New Loft (( progress ))

jenjoycedesign© loft room progress 2 I have just been up to the house and its a lovely morning to photograph the new loft room progress. I am so pleased about this beautiful space, and I think it may even be more lovely than before, as there are a couple improvements made.  I am completely obsessed about this work space to be!   ((click 1st image to go to slideshow))

Do you recognize that ledge, on which I took so many photos of knitted things and yarns? After busting through the surface of thick sheet rock dust to post this, its time to get back to my frantic sock knitting, but thanks everybody for your comments . . . I promise to be talkative again on the flipside of my sock-knitting May-nia.

Ten at a time . . . gussets.

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Ten at a time gussets have been knit.

Here is the pile of ten unique socks,  ready to knit the foot sections next . . .
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The gusset of a sock is a really the most fun part in my opinion, where all the chaos of the heel flap, turn, and picking up selvedge stitches is finished, and it brings the stitch count back to original, ready for a straight run to the toe.

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And it could not be more apropos that there are ten days left to May, including today, and to finish my ten socks and submit forthcoming sock pattern extravaganza by June 1st is my goal.  I am committed to this sock knitting “May”nia, and won’t be able to do much of anything else but knit these little dears and polish up the pattern.  I’ll be making my last ten-at-a-time post when I am ready for the toes, in the last days of May ~~ see you then!

A day of days!

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I’m in a robust mood this morning early,   a beautiful golden sunrise through the glistening air of recent days of rain.   Right now the forest is alive with promise!
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Ignore the charred black trunks, because what is going on beneath the surface is nothing less than a miracle.    I want to emulate the forest, and allow myself to sprout renewed growth from such a vibrant place within, the place of true life .  
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In the mood to step outside with camera and capture the moment, vivid as it can be; the wildlife stirring,   Emma napping quite oblivious to it,   the knitting trail ready to be worked & walked .    What a day of days! 
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A couple cups of rich strong French Roast and I am ready for the day!

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

New Things (Part 2): Darning

Having spent a decade exhaustively knitting, recently I decided to try some new things, which I posted about the other day, and intend to make a little series of New Things!  What prompted the latest New Darning Thing was when I found these examples of some really very old Dutch needlework darning samplers.  I presume the purpose of the colorful samples was ultimately to learn to repair fabric, but in doing so it seems the lessons are teaching a solid understanding of warp and weft, so artfully,  and in as many types of weave patterns as possible. There are quite a few, click the first photo and see a slide show, they are so inspiring!

I adore how cross stitch and darning are combined in these. Although I think the many colors in darning are so very artful, I think I am mostly interested in invisible darning, which brings me back to the point of New Things.

Having lost my wardrobe to the wildfire, I am taking a new stance about clothes; I want to own far fewer things, and only things I love to wear, and then take care of them.  First off, I never was one for expensive clothes at all, nor too casual, and although I’m a bit goldy-locks about clothes, there is one thing for sure, I do love linen with a passion!  So I have been collecting some of my favorite linen brands,  inexpensive (used) ebay finds, and perhaps because used, already I have been wearing some things threadbare, and that says something about how hard I am on clothes, but also the quality of linen. I find that Irish Linen wears so very much longer, but I do not care if I have holes in them, I’ll wear holes in my clothes until it becomes too unseemly, then I must repair. But I have been a little too uncaring in recent year, to the point of wearing nearly indecent holes in my clothes, but now I am up for an all-out clothes repair intensive. Darning is now my new obsession. Okay, well, maybe not totally new. I have done some beginner stabs at darning (posted here) But I do want to pick up needle and ease back into it, and practice practice practice.

Just last night I spent about an hour on this hole, I stitched in tan for warp (threads going up & down) , then wove white weft (threads back & forth) into the warp, then tan again at the diagonal. I left it at that. An impossible weave to disguise actually, so I just went randomly, and when I say ‘weave in’ , it is just a running stitch I am working, in a random woven affect.

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Rather haphazard looking and not at all artful, its not even ironed yet (where is my iron? Packed somewhere in the recesses of the shed!) … but its just a work shirt. If I were going to repair some heavier fabric, I would stitch in the warp layer, then weft layer and two opposing diagonal layers, and repeat as necessary until the fabric density felt even.  I really do have quite a pile of mending to do, and here is the task of today, to weave in the twin holes in the inner thigh of these pants…

jenjoycedesign© darning 2 colors warp and weft

A discovery I made is that is cotton embroidery floss works great; it is relatively inexpensive, you can get in any shade and can be found everywhere.  A single strand of the 6-strand floss is the best I have found, it is soft and very pliable, and you can find a shade matching nearly exactly for threads in warp & weft.  I am thinking for the very very lightweight fabrics to split one strand, but that is an experiment for another day.

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Having stitched in a warp in tan like the fabric has, I am now weaving the black weft layer, as the fabric has,  and I work the weaving past the edge of the hole, all the way out into the fabric that is stable. Then I will weave in a diagonal sheer layer in tan again.   Not overly artful either, but I am just repairing casual everyday clothes, and this darn is from a very large shredded edge hole about 3″.   I am observing that weaving diagonally over the grain of warp & weft adds a great deal of sheer strength.

The old saying ” An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is resonating loudly for me.  Had I only done this when the fabric was starting to show wear I would have saved myself a heap of darning, but regardless, I want to learn to repair these disasters all the same.  I suppose being a practical person the fancy darning samplers will have to wait until a day when I have nothing better to do. It is extremely tedious weaving  one-over/under-one warp and weft, so I just decided to go more randomly with the running stitch. I found a rhythm. A mesmerizing rhythm, and I am loving darning!

Meet the Feet & Hands!

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These sock and mitts blockers are outstanding in quality and workmanship, they are made from a woodworker from Ukraine, and I recommend them one-hundred percent if you’re looking to get some. They can be found on Etsy at Alex Workshop Design.   As for the mitt blockers, so lovely, and just look at the way the thumbs tie on so that you can slide the mitten or glove over the palm & fingers with ease, then slip the thumb in last.

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I am already envisioning my next glove design, and am pretty excited about my new blockers.  I felt purchasing some proper blockers to photograph my knitwear accessories was just bound to happen eventually.   Abelene is just over the moon about the new Feet & Hands by the way,  and just can’t wait until I dress them up with forthcoming socks, and future mitts & gloves!

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House Update Addendum

I am shifting gears for future Jenjoyce Design Studio Loft (a.k.a guest room, lol)  move-in date.  A lot of backstory, some of you have followed the details since the wildfire, but rather than get bogged down in that mire, I’d like to focus on the positives.  I long to be hyper productive as I remember I was two years ago at this time, with everything I needed at my fingertips, and know I will be again, as soon as I get my  crafty gear up to the house, even if it is woefully unfinished workspace, I know time flies and I can establish a new level of productivity.  Oh, the latest photos of  the loft . . .

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The subfloor still is not in place, but the roof is on and windows all in!  My old friends Light & Shadow are taking over the house already, playing their magic among the beams.

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As soon as the drywall for this room is finished, plastered & painted, I am moving my gear and the furniture I’ve collected for this space IN. Jeff agrees that is okay, so with fingers crossed that might be in June? Forget the final inspection sign-off and full move-in, as Jeff and I are left with a heap of work after our builders are finished with theirs, bumping the official house move-in until who knows when, as late as late Autumn. Jeff is so overwhelmed with his workload from his job and the house, so I really have to ease up on forecasting anything. All I can do is be positive about this one room, remain in good spirits and be ready to hit the ground running as they say.

Some photos from the archives of the original loft room . . .

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From the Archives: ” Objects de Arte

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From the Archives: ” My Knitting Companion

 My familiar old space back then, again soon to be, and I have decided it is good if I post often about the progress of The Loft, even if the rest of the house progress is going slow, so expect addendums to be more frequent.  I have far less stuff now, of course, and am visualizing the room to be kitted out with the essentials  only, and I’m so looking forward to seeing that develop minimally.

Signing off with a massive spring downpour of rain!

Ten at a time . . . heels.

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Socks knit ten at a time is the thing !     But I am a little embarrassed to admit my  collecting so many dpns for the project is rather excessive, but I’m invested in this ten-at-a-time conceptual thing.  All craziness is good, one does what one must in order to live.  For me, obsessive tendencies like this are just the norm.   Ten at a time heels, done.   Ten at a time gussets just waiting for me to post this and get to the pile.

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Meanwhile, something hand-made has arrived in the mail all the way from Ukraine, and  will make an appearance soon, when these ten socks are finished and ready to show off.

New Things (Part 1): Jelly rolls, fat quarters & charm packs.

jenjoycedesign© jelly roll quilt colors

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

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

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

This is a sort of ‘ part one ‘ of my self-declared quest for new things!

A cause for celebration. . .

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

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

Emma is Fourteen

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Emma is fourteen today!

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

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

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. . . for another May birthday . . .

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

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

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

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

 

Ten at a time.

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

jenjoycedesign© sock stack 2

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

A sandy beach, a beautiful girl, and a ukelele.

Got the beach.

Now the girl and the ukelele . . .

My younger niece here, whom so many of you recognize in a gazillion photo shoots on my blog, has learned to play her grandmother’s ukelele.  A Martin, which in its first life accompanied her grandmother Barbara to Carmel beach in Monterey California,  to sing and hang out with the teens til late, in the Beatnik era of the early fifties.  Barbara was also a stunningly beautiful girl, and a musician, and the resemblance is very surprising between the two! Just saying.   Now the ukelele belongs to Yours Truly, and she’s got it in her blood I think, and I just love it!

Out woolgathering . . .

Emmerson, Henry Hetherington, 1831-1895; Wool Gathering

Wool Gathering, 1883 by Henry Hetherington Emmerson

/ˈwo͝olˌɡaT͟H(ə)riNG/

 Indulgence in aimless thought or dreamy imagining; absentmindedness, daydreaming, reverie, musing, preoccupation, absorbed.

I have learned a new word and it rather defines me in my life as though I invented it. Meandering in thoughts, as if walking through hilly meadows collecting tufts of wool, I do ponder, always one thing or another.  I guess, it is ” woolgathering ” that I am up to; contemplating life-to-be when our house is finished being rebuilt.  I am embracing the woolgathering, and in more ways than one.

In the painting, there are three women stuffing found things (wool) from bushes, or the  ground,  into their bags.  One of them and her dog seems to have come upon and surprised a small group of sheep.

I am bemused by gathering actual wool too.   Knitting in a frenzy ten-at-a-time, on my new birch wood dpns, and writing and testing a new pattern, and collecting wool in yarn form (mostly sock yarn presently) and in dyed roving form (for blending on my remade blending board) and to spin on my wheel (a gift, which is destined to be freed from a tightly packed shed)  … to fulfill that quest which consumes me.   I gather wool, thoughts, ideas, and the tools of the trade for the work in the territory ahead.   Woolgathering is just what I do for now.

I am definitely a woolgatherer (noun), out woolgathering (verb).

What are you woolgathering about?

A house in progress.

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I thought I’d post a little about the progress of our house rebuilding!

The most exciting thing is that half of the openings in the roof for the sky lights have been rough cut and light is already pouring in and illuminating things in a most magical way.

Compare the original house skylights of Then …

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From the Archives: Sweater Descent

to the rough cut openings of skylights of  Now.

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Fantastic! I recognize my dearest of old friends Light &  Shadow, among the beams.

Oh how I have missed them!
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Its been a really late spring folks, with gobs of beautiful rain, and it is still a bit chilly & breezy, but now the perpetual deep blue skies & sunshine is on its way!  The foliage from the year-old shoots from burned trees are growing rapidly, and the flowers are bursting open everywhere . . .
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 Soon will be siding and roofing…

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And at the same time Jeff is now rebuilding the deck, with a little bit of my help.   Rebuilding  has been slow going all winter, and while our county beurocrats have not shown any effort to hasten things,  our dedicated few builders commuting from far away have stayed through the worst of storms, and have remained positive and encouraging, so now at last it looks like things will speeding up.
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I meditate everyday on being ‘back home’ in our rebuilt house, setting up my loft room and setting new lofty goals for myself ! It is so comforting and gratifying to see how much it looks and feels like our original house, after all it is the very same kit, and its easy to feel like its all just a dream, which I am soon to wake from.   I am amazed at some of the blog readers that have commented, apparently keeping track of me and the progress since the wildfire , and that is so heartwarming. I am getting a clearer vision now of the next equinox being a time when I will be a busy bee reacquainting myself with my old routine again.

But do tell me, how is the weather where you are?

All posts Rebuilding

Never far from a prayer.

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Sunstruck needles by Knitpicks

I have been going a little off the deep end hunting & sleuthing out the best finds on ebay of small vintage baskets, as well as made an order for a few more sets of Sunstruck dpns.  Add to that the sox box I found only weeks ago, and my recent filling it with half-ball cakes of sock yarn. Can you guess where this is going?  But first let me give you a little backstory;  I have for a long time, even years,  wanted to have a simple little knitting project in a small basket in every room of the house,  like socks, so I am never far from a prayer.  I suppose I aim to find peace in constant knitting.  I have only to wait until the house is complete of course, before I can fully actualize this notion, but I am intending to start as soon as my first little baskets show up,  filling them each with something simple like a sock project and setting them up everywhere about.  I don’t know what’s happened to me, but in these last few days knitting with the beautiful birch wood double-pointed needles is nothing less than a sock knitting epiphany. I have been feeling rather spiritually lifted from it all.  I know, strange how it is. So please hang around this space as I begin to transform and organize something deep within me which has been nothing short of lost, but now seems nearer to being found.

Yarn Tasting: Berroco Ultra Wool Fine

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In these glorious down-pouring rainy days of April I am knitting socks and trying out a new yarn that I’m really excited about, Berroco Ultra Wool Fine. 100% Superwash (Peruvian) wool, three somewhat lofty plies, with  400g – 366m per 100g ball, and made in Peru.  I’ve wound two colors into half-balls and got started . . .
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I love this yarn so much that I bought several balls of it, and planning on over-dying some of it too, and I have ambitions for a “rustic country cabled sock”.   I am not exactly sure what breed Peruvian wool is, but on one website I read that it is a cross between Merino & Corriedale sheep (can anybody out there add to this , or correct me?) , and seems to me to have a nice long staple length when I try to pull a ply apart it is very difficult, a long haired wool quality which I love.   Out of the socks I knit this last year my favorite yarns are the 100% Blue-Faced Leicester wool, or BFL, which by the way, presently is an extremely popular knitting wool, and um… good ol’ modest Kroy sock yarn.  Neither are Merino.

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Berroco Ultra Wool Fine is 400 yards per 100 grams and is ever-so-slightly thicker, or has more loft, than the finer fingering sock yarns I’m use to, such as Malabrigo Sock, Knit Picks Stroll, or Cascade Heritage, all which are around 440 yards or more per 100g.  These two starts of socks I am knitting with Ultra Wool Fine are giving me impressions of the lovely rustic kind of wool almost a homespun feel, that I have in mind, and which my often booted feet are hungry for.
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Also having a bit of a needle tasting too!  I am trying a set of dpns in a size smaller than I usually use for socks,  a set of US 1 – 2.50 mm wooden dpns, given to me from knitters’ donations after the wildfire, which I am now ever so thankful for. I went to the dpns because I didn’t have that size in the nickel plated circular needles I have been so use to using for sock knitting, and I must say knitting with wood traditional dpns is the most aesthetic of experiences, even if not the fastest (due to my clumsiness). These are Knit Picks Sunstruck, and the color and feel is warm, light, and masterful feeling.
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With these needles and this yarn I will knit some wonderful socks that will be a pleasure, and there is a very likely possibility that I will switch over, and a couple of pairs of socks will tell. A couple of posts ago I talked about my new Sox Box I picked up at a thrift shop, and my ambition is to fill all fifteen compartments of this box with knitted socks, and oh what gleeful anticipation of sock knitting is ahead!  My Sox Box is filled with good intentions for now, at the very least, but I am bracing myself for a colossal head-start on next winter’s gifts, perhaps out of it even a bit of a pattern to develop ( hint) but for now, I’m keeping you all in suspense.
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Franny & Zooey

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I have been thinking of names for our pair of lovebird ravens, predictably a famous couple, and  Franny & Zooey comes to mind.  A fictitious pair of genius siblings who are perfectly worthy of these smart trusting birds, and well, its just that I’m a fan of Salinger.    Here’s Zooey, on the wood pile, right next to our tiny house ….
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He is preening and watching over his shy lady Franny, who walks on the ground at a greater distance in the Charcoal Forest.
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But distance is relative, because I tell you folks, I was 30 feet away at the most, quietly inching forward ever so slowly before Zooey caught on to me, and took flight.

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Beautiful birds, I just can’t get over them.
They have so far snubbed my yarn offerings by the way!

Words from the woodland…

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I have been experimenting with another sock design. Knitting, ripping, knitting, ripping, and knitting again. But I think I’ve finally worked it out (um…hopefully.)   There’s my knitting for the next weeks, exhaustive exploration of the designs’ potential !

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But perhaps the most interesting of things happening right  now are the ravens yet again stealing away with my attention in their nest-making work!  Photographed (a blurry phone photo) through the window in our tiny house yesterday in the dimming evening light, are the male & female which share the wooded habitat “close in”  with us. They are busy tearing up fluff from the packing blanket covering  the bath tub   and apparently are making a nest!  They’ve been at this blanket for about a week now, and I don’t mind,  they can shred it up all they like, and in fact, I’ve just now put a pile of yarn scraps in the middle, as an offering to them. 

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 We watch them pull and tear, and fill their mouths with this fluff, then fly off together to some private place near by, and then they inevitably are back, usually to be found up in the limbs close by.   Five years ago, back  in this post,  I photographed and talked about what I assume to be this pair of ravens, and took some good photos of them in the oak trees next to our house.  Of course, the wildfire brought on huge concern for a while about what would happen to the wildlife, but as you can see, as we didn’t let the loggers go through our woods, we have many trees left to be the habitat left for the wildlife. Some are not the healthiest trees, but many larger ones managed to not get too injured in the wildfire, showing a number of decades left in them.  Did you know that ravens mate monogamously for life,  and can live to be over thirteen years?  I expect they will be around for years to come (… read more info on ravens.)  

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Other news is that we’ve had to cut down the Black Oak which use to shade our original house, and that has been a sad thing indeed. Our original deck was built around it somewhat, and it just seemed a part of the house.  DSC_0217.JPG
We didn’t want to do it, but three-quarters of the bark had been burned off, and was nearly entirely dead.  We should have cut it down before the house started to be rebuilt, but Jeff wanted to see if it might spring back to life, which it didn’t sadly.  Now that the deck is starting to get built, it had to come down ~~~ and it was a huge stress !

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In closing I would like to say that although the rain came late this season, and nearly April it is still raining gobs, and from a fire-ravaged California that desperately needs regrowth of the wild habitat, rain is the new gold.  I am very inspired to plant an undergrowth of woodland species, including more fruit trees in the gardens (to share with the ravens of course), and in general have been ready to focus on planting things as soon as the rain wanes off a bit.  Making lists and garden sketches in the morning light of the window, with delicious mugs of coffee, is my solid unwavering bliss. 

 

Sox Box

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On the vernal equinox I found myself running over to Lolo’s, a great little thrift shop in St Helena, and I found  this nifty wooden thing.   I thought it especially nifty because the compartments can be put to use in a very knitterly way, and so it is now my official Sox Box !

A single pair of sturdy hand-made socks fits nicely in each compartment . . .jenjoycedesign© sox box 2

This is in fact, my latest pair of St Andrews Harbour Socks, from the March Into Spring KAL  that I’ve been posting about. I worked chart C over 60 stitches, and simply worked stockinette instead of the moss stitch. To me they look so like the knee-high socks I wore as a school girl.

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I did knit an awful lot of socks last year when I was making samples for St Andrews, but gave most of them away for holiday gifts. However,  I did keep two extra pairs for myself, so adding the latest finished pair with Miss Babs Northumbria sock yarn, I am ahead filling the Sox Box by three pair!

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Three compartments filled, and a dozen to go.

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 Yarn: Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering, in color of “Adobe”.

Pattern: St Andrews Harbour

Project details on Ravelry  here.

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Aside from sock knitting, we’re having a lot of Spring rain here, and its forecast to continue probably through the remainder of March. The surplus of water is a gift from the planet in our drought prone area, so I’m feeling somewhat rain-restored. Life is good.

On the eve of the vernal equinox . . .

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 It is the eve of the vernal equinox, and so tomorrow is officially Spring !

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My niece, Miss Nineteen, is on break from college, and so we met at the Calistoga Roastery, then went of course, to the castle…
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I brought something along, the prototype of Golden Fields,  to have a little impromptu photo shoot,  as we always love to do!

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She pulled it off beautifully, as always!

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Golden Fields stole is a very personal creation from my own over-dyed  UnSpun, and of which I’m proud of the epic amount of work that went into it, and ….

the pattern is available here.

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So happy Spring everybody!

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t castle (3) Mar 19, 2019

(( you can see the entire photo slide show by clicking first image in mosaic ))

Posted to Pennsylvania

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Well folks, off goes another “pampas heather” ultra fine UnSpun 1100 in the mail, and this time to Pennsylvania. I have specifically made UnSpun yarns for some knitter friends of mine who have lavished their time knitting up tests of my patterns, time and time again. So thank you thank you thank you Virginia!

Technical stuff: 

I’m refining my technique for the UnSpun, especially with the very fine lace weight,  UnSpun 1100 , which is 550 yards per 50 grams.  After I separate the plies and splice them all together while winding on to the swift,  I then give the skein a careful hot wash to only slightly felt the strands, so that when they are dry and wound into a skein or cake, they are de-energized nearly completely.  Do you see how the dried washed skein below is ever so slightly ‘clumpy’ ? That is because its ever so slightly fused to itself — and I mean very barely — before winding back on to the swift or into a cake to release and smooth out.  One must really know the behavior of wool to try felting a yarn.  My thinking is,  if Rowan can do it , well then so can we. 🙂
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The slight felting process is essential, and when I’m winding it off from the swift to a cake the single strand of yarn slightly pulls away from the whole mass, creating actually a lovely halo of woolen fuzz.    Anyway, I think that the UnSpun 1100 really is a winner accomplishment for me, and I look forward to sharing more experiments!

All tutorial posts under the title of Unspun are HERE

waiting

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This morning I’m dreaming about white lace in an Irish cottage window, so utterly timeless and beautiful.  Just a lace stole draped over a simple cord would do excellently.  Isn’t a curtain like this so much the same as a bridal veil, crisp and bright with the virgin morning light peering through, promising a day as good as it gets.  Maybe a Golden Fields or an Aria shawl would be the perfect window curtain.  I must find some white linen fine yarn, and like an expecting mother knitting baby clothes, instead I could be knitting a lace curtain for my future (rebuilt) knitting loft.  What a lovely thing to think about !

The near future so full of promise , yet I have been just quiet and contemplative through astonishingly cold days of January & February, while so much rain fell, and a couple times it snowed, one which I posted about.  March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, they say. Patiently I knit at the table,  next to napping Emma,  knowing very soon it will be the vernal equinox.  Building progress is so much slower in winter, and in the wild.  Presently the house is a maze of wires and pipe and venting….

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The house weathered the winter without a roof,

covered only in the first sheer layer , and then plastic through the worst storms of the year.

Oh, but the windows, they will surely be installed soon.

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I know that in a blink it will be finished.  I am hoping that by the Autumnal Equinox of this year I will be living in the house once again, picking up where things were left off, which I think about constantly now.   I ponder about where life was just before the wildfire;   what I was working on,  what was making me excited,  what had I just accomplished, what designs was I thinking of, and patterns was I writing and ready to test knit,  how far was I walking in the days, what was influencing me, and what great new recipes was I inventing . . . etc.   I so very much enjoy contemplating this blissful time which is destined to come back to me.   But six months? Maybe longer … or sooner? We can’t know for sure, and so “maybe” is such a fickle word. I know in my head this is not far off, but in my body and heart I am so exhaustively constrained existing in a tiny space, and once again having rooms wherein to move about will be a massive improvement to life, and will send me into a euphoric state!  I am so very grateful for being able to cocoon in our tiny house up in the charcoal forest for this epic waiting period,  although I am so very ready to come out of hibernation.

March Into Spring

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I am participating in a little knit-along over in Ravelry, because I felt like knitting a few pairs of socks, especially since I gave away the whole stack of socks I knit last year for gifts. So now I’m starting a new stack!   Also doing the March Into Spring knit-along because it is March, and so near the Spring Equinox, so if you would like to join in, I’m having a pattern give-away and providing lots of March-ing music (bagpipes mostly)  over here.   Hope to see you there!

Also this is a Yarn Tasting which coincidentally goes with the whole marching & bagpipes theme having “Northumbria” in the title ~  Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering yarn:  It is hand-dyed 100% Blue-Faced Leicester wool, in colorway “adobe”.  Springy, elastic, sturdy,  just all around perfect for socks, with amazingly beautiful variegation from the hand-dying.  Incidentally, this skein was a gift to me after the wildfire,  along with another of the same in colorway of “beach glass” ( thank you so very much Taddy ~xx )  Naturally I am providing music accompaniment of the small Northumbrian Pipes to go with the Northumbria yarn, and I hope you enjoy every bit as I do . . .

New Moss

jenjoycedesign© new mossI  went for a walk up the ridge in the foggy drizzle, and turned around only a short way up, where the bad burn begins.  But at that turning point something I saw took my breath away!  It was this bright yellow green carpet emerging from the wet black soot that has covered the dormant forest floor for seventeen months now.  Beads of water hang on the tips of the moss fronds, precious and glistening,  growing up from some magical deep rooted system, and truly a miracle of time and season!  Just as this new moss is sprouting ever so blithely and succulent from a colorless landscape, so I want to be.  I am so happy today to release incessant worries about what is not right,  for thinking it only constantly reaffirms and makes it persist in being.  I am prepared for weightlessness,  living for now,  happy, all focus on productivity of the present, and hyper sensitivity of natures regrowth,  because the greatest inspiration and design element from nature is right before me.
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Aria at the Castle.

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I met my niece . . . Miss Sixteen . . . at the castle yesterday,

so she could model my latest lace collection Aria With Variations.

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She was absolutely spectacular.     I think she has really has mastered what is essential in modeling,  having developed her character that is genuine and honest . . .

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So natural, with a hint of bashful, and a lot of charm.

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Here she is wearing Aria stole, in rose UnSpun 1100, in size 1,

and Variation One stole, in light grey UnSpun 880, in size 2.

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Really there needs to be nothing else said, because she in her lovely way, she says it all!

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( just click first image in mosaic to see the whole slideshow)

All posts in series Veils & Variations.

 

Then and now .

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Photo from archives:  Forthcoming

As I stood just this morning inside of newly framed wall of our future master bedroom, looking through the door-to-be, I recalled this photo above, taken October 2016. One year later, nearly to the date, the wildfire destroyed everything, but I think by this coming October I’ll be looking at a very similar scene.  We won’t be able to replicate the antique Windsor chair(s) , but I do recall distinctly the color of the paint in the room to be a shade lighter than the color “Monet’s Garden”, and that is indeed something to go by.  Yes, going to paint it the same shade if I can help it.  I know I’m really asking for an emotional hit when I peruse the photos of our house before the wildfire, but its all a part of rebuilding, and we’re having to consult these old photos often to build the same house, or nearly the same ~ things just change, like sixteen years of the timbers deepening to that beautiful dark honey shade… there are times that I feel so homesick and just want to go home to it.   Rebuilding just takes so much time up here in the wild, especially through the winter, but the builders are wonderful, post & beam experts commuting from far away and staying over in Napa on week nights,  trying really very hard to recreate our original home that we built ourselves, regardless of the code changes like sprinkler systems, the list goes on.  Wow.  I am overall just really grateful.  October 2019, two years after the wildfire,  I will take that above photo again, mark my words.

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Photo taken today, February 15, 2019

All posts Rebuilding.

Aria With Variations: the pattern.

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Hi everyone, its me Abelene.    Jen has veiled me in her new lace that she’s been hinting about for weeks in her series of  veils & variations.

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The lace feels so lovely, so fine, I think I feel like what it must be like to be a bride, or a Shetlander, or an Estonian knitter, modeling as best as I can in the tiny house.

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About time she’s finished, because she is so exhausted of drawing and redrawing charts, doing math and wrestling mistakes, so she let me handle posting about the pattern.

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Did you know that Jen’s UnSpun is the reason she  felt compelled to write this pattern? She had just an overwhelming urge to make some really fine lace yarn after watching this video ,  and worked like an ox to get a bunch of really fine lace-weight out to some friends before the pattern was ready.   The UnSpun yarn is beginning to show up now around the far corners of the world and Jen feels its time to finish up and get the lace knitting going!

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Oh but did you notice the diamond motifs showing up in a couple of the videos in her series of veils & variations Goldberg Variations?  Jen tells me this was by pure chance and unplanned,  yet something makes her think that the diamonds must be a subliminal Bach Thing.

so here are those favorite Goldberg Variations highlights !


The pattern actually is three styles; a stole, a square hap shawl, and a cowl, all and each in four sizes!  You can see more information if you go see the pattern which is live now on Ravelry  HERE. Jen would really love it if you would join in on her pattern give-away in the spirit of Valentines, so I’m suppose to mention her post on her group over here , which is running just for a very short time, so that folks can get yarn and cast on for Valentines day!  I hope everyone is in a lace-knitting mood!

Last but not least, Jen is wildly looking forward to photographing youngest niece Miss Sixteen modeling Aria & Variations this weekend at the castle, which will make the pattern a real hit!

Ta ta,
Abelene

Aria mit verschiedenen Veränderungen

The Goldberg Variations are a work written for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, the work is one of the most important examples of variation form.

I imagine the Goldberg Variations have been performed a million times since Bach wrote it, and on every conceivable instrument.   I am a big fan of JS Bach’s music, and I’ve done a lot of  listening to YouTube recordings of this work while knitting my lace interpretation for it, but of all the performers of the Goldberg Variations,  I can’t help but consider Glen Gould possibly the most iconic.  This performance was filmed 55 years ago, and still it rocks!  (If you can’t spare 12 minutes to listen to the whole video, at least fast forward to 10:30 and listen to Glen’s commentary ) . . .  I love Glen Gould humming and enjoying himself with measured rapture during recording!

Next post I will ‘unveil’ what has been a work in progress for weeks upon weeks. I have been enjoying myself immensely for those weeks while knitting a couple samples of lace, and yet , I’m one lace piece short.  I  really want this the pattern to be submitted to Ravelry before the Valentines holiday, but fell sorrowfully behind, so the ‘missing’ lace variation will be cast on to my needles the moment this is posted.  I will take a deep breath and see you on the flip side with my new pattern very very soon!

Posted to Arkansas

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Last in the Unspun For Friends series, knowing that really this can’t possibly be the end of it, for I’ve had too much fun.

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I am thinking I should do some kind of drawing  monthly, where winner gets a kit with UnSpun & lace pattern, for this was a very satisfying accomplishment to finish this four-part series.  Watch this space as I develop that idea!    One 50g skein of Unspun 1100, sourced from  Wool of The Andes Sport  in a pastel of yellow-green called ” Green Tea Heather “.

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Knit Picks describes the color . . .

Green Tea Heather is a soft, muted light green with subtle warm undertones. Green Tea Heather work well with warm browns or try bright shades of blue to brighten things up with pop of contrast.

It is such a light green that its almost delicate, making me think the color of a pale icy marguerita!

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Off on a journey to Arkansas from California, for Jane, as I am very grateful for her presence on my Ravelry group and countless test-knits. I am hoping all four recipients will have their fine lace yarn when I submit the pattern very soon.  Thats me now,  back to the last stretch of veils & variations. 

Posted to Australia

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As of this morning, this skein is bound for Australia!

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As in previous several posts, Wool of The Andes Sport was the original yarn, and in a richly heathered green called ” Pampas “.   Knit Picks describes their color . . .

Pampas is an olive green color that has a slight vintage tone. The variable shades of yellows, greens and touches of brown are similar to the prairie grasses and herbs found in the lowlands of South America called the Pampas.

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I think of all the Knit Picks blended heathers , this is among my top favorites for color complexity.   I see moss green and beige predominantly with  flecks of emerald green, amber gold, and aqua blue!

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It is a stunning color , a near neutral, but more distinctively beautiful in single plies than the four plies all together for the colors are then quite a bit less blended.   I have made this skein for a knitting friend who has knitted gorgeous samples of some of my designs (as well as comments on this blog  :: waves to Redshoes ::  )   550 yards of Unspun  heading south against the clock at a rapid pace.

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I have one more Unspun gift to make to finish my series :  Unspun For Friends 

Posted to Ontario

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Another couple of yarn cakes of super light-weight lace, bound for Ontario Canada! As in previous posts, Wool of The Andes Sport was the original yarn, and in the cheerful color ” Sprinkle “.  Knit Picks describes their color . . .

Sprinkle is a blue violet color. The heathered strands show the beautiful color variations from a soft robin’s egg blue to a medium red violet giving it the overall look of dusty lavender.

The camera is so color selective, so I must describe what I see. I’ll add that I see flecks of gold which seem to give the color a tiny influence of beige… thus the ‘dusty’ appearance.  I also think un-plying 4 strands lessens the homogeneous affect of the carded mix of ‘heathered’ colors, so the colors are just a little bit more striking.   Photographing while looking down from on the attic ladder, my slippered feet, lavender shirt, and light brown pants ended up in the photo, and rather than crop that out,  I am again surprised to find myself dressing for the occasion!

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Absolutely gorgeous complex colorway, I am smitten.  ” UnSpun 1100 ” I have named this transformation, as it is 1100 yards & 100 grams of singly ply very luscious lace-making stuff.

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Already sent off and heading to Canada, and finished with two in the series of four. Two more of these UnSpun gifts to make, and then its back to the serious lace knitting for the upcoming pattern, but I am having a good break while making some nice yarn, so feeling really good about that!

You can see all four of this series in Unspun For Friends.