Equinox

Frantic artful ‘good mood’ music because things are shifting into action!   Meaning that we have been issued our building permit finally,  after a grueling long wait, and house rebuilding can start at last!     The Autumnal Equinox is Saturday, and I am going to celebrate!

This music reminds me what I have been missing,  a familiar manic wave now only whispering,  approaching me without touching, as if to assure me of its return, and that all will be in a far better place very soon.

Oh, and this trio just hits the spot doesn’t it!  Be sure to listen to Trio Brasileiro videos as they queu up,  because these tunes are deservedly among my favorites and might become yours too!

Waning Summer

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Its the last days of summer, finally.  I thought I’d never get through them.

The Autumn Equinox is near, and I thought I’d enjoy a nice afternoon walk up the ridge and take some photos of the landscape in the waning summer.

Wild peas  continuing to bloom unusually late…
jenjoycedesign© wild peas 2

As I got higher up the ridge where the bad burn is,

I notice so many sprouted trees, as this baby knob cone pine, about 8 inches tall …

jenjoycedesign© baby pine

Sprouted right beneath the scorched parent tree, full of pine cones….

jenjoycedesign© burned pine

In a blink it will be the Autumnal Equinox , only four days!  Knowing I am near to being in a far better place mentally with the anniversary of the wildfire so soon to pass, I am so very eager to be grateful again and excited about life’s good things.

jenjoycedesign© fence 2

waiting

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Red lines painted for excavation & string elevations in place of where the rebuilt house will be.

Yesterday took a turn for the worse for us. The previous Friday we were told we’d have our permit, and too soon did we think we could just start building. Our building permit got held up because of yet another detail some engineer at the county building department was chewing on ; we now have to change the plans to do more fiddling, as we have done several times already, until its become utterly impossible & ridiculous. This means more time to wait, and worst of all , more money to build, and it also means more debilitating frustration in our lives, but we are coping and won’t give up. Our county building administration is notoriously harsh and very difficult to get a building permit through on the best day, and don’t for a second think they are in any way being lenient to the many who have lost our homes to the wildfire, now 11 months later. Our contractors are ready to start, we have the batter boards & string line up for the foundation elevation, and had the foundation sub-contractor up here spraying lines in the dirt and scheduling a start as soon as permit is issued.  Since its costing us more, we’ll end up having to do more of the building ourselves, and live in this teeny tiny space longer.  Not really glad about things right now. I’ll let you know when things really start, as many of you have no doubt been wondering.  I’ve just put this out there so family & friends will have an update ~~ apologies if  I seem like a complainer, I’m just angry and at a breaking point.

Just flew off the needles!

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl2

Lace + ribbing = a beautiful springy cowl!  I just finished my project in a cowl-along I’ve been knitting in recent week. I intentionally didn’t block it, being very pleased with the three dimensional waffled surface the merino lace yarn creates with the ribbed pattern & yarn-overs.

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl3

It is a very easy modification of Double Cappuccino Legwarmers  , and I chose to work the ribbed lace with really big 6mm needles for a frothy open look,  so it grew in length fast, therefore naturally the patterning  was easy enough that I knit it entirely while walking up on the ridge over the last week!

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl

So downy soft, yet athletic from the ribbing, that I plan to eventually give it to a certain dancer, hoping it won’t fly off in the middle of her leaping across the stage,  I planned this to go with her mostly black dance wardrobe of course!

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl1

This is the first of my start on gift knitting, for the holiday swiftly on its way.   So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the ridge for a hike while casting on for another !

Pattern: Modification from Double Cappuccino

Details: on Ravelry  here

 

Foggy

jenjoycedesign©outside in the fog

I wasn’t going to post for a while,

but this morning it is so beautifully cool and foggy, and I feel totally revived from it!

Knitting a new lace design.

Life is good.

Knitting on a bridge…

jenjoycedesign© knitting on a bridge!

Jeff has built a bridge from logs he salvaged from the loggers’ waste, and he hoisted them cross across the small gully which heads over to the garden in now what I am calling “the path of least resistance” with planks nailed to the top from old boards, it is an excellent & rustic installment to the woods and I am super pleased with it!    I helped only minimally, as I did the original “wedding bridge” which was burned in the wildfire.  A new bridge & my sooty knitting trail has of this morning been improved inexpressibly for the better!  Emma inspected & approved…

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There eventually will be builders at work making their presence felt in my quiet seclusion, and this lovely little bridge continues me my private trail out to the garden without having to walk up the road  to the house where the chaos will be going on, and down to the garden from there.  Planning ahead brilliantly!  A short-cut to the garden, a bridge to bliss, a bridge across difficult terrain, so metaphorical.  The garden is life, and inspires me in its quiet little way with bees bobbing about, fluttering butterflies, and small little birds bathing in various bowls and cups sitting about, as well as a fat wild dove flocks bombing about on occasion… tall seedy foxgloves still standing through the perpetual heat.  I chase away the drought with my series of old-timey sprinklers, sitting beside them in the mist as I soak in the moist air and knit. It is a very rustic & secluded spot of calm, where one is really fairly hidden away.

I am trying to settle into a productive life of a busy recluse, and I have been thinking about  things. Post trauma disorder has changed things a bit.  I will very likely never get over that day of wildfire, for at that time forward  is etched into the rhythm of how I experience life, and its injury as much a part of me now as anything could be.  That blink of time when I hurriedly drove off in my car with Emma,  my mandolin, recordings of my music compositions, a small box of photos, and a few clothes, my computer, and a tote full of my needles & favorite yarns to keep me busy in the days following — while instantly regretting other things which I forgot, so much from my life.  Those things which seemed to define me were suddenly gone, especially those rooms, spaces which were integral to my happiness.

But let me tell you how I’ve been thinking about things,  about feeling glad and comfortable with realizing that the only real thing I can ever own, and the only thing which defines me,  are my accomplishments. So that is why I strive to live the busy life of a hermit in newly built hermitage, and the rooms will be far less cluttered and intriguingly sparse, so that I can build on my accomplishments.  My family, and short list of close friends will allow me this reclusive life.     I would like to add that I appreciate all of my pen friends from around the globe with whom I have kept company and shared my days in a more secluded way, I am ever so immensely grateful to my knitting fraternity!

♥  ♥  ♥

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Things going on…

Hunkering down here, as things are happening.   Here’s the news:

Miss Eighteen has left for college. Yup, finally flew the nest. She’ll be settling in with a load of classes and finding a job, and all of those events of college life. There’ll be fewer photo shoots with her, sadly, but when she comes home for holidays, we’ll be sure to get one in! Meanwhile I’ll be sending her knitteds in the mail, and hopefully Miss Fifteen will carry on modelling solo for as long as I can come up with something new.

We signed on officially with our construction company and met down at the county building department over a week ago, so the building plans are in process, rebuilding will start soon.  However, I can’t give you anything but a hopeful “soon”, the plans are not through the office. Maybe foundation will begin before the end of August?

Continue reading

Sweater Success !

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street 40-

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street 38-

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jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street 34-

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street 27-

I didn’t make it all the way to Calistoga for the actual Lincoln Street locale, but we improvised in St Helena instead.  After meeting at St Helena Roastery, for coffee (please tell me you don’t notice the drop of chocolate syrup from Miss Fifteen’s mocha, spilled on her Lincoln Street before the photo shoot… lol!),  we then took the photos against the stone of the St Helena Catholic Church, then went to Lolo’s Consignment Shop. Lastly we had lunch at Villa Corona, and walked around the Main Street a while too. Absolutely colossally wonderful summer day spent together with my nieces!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street 44

Now you can make your own Lincoln Street sleeveless …

and the pattern is available !

Details are HERE.

 

Out Walking

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This morning we got out earlier than we have been.

jenjoycedesign© paws 2018

I am hiking solo now, but sometimes I’ll drive up the road a little ways and give Emma a ride, then she waits in the car in a nice shady spot.

jenjoycedesign© waiting in car

She still looks so healthy, but she does not like to walk very far.  Isn’t she just beautiful?

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Today I had my Nikon and took some photos of regrowth in the landscape.  New shoots emerging prolifically from burned trees everywhere!

jenjoycedesign© black oak shoots

The wildfire burned so much foliage and shrubs on the ridge that I’ve been finding old dump sites and old roads long abandoned too, but mostly, trees are making a come-back , and the flowers bloomed as ever before…

jenjoycedesign©old dump

On the way back to our Tiny House, stopping where our house “was”.  Do you recognize the landscape beyond that I so often photographed from our deck?

jenjoycedesign© new ground

Many trees I am finding , are still alive with green crowns, so all is not lost. In fact, the big black oak which shaded our house and most of the deck in the heat of the summer afternoon, was so badly burned we thought no chance, but now it has green sprouting out of ash-grey trunk!  The wildfire brings so much perspective about potential of regeneration, that I must witness this as I walk through the seasons. I’ve put all my focus on the hill before me, and knitting as I go.

Life is good.

jenjoycedesign© solo walking

Azul

jenjoycedesign©Azul chullo2

Today I tripped over a jewel forgotten since the wildfire! Looking in my design computer files I discovered a partially written pattern, along with a few photos of a hat that I knit for my brothers birthday.  The pattern was almost finished except for a few details which needed doing, and so I spent most of yesterday finishing the pattern.  Wow, I am amazed. I did that?

It is an intensely colorful folksy chullo, and which I posted about way back here.   It one of my best colorwork pieces in my opinion, inspired by South American motifs, in four shades of blue, from very dark to very light, complete with tassels & knitted braid!  Intensely blue I tell you!  But it could be any other color as well, in four shades.

I think I’ll knit up another one of these!

jenjoycedesign©Azul detail

The design is completely my own colorwork motifs, and had originally some very poignant meaning,  and a series all in queue as I recall that much,  but of which now I can not remember (since the disruption of the wildfire),  only that there were some discussions with a long time writing friend of mine from Argentina who lectures on varied subjects of philosophy from time to time at a Seminary in a small town called Azul.

Seminario De Azul

Seminario de Azul

I therefore had named it at the time “Azul” .

jenjoycedesign©Azul chullo

The actual knitted Azul chullo has long disappeared into my brother’s possession, but as I had detailed photos I was able to assemble the pattern. Voila!  (( There is-was a vest pattern in the works too, but that is another matter )).   For now, there is Azul Chullo. And as it is presently the middle of winter in Argentina,  I will make haste…

pattern is LIVE on Ravelry ~~~ HERE !

♣     ♣     ♣

Edit in: After discussing with Alejandro just now about what we may have been discussing at the time I designed this colorwork pattern, and as our topics of discussion often have reference to the Andes Mountains, and as I personally echo the sentiment of such a new title,  this chullo will now be officially named “Montañas Azules”,  meaning “Blue Mountains”,  as are the Andes of Argentina!

Mountains & harsh elements seem to be the thread which is woven into most of my life it seems, so I hope to pick up that series of the design in the near future to work it through. Forthcoming, perhaps more Azules.

A fishy retrospect…

One year ago we were frantically knitting Fishwives Shawls & Stoles!   That is, myself and my dear friend Wendy were both  stealth knitting a pile of shawls and stoles to test all variations of the pattern Fishwives Shoal,  discussing shape, style, and yardage for three sizes of three styles of the design, and just having so much fun with the fish tails, splashes & waves.

I knitted while I researched about shoals ….

… and about a not-so-glamorous side of the fishwives work …

… about “April Fish Day” in France….

… getting to know my new dress form …

Discovering one of my favorite bands I’ve ever heard, from the Hebrides, The Lochies!!!

Folks, that design has got to be the highlight of my whole designing experience yet, and you Wen, were with me in spirit, knitting way over there in Ontario Canada.   In fact, I would like to give special mention of gratitude to Wendy,  who is so very kind and generous to have helped me, tirelessly test knitting just about every one of my designs, and who made great camaraderie while I designed my earlier patterns, up to date with my most recent ones  ~~ thank you Wen,  thank you friend of friends!

Sweet are the memories of my house during that time, dying yarn, knitting, blocking a big stole on the bed in my loft, and the old captains chair with several of my finished works waiting, unplying a ball of Knit Picks Palette to get a ball of fine laceweight to test pattern with …  and I think I am in the mood to finally cast on for an anniversary stole , as I really had enjoyed it so much.  Having lost all to the wildfire in the following October, I must have the medium grey stole again! My favorite of the three was the stole, this one…

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So I am going to cast on this weekend , while between designs. Will you join me? Fishwives Shoal series can be found HERE, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll see them all, from first concept, as it modulated and became such a fishy frolic.  See you on the flip-side, with my Grey Stole 2, modeled on Abelene 2!

Pour Yourself Into This!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street by JJD

Hi everyone, its me Abelene!

I am giddy!   Since Jen has unpacked me she decided I get to model her newest & latest design, because it will be weeks away before she can photograph her nieces in them, and she wants to get the pattern out there while the Summer is still young so knitters can not only enjoy knitting one, but wearing one as well.   Backstory : Jen knitted a too-small Summer Thing  posted back here, and decided in the ridiculousness of the situation, to knit another much larger one for very tall Miss Fifteen.  Regardless, I have poured myself into that original “Lincoln Street”  ( a size 27″ — and I have a 36″ bust )   Jen says that’s eight inches negative ease. Whatever that means, but she nearly rolled her eyes worrying about how misrepresenting that may seem.   Jen says there’s an expression for such a fit, called ‘poured into’ , so I am poured into the pretty sleeveless summer thing, and I just feel grrrrreat in it!  ::squeal::    Um, but did you know I have a sort of … dream… that I was born as Audrey Hepburn instead of a dress form?  Yes, it is so.   I know, we ought to be grateful for what we have, but I just love her and the whole Paris thing.   And so here she is, my sweet demure fantasy human embodiment, and this is what Audrey has to say about this new design…

Audrey

Oh, but Jen also let me model the pink one , a much more acceptable fit of 32″, and that means, well, only four inches negative ease! Isn’t that something!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless! 2

Let me move to the side a little bit so you can see the shaping of the armscye.    That is the ‘arms eye’  Jen told me, a really old-fashioned dress-maker’s way of saying it but you can also just say arm hole. Yes, the hole that my arms, if I had them,  would go through, and make a sweet flirty summer top, which is really just so nice!  Jen has also included an option for lower neck than shown here, which she thinks she will knit up next.

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless square

The back, which Jen tells me is the same as the front, only higher. All around, at any angle, this top just makes me feel like I should be having an iced cold pop-sickle while walking down Lincoln Street in Calistoga.  Go for the sizzle I say!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless back

I feel that this top is the classic of classics   and it feels absolutely delicious, and I think that everyone should have one!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless detail 5

Jen points out that the sizes go to infinity, so big burly men can wear them,  as well as little kids too, but I think I’d rather like to imagine being Marilyn wearing one…

Marilyn

And some very important  wise words from Michele,  who seems to live brilliantly beyond the need of sleeves…

Michele

I personally could not agree more!  This is a thing that Jen speaks of a lot to me, about not having what a person does not love, but that is another story.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a wardrobe of only cherished things you love to wear?

And wouldn’t it be even greater if you made … some… or most of them?

Jen says very soon,  when she finishes (a larger) Miss Fifteen’s Lincoln Street,  she will photograph them on the actual Lincoln Street in Calistoga, with the Darling Duo, later in the summer.  Lincoln Street is all ready for you to make one while the summer is young, and the pattern is now submitted and LIVE on Ravelry.   Jen would appreciate it if you made one, or at least went and checked it out over on Ravelry HERE. 

Ta ta for now,

Abelene

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street

Posted from Hamburg…

jenjoycedesign© Petra's-Fishwives-Tee
Hi everybody,  its me Abelene.

Look here what  the post lady brought Jen!  All the way from Hamburg Germany to Napa California, in transit all the way through the summers solstice, and finally landed here just now.   Jen was SO EXCITED to get this parcel from Petra, she immediately ran into the shed where I’ve been held captive in my box,  up in the rafters,  since she moved up into her charcoal forest, and assembled me with a happy mood.   Now, I am just as excited as she is, because she is letting *moi* debut Petra’s gorgeous piece of work!

::claps wildly::

Where is Jen at this moment?

She is , of course, to tears with overwhelm, while making a grateful & delicious cup of coffee, (something she and Petra have a mutual fondness for & discuss often)  and Jen asked me to say something about remembering   Fishwives Lace Shoal ,  and say that  this cotton tee has been made into a most beautiful flattering tee modification of Fishwives lace motif as one could possibly design, and so Jen and I are totally & completely smitten with it!

Jen also wants me to say this:   Did you know that Petra is an outstanding designer?  Not just a little bit , but a lot bit, and a really talented expert knitter!!!    Petra is responsible for designing  St Andrews Tam  which Jen considers a generous collaboration of Petra’s,   for she is all around a generous, kind, and brilliantly talented woman whom Jen can never show enough gratitude for all she has test-knit and brought into existence exciting modifications of many of Jen’s patterns.

Oh, but how about some more details of Petra’s Fishwives Tee…

jenjoycedesign© Petra's Fishwives Tee detail2

A repeat on the sleeve, and tiny increases down the side

jenjoycedesign© Petra's Fishwives Tee detail4

The fish tails …  splashes …  and waves !

Petra has made this A-line tee in fine cotton yarn, with tiny needles, um, so a brain of a dress form like me can not even grasp how many stitches that would work out to be.  But every one of those tiny stitches delivers Petra’s gigantic spirit, strength, and warmth into Jen’s life.  A lot of stitches indeed.  Well,  nearly midnight in Germany, already Petra has long put down her school books and breaking from her study,  and is probably fast asleep, so I am going to say  ta ta for now, and let Jen send this post.

Many many many thanks Petra!!!

xx Abelene und Jen

A Summer Thing

jenjoycedesign© summer-thing-one

A little something for hot days, for summer is most definitely here, with spells of high heat and endless blue skies. I’ve decided to make as many of these test-knits of forthcoming pattern as I can before mid-July. The Summer Thing hanging on the bathroom door of the Tiny House is knitted in yarn talked about in a recent post, and now after finishing Summer Thing One, I must say that it has all the crisp freshness of pure linen, but enough cotton to soften before having to wash twenty times.   I’m already casting on for the second, in light blush…

jenjoycedesign© next-summer-thing

As these are such fast jobs of knitting, and now that I’ve got the pattern all worked out, there’ll possibly be a couple more… so watch this space!

♣     ♣     ♣

Meanwhile, I thought I’d take a little poll, and ask whether or not anybody noticed I changed the old blog name from “Yarnings” to ” Jenjoyce Design”.   I am not sure I like the change, as the old somewhat nonsense title became the mark of identity of my blog. Please tell me what you think in comments below, I would be grateful.

College Bound!

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I swiped this photo of  Miss Eighteen from her mom’s facebook page.   It was taken in her garden, right before graduating highschool on June 1st.  I’m so proud of her !!!   And I know all of you are too, especially those of you who have been following my nieces on my blog since  she was ten.  Soon to fly the nest, our Miss Eighteen is ready for the world,  she’s college bound,  and she’s going to rock!

Yarn Tasting: Lindy Chain

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I’m finally up to rattling off a couple of knitted somethings for my nieces this summer.  Wanting to use linen for these, I thought I would try with some linen blend yarn I’ve had my eye on for a while  ~~  Knit Picks Lindy Chain .

This yarn is a chain of a super fine single, rather than plied, 70% linen/30% pima cotton, fingering weight, and 180 yards to 50g ball.  Crisp, attentive, not rascally, but soft, and I feel like the pima cotton element is making it easier on my fingers too.   I’ve done acres of knitting the  hem with 2.75mm needles, and graduated to 3.25mm for the stockinette.  I got three balls in each color for two sleeveless items, but let me tell you, as this yarn is not wool, I have no bearing as to how yardage and weight work together for a garment, this is me navigating the sea of unknown.

Hey, did you know that Miss Eighteen is leaving for college this summer? This won’t be the last of the darling duo, not by a long shot, but I did want to send Miss Eighteen off with a recent sweater success fresh in her thoughts, as we did miss the Vernal Equinox Spring Tee due to my incessant moving about.  So I’m giving myself until mid July to finish two linen summery things. Counting down. Stay tuned.

Afternoon Light

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Wildflowers lingering in the whitening grass.

My favorites are the tall wobbly blue Brodea,  and the dainty fragile wild roses, absolutely everywhere!

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The cheerful wild peas climbing up the garden fence…

jenjoycedesign© wild pea on garden fence

Yesterday walking about with Emma,

capturing just a few of the woodland wildflowers in the late afternoon sun .

jenjoycedesign© wild native flower in question

Quite a different mood & light cast from Early Light that very same day.

jenjoycedesign© brodea flowers

Brodea in small little gatherings , as they wobble in the breeze in unison.

jenjoycedesign© wild native Japanese lanterns

Everywhere these plump yellow-green shy flowers with their faces always cast down.

jenjoycedesign© Emma in May

Life is good, and everything in its place.

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Early Light

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Large patches of trees not burned in their crowns, giving a flooding sense of hope.

This morning as I was taking pen into hand to write my morning journal entry,  I noticed a warm orange glow cast from the sunrise, and giving an intense beauty into the forest. Early morning light sure does give me perspective, and so I grabbed my camera and just looked about.

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My life hasn’t felt very photogenic lately,  so capturing these images suddenly lifts me a little.  It seems always less the subject, and nearly all the light, which makes or breaks a photograph.   And as I have been feeling so overwhelmed with being uprooted during this crazy shuffling about, now seven & 1/2 months since the wildfire, this morning’s sunrise brings a delicate understanding of how both expectation & impatience are troubling me.

As I write this a very big and ominously black raven lands just outside the picture window, on the roof of the little shed next to Tiny House, and seems to be inspecting something. I love the ravens, I am so happy they weren’t away long. The wildlife is indeed more scarce since the fire, but seems to be slowly populating this lonely wood. I have felt thrown out of synchronization with the wild for what is half a year before we moved our Tiny House up here, and I realize this morning that I missed out on a full half rotation around the sun, from 10th of October last year to the 1st of May, being away from this place.  That is a long time for a hermit (merely a soft kind word for agoraphobic) .  I must just … b r e a t h e….. now back up on the mountain. Breathe it in!   This month of May has been such work learning to live and operate inside of a small space. A really small space, and still doing without so much that makes the experience more like camping … as though my ‘real life’ is still on hold.

But life is not on hold,  must forget how life once seemed, and open my eyes to the reality of being here, and now, and this could be as good as it gets.  Still , my knitting design which has been seriously ergonomically tampered with,  nothing in a neat orderly space, but in boxes, here and there, is going to hibernate a spell while we go through more harrowing experience with the demands of the county, which in the end may prove an ironic and impossible situation for rebuilding.

I strive to be happy for what I have.   Namely, my charcoal forest, and sense of place…. the ones I love, and this Tiny House.    I guess I just need more time, figuring my way forward, thinking about what matters. Life is so short, and I feel each day which slips by that even the rhythm of work of my knitting design has become distortingly hazy.   I find I am caught in a sort of reflection of life up to the fire, and am wanting to set in motion the way forward, but frozen peering into that reflection.

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Early morning reflection from window of tiny house.

Life is difficult often, but good,  and everything in its place.