitting and have enjoyed this short Tweed Chronicles experiment, the Quick Mix. Just as I expected, a slightly more homogenized affect than straight off the roving, resulting in a pinkish brick fired terra cotta shade. Yet still slightly barber-pole , so I do think I could have blended it twice and had a more softer variegation. I am not the greatest spinner on the planet, because I just cant seem to produce consistent super fine singles, and if I do, the yarn often is under spun, so when I ply, I get thick and thin plied. That is okay, thick & thin handspun is a fine normal for me, because I like rustic handspun, however, I don’t like plying underspun yarn, for it breaks so much in the plying. This fiber is superwash Blue-faced Leicester, which is an excellent fiber to make into socks, even if the yarn varies from fine fingering to sport weight. If I knit a toe up format, I can figure gauge while increasing in the toe section I can adjust for the number of sts in the sock as I go. That is my thinking at least. I guess the toe-up sock with gauge substitution chart pattern is inevitable for me and my handspun yarn, so that is what I’m up to, hoping to knit this up from the toes sometime in the next few weeks, into just a plain & simple sock form. I’ll keep posting on this as I go along.

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Today is a beautiful day out and tomorrow is going to be dumping a lot of rain, so I believe I’ll go out for a walk to the peak, and then settle in to make some progress on eldest nieces’ sweater that I really want to finish. My primary goal presently is to get into good walking shape and so off I go !

Tweed Chronicles: Quick Mix

I wanted to try spinning my first ever sock yarn, so I looked in my basket of gifted fiber, and chose some lovely hand-dyed superwash Blue-faced Leicester fiber in beautiful Autumn tones. I wanted to spin this fiber without the barber-pole affect that one often gets when spinning straight from the dyed roving, but a softer and slightly more homogenized result. So you know what that means, I have an excuse to pull out my blending board and do some carding!

It is much easier to do a quick mix from a dyed braid, than to haul out all my separately dyed colors, and although it is a little less controlled, offers a bit of an element of surprise, and is really just fun, as the colors are all there in the braid. But one must choose the braid wisely, for each time I card the fiber from the braid out on to the teeth of the blending board, the colors fuse more, sometimes dramatically. Sometimes very quickly can depart from vibrant splashes of color into a muddied neutral appearance of one shade, especially if there are any complimentary colors in the braid. Also the colors will blend even more after plying the singles. So this time I am only going to fill up the teeth on the board just once, and draw off the rolags to spin. And here is what I did …

(click 1st image to go to slideshow)

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Techy stuff …

  • My extra long blending board holds a lot of fiber, but to play it safe, I made 4 batts approx. the same. I have 100 grams of fiber, and I want to get four 25 gram batts, drawing off 3 fluffy rolags each to spin.
  • First I divided the braid length-wize into half, then each half into half, so I can get 4 lengths in the same dyed sequence.
  • When layering on the board, I started all four batts with the same end, and layer up in the same way, basically repeating every motion four times.
  • Then I drew off the rolags.
  • See Blending For Tweed Simplified for my basic blending board slideshow how-to.

Watch this space for my plied finished yarn and sock project, which I am guessing will end up a rather muted colorway, close to a shade of terra cotta. See all posts in Tweed Chronicles

What I would do differently next time:

Given that one 100g braid could be done in two batts on my extra long blending board (24″ x 12″) which can hold comfortably 50 grams of fiber I would have not bothered to split the the braid into four lengths, but only two, and fill the teeth closer to capacity twice, drawing off more rolags each time. This would have had the same affect but much faster, and when I think of the whole theme of this post ” the Quick Mix” it makes more sense. However, with a conventional smaller blending board 12″ x 12″ to 18″ , four times would probably be better, as I’ve demonstrated above.

Edit in: See spun and plied yarn in Quick Mix Spun

i love autumn

Just past the colorwork yoke of yet another Sol Inca sweater. This one will be the second Autumn Sweater for nieces, then they’ll be completed and will wait patiently for some day in December. Without the usual gift knitting this year, I believe I will sail on through the holiday weeks ahead without a single distraction, and sink my teeth further into two new ideas. Beyond that I am not certain, but am entertaining the thought of more tweed chronicle experiments, foraging for dye pots, and happily continuing on in my reclusive ways.

I am beyond super pleased at the election results and can imagine there will be a lot of good changes in the new year, which eases my complicated mental state, and calms me like a balm. And along my walks recently, I am reminded of the contentment I so often find in nature, out in Autumn, and soon just may find myself in an uproariously good mood. Oh, and not having much to speak of in the way of rain yet, yesterday we had a random heavy hail storm which burst into the day, downpoured for fifteen minutes, then left in a hurry. I love Autumn!

A short row heel.

Playing around with a new sock idea as well as experimenting with a short-row heel. The short row heel is a lovely way to go about things, especially if one wants to work top down or equally bottom up, its the same either way. The toe of this sock will be the same both ways too, which I will show off soon. I am actually getting quite excited with the prospect of the dual directional sock! Oh, but already I caved in from my no-yarn-buying expectation, and bought yarn for this upcoming design, because I really want this next design to have a snowy halo of mohair, while at the same time be a rustic tweedy single ply, and there’s only one yarn that I know of, because I have some from another design, and that is Isager Irish Tweed, which is spun in Donegal. Just ordered the yarn, which won’t ship until after the election, and when it arrives I will be busting out of the starting gate on this. So excited! Exciting times!!

Unspun & Toe-up

A forgotten ball in a drawer, rather disheveled, and remembering back when it was part of something bigger than itself, when it was part of the sum of a whole, when the Hillwalker pullover was born, and my lovely nieces modeled it. Its life begun in Donegal Ireland, shipped over in a large bag with many skeins, excited on its journey to have such a future of artful functionality . . .

DSC_0205 jenjoycedesign© .

Now just a lonely part-ball which has lived a part-life, sure to be camped out until its days are done, in a dresser drawer of yarn stash, not making a difference in the world, and very likely unhappy.

Unless of course, I do something to save this poor unhappy ball of tweed. Some Unspun magic, where I separate the plies and make two fine weight singles out of the 2ply worsted weight, perfect for a pair of socks, and a toe-up sock to be sure I don’t run out of yarn ( how I do this from two years ago). Of course, I was being suggestive of this technique in the last post with the Lady In Tweed.

One sock finished, second sock… a toe-up sort of thing, and the pair will likely use up most of the ball, seeing that the first sock is 29 grams, the second one will be a close finish! I am testing out my frolick of a toe-up pattern with yarn I have about, left-over, left-out, left-unfulfilled balls in my yarn stash, and as I made a goal a couple of posts back about not buying yarn mindlessly, easily, but instead I am doing things the hard way. And enjoying every minute!

Actually this is the beginning of a new series. . . I feel it taking shape . . . a series about knitting with repurposed yarn, of transforming the languishing unused and awkwardly rejected things in the back of our closet and our drawers to energized loved things that move to the happy & prideful front of our dresser drawers. Watch this space, “stash-busting” is going to be frothing-at-the-bit and a very important theme around here in the future.

Unspun, revisited.

Lady in Tweed:   “I have just knit myself this lovely Tweedex cardigan out of yarn that I had to put on layaway for six months before I could even start, and dammit to everlasting fire and brimstone, I’ve got a whole ball left over… a whole ball!   I am thinking I  really would like to knit a pair of gloves, or socks to match my tweed cardigan, but I need fine sport yarn, and as far as I know this yarn, in this amazing red color, only comes in worsted weight. Bah humbug!”

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Lady in Tweed: “Oh, but wait,  if  I could somehow unravel,  disentangle,  or,  um,  untwist the two strands,  then I would get two balls from the yarn with half the thickness.  Oh, and that would be double the yardage too! I would have one hundred grams of fine weight tweed to then make a pair of gloves or socks from. Hmm,  most definitely.

[ Looks off into the distance with smug contemplation. ]

Lady in Tweed: “Heavens to Betsy, I think I’ve got a plan!”

Jen:  So yes, its back to getting the drop spindle out to use it for something completely different, and I just have to say ” watch this space ! “

Many years retrospect . . .

I want to set some goals for myself. I’ve always struggled with goals, but it shouldn’t be difficult if something is a only a certain win, involving no sacrifice, only focus. One of my goals is spinning intentionally. This is actually a trend I’ve heard about a lot lately, a buzz phrase so to speak. I know how to spin, I know how to knit, but decades have passed where I have done so little to bring the two together. So now its time to bring the two together as they are meant to be . . . to spin for a project in mind. . . to me, that is what is spinning with intention. My secondary goal is to purchase far less yarn, and to use up what I have, so that eventually I will be reliant on spinning for projects. Stopping the addictive yarn buying, and making do, will involve a serious concentrated effort, and in future recreational yarn purchases will be a much rarer event.

Backstory: I learned to spin in the Autumn of 1987, when I joined a spinning group which I attended for many years, and which I posted about way back in my blog archives, and the first thing I spun on a borrowed spinning wheel, was about a pound of washed uncarded Lincoln-Corriedale locks from Joanie. I dyed the fleece in a dyepot with splotches of different colors of Rit Dye steamed gently. I then spun directly from the dyed locks. Then learned to ply. Then last, my mother taught me how to knit my first vest with my new hand-spun, during the last spring season she was alive. It was a simple improvised pieced thing with two fronts and a back, bands picked up and worked at finish. I don’t think I even blocked the vest after I finished, having been the first thing I ever knit, but just put it on and hardly took it off. Here I was back then about 1989, must have been a while after the vest was finished . . .

Decades pass. A few years ago, having gotten somewhat decent at knitting I designed my Calidez Vest pattern, inspired from that very vest of old days, a connection to my mother.

Another backstory: Shortly after the wildfire of Oct 2017, Lynette who lived on the other side of the Bay, brought up to me and gave her Ashford Traditional spinning wheel along with many bobbins and even fiber! Also happening at this time; all kinds of fiber was sent to me from an Upper Napa Valley spinning group, (which I attended only once) and ashamedly I didn’t keep track and lost those contacts through my horribly unsettled transient months. If any of you reading this are or were a part of that generous Calistoga group in Autumn 2017, you know who you are, and I’m sending you hugs of gratitude! Its been several years now, but I finally feel I am back into my feet. I am dedicating this whole new focus of Spinning With Intention to everybody who has been nudging me along, and I realize only now how much :to tears: that I miss spinning, like I use to, way back in that decade before I knit much, when I spun just to spin beautiful hopeful skeins. After revisiting the blending board project of summer of 2019 . . .

jenjoycedesign© Rose Blend 1

and then moving into our house and promptly forgetting about it most of the year, I have finally finished the spinning . . .

Finished result is a homogenized dusty rose pink. The color of Love.

Almost 500 grams of my own tweed blend hand-spun yarn. What a lot of work! You wouldn’t know it by looking at the photos, but what I have been doing for ultra soft and fluffy yarn lately is scouring the skeins right off the plying bobbin. I guess the effect is similar to a felted tweed sort of thing, but I don’t let the yarns stick to each other, am just careful enough in the scouring to felt only a tiny bit. Moz taught me the “thwacking” trick; grabbing the skein and sailing it through the air, and whacking it really hard against a smooth surface, like on the inside of the bathtub, at 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, etc, which straightens out all the strands just before hanging out to dry so nothing is crumpled. Of course, when fully dry I must re-skein everything to get all the partially stuck fibers dislodged, and then to let it rest without even the tension of a ball, just a nice relaxed skein for a few days, before starting to knit it. Super lovely yarn if you ask me.

Scoured tweed is my thing, and since I’m not making yarn for anybody but myself, I think this way the yarn gets a head start in the world of hard wear, and like I mentioned, it really ends up terrifically fluffy, soft, and airy. Just like they do with the waulking of the wool in the woven tweed. Soon I will be casting on my first intentionally spun-to-knit project since that time over thirty years ago, with a Calidez Vest with my own tweedy handspun!

Thank you with a heart burst of gratitude to Lynette who brought me the best spinning wheel I could have imagined for myself, Lori-Go-Lightly (who broadcast my wildfire tragedy on a Ravelry spinning group and through her efforts I was recipient of so much generosity via Ravelry pattern buyers and her Upvalley Spinners who sent me a big box of fiber, Adele for sending me her Ashford Blending Board to use as well as a gift of a lovely drop spindle to keep me going, and of course, and last but not at all least, thanks to Bernard & Joanie for sending me the above photo recently and reminding me who I was & what mattered, and for helping me span the decades. I am coming full-circle now, into my roots.

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 2
Spinning in newly rebuilt loft room , September 2019

Walktober

I am pushing myself to walk every day this October, so therefore I am naming this month Walktober. And while most days I’m perfectly happy to walk solitarily along with the scenery , there are times when I find it hard to put down things I want to get done, especially so of all things having to do with wool. I guess I am a compulsive fiberist. Not long ago, in my series Gifts From The Sun, particularly Part 5,  I talk on about spinning like the Peruvian herders do, and I just had not found the focus to do it until this morning. This little bit I’ve spun is a good amount for a short mile and a half walk I think, in a fine lace-weight single of Wool Of The Andes in Dove Heather roving. My default spinning is surprisingly fine on this drop spindle, with this fiber.

Truth be told, I have been experiencing a resurgence in spinning lately, mostly with my Ashford Traditional wheel and Tweed Chronicles ideas, but now adding this spin-walking thing, so watch this space for more spinning posts inevitably on the way.

Quietude

I have got a new thing I’m letting fly on the needles, in rustic alluring Icelandic Lettlopi yarn.  I am going back to a design idea from several years ago, with yarn I happen to have had about eight balls of in my stash, that I bought about two years ago when we were living in the tiny house, but I just can’t remember what I got it for. Those days are very foggy in my memory. A bit of an anniversary has come and passed too; we have been living back home in our rebuilt house, for one year now, and as Jeff slowly finishes detail carpentry, each week that goes by we are closer to bringing together the raw edges of the rip across our lives from three years ago. I have now unpacked from a long last week of standing by ready to evacuate from Glass Fire, and trying to let things settle in again. Now cooler temperatures and increasing wetness is forecast “soon”, and I feel the Autumnal weather shifting a little bit, just enough that I feel a kind of relaxation taking over me, finally. And so in need because it has been a stressful summer of wildfire in California, and I need to shake it off, to tap into the abundance of quietude, striving to find the fulcrum point in my life of productivity and commit to that balance, letting all else slip away.

I’m now off for a walk with this lovely yarn and yarn body I’ve got going.

withered

Thursday morning, 7:25, October 1:  Smoke and heat and fire are creeping across the valley floor and in the mountains of upper Napa Valley and Sonoma, again.  I am visualizing fighting fire while affirming  “I am unafraid of the elements.”  As I work the yoke of a new design, mechanically knitting as if to dowse the worry in my brain, which is afire with catastrophic scenarios, one by one, and stitch by stitch as (in my mind) I hose off the embers as they land.

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Unsure where at the castle this is, but I suspect the same carriage house where my nieces and I photograph often.
My camera is packed, as is most of my craft stuff. But all the same, while I try my hardest to ignore the possibility that the fire very well might sweep through at any hour, from a new malignant spark. We are vigilant.

Friday morning, 6:15, October 2: September into November  is the crisis time for fire in California mountains, unless we get lucky and rain comes earlier, which it hasn’t for as long as I remember. Cant go for a walk without breathing in smoke. We have got to think about this trend worsening, every dry season, everywhere !  We. Have. Got. To. Think.  The new soldiers are those who fight the elements, namely fire, in the war on climate change. Never enough fire personnel for these wild places on the map. Its my opinion that we need to teach our strapping strong unafraid youths to fight the elements . . . fire, flood, pandemic, rampant & rogue Perfect Storms of every kind, not governments.

Of course, all this fire in Napa Valley is wrecking so much of this year’s late harvest of many of the vineyards and wineries.  We are in a withered place.

Edited in updates for remainder of Glass Fire added below.

Saturday morning, 7:50, October 3: So far we are okay and as of this morning the Glass Fire is now 10% contained, and not approaching in our direction as yet.  I thought I should post an update more often through this local fire ordeal, so I don’t leave anybody hanging in unnecessary worry. I am still working my mindfulness of the moment, affirming “I am unafraid of the elements”. Its just that some elements are more soothing than others right now, and I am needing to listen to the healing bliss that  is the sound of rain . Thank you All for your thoughts and prayers, for us here in Napa Valley, and I will share them gladly with the rest of the world, but especially for those who have lost their homes in the recent fires, and my prayers are joined in.

Sunday Noon, October 4: Glass Fire is 17% contained now. The wind has blown the smoke and the live edge of the fire to the north-east, at the base of Mt St Helena in Calistoga. Clear here for now, and as the threat of burning recedes and dwindes, we relax a little. Still not unpacking, but really looking forward to rain forecast next week, and cooler temperatures with it!

Monday 6 a.m, October 5: Glass fire is now 26% contained which is a very good safety measure, especially because winds are settled and temperature is cooling a little, with forecast rain this weekend. At this point, I’m confident I can unpack the car, and get back to life without so much adrenaline stirring up the PTS. Probably the last update I’ll make for the Glass fire, and if people are still curious, or have questions, please just write a little comment and I’m ready to reply right away. xx

Thursday 6:30 am October 8: Glass fire 62% contained and no longer a threat as the weather is cooling and no high winds are forecast before it should be completely out. Evacuation orders continue to downgrade and lift throughout the valley. Over the last few days I have unpacked and put everything away, looking forward to the forecast rain later this week. What a week. I’m exhausted.

one done. . .

The first Autumn sweater for nieces done & dusted ! The only difference between the two sweaters will be a colorway choice of undyed fleece colors. They are the same exact size, and otherwise will be almost the same, which is actually very amusing. They asked so nicely if I could make over-sized fit this year, because when I knit last year’s sweaters I made a gauge error, and although the sweaters turned out flatteringly fitted, there was obviously not a bit of room to wear over clothes, so I am never again making that mistake. Making nieces my most recent Sol Inca design in the after-thought pullover option, because I just am not tiring one bit from knitting these! Oh, I’m knitting with Simply Wool that I spoke about a few posts back , and let me say now, that I found it very wholesome to have to wash actual dirt out of the sweater when I was ready to wash & block it, and that only means the yarn is definitely minimally processed, undyed, and not overly scoured either. I say that like it is a good thing! Now there is a little intermission in my Autumn Sweater knitting, as I am waiting for yarn on the other sweater to become available, for a lovely very light contrast, soft colors as requested by eldest niece, definitely worth the wait, even if the sweaters wont’ be ready until late in the season. Yet I can’t stop this knitting locomotive, once I’ve psyched myself up for it, so I’ve decided to let this one sit awhile while I get going with pattern writing something I’ve been thinking about for years!

Knitters From The World

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I love to see others’ artful interpretations of Calidez Vest,

and when it is with handspun, all the better!

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From Tennessee, “Lioness Ramping” has knit Calidez Vest with some of her own gorgeous handspun, has done a color palette breakdown, and goes over the top with fabulous finish photos in a Bohemian style!  Even though somewhere in this talented spinner-knitter’s notes she says she hasn’t found buttons for it yet, all the same, she gives the pattern great praise ~~ thank you LionessRamping for your artful handspun excellent knitting, it is truly an asset to the design!  See her project on Ravelry HERE.  (All photos belong to LionessRamping)

See all posts Knitters From The World