newness & oldness

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 2

Spinning in a room that feels old and familiar,

yet is barely even new.

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 1

The rest of the house is in building chaos & still no doors,  but I’ve got the skeleton of my Loft room in place,  filled with old furniture.  I have everything I think I could possibly need, as I have been collecting the essential now for nearly two years, and some unessential as well. I am exhausted of shopping,  I want to be doing now.

I have struggled with the place of things in this room,  but now I think I have arrived at a floor plan that works, although a bit on the cozy side. I am so intrigued with clean surfaces lately, with everything in its proper drawer or cabinet, so the bookcase of three shelves is potentially problematic and some day I plan on downsizing as it for its too large for my little library,  dangerously inviting clutter, and therefore indecision into the room.   jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 6

I have been indecisive and feeling strangely familiar with everything, yet at the same time I feel an awkward discord just not being use to anything.  I hope that odd feeling goes away in time as I begin to work at things, because now all tools of the trade are ready.  I am waiting for the waves of inspiration to carry me away!

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 4
So far only spinning for a project.

I am committed to these fluffy beautiful swirls of wool and getting themt spun at a casual pace in the weeks ahead,

and committed to getting to know this room of newness & oldness.

In the beginning of Jenjoyce Design…

I’ve recently met in person a new follower of this blog,   and I was asked an interesting question ~~ what am I selling? Yarn? Even though it has seemed to me self evident all these years,  I’ve been contemplating about it since, whether it is maybe not so evident anymore.   I really never thought about this site being anything other than a blog, established 2010 (formally known as “Yarnings”) just to write about my creative projects, and life on the mountain, peppered with occasional philosophical musings, often including Emma (our dog) or Jeff (my partner), and loads of appearances by my nieces.

A little backstory:  I came on to WordPress just as craft blogging had rather glutted the cyber space almost ten years ago. I began a blog first set private for just me and some friends & family to read, then I bravely changed the settings to unlisted shortly after, so I could share the link with the broader craft blogging world, and not until I started to sell my first knitting patterns, in 2013, did I change the settings to public with the domain jenjoycedesign.com.  Originally my knitting was mostly about designing things for my young nieces, which was so amazing, and taking loads of photos of them, all which has been a colossally fun way to share time together and they’ve really gotten comfortable with modeling over the years (you see the photo shoots of them going back to the first sweaters in 2010 here in the archives  ,  but one must scroll pages back to see oldest posts). 

I guess now with so many platforms of social media, blogging does sound rather old school and maybe the whole thing about having a blog to document one’s creative endeavors can seem kind of self absorbed (especially when the author does not interact with the commentators) but I honestly gain massive inspiration from this blog, and incentive to come up with interesting things to do and write about!  Besides, I have been grateful for the followers; the chat in the comments has been grounding for me, and have always tried to engage with those few who appreciate what I’m putting out there.   Anyway this place has been and still is . . .  just a blog.

I have been doing okay selling patterns over on Ravelry.com , and my designs on my designer page there are constantly linking back to this blog for tutorials, deeper explanation & sharing of inspirational beginnings. As well, every design shown in the sidebars or up in the tabs ” My Patterns ” when clicked makes a bee line straight to the pattern page on Ravelry.

Through it all I have not yet gotten bit by the social media bug, and even though I have accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, the former two which WordPress automatically posts to in my settings, I am rarely on them. I fully intend to use these social media sites more effectively in the future,  but as yet I rarely author posts specifically on any of them.

So to answer this recent question I must say that it is only digital download knitwear patterns I sell, through Ravelry.com , but a lot of what I write here is in support of those designs I sell,  as tutorials, sharing process of making,  and interest cross-overs with the wider knitting (and even non-knitting) world.  Ravelry is great, really awesome actually, and the virtual knitting platform has helped me make a little money in recent few years, although I really do work very hard at it. It is pretty much all I do these days outside of my domestic work (regretfully I have not been playing music professionally for several years now). Oh, and on Ravelry I have a forum where I support the designs, and folks can get help or make knitterly chatter.

So what are all the yarn posts,  in Tweed Chronicles and Unspun,  that I’ve got up there in the tabs?  In these things I am not selling anything, but offering up for free, my trials and discoveries ~~ that is all.

jenjoycedesign© spinning in September 2

For the present  I don’t think selling yarn & knitting related objects in a virtual shop appeals to me ,  as so many top tier indie knitwear designers do, perhaps as a sort of mark of  legitimacy,  for in these recent two years of difficult transition I fear an online shop would end up a misfire, and a hassle of retail inventory of which I have not a single square foot of space or extra time for.  I keep thinking one day I will do a virtual shop here, but for now digital pattern downloads are great;  pure intellectual goods where I have had to learn to wear all the hats, from the designing, to writing, pattern tech editing & format design, photography, and lastly design promotion.  Okay, there is the buzz word – promotion –  and marketing. All in good time folks, in good time for sure, but I need to settle in my mind and in my new home, which is still not near finished, nor are we living in it yet, before I can grasp a solid approach with it.  I am still exploring how I want to go to do my best with Jenjoyce Design.

For now Ravelry sells my patterns for me with their huge data & customer base, and my pattern design page is slowly growing in numbers, but I am only one among the thousands of competitive indie knitwear designers on Ravelry, seemingly all so similarly climbing the popularity ladder.   I want to refine and distinguish my brand, and that is to write spinner friendly patterns (with extensive gauge charts in many sizes) and so there you have it, the reason for all the spinning tech posts. I am evolving in the direction of writing patterns for every kind of knitter, but even those who are spinners and have unique gauge issues, or those those thrifty knitters who want to use recycled or novelty yarn with no clue as to how to adapt gauges. This is why I am working like an ox presently spinning-to-knit the first sweater in decades, which you can read about in the series ” Spinning For A Project ” .

I will get back to posting about Knitting In The Wild when the wild places around here have become a little more accessible in the wake of the wildfire, and which I like to do especially at the turning of the seasons,  and also sharing my recipes, and Emma,  garden, and random philosophical musings as I love to do. My life and this blog is a work in progress, and as life pushes and pulls me along my way I unceasingly strive for a perspective of positivism.  

Meanwhile, I’ve been spinning up a storm with the recent big 500g Sweater Project, spending more and more time with my Ashford Traditional Wheel in the loft space of the new house.  Although the project is epic, I am learning a lot about spinning still, and then it will be already to knit up into something I’m designing just for it!

jenjoycedesign© spinning in September 3

Early morning spinning, in thoughtful repose.

Spinning For A Project – Part Four: Fiber Preparation

jenjoycedesign© Rose Blend 7I am more than half way through my fiber preparation, and I am really happy to say that I have made a breakthrough with the blending board!   In the last two years I have been doing a lot of fiber blending experiments but it seems recently I’ve noticed my results are overly compact rolags, so much that spinning has been difficult. I couldn’t even see why I ever decided trying to spin from the rolag method or why I thought it was better.

Backstory: If you see my post from August 2017  “Woolen or Worsted?”  ,  I muse a little bit about the preparation of the wool & that I noticed how it  affects the end result of the yarn.  Whether taken off the blending board in one big batt, and pulling apart into smaller sections, or using a ” diz ” to gather a continuous roving from your carded fiber, or like I am doing here, making rolags around two dowels from off the blending board, in a perfect world, a spinner should try all ways I would think.  I am aiming for a bouncy airy “woolen” spun yarn, and why I’m practicing spinning from rolags. 

After the first 50g color test of my 500 gram project of English Rose Tweed blend, I realized I may have a technique error.   I remember back in my first blending projects , especially this one, blended with super fine & fluffy ingredients, and how light & airy the rolags were, and so very easy to spin. So I tried a change with this batch; I lifted more and pulled over the teeth less.  That’s it! Just more lifting when rolling the fiber around the dowels ( I use slick aluminum needles) to make the rolags, and less pulling, and that took a lot of friction out of the process.  I guess my technique had morphed without my thinking about it, and over time I was working the rolags with a massive amount more friction. Well I had a big ” duh ” moment, and now I am conscious of this I am getting fluffy frothy whipped woolly confections again, to spin later.
Later that is, when I’m through blending all of the rest of the carefully measured ingredients to English Rose Tweed. Committing to the long-haul of a big project is something I haven’t done in a long long time. This is work I tell you! But just look at these beauties….  
jenjoycedesign© Rose Blend 1

See all posts in this series Spinning For A Project.

(( click 1st image to go to slideshow… ))

Spinning For A Project – Part Three: Color Test

jenjoycedesign© test spin 1

Continueing from Part Two where I assemble the ingredients of English Rose Tweed.

I think I really like it.  I really wasn’t sure that I wanted to have so much rose pink in a yarn for myself.  But then again, I recall having knit the protoype for Calidez Cardigan  in Berocco Inca Tweed in a color which has been woefully discontinued , I remember being disappointed I couldn’t find it again, and I really do think this spun English Rose Tweed is very similar, but not near as vivid.

Still, there it was in my brain that as I was spinning this test 25g spool I thought of how I would alter it if it is too color-intense. I thought; a little more white, and perhaps a splash of turquoise (or light blue & light green) to neutralize the deep pink. I really want to try that, so I decided to take half of one of the rolags here and blend it with some more white and turquoise (light blue & light green mostly), just to satisfy my curiosity. Here is the result of that , do you see it, on the right?  It is rather  subdued . . .jenjoycedesign© test spin 2

I wonder , did curiosity win in this case, and shall I proceed with the rest of the 450 grams by adding turquoise?  Or shall I keep the original, and spin up the rest of the 500 grams?

See all posts in this series Spinning For A Project.

♣    ♣    ♣

Incidentally, while I was walking up with my camera to the new house to go work this color test, I saw this most interesting mushroom right on the side of the road. I’ve never seen a mushroom sprout in August, but it has been rather humid lately. Istn’ it just beautiful? Does anybody know what sort of mushroom it is?

jenjoycedesign© mushroom by the road

Spinning for a Project – Part Two: “English Rose Tweed”

Part two of my series “Spinning for a Project” (see Part One) and second post of the day, this one being about designing the wool blend for the hand spun yarn, so eventually knit into a future project. A blend which I’m calling “English Rose Tweed” for the Malabrigo colorway’s namesake.  These are the wools I am blending all together to make 500g of yarn, the amount I forecast needing to knit a sweater.  (Note: So much of this fiber was a gift to me from “rescue spinners” after the wildfire, when I was given my Ashford Traditional wheel from L. ) When recently I thought to try the Malabrigo Nube roving, I chose “English Rose” and thought that I really wanted to try doing a blend with it with natural undyed roving.

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 7

I have weighed off each wool color into ten segments each, to put each together into ten 50g batches to do incrementally, but I wanted to share the recipe after the 1st blend, so I could refer to it for the rest of the batches, and so I could do a test spin-up on the first blending before proceeding.

From these…

DSC_0223

to these….

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 8

to these…

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 3rd blend

In the next post you will see these rolags all spun up!  I may not like the results after the first 50g test and add a color to continue, but stay tuned to find out if these are a keeper.  Also you can see all posts in my Spinning for A Project  series.

Okay, here’s what I did…

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff for English Rose Tweed…

  •  I need 500g for a sweater project; using 113g Malabrigo Nube (roving) in English Rose colorway, along with 122 g of grey merino, 200g mixed brown & natural wool (unknown breed) and 65g white cormo.
  • 500g of wool blend divides into ten 50g batches, so using a gram scale,  I divided all into equal 10 segments.

Note: With hand-dyed braid of Malabrigo Nube “English Rose”, I decided to keep a consistent color ‘bookmatch’ by splitting the dyed braid along the length into 5 segments, then each of those long skinny segments more easily in half, folded end to end and pulled apart at center. Otherwise, pulling apart the dyed roving when full thickness it was seriously hard (being 100% Merino), and should never ever be considered to cut it.

  • Layered very thinly one color at a time, alternately.  using this technique: Blending for tweed simplified
  • Lifted batt, and sectioned into strips of four, to photograph the transition wool rolls.
  • I took the wool and layered again, then photographed rolls again.
  • Layered wool rolls once more and drew off rolags.
  • I’m naming this colorway blend ” English Rose Tweed “
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

(( Click 1st image in mosaic to go to slideshow with commentary. ))

 

Spinning for a Project – Part One: How much fiber?

This post is about establishing amount of wool/fiber needed for a sweater, without knowing what I want to knit, and before I even spin the yarn, or have a gauge. But first, a little disclosure…

Disclosure: I am nearly a self-taught knitter and spinner, so I want to say that what I am about to experiment with is not from anything  I have read, but only from what I have personally experienced, and am continuing to do — please do not quote , copy or paste any of this anywhere, it is probably all wrong.  😉

Then a little backstory: I had a spinning mentor in the early 90’s who guided me through my first spinning and knitting projects. I recall being so overwhelmed with the spinning ahead of me when I decided to spin for my first sweater (had never even knit a whole sweater before), wondering about how on earth a person could know how much to spin to make one, and I recall my mentor saying “It takes about two pounds of wool to make a sweater.”   That’s it?  How did she know?   Well now I know that was her personal general sweater weight guideline, and she was likely speaking for her size; she was a tall and larger person than I was then, so I think she may have pared it down for me to about 1.5 pounds of wool. I do remember spinning up a lot of yarn for a project and having a lot left over after knitting it, thinking her overly simple guidelines impossible and inaccurate and was maybe even a little frustrated at all the extra spinning I was required to do to get the sweater I wanted. This is especially so because I had so much yarn left over ended up reknitting the sweater two more times in order to use up more of it.  Looking back I realize my mentor must have wanted  to be safe, knowing it to be safer to have too much yarn rather than too little, and the garment to be too big rather than too small, so I spun up way more than what was actually needed.  That sweater is a distant memory now, as I lost all in the wildfire, but I did post  that sweater knit in 1994 (scroll to bottom) back when I first began this blog in 2010.

That sweater was knit over 25 years ago, but the memory of it has come back to challenge me — and  I would like to experiment with the 2 lbs per sweater theory.  A couple of things to say right off is that now I am accustomed to the international yarn lingo and think in grams for yarn, and so I’ve got to put the conversion here:  2 pounds = 907.185 grams.  Let me round it to 900 grams of wool per sweater. That sounds rather generous though, maybe right for a large sweater, which would be 9 balls of Cascade 220 (up to 1980 yards) in worsted weight, or 7 balls of Cascade 128 (up to 896 yards) in bulky weight. Indeed an overshot by several hundred yards for most, but maybe as a safety barrier, the start-with-more-than-you-need thinking.  Hmmm,  I think I’d like to refine my theory a bit more that that.

I have no sweaters with me as they were all lost to wildfire,  but I have many knit for myself and others on my Ravelry pages with notes, and I see that  the last sweater I knit for myself using Studio Donegal Aran Tweed, used only 450g  or 9 (50g) balls of yarn.  450g = .99 pounds, that is roughly a 1 pound sweater.  Of course, I think it would be safest to round it up to 500 grams per sweater, or 1.1 pounds. Giving a wide berth for a comfortable yardage overshot, I am thinking maybe that I should have 500g per sweater be my personal “basic sweater” weight, with a comfortable overshot.  The comfortable over estimate is because in my experience most hand-spun is denser than most mill-spun yarns, and can often weigh more per yardage than the light fluffy balls we get from the yarn shop. I just want to be safe when spinning for something to knit like a sweater. If my sweater ends up being too small, I’ll happily keep it for the day I lose a few pounds, but this is my starting point of my experiment, and a 500g sweater it will be.

Now, one might wonder how the grams and yardage play out in a size.  Basically, the bigger or smaller your stitches, the fewer or more stitches in your tension gauge will be. My experiment is to see that weight of fiber and yarn remains approximately the same, even though yardage and gauge change. That 500g of yarn, whether dk weight, worsted weight, or super-bulky, in theory it should end up the right amount of yarn; given the stitch gauge is accurate, the appropriate size needles are used for the gauge, and I make consistently the same size and proportions.

Going from this theory; that weight remains consistent through the changing and varied selections of yarn & yardage, I have a hunch that if any of you out there who are reading this and are interested in experimenting along with me, if we go into our sweater chest, and pick out our favorite sweater (of average length & proportions) and weigh it, we will have a starting point, because as sure as can be, we can’t all abide by the Two Pound general rule of my old spinning mentor’s, and you can see how I’ve figured out my own from general rule.  I may not have any sweaters in my closet to weigh, but fortunately I have that sweater I knit for myself in Autumn 2016 in my Ravelry project page, right here, and I will go by that.

Your sweater might be 1 pound/450 grams , or 1.5 pounds/ 680g, or  2.25 pounds/1020g , or whatever. Also as all of us experienced knitters know, its essential to round up to more yardage & weight to allow for anomalies.  Where is all of this going? Okay, so I want to spin yarn again for something to knit, as its been a few decades since I’ve undertaken such a huge spinning project, and I want to aim for the yardage to be very close. I’ve got myself some roving all ready to go, and I just need to weigh it all and then I can begin the magic on my blending board! 500 grams sounds like an easy enough job of wool blending and spinning to me.   Watch this space for Part 2, the wool blending!

See all posts “Spinning for A Project” series HERE.

Footsteps

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 1

I am revisiting  footsteps  ~  a journey of finished samples from my own sock patterns ~  this one being my favorite and most recent sock pattern, “Walking With Emma”, and which I submitted  two months ago today.

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 3

In recent days it has been refreshingly cool, a sort of “eye in storm” of typical scorching heat of August,  so knitting up the second sock from the original stack of  ten-at-a-time  was quite pleasurable, and the perfect thing to be doing it seems, while the house rebuilding crawls through the summer months.

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 4

socks slung over four-post bed frame, not yet set up in Loft.

Anyway, this was really fun self-striping Kroy yarn that I picked up at the local Michaels store, and I’m pretty sure this very pair is my favorite of the ten.  Must finish up more of these to keep my spirits up ~~ so watch this space! 

♣    ♣    ♣

Pattern: Walking With Emma in the 2-stitch cable variation.

Yarn: Kroy Socks

Details: on Ravelry HERE. 

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 6

the waning summer

As the summer season wanes into its last weeks, I am feeling nostalgic.  It is probably just the the full moon passing, but the next time it comes around it will be the Harvest Moon, with the equinox very near. (The grape harvest has already tentatively begun here in the Napa Valley, for the sparkling wines.) In my nostalgia I thought I’d share a blissful little watch I found, decades old, about the natural habitat and crofting life in the beautiful windswept Outer Hebrides, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Back To School

jenjoycedesign© back to socks

On the heel of a second sock.

For many today is Back To School, but for me its Back To Socks.     I have let the daunting pile of  Walking With Emma   prototypes lay as one sock without their mate nearly the whole summer, as I’ve been messin’ around in non-knitterly things and quite distracted.  As I post this, the tiny house is getting rattled once again,  and not by falling trees from loggers  as last year at this time , but from big road machinery churning up and reshaping the road which bends around the tiny house, up to the rebuilt house.  Big water trucks, vibrating rolling tractors, blade tractors… you name it, all are doing the final layer before the finish coat, which is to happen very soon. (By the way, all of this bother & massive expense is a required code upgrade to comply with fire codes of county building, so that our road is ready when we get final inspection in coming months.))  I am meditating through all of the chaos, imagining knitting while walking along it, as the Autumn leaves begin to fall along with gentle October rains, softening the new lane up to our new house, blurring it into the landscape a bit.   Presently a sharply dramatic transformation from what use to be a somewhat ancient weather-worn and insanely rocky old logging road.
Oh! But all of that is just boring compared to what I did yesterday, on the last day of summer vacation, with my youngest niece, Miss Sixteen.  She is starting her junior highschool year, and on her last day of summer vacation she and I were in St Helena together in the morning,  photographing against the stone of the Catholic church, getting some head shots for some upcoming auditions.  She is seriously focusing these days on getting into musicals and plays (I think I did mention somewhere a few posts back, that she played the leading role “Maria” in summer production of West Side Story for a theater group in Santa Rosa in July?   She blew my socks off!   I tell you, this girl is a seasoned veteran of the stage already.)    So on the last day of summer vacation it was was blistering hot, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely for a few hours, frolicking in the town before she and I parted for home.   Here’s a few shots from our photo shoot of the celebrity herself, and as you can see, life is good.

Artifacts from the wild.

jenjoycedesign© arrow head 6
Hey, I just found an authentic Native American arrowhead !   About two hours ago I was just setting out for a little stroll and  I found this on the side of the road, right beside our tiny house. Last Autumn there was some road work which moved the earth a bit, and this was right next to a fir tree, which are known to unearth such things in their growth habit of pushing up the soil.  It is not complete, only a little over an inch, with the tip and shaft broken off, as most “used” arrowheads are when found. 

This is actually the second arrowhead I have found near our house, the first which I found and posted way back in 2011  which was a spectacular specimen,  although sadly our collection was lost to the wildfire. I must say, very close to our house, Jeff and I have found three, one of which was a large 3″ spear head.  There is no doubt to me that the lives of those indigenous people are superimposed in the present, just a blink away in time, as I often feel an ancient past around me, a sort of innate sensitivity to the wild I suppose.

Click 1st image in mosaic and go to slideshow of the discovery…

How to levitate a bathtub . . .

jenjoycedesignc2a9-sunrise
We finally got the bathtub that’s been sitting in the woods  down at the tiny house for over a year, up on to the 2nd story, all ready for the plumber who is coming tomorrow.   We brought it up on a pallet with Jeff’s relic of an old Ford tractor, then we did it just as we had on our first build 15 – 20 years ago; using straps and a come-along tied to a post, to pull the tub up the ramp into the house, then again, tied to a main beam up in the rafters to lift up on to the second story level, and maneuver into bathroom by hand. These photos make it look easy, but there was a  :hellofalotof:  grief involved, and the event completely shattered my day, even though I managed to get a few photos before and after the worst of it.  However, Jeff remained composed, and was on to the next project before I could blink. It is a wonderful little slipper bathtub, and once in its landing pad, I am surprised to see how roomy the space seems! (click 1st photo in mosaic to see slideshow).


I should mention so that there is no confusion if anybody hasn’t been following this epic journey homeward; do see the hyperlinks at the top of the post, and you’ll get the idea. Furthermore, although I was adamant about moving the tools of my trade up into the loft room at the soonest possible date (which was end of June) and it gives the impression that the house is ‘moved into’ , these photos of the bathtub arrival will sober anyone up to the fact that its still a major construction zone, and there is months of work to do before we have it final inspected, which still is an illusive date that I can’t at all even guess at presently.  But, appliances are arriving slowly, one by one everything is going into its place, and life is good.

Opalescent Spun

jenjoycedesign© opalescent 1

Opalescent is all spun.

I am amazed how six distinct pastel colors can just disappear into each other . . .

jenjoycedesign© opalescent 2

It is magic how when blended, spun and plied,  the colors homogenize into a silvery light grey.

But in this photo I enhanced color saturation with digital effects . . .

jenjoycedesignc2a9-opalescent-3-1.jpg

so you can see the subtle splashes of lavender, orange, yellow, mint green, pale blue, and pink, just as the original dyed fiber was before blending together . . .

It nearly defies logic how mixing opposites on the color wheel simply neutralize each other. I honestly can say, of all my experiments in Tweed Chronicles, this one surprises me the most!

See the blending recipe for Opalescent  HERE

See all Tweed Chronicles HERE.

Meet lovely Miss Singer. . .

jenjoycedesign© old Singer.JPG

Oh look!    Its the old late-1940’s Singer drop-down sewing machine I was talking about a short while back, that I found last January and bought myself for my birthday.   I was in need of a sewing machine and strangely have been feeling so nostalgic about sewing like the tailors & seamstresses of old days, with naught but a straight stitch.  I dream of hearing the racket of this thing going while industriously I create things of cloth, but right now I am going over the wood with citrus beeswax and sprucing up a little, to move up into the loft.
jenjoycedesign© old Singer 2
I think the bee in my bonnet of a couple of months ago has finally decided to start getting going, and as I got to thinking about what do I want to do with my time when moved in the new house, with a fresh new start.  Besides continuing on my knitting & design, I really think its time I start some quilt projects! I aspire to make another Amish style bed quilt or two, and a pile of throws, but really, just artful & mindful sewing in general. Starting with the little quilty things like table runners, pillows,  and the like.   She’s going to be a beautiful side-table to the bed frame I found last Autumn.  and posted in Four Posts.  Anyway, its going to need a couple of days airing out in the woods to evaporate the strong citrus odor, but soon the lovely Miss Singer will be in place and I will be stitching!

Tweed Chronicles: Opalescent

jenjoycedesign© opalescent mix 1

From these pastel primary & secondary colors,

each one like mouthwatering fruity candy floss . . .

jenjoycedesign© pastel primary and secondary

into these fluffy rolls . . .

jenjoycedesign© opalescent mix 10

Magically transforming,  while colors fuse

and melt into these opalescent silvery grey rolags  to spin !

jenjoycedesign© opalescent mix 13

I have been thinking about this mix for a year now, and finally was able to do it !   It is a pastel variation of my original recipe mix  Color Saturated Neutral”  , an experiment I did over a year ago.   I am amazed at how the colors just melt into each other , and these pale pastels washing out into a silvery opalescence ready for spinning.   This is how I did it . . .

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff for Opalescent…

  •  Equal parts of pastel primary colors: pink, pale yellow, light blue — plus — pastel secondary colors: pale green, lavendar, pale orange.  These were 6g each, for a total of 36g.
  • Layered very thinly one color at a time, alternately.  using this technique: Blending for tweed simplified
  • Lifted batt, layered again, total of three times.

NOTE: Each time you blend the mix, the colors become less distinctive and magically the all-over color becomes nearly a neutral. These were blended 3 times, then a 4th before drawing out rolags.  Blend only once or twice for most colorful results, 3 or 4 times for very subtle and subdued ” neutral ” results.

  • Lifted bat, and sectioned into strips of about 3, layered again, loosely.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • I’m naming this colorway blend ” Opalescent ” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

(( Click 1st image in mosaic to go to slideshow with commentary. ))

One + One = Spun

jenjoycedesign© skein in new loft

I have spun my latest blending experiment .

jenjoycedesign© spun.JPG

She’s a real pastel beauty,

spun on my Ashford Traditional Wheel,

which I am having a wonderful reunion with after being separated from for over a year.
jenjoycedesign© spinning

That about wraps up the first One + One blending recipe,  although I think I could have gone for even more white neutral — that would have been (1 + 1) + 1, which is blending again with more white after blending one + one,  or  1 + 2  which is blending one part dyed roving, and two parts white at the first weighing of portions.  I think I will refine this recipe a little more, but for now, its on to the Tweed Chronicles recipe I’ve been dreaming about doing,  as I’ve got in my pale primary & secondary colors finally … and well, you know where I’m going with this !

Tweed Chronicles: One + One

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 1

How good it is to be back to my Tweed Chronicles!  I seriously have been yearning for this moment for what seems forever, thinking about wool blending in my sleep.  So having moved tools of the trade into the new loft room, it is with great celebration that I resume my blending experiments, just as I was doing two years ago.    I have been contemplating a pale palette over the last year, ” pastels ” just appeal to me these days, wanting to tame the intensity in life with soothing color I suppose.  I received so many gifts from the spinning community after the wildfire, not only a beautiful Ashford Traditional spinning wheel from “L” (thank you so much L , I am forever grateful, and the Ashford is working beautifully after being stored four seasons in a shed!)  but there were many gifts of spinning wool too (thank you & hugs to everyone who sent wool!).  So now having everything nicely within reach, I looked over it all and got an idea with a hand-dyed color braid I found, by Nest Fiber Club, called “Muse”. 

Wanting to lighten up the color a great deal, I added one part white. I went from these . . . 

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white

To these . . .

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 2

to these . . .

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 3

and finally to these . . .

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 7

I reckon I will be spinning up these tasty wool sausages next and seeing how my hand at the wheel does after an unplanned hiatus.  This was the perfect re-entry into my blending experiments too, although I was a bit forgetful about the steps, it came out lovely. Now as I need some practice again with my recipe documentation, here’s how I did it . . .

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff for One + One…

  • Recipe I am calling “One + One” is 1 part hand-dyed colored roving plus 1 part undyed roving in natural white, grey, brown, or black, etc. (in this case white).
  • I split a sliver off the “side” of the length of dyed roving, along the entire length so that it has the same colors in sequence as the hand-dyed roving. I then weighed, and it was 28g. I then matched the same weight in ultra fine white merino, totaling 56g.
  • Then divided the two rovings equally into  4 thinner slivers ( made into little rolls to photograph) to hold together while drawing onto the teeth of the blending board, until the teeth were moderately full ( which actually only took three times, and why you see my wool rolls count go from 4 to 3)
  • Using paintbrush tool to lift batts from board, (rolling up again to photograph 1st mix) I drew out each roll onto the board again as before, resulting in slightly finer mixing of color, for a second batt.
  • Repeated last step again, ending after a third time.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Click 1st image in mosaic and go to slideshow in sequence with commentary… 

new place

jenjoycedesign© New Loft 1
My friends, I feel nearly back home because I have moved all of my tools of the trade into the work space that I have been without for what seems an eternity, and it is ready as ever to begin productive times.   As  posted a few days ago  ,  I have been busy moving into the new loft space, things I acquired since the wildfire; furniture from odd thrift & antique shops, now all packed to the gills with needles & tools, as well as wonderful yarns & delectable fibers to blend and spin.  These things which had stored in places frustratingly inaccessible for over a year, now are all very very much in my reach. jenjoycedesign© New Loft 2
Waiting to get back on with Tweed Chronicles,  as my home-made custom blending board #2 is ready to resume blending experiments . . .
jenjoycedesign© New Loft 6
jenjoycedesign© New Loft 7
And I do want to become better at photographing too. And oh look! It is the ledge of ledges, beneath the south skylight, is nearly as before . . .

jenjoycedesign© New Loft 4
The place of hundreds of photographs of knitteds past . . . here my long missed endlessly artful friends Light & Shadow announce their official return!
jenjoycedesign© New Loft 5.JPG

In the weeks and months ahead the house will slowly get finished, you will see it all happening in the backdrop of things as I post about this & that, then one day almost without notice, months down the line,  we will be moved from the tiny house up into the rebuilt house again, and life will be something like “before”.  I feel a deep gratitude to those of you who encouraged me along the way, through the worst in the wake of wildfire and beyond.

jenjoycedesign© New Loft 3

Now I think it is time to resume the work that I love, and I am overjoyed knowing that the most important things are at long last, here. Everything in its purposeful place, and life is good.

Landed in the new loft…

jenjoycedesign© objects de arte.JPG
Hi everybody,  its me,  Abelene.

We have landed!  Me, the Ashford wheel, and some dusty old baskets, up here in the new place, because Jen has decided to take claim and begin getting her tools of the trade into the far-from-finished loft, and months ahead of the house completion.  Jen spoke of a basket with a sock project in every room a while back in Never Far From A Prayer, and well, she ended up with quite a few (she says she’s embarrassed to admit just how many) vintage Longaberger baskets to load up with knitterly things. And spinnerly things too, and stash about places. She’s got plans for them all. The beautiful Ashford Traditional wheel is going to need some real polishing up, and the drive band got eaten by a mouse in the shed over the last year. Such is Life In A Shed.  Jen wants me to tell everybody how much she is looking forward to getting back to spinning and the Tweed Chronicles once her blending board #2 is all set up.

jenjoycedesign© tools-of-trade.JPG

Me, Ashford & The Longabergers, we love our new dwelling, and are snug as a bug in a rug!

Ta ta for now,
Abelene

Walking With Emma: A Pattern

jenjoycedesign© Walking-With-Emma 2

From The Archives:   January 2012 “Paws” 

On the eve of the Summer solstice I am celebrating fourteen years

of Walking With Emma.

jenjoycedesignc2a9-paws-2018

From The Archives: July 2018 “Out Walking”


And as Emma naps beside me at my feet,  I am enjoying coffee in the pause of a cool morning, putting finishing touches on the pattern pdf.  You see,  I have been knitting Ten At A Time socks with an impossible deadline to finish, and as the time for knitting lessens while the house rebuild work increases, I have jubilantly decided to put the pattern & photos together “as is”,  and get it submitted today.
jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma ribbed

An ensemble I am naming “Walking With Emma”.

jenjoycedesign© WWE cabled variations

Eight socks, one pattern.

(( click image below for enlarged detail ))

Walking With Emma is a collection of classic cables & ribs.  If knit with a rustic wool they are the quintessence of country socks, and so befitting of wandering in the rural spaces, as I have with my dog Emma!   And if made with fine to very-fine yarn, these socks can be as elegant as any occasion could ask for.     Four classic cables in a progression of 1/1,  2/1,  and two variations of 2/2 cable cross, as well as four plain ribbed variations, making eight ways to knit a sock.  This is an epic sock pattern for me because not only do I give it four charts, but six sizes to fit men, women, teens & kids…. and…. the pattern includes a gauge substitution chart so that you can use several weights of your favorite yarns, from rustic hand-spun to fine fingering, and even lace weight!

Please go get the latest pattern and set yourself in motion walking (or sitting) while knitting one or two or three or more of this collection . . .

  pattern is live on Ravelry HERE.

In closing, I’d like to mention that Emma and I are still “walking together” as you can see posted over here,  and we will greet the Summer Solstice this way!  Please click through this epic slideshow and view some great photos I have taken over the years, out trail-making and walking with Emma in our mountain landscape …

Solstice Approaching

jenjoycedesign© garden 8 Its very near to the summer solstice here, and this time of year always tricks me.    I am out watering every morning, and need to be as though my life depends on it (and it does), just keeping those plants green and alive.  If I miss many days watering in the summer, then plants wilt irreversibly and the whole thing is a goner before  August gets underway, then I just give up. But lately I’ve felt that keeping a bit of this arid mountainside a green oasis, is not only for the plants, but for a kind of green fire barrier, should another wildfire blaze through.   That means from early June until the first rains in mid Autumn I must water every morning and “weed whack” as a preventative approach, for my own peace of mind if anything. Certainly, a garden which actually makes edible things is a wonderful thing too!
jenjoycedesign© garden 10
The work up here seems overwhelming for me at this time, having been out of it for a couple of years nearly,  yet I suppose rebuilding our house is also about rebuilding my life. It is going to take a lot of effort clearly, if  we choose to continue living up here in the wild “fire safe”, so my life’s work for the next few months is in the garden and surrounding defensible space.  Already the grass is too high, and because of the rain in May, needs to be cut yet again!   Oh but I do feel proud because some of the perennial plants in the garden are already old-timers, knowing that everything I planted was either a cutting or a young plant from the nursery, and what is now many years old has grown to be test-proven in this harsh mountain climate.
jenjoycedesign© garden 11
Rugged perennials have ~ finally ~ established to be the signature thrivers of this mountain garden, along with tools that have retired from use.
jenjoycedesign© garden 3

Friday is the solstice, so wherever you are in the world, winter or summer, I hope you enjoy the turning of the Earth’s beautiful seasons.

(If you click 1st image , you will go to slideshow with commentary! )

 

six days . . .

jenjoycedesign© new walls finished I have disappeared for a few days from my usual talkative places, but have been working very hard finishing the walls of my loft room studio. After six days I have just the affect I wanted, a look of weathered exterior walls of an old building, which makes for a very interesting photo background, and begs to have some interesting old hooks mounted.
jenjoycedesign© rubbed sienna tone for ' old building ' affect
Since last Tuesday I have plastered with Emma’s fur, painted two coats of primer, two coats of base color (with a quick sanding between coats of color), then finally this morning rubbed a faux finish with a watery semi-gloss sienna tone.  Here is the base color, nearly salmon . . .
jenjoycedesign© base color coat
The end result is a bit different than before, but hopefully the same warm terracotta mood as before, however, I do think that I may put in some more ‘veins’ of sienna color in the big wall, after this all dries . . .
jenjoycedesign© new walls finished 2
Apparently after six days I am still not finished.  Of course, I refined my method as I went, so the first sections are a bust and must be painted over and refinished;  a bit disappointing, and definitely anticlimactic, but I can’t settle for ” almost right “,  its either right or its not right.    I just can’t wait to move my yarns and tools of the trade into this space, and yet I have to wait until the room has had the electrician finish so that I may begin to occupy, which is realistically in July. So still some weeks still.

Fun Fact: Did you know that in old days horse hair was put into plaster to reinforce the plaster? So Emma’s fur in this plaster (although in artful clumps) isn’t far from the old way of doing things.

 

Plastering dog fur !

DSC_0153
Our construction folk won’t be here this week so I’ve decided to plaster the loft room by myself, incorporating Emma’s fur into the mud.  The style is haphazard, but excellently artful and as this is my studio room as well as guest room, that suits everybody just fine.
DSC_0152
DSC_0156
DSC_0157
I will go over the surface with a damp sponge to knock off the sharp high spots, and then the many coats of paint will completely soften the rough surface, and be less “hairy”, and hopefully end up looking rather old-architectural style. Most importantly, part of Emma is now embedded in the walls of the room, and that means a lot to me.

Just for the sake of interest, the tree pictograph ” Po ” continues to be a photo opportunity, and in itself, a marvel!

DSC_0158

And with the rest of the week ahead all by myself, I’m going to see if I can get the room painted to my liking, as before; an undercoat of primer, then a couple of coats of the lightest tones in the fir (a peachy tan), with the deepest tones in the grain to be rubbed on for glaze (a sienna brown).

Po

jenjoycedesign© loft room 3

Knots and crevasses in the wood make mysterious pictures and words. Tree pictographs. What do you think this beam in the loft room is saying?  Wood speaks, sings, and I am sure this word is going to give meaning to something, on down the road.

jenjoycedesign© loft room 1

Look here, the loft room just waiting for me to move into it, it is beckoning me to come inside with all my newly collected tools of my trade.  About now I am ecstatic because things are really happening!  As I post this,  the plasterer is about finished with the taping, and tomorrow will be back to perform his artful texture.

jenjoycedesign© loft room 2

Now looking through the doorways into the loft room, I am so much more encouraged than I was back in February, with a Then & Now post.  These are rooms taking shape, rooms that have impacted my life, and will again, in a deeply profound way.   So many times I would photograph through the front doorway, and capture the bliss of the woods as if through a magic portal, and post here on my blog with a thought of the day.  And now we finally have a front door exactly as the former door was.

jenjoycedesign© front door

I do feel a great sense of release of the unbearable heaviness of loss and of waiting. It is such a tremendous gift that I am even here posting these progress photos with you, about something that feels so much like a death & rebirth in a span of a few years, but ripples out into my life in the furthest way, arousing a constant resonating gratitude.

♥     ♥     ♥

 ” Po ” . . .  to me,  in this moment,

translates to ” peaceful offerings ” from the mountain.

Stay tuned, so much is happening now, and I will no doubt be back very soon.

Our little spot.

jenjoycedesign© knitting lane 4
Introducing Emma’s and my walking lane, where we can still walk together.  It is only about a tenth of a mile long, and walking the length of it out and back five times it is a mile.
jenjoycedesign© knitting lane 6
It is our new private spot, where nobody is ever around but maybe occasional workers in the vineyard, and being so quiet it offers wonderful solitude, especially in the mornings.  It is a sort of base camp where I can park at one shady end, walk back and forth while working or knitting, and Emma can be with me, because since turning fourteen, she hangs out in the back of the car and watches.
jenjoycedesign© knitting lane 9
This little spot was a very over-grown access road for power lines which borders ours and a neighboring parcel, and is really quite secluded.  This is just one of those things I don’t know why I didn’t focus on earlier, but I’m glad I am now, for I can drive Emma down here every morning for our walk “together”  and afternoons too if its not too hot.
jenjoycedesign© knitting lane 8
While over the years Emma and I walked regularly up the ridge to the peak of the mountain and beyond, the wildfire destroyed so much that for sheer tree fall, walking up the ridge is impossible presently.  Also Jeff had recently got a heavy duty rechargeable battery operated dual line weed-whacker, and so now I can mow and maintain this little lane, and what is amazing is that on our property this is the only level spot.   Presently I am having to move quite a lot of rocks and battling wild black berries, but I’ll get there eventually.
jenjoycedesign© knitting lane 2I think I’ll officially name it Emma’s Lane. And here she this morning, hunkering down in her castle, watching me and keeping company while I work.
jenjoycedesign© knitting lane & Emma

Things going on . . .

jenjoycedesign© sneak-peek.JPG

I am lifting my June 1st deadline for new sock pattern. It was merely a fun self-imposed goal which is clearly unrealistic at this point. I am glad to report that all things going on are incredibly exciting, although labor intensive, only least which is knitting ten-at-a-time socks. There will be eight socks in my forthcoming ensemble, which I’ve decided can happen any time because socks are not a seasonal thing. There are no Spring Tees this year either, but no guilt on me as I am so near to being able to move my new collected Tools Of The Trade into the loft room (ahead of house completion) that I am beside myself, nearly frozen with anticipation.  I will be taking some time refurbishing some antiques I collected, and sewing some things on my January Acquisition — a 1947 Singer sewing machine — needing to make a couple of curtains for the new house, start a quilt,  and generally get to making things.  In summary, the sock pattern will be ready when it wants to be. I’m taking my time and enjoying, and have had to balance the two aspects of my productive self; part of which is a lumbering old ox, and the other a spirited thoroughbred colt that wants to run. All aspects of life must be allowed to just be. That said, as in recent mornings lately, now I am off with Emma in the caboose, to garden on latest project, which is reviving an archaeological find of an old road in the woods near by,  to be a short but secret walking lane!

New Loft (( progress ))

jenjoycedesign© loft room progress 2 I have just been up to the house and its a lovely morning to photograph the new loft room progress, after the sheetrock has started. I am so pleased about this beautiful space, and I think it may even be more lovely than before, as there are a couple improvements made.  I am completely obsessed about this room, and work space to be!   ((click 1st image to go to slideshow))

Do you recognize that ledge, on which I took so many photos of knitted things and yarns? I just wanted to post these photos, but its time to get back to my frantic sock knitting, but thanks everybody for your comments, and I promise to be talkative again on the flipside of my sock-knitting May-nia.

Ten at a time . . . gussets.

jenjoycedesign© ten gussets 2
Ten at a time gussets have been knit.

Here is the pile of ten unique socks,  ready to knit the foot sections next . . .
jenjoycedesign© ten gussets
The gusset of a sock is a really the most fun part in my opinion, where all the chaos of the heel flap, turn, and picking up selvedge stitches is finished, and it brings the stitch count back to original, ready for a straight run to the toe.

jenjoycedesign© ten gussets 3.JPG

And it could not be more apropos that there are ten days left to May, including today, and to finish my ten socks and submit forthcoming sock pattern extravaganza by June 1st is my goal.  I am committed to this sock knitting “May”nia, and won’t be able to do much of anything else but knit these little dears and polish up the pattern.  I’ll be making my last ten-at-a-time post when I am ready for the toes, in the last days of May ~~ see you then!

A day of days!

jenjoycedesign© after the rain 3
I’m in a robust mood this morning early,   a beautiful golden sunrise through the glistening air of recent days of rain.   Right now the forest is alive with promise!
jenjoycedesign© after the rain 2
Ignore the charred black trunks, because what is going on beneath the surface is nothing less than a miracle.    I want to emulate the forest, and allow myself to sprout renewed growth from such a vibrant place within, the place of true life .  
jenjoycedesign© after the rain 1
In the mood to step outside with camera and capture the moment, vivid as it can be; the wildlife stirring,   Emma napping quite oblivious to it,   the knitting trail ready to be worked & walked .    What a day of days! 
jenjoycedesign© after the rain 6

A couple cups of rich strong French Roast and I am ready for the day!

jenjoycedesign© after the rain 4

If good moods are contagious, I hope everyone out there is feeling the day as wonderful as this.

Meet the Feet & Hands!

jenjoycedesign© feet & hands 3

These sock and mitts blockers are outstanding in quality and workmanship, they are made from a woodworker from Ukraine, and I recommend them one-hundred percent if you’re looking to get some. They can be found on Etsy at Alex Workshop Design.   As for the mitt blockers, so lovely, and just look at the way the thumbs tie on so that you can slide the mitten or glove over the palm & fingers with ease, then slip the thumb in last.

jenjoycedesign© hand

I am already envisioning my next glove design, and am pretty excited about my new blockers.  I felt purchasing some proper blockers to photograph my knitwear accessories was just bound to happen eventually.   Abelene is just over the moon about the new Feet & Hands by the way,  and just can’t wait until I dress them up with forthcoming socks, and future mitts & gloves!

♥    ♥    ♥

House Update Addendum

I am shifting gears for future Jenjoyce Design Studio Loft (a.k.a guest room, lol)  move-in date.  A lot of backstory, some of you have followed the details since the wildfire, but rather than get bogged down in that mire, I’d like to focus on the positives.  I long to be hyper productive as I remember I was two years ago at this time, with everything I needed at my fingertips, and know I will be again, as soon as I get my  crafty gear up to the house, even if it is woefully unfinished workspace, I know time flies and I can establish a new level of productivity.  Oh, the latest photos of  the loft . . .

DSC_0142

The subfloor still is not in place, but the roof is on and windows all in!  My old friends Light & Shadow are taking over the house already, playing their magic among the beams.

DSC_0143

As soon as the drywall for this room is finished, plastered & painted, I am moving my gear and the furniture I’ve collected for this space IN. Jeff agrees that is okay, so with fingers crossed that might be in June? Forget the final inspection sign-off and full move-in, as Jeff and I are left with a heap of work after our builders are finished with theirs, bumping the official house move-in until who knows when, as late as late Autumn. Jeff is so overwhelmed with his workload from his job and the house, so I really have to ease up on forecasting anything. All I can do is be positive about this one room, remain in good spirits and be ready to hit the ground running as they say.

Some photos from the archives of the original loft room . . .

angles-loft-room1

From the Archives: ” Objects de Arte

emm1

From the Archives: ” My Knitting Companion

 My familiar old space back then, again soon to be, and I have decided it is good if I post often about the progress of The Loft, even if the rest of the house progress is going slow, so expect addendums to be more frequent.  I have far less stuff now, of course, and am visualizing the room to be kitted out with the essentials  only, and I’m so looking forward to seeing that develop minimally.

Signing off with a massive spring downpour of rain!

Ten at a time . . . heels.

jenjoycedesign© 10 at a time heels

Socks knit ten at a time is the thing !     But I am a little embarrassed to admit my  collecting so many dpns for the project is rather excessive, but I’m invested in this ten-at-a-time conceptual thing.  All craziness is good, one does what one must in order to live.  For me, obsessive tendencies like this are just the norm.   Ten at a time heels, done.   Ten at a time gussets just waiting for me to post this and get to the pile.

jenjoycedesign© 10 at a time heels(2)

Meanwhile, something hand-made has arrived in the mail all the way from Ukraine, and  will make an appearance soon, when these ten socks are finished and ready to show off.