Yarn Tasting: Berroco Remix Light

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I’ve been doing yarn tastings back to back,  and here I am trying out a delicious faux silky cottony very tweedy yarn that makes a downy fabric unmatched.  Wait, did I say faux?  I did, because typical is the surprise whenever I read acrylic or nylon in the fiber ingredients, I am always left wondering if it is going to hold up to the visual and tactile test of a yarn snob. Well, this is the second time in three yarn tastings that I’ve been surprised at the possibilities for synthetic fiber.  Yarn snobbery in check.

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From the shelves of the local yarn shop home to the stairway of our Tiny House,  is Berroco Remix Light, its claim to fame being made of 100% recycled fibers!  It called out to me “cotton  & silk ” while I was looking for something new to try, and one of the those typical days I didn’t have my glasses with me, so the label was fuzzy,  and as I looked at other DK weight yarns I kept going back to it.     It won out in the totally light-as-down, attractive, nubby, silky … beautiful to the touch.  I mean I could practically imagine silk cocoons winding off, paired with freshly carded bolls of cotton harvest, and in so many dreamy heathery tweedy colors, the shelves seemed well stocked with it.  I am not kidding, my mind saw the words ‘cotton’ and ‘silk’ ( and a tad bit of linen) in the label, and the rest was blurry, too blurry to care.   I bought two balls, brought them home, made coffee and hunkered down to cast on.

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But just before casting on I studied the label for gauge and noticed clearly the label must be wrong.   What … really?    30% nylon, and 24% acrylic?    Did I buy synthetic yarn?    Again, my taming of yarn snobbery, and I am learning that one can’t judge yarn by its label entirely, the knitting must be the test.   I am knitting this yarn to gauge, just as the label suggests, and the ball just won’t shrink…  the yardage is absolutely unending!  I could have made a much bigger size than I did,  as I have the body nearly done and have only used half a ball it seems. Okay, that’s me, surrendering to the beneficent will of the universe, testing my judgmental ways and teaching me to be humble.

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And I really do love the frothy texture & fluffy nibs of what I think is the silk component. This yarn is beautiful,  however, I do think it seems more like fingering weight, but it says DK weight, so what the heck. I think Remix will be excellent for the fluffy light-weight  ‘ easy care ‘  walking sweater I am experimenting with.

Berroco Remix Light Specifics:  Made in France of “100% recycled fibers”.   30% Nylon, 27% Cotton,  24% Acrylic,  10% Silk, and 9% Linen.    DK/3 weight, 100 gram ball with 432 yards/400 meters.   Construction is two plies and wonderfully nubby with many flecks of different colors.   Shown in color ” light almond “.  $12.50 per ball , a huge value, and I am knitting true to gauge of 5.5 sts & 8 rows as suggested with US5 – 3.75mm needles.

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In closing I’ll add that in the wake of the wildfire eight months ago now, the loggers are blowing through the area like a tornado, falling big Redwoods & Douglas Firs everywhere around, and turning the forest soil into dust with the massive excavators, leaving behind a real colossal mess of unusable timber.  And although I’m sure harvesting the dying  trees is the right thing to do, we have chosen not to on our comparatively modest piece of woods, mostly because I could not bear having excavators come in and churn up the soil in what is the woodland where my Knitting Trail is, and also because many of the trees are clearly not dead in their crowns.   We will deal with the Douglas Firs survival at their own pace, some which may live and many which in their decomposing state will become habitat for the insects, woodpeckers, and myriad other living beings… and yet they will very likely stand upright for another ten years before falling.  Not wishing to meet face to face with logging trucks on our narrow road, I choose to stay home, and get things done…mostly designing frenzy, which means a lot of knitting, and ripping out, and re-knitting.

Meanwhile, I have taken to the ridge again!!! I have abandoned my knitting trail for it is lost in the chaos of noise and chain saws close by,  and so there’s me trekking up the mountain once again while knitting. Enjoying being up at the peak of the mountain several times a week now, and overlooking what is the treat of treats in panoramic views at 2600 feet elevation. Oh how I missed that while I was six months away, and oh how friendly is the pace of nature reseeding the grasses and bringing the landscape swiftly back.  I am doing much better today than a week ago, and making excellent progress on a percentage system design which I can not wait to show you.   Until then, enjoy the Summer Solstice creeping up later this week!

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…

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Yesterday walking about with Emma,

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

A tint of wild rose.

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Along my knitting trail, explosions of new growth in the charcoal forest, and an occasional over-dyed skein drying from the branches.

A few weeks back, only a couple of days after we moved into our new Tiny House,  I dyed this sock yarn with food coloring. My favorite shade of rose inspired by the old-fashioned roses in my garden …

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But perhaps mostly,  the dusty rose of my tea pot .

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I was going to make this whole experiment into a dying tutorial, and had taken down the steps, but thought to wait how it turned out.   At the dying stage, the experiment was working beautifully, having gone from two balls of Patons Kroy in color Linen ( in this post recently) , to what I was trying for ;  a dusty grey rose tinted slightly variegated overdyed yarn.

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The yarn came out exquisitely.  So I decided to knit the socks.   It took a few weeks, and now here are the results, of um, their good side

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Unfortunately , I am not impressed with this dye, not at all.  Because although the yarn may have been dyed to near perfection, and even though I used vinegar to fix, as I suspected the food coloring would not last… which it did not… in the first wash, there are blotchy patches of fade, showing the tan shade of linen beneath, after drying in the sun, on the faded side …

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So its back to my favorite Jacquard Acid Dye if I am ever to dye again at all.    Dying is such a hazardous hobby, and I really was hoping I could rely on food coloring, but that was wishful thinking.

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A lot of work to put into knitting these beautiful Fishermen Socks  only to have the dye leech out. But with very little yarn left over, I am really happy of the knitting itself, which was very enjoyable, and I fear I am thoroughly addicted to knitting these St Andrews Harbour socks , piles of them, and may just keep on knitting them for the forthcoming winter holiday gift season.

jenjoycedesign© over-dye

This pair will not be worthy of gift giving next winter holiday, but they will be most excellent hard wearing boot socks for my LLBean gardening boots, and what I was thinking of back in this post , of roses captured in socks!

Pattern:  St Andrews Harbour 

Yarn:  Patons Kroy Sock, color ” Linen “, overdyed with food coloring, five parts red to one part blue.

Ravelry details here.

 

Our Tiny House

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Greetings from our  Tiny House in the Charcoal Forest!

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Our Tiny House arrived here at the beginning of May,  and now we have fully nested back in our charcoal forest. It was a major ordeal hauling it up the mountain with low branches over the roads, and a colossal stress, but things have calmed down now and we are getting use to two people and one large dog in a place that is very small. Our tiny house has frightfully few drawers, or closets, but very nice walls, surfaces, fixtures, and huge windows. It is tidy, efficient, artful, and crazy cozy!  I even have plenty of blithe sunny angles to contemplate …

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We’ve managed to get the bare essentials in as best as we could. Jeff made a counter extension into the stair landing so that there is a tiny bit more kitchen counter and a couple shelves for necessaries (ahem, those “drawers” in front of the sink, they’re fake, a tease, just for looks, but no complaints about the deep sink!) , and we still need to put up some shelves and cup hooks and such.  There are two lofts, one with stairs going up to a platform with 5 foot overhead, it is our bedroom & has room enough only for our mattress ( restorative naps like from a nest in the trees !)  and the other loft has a steep ladder going up, over the bathroom, with about 4 feet overhead and which serves as an attic.  The saving grace is that Jeff  built a shed, which is about 25 feet from the Tiny House, and where we have the luxury of temporary storage, all of our clothes, chairs & dressers I collected in last 6 months, and boxes etc… and… a washer & dryer which will be moved to the house when it is built one day.  So that’s me trotting back and forth countless times a day,  and with my knitting trail right at the doorstep,  and all the wildness I am in need of ~~ ho hum,  I tell you, this is “glamping” !

The outside paneling is torched & sealed wood , a method called  shou sugi ban , which apparently has excellent preserving qualities, as well as fits right in with the charcoal forest !    Hunkering down for the long haul now, until our former house is rebuilt.

Knitting as usual…

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And napping…

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I’m so grateful that our Tiny House has super efficient heating & cooling, so I can close all the windows up and it becomes nearly sound proof, which is helping me cope with the loud noise of chain saws and bulldozers of the loggers at work nearby, and eventually the construction of the house. Eventually. Once in a while a huge tree lands with a thud and shakes the Tiny House, but here inside we are safe and far enough away not to be bothered too awfully much.  Still trying to find my former manic wave, while adapting to the big changes going on, but  I wanted to post this for our friends and family who have been wondering how our new living situation is.  That’s us. Here. Now.

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Everything in its place, and life is good.

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In closing, I just wanted to say that I’d love to hear more from you.  I want to encourage some chattiness (plenty of space in the WordPress comments)…so please don’t be shy, and tell me about you!

Nifty ankle socks!

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A fresh pair of St. Andrews Harbour socks !  I’ve been experimenting further with this fishermen gansey style, with a pair of short sporty ankle length socks.  I also wanted to test the pattern in fine fingering sock yarn, and I’m so happy because I am finding this pattern to be ultimately versatile.

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Note: The pattern is written for sport weight yarn for adult sizes (womens med to mens large) but I wanted to see what size would result knitting the main chart in fingering-weight sock yarn. I find that what is lacking in circumference ease, I made up in length with an extra repeat, as knitted fabric is so extremely pliable & stretchy in all directions, they fit snugly and beautifully, and the toes still have room to wiggle.

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Oh, I thought I’d mention that the yarn I used is Knit Picks Stroll in Dove Heather, and which I over-dyed with blue food coloring, resulting in a lovely variegated hand-dyed affect.  Also, Knit Picks Stroll is a superwash merino wool/nylon fine-fingering sock yarn, and is oh so soft, but also tends to get a little fuzzy, which is more noticeable in this photo…

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I knit the yarn with US2 [2.75mm] needles with about 8 sts = 1″, and I am sure that if knit with smaller needles, getting 9 – 10 sts = 1″ , that these socks — in the Chart A–  would be great for children. I am really happy with the experiment, and now I can confidently recommend this sock pattern for small sizes!

Pattern: St Andrews Harbour socks, in Chart A (56 stitches).

Size: Circ = 6.25″ flat, unstretched.  Height = 5″.  Foot length = 9″

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll fingering weight sock yarn.

More details on Ravelry HERE.

 

Back home, in the Charcoal Forest . . .

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Do you know what day it is today?

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It is Emma’s birthday!

She is thirteen!!

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Woof !!!  :: shake ::

She is wearing just her sock now,  and finally her inflatable collar & cone seem to be phasing out more because her old surgery wound which very mysteriously un-healed in the last six months, is beginning to heal again.  I don’t know about you, but I really do think its stress related.   Which brings me to mention we have moved back up to our Charcoal Forest! We are now living in a Tiny House which arrived April 30th, and what an unbelievable ordeal it was to get it up here !!!     All I can say is that we three are exhausted and recovering from a load of stress,  but ever so grateful that we are home.

jenjoycedesign© Emma 13th BD back home

Emma’s office

Since it is Emma’s birthday, I will give her a belly rub and a pat on the head from all of you!  I had really meant to brush her up nice before her portrait shot, but did not happen, therefore the birthday girl is looking a bit scruffy & ungroomed.  I thought in honor of her birthday I’d link to all Emma posts here.

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Now home,  with a sense of belonging to a place, and I feel a great release of stress and sadness,  so I will close this post as my old signature use to be,  by saying even with all of its trials & tribulations…

Life is good.

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Yarn Tasting: Kroy

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I have knit up a pair of St Andrews Harbour socks

in a new yarn I’ve never tried,

and I’m smitten!

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This yarn was found quite unexpectedly in a maze of aisles , with shelves of acrylic yarns reaching nearly to the ceiling,

and I was so surprised to have to tame my yarn snobbery,  for this yarn was found at our local Michael’s Craft Store!

Modest little balls of Kroy …
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Yes folks, the secret is out, the  yarn is Patons Kroy Sock; a washable wool & nylon 4ply sock yarn, and a surprisingly rustic feeling yarn, in a surprisingly rustic solid shade of “flax” …  (see my post  A Rustic Yarn to get the meaning ).   The confusing thing is that on the label it says “super fine fingering” , don’t let that fool you,  fine fingering weight is not at all what it is, this yarn is 166 yards per 50 gram ball, which equals 332 yards per 100g, definitely in the category of sport-weight. Other yarns with this same yardage are super popular Malabrigo “Arroyo” — which I believe would make the perfect soft sock for this design,  and Cascade 220 sport (not the superwash one) which was the yarn I knit the cover prototype of the pattern, and one of my all-time favorite yarns.     Kroy is sport-weight yarn,  ignore the label.

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This pair of fishermens socks were knit with option to switch to stockinette after gusset decreases are finished, which makes a little less bulky in the shoe ( see Ravelry project details here)     Anyway, I think  I have found a really affordable  “vintage”  feeling  yarn for these fishermen socks;  the yarn is a bit rough at first, but as I knit it it feels better and more compliant, and I just know its going to soften a lot in the wash. Crazy, as I’m such a connoisseur of yarn, but it behaves very well, knits up very stretchy & brings out wool’s best elastic properties, and with great stitch definition.

Oh and the color ” Flax ” is ideal for a rustic old-fashioned look, and I bet the Fishermen of olden days would have loved a pair of socks made from this yarn. Will try the “Gentry Grey” soon, thinking these two colors are the only heathered solids in this yarn. Afterthought: Um… well, folks, I figure now that I can over-dye the Flax color, and have just bought 4 more balls and ideas rushing to the fore!

A Rustic Yarn

A truly rustic yarn, made in a small scale production, is so wholesome it resonates history with each stitch.  In a bygone era yarn was made for the locals, from the local sheep, with woolen mills scattered along rivers, because at one time before the use of electricity it was the power of water which drove the machinery.  Those ancient days are gone now, but there are still a few yarn mills today, making yarn with very old  machinery, in small batches.

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In small scale production, a whole fleece off-the-sheep, in its entirety, would be carded and blended, often with no ‘skirting’, and with all the varying shades a natural fleece can have, resulting in each batch being very individual, and creating what I call a rustic yarn.  Today there are still a few old mills standing , where the end result of making yarn is nearly as it was done on the small holding farms.  I might add how nice these small scale boutique mills are for the Indie Designer who wishes to produce a personal line of yarn to sell and with which to prototype their designs, and I am observing a growing number of such designers who are doing this that it seems to have become the fashionable In Thing.  

This of course all is leading up to a Mill Tour, with a short film I recently discovered, about one of those few old mills still standing,   Cushendale Woolen Mills,  in Ireland…

I just love these films of old mills.  Evidently I have begun to collect quite a few, so have created a category on Yarnings called “Mill Tours”,  so click HERE to peruse them all ~~~ I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Un Chullo

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Another birthday chullo for my brother.  He just loves them so much, he wears them like hair.  For this birthday I chose to make an anniversary of last April’s Camino Inca Chullo pattern release, knitting from the pattern. This one samples the Incan wave motif, and I knit it up in some lovely soft Juniper Moon “Herriot” yarn, which is 100% undyed baby alpaca, and this baby is soft!    My brother likes the folk look of the ‘gnome’ crown, so I worked the option for slower decrease and it is just a bit gnome like…
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Its the tassels that my brother really loves, and with a brow/mustache comb that has needle-sharp brass teeth, I am able to comb through the pompom fringe and fluff up the fine hairs to a really fine furry puff …

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Voila!  I even tied on an extra bit of yarn to comb into a tassle at the tip of the earflap.

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This being the last of the deadline knitting, I am now able to spend some time experimenting with the traditional “mens”  chullo ~~ the varied regional methods of picot edges, and knit with needles traditionally made from  bicycle wheel spokes!     When time, opportunity & energy come together in the near future,  I will continue where I left off, and embark on a new chullo knitting adventure !    But for now I will leave you with an artful & inspiring short travel ad film  which gives glimpses of the wild landscape and colorful textiles of Peruvian Highlands that I have been so very drawn to …

 

From within a garden gate…

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I am hopeful and ready to cultivate something verdant and lush,  a wonderful secret garden, a tonic for a feeling of well-being and happiness wherein the garden fence I can be a caretaker of living things and feel at home, a place out under the sky where the nameless meadowy wild flowers and grasses thrive along side vines of berries, succulent sedums, herbs, foxglove, sturdy fruit trees.  All together keeping time of the seasons together under the showers of the skies or sprinkler, and the comforting shade skips around in a merry frolic with the suns rays.     In wet months miners lettuce explodes in edible clusters,  and somewhere near,  maybe a lucky mushroom pops up…

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”  A. A. Milne

Foraging about in a garden, a secret garden, the kind only a few people visit (namely myself) … with a lovely and nice gate to keep the world out and the magic in. Garden gates utterly fascinate me right now… check out this beauty…

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The garden is  like a favorite room in a house.  In mornings of April through October there’s me holding a watering hose in one hand and cup of coffee in the other, with knitting bag slung across my shoulders. I am dreaming a thriving green oasis from within my Charcoal Forest, and garden with walls of pink jasmine (just planted, six plants!) to vine and cover the lower fence, and shield from vision the blackest of burn,  and the apple trees trying to shake off the scorched leaves of last Autumn’s wildfire as their new leaves are determined to emerge soon,  very soon, they must, because I just see them in my mind!

“Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.” Sigmund Freud

A place to go, to work hard and get dirt beneath my nails, a  place where  the soul meets life, and the worries of the world are forgotten. My thoughts these days are of knitting, and of a garden with knitting trail made new.   

Petra’s Tam

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Pattern:  St Andrews Harbour (Petra’s Tam)

Yarn:  Alice Starmore’s Hebridean 3ply, in Golden Plover

Details on Ravelry: here

It was a lovely knit!   I do recommend the tam in this pattern “set”, for it is so fetching,  sporty, awesomely sea-worthy, and a totally essential accessory of one’s outdoor wardrobe.  This one is made from worsted weight yarn, and it is a bit fashionably floppy, however, knit with finer yarn such as sport weight, it would be just right. If done in Starmore yarn, I would do better to suggest  Starmore’s Hebridean 2ply.   I want to knit another one or two from my handspun yarn, talked about in Tweed Chronicles  which has so much meaning through a time of upheaval as was my obsession in the months right after the wildfire. So on to the next!

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Meanwhile, I’ve composed a little letter to all of you who follow Yarnings, a new category on Yarnings, entitled “Letter from the editor” ,  to let you know what is going on with us during this time of epic change.

Dear Everybody ~

On to new adventures, and news on every page!    First, our stay at our first holding place did not last long, the landlords want to move back in, and that’s fine, because I’ve longed with a great ache in my heart to live back up on the mountain in my charcoal forest.  Second, the county administration and engineers are making our getting a permit to (re)build hugely difficult and drawn out, adding insult to injury. I don’t really want to talk about details, but we have no real timeline as to when we will be rebuilding, or what we will be rebuilding,  or when we will be living up there in our rebuilt house.  So the original post I made right after the wildfire in October entitled  “Ten Acres ….”   written two days after evacuating our house, flames still smoldering, is now ringing in the rafters as we are in process of getting a Tiny House to park a few hundred yards away from the building site,   nestled right near the trail head to my knitting track in fact.    If I can try to be optimistic, I will tell you that this pleases me a lot, if choices are dreary and few right now, shifting around from city rentals, and not being able to walk in the woods properly has been detrimental to my attitude,  and mental as well as physical health.   Also Emma has been to the vet and back many times in the last months, her wound from her surgery last summer (posted here) never healed properly, and she is cheerily going day to day from stitches to staples, from cone to inflatable collar, but aside from all of that seems to be in good health.    Meanwhile  Jeff has suddenly been laid low from the stress of the whole ordeal of the county, the moving out (again) that he’s caught a bad bug and its developed into pneumonia, but worry not, he is of heroic constitution and never sick, and now on antibiotics will get well soon.    As for me, I’ve thrown my back out and hobbling around, on pain killers,  feeling taped together at best.  Oh, but finally I managed to get a hold of some 90tpi carding cloth, and finally made another jumbo carding & blending board to replace the original , left behind in the wildfire,  (colossal thanks to Adele for lending me your Ashford Blending board these past months! xoxo)  … and so I am ready to get back into tweed-making, visualizing a tiny space in the Tiny House to be my new creative “loft” space.  In fact, I plan on moving into the Tiny House with a good and positive attitude and stop feeling sorry for myself so much.    Years ago we stayed in a treehouse,  (posted here), and I enjoyed myself immensely tucked away up in a nest in the trees,  knitting the hours away, a knitting retreat of retreats! I want to make this new Tiny House feel like that retreat did, and I am visualizing constant knitting & walking, as well as constant gardening.  The garden was the one thing that (mostly) did not burn in the wildfire, so I want to be near it to nurture it and water, and make it an oasis where I can go be with living growing things, and to realize how great it is just to wake to another day.      Wish us luck, and I’ll keep you posted

~~ xxJen   ( aka ‘ the editor ‘ )

St Andrews Harbour Socks

Go now fishermen of olden days, slip away into the blues and greys of dawn.
Find me,  cast away,  and  draw me back in your nets of knotted flaxen twine, for I long to be caught and reeled back in to the world.  O’ to be born into the day once again!

jenjoycedesign© stack of socks

St Andrews Harbour in Scotland, is an historic fishing harbor inspiring this classic ensemble of fisherman gansey style socks, mitts, and tam.

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Historic St Andrews Harbour, Fife, Scotland

Remember my series of fishermen neck gansey posts  from last year?

Well, I’ve returned, with a fishermens gansey for your feet !

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And for hands….

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There’s an option for kilt-hose style turned cuffs ~~ adorned with kilt flashes or ribbons tied beneath cuff and folded down, this variation resonates the Scottish Highlands!

Option for legwarmers, anklewarmers, & boot cuffs….

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boot cuffs ~ ankle warmers

Alive O’ !!

A bonus gift included of “Petra’s St Andrews Harbour Tam” !

Because nearing the end of my pattern writing for the socks, my good & dear friend Petra had been busy  test-knitting the socks, but was also (secretly) adapting the sock pattern to a proper sea-worthy tam…

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Thank you so much Petra for your tam contribution! ~ xx

So beautiful, easy to knit, and a Must Have! I am knitting one straight away ~~ but more on the tam knitting later.  For now I am working like a team of knitting fisher lassies to get all this pattern submitted and sorted out.

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Happy Spring everyone!

I have pushed to have this ready on the Vernal Equinox and and shared in short series of fishermen posts, and at last here it is ~~ done & dusted!

Pattern found on Ravelry HERE. 

Washed ashore…

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Washed ashore.

A poignant pause in a short series of sea fishing posts,    reeling in sentiment for those fishermen who fight the sea,  in love with the sea,

yet inevitably helpless in the incidences where the water, weather, and sea creatures dominate with harsh indifference.

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Sea monster ready to swallow up ship and crew — drawing 1600’s.

” Humanity is always fallible, through every man individually or a crew collectively, (there is) a break in the chain of watch-keeping or good navigation, and there comes tragedy. Going to sea against those elements to take home that resource can never remain safe ” — as heard in previous post from Unknown Fisherman.

 Fishermen Fact:    In the face of tragedy, the fishermen gansey (guernsey) or sweater, its varied patterns on brave & broad shouldered men such as these, is a marker of identity…

“Each gansey has a unique pattern which varied from village to village and from family to family. If there was a shipwreck or accident the bodies washed up on the shore could be identified by their gansey as being from a particular village and family. In this way the fisherman could be returned to their family for burial”… read more

The sea is a dangerous place, and fishermen have had to work within its raw and elemental  nature for as long as they’ve taken harvest from it,  from centuries past to present.   The sporting Fishermens Gansey as we know today,  has survived its original purpose of rugged & essential gear, knit by mothers, wives, and sweethearts, to keep their fishermen warm and safe against the elements as well as they could…

But even so, the fishermens gansey has come into the spotlight of fashion as a genuinely attractive style of knitwear, and knitters have appreciated the cables, moss stitch and purl textures for generations already. As I have also been smitten by those timeless textures,  at last I am bringing the spirit of the sea into a small collection of rugged and sea worthy accessories that I’ve been working on this winter like a team of fisher lassies …

Alive O’ !

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A fresh catch ready to be sorted & groomed for photos (and with pattern forthcoming),  saluting the iconic woollen fishermen gansey, in an assortment of knitteds that every fisherman or fisherwoman, should never be without ! 

blue things

jenjoycedesign© cappuccino and knitting
In the last weeks I’ve been  frequently knitting at the Oakville Grocery cafe to quell life’s blues.  Just a quiet little deli & espresso place on the highway with vineyard views in all directions,  and with picnic benches in the back where I can bathe in the morning winter sun while making progress toward the  finish of a new pattern.  And Emma and I are getting out a little bit for (mostly short) walks on the ridge.

Although it appears the walk up the ridge has lost it’s charm completely, I am trying to embrace it, hoping for better days ahead and the mysterious healing power of Spring.  Other blues:  An intensely blue sky over Oakville on Sunday.  A blue balloon descended from the sky, tangled in the woods,  omen-like.   My blue knitting bag hung on a burned branch while walking up the ridge.  Need I mention the blue knitting with cappuccino?   I would like to see some blue wildflowers soon. Oh but hey, the vernal equinox is only a week away!

The Textiles of Cusco 2

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I am very much enjoying learning about Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez and her life’s work establishing the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco , and keeping part of the past alive.  She has fought an important battle bringing  back the straying generation which nearly put an end to the skilled weavers of the Cusco region, and result has established institution and industry in Cusco,  while  bringing next generations back into the nest of tradition.    Nilda, you go girl!

I am deeply inspired by the imagery of the Andes mountains,  and of industry in spinning, weaving, and knitting  from the Cusco region.  It is obvious that I romanticize their more provincial lifestyle, although I do consider myself very lucky that I can set my feet into a degree of provincialism while at the same time choosing what I like from convenience of the modern world.  I know from my own that it is hard work refining a life in craft has nearly in itself become a novelty in the modern world.   A work ethic in craft is to me all consuming, as I savor and enjoy growing the goodness of making.

Here are a few short interview films about Nilda and her work…


I have found and purchased out one of Nilda’s  books and am looking forward to it arriving by mail, and of sharing it here forthcoming .  I am fascinated in  weaving, and the colors create from natural dyes (as well as natural un-dyed yarns) , but as I am committed to knitting, I hope the muse touches me and brings more ideas into the knit  design that I do.  More to come about my views of the richly exotic textile traditions in the nest of the Andes, so watch this space!

Read more about Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez…

 Nilda’s Wikipedia
Nilda’s books on Amazon
Interview with Cloth & Clay
Interview with World Strides
Smithsonian Folk Life Festival

 

The Textiles of Cusco

What do you get when you bring together a remote and rugged high mountain range, herds of soft downy llamas, alpacas, sheep, and an indigenous people who’s thirst for artfulness is apparent in all they do?   You get beautiful textiles steeped in ancient traditional, as in the Cusco region of Peru!

I’ve been watching this video over and over, fascinated in the weavings of the Cusco region, and life’s work of Nilda Callañaup Alvarez ,  while I knit and think about All Things Peruvian.  So much that I’m feeling a deep inward shift in this direction. But that is all for now, more to come later, on Nilda and Traditional Textiles of Cusco!

Soon I will have to put everything down to make my brother a chullo, which I knit nearly every year around his birthday, and I am giddy because this year I will get to knit one from my own design.

♥    ♥    ♥

News: I am happy to say that we got the quote from the building contractors, and we’ll manage to build our house again!  We will have to do some of the finish work ourselves, like flooring, and who knows what else, but that is nothing like when we built the whole house before. The timeline of starting date is still unknown, as is an estimated time of finish,  and I suppose everything is getting queued up for a fast and furious build sometime this upcoming spring.  I find it so difficult to blindly wait without knowing when I will go back home.   Anyway, the  very best-case scenario, if everything goes well, and which I am visualizing for dear life,  is that we could very possibly be moving back into our rebuilt house this …  coming …  Autumn … ?