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.

13 thoughts on “yokes

  1. Hello gorgeous woman!!!
    There is such a practical line of wisdom and action running through this.
    And that is wonderful to read. Public health seems such a critical issue to politicise but, given the economic/social (and indeed existential) loss, I guess it is inevitable.
    It is an issue where the consequences of division serve as an ever more divisive wedge.
    Here too, the easing of quarantine is like witnessing mass amnesia at times.
    It is stressful.
    I have myself been staggered at the level of continual support many highly entitled people have required to spend some time at home.
    Oi vey.
    The post mortem on this issue will continue for generations.
    I would suggest unplugging from the media for the most part. It can very easily become a trail of bread-crumbs leading to a vacuous Nowhere.
    Your yokes look beautiful.
    My apologies for non-engagement. I have been working very hard, writing. I have changed my routine completely. I decided to create a podcast series and have been flat-out involved in the intricacies of dealing with the technical side.
    I am teaching myself how to build a website. Rewarding by sloooow and time-consuming.
    My love Lovely.
    Look forward to those recipes.

    • Karin, wow, thank you! Happy to read that you are focused on your writing and change of routine… I want to hear your podcast, so please do send me your website and everything. xx

    • ps. Believe me, I am very much trying to avoid media; only my trusted sources; occasional peek into NPR website, and news for a few minutes with Jeff when he gets home from work. Thank you for your sage advice! xx

  2. Hi, Jen — Long time since we’ve corresponded, but I’m happy to see your life beginning to settle into a loved routine again. I know from my own experience, post fire loss in 1991, that you will long have those periods of introspection, angst, feelings of loss, as you come to your new place of peace and contentment.

    We left our condo in Glen Ellen on May 5 to return again to Australia…our usual 3 months/3 months arrangement. This time, though, in view of the situation with coronavirus, we had to quarantine for 14 days in a Sydney hotel before we can get home to Bowral. I’ve been posting a Quarantine Journal on my old, nearly defunct blog, California Girl in Oz. If you feel like browsing through the 14 days of quarantine experience: californiagirlinoz.blogspot.com — some of it is quite amusing, some of it not! Today is our final day in quarantine, and tomorrow my sister-in-law is picking us up and driving us home. Can’t wait for fresh air and a long walk! The hardest part of quarantine is the non-opening windows in these hotels and the lack of exercise…who knew?!

    Stay safe and healthy. We hope to return to Glen Ellen again in August, though that plan may have to be altered, given the ongoing nature of the pandemic.

    Cheers, Dianne

    • Dianne, what an extraordinary life you are living, chasing the climate change wildfires from Napa to Australia, and braving your way through pandemic as well! I will definitely check out your blog~~ thank you for sharing that, and saying hello. xx

  3. Jen my dear, thank you so much for sharing your feelings and thoughts!…. and also for sharing such exciting knitting news! Girl! Topdown? I love the glimpses I can spot in the pile up here.
    Take your time and enjoy your progress in all things your up to these days.
    Stay safe and in a good mood xoxo

    • Mein Chen*chen, how are you doing!
      Oh yeah, top down, always good to learn something new. And the great thing is when i was in the formative process of this design it was bottom up, but I wanted to try out the size-run and colorway samples with a bunch of yokes, and it became screaming obvious that what I needed to be doing was knitting top down. I protested but Jeff convinced me that as we age it is important to challenge ourselves with new process, and well, so here I am. A top-down cardigan on its way my dear! I think of you so often, wondering how your urban terrace garden is doing, what you are cooking, how your work & studies are going, and worried about that package getting hopelessly lost in the mail. It will get to you eventually!

      • Jeff is such a wise guy, encouraging you to new experiences!
        I try to remember, but I guess as I made my fishwives yoke sweater, I knitted only the yoke bottom up starting with a provisional cast on, and after finishing the yoke at the neck band, I knitted the body and sleeves top down….
        So you see, top down, bottom up, mix and match what ever makes sense for a particular project.
        Speaking of knitting directions, I just saw his vieseo from Arne & Carlos (Why topdown sweaters not always work when fit is concerned)

        Oh well, life is challenging in these times.
        It was cold and my “garden” is growing slowly…… First (German) strawberries are now available, that’s delicious and as we try to buy only local (no more fruits and vegetables that needs a plane or long trucktravel, if possible) all coming fresh fruits and vegetables are so welcome.

        • Oh, your Fishwives pullover was indeed a smart mix-match of bottom up and top down (such a beautiful and brilliant project!) and that is exactly how I was going to work these yokes, with provisional cast on, go up, then down. Then I realized deep into the design though, that I can’t knit a cardigan that way, and I really did want a cardigan… because of the steeks, one can’t provisionally cast on knit bottom up, then pick up and knit down, the steek would be jogged. Ahhh… so I was pressured to have to knit top down. Because after all my difficult decision making, I decided most of all I wanted to do a colorwork yoke cardigan. All a good learning experience. I will watch the Arne & Carlos video, thank you for sharing that!
          You will have a beautiful garden in your birthday month, spilling over with whatever you plant, I wish it to be so! 🙂 xx

          • Oh, and I thought, what I want to do mostly is knit the yokes, and have them in a sort of ” yoke bank ” , to be picked up and knit down any time. I’m not really weird about top down vs bottom up, you know me, I was brought up on bottom up knitting, and that’s what I do, classic. I think this new wave of top-down knitting has people doing it just because they heard it was better, but really it is the same thing. I might go as far as making both top down AND bottom up option. That would be some work. I do like the Yoke Stash idea though. Purely colorwork yoke knitting for the fun of it, without the commitment of having to knit the whole sweater. Yoke Stashes, love, love, love the idea. xx

            • Ok, watched the Arne & Carlos video (I love them!!!) and I think that perhaps there are top-down designers who are shaping the garments differently than the bottom up designers, maybe as ‘afterthought’ as they go. When I say ” the same thing ” I must qualify now, that I mean, the construction of stitches going one way are the same shape going the other way in solid. If a person were to design a sweater bottom up (as I pretty much did this yoke idea sweater pattern, nearly wrote the whole pattern before changing) the math if done the same rounds of increases instead of decreases, (which I think are the biggest consideration; inc vs dec) basically knitting the sweater upside down, then there would be very little difference. Except though, that the colorwork would look different, as the ‘v’ shape of each spot of color is turned upside down (as A&C say “smiling” stitches vs “sad” sts), one obvious way of telling.

              So , Chen*chen, I have thought and thought about this, that perhaps I ought to have just top-down steeked cardigan (for the yoke bank idea, a separate thing), but I could also have a second pattern in bottom up instruction for a two-for-one pattern~~~ you know I like to challenge myself ! Hillwalker, being a pullover, but having an afterthought pattern in addition, both cardigan steeked or knit flat , was the challenge of challenges for me. I think from now on, to not get so complicated, I’d like to relax a bit on this, maybe just do the one top-down cardi design and see how many people wont’ want to knit it because it is top-down (that would be me, before knitting these! lol )

              • So much interesting thoughts to think over and discuss…. But I have to go to bed!

                The “v” shape of the stitch the “smiling” stitch, the ” luck catching horse shoe” stitch was the most remembered item of the video for me.

                😴 night night

        • I must say, that although Arne & Carlos claim they know their stuff, the information on their video posted above is a little astray; particularly they insist that the circumference of sleeves should be that of the diameter of the chest measurement. They do not clarify ” for mens sweaters” so there’s me, recalculating, rechecking all of my recent designs’ numbers. In a moment of exasperation of a morning refiguring, and of profound self doubt I checked with the Elizabeth Zimmerman Percentage System https://jenjoycedesign.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/eps-1.jpg?w=560 which so many designers for many years have considered the golden rule of sweater proportion (sleeves at 35-40% of chest circumference) and after much checking I found my forthcoming pattern’s proportions to be spot on perfect for an average– arm circumference being 37% of the chest circumference, right in the middle. Arne & Carlos are saying sweater arms should be 50% . Maybe for a weight -lifting man, I don’t know, but I am glad I didn’t redraw all my numbers so that when the sleeves were folded inward, they met in the middle. And I can live with ” upside down, sad stitches with the luck draining out ” which is just not something valid to consider when designing top down or bottom up. Outside of those things, nice video!

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