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 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.

From these…

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to these….

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 8

to these…

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 3rd blend

In the next post you will see these wool rolls all spun up into 500g of yarn!  Also you can see all posts in my Spinning for A Project  series.

Okay, here’s what I did…

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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 I divided all into 10 segments.
  • 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

This post is about establishing yardage without knowing what I want to knit, and before I even spin. But first, a little disclosure…

Disclosure: I am nearly a completely 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, wondering about how on earth a person could know how much to spin for a sweater, and I recall her 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 general sweater weight guideline, and she was likely speaking in generalities, and 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 too big than too small, and have me spin 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, 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 now, 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 weighs more per yardage than the 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 definitely my starting point of my experiment ~~ 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 size 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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 !

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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.
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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Things going on . . .

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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.

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Ten at a time gussets have been knit.

Here is the pile of ten unique socks,  ready to knit the foot sections next . . .
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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.

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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!

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

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

Meet the Feet & Hands!

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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.

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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 . . .

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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.

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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 . . .

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From the Archives: ” Objects de Arte

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jelly rolls, fat quarters & charm packs.

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This morning I got a bee in my bonnet! A little back-story is that I have been feeling down in the dumps lately, frozen in perpetual waiting for our house to be built, with the same old routine sitting a the table in front of the computer, plugged into Ravelry & podcasts galore, knitting in a frenzy, drinking coffee, drinking tea, eating who knows what, inside of a packed-to-the-gills tiny house. The tiny house is indeed packed but of really only normal things like a dish drainer of drying dishes, a few pair of shoes or pile of mail, or laundry basket, Emma’s things, not to mention all my knitting around. I have desperately needed something new going on to get me charged up about my life, and I realized that by the time we move into the rebuilt house it will be Autumn 2019.

Thinking about this now, it was Autumn 2009 that I got bit by the knitting bug in a serious way.   Just before that time I had gotten half way through making a king-size Amish style quilt, yet  shamefully only basted the layers together, never quilting it, and it got used that way on our bed until its demise in the wildfire, without ever sewing the binding on.  I guess I never finished it because I had gotten rather distracted with the new knitting thing that took over my life back then. Well it has been a full ten years coming up, that I’ve been knitting like mad. Sure,  I’ve sewn a few bits here and there and made some little things, but its been all-out knitting, day in and day out.  I am pretty confident that I will be knitting day in and day out for years to come, but I think its time I get involved in some new things too.  Deciding that I need to broaden my world, that new things will be good for me.

The second I made that decision I was off to Sonoma, to Broadway Quilts , determined to NOT come home indecisively empty-handed, choose an easy small quilt pattern, not in the least bit overwhelming,  and get kitted up with the fabrics called for, just something that I can piece together in tiny house.  Luckily everything seemed wonderfully appealing to me, and chose a simple throw size quilt pattern and a jelly roll packet of pretty soft solids in summery tones, with an off-white for background and sashing. If you want to know the truth, I learned a few more crafty words to add to my vocabulary; “jelly roll”, “charm pack”, and “fat quarter”.  Apparently before today I was not In The Know, but now I am ready to get involved.

And I hope that this is the beginning of a quest for new things!

A cause for celebration. . .

jenjoycedesign© roof.jpgA cause for celebration because the roof is finished!  Most of you out there have no idea what a difficult process it was to get to the point of being ready for the roofers to come, through the gusts of wind and rain,  all through winter and early spring, up here in the wild where everything is quite a bit more challenging.  But with a sigh in my heart I can now relax, and the next inspection can proceed with roof complete, ready for some serious action to begin in the weeks ahead ;  windows and sliding doors will all be in place, and the rooms will begin to take shape with drywall and upstairs subfloor too, covering the plumbing, electrical & mechanical chaos.  Soon the elements of the house’s layout & personality will be recaptured.

Meanwhile, it was utterly heartwarming to know that Emma is still a hit on my blog, and although she can’t walk very well, she is a stellar napper, and still keeps me company through the days. Thank you everybody who attended Emma’s little birthday celebratory post  last week, and for you who would like to take a peek in the archives, all posts Emma’s Birthday are here. 

Emma is Fourteen

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Emma is fourteen today!

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She is surprising us all how she is hanging in there . . .

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 . . . for another spring on the mountain . . .

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. . . for another May birthday . . .

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. . .  perhaps a few more months yet, to move into the new house with us . . .

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. . . she has lived beyond her breed’s life expectancy,  and our old girl is a real trooper!

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The three of us have lived in our shoebox  tiny  house for exactly a year now, although Emma has quite taken to wanting to be in ‘her car’ a lot of the time.  She being around has made it so much easier for us to get through this time.  I must accredit Emma’s incredible longevity to her extreme athletic youth, running all over the mountain chasing critters, in part to the wonderful veterinarians at Napa Small Animal , as well as the two raw eggs she gets every day,  a very good recipe for a healthy happy old dog.  Emma, we love you, and what a happy day it is indeed!

((click 1st photo in mosaic to see slideshow))

 

Ten at a time.

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Knitting a literal pile of socks.  Nine legs in the pile so far, but one more is about to be cast on as soon as I figure out which yarn, making an even ten.  I’m working the legs of all ten “at a time”, then I will work the heels, then the feet, then the toes.  Eventually all of them will see their sock mate I am certain, and if you consider the second sock to all these, there are twenty socks underway.  I am testing my eight styles of my forthcoming sock ensemble, and at the same time trying out the size run. I am finding a balance in waiting out the weeks, floating through spring with plenty of yarn and birch dpns at the ready, trying NOT to get strung out over the details this time. 

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I just can’t see coming down for landing any time soon.  That’s me here, now, and in spite of the long wait in going home to our rebuilt house,  life is good.