My January Obsession 4

I was wrong. The Simply Wool in worsted weight which showed up yesterday actually has 4 plies. This only means that, to my relief, I could just divide the plies in half and get a fingering weight, instead of starting with 3 plies and making sport/dk like my experiment from this post. My reflections on this whole re-plying process is that it leaves more than I originally figured to skill and sheer tenacity. That is, after breaking the yarn down to its factory spun single ply, there is some choice in how I ply over again.

The original 4ply constructed worsted weight is definitely “worsted spun” feel; relaxed, unenergized, and even the single plies are worsted spun feel, balanced, but not overly fluffy or sticky and come apart easily when pulled apart in the untwisting process. This time I really tried to put more twist back in the divided balls of 2ply than I felt comfortable with, worrying the whole time that it would be too much twist. Yet, when I scour-washed the final skein, and thwacked it and let it hang dry, it was as if magic made it into a beautifully soft bouncy elastic, almost woolen feel fingering weight yarn.

I am very happy with the result of this Un-Spun experiment, the yarn being what appears to be suitable for colorwork or socks too. And thinking to myself now, after having had a chat with a dear friend this morning, about what if anything, would be our self-proposed superpowers, I think mine is quite possibly resourcefulness, because I feel terrifically resourceful after this latest “un-spun”. If one has a worsted weight skein hanging around, left over from a sweater project or whatever, instead of a left-over skein of no use, it could become a pair of socks, or gloves, or part of a Fair Isle garment.

Above is the before skein – worsted weight – 100g and 218 yards.

Below is the after skein – fingering weight – 100g and theoretic 436 yards.

My January Obsesson 3

Practice is what builds skill, and only practice. The proper tools help, and I’ve got all I need of them, but what is key to getting good at something is just spending time just doing the work.

This is about 480 yards and 110 grams of what is a sort of deep flax flower blue, made from two balls of worsted weight Wool Of The Andes “Baltic Heather”. Over recent days I’m getting more consistent evenness in my s-twist with this fine fingering weight, and getting the hang of the super duper fast electric plying machine, while I turned another decade older.

No complaints, just quietude and gratitude to work the days away. These January days have me feeling more relaxed than I have been in a long time, and I’m really enjoying learning a new thing, and now I’m on my way down the mountain to Oakville Post to get this skein on its merry way eastward to Pennsylvania!

My January Obsession 2

My second yarn deconstruction project of January, Wool Of The Andes in worsted weight, in the color “Brass Heather” by Knit Picks, made into my own Un-Spun. This time I wanted to get a tighter ply twist on it, and so it has become really very rustic, with a beautiful halo, and possesses a unique hand-made feel. Perhaps slightly more dense than I thought it would be, but then this golden whipped honey of a skein will be perfect for some natural wool sock knitting I have planned in the Territory Ahead !

January at the Castle

Yesterday I was finally able to meet both of my nieces at the castle, to give my eldest niece her Fisher Vest and to take a few photos in the swiftly darkening light of the very late afternoon.

I haven’t seen my eldest niece for over a year, since the last time we met in the middle of the worst of the California covid surge, to shoot these photos , remember?

She has been so busy with life as it just flies by us at times, and the pandemic has not helped either. But I must report, she is doing excellently in spite of it all.

We only had minutes before the light was too low, so only time for a few shots. Her birthday was end of the year, and I made her some fingerless gloves, snipped the tips off of the prototype which I had hidden away in a drawer, and ripped back. Fingerless gloves? She loved them. She is also wearing Aria Stole, which sweetens up the vest just a bit more, don’t you think?

Youngest niece stood by as photo assist (we had photo shoot for her & new design last September) and I couldn’t help but take one or two of her, for today she returns to university, and it will be months again before I see either of them. I loved the short time we spent together, closing it with an early dinner on the patio of Villa Corona Taqueria in St. Helena, it was a perfect whirlwind visit!

My January Obsession

I’m back at deconstructing yarns again, breaking down then bringing together great value, custom weight, novel feel with hand-made quality, even if it is all somewhat long drawn out. I’ve discovered Simply Wool from Knitpicks to be the best starting point for some upcoming “Un-Spun” projects, especially as being an OEKO-TEX product, it is absolutely minimally processed with no chemicals, nor dyed, the natural result is/will be optimal for me. I do believe the feel of the natural wool is best without the dye process, so it is really a lovely yarn to work with, even if a little dirt comes out in the first wash, that is a good sign.

Both the bulky weight and the worsted weight have 3 plies, so it isn’t as easy as splitting the plies in the untwisting “Z” direction, with this I must divide 2 and 1 plies, then when I re-twist the 2ply in “S” direction I have a the other 1ply left over which I must divide in half and S-twist against itself… and well… it all seems rather ridiculous now that I am trying to explain it, but the result is some fantastic yarn that I love, love, love, and that is all that matters.

The Simply Wool bulky weight is 193y = 100g, and worsted weight is 218y = 100g, which is not a huge difference in yardage between the two, however, the end result after my unplying & replying trick is 2ply DK and 2ply Sport weights, and the time it takes to do it is something I actually enjoy a lot. Time? Answer is my new Ashford E-spinner, which may ultimately serve me as a super fast plying & unplying machine, because in a relatively short amount of time I managed to make a lovely 100g skein of “Un-Spun” DK weight wool, even while standing ! I also gave it a “scour” soak to relax the twist, and left to hang dry, and the next day I had something I could really use from a leftover skein in my stash. I’m waiting for my second wave of experimentation, hoping this yarn will be perfect for what I am working on that I can’t discuss just yet, but soon. I just love a good January obsession, starts the year out right.

Hey Juno, its snowing!

Yesterday it snowed for a few hours, and at one point there were the biggest fluffiest flakes I’ve ever seen, but nothing stuck. It was magical looking out the window of the loft all the same, and I’m pretty sure there will be more snow in the coming weeks.

.

A quiet little Christmas.

We brought in from outside and decorated our little live Redwood for its last indoor Christmas, we’ll plant for sure in the new year. Friends’ knitted Christmasy things sent to me and a few collected old mercury glass ones made the little tree so festive. And Juno’s snuck into the new chair by the fire, and the day was very quiet just the three of us. Happy Christmas!

Winter Solstice

This morning at first light I took my camera out to photograph a few for the post, but when I tried to upload them, nothing happened, so borrowing photos from the archives . . .

Transition into winter excites me, when inwardly I build anew. This morning my thoughts drift back to a dreamscape I had more than a decade ago, a vivid dream that I was sitting, nested in an ethereal kind of place, on a snowy crag, an unreal pillar of rock jutting up into the stratosphere. I was comfortable and warm, in a place of incessant night yet with illuminating snow below and snowflakes softly blowing around me and  as if I were brought up into an existentialist heavenly place, and I was unafraid of the elements.  This dreamscape is ever present in my spiritualistic sense of myself, and although the dream was long ago the memory of it is etched in my conscience, at times reminding me to hold steadfast as I make my way through transition, unafraid, into new unknowns.

Today being the Winter Solstice the shortest and darkest day in the northern hemisphere, I ponder still that ethereal place in the highest of heights, and the creative territory ahead, landing me again in my wintery thoughts. I feel so calm this morning early as the rain begins again, softly hitting the roof, washing my worries away. So it is with a rain-fulfilled contented sigh that I feel a close of the year, while everything beds down for a nice winter nap. Happy Solstice to Everyone!

Christmas Knitting

Dear Nora and Fin-ster,

I want to tell you a little story about the Christmas hats I made for you. I wrote the pattern for this chullo in Spring of 2017 when your PopPop, Papa & Aunt Zan were in the Andes Mountains of Peru, walking the Camino Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I started when PopPop left, knitted a pile of them, wrote and submitted the pattern, and by the time he got back home a week later, I had finished everything! I named the design Camino Inca Chullo and there are many ways you can make them, but I knitted the improvisational variations for yours, making it up as I knitted along, from bits of yarn I had in a drawer, some that I overdyed with colors I thought you’d like. Nora, your Papa thought I ought to put kitty ears on yours, so I did, and positioned the ears where they worked best, as the top of the hat tends to slouch back. A soft slouchy chullo with cat ears sounds like a great hat I think , but the ears can be easily taken off if they’re not behaving. Fin-ster, I just want you to know that in the traditional dress of the Peruvians who live in the Andes Mountains, especially near Machu Picchu, only the men and boys wear these style hats, and usually have many very big fluffy tassels and pompoms, yours only has one rather small one by comparison, so wear it with pride Little Man! PopPop wanted me to make them for you, so I did, they are made of superwash wool, so they won’t shrink if you throw ’em in the washing machine, and also, the wool was grown from sheep in the Peruvian Mountains!  I better get them in the mail now, I hope you like them, and I miss you both.

Happy Christmas! Love, Nanna.

All posts Camino Inca.

Out in Autumn

Rain has soaked the earth in our neck of the woods since some time in mid October, so much rain in fact, that there were run-off streams rushing down the hill that I haven’t seen in a couple of years. The return of the rain season is at last on time, calming everybody’s nerves and we’re settling into a bit of a post fire season bliss. At present we’re having a spell of warm clear days after all that rain. So clear and mild out early this morning I was able to get out with my camera while Juno & Jeff went to dog class and I had a beautiful sunrise all to my self! Mid Autumn, and the golden oaks and maple trees are glowing, turning of the season in balance and everything in its place.  What is new: a thing showed up at the very end of October, and if you’re wondering what that odd photo of a small bit of machinery is, its an Ashford electric spinner folks! I write with exclamation and excitement, but to be honest, I’m not sure I’m so crazy about it. I much prefer spinning on my Ashford Traditional spinning wheel any day, but in recent months I have been unable to sit at the treadle wheel without a bit of back pain, or sitting at all for too long. So I couldn’t resist the temptation to try one, as my newly chronic back situation caused a bit of a dilemma, the optimal plan in doing so is that I am able to spin and ply while standing! I must admit in its favor, that it is quite a thrill to ply off several hundred grams of singles bobbins at lightening speed, something that perhaps in time I will find a real benefit from. Until then, its in the closet while the beautiful Ashford Traditional is out of the closet.  And Juno is eight months old this week ! Although her behavior is full tilt puppy still, and lots of misbehaving and testing her humans, she’s getting an adult coat of fur and looking quite beautiful . . .

Abelene Appears

Hi, its me Abelene. Its been a very long time since Jen brought me out of the closet, and I must admit, I was more desperate than I let on, when in fact, it occurred to her to give me a try for her latest Finished Thing. Whew, I was glad she did, because if you’re not appearing, you most certainly are disappearing! What she has me trying on here is another Fisher Vest, don’t ask her why she knit four of these beauties, she can’t tell you. I personally think its because she loves the design, because I’m not joking, she’s casting on for another!

Me? I just love the squiggles! Really, it was in order to officially test the latest armscye shaping. Right, she means armhole, and of course, she couldn’t resist another crew neck . Aren’t crew necks the greatest thing ever? But what I really love about the photos below are all the sweet Autumny things, like acorns and fir cone, and oak and madrone leaves, they all really gives me a sense of seasonal bliss. It is afterall, October still.

Jen says she is trying to make a date with her eldest niece who happens to be so very busy, so that she can model this Fisher Vest for some castle photographs, and be given her Autumn Thing which is the original prototype, and which has been folded up in a drawer waiting patiently through the scorching months of summer. Let me tell you fine people, I fully understand that feeling.

Talks are about to happen, dates penned in, moments fleeting and some more memories made. Hopefully very soon she’ll be here instead of me, but quite frankly I’m glad it was me today!

Ta ta for now,

Abelene

ps. Oh, I forgot to mention the techy stuff:

Pattern: Fisher Vest

Yarn: Lettlopi by Alafosslopi, color Ash Heather (0056)

Project details on Ravelry here.

A healing place…

I discovered today is very special. Counting back seventeen days before the wildfire, insert 2 years away from original home, then 2 years back in rebuilt home, forward seventeen days, mirror-reversed, bridges today with the Autumn equinox 2017. How special that is to me, because on the equinox four years ago I was finishing up my knitting trail, posted A rustic place . Today, I feel in a calm peaceful hopeful mood, and with determination, bracing myself and imagining starting the knitting trail over again. The forest was badly burned, dead & dying trees falling everywhere, soot and little pockets of ash even still in some places. In 2018 the loggers tore into it and left big open spaces, and so many really old tall firs on the lower leg of the trail disappeared. Gone. Since then there has been Jurassic regrowth of bizarre tall weeds and thorny shrubs taking over, not to mention thousands upon thousands of baby madrones, pines, and occasional fir saplings too, amongst a surprising number of big firs still standing.

It matters not when I will complete the knitting trail all over again, but this mirror-reversed day in the timeline of things is very healing, letting the forest show me how the time passed is longer back home than was away from home, and every day now that passes heals it a little more. Something in the archives of memory is willing it seems, to start forgetting the sad and the bad times.

So, sometime this Autumn, with Juno running wild as she will, I will begin again finding the path anew in that very unique place that is the knitting trail, through and among tens of thousands of madrone trees growing furiously, completely carpeted over the old trail. That is, as soon as it dries up a little from the torrential rain we’ve been having, and I’ve been loving every drop ~~ today I am hopeful and facing forward!

Out in Autumn

Its been a while since I’ve posted Juno,

and now she’s already 7 months old!

We are desperately waiting for the first rain, due any day now.

Fields are golden and dry as parchment,

needing to be dampened down, to rest my worry. 

Thats us here and now, midway through October.

Where does the time go, hmm?

Tweed Chronicles: Odds & Ends Blends

I have been in a binge of preparing fiber,  attempting to clear out and make yarn from all the little bits of  fiber odds and ends I have in my closet. With this batch I am refining my “one + one” blending method, where I blend a batt on my blending board, then blended that batt to another batt, and so on (original one + one tutorial)   Also, using hand mix method (original Handmix tutorial) to divide up the batts with new fiber helped me get everything fairly equally portioned, and I just kept adding while the batts were building and then the final brush strokes of accent.  Here’s how it all stacked up and blended together, pretty much exactly . . .

♣    ♣    ♣

Techy Stuff for Odds & Ends #2, entirely on blending board.

  1. Beginning with 21g of a BFL hand-dyed braid, I mixed together on the blending board, and the blue, yellow, green, orange, red all turned into a mix of dull dark brown = batt #1 — see color saturated neutral tutorial here.
  2. To the batt#1 color mix I blended with about 30g of some (what I think was) Rambouillet white wool that was in the mystery bag of fiber = 1+1 batt #2 = 51g.
  3. To batt #2 I blended with 97g white alpaca = [1 + 1] + 1 batt #3 = 148g.
  4. To batt #3 I blended with 80g part braid of blue-faced-Leicester/Shetland/Manx blend which was tan and white wools = [[1 + 1] + 1] + 1 batt #4 = 228g — shown in the big fluffy beige batt below. 
  5.  I brushed on to blending board 72g part braid of Malabrigo Nube (Merino) in colorway “Solis” (blues & greens) for a batt to mix in. 
  6. To batt #4 I mixed in the teal batt = [[[1 + 1] + 1] + 1] + 1 batt # 5 = 300g. 
  7. Last brush streaks of ‘turquois veins’ = topaz bamboo. 
  8. Pulled off rolags!

Notes:

  • Making batts of all the fibers first, which is kind of like combing them and making them easier to blend on the blending board with the next fiber, sequencing the process with another fiber, then another, instead of all fibers at once. This homogenizes the first fibers more and more throughout.
  • After batt #3 I decided to not blend in the 30g of white Cheviot or extra (much coarser) 72f BFL blue-green hand-dyed braid, and left it at the 300+ grams batt #5.  Batt #5 got two blendings on my blending board, in attempt to finer homogenize the colors, but it became and overwhelming project at 300g total, and I still had the last brushings of color to do, before drawing off rolags. I am considering getting a wool picker for future big projects! 
  • Final blend I added about 10g of bamboo in color “topaz” for the gold streaking affect, thinking I might end up with a look of veined turquoise. However, I can never tell until the final handspun is finished and plied before I can be certain.  

Watch this space for the spin-up of these lovely rolags. 

♣    ♣    ♣

Oh yeah…

the Odds & Ends #1 batch that is all spun up and I almost forgot about!

I actually did forget to post this, from weeks ago the finishing of the project, and it was the first of my Odds & Ends series of stash-busting projects. It is Early Morning Blend from inauguration day. has finally been spun & plied.   This also is the first on-purpose bulky weight yarn I have made that I can remember, in all the years that I’ve been spinning; that is, not accidental or “it is what it wants to be” kind of handspun. I have pretty much a default thickness of yarn I spin now, so, needing some bulky weight yarn to knit up a little something, it occurred to me to ply 3 together of the singles bobbins that were storing in my wool closet. I absolutely am raving about on-purpose 3-ply, as it makes a very balanced round yarn. Which incidentally, is ideal for textured knitting. Hmm, maybe next I shall cast on for the smallest size of my latest Fisher Vest, hoping I don’t run out of yarn!

reverie

Pastel “Walking With Emma” by Mary Ann Prehn

A lovely piece of art reached me yesterday. The moment I saw the pastel, I was cast out into an intense longing, a reverie, washed over with love of what was before and what I profoundly miss . . . walking in the long shadows either sunrise or sunset, with Emma, with the beautiful healthy landscape of the oaks before they were assaulted by the wildfire, and Mary Ann has captured the true heart of it all in this pastel she made for me (perhaps after enjoying knitting some Walking With Emma socks?) Surely the artist is completely unaware of the fact that in two days it will be the four-year anniversary of the wildfire, for the timing is so mysterious, and although I am not sure why she has bestowed upon me such generosity, that aside, it is the miracle of the heart and mind and of strong emotions which have completely touched me. Thank you Mary Ann, I am so very honored to have this piece, and of course, I am certain Emma feels it too.

Socktober

The month is Socktober as many of we knitters know it, a time where big projects get put aside and sock knitting gets the focus, and so I too am running with the herd this year! Nothing very sentimental, poetic, metaphorical, or research-laden here, just another pair of whimsical socks rattling with a dull roar through the rounds, and with a wonderfully Autumnal colorway “copper”. I am working the chart A of Walking With Emma socks, with a mini one-over-one squiggly cable, further exploring the alternating cable crossing. Hmm, maybe though I have reached a limit, finding that perhaps 1/1 crossing is a bit too wee to even notice, but fun and playful if one happens to . . .

Oh! And I managed to finish a pair, finally the second sock to the original first sock posted last July! As I write this, these socks are in the post, in a birthday parcel to my youngest niece at university, she’s going to really love them I hope !

Pattern: Walking With Emma, with chart D rib.

Yarn: Berocco Ultra Wool Fine, in Ocean.

Project details on Ravelry here.

Sun Into Libra

Sun has entered Libra, and I imagine rains coming, with a frantic sort of glee. Even though this year is like recent years, the dryest time, and most wildfire prone place on earth it seems to me, yet my mind remembers Autumn to be an awakening of moss, of first soft rains, of dewy grasses on the wayside of morning walks, and the papery leaves falling to the ground, speckled. I hope very soon a cooling trend, and I throw the memories of seasons passed into the compost as dried flowers. My mark of the equinox seems to be well expressed by the light & shadow in the posts & beams, and so I have gotten into an Autumn Equinox series I suppose, by recapturing the same scene every year. My favorite Autumn, and wishes for everybody a happy time!

Tweed Chronicles: The Hand Mix (2)

Revisiting one of my original Tweed Chronicles recipes,  posted four years ago nearly to the day, before I even thought of doing a fiber blending series and calling it Tweed Chronicles.  But this time I wanted to expand the project up to at least 300g of fiber so that I could make something from the spun yarn (oh, like a small vest).   Admittedly this time of year brings heartful memories from that time of intense creative discovery I ascended to with fiber & color on my newly made blending board. The time was just before the wildfire, so I suppose that it feels good to return and pick up where I left off , celebrating Tweed Chronicles and the coming of Autumn. I am especially keen on refining ” the hand-mix ” recipe,  a preparation of multiple  fiber & colors and textures, which uses mostly hand manipulation and minimal work on the teeth of the blending board or carders. Its actually quite satisfying to split a color into halves, then half again, and again, quite relaxing, and works so well to homogenize everything. So from the original tutorial, which has the slide show and I recommend checking out, in this post I am merely refining the method.  Here is what I did…

♣    ♣    ♣

First I weighed proportional amounts of the colors and main grey alpaca…

Then divided each color into six equal weighed piles, weighing 54g each.

Then I put the scale away, and the rest was by eye; dividing each color/fiber in each sixth into approximate fourths, then again, each fourth into four more piles of approximate eighths.

I took each little eighth pile and hand-mixed loosely (see original tutorial slideshow) , then gathered all the hand-mixed bundles ready for the blending board.

I guess you could say I made 6 piles into 94 little wisps of approximately the same proportions.  But I stopped there, because the fiber really benefits from being combed over the teeth of the carding, to comb through all of the fine “strips” of color, and that will homogenize the fiber even more, and I didn’t want to lose the splashy separation too much, keeping in mind spinning, plying, then knitting will all homogenize the colors more with each step.

Also the carding step is essential so that I can make rolags to spin woolen spun!

When brushed over the blending board , as many of the little prepped piles as will hold comfortably . . .

then draw off the rolags.

I think this method is great for integrating multiple fibers while still keeping separation of the fibers so that they pop out beautifully in the rolags, so artfully, and ultimately to give the real handspun look. Just look at all these tasty candy rolls . . .

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got quite a lot of spinning to do!

In the dappled sunlight . . .

A little film we shot after we photographed Solo Sweater Success last week at the castle. The film is a little rough around the edges, and a bit too dark, but my niece is completely natural, totally unpretentious, and of course, so artful. I guess just like our photo shoots usually are. Enjoy our first little film! In order of appearance, she models . . .

Sol Inca cardigan,  Sol Inca pullover,   Calidez vest,  Fisher Vest with Aria Stole.

Introducing Fisher Vest !

Ready for Autumn coming soon, I proudly bring forth my latest design, the long-time-in-the-making Fisher Vest!  It is indeed a seaworthy classic buttoned vest with a modern twist for fisherwomen, fishermen,  fisherteens & fisherkids!  

With choice of crew or v-neck shaping, and four variation charts to choose from, you can make a traditional fishermen’s style vest in your favorite heirloom yarn, or handspun!

I have knit three Fisher Vests over recent months

and just last night I cast on for another!  

 

The pattern now live on Ravelry

so please go check it out!

Solo sweater success!

Youngest niece and I met at the castle today, we took some photos, and then had a picnic in the dappled shade of the oak trees. It was a lovely last summer visit before she leaves to college.  The Sol Inca sweaters have been tucked away for over a year waiting for the day both my nieces could model, but today only my youngest was able to make it. I hope to get another duo photo shoot of them over next winter solstice, but these shall have to suffice for now . . . just a hodgepodge . . . Sol Inca, Calidez Vest, and also a sneak peek at a brand new design that is not quite ready for it’s debut, that is coming just around the corner. Ok, now click 1st image in mosaic and go see the slideshow! 

Patterns: Sol Inca, Calidez Vest , Aria Stole, and Mystery Vest not yet identified.

generous friends

Virginia from Pennsylvania, generous friend and trekker (aka “Moab Walker) knit these for me, and I am ecstatic! Thank you Virginia, I am so grateful and can not thank you enough for knitting so many of my patterns, but I am pretty sure this is your 19th pair of Wild Wool socks alone that you have knit (so surprised that my socks have blown off!) The yarn colorway is a beautiful rich rust contrast color against a delightful hand-dyed yarn, these couldn’t be more gorgeous and am totally tickled that the colorway of the yarn is named ” Arches National Park”, where you were just visiting. Did you in fact, find the yarn in Moab???

Juno bombed the photoshoot, demanding an inspection; she has agreed with me that they are every bit as beautiful and comfortable and well-fitting as they look, and is crazy with excitement about all the hikes we’ll go on together involving these socks, and many sticks flying through the air for her to chase. I love…. WE LOVE …. these socks SO MUCH , and I will wear them a lot, and cherish them !!!

Pattern: Wild Wool Trail Socks

Details on Ravelry HERE.

I got a new bag! (2)

In May I finished a first sample of a jumbo sized Maiya’kma , three yarns held together for a very sturdy “market bag”, and now I’ve finished my second. Its not huge, but a nice thick bag. This bag is so cool , for a couple of reasons; I started it when we were driving all the way to Stockton to meet Juno the day we brought her home, and I just think that’s such a sentimental thing, so I’m calling it my Juno Bag.

Also its shape is a wedge, with decreases in the body and oblong shaped bottom, is a bit perky and holds its shape well. I washed it inside out for 2 hot wash cycles in our washing machine, and spun at high speed for a long time. Still a little damp the yarn is very stiff, just look at how the handles stand up on their own, I love that! But most of all I love how the massively thick felted tweedy fabric looks with three yarns held together the whole bag.

Pattern: Maiya’ kma

Yarn(s): 3 strands Wool of The Andes by Knitpicks

Details on Ravelry here.

frothy

A little frothy tasty treat, and so serene, this little Nantucket Looms weaving video popped up when I searched youtube for ‘ weaving on a flying shuttle floor loom ‘. Not that I’m going shopping for a floor loom anytime soon, but while I knit I find so very much pleasure and inspiration in watching short films about mills and weaving in general. The relationship between the fiber and the wood, loom creaking, swishing, clacking, sighing, wheezing into action. Any form of it, industrial or indigenous, slick linen or fuzzy mohair, I could watch for hours and forever the yards of warp inch forward, shifting on the heddles and the weft unwinding in the flying shuttles, interlocking in finality, growing and then winding up again, as purposeful useful thing… it just tickles a spot for me. I’m a dream weaver for sure.

finished . . .

Autumn Things all ready and waiting for my nieces to show them off. Next week we are meeting, and I can’t tell you how relieved I am that these turned out better than good enough. I was really worried there for a bit, but they are the perfect sizes, and as experiments go, a real success. I am hoping by the time my nieces are taking them home, I’ll have everything ready to go, I only need to double check and submit the pattern now, so watch this space!

sock knitting

I managed to finish my nieces’ Autumn Thing 2021 ahead of schedule! Needing only to sew on buttons and labels, before I meet them next week, and then I’ll be finished with their knitted things really early this year. Soon I’ll be able to settle into a calm work storm toward what is an upcoming new design, while I dream of cool rainy weather ahead. Intermittent knitting of socks is necessary I have discovered, to take a mental break from the bigger looming projects, and I find myself collecting balls of Kroy sock yarn, and excitedly squirreling them away like acorns in branches, on the hutch in my loft room. Presently the sky is cast orange from fires in distant counties, but if I bear down and work hard on the knitting, I can distract myself, getting through the remaining smoky weeks, hoisting up the sock works-in-progress on my blockers & posting. For now I’m rattling through these green socks for Mr B, and then will mail them off to their new home perhaps (if I time it right) stopping at Oakville Post on my way to St Helena to photograph my beautiful nieces at the castle, before they sail away to school.

Blocking a fishy thing . . .

Originating possibly on the Aran Islands, spreading wide through Europe, wherever the men were fishermen by trade their wives and sweethearts knit for them the iconic Fishermen Sweaters to weather the harsh conditions at sea. I find myself once again revisiting the elemental seascape through knitting, to stroll the sands of my creative imagination, collecting sentiments washed ashore, and above all, inspired from these iconic Fishermen Sweaters, I am working my needles to produce at long last, my own version. Just off the needles and blocking to dry, is the first of my own Fishy Thing . . .

dog dazed

How is it even possible that Juno can change from a 15lb tiny puppy to a 40lb “teen” dog in a little over two months? Juno is growing like a weed, getting lots of outdoor activity, and I suppose is being fed super well, all her vet requirements up to date, and lots of pampering, so I guess it should be no wonder or amazement. Yet, still I am mystified!

July into August

In last post Squiggly I discovered how much I am fond of whimsy. Traditional cables that do not twist around in the same direction of crossing, but alternate, makes a fun snaking variation of a traditional fishermen gansey pattern. In fact , this charting was going to be a variation of a theme, but now I’m considering making it the showpiece. Actually, this one and another in the pile of knits, are going to be bon voyaging in a couple of weeks with my nieces, for some big life adventures (oldest moving to the big city of Santa Rosa all on her own, and younger off to UC Santa Barbara for college) and we recently decided to plan our traditional Autumn Sweater photo shoot at the castle before they take off. Stress! I have had plenty of time to knit and design these at leisure over the last couple of months, but I hadn’t really figured out the upper body shaping yet, knitting the lower bodies to get them out of the way, and all the while thinking my nieces would be back home for a November Autumn photoshoot… um … but that likely will not happen. So now I have got to get going and get the two finished, for it is nearing August already. I don’t think it will come to panic knitting, and I am confident I’ll have them finished for the deadline, but lets get to work then!

squiggly

Taking a break from all-consuming things, to find some joy in knitting a quick pair of Walking With Emma socks for a friend. These socks will have two fine merino yarns held-together, for speed of knitting and plushness for wearing, but this time I am experimenting with a bit of a fun variation of the cable, and that is to alternate the direction of the cable twist ~~ 1/2 LC & 1/2 RC ~~ the result creates a snaking line up the cable column, and is quite whimsical, and … squiggly ! I love doing this so much to cables now, I have even added the option to the pattern and updated it, and in a few days hopefully I’ll have this finished pair of socks to sample for the pattern. These socks are giving me a lot of entertainment, and I’ll look forward to posting more details next time, when I will show off the finished pair.

Weaving for a Huipil

Mayan Hands – The Huipil in Danger

It has been a long while since I posted a weaving film, and about time I did. This is one I have been enjoying as I have been learning a little bit about the Mayan weaving and making of the women’s traditional blouse, the huipil. Just like the weavers in Peru which I have posted about a few times, these Mayan women weave on a backstrap loom, for the clothes which keep their ancestral roots alive, but in the modern age, there are concerns about losing this indigenous tradition of weaving, therefore their culture is threatened (read more about this: The Huipil in Danger) . Guatemalan Maya weaving, although on the same type of loom as the Peruvians, and the same simple loom as in many parts of the world, it is their elaborate brocade style that is so very distinctive and original. It is especially when I find these treasure nuggets of weaving films, that I just wish I had another whole lifetime to devote completely to weaving, in particular backstrap weaving ! I hope you enjoy this little weaving story as much as I do.

See all posts about weaving.

Summer fun!

Juno’s got herself a kiddie pool, so its fun in the sun and endless splashing and making whirlpools until she is tuckered out, fingers crossed. Today is an anniversary, two months ago we brought her home (where does the time go?) and just last weekend she turned four months old!

two years . . .

Two years ago I had just submitted my Walking With Emma sock pattern. It actually seems longer to me now, that very difficult time of my life waiting and waiting for the construction to finish on our rebuilt house, and eager to get my post wildfire life going again. I worked hard to distract myself on the sock pattern collection, as well as laboring to make a new place to walk, and together those elements symbolized so much to me at a time when everything seemed in such disarray, it was completely therapeutic! Now, two years later, I am revisiting those sock prototypes, and chose the ocean blue one, a chart D ribbed variation from the one-sock stack, about to cast on for the second sock so that I can not only enjoy a finished pair, but so that I’ll have some small thing to knit while walking along the territory ahead, since I must now be out every day with Juno, taking those steps again, and again, away from sadness and towards gladness!

Oh, and maybe a little explanation about all the boxes? Recently I found this collection of eight beautiful handmade nesting Shaker boxes, which I’ve wanted a set for ages, and aren’t they gorgeous! Outside of just keeping crafty things in them, I hope to use in future as photo props. I don’t have a desk this time around, instead I’ve gathered for my work space (the loft) a drop leaf table, two beat up dressers stacked one on top of the other, and an old hutch I found, and I now have homes for every imaginable craft related bit or bob I should ever want to keep, and must say that however pleased I am with the lovely groupings of vintage sewing boxes, Longaberger baskets, and Shaker boxes, I am admittedly exhausted searching in thrift shops and on Ebay, and am satisfied to say there is not a thing in the world I am in need of, being thoroughly, well and fully, done setting up shop! Kind of an old-timey space . . .

Outside of the sock thing, and another stack of prototypes for a new design, I am oh so busy being a puppy mom again, for that single most element of my life is the best, and find that caring for another being is the surest way to happiness.

solstice

Summer is upon us! Nothing is as awe inspiring to me in my life than the play of light & shadow among the posts and beams, and I do love to capture it especially as the season changes, for the light reflection and shadows cast move throughout the day, and throughout the year. I love to be home, to get things done. But! As for getting things done, I am a bit overwhelmed presently with things-going-on that have nothing to do with knitting, so at the same time my life feels chaotic, the slow progress with knitterly things marks a pause in life for now. Well, that’s a good thing maybe. Moving across the day with the shadows on the longest day of the year goes seemingly the slowest. Happy solstice everyone! xx