cafe knitting

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I’m feeling the magic of the holiday tickle softly,  like a snowflake flurrying down and landing on my nose.  The contemplative spirit of Winter Solstice coming soon is always a cheerful time for me.

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After sending off the last of the Christmas packages in the tiny post office in the back, I spent a pleasant half hour at my favorite social spot, while the sky darkened and the rain began to fall. In my opinion this place really does have the best brew in the valley . . .

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In the warmth of a bustling cafe, watching through the window the door opening and closing and opening again while I knit several rounds of lace.  Then without so much as a blink I’ll be heading up the mountain homeward in low gear up the Oakville Grade.

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 I am just knitting through a flurry of last minute gifts . . .

what are you up to?

Golden Fields Lace Pattern!

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Golden Fields Lace.

A tribute to the golden rolling hills of the landscape I live in.

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Photo from archives: Fields of Gold

Wild Oat “glumes” (see Anatomy of a Grass) sway back and forth in a golden field of lace, waving & rippling along in the warm breeze…

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A traditional grains motif in an all-over pattern that is simple as it is beautiful, and so easy to knit!  Borders of garter stitch, soft scalloped edges at top and bottom, straight sides, and everything in between is from one simple Golden Fields chart.

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Photo from the archives: Out Walking In Autumn

Pattern includes three styles: Stole, cowl, and square shawl with four sizes each style!

Here Golden Fields is shown in stole.

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Photo from archives: Waning Summer

A few weeks back I did test-knit the cowl, and posted here . The cowl and stole will be really fun for me to knit over many times I think, especially with more samples of different Unspun yarns as I can come up with, as this one was knit with yarn I made and posted here.

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Pattern is now live on Ravelry HERE!

Now please go check it out and get started on your Golden Fields, just in time for a truly wonderful gift to yourself or a very deserving loved one for the holidays & beyond!

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Photo from the archives: Mountain Knitting

Abelene asked me if she could say something, so I will close with her note.

Hi everyone, its me Abelene!

It was a thrill to model Jen’s new lace design in my future house!  A thrill I tell you!  Jen carried me up a ladder to the second story under the rafters, and positioned me in a way where one only saw a small finished area in the house, but really there were tarps flapping and wind blowing through and it was so very cold but very very exciting!  Besides, I was bundled up warm in Golden Fields stole, so feeling no goosebumps. In the photo below,  Jen stepped back only about 6 feet, and you can see the mess and chaos of building, but it is coming along swiftly. Jen and I are both just over the moon.

Ta ta,
xx Abelene

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In the golden rolling hills of California.

Photo from the archives:  Fields of Gold

I was listening to an eerily beautiful song “Redtail Hawk”  the other day, and remembering fondly my walks and wildlife before the wildfire. There was a pair of redtail hawks I use to see, often times I would go up the ridge, and sometimes one or both of them would fly right over me, as if to say ” hello! ” as they decended down into the grassy rocky meadow in the photo. It was in fact,  in those tall fir trees at the left in the photo,  where they would almost always land.  Perhaps in those trees was their nest, or at least a perching place to survey, and I hate to say but those particular trees did not survive the wildfire.

I should mention that the redtail hawk is as much a part of the golden fields of California as the grass itself,  because of their main diet, the bounty of field rodents which live in and among the swaying grasses. I haven’t seen this pair of hawks nor heard their wavering lonesome screech since moving back up on the mountain into our Tiny House in May,  but I am hopeful they will return, maybe they already have.  If you are interested in these things, you can listen to the Redtail Hawk’s cry,  but I’ll close by sharing with you the song, I hope you enjoy.  Oh, and very soon all this golden grassy genius of the place will come together in a new design I can’t wait to show you, so stay tuned!

Redtail Hawk –  Kate Wolf

The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky
There’s music in the waters flowing by
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs
In the golden rolling hills of California
It’s been so long love since you said goodbye
My cabin’s been as lonesome as a cry
There’s comfort in the clouds drifting by
In the golden rolling hills of California
A neighbor came today to lend a hand
As I fixed the road as best as I can
It’s just something that needs another’s hand
In the golden rolling hills of California
In the golden rolling hills of California
The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky
There’s music in the waters flowing by
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs
In the golden rolling hills of California
In the golden rolling hills of California

See posts about Golden Fields pattern HERE.

Wrapping it up.

Road and house construction side by side.

Quite literally, many things here are getting wrapped up, so to speak.  The biggest and most important of course, is our house,  and the timberframe is swiftly becoming enclosed, that is wrapped, while road construction is making great progress too as dumptruck after dumptruck of base gravel makes its way up the mountain from the quarry. 

Secondly I am about to close in on the last quarter mile of 880 yards of  Unspun yarn I made in the end of October. In fact, I have been putting together a lace stole & cowl design using this yarn, and the pattern is all ready but for the finish photo, all awaiting on the speed which I can wrap up this project!  I am hoping for it to be ready by the end of this week, and then there will be a lovely simple & satisfying lace pattern available for holiday knitting! 

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Next we’re wrapping up November, with only four more days to it, then its already December and the big wrapping up of 2018!  I tell you, in the recent couple of weeks I’ve had a transformation in attitude; I am no longer feeling sad and sorry for myself, but really excited, and my panic episodes calming, as the tide changes to feeling abundance and gratitude coming my way.   Its been a difficult year since last November,  but I am so very excited for 2019 at last, with all that it promises.  And until then I am loving the loud rumbling of road-making machinery, merged into the cacophony of air compressors, nail guns, and hammers, so while so much excitement is here at last, I want to enjoy every moment! I just know that in a blink the day is going to come when we migrate from this tiny house 500 feet up the road into our new rebuilt house. I am very content for life as it is, knowing that time will be here most certainly by the coming of next summer solstice. 

In closing, over the Thanksgiving holiday the rain came in a big way, wrapping up another epic dry season, transforming the dry moss into lush moss, life drinking it in, miniature rain forests growing thick carpets on the wood and rocks, and bringing a verdant mood to things. Loving that and giving thanks indeed.  

Sweater Success!

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Yesterday I met my nieces in Calistoga at the Roastery, we had a little catching up over coffee & tea, then they put on their new Hillwalker sweaters, and this time we headed straight down to the Castle in St Helena for the photo shoot.  They absolutely shone against the old hand-cut stone in their Autumn sweaters!

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A fabulous time, and the usual stellar results! Oh, and behind the scenes my nieces are now also my assistants as well as my models, doing a great job of stepping in to preen as needed… real professionals!  Click and check out these fun unexpected sneak shots…

Hillwalker pattern is available HERE.

But before you go, click on the first image in the mosaic, and view a much more extensive slide show of the whole photo shoot…

 

Timberframe! Part Two

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The first rafters.

About a week ago I posted first of the posts & beams in Timberframe!   I think the most photogenic and magical part of building a timberframe house is when the posts & beams go together,  against a hopeful blue sky.

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Most days have had thick smoke in the air from yet another dreadful wildfire northeast of Napa County,  but yesterday the breeze shifted and some blue sky was showing, and the tops of many of the trees are somewhat healthy looking in spite of their charred trunks.

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The timberframe should be finished this week and I am already totally and completely in love with our new house.

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Watch this space for old familiar interior shots, as next the house will become enclosed, racing the clock as rain is expected next weekend.

♥    ♥    ♥

See all posts about our building our timberframe house HERE.

A Pinterest Kick-start

Hi folks, I’ve joined the wide world of linking photos on Pinterest!

Please give me a kick-start if you are already on Pinterest by going on to my page and following me ~~  I’d appreciate it very much:  https://www.pinterest.com/jenjoycedesign/

I will be pinning content on one mixed board mostly of my designs, and others knits of my designs, but also the wild places I go & relevant pins about rustic things,  interesting blog posts I’ve made, and other bits of life as I know it.

More posts soon to come of the building, the rafters are going up, but photos are so compromised by smoke from more California wildfires.

Thanks so much!   xxJen

Four Posts

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Now that the posts & beams of the house are going up, I am in a creative mood about what will go inside the rooms.  A couple of days ago I found  this  old oak double bed frame, and I’m really enjoying fixing it up.  It is very solid,  relatively inexpensive and worth every bit of work I put into it.

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It will go in the Loft Room, replacing an old tarnished brass bed I had forever, but I have convinced myself that I love this much better than the old one, for I love the feel of wood, so sensual and natural.
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I spent several hours scrubbing every surface with #0000 (finest) steel wool and a beeswax citrus cleaner, scrubbing off a layer of dirt & old lacquer,  resulting in a satin finish with golden oak highlights! Although it could use another scrubbing, I am reticent for I don’t want to lose the depth of patina in the grain & crevasses.

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A few cracks in the posts and flakes lifted from the veneer of the side boards, but I am absolutely totally in love with it.  I will be looking for old quilts now to dress it with, perhaps making another someday, but for now I am envisioning blocking out lace stoles the whole length of it!

Things Happening

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Now for a little catch up on the house construction!

Do you recognize my signature view of the mountains?

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Foundation poured, and floor joists going up , photos just taken less than an hour ago, during the workers’ lunch break.

Then a few hours later….

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Watch this space, things are really happening now. Next week construction starting on the road (we’re forced to put in a road to rebuild!)  and also starting next week will be the posts & beams of the timberframe going up!

♥   ♥   ♥

Emma is thirteen & a half today!

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Yesterday I took Emma out for a little walk, although not very far.  I’ve been rather quiet about things going on with Emma, but now she is on the mend, I will mention that she seems to be slowly recovering from a serious illness which came on in the first days of September rendering her completely unable to move on her own, and with very little appetite. I thought I lost her and was enormously miserable for weeks as I nursed her , but now she’s able to walk a little on her own, getting stronger every day, and eating a lot!IMG_20181101_094756.jpg

  My constant companion Emma ~~ she’s such a soldier!

Greetings from Würzburg

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Jeff’s wonderful sister with his niece (who is presently living & dancing in Würzburg, Germany), and both are wearing my hats Dicey Highland Bonnet, and Vineyard Rows.

Another outstanding trio of photographs of Maya dance-modeling  in this post , back in 2013 modeling the actual prototype for Pin-striped Tee,

and a year later, the woods with Molly & Rosanna, the Bohemian Raven Goths.

I am so lucky to have all these beautiful women in my life to support me!  Thank you every one of you… you’re out there and know who you are!  :: grateful & happy tears ::

Unspun: Deconstructing a ball of yarn.

jenjoycedesign© Cascade 220 Birch 12

From a ball of worsted weight,  I made a beautiful new skein of fine lace weight, then over-dyed into a very personal colorway.   What is the point you might ask?  The answer for me resonates in the rafters!  To make something handmade from something commercially made.   Enough reason in my thinking, and yet there are more reasons (oh, so many more).

The color selection alone is entirely worth it!   There are certain commercial yarns that are timeless & very popular, like Cascade 220, easily found in local yarn shops, and have a colossal color selection to add.  I am a lover of “heathered shades”  which  means the yarn is spun from blended colors of fleece, not yarn dyed in one color.   Heathered shades make over-dying that much more interesting for the base colors are already color textured.

If making a fingering weight , or a lace weight yarn from balls of yarn needing re-purposing sounds appealing ~~ then this post is for you.   I dare you, go into your yarn stash and look over your plied yarns, grab one, and simply deconstruct the plies. You may end up with a sport, or fingering or lace weight single ply.  But first it may be helpful to see this post.

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The techy stuff for the Cascade 220…jenjoycedesign© Cascade 220 Birch 1

Start with drop spindle and untwist, separating the 4 plies into two balls of 2-ply (they will be 50g each)  This will take some time.

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From two balls of 2-ply separately divide and wind into two single ply 25g balls.

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I found that I really didn’t need to untwist the 50g balls that much, if at all,  because the initial untwisting of 4 into 2 plies did all the work, so it goes so much faster in this step.  In fact, I just took off of the spindle and just began to pull apart the plies wind into little balls,  however they will still have some twist (sometimes a little z-twist , and sometimes a little s-twist )  so it helped to put a weight (I used a pen) on the 2ply, and draw out about 8 feet, then the plies separated easily with hardly any twist.

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Finally I had four balls of single ply, at 25 grams each.   A feeling of strong satisfaction comes from the work!

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Now join the ends ~~ spit-splicing them joins nicely and quickly!

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I ended up with one full 100 gram ball of single ply.  But not finished!

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The single ply needs to be wound into a skein it so that it can be simmer-dyed, or just soaked in a very hot water bath to relax & set the plies which will be energized with twist, as shown above.

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I dunked a couple of times in a very pale diluted dye bath of Vermilion pink, to give the yarn a tone of late summer, ‘toasted in the sun & weather’ look. In the over-dying, I wanted to capture the lovely color of late summer golden fields  of my home and made a pale bath of a purple-pink which I used to cut the brilliance of the yellow.  The dye soaks really fast having a slight blotchiness.   If you lightly over-dye your single ply yarn as I did,  re-skeining the yarn is essential to see the color variegation at its best, and it mixes up any slight blotchiness that happens in a very light non-saturated dye bath ; which is what I aim for these days, simmering a little in an acid dye to set the plies & relax them, but also exhausting dye bath quickly and with clear water left only, having used a dash of white vinegar for the fixer .

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Summary:  A ball of Cascade 220 weighs 100g and is approx 220 yards , and constructed of 4 plies.  When that is split into half , there will be two  balls of 2 ply weighing 50g  = 440 yards per 100g.  When those balls are split into half , there will be four balls of 1 ply weighing 25g = 880 yards per 100g.    Another four ply worsted weight I’ve tried and love is Knit Picks Wool Of The Andes, with almost the same yardage and definitely the most impressive color selection. But seriously, try splitting plies of ANY yarn you have, if you can get a hold of a simple drop spindle, then you have all the tools you need. (A swift and ball winder are tools I used as well).

It takes some time, but untwisting yarn is something really innovative and resourceful in my thinking, and I’ve come up with a fun category under which to post the process of re-purposing yarn to finer weights ~~ Unspun !  I’m just kind of getting to be a nerd about it.

Original Yarn: Cascade 220 = 220y / 100g in “Birch”.   Made in Peru.

Repurposed Yarn: Unspun = 880 y / 100g in colorway ” Golden Fields “.  Remade by Moi!

Pattern for this yarn is forthcoming!

See all posts Unspun

A new favorite.

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I was out walking on the ridge this morning, and missing my favorite old majestic oaks killed in the wildfire, but now finding new ones to admire. I think this one is a new favorite, but I can’t tell from the photo whether it is a blue oak or black oak, both which thrive side-by-side in this tiny micro-landscape of the mountain. Pushing myself further & faster now, focusing on speed up the ridge in the morning, and relaxing knit-walking in the afternoon. I hope to share more of the changing landscape as I’ve decided to take my phone with me every time I go out now, which is a completely new thing. Oh, and I have a knitting & fitness “game” I’ll be sharing soon!

some lace

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Hi everyone, its me Abelene!

Jen let me try on her most recent lacy things, and they feel so pretty.   Just so nice.   This blue one is baby alpaca, called Alpaca Cloud by Knit Picks, and Jen said it is a sample of a new lace thing she is working on that she hopes to come out with this Autumn. How exciting that I get to model it as a sneak preview!

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Jen told me that there was no room in the Tiny House to block the cowl out to dry, so she pinned it down on her car seat over night ~~ ha ha, very funny!    Also she put this lovely  plum colored ribbed lace on me, told me to say that it is made from a yarn called Gloss by Knit Picks, which has silk and merino wool, and is a modification of her Double Cappuccino pattern … and I just can’t help but think how similar to frothed milk that it feels like. Really so!

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Thats me for now, signing off… and its back into the shed I go.

Ta ta,   Abelene

Out into Autumn

jenjoycedesign© October 21,2018 Out walking I see the Mayacamas mountains rolling southerly down into their foothills.

I am enjoying Autumn now that the leaves are beginning to cover

the blackened forest floor from last year

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This sparse ground cover is only the beginning of the leaf fall,

they will continue to flutter down until winter is here.

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I woke today after having seemingly dreamed almost consciously about a new fresh start in life walking a little more every day,  away from stress of the wildfire,  restoring a positive feeling about myself  and my life, so that when the house is finally ready for us to move into it,  I will be rebuilt too.   Its been a rough year for me, hands down, and I have existed in a self spun cocoon trying to not think about the stressful things,  but I really do believe committing to walking increased distances will cure all that is wrong in my world.  Just one walk at a time.  

A simpler way.

jenjoycedesign© unplying Soft Donegal.JPGI’m halfway through unplying my three balls of Merino Tweed, in natural white, beige and brown (my newest technique posted previously.)   I will over-dye the beige and brown with pink, and also with green, resulting in a light and dark variation of the colors. You can dye once and if you vary your yarn ‘base colors’ and the result is like having dyed many colors ! I plan on a project which will have a dark and light pink, and a dark and light green, and natural white. Watch this space for continued progress posts!

Meanwhile, as I unply on the drop spindle, I have been educating myself endlessly watching Nilda’s film…

Nilda so deftly prepares fleece without carders — the Andean way — then spins into fine single plies, then single plies into yarn, expertly without ever using anything other than the most basic tools and her own hands.

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She is one person I would love to walk  and spin with, for in her culture moving is intrinsic to spinning … out to the herds, up the mountains and down again, strolling and spinning, a constant activity for the women & girls.

Continually spinning or plying means it is necessary to simplify the process and limit the tools to what a person can carry, using unique & interesting techniques of how to not let things get tangled,  and spin while tending the flock, keeping drafted fleece or hanks of single plies ready for plying neat and attached to the body.

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I highly recommend Nilda’s film “Andean Spinning with Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez”  , a film which has reaffirmed my notion that working with hands really does belong with walking ~~ as if  double tasking was invented in the Andes!   I relate very much to Nilda’s teaching that in her culture one spins constantly, for it is necessary, and one does it while moving from one place to another, or visiting with friends, or just meditating quiet moments. I translate it of course to knitting and walking, but I think once I really give the drop spindle a good practice, I will be walking along side Nilda in spirit.

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I will leave you to check out the links and discover for yourself just how elegant Andean spinning really can be!

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Last spring I made a series of posts about the weaving in Cusco & Nilda’s work with the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco ,  and I’m really looking forward to one day having my upstairs loft studio again wherein I can organize it to work while letting the Andean’s utmost simplistic methods show me the way ~~  to a truly refined Less Is More way of making things.

Unspun

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A 100g ball of Studio Donegal “Soft Donegal” tweed left over from Hillwalker Cardigan.

I have for a while experimented with different methods to un-ply yarn and I think I have finally found the easiest method. Being a bit smitten lately with All Things Andean, and the drop spindle, it is no surprise that thinking like an Andean Spinner, and going back to my spinning roots I would find the method of methods…

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I slipped the ball onto spindle, hooked beneath whorl and secured with double half hitch at top. Twisted in reverse direction of plied twist.

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Then as the yarn untwisted, I wound two balls, one in each hand.  In the past I experimented doing this with a spinning wheel, a ball-winder, and a swift, juggling all of them at once and it was quite a complicated process!

I am so pleased to discover the simple way …

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Less is always more, every time.  I lost track of time but it took me less than two hours to separate the plies by reverse twisting, as I wound the singles into two 50g balls of fingering weight.  Far less time than it would have taken to spin two 50g balls, so if I consider I’m creating a yarn I want to use, from yarn that is not getting used ~~ I believe it to be a very economical process.

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No doubt the singles of the un-plied yarn will have plenty of untamed twist but I think dying them will relax them a lot.  In fact, I ordered some dyes finally, and am going back to over-dying yarn, after a long break of doubting whether I ever again would, so I will be having fun making use of a few balls left over from my most recent Hillwalker sweaters ~~ watch this space!

See all posts about Unspun !

ps. Adele, that is the spindle you sent to me, it is the only one I own presently and it works perfect for this!

Hillwalker, and an anniversary.

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Introducing the Hillwalker sweater duo…

(and photographed with my walking stick!)

I have now finished both the pullover and the cardigan,

and that means Hillwalker is now two patterns for one download !

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Today is the one-year anniversary of the historic Northern California Firestorm  which burned through two counties and thousands of homes, including our own.  Such an anniversary of loss seems to be a time to test resilience, rising above hardship, and moving beyond the grief toward healing happier times. As I walk on the mountain,  I feel the loss, and regrowth in such an overwhelming way.

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There are so many dead trees, but surprisingly, there are many that are alive.

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A favorite Blue Oak, gone.

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Vineyards thriving.

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A favorite rocky meadow.

This Autumn comes as a relief, now I can focus on what is ahead, and what is new, fresh, and positive. Life is short, its over in a blink, and we have every ability to control our attitude.  I’ve learned one very important thing through the experience of this last year, and that is the only thing we can truly own is our attitude, and the accomplishments of  our mind.   The rest is just material & prone to ashes.

♣    ♣    ♣

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Northerly view over valley fog.

Sweet Sixteen and a new pattern!

 

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A little sooner than I expected,

but I am posting the first of a two-part pattern.

First part, the pullover…

and my younger niece who is now Sweet Sixteen!

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Miss Sixteen’s birthday pullover  in the new pattern Hillwalker.

We photographed in Calistoga yesterday …

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(( I love Miss Sixteen’s new hair cut! Don’t you? ))

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Oh, and look who is now driving!

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Driving off from the back lot of the roastery!

A stellar time with my niece and her mom at the Roastery on Sunday, with a quick photo shoot.  I am needing a little extra time to get the cardigan ready , so that will be part two, very soon. But for now, please go check out the new Hillwalker pattern live on Ravelry

Sweater Mania

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A pile of sweaters; two finished and one not quite.    Another is not in the photo for it is only half finished, and in a bag somewhere up in the tiny attic, and another still was knit almost to finish and then ripped out. These three represent a lot of knitting through recent months;  through weeks of dusty loud logging, of waiting frustratingly for building permit to be issued, through scorching heat waves, some cool summer fog waves, and through Autumn equinox.  Now the rain has come, and construction of house has begun. It is perfect timing for these sweaters to be finished and have their debut.

A sweater debut?   Yes!  In a couple of days I will be visiting with my youngest niece who is soon having a birthday and turning sixteen ( so will be Miss Sixteen for a year) and she’ll model the brown sweater and then there will be a pattern release of a design I have been working on for a long time.  The Autumn photo shoot with both of them must wait until the November holiday this year, when Miss Eighteen comes home from college.

At first the design was going to be a set-in sleeve invention,  then I couldn’t manage through the stress of things going on, so I changed my mind, promptly ripped it out, and started over with more classic style I realize that can not live without, so it became what it really wanted to be.

I will leave you in your anticipation of the forthcoming while enjoying my latest find of video mill tours, this one has given me hours of enjoyment as I knit frantically one more sweater for niece’s birthday. It rather has a calming effect while starting out a bit sleepy, but the excellent jazz music accompanies about a minute into the narration …

day one: digging

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2:30 pm, on day one of rebuild. Excavating really deep for footing (the county building codes are so over-kill now). The first time, in early summer of 2000, Jeff and I did this by ourselves, not even half this wide or deep; Jeff operating a simple little back hoe, I moved the dirt in his lumbering old Ford 420 bucket front-loader, and lots of using pick and shovels too, and it took us a long time. Three men digging and moving dirt, with foreman, Jeff, and five miniature Dachshunds standing by, the excavation will be finished today!

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A celebratory crumble..

jenjoycedesign© apple crumbleHearing the excavator scraping away against a very rocky volcanic earth for a new foundation at 7 o’clock this morning was absolute music to my ears, and watching the gradual additional equipment arrive up one by one on our dusty road is just making me blast off into an orbit of happiness. I welcome the noise of production finally, over the deafening silence of waiting .  Starting rebuild construction,  twelve days short of a year since the wildfire, and no more waiting!  I have in fact, made a celebratory apple crumble to bring up to the workers this afternoon, when things settle in a bit.  Here’s my totally improvised recipe …

Jen’s Apple Crumble (from the Tiny Oven)

Sugar Mixture: blend 1/2 cup brown and 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.

Apples: Peel, core & quarter 3 large tart apples. Blend 1/2  of sugar mixture with 3 tablespoons flour then into the apples, place in bowl and set aside.

Crumble: In small processor, grind 1 cup of rolled oats (or just use quick oats), empty into large bowl.  In processor blend 1/2 cup cold butter and 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour, finely as for pie crust, and add to oats. Add the rest of sugar mixture in with flour & oats and toss with just enough ice cold water to make it bind a little when pressed together, but much of it still very crumbly & loose.

Assemble: Press a little more than half the flour/oat/sugar mixture into bottom of an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish.  Layer apples evenly, but not touching dish, then sprinkle the rest of the flour/sugar mixture on top.  Sprinkle additional sugar on top to taste.

Bake at 350F until crumble is golden and apple layer begins to bubble. ( In our Tiny House tiny oven, most things burn, so I waited until the fruity syrup began to bubble before taking out of the oven, at the risk of a little burn)

Equinox

Frantic artful ‘good mood’ music because things are shifting into action!   Meaning that we have been issued our building permit finally,  after a grueling long wait, and house rebuilding can start at last!     The Autumnal Equinox is Saturday, and I am going to celebrate!

This music reminds me what I have been missing,  a familiar manic wave now only whispering,  approaching me without touching, as if to assure me of its return, and that all will be in a far better place very soon.

Oh, and this trio just hits the spot doesn’t it!  Be sure to listen to Trio Brasileiro videos as they queu up,  because these tunes are deservedly among my favorites and might become yours too!

Waning Summer

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Its the last days of summer, finally.  I thought I’d never get through them.

The Autumn Equinox is near, and I thought I’d enjoy a nice afternoon walk up the ridge and take some photos of the landscape in the waning summer.

Wild peas  continuing to bloom unusually late…
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As I got higher up the ridge where the bad burn is,

I notice so many sprouted trees, as this baby knob cone pine, about 8 inches tall …

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Sprouted right beneath the scorched parent tree, full of pine cones….

jenjoycedesign© burned pine

In a blink it will be the Autumnal Equinox , only four days!  Knowing I am near to being in a far better place mentally with the anniversary of the wildfire so soon to pass, I am so very eager to be grateful again and excited about life’s good things.

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waiting

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Red lines painted for excavation & string elevations in place of where the rebuilt house will be.

Yesterday took a turn for the worse for us. The previous Friday we were told we’d have our permit, and too soon did we think we could just start building. Our building permit got held up because of yet another detail some engineer at the county building department was chewing on ; we now have to change the plans to do more fiddling, as we have done several times already, until its become utterly impossible & ridiculous. This means more time to wait, and worst of all , more money to build, and it also means more debilitating frustration in our lives, but we are coping and won’t give up. Our county building administration is notoriously harsh and very difficult to get a building permit through on the best day, and don’t for a second think they are in any way being lenient to the many who have lost our homes to the wildfire, now 11 months later. Our contractors are ready to start, we have the batter boards & string line up for the foundation elevation, and had the foundation sub-contractor up here spraying lines in the dirt and scheduling a start as soon as permit is issued.  Since its costing us more, we’ll end up having to do more of the building ourselves, and live in this teeny tiny space longer.  Not really glad about things right now. I’ll let you know when things really start, as many of you have no doubt been wondering.  I’ve just put this out there so family & friends will have an update ~~ apologies if  I seem like a complainer, I’m just angry and at a breaking point.

Just flew off the needles!

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Lace + ribbing = a beautiful springy cowl!  I just finished my project in a cowl-along I’ve been knitting in recent week. I intentionally didn’t block it, being very pleased with the three dimensional waffled surface the merino lace yarn creates with the ribbed pattern & yarn-overs.

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It is a very easy modification of Double Cappuccino Legwarmers  , and I chose to work the ribbed lace with really big 6mm needles for a frothy open look,  so it grew in length fast, therefore naturally the patterning  was easy enough that I knit it entirely while walking up on the ridge over the last week!

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl

So downy soft, yet athletic from the ribbing, that I plan to eventually give it to a certain dancer, hoping it won’t fly off in the middle of her leaping across the stage,  I planned this to go with her mostly black dance wardrobe of course!

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This is the first of my start on gift knitting, for the holiday swiftly on its way.   So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the ridge for a hike while casting on for another !

Pattern: Modification from Double Cappuccino

Details: on Ravelry  here