Wee Hearts in July

jenjoycedesign©Wee Hearts Isager Tweed (1)

I have merged Wee Hearts Tam & Skier pattern with Wee Hearts Mitts pattern, now two patterns in one download  ;  that is a tam, ski hat, fingerless mitts and full mitten pattern all together! To celebrate the event, I’m having a bit of a promotion for my new ‘merge’, and you can (for an undisclosed number of hours or days)  join in with the others for ‘Wee Hearts In July’ KAL by doing the following:

  1. Open a project on Ravelry and link to the pattern.   (Yes, you must join Ravelry if you have not yet, but its free!)
  2.  Upload a photo, any photo (this is essential so that I will see your project in my designer activity feed).
  3.  Include the text ” wee hearts in July ” either in your pattern notes or the title, (this is essential so that I know that you are among the knitters to join the KAL and to send you the pattern , gifted through Ravelry)

Then I will send you the pattern(s) as soon as I am able, and when Wee Hearts pattern give-away closes, I will edit this post to say so.

The knit-along is as always, informal, and no deadline, and no fuss…. pure enjoyment. I hope to see your Wee Hearts ! But hop on the pattern give-away, it will only run for a very short while.

Oh, and joining in with the others,  I too have cast on for Wee Hearts In July KAL , making the tam  with some lovely Isager Tweed, made in Ireland, but I somehow decided last minute to over-dye the light grey into a pink, which in scorching hot Northern California weather, dried in less than an hour hanging out on the clothes line, so away I went! Blasted through the Latvian Braid, and now already  well into it.

jenjoycedesign©Wee Hearts Isager Tweed (2)

Doesn’t the warm moss green look lovely next to the tweedy pink?

Highway 29 & Pattern !

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My latest design “Highway 29” is named after the  main road running through Napa Valley from Napa to Calistoga. This old highway is dotted with wineries and famous restaurants enough to make you dizzy, plus some added hot-spots where we locals trek to frequently, beginning in the north end of the town of Napa getting sweet around Yountville, then Oakville, Rutherford, St Helena, and continuing clear on up to Calistoga.  As a local, coming down off the mountain from Oakville Grade when I am going upvalley, I often stop at the very unique Oakville Grocery , founded in 1881, just an old rural ‘backroads’ grocers of a bygone era,  is now a highly trafficked stop-off for locals & tourists alike, with an exceptional coffee bar & deli for drinks, gifts & goodies-to-go.  Until recently it doubled as the local post office, now it offers wine tasting…

I believe my nieces and I were talking about Oakville Grocery & Post being the inspiration of forthcoming Autumn design, and second in the Napa Valley Collection.

After Oakville you pass a bunch of wineries, and then of course, St Helena where I often knit-in-public or meet friends at  Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, as its the coffee shops I seem to be most familiar with, loving to knit and visit with friends.  After that it’s a stretch of countryside to Calistoga with places such as Bale Grist Mill, founded in 1846…

a working renovated grain mill which is popular for historic reenactment parties and has old-time live music often (one of the bands is my brother & sister-in-law, my nieces dad & mom) , offers tours & grinds corn to sell. It is in front of the entrance to the Bale Grist Mill where these photos were taken for Highway Halter, on the old wooden fence,

The favorite photo spot in recent couple of years for my nieces is Castello Di Amorosa, a medieval Tuscan castle transplanted stone-by-stone in recent decades…

Ah, but it is  here at ‘ The Castle ‘ where you’ll recognize the stone from merely the carriage house where we actually have many of our photo shoots…

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Right off of Hwy 29, this carriage house is at the entrance to the castle gate, erected more recently I think to use some left over stone & brick perhaps, and it houses the ground-keepers tools & provides a place for the chauffeurs to park. Here some shots from this spot…

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Passing more breathtaking scenery, one finally lands in Calistoga as if by accident.

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This is the town from which you may recognize many backdrops to my nieces & my photo shoots.  For example, the left on above photo is Brannans Restaurant,  and right across Lincoln Street is the mint-green bank building we have included many times…

But there are many photo memories of Calistoga and not enough room to post. Anyway, enough of all  of this Highway 29 – turned to- Memory Lane,  and all the treasures found along the way… and now it is time for Highway 29 Halter which I’ve just written a pattern for, and which my nieces do real justice to !     In previous post I talk about the significance of naming the latest design “Highway 29” ,   which really is a possibility to start a collection…. I mean, if I’m going to really go through with it… anyway, my nieces  seem to think we should.  If not the name-sake for the design will stand on its own. We will just have to see what comes.

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You can find the pattern for this design on Ravelry HERE .

… or click the Hwy 29 road sign to arrive at the pattern page.

California Highway 29 sign

California Highway 29 road sign in Napa Valley

Highway 29

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Well folks, I was full of doubt about how the halters would work out , and I’ve been working on them for about a month, starting clear back from this post.  I knit and reworked several times from the original.  But, this morning I was transcended from any doubt when my beautiful nieces breathed life into them, I must say, I was completely taken by surprise~~swept off my own feet even!

Yesterday we met in Calistoga, at the Roastery  early in the morning, and talked over our chai & lattes, and after warning my nieces that this design is surely not to fit or even look good, they finally disappeared into the ladies room to change into them, and emerged, beaming with relief as much as my own, and they actually loved them!

((Oh, and not like it needs mentioning, but have you noticed how Miss Thirteen has completely over-taken Miss Sixteen in height!))

We excitedly cruised Highway 29 coming back from Calistoga toward Napa, trying to race the sun before it got too high and hot, stopping at Castello de Amorosa, and then looking for very ‘California’ looking places along side the highway on the way back, we stopped to photograph from the roadside, on the old lichen covered wooden fence at Bale Grist Mill,  and on the stone wall and in the vines of V Madrone Winery.

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Here it is, Highway 29 Halter, Miss Sixteen & Miss Thirteen are very excited about this design and think its the best yet!

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We decided to name this (yes ‘we’ , apparently they are as keen now on being a part of the design naming as I am) design after the main highway which ambles up northwest  of the Napa Valley, and furthermore, it could possibly be the first of a collection.  So here is Number One from Napa Valley Collection…. “Highway 29”.

The pattern is practically written already, so in the interim of showing off the photo shoot and presenting the pattern, will be a day or so of last minute pattern assembling.

 

See you with pattern and all the intricate knitting details next…

California Highway 29 sign

California Highway 29 road sign in Napa Valley

Summer Stripes (2)

jenjoycedesign© Altitude Lace with Rowan Revive 2

In a post in June, I shared my new yarn to taste, Rowan “Revive”, a DK weight yarn made from recycled clothing that is made from silk, cotton, and viscose.

jenjoycedesign© yarn tasting

Here it is now knit up into an Altitude Lace Cowl  and it looks quite lovely.

jenjoycedesign© Altitude Lace with Rowan Revive

Stripes in sand & peach tones, barely contrasting, for a perfect neck wrap to wear with natural linen clothing,  I am going to keep this one for myself.

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But can I be honest?  I feel this yarn is a bit heavy, what I would expect from a cotton based yarn, but there’s a slight toughness to the feel, maybe also having 3 plies,  each with 3 finer plies.   Actually, this yarn  may just be a great candidate for a sweater, or to unspin, for the single plies of this yarn are all unique and truly lovely and tweeded with bits of recycled fibers. I really do like the yarn a lot.

So this closes my jaunt of  Summer knitting ~~  it is difficult to believe we’re already well into July! Although the hottest months are still to come, its time I begin to direct my thinking ahead to Autumnal ideas, and back to my un-spinning experiments which I abruptly paused, and of course, some non-knitting events going on too (mostly home improvement sorts of labor, which is not near as fun as knitting, admittedly).

Summer Stripes was certainly enjoyable taste of new summery yarns, and I must say I have made a couple new favorites!

Details for this project are on Ravelry HERE

 

Summer Stripes

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Striped lace cowls in cool blues and warm pinks, knit in a lovely summery linen blend yarn that is draping and soft. I am very happy they’re finished, and just in time for them to go to my Canadian nieces for their birthdays …

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I love this pattern, a traditional lace motif called ‘feather & fan’  which is so easy it can be knit in my sleep. But these are the first striped versions of the pattern I’ve tried, and will try one more in stripes, with yarn mentioned on this post,  before the summer is over.

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As I dared myself to not make a peep until I finished these two, now there may be some chattiness!  On my knitting needles, I have still some promised summer knitting for my two beautiful California nieces (whom all of you are familiar with ~ presently Miss Sixteen & Miss Thirteen ), and then its looking into a stretch of who-knows-what-may-come for a quiet spell of imminent lazy & hot summer weeks.

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Pattern: my own Altitude Lace Cowl

Yarn: Classic Elite Firefly (posted previously)

Blue stripes project details on Ravelry  HERE,     and pink stripes project details HERE.

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summer knitting

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I’m going a bit crazy with linen blend yarns this spring & summer. I decided to knit up TWO striped summery cowls for my Canadian Nieces Molly & Maya.  The yarn I’m ‘tasting’ is “Firefly” by Classic Elite Yarns; a sport-weight %75 viscose & 25% linen ( but I tell you, it feels like mostly linen.)  Time is of the essence so I’m making no pretenses, I’ve just cast on, and I’ll see you on the flip-side.

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June and yarn tasting…

jenjoycedesign© yarn tasting

I went into town this morning, and stopped into the local yarn shop, and there was a new batch of yarn in, which I just couldn’t resist. Rowan Purelife “Revive” : 36% recycled silk, 36% recycled cotton, and 28% recycled viscose. Beautiful apricot pink and clay tweeds, which will suit my coloring well, as  I plan on making it into a ‘striped’  Altitude Lace Cowl,  and for moi !   (Ahem… once bought and brought home, I can never resist a good ol’ yarn photo-shoot,  as yarn makes such nice portraits.)

As of a few days ago we’ve had the presence of  some interesting clouds hovering!  Today I swear, it rained a few drops, a few gorgeous wet drops, and threatens to rain some more…

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June is a lovely month. Transitional, mostly unpredictable, mild, beautiful, and cheerful.  I even love the word, so cute, and yet rather ancient sounding… “joon”.

I have decided to not write a pattern for the halter tops I mentioned in last post. Just too much uncharted territory to deal with, as I have so much to get busy with in the knitting, and my non-knitting life too.  So the cotton tops will be a pure & simple yarn tasting and summer treat for my nieces ~~ with no agenda. ( Wow, ‘no agenda’ sounds like I was let out on summer vacation! )

That is it for this post, more a clearing of slate and in a lovely mood as June unwinds into summertime, so soon to be here.

The Last Of Spring

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It is already the last stretch of Spring, and forthcoming is a little duo for summer!  One in dark teal, and one in light teal, in Cascade Ultra Pima cotton yarn,to test my latest design, a summer top idea that I’ve been working on.

jenjoycedesign© cotton-yarn

Other things going on, I will splash on to this post, as I am worried I don’t share enough non-knitting things here in general. So, here,  a mountain woodland garden…

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Where in I try to grow things which are sometimes a challenge, but this season, doing well enough.

jenjoycedesign© mountain garden

Blossoming leeks,

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my greens bed protected from the harsh sun beneath their sun-bonnet,   grapes exploding into clusters fattening,  beans beginning to climb, nearly 4′ high tomato plants, apples beginning to blush and swell, and very shy slow-growing zucchini…

Um….jeans ripening  in the sun?

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Well, not really, just foolin’ around!  Thats about it for this post, and I surely hope to have made the two halter tops by the next post, sometime around the solstice, which will be June 20! 

How are your last weeks of spring coming along?

Anniversary Socks

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March of this year Jeff and I have been married one year, and 21 years together, and I thought as an anniversary gift to Jeff, with whom I have backpacked the John Muir Trail many many miles, that I would design him trail socks !!  He seemed to be okay with the idea, however, he is very picky about scratchy woolly things and socks, and anything ‘gear’ related.  Made of super fine quality Merino-superwash & nylon sock yarn, in granite tones, the socks ended up very soft & completely not scratchy, and the nice cushioned heel, instep & toe are ultra comfortable in and outside of a boot.  Now  two & 1/2 months after our anniversary,  here is the final result ~~~ and he approves!

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Shown are Wild Wool Trail Socks, designed for and dedicated to Jeff.

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This is actually the first real pair for Jeff that I’ve made since releasing the pattern,  delivered a little belatedly.

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Incidentally, the last time we were in the Sierras in July 2014, it was for our 20th anniversary of being a couple, and we backpacked to Granite Lake in John Muir country, where the inspiration came to me…

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Well, it may have taken me a year and a half to ruminate this design from inspiration to finished pattern, but perhaps for good reason, for the timing of events involve a spooky coincidence of anniversaries! To start, our 20th anniversary in 2014 was 100 years after Muir’s death in 1914, this year is the centennial anniversary of America’s National Parks established August 1916, and lastly, I just happened to have submitted (unknowingly) the pattern on  John Muir’s birthday April 21st.

In forthcoming posts, I may go on with presenting you finished projects, both of my own and of other knitters,  so that we can have a bit of an extended tribute to John Muir.

Sock details on Ravelry HERE.

Unspun

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I have been colossally distracted in a major yarn tangent in recent days. 

jenjoycedesign© unspun

I’ve been going through my ‘stash’ (that is yarn which is in one’s possession, otherwise free to use at whim), and over-dying & having a bit of fun.

But this particular little project was super fiddly and a major study in “un-spinning”, using my spinning wheel, ball-winder, swift, and dye pot.   On my spinning wheel, I literally unwound the 3 plies of a bulky-weight very soft 100% alpaca yarn I had,  while at the same time winding them into 3 separate balls. I splice-joined the 3 single balls into one skein,  and then attempted to relax the energized ‘singles’ with some simmer-dying. And relax they did!

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Even the spliced joins were completely invisible when I wound and re-wound on to the swift. Ever-so-slightly felted made a terrific halo (fuzz) when the final product was skeined.

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178 yards and 66 grams, of extremely soft alpaca single ply yarn, now ready for a delicious soft lace cowl.   I would think this would classify as sport-weight. I am frankly amazed at this result, and my eye is wandering through my stash now, with ideas to deconstruct. jenjoycedesign©013

Well, it was a huge amount of work, but its done & dusted and I’m very proud of such an alluring result.  That’s me on a beautiful day, I should be knitting socks, but sometimes distraction is good for creativity!

New Growth

jenjoycedesign© primavera

As I sit here at my table next to the window, peering out into the misty forest there is nearly a shock of new growth of madrone foliage.

jenjoycedesign© new growth

I have been inspired by the new growth in the woods lately, and decided to get out some dye, and run some experiments.  Unfortunately there are no before photos of this project, it was a skein of very heathery greyish blue, and the result of a very small amount of golden yellow powder dye in a slightly acidic dye bath, kept below simmer until the dye exhausted, is this …

jenjoycedesign© over-dyed

I am not a very good photographer, in that I really don’t know how to use a camera to grasp surface color variation, but I tried to put the yarn in different spaces to show the heathered flecks of bluer green and some of near neon yellow-green… and well, it all looks rather monotone from the eye of the camera. Can you see the heathered flecks?

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But, this whole dye project really has tickled a spot, and I realized that I have been dying many kinds of fiber for literally decades. I am having a bit of an epiphany today, a new growth in my thinking that I might want to dye single skeins, and make up some kits of printed patterns of my cowls to include some of my dyed yarns, I mean heck ~~everybody is doing it~~  kits, personal yarn lines, as well as the printed or downloadable pattern. The sky is no limit when one’s profession is in the realm of ‘Indie Knitwear Designer’. Thinking having these simple little kits available a haberdashery shop here on Yarnings.

I have the tools, the time, and a load of experience, so I’m enjoying a bit of dreaming just now !

jenjoycedesign© over-dyed 2

 

Emma is Eleven

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Today is Emma’s eleventh birthday.

014We had a party for her with some friends, who brought her lots of doggie treats and presents!006 (2)
We had home-made tamales, chocolate cake & icecream, and we can bake Emma her own dog biscuits now because we have a biscuit form, doggie cookbook and biscuit mix too!

And …

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. . . there’s a new squeaking raccoon toy to torture! 

We went for our traditional walk after the party was over, but Emma and I were too tired to go far. I followed her out into the woods….

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Then she stopped a while,

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and we both decided to go back home and play with her new toys and take a long nap!

Many Socks

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Continuing in the same vein as my previous posts Part One &  Part Two , about my love of John Muir’s High Country, wild woolly beasts that live on the granite, my new design inspired by High Sierras, in tribute to John Muir, and dedicated to my husband Jeff…

jenjoycedesign© object d' yarn

I now settle into navigating my energy level out of the manic invention, and into the staid level of production the task of making many socks.  From large brush strokes, to small precise ones. Already have 3 pairs of the trail socks on the needles for Jeff (one trail, one country, one plain), and now I’m also queuing up for a pair of socks each for Miss Sixteen & Miss Thirteen !

jenjoycedesign© Charlemont Sock Yarn

These will be the Ankle Sock variation in the pattern, with just the cuff going into the corrugated ribbing;  one pair cream with grey contrast, the other pair grey with cream contrast ~~ fun!  Trying out a lovely blend of 60%  Fine Merino Superwash – 20% Mulberry Silk, and 20% nylon (not getting brand specific here), 440 yards to 100grams = fine fingering weight.

As both of my nieces are runners now, I believe the ankle sock may just be a stellar running sock, and am happy for them to test these. Two more pairs of socks for Springtime, coming up!

“Wild Wool” Trail Socks (Part Two)

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Continuing from Part One~ John Muir High Country & Wild Wool, all about  the  “Father of Modern Environmentalism”, my mountaineering past, and hinting about the noble, the agile, yay, and the soft downy woolly wild creature worthy of Muir’s musings in “Wild Wool” .

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Wild Wool indeed. These sheep range the Sierra Nevada from the desert to the high mountains, and after reading Muir’s Wild Wool, I thought it a perfect name for my new design!

Wild Wool Trail Socks

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Trail Socks

Those my friends, are the very same boots and walking stick you see in this photo, the stick & boots which have accompanied me many miles to many lakes where I’ve sat with much knitting in-the-wild,  and the stick which is a prop for many knitwear photos on Yarnings as well.

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Trail Socks (2)

After all, knitting in the wild is my favorite thing to do and John Muir’s High Sierra is my favorite place to be!

Trail socks designed with sturdy structure and ease of knitting. Wide ribbing, corrugated ribbed ankle, “mock heel flap” (featuring the Stong Heel~ no stitches to pick up for gusset), cushioning stranded heel turn, gusset, upper instep & toe. Knit in-the-round seamlessly. Five sizes, x-small thru x-large. Options for short & ankle versions of trail sock.   These trail socks are designed with function in mind, and for comfort in rugged use, where custom fit is best, and structural design elements are what they’re all about.  Oh, and there are variations on the theme, a Classic Country Sock  and “Wee Wild Wool” for kid hikers . . .

I honestly think John Muir would approve and would have wished he had a new knitted pair of these while he walked the wilderness in his leather-soled boots of a bygone era.

Edit In April 23:   Folks, sometimes we do things unaware of the obvious workings beneath our conscience. Well, those of you who realize what an important man John Muir was influencing the government to create the National Parks, and (as my husband Jeff just showed me an article in May Outside Magazine which just arrived...) that this year is the Centennial Year the National Parks were established (posthumously, after Muir died in December of 2014) in the year of 1916 !

Now, as coincidence happens, I have submitted the pattern Wild Wool Trail Socks  on this date, as a tribute to John Muir,  on his actual birthday ~~ April 21st.

Those of you who are joining in on the John Muir Tribute on Ravelry, there are major things to celebrate! Knit on my friends, enjoy yourself… knit for the beauty of nature and perhaps just a little bit for Muir’s birthday. (I’m sure he’d have enjoyed a pair of Wild Wool Trail Socks for his birthday).

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We camped at Granite Lake in Muir Country for our anniversary, July 2014

John Muir High Country and Wild Wool (Part One)

I so admire the man who found personal transformation and a sense of home deep in the wilderness of the High Sierra Nevada mountains, and fought to bring his experience of the territory into the lives of the general masses with his writing and activism. The masses who from a distance were readily destroying virgin wilderness with logging, mining, dam-building, and all manners of disregard in the turn of the last century. That man is John Muir, said to be the Father of Modern Environmentalism. That man is the man who made his home along the very lakes in the Sierra Nevada which I have camped, and who divided himself limb to limb to bring the High Sierra to the world, in attempt to protect it, its wildlife, the giant old-growth sequoias, and perfect beauty of the high mountain wilderness.

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John Muir , born April 21, 1838 – died December 24, 1914,  was a Scottish-American naturalist & author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park, and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is a prominent American conservation organization. The 211-mile (340 km) John Muir Trail, a hiking trail in the Sierra Nevada was named in his honor. read more ….

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Yosemite Valley,  by Carleton Watkins, John Muir’s friend and photographer.

In case you didn’t know, I am an experienced hiker of John Muir territory, although it’s been a time since I’ve returned there.  As a bit of proof, take photos below backpacking eight days along John Muir’s High Route, culminating on the peak of Mount Whitney in August of 2001.

Mt Whitney 2001

Above photo is of  our group, Jeff directly behind me, all of us tired but totally and completely gratified.

On Top of Mt Whitney, John Muir High Sierra, Aug. 2001

And that’s me at the  Mount Whitney plaque , quite exhausted and glacier-burnt in the face,  from the epic trip but also from the push up from Guitar Lake that morning.   Mount Whitney was for that eight-day trek the end of the line,  and of the John Muir High Country Route.  I nearly am dumb-struck just to take in the scope of the majestic granite mountain, and to realize that I actually was at the top of it!

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I could go on indefinitely about John Muir’s High Country, but let me not ramble too much on side-trails and back-story, and let me bring attention to this noble creature…

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Wild mountain sheep!  In fact, the very wild sheep ( ovis montana ) which inhabit the High Sierra and who’s tufts of downy wool Muir found and mused him to write a pithy chapter entitled “Wild Wool” from his publication Steep Trails.

“…pure wildness is the one great want, both of men and of sheep.”

” Give to Nature every cultured apple — codling, pippin, russet — and every sheep so laboriously compounded — muffled Southdowns, hairy Cotswolds, wrinkled Merinos — and she would throw the one to her caterpillars, the other to her wolves.”

“…and our wild sheep, wading in snow, roaming through bushes, and leaping among jagged storm-beaten cliffs, wears a dress so exquisitely adapted to its mountain life that it is always found as unruffled and stainless as a bird.”

excerpts from “Wild Wool” by John Muir

Visit Sierra Club archives to read “ Wild Wool “ from John Muir’s “Steep Trails”, 1918

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This is part one of a two-part post about John Muir, the High Sierra, and a new design which has come out of it. ( Stay tuned for Part Two forthcoming !) In the meantime, I hope you really do read Wild Wool  and acquaint yourself with some of John Muir’s writing of High Sierra Wilderness, and of the wild sheep.

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Now you can read Part Two: “Wild Wool” Trail Socks

Sweater Success !

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Spring sweater success!

We decided to photograph not in the town of Calistoga this time, but again at the castle.
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Late morning brought very bright sun and was very warm after weeks of cool rainy days.
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Oh, and great news is that my knitted tees seem to fit my nieces with absolute perfection!
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030.JPGThis year’s Spring Tee was not a new design, but a fun redesign for ‘four seasons of necklines’  option for my Calidez pullover pattern. Both made in size 32 with short sleeve  option, alternate style of yoke decrease, 2×2 rib, and knit with worsted-weight ( Malabrigo Rios) , using the gauge substitution chart included in the pattern.  I must say, I rather impressed myself once I saw the short-row low swooping necks become three dimensional!

Miss Thirteen has gained inches in height still again,  and now there’s no denying she is taller than Miss Sixteen.
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All in all, a perfect day for ‘capturing of photographical images’ with some really nice knitwear, made with custom favorite colors for my two wonderful nieces…

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Time goes swiftly,  and I’ll enjoy a short rest before coming up with plans for the next equinox sweater~~ but folks, this is just as good as it gets!
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To see all equinox sweaters over the last six years, click  HERE

Project details on Ravelry  HERE  and  HERE

 

A little something I’ve thrown together…

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This colorful & folksy chullo I knit up in the last few days for my chullo-wearing brother, complete with chuflín and Latvian braid, and four hues of blue. I have decided I like it a lot and  am considering writing a pattern for it. . .

jenjoycedesign©Azul chullo

Meanwhile, I’ve got  my nieces all queued up for a photo shoot for Spring Tees tomorrow morning… I can’t wait! We’re having a bout of brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures after a ton of rain for weeks!

Now all my deadline knitting is finished, I am working on something really interesting, but I will not speak about it until it’s finished in it’s many variations. Its a big piece of work for me.  Here’s to Vernal Knitting, chillin’ with cups of tea and coffee and enjoying myself , having reached my recent knitterly goals, and well…   life is good. 

Vernal Knitting

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Folks, it is the Vernal Equinox today, and the very first day of Spring! As my nieces for whom I’ve made these darling little spring tees ( and finished over a week ago, well ahead of deadline) can’t make this morning’s scheduled equinox photoshoot … er… ‘capturing of photographical images’ ….  we had to postpone, hopefully only until next weekend. But as I had my heart set on marking the day with a post of these tees (with or without their recipients) I thought I’d show ’em off hanging from my walking stick.

What you are seeing is Calidez redesigned !   That is, redesigned with ‘four seasons’ of necklines ~ and shown above is Spring in dark blue with half depth neckline, and Summer in mint green with full depth neckline. Besides having lower necklines, these Calidez pullovers are worked in Malabrigo “Rios”  which is worsted weight 100% superwash merino wool,  with short sleeve option, and having a very open seasonal fabric and possessing excellent elasticity. Here is the Spring neckline detail . . .

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Next time you will see these tees on Miss Thirteen & Miss Sixteen, so watch this space~~ and Happy Spring to all!

Yarn Tasting: five shades of natural

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Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill is a family-owned spinnery located in the hills of Vermont Township in south central Wisconsin, and one hundred percent American.  I like that!  The yarn? Beautiful! I just received by post, five natural shades for a ‘yarn tasting’, and I find this yarn so interesting because the greys are mixed by percentage (below right to left;  cream, 10% grey, 20% grey, 40% grey, and 60% grey.) Rather simple, just natural fleece, and American grown & spun.


The fiber is puffy & soft and woolen spun, and the naturals are heathered in a seriously  beautiful way, much like my favorite yarns for colorwork, from Scottish Isles. In fact, I have been nearly exclusive with Scottish Isles yarns lately for colorwork, my favorite being Virtual Yarns Hebridean 2ply, as the  complex heathered mixes of colors are so rich and beautiful enough to make me weak in the knees, but very unfortunately for me there are no natural undyed shades in the Hebridean 2ply line, and undyed heathery shades I happen to be very fond of. So, I believe this yarn being so nearly exact in feel, type of spin, and weight, I think I have found my heathery greys to match with heathery colors of Hebridean 2ply, and I am really looking forward to knitting with it!