Knitters From The World

From Flanders,   Zonneke has done a stellar job of knitting Calidez Vest, and to her I am very grateful for letting me post here her artful photo. She has made Calidez Vest in the ever popular Alafosslopi yarn from Iceland ; a crisp, well-behaved  yarn,  heathered in so many gorgeous tweedy shades, softening beautifully with wear. Just a gorgeous yarn all around,  especially when knitted up so well as this!

I want to say how really delightful and wonderful I think it is that this design is my most popular of them all, but even more so that so many knitters who buy the pattern are making it for men! I think there are quite possibly more men out in the world wearing a hand-knitted Calidez Vest than there are women. This is great actually. Anyway, I am charmed off of my chair with your artful presentation Zonneke , and thank you for your excellent knitting!

Gifts From The Sun: part 4

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Coricancha in Cusco, Peru

The beautiful people of the sun. Colossally inventive farmers, phenomenal textile artists of weaving and knitting using the wool from their llamas, alpacas, and sheep, and dyed from plants in the colors of nature. Stone masons like this world has never seen! Musicians of the most enchanting melodies, wooden flutes and simple stringed instruments, is all a part of their legacy which is so intrinsic of their small but mighty culture. Living so high up in the Andes, they are indeed touched by the sun, able to harness the magnificent from a harsh landscape, the Inca thrive with abundance in a sacred place, with their downy woolly four-legged companions.

I have gotten going after a little break, back to my Andean inspired design, narrowing the field, racing to the finish, again researching, and sharing my good finds here. Please enjoy this little documentary on The Sacred Valley of the Incas…

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”.

Solstice Socks

jenjoycedesign© solstice 5

It is at last the Summer Solstice and I am so happy to be knitting in the wild again.  And what a better way than with a pair of socks, on this longest day of the year, when because the sun is blaringly bright and hot, and the shadows reluctant to be seen, I have waited until the hazy late hours of the afternoon. Chores are done; bread baked, coffee roasted, laundry on the line, dinner in the pot, and so I’m scampering along my little trail, navigating over, under, around still falling burned trees . . .

jenjoycedesign© solstice 2

jenjoycedesign© solstice 4

Rather hidden paths I have every intention to keep maintained by walking, but so much work to get them established, especially  through the now drying & stickery meadowy woods.

jenjoycedesign© solstice 3

I have wanted to try two fine fingering yarns held together in a sock, for a color rich tweedy affect and thick and downy merino soft too.  So I am knitting speedily along with only 50 stitches in a pair of Walking With Emma socks, in Chart B which has an easy 1×1 rib cuff flowing into a wider & longer rib. I’ll work rib then with an inch left to the leg, switch to stockinette for the rest of the sock. The counting of this particular rib is so natural for me, with odd numbers of knit & purl; (knit) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 — (purl) 1 — 1, 2, 3 — 1.  A sturdy snug little sock to slip into my garden sloggers to go down and water the garden, and this sock will be the “vanilla sock” I’ve been waiting to try, because sometimes the artful is in the plain & simple. I will talk more about the yarn later, but I’m loving this moss green and grey stone colorway by the way!  Oh, and I am knitting these on metal circulars, for although I fell in love late in life, with hardwood dpns (double pointed needles), the circulars allow me to just trip along on the trail without worrying about pulling a needle out or breaking or snagging my dpns in my knitting bag. And I really must confess, that I seriously need a break from the Pile O’ Yokes, which are now becoming yokes with bodies and sleeves. Anyway, its summer and I want to start knit-walking again, something it seems I’m always having to “start over” again, which is silly, but in order to pull myself away to get out on the trail and still get knitting done I really need a project I can not think about, something I can walk over logs, and under fallen trees, and not drop a stitch. Something that I can rattle off fast and furiously and shake off all that ails me!

Happy Summer Solstice!

jenjoycedesign© solstice 1

yokes 3

jenjoycedesign© yokes 3

I am in the middle of the seventh yoke, seven yokes of varying sizes, although one is not in the stack.   Pardon me for the blip the other day, I posted, then shortly after doing so I took out the post because frankly, I did not like the colorway of the prototype. Quickly I changed my mind, so fickle, and then on to a new colorway … for a new and hopefully final prototype official.  I had a dream this morning early before waking that I was unraveling all the yokes I’ve knit, and re-knitting them into bags to felt, as the colors changed in the yoke, so would the colors in the bag, all tied together ends as they happen, and yarns held two at a time. When I woke I thought what an interesting rework it will make when the pattern is done and there is a pile of yokes left to deal with.  Determined to see this design through, and not post too much unrelated material during the process, although I absolutely would love knitting a simple plain sock, I’ll keep this short and wave to All with assurance that knitting is happening here at a frantic pace, however generally slow and melted time feels during Pandemic Days, and that life continues to be good !

Knitters From The World

This knitter from Oregon has done a fabulous job with Hillwalker.

She used the same yarn as it was designed with , Studio Donegal’s  Soft Donegal , which is really a gorgeous yarn with incredible merino softness, beautiful tweed colors, and the mill has an impressive long-standing tradition in Ireland, as all the yarns from Studio Donegal .  One thing for certain, a great finish photo from a knitter who has made my design,  has got to be the biggest thrill of the whole indie designer experience.

The pullover is super easy, pretty much two sleeves, a body, a circular yoke decreasing into a neck band, with a few short-rows to raise the back a little more.  She certainly makes it look like a sure thing  and seems outfitted and ready to walk the hills ~~ Thank you Ms Oregon Knitter, for your awesome knitting and photo shares!

You can see her project details on Ravelry here.

yokes 2

jenjoycedesign© abelene with yoke

Hi, its me Abelene.   It has been a long time since Jen has let me out of the closet.  Here I am out on the sunny stair landing to model some pretty neck wear thing with pins stuck in me ~~~  ouch!   Actually, it is not a neck piece, not really, for although it seems like it is, it is only the beginning of a top-down knit sweater, a little over half of the yoke to be precise.  (And actually, I can’t feel the pins either, I’m made of foam!)    Jen says this will be the kind of sweater that one cuts down the middle with a steek and picks up stitches for a button band later so it will become a cardigan.  At last Jen is satisfied she has got the best fit,  using a nothing but instinctive geometry, trial and error, and she insists she did horribly in math in school, but now is rather hooked on it. Rewrite the pattern again with new calculations?     Okay!!!    A day passes.   More knitting.   Groans of incessant worry that the thing is not right,    so more ripping out,  and more calculations,  and more days pass (see previous post).   This has been the thing, Jen is rather sucked into a math hole of some kind and I don’t know how to free her. Hopefully seeing the yoke pinned on me , with photos documenting, she will agree that its a fine fit for the human torso, and knit on now with confidence.  

So Jen has got this thing in her head,  she ponders a thing which is a yoke stash and the point of it all is so that she can just knit a yoke to pattern (forthcoming)  with no regard to the all-over color of the body or even size, transfer all the stitches on to a flexible holder, and just put it away into the Yoke Box, and start another.  Imagine that!   Jen says this is an excellent thing for many reasons, but one very good one is that one can get started on the complicated & fun part of the sweater with as little as one ball of three colors, or even just two colors, and decide later what color to commit to, or shop for, or otherwise do at a later time. Maybe knit in a nice neutral scale, and the sizing can be generalized, because from her most recent pattern calculations one can change the all over size of the sweater by just continuing the repeats with more rounds and increases, thereby elongating the radius. At some point when one wants to really rush a complex colorwork yoked sweater project, all they need is to just pick a yoke out of the yoke stash and away you go on a couple of sleeves, and a body ~~~ voila!

Jen has got a recent yoke-in-progress to test-fit on me here, and I must say that I am quite pleased that she feels it to be satisfactory, and I feel very glamorous knowing that it represents bucket load of work. Now Jen needs to  put me back into the closet and spend more time with her calculator, which I am worried she cares more about than me.
Ta ta for now,
Abelene

yokes

jenjoycedesign© yokesI’ve been just rolling through the days, trying my hardest to not put pressure on myself when it comes to the designing, but to ease up and have a more relaxed pace, with perspective.  I leave the endless knitting, figuring, redrawing, recalculating to rest aside, and get the important things attended to, like life!  And I feel a dull panic as the world is socially merging again, perhaps haphazardly , and we’re only partway through this pandemic. I may be over-reacting but I do not want myself or those close to me to be a part of any statistic, so I am taking serious the sheltering at home, like I was born for it, doing my best work now.  New practices of “back to basics” of home-made wholesome goodness,  living the good life.  I am knee deep in sprouting wheat berries for a healthy rustic “California” loaf ,  perfecting my Italian focaccia, and with daily soakings & simmerings of garbanzo beans, my main staple suddenly. Also keeping up on my freezer supply of shortbread, and working on my own chocolate recipe; a barely sweet homemade concoction with coconut oil (recipe forthcoming)… etcetera.

The garden has been blessed by angels, if I can say so myself, as there not only have I a full lettuce crop now harvesting , from transplants a month ago of baby red leaf lettuces that popped up everywhere , there are also tomatoes and squashes of mysterious varieties popping up through last years’ plantings which had gone to seed. I realize the importance of at least letting the tail end of a seasonal bed go to seed without yanking it up out of the soil, for next spring surely there will be new plants.

So then, what about the knitting I guess. Above is a short stack of yokes, minus one which would be four but its a repeat of one of these, before I changed the colorwork chart, and these three are what I have to show for myself, as well as a pattern that is mostly written but in continual edit, but nearing completion! I am learning top-down sweater knitting, and what a better way to fully understand it than to design and work a bunch of sweaters for practice ~~ so that’s me, test knitting the size-run of yokes by myself, why not.  Crazy knitting.  Walks too.  A happy thought is that in pacing myself I feel a great deal on the way to being recovered from my two somewhat “catatonic” years of waiting, between wildfire Oct 2017 and moving back to a mostly rebuilt home in Oct 2019, but as I am finally feeling gradually more strength and stamina I am starting to sleuth out and groom up my lost woods trails in addition to the colossal amount of labor involved in the defensible space work. I am tired a lot of the time, but I allow myself a couple  recharging mini naps in a day, most days.

I couldn’t be happier, but even so I find myself caught up in a cry frequently.  I ponder this, and wonder how losses which seem to go beyond the obvious of profoundly grieving the loss of my Emma, into a realm of intangible feeling of tragedy. Just my usual existential angst I guess, but so many people are dying from this pandemic that I think its beginning to cause me great stress.  I worry a lot, and probably shouldn’t watch the numbers, but I do, and feel things going on are very important and I just can’t downplay. But, I know the best medicine for feeling sorrowful is hard work, so while bread is on the rise, I am off for a walk now, with umbrella, slogging along damp rained upon grasses which will surely put me in a good mood, while mingling with the wildlife.

When I return, I’ll be starting a new yoke, hmm, I think the next one in greens and greys.

May Days

jenjoycedesign© trim

Its been a while since I posted any photos of the house-in-progress.

A year ago in May   we were in the middle of a long haul of building; contractors everywhere, loud power tools, roofers, drywallers, plasterers,  and I ached with all my being for it to be quiet and to work again in my loft. Now I must say, seven months to the day after having moved from the tiny house 500 feet up to the unfinished-but-signed-off house, amidst still tools and piles of lumber in the living room (which are still there)… I am feeling everything once again in its place, and throughout the house I hardly notice the lack of some trim and finish flooring. Especially in the loft, my workspace, a room that in the first days of last Autumn I was so eager to kit out, everything was just waiting for the sign-off with the county.  Now a bit more relaxed and seven months later I am quite charmed at the trim, a knotted board for the doorway into the loft, a real polishing touch of finish work and what a nice surprise from Jeff knowing I love the knotted boards the most.

Last May I was knitting a pile of socks for a new pattern dedicated to Emma for she just had her fourteenth birthday and in celebration I had mowed  a whole lane  where I could “walk” with my old girl Emma, who wasn’t really able to walk much anymore.  Well its May again, and I’m mowing a lot of wild grass again, and as the rain is most likely on its way out so am I watering like a maniac too. Working outside now is my big big focus. Less time for indoor things. 

Oh but maybe this…. jenjoycedesign© fishwives stole

I am making slow progress on my Fishwives lace stole I started up again in March. Its been a difficult and rough couple of months with Emma gone and the whole pandemic thing , but I’ve been throwing myself into the yoke,  figuratively and literally,  as I’ve learned that hard work is the best medicine through sorrowful times and uncertain times.

And this, a sweater yoke ….

jenjoycedesign© colorwork 2

I guess its about time I mention that I’ve been working on a new design that in subject relates to all that I have been posting about in the series in recent posts “Gifts From The Sun“.   For a few years now, I really do enjoy researching something as a mark of inspiration connected to a new upcoming design, while spending the hours knitting myself to exhaustion, with plenty of ripping out and starting over that goes a long with it.  I have been thinking about a few things; the wool/yarn industry in Peru and its relationship with the people of the Andes, of tempering my yarn snobbery and trying to have an open mind about a yarn that frankly I never paid that much attention to. A yarn that I have used to make felted satchels for many years, and that as why I had quite a lot of it around, because a couple of months ago, I was knitting many sturdy basket tote bags and felting them for my new pattern Maiya’kma.

Now, again, the same yarn is on my needles for something entirely different. Words that come to mind ~~ moderately soft, quality, plies, strong, classic, and with a colossal selection of rich colors ~~  I must say its rather blowing my mind that this all-purpose and inexpensive one-hundred percent Peruvian wool yarn has made it to my top favorites as a colorwork sweater yarn, and very unexpectedly. I just never thought about it in this way.  

jenjoycedesign© colorwork

More in the weeks to come!

 

Gifts From The Sun: part 3

In previous posts I’ve been going on about the camelids ~~ llamas, alpacas guanaco & vicuna of the ancient Inca empire ~~ but sheep are equally a part of herding, spinning, weaving, and living in the Andes of today.   I have been looking for videos of Andean women spinning while out on the grassy slopes with their herds, and I just tripped over this beautifully filmed very short little treasure!

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”

Gifts From The Sun: part 2

Second in a little series I am posting while learning more about textile industry and culture of the Inca ancestors who live in the high plains of the Andes, and who are still herding, spinning, weaving, dying, and knitting with the fibers of their beloved llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuna. 

In this modern BBC documentary one can clearly see the contrast between the micro scale of the traditional highland farming family with their small herds, living on very little income, and the modern sophisticated macro business of alpaca and wool industry in Peru, but where both micro & macro industries are shown to depend upon the other.  Another must-see documentary!

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”

Gifts From The Sun: part 1

The ancient Andean herdsmen interbred camelid ancestors to create an animal with endurance, dependability, intelligence and all around good nature ~~ it was the llama, the prize of the Inca Empire!  I am revisiting my interest in textile & culture of the people who live in the Andes mountains, where herders, spinners, weavers and knitters work their traditional crafts of livelihood today still.  In fact, I am posting a little series as I myself learn, and this one is a bit of a sleepy documentary from the early 90’s about the ancient relationship between the Andean people and their animals; the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuna, on which they seem completely dependent. It is  called “Treasure of the Andes” and I do hope you enjoy!

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”.

changing direction

jenjoycedesign© lace 2

I have come to a screeching halt with the Swedish Wool.  I started to cast on and the wool did not feel right for the design I’ve been working on… so… I put all the lovely yarn in a zippered tote and put in the closet to totally rethink it at a later date.  Mildly frustrating because I wanted to go forward with the Peruvian style design and I wanted the colors I had sketched out. So that is on hold for a while too, which is fine, but I felt immediately restless afterward, creatively pacing, going over forgotten unfinished hibernating projects. I remembered I had  a lace project  on the needles that I put away over a year ago, after having  cast on & worked a couple of repeats, I put it down for one forgotten reason or another.  Well, now back to a clean slate and defrag’ing.    This morning I see a dense fog in the valley, and the sun is making its way up into the sky along with crystal clear and glistening day.   Life is just charming sometimes, even if I have to disrupt things and keep changing direction, I must allow myself to do so occasionally.   So here is a Fishwives Stole since picking it up and knitting another repeat….

jenjoycedesign© lace 1

Why did I ever put this lace project down?  Last night I spent some time figuring out where I was on the chart so I could continue confidently,  and this morning I am now resuming a super fun knit, just what I am in the mood for.   Good knitting,  morning sun streaming in along with knitting podcasts, and fresh cups of coffee too, my kind of bliss.

jenjoycedesign© lace 5

Pattern:  Fishwives Shoal

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Lace in color ” slate “

Yarn Tasting: Swedish yarn in Peruvian style.

jenjoycedesign© Swedish Wool 2

I had bought this Swedish wool yarn for another project that is now on indefinite hold, because I love so much the colorway of mustard yellows and grey shades that the yarn company carries.

jenjoycedesign© Swedish Wool 3

Ullcentrum 2ply sport is a very beautiful rustic yarn, with lovely shades over-dyed from varying natural fleece colors (the way I do it).  I wouldn’t say it soft, or light, or even consistent in thickness but those traits are actually preferable because I am designing something which echoes the traditions of high Andean farming villages of Peru, a good long step away from too pure of a commercial quality.

jenjoycedesign© Swedish wool

Backstory: While Sheltering In over the last month I have been sketching with some Peruvian made sock yarn for this Peruvian inspired design. I love the yarn but the right shades are not made for what I want ( I had to over-dye a light grey and a light brown with golden yellow to get the mustard yellows for this swatch. )  I have gone through and through my collection of yarns and although I have plenty of Peruvian made yarns,  I have none which has the mustard yellow and ochre that I want.

jenjoycedesign© Peruvian style

Swatching a Peruvian design with Peruvian made Berocco Ultra Wool Fine.

Insisting on these two mustard shades, I am decidedly giving in to the Ullcentrum 2ply yarn, although it is much heavier for what I had in mind, being sport weight at 330y/100g , and what I was swatching with is 400y/100g.  I will get creative, and as I must continue to shelter in for the remainder of April, and be resourceful at the same time, I will commit to the forces of nature here and let it be what it wants to be.  Does it really matter that the yarn comes from Sweden?

Edit In: Crazy work of coincidence going on here, after publishing this post I clicked the link  Yarn Tastings past, and noticed last yarn tasting was posted on this exact date a year ago, April 5 2019, and it was in fact a  yarn tasting of Berocco Ultra Wool Fine,   the very same yarn I did the above swatch in!

yet another . . .

jenjoycedesign© felted basket bag with short handles

I’ve just finished yet another Maiya’ kma felted wool basket,  and with two short handles it is like a market bag.   I can’t believe how much fun they are to make and I can’t seem to stop myself.  It is truly amazing that such a stiff and rugged wool basket was transformed in two hot wash cycles from this . . .

jenjoycedesign© before felting

I really love this colorway by the way . . .

jenjoycedesign© felted basket bag detail

Here it is paired with the one in the previous post, and now they are a nesting pair!

They are ready for the post now for a birthday next week,  and I so do hope the postal service is on time!

jenjoycedesign© nesting baskets 10

Pattern:   Maiya’kma
Yarn:  Knit Picks Wool Of The Andes Worsted(two-held-together)
Details:  For larger here,  For smaller here.

And another.

jenjoycedesign© felted knitting bag 1

Second post of the day, I’m sheltering in and getting lots done.  Barely two days of knitting, and two hot wash cycles,  and I’ve got another perky little knitting bag!  Felted bags which I am in need of because I keep giving them away.  Crisp and damp just out of the spin cycle,  I’ve got nothing stuffed inside,  the stiffness of the thick fabric is holding its own because the two cycles of hot wash felting creates that much dense structure!   I love this chart in the pattern, and did two repeats.  Beautifully rich textured colors with two colors held together for background, as well as two for the motif, and the colors diffused into each other almost completely in the felting.

jenjoycedesign© felted knitting bag 4

Pattern:   Maiya’ kma  felted wool bag collection
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool Of The Andes Worsted

kitchen bliss

jenjoycedesign© kitchen bliss

Sun streaming in, warming and brightening a corner where pizza dough rises every Friday  late afternoon, as always, but with a new kitchen cloth and mug from my dear kitchen-loving friend in Hamburg   *thank you Petra*    Yesterday, apple butter . . .

jenjoycedesign© making apple jam 3

Keeping the counters clean, dishes washed (as my hands) if in the very least to boost morale, and feeling a little more relaxed today.  Reporting in this part of the world while sheltering in and waiting for the next rain storm ~ life is good.

♥    ♥    ♥

So, if you’re considering making some yummy apple butter with things you already have in your pantry, to serve along with some fresh baked bread because you don’t want to bother going to the stores, try this . . .

Jen’s Apple Butter: 

1 large jar of applesauce,  1 bag of dried apples, and sugar & spices to taste (I used raw turbinado sugar, a little cinnamon & allspice) . Just enough water to cover dried apples, and cooked over a few hours until the dried apples break down into little tasty clumps.

Make small batch and preserve in sterilized half-cup jars.

 

weathering

jenjoycedesign© weathering 4.28
4:28 pm.

Drama in the sky!

jenjoycedesign© weathering 4.38
4:38 pm.

Everything in the world is like the rolling churning weather,

clouds swiftly moving and reshaping.

jenjoycedesign© weathering 4.48
4:48 pm.

We’re “sheltering in” at the hermitage in a war against corona virus,

surreal times,   I don’t have words.

jenjoycedesign© weathering 4.58
4:58 pm.

I am worried for everybody, and feeling fidgety and nervous. Even knitting is difficult.  I had hoped to launch into something ultra designerly,  but instead I’ve spent two days patching threadbare clothes, hand-stitching, reinforcing shredded edges, and being ridiculously old-fashioned, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t.  This too shall pass.

♥    ♥    ♥

Thank you everybody who left comment in the previous post Emma Was,

it really held me through a rough patch ~~ xx

 

Emma was.

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It takes every bit of bravery I can manage to post this, and take a break from tears. She seemed to want to live forever, and we were so ready to let her, but she died peacefully last weekend, her daddy and me with her.  For nearly fifteen years her fur has lined the nests of generations of birds in this part of the mountain, and her memory does not escape the places we walked, they are forever etched along the landscape. Forever.

You can see  All Posts Emma  archived from the beginning of this blog.

Another

jenjoycedesign© after felting bag
I am quite pleased that I’ve updated the Maiya’kma pattern to include a nice conventional square shaped flap . Here shown is the largest sizes tested and with the shaped bottom, and two straps.
jenjoycedesign© bag detail 2
Before felting,  with a girth of 44″  and nearly 400 grams of wool, having no particular shape, transformed dramatically with two hot wash cycles from floppy into a compact, crisp, thick sturdy bag of 30″ around . . . and is a bit amazing !
jenjoycedesign© before felting bag
Edged in i-cord all around, and with the floats in back of the color-work adding to the thickness of the felted fabric, it has made quite a dandy satchel, and with a gorgeous tweedy affect resulting from two yarns of different shades held together.  I will go more in depth on this ” tweedy ” affect in another post.
jenjoycedesign© bag detail 1
Detail of the button holes which are made by the i-cord edging simply free & detached for a few stitches.  Nearly the whole collection; four sizes of bag, with two of the smallest size baskets . . .
jenjoycedesign© Maiya' kma collection
There’s a quite a hoard o’ wool still left;  a lot of blue, some reds, pinks, and greens left in my Wool Of The Andes  stash.  I’m thinking next will be a few bags for spring perhaps in the colors of native wildflowers.  Indian Paintbrush, Clover , Lupine, Brodea, the flowers that the native tribes of the mountain would have enjoyed every spring. ( Please see Genius Of The Place)

Maiya’ kma  pattern is available HERE

 

Imagination

I discovered this new video rather late popping up on my niece’s YT page, and so beautifully done by the Darling Of The Place!
But maybe discovering it on this very nervous day of the Super Tuesday primary election, is perfect timing after-all. My imagination is really soaring!

The Genius Of The Place.

800px-Nordamerikaabteilung_in_Ethnological_Museum_Berlin_52 (1)

A Pomo basket,  Wikipedia- Pomo

I have been trekking the mountain with knitting bag and baby steps (again).  There is no denying that to me the genius of the place is in the landscape’s past. A time not long ago which is so impressed by once indigenous people who lived here,  and who are so close in time relative to the existence of humans, that I nearly feel their presence like a faint breeze tickling the hairs on the back of my neck.

Edward_S._Curtis_Collection_People_080

Wappo Woman,  Wikipedia -Wappo

Then let me be blown through with the breezes of the past, feeling the presence of those who’s arrowheads I have found several of, and I will find my way with wool instead of water plants of the banks of the tidal Napa River.

jenjoycedesign© Maiya' Kma bags 2

Wool to make a sturdy practical thing.   Inspired by the local tribes which wandered Northern California ~~ the Wappo, Pomo and Lake Miwok have walked over the very saddle of the ridge and rested quite possibly where our house now stands, in the shade among Redwoods, Douglas Firs, and many species of Oaks. Two of three arrowheads I have found, I have posted on two occasions here  and here.

jenjoycedesign© felted two

felted in two cycles of a hot wash in machine

It is said that the Mayacamas mountain range where I live was named by the Wappo tribe “Maiya’ kma” said to mean “howling mountain lion”.  I live close to the border on the map between the Southern Wappo and the Pomo, and near the Miwok too, where the black glass obsidian volcanic rock comes from to make the arrowheads.  As I walk the contours of the mountain over the years I have come to understand the paths a bit, how the animal traffic goes, where the old roads that have grown over are, how the watershed goes and up at the top how the rock cuts up through the soil like teeth. Up there you can look to the east and see Napa Valley or to the west and see Sonoma Valley.

tribes of Napa, Lake County & Sonoma

The wildfire that came through here two years ago has created a lot of mess with the trees, but in a blink it will again be as before. I must be patient through the seasons, and understand the mountain as these hunter-gatherer, epic trekkers,  & basket weavers did.  Anyway, I am happy to be finding my way through the new bag designs, and the pattern is written, so soon will I be finished!

jenjoycedesign© felted two 2

See all posts with new projects of Maiya’ kma bags & baskets HERE. 

Up & Coming . . .

jenjoycedesign© felted thing 1

I’ve always knitted bags to felt, so many in fact, that I couldn’t even count them, and have given most of them away.  These are incredibly easy to make, and the felting is instantly gratifying!  I finally decided to go ahead and make a pattern, so after all these years I am working on a bit of a collection that is up & coming soon.

jenjoycedesign© felted thing 3

This is the first of them, a taste test.  It was a big floppy loose bag this morning, and now it is sturdy and has a shaped bottom and stands on its own with a salute!

DSC_0652

I’m really excited to have  this collection soon to be ready, and so pleased with its shape. The motifs will be themed with something that is … well… something that lately I have been thinking is ‘the genius of the place’.  If that whets your curiosity, then all the better!

jenjoycedesign© felted thing 4

I’ve got the pattern mostly written, just need to knit up a few more of them and I’ll see you back here on the flip side.

Light, shadow, and color.

jenjoycedesign© chullo 5

Just off the needles,  photographed in my favorite flooded light place  on the landing of the stairs, beneath the roof window facing to the southern sky.  Every half hour the sun progress across, the light and shadow changes dramatically, the angles creating dark against light and every grey in between. 

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I think of my brother, how he is always in need for a new chullo, and needing a fresh idea for yet another, it came into being, trying out light and shadow … with variegating color.

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Just a little knitted bit between bigger knitting bits.

A diversion of an idea . . .

jenjoycedesign© chullo 2And of course, tassels galore, the Peruvian way!

I made these with two-stitch i-cord and unravelled the yarn. I somehow really enjoyed the un-twisting and picking each strand-of-four out. Crazy , I know.

jenjoycedesign© chullo 7

I just get so excited about photographing the new knitted things, but I’m heading on down to Oakville Post to send this fun frolick off to my brother now, and upon my return it is time to get back to the forthcoming thing I’ve taken too long of a break from.
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in colors Natural, Black, and Arco Iris
Pattern: chullo modification of Forthcoming

A hopeful garden.

Four months now in the new house , and I feel nearly back to my natural and normal lifestyle, and not near as much sitting at a table knitting & watching knitting podcasts as I did in the confines of a tiny house.  But now I’m experiencing a bit of an epiphany with productivity, as if to make up for lost time.  Hiking around and up the ridge does seem like essential energy spent,  but I am feeling a sense of mortality driven desperation to accomplish things. Things out of doors, but not on trail or road,  things that take a lot of physical work, and for which I am lamely unfit and feel snared in a trap of middle-age. But I am getting myself out, step one is behind already, (take an ipuprofen!) and another step ahead.  I am readying myself for the transformation.

Knitting & designing aside, presently my attention is on gardening, clearing, and making compost, and completely challenged by the lack of any level ground. I have tried to put into practice most of my life, a devotion to gardening, and yet, each spring that turns to summer with the hammer coming down of unrelenting heat and dryness has me always and every time wilting along with the zucchini plants. Last Spring  I posted about  wanting to hang in there with the garden into summer, not just the usual infatuation with the vigor of Springtime growing, but dedicate myself in the summer months.  For June is when the heat can get ahead of me, and by mid July when if a gardener is not equipped with resources, all is lost, rolling into August through September is one long heat wave and even tomatoes die. Oh, and October is the dryest of all. How does one truly garden year-round in this place? So here I am in February, after the first mild days came and I feared the blossoms would explode on the cherry tree I had bought last year and have still not planted, it being a gift for Franny & Zooey, the resident pair of ravens. Soon, in a week or two the vineyard rows will explode in mustard flowers yellow, white, even pink, and become a cacophony of color all up the Napa Valley. The sweet daffodils emerge from the sides of roads, from ghost gardens of houses which are no longer there, the acacia trees ooze pollen and the scent of Spring is intoxicating. Yes, it really does begin in February. That is not to say we won’t still have hail storms, even snow up on the mountain, but it all seems to balance and tip back and forth between frantic outside work and staying in, sheltering from the rain, hail, or snow. So much happens this month, and I am bracing myself for it.

I have a lot of burning to do; now this is work that requires first a call to check if it is a permissive burn day, a handy propane torch is nice to start, but the rest is just a lot of really hard sooty  work, all to reduce a lot of dead wood around, and because we live in a wildfire prone California, it is work that I have come to accept that is important work needing to be done. In fact, indigenous people of Napa Valley made a practice of purposeful burning to balance growth of food and attract animals to hunt , as well as prevent catastrophic wildfire.  I’ve got to get ahead of the learning curve, guess work, or maybe instinctive, tapping into the collective eternal experiential brain of human life — nurture the food producing  micro climate and inhibit the invasive tendency of wild to fight any attempt to control a space.

I hold on to a vision of a more limbed-up woodland space with streaming sun into the official garden plot like a meadow, thriving with tiny micro climates. I do think more about the indigenous people that lived here first, and wonder what this space on the mountain was like a hundred, two hundred, a thousand years ago. I ponder and although I try for elements of English Country Garden, I must get real.  April’s lush verdant water-beaded plants in a cottage garden style are completely lost by July in most certain and unstoppable arrival of aridity. I am still trying to learn about how to garden in this arid-in-summer & mossy wet-in-rain season place , where is the genius of it all , I can’t seem to grasp it.

Growing any food on a steep slope facing near direct West is a challenge. I think I need to plant more fruit trees for the hell of it, not caring what fruit mostly, but the most important crop is a bit of shade in the afternoon. So there’s me, heading off to the nursery this week on the look for another apple, or pear, things that grow well in the rocky volcanic soil of the Mayacamas mountain range. There’s me, shovelling into rocky soil a deep hole, wrestling with hardware cloth to line  and protect from the jurassic gophers lurking beneath. There’s me, against all odds, bubbling up for another hopeful spring, tempering myself into the intimidating summer, and lost to hopeless foolishness watering into the flames of October. I have to get on top of this gardening thing, I’ve got to think this out. I go deep within myself and play out all the sensitive nature against my analytical mind, and want to discover so much the genius of this place.

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Our woodland gated garden in 2015

 

Foot steps, and paw steps.

jenjoycedesign© striped socks 1Wow, January is nearly over. So much is going on, with Spring really just around the corner! I have SO much I want to do, I’m feeling a little naturally overwhelmed, so I’m forcing myself to rein in too much excitement, and keep it to a dull roar.

jenjoycedesign© striped socks 2

Finished a pair of socks, in unexpectedly fun self-striping sock yarn I found at Michael’s Crafts, not believing it could be so beautiful of a colorway.  I’m really attracted to the ochre stripe, that deep mustard, next to the grey.  I think I’m ready for something mustard yellow & grey colorwork, which is a stellar color combo and yet perhaps already a bit tired in the fashionable trends, but I was never one to care about trends.

Pattern: Another pair in Walking With Emma, modified with rib chart A and stockinette leg.

Yarn: Kroy Sock Yarn in color 55102

♥    ♥    ♥

And speaking of Walking with Emma, she’s three months away from 15, indeed a very old girl.  She naps a lot of the day in her car cave, which is her very own hermitage & safe place of contemplation, complete with electric heating pad, and she tolerates being out of it only for short intervals.   With the help of a good harness, together we have four good paws and so she comes in for the morning , and again mid-afternoon, sometimes evening for a snack if she’s barking for something. Here she is just now finished with her home-cooked dinner.  Each day she’s still here is a good day, um, even if she is not squarely on her bed!

jenjoycedesign© Emma Jan 28, 2020

A new thing, and a birthday!

jenjoycedesign© upcoming thing

I’ve been picking up the pace with the knitting in the last few days, ramping up for a new design. Here at the start, with many prototypes ahead yet to knit, and many winter hours spent in  pattern writing concentration, I’m going for it again. More to come, most definitely.

I am really astonished at how time speeds along. Tomorrow is the seventh birthday of Jenjoyce Design! That is, January 25th 2013, I submitted my first pattern to Ravelry, a free pattern, and new projects of it continue to get knit about the place. I have kept things moving forward with JJD very slow and steady, taking my time trying for the most artful and original designs that I can manage, and opting out of all the crazy marketing, video presence… etcetera … and have just stuck with the old-school blogging.  Wanting to rely only on myself, I choose to wear all the hats in the indie design process, keeping it modest and within my ability.  I suppose I have been doing well enough for a hermit knitter enjoying the quietude of her woods hermitage, I can’t really complain about anything, and have mountains of gratitude for everyone who has encouraged me, keeping up appearances in Jenjoyce Design Group on Ravelry, commenting here on my blog, and test knit the new designs ~~ you know who you are, and thank you!

((  Oh, and I am having a very brief pattern give-away celebration just for part of today over on Ravelry  here  in case you want to join in the celebration! Edit In: Now Closed))

This is what seven years looks like . . .

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The darling of the place

I hear ocean waves again,   a sandy beach , a beautiful girl, and a ukulele   all over again.

Carmel sand dunes,  the smell of the beach fire, I am drifting back …

Whenever the darling of the place  makes these great little music videos strumming on her grandmother Barbara’s old Martin ukulele, it touches my heart. Lift to your ear and hear it, just like the conch shell in a swirling tidal magical way,  the sound is so charming, and so lovely!

Short days and long shadows.

jenjoycedesign© small quilt 2
This morning was very exciting when we got hit with a storm, and with the temperature dropping degree by degree, I won’t be surprised if it snows in the next few hours.  I have been taking a break this January from all self-expectations and enjoying some slack!  Three months living in our new house, I’m wanting to work on new habits and trying a few new things, in addition to keeping up the knitting. One of the new things is starting sewing again, which actually is a lifelong passion of mine, but has been pretty much not for a few years.  Lacking a lot of confidence, I have to start really small, so after the holidays passed I made a bunch of quilted coasters and a small coffee table quilt for Jeff’s den, done in the Amish quilt style.

jenjoycedesign© itty bitty quilts

Also I have tentatively begun sewing some much needed clothes,  for making my own clothes is truly is a mark of my authenticity, and so I am experiencing a beautiful reunion with the needle, thread & thimble after a long hiatus.  I’m really enjoying hand stitched finish work, delicious felled & French seams, slowed to a snails pace, and frankly I couldn’t bear it to go any faster for the hand-sewing just tickles some innate part of me which must have lived a hundred years ago. But more on that later.   The month is already half gone and not wanting to lose my knitting mojo entirely I decided to quick knit a pair of socks. I picked up a few ‘flavors’ of Kroy Sock yarn at Michaels some time over the beginning of the holiday, and am now finally enjoying some calm hours to knit.  Here beneath the sleet coated sky window, I thought I would photograph this unexpectedly fun pair I’ve got going . . .

jenjoycedesign© Kroy striped ragg

Pattern is Walking With Emma , chart A ribbing and modified with stockinette.

The days are short but getting noticeably  longer by the week,  and the wet snowy sleet is falling.   I love January!

Sweater success at the castle!

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Autumn pullovers appear in the interesting castle nooks . . .
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We met in Calistoga at the roastery for coffee while talking about things going on in our lives, and lucky for us it was an absolutely beautiful sunny winter day, so we hopped over to the castle to take our long waited for photo shoot, which went beyond Autumn into winter . . .

jenjoycedesign© castle 21

We got loads of photos against the stone,

and they modeled their Hillwalker Pullovers

sampled with Icelandic flare this year.

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Just beautiful!   The two of them continue to captivate my interest in designing,  and honestly, it is ultimately for the three of us to have something together that grows and improves over time, with dedication and encouragement interwoven.  I feel so lucky to have these  young women in my life.

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After the photo shoot we went into the town of St Helena and enjoyed our traditional lunch at Villa Corona, and then parted ways.   Every minute delightful, the few hours spent together was for me the absolute cherry on top of the whole holiday!

( All posts Autumn sweaters 2019 here. )

For those of you who have been following my nieces here, in their Autumn Sweaters over the last decade, I’ll have you know that my eldest niece will be twenty years old tomorrow, and these are the tenth (pair of) Autumn sweaters that I have knit for them. They having begun their sweater-camera modeling when I first began my blog with the first Autumn Sweaters of 2010, a similar yoke style which I repeated this year . . .

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In front of Calistoga Roastery, Autumn 2010

This post has really brought on the holiday spirit of celebration for me; about craft and nurturing relationships. Having a lovely time and I’m so glad to share with you!

((Please click first image in mosaic and see the whole photo shoot!))

 

Making

jenjoycedesign© felted satchel

A felted bag, made entirely from hand-spun, some of those 30-50 gram skeins that were many of my Tweed Chronicle samples over the last two years ( and it is actually a very vague and rough “sketch” of an upcoming design I’ve been thinking about.) This one will spend a couple of days underneath a tree before belonging to someone dear to me. Oh, and this is my last knitted thing I made for gifts this Christmas, and yet, there is more making to be done!

The term ‘maker’ is a new buzzword, and I’m hearing the word everywhere in reference to a person who is involved with crafting or artisan work of any kind. Admittedly I am one of those completely manic sort.  I decided that although I have some new ideas surfacing for the new year with knitting, I really do need to take a break on it for a short while , so that I can start working on some things I have wanting to for a very long time. So with renewed vigor, I begin making a new kind of mess . . .

jenjoycedesign© quilting trim

. . . a mess which I hope there will be more making photos & posts of in the holidazed hours ahead.  I expect there may be a flurry of such Making posts, for indeed I have gotten bit by the making bug!

♥    ♥    ♥

To Makers All, I am sincerely hoping you are enjoying yourself immensely, because the glee really begins when something is ready for a finish photo and wrapping, then its time to make merry! And if you’ll excuse me, I am off to Calistoga to meet my nieces for a giving of their (uh oh, too late for Autumn) … um .. Winter  sweaters with a photo shoot!

December solstice ahead . . .

Ginsling 1

photo by Ginsling

The December Solstice is almost here, and although imminent Winter will arrive in California with a dank dark chill, I can’t help but be lost in dreams of Summer when I see these photos, feeling the heat of the sun bearing down and smelling the bleached hay fields that I am so accustomed to in my own wild landscape of July.

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photo by Ginsling

A landscape which belongs to Summer, which it is soon to be in Australia.

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photo by Ginsling

And a most artful Knitter From The World, is a knitter of Australia, and named in Ravelry as Ginsling .  She has created a stunning stole in kid mohair & silk,  and the photographs are completely representative of the essence of the design of  Golden Fields Stole.

Ginsling 4

photo by Ginsling

Ginsling’s “Remembering The Golden Fields” lace stole is a truly beautiful work, and I am feeling those sparkling rays of sun over on the flipside of the planet in the forthcoming Winter days over here in California.   Thank you Ginsling, for allowing me to honor your beautiful work, represented and photographed in my absolute favorite way ~~ in the wild!

♥    ♥   ♥

Edited in postscript:  I sincerely hope that the timing of this post is not insensitive, being that there are unprecedented wildfires tearing through the part of Australia where Ginsling lives, but as a sister to her in the experience of wildfire, and a bit of a phoenix too, I am sending out a prayer as regular as my own breath that the homes and welfare of she and her kith & kin remain unsinged.

Knitters From The World

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Photo by Strickgut

From Hamburg in Germany, there lives a genius with needles and yarn by the Ravelry name Strickgut .  She has made a beautiful and immaculate Christmas tree ball using the motifs from Wee Hearts, which is to my delight a colossal gift from her to All Knitters !

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Photo by Strickgut

And because Strickgut is as generous as she is brilliant, she has provided the knitting community with her ball chart (by my request, but it is of the colorwork only, no inc/dec’s) which can be found on her project page on Ravelry, over here, so Knitters All, there is no reason we cant have some beautiful festive knitting in our holidays,  gratis Strickgut.    Danke Chen*chen!

Out in Autumn (late).

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 5

Walking along a foggy path in the late afternoon,  in late Autumn, I observe the season expiring after the heavy rain last week. Everything seems to be falling to the ground, exhausted.  Soon there will be new grass popping up.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 2

The last of the gold leaves wave in the breeze, as if to say “I’m tired, and it is time to go”, and the vines surely have given all their energy growing grapes for 2019 Harvest, and will wait bare until pruning time in late winter,  leaving the trellises standing like soldiers in a winter field.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 4

The stinging needles on the star thistle rot and become harmless, muted into the dull brown grass.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 7

The fog surely lays burden to the spider webs, and even though nature is bedding down, the creatures are stirring.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 8

The oaks are shedding leaves and covering the ground, another layer of compost for the soil,  two years after the wildfire is nothing less than a treasure.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 6

Yet some of what was dormant is now waking up, becoming lush, verdant, alive, as is the story of the moss.

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So near to the solstice, I believe this little foggy outing has put me in the mood for more walking and writing, for it is at these times when I most intensely feel my existence.  Rituals of coffee and chores, punctuated with knitting, walks, short naps, and contemplative writing, are my comfort as I get older.  Peaceful and nearly silent my days tumble over one another, seemingly inconsequential, but if only to witness my landscape as it goes through the seasons.  And I am happy it is so.

Knitters From The World

Hiyastricklust's Solstice Tam

photo by Hiyastricklust

From an enchanted coast in Denmark,  you might by chance see a lovely lady strolling the rocky Baltic Sea edge in a Solstice Lanterns Tam.  This is an outstanding knit of the design, as I am so very fond of the natural colorway of Hiyastricklust’s tam.  Hers is a great example of how the kaleidoscopic affect of the motifs alone are interesting enough, without making the lantern “lights” a focal point.

Hiyastricklust's Solstice Tam 2

photo by Hiyastricklust

Oh and is that really a thatched roof I see in the countryside there?   Utterly charmed lives some knitters have ~~ thank you Hiyastricklust, for your lovely artful knitting !