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. 

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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 20 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 !

♣    ♣    ♣

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.)  

♣    ♣    ♣

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 !

♣    ♣    ♣

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.

♣    ♣    ♣

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.

jenjoycedesign© Unspun 1100 pampas heather

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.

Snow!

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It snowed last night!  Here at 2000 ft elevation, it is sticking, and temperature is cold enough to keep it a while.  Oh, but there seems to be something nestled into the snow…

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It is two cakes of finished UnSpun!

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of which I mentioned in the last post .

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A gorgeous blackish tealish blue, 1100 yards & 100 grams,  this super fine lace weight is ready to make a journey to Hamburg Germany!  You can see all four of this series in Unspun For Friends

And all is well in our snowy charcoal forest.

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And Emma in  her  car,   snuggled under a blanket with her squirrel …

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She hasn’t a care in the world about the snowy cold!

Unspun: Midnight Heather

I am taking a break from lace knitting and writing about a short series of Unspun projects made custom skeins for a few friends who are being so kind to test-knit my present lace design in progress, and otherwise helping me through a rather wobbly time.   A few days to make a few nice fat skeins of  Unspun fine lace-weight yarn to send off and hoping doing so will temper my erratic mood with a focus of gratitude.  Gratitude cures all. So that’s me, now,  getting ready to lose myself deconstructing yards upon yards, unwinding and splicing and winding again.  The yarn has just arrived, and I will be the mistress of Unspun for a few days!

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Unspun #1:  Deconstructed by hand using this method  from   Wool Of The Andes Sport    in the color of Midnight Heather . This Peruvian Highland yarn is made from the fleeces of corriedale/merino cross sheep, and the fine spinning of the four plies are just coarse enough to be strong to withstand deconstruction, and once it is set into singles, the loft from the fine texture of a bit of merino will be wonderful.  Knit Picks describes the color…

Midnight Heather is an intense dark blue color with black undertones. Reminiscent of the dark night sky, Midnight Heather intrigues us with the flecks of blues and blue greens that add visual interest to this usually rich color.
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A ball of sport weight ready to separate plies using a drop spindle!

All of this ultra fine yarn I am undertaking makes me think of the weathered & windswept  Shetland Isles where fine lace knitting became world renown. It is my keenest passion at present to explore creating yarn that can be knit into such similar fine lace, and in a colossal palette of colors.    I will leave you with the short film that was my first inspiration,  and which began my quirky obsession making Unspun over two years ago .

Next, I’ll post the finished skeins!

But until then enjoy Shetland Fine Lace, and remember …

”    Its only Knitting !   “

Inside of diamonds.

Its the end of January,  and that means the coldest barest month of the winter is over.  But I’ll take a thousand Januaries, for the rain and cold means the watershed is potent on the mountain, promising a verdant landscape in spring and water trickling through into the heat of summer, pushed down and flowing somewhere deep beneath the forest.  The days are warming up a little, and in a week the fields will be solid yellow with mustard flowers, which are already beginning to bloom!

I am in need of a break, feeling quite assaulted with lace knitting & difficult chart writing, but in the nick of time I’ve recalled the quote from Elizabeth Zimmerman,  and remembered it being a revelation a few years ago in  in this post .   To me this quote of EZ’s is a diamond jewel for staying out of the mindset of crazy perfectionist thinking, reminds me there are no knitting police,  and even though my lace may sometimes be riddled with mistakes,  I can surely hope from my forthcoming pattern, yours will be a flawless veil of heirloom-worthy stitches that you can be proud of,   for that is my first desire,  truly.

In closing, I hope you enjoy this incredibly masterful, energetic, and artful performance film of Mahan Esfahani and his harpsichord.  I’ve got a few more Variations queued up for you, so as long as you don’t mind listening, I don’t mind posting them, until at some point there will be a logical destination for all of them.

Knitting In A Room

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Knitting in a room is a theme I love to post about, because to me its as if rooms can speak silent nurturing words, or be as a listening friend, and even fill me with inspiration. Such was this original loft room, which is nearly half way built again.   If I can ignore the dim light, the sprinkler system plumbing over the subfloor, the rough cut opening which will be a window again soon, then I can imagine how it will be.

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Those of you who have been following my posts since long before the wildfire, might recognize this spot on the stairs,  the most photographed spot for countless knitted things were on this shelf  wall at the top of the stairs, with the bright southerly sunshine pouring in from a big skylight.  But right now everything is quite dark for the (six) skylights have not been cut out of the roof yet, nor the windows uncovered from plastic to keep the rain out. I am hoping next time I post about rebuilding it will have the light pouring in that I was so fond of !

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Until then, I have placed a chair upstairs in my loft room to be, and I can walk up from the tiny house as often as I like (when the builders are gone) to climb the stairs and sit and knit in the room that I am swiftly falling in love with all over again.

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variations in veils

An beautiful ethereal performance among gossamer veils,

by the Zilliacus Persson Raitenen String Trio.

( see all posts Veils & Variations )

* * *

Meanwhile, I have got a second stole underway with the single ply lace weight …

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made from my yarn tasting of  Simply Wool .  In fact, I am so utterly smitten with Unspun that I can’t help myself wondering how far out I might go.  I’ll ponder the thought as I take my stole knitting out for a trail walk!

Yarn Tasting: Simply Wool

Another great addition to Knit Pick’s colossal array of yarns, Simply Wool is spun from wool grown in a century-old sustainable way in the Highlands of Peru, it comes in six shades undyed natural fleece colors blends, in both worsted and bulky weights. Having worked with Wool Of The Andes, a Peruvian Highland wool from corriedale-merino cross breed of sheep, Simply Wool is noted on the website as  ‘eco wool’  but that is not describing how or to what extent the wool itself is different from Wool Of The Andes.  I’d say much softer than Wool Of The Andes,  what I’d expect from an un-dyed and minimally processed wool, and it comes in 100g skeins.

I am creating a fine lace-weight in this supreme all-natural yarn,  which started from a ball of worsted weight in light grey . jenjoycedesign© Simply Wool skein.JPG

With drop spindle I deconstructed the soft wool exactly as in this tutorial post , and after a couple of days unplying here and there, finally this morning I spliced all the single plies end-to-end on the swift and felt it to be a major accomplishment that I am very pleased with!

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I am not over-dying this big skein in a simmer dye bath, as I want it to be au natural, the whole point of buying Simply Wool, aside from the ecological consideration, so I just gave the skein of energized single ply off of the swift a warm bath and a hot rinse to carefully but slightly felt the yarn to set the twist as it will remain for the rest of its days a single ply, in a stole of a particular design in mind. So I’ll see how this yarn knits up in a day or so!

Right now I’ve got it speed drying on a baseboard heater, hoping to have it re-skeined by the end of the day so I can cast on for more insane lace knitting!

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She holds one of the flowers she was arranging in their London home as she turns towards her husband and looks out to  (read more…)

I love this painting showing what appears to me to be lace in the shape of a stole or shawl, draped around the shoulders of a very beautiful subject.  Painting well depicts this young lady of Edinburgh Society, at the end of the Baroque period, by Scottish Artist Allen Ramsay.  I particularly love the colors, nearly like a handful of iridescent shells, of dusty pink and silvery lavender, and of course, the roses!  ( See all posts under veils & variations. )

I have just bound off the first prototype of forthcoming lace design, and casting on for a second. Taking a deep breath, and soldiering on!

breadcrumbs . . .

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As I walked this morning on the knitting trail, and as latest storm brewed , I decided to drape the lace-in-progress on a lifeless little maple tree, and take a photo. Then I made a silly old-school schematic of the picture   :: laughs ::   I have been slowly and steadily making progress on forthcoming lace design, so far have knit 440 yards, but that is only half of   the 50g Unspun ball I made.    I tell you, this ultra fine yarn really is serious stuff, only a dedicated & determined knitter should ever try knitting with it.   Keep watching for breadcrumbs in the woodland, which can be found in  veils & variations.