Foggy

jenjoycedesign©outside in the fog

I wasn’t going to post for a while,

but this morning it is so beautifully cool and foggy, and I feel totally revived from it!

Knitting a new lace design.

Life is good.

Knitting on a bridge…

jenjoycedesign© knitting on a bridge!

Jeff has built a bridge from logs he salvaged from the loggers’ waste, and he hoisted them cross across the small gully which heads over to the garden in now what I am calling “the path of least resistance” with planks nailed to the top from old boards, it is an excellent & rustic installment to the woods and I am super pleased with it!    I helped only minimally, as I did the original “wedding bridge” which was burned in the wildfire.  A new bridge & my sooty knitting trail has of this morning been improved inexpressibly for the better!  Emma inspected & approved…

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There eventually will be builders at work making their presence felt in my quiet seclusion, and this lovely little bridge continues me my private trail out to the garden without having to walk up the road  to the house where the chaos will be going on, and down to the garden from there.  Planning ahead brilliantly!  A short-cut to the garden, a bridge to bliss, a bridge across difficult terrain, so metaphorical.  The garden is life, and inspires me in its quiet little way with bees bobbing about, fluttering butterflies, and small little birds bathing in various bowls and cups sitting about, as well as a fat wild dove flocks bombing about on occasion… tall seedy foxgloves still standing through the perpetual heat.  I chase away the drought with my series of old-timey sprinklers, sitting beside them in the mist as I soak in the moist air and knit. It is a very rustic & secluded spot of calm, where one is really fairly hidden away.

I am trying to settle into a productive life of a busy recluse, and I have been thinking about  things. Post trauma disorder has changed things a bit.  I will very likely never get over that day of wildfire, for at that time forward  is etched into the rhythm of how I experience life, and its injury as much a part of me now as anything could be.  That blink of time when I hurriedly drove off in my car with Emma,  my mandolin, recordings of my music compositions, a small box of photos, and a few clothes, my computer, and a tote full of my needles & favorite yarns to keep me busy in the days following — while instantly regretting other things which I forgot, so much from my life.  Those things which seemed to define me were suddenly gone, especially those rooms, spaces which were integral to my happiness.

But let me tell you how I’ve been thinking about things,  about feeling glad and comfortable with realizing that the only real thing I can ever own, and the only thing which defines me,  are my accomplishments. So that is why I strive to live the busy life of a hermit in newly built hermitage, and the rooms will be far less cluttered and intriguingly sparse, so that I can build on my accomplishments.  My family, and short list of close friends will allow me this reclusive life.     I would like to add that I appreciate all of my pen friends from around the globe with whom I have kept company and shared my days in a more secluded way, I am ever so immensely grateful to my knitting fraternity!

♥  ♥  ♥

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Things going on…

Hunkering down here, as things are happening.   Here’s the news:

Miss Eighteen has left for college. Yup, finally flew the nest. She’ll be settling in with a load of classes and finding a job, and all of those events of college life. There’ll be fewer photo shoots with her, sadly, but when she comes home for holidays, we’ll be sure to get one in! Meanwhile I’ll be sending her knitteds in the mail, and hopefully Miss Fifteen will carry on modelling solo for as long as I can come up with something new.

We signed on officially with our construction company and met down at the county building department over a week ago, so the building plans are in process, rebuilding will start soon.  However, I can’t give you anything but a hopeful “soon”, the plans are not through the office. Maybe foundation will begin before the end of August?

Continue reading

Sweater Success !

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jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street 27-

I didn’t make it all the way to Calistoga for the actual Lincoln Street locale, but we improvised in St Helena instead.  After meeting at St Helena Roastery, for coffee (please tell me you don’t notice the drop of chocolate syrup from Miss Fifteen’s mocha, spilled on her Lincoln Street before the photo shoot… lol!),  we then took the photos against the stone of the St Helena Catholic Church, then went to Lolo’s Consignment Shop. Lastly we had lunch at Villa Corona, and walked around the Main Street a while too. Absolutely colossally wonderful summer day spent together with my nieces!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street 44

Now you can make your own Lincoln Street sleeveless …

and the pattern is available !

Details are HERE.

 

Out Walking

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This morning we got out earlier than we have been.

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I am hiking solo now, but sometimes I’ll drive up the road a little ways and give Emma a ride, then she waits in the car in a nice shady spot.

jenjoycedesign© waiting in car

She still looks so healthy, but she does not like to walk very far.  Isn’t she just beautiful?

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Today I had my Nikon and took some photos of regrowth in the landscape.  New shoots emerging prolifically from burned trees everywhere!

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The wildfire burned so much foliage and shrubs on the ridge that I’ve been finding old dump sites and old roads long abandoned too, but mostly, trees are making a come-back , and the flowers bloomed as ever before…

jenjoycedesign©old dump

On the way back to our Tiny House, stopping where our house “was”.  Do you recognize the landscape beyond that I so often photographed from our deck?

jenjoycedesign© new ground

Many trees I am finding , are still alive with green crowns, so all is not lost. In fact, the big black oak which shaded our house and most of the deck in the heat of the summer afternoon, was so badly burned we thought no chance, but now it has green sprouting out of ash-grey trunk!  The wildfire brings so much perspective about potential of regeneration, that I must witness this as I walk through the seasons. I’ve put all my focus on the hill before me, and knitting as I go.

Life is good.

jenjoycedesign© solo walking

Azul

jenjoycedesign©Azul chullo2

Today I tripped over a jewel forgotten since the wildfire! Looking in my design computer files I discovered a partially written pattern, along with a few photos of a hat that I knit for my brothers birthday.  The pattern was almost finished except for a few details which needed doing, and so I spent most of yesterday finishing the pattern.  Wow, I am amazed. I did that?

It is an intensely colorful folksy chullo, and which I posted about way back here.   It one of my best colorwork pieces in my opinion, inspired by South American motifs, in four shades of blue, from very dark to very light, complete with tassels & knitted braid!  Intensely blue I tell you!  But it could be any other color as well, in four shades.

I think I’ll knit up another one of these!

jenjoycedesign©Azul detail

The design is completely my own colorwork motifs, and had originally some very poignant meaning,  and a series all in queue as I recall that much,  but of which now I can not remember (since the disruption of the wildfire),  only that there were some discussions with a long time writing friend of mine from Argentina who lectures on varied subjects of philosophy from time to time at a Seminary in a small town called Azul.

Seminario De Azul

Seminario de Azul

I therefore had named it at the time “Azul” .

jenjoycedesign©Azul chullo

The actual knitted Azul chullo has long disappeared into my brother’s possession, but as I had detailed photos I was able to assemble the pattern. Voila!  (( There is-was a vest pattern in the works too, but that is another matter )).   For now, there is Azul Chullo. And as it is presently the middle of winter in Argentina,  I will make haste…

pattern is LIVE on Ravelry ~~~ HERE !

♣     ♣     ♣

Edit in: After discussing with Alejandro just now about what we may have been discussing at the time I designed this colorwork pattern, and as our topics of discussion often have reference to the Andes Mountains, and as I personally echo the sentiment of such a new title,  this chullo will now be officially named “Montañas Azules”,  meaning “Blue Mountains”,  as are the Andes of Argentina!

Mountains & harsh elements seem to be the thread which is woven into most of my life it seems, so I hope to pick up that series of the design in the near future to work it through. Forthcoming, perhaps more Azules.

A fishy retrospect…

One year ago we were frantically knitting Fishwives Shawls & Stoles!   That is, myself and my dear friend Wendy were both  stealth knitting a pile of shawls and stoles to test all variations of the pattern Fishwives Shoal,  discussing shape, style, and yardage for three sizes of three styles of the design, and just having so much fun with the fish tails, splashes & waves.

I knitted while I researched about shoals ….

… and about a not-so-glamorous side of the fishwives work …

… about “April Fish Day” in France….

… getting to know my new dress form …

Discovering one of my favorite bands I’ve ever heard, from the Hebrides, The Lochies!!!

Folks, that design has got to be the highlight of my whole designing experience yet, and you Wen, were with me in spirit, knitting way over there in Ontario Canada.   In fact, I would like to give special mention of gratitude to Wendy,  who is so very kind and generous to have helped me, tirelessly test knitting just about every one of my designs, and who made great camaraderie while I designed my earlier patterns, up to date with my most recent ones  ~~ thank you Wen,  thank you friend of friends!

Sweet are the memories of my house during that time, dying yarn, knitting, blocking a big stole on the bed in my loft, and the old captains chair with several of my finished works waiting, unplying a ball of Knit Picks Palette to get a ball of fine laceweight to test pattern with …  and I think I am in the mood to finally cast on for an anniversary stole , as I really had enjoyed it so much.  Having lost all to the wildfire in the following October, I must have the medium grey stole again! My favorite of the three was the stole, this one…

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So I am going to cast on this weekend , while between designs. Will you join me? Fishwives Shoal series can be found HERE, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll see them all, from first concept, as it modulated and became such a fishy frolic.  See you on the flip-side, with my Grey Stole 2, modeled on Abelene 2!

Pour Yourself Into This!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street by JJD

Hi everyone, its me Abelene!

I am giddy!   Since Jen has unpacked me she decided I get to model her newest & latest design, because it will be weeks away before she can photograph her nieces in them, and she wants to get the pattern out there while the Summer is still young so knitters can not only enjoy knitting one, but wearing one as well.   Backstory : Jen knitted a too-small Summer Thing  posted back here, and decided in the ridiculousness of the situation, to knit another much larger one for very tall Miss Fifteen.  Regardless, I have poured myself into that original “Lincoln Street”  ( a size 27″ — and I have a 36″ bust )   Jen says that’s eight inches negative ease. Whatever that means, but she nearly rolled her eyes worrying about how misrepresenting that may seem.   Jen says there’s an expression for such a fit, called ‘poured into’ , so I am poured into the pretty sleeveless summer thing, and I just feel grrrrreat in it!  ::squeal::    Um, but did you know I have a sort of … dream… that I was born as Audrey Hepburn instead of a dress form?  Yes, it is so.   I know, we ought to be grateful for what we have, but I just love her and the whole Paris thing.   And so here she is, my sweet demure fantasy human embodiment, and this is what Audrey has to say about this new design…

Audrey

Oh, but Jen also let me model the pink one , a much more acceptable fit of 32″, and that means, well, only four inches negative ease! Isn’t that something!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless! 2

Let me move to the side a little bit so you can see the shaping of the armscye.    That is the ‘arms eye’  Jen told me, a really old-fashioned dress-maker’s way of saying it but you can also just say arm hole. Yes, the hole that my arms, if I had them,  would go through, and make a sweet flirty summer top, which is really just so nice!  Jen has also included an option for lower neck than shown here, which she thinks she will knit up next.

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless square

The back, which Jen tells me is the same as the front, only higher. All around, at any angle, this top just makes me feel like I should be having an iced cold pop-sickle while walking down Lincoln Street in Calistoga.  Go for the sizzle I say!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless back

I feel that this top is the classic of classics   and it feels absolutely delicious, and I think that everyone should have one!

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street Sleeveless detail 5

Jen points out that the sizes go to infinity, so big burly men can wear them,  as well as little kids too ( but I think I’d rather like to imagine being Audrey wearing one).

Jen says very soon,  when she finishes (a larger) Miss Fifteen’s Lincoln Street,  she will photograph them on the actual Lincoln Street in Calistoga, with the Darling Duo, later in the summer.  Lincoln Street is all ready for you to make one while the summer is young, and the pattern is now submitted and LIVE on Ravelry.   Jen would appreciate it if you made one, or at least went and checked it out over on Ravelry HERE. 

Ta ta for now,

Abelene

jenjoycedesign© Lincoln Street

Posted from Hamburg…

jenjoycedesign© Petra's-Fishwives-Tee
Hi everybody,  its me Abelene.

Look here what  the post lady brought Jen!  All the way from Hamburg Germany to Napa California, in transit all the way through the summers solstice, and finally landed here just now.   Jen was SO EXCITED to get this parcel from Petra, she immediately ran into the shed where I’ve been held captive in my box,  up in the rafters,  since she moved up into her charcoal forest, and assembled me with a happy mood.   Now, I am just as excited as she is, because she is letting *moi* debut Petra’s gorgeous piece of work!

::claps wildly::

Where is Jen at this moment?

She is , of course, to tears with overwhelm, while making a grateful & delicious cup of coffee, (something she and Petra have a mutual fondness for & discuss often)  and Jen asked me to say something about remembering   Fishwives Lace Shoal ,  and say that  this cotton tee has been made into a most beautiful flattering tee modification of Fishwives lace motif as one could possibly design, and so Jen and I are totally & completely smitten with it!

Jen also wants me to say this:   Did you know that Petra is an outstanding designer?  Not just a little bit , but a lot bit, and a really talented expert knitter!!!    Petra is responsible for designing  St Andrews Tam  which Jen considers a generous collaboration of Petra’s,   for she is all around a generous, kind, and brilliantly talented woman whom Jen can never show enough gratitude for all she has test-knit and brought into existence exciting modifications of many of Jen’s patterns.

Oh, but how about some more details of Petra’s Fishwives Tee…

jenjoycedesign© Petra's Fishwives Tee detail2

A repeat on the sleeve, and tiny increases down the side

jenjoycedesign© Petra's Fishwives Tee detail4

The fish tails …  splashes …  and waves !

Petra has made this A-line tee in fine cotton yarn, with tiny needles, um, so a brain of a dress form like me can not even grasp how many stitches that would work out to be.  But every one of those tiny stitches delivers Petra’s gigantic spirit, strength, and warmth into Jen’s life.  A lot of stitches indeed.  Well,  nearly midnight in Germany, already Petra has long put down her school books and breaking from her study,  and is probably fast asleep, so I am going to say  ta ta for now, and let Jen send this post.

Many many many thanks Petra!!!

xx Abelene und Jen

A Summer Thing

jenjoycedesign© summer-thing-one

A little something for hot days, for summer is most definitely here, with spells of high heat and endless blue skies. I’ve decided to make as many of these test-knits of forthcoming pattern as I can before mid-July. The Summer Thing hanging on the bathroom door of the Tiny House is knitted in yarn talked about in a recent post, and now after finishing Summer Thing One, I must say that it has all the crisp freshness of pure linen, but enough cotton to soften before having to wash twenty times.   I’m already casting on for the second, in light blush…

jenjoycedesign© next-summer-thing

As these are such fast jobs of knitting, and now that I’ve got the pattern all worked out, there’ll possibly be a couple more… so watch this space!

♣     ♣     ♣

Meanwhile, I thought I’d take a little poll, and ask whether or not anybody noticed I changed the old blog name from “Yarnings” to ” Jenjoyce Design”.   I am not sure I like the change, as the old somewhat nonsense title became the mark of identity of my blog. Please tell me what you think in comments below, I would be grateful.

College Bound!

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I swiped this photo of  Miss Eighteen from her mom’s facebook page.   It was taken in her garden, right before graduating highschool on June 1st.  I’m so proud of her !!!   And I know all of you are too, especially those of you who have been following my nieces on my blog since  she was ten.  Soon to fly the nest, our Miss Eighteen is ready for the world,  she’s college bound,  and she’s going to rock!

Yarn Tasting: Lindy Chain

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I’m finally up to rattling off a couple of knitted somethings for my nieces this summer.  Wanting to use linen for these, I thought I would try with some linen blend yarn I’ve had my eye on for a while  ~~  Knit Picks Lindy Chain .

This yarn is a chain of a super fine single, rather than plied, 70% linen/30% pima cotton, fingering weight, and 180 yards to 50g ball.  Crisp, attentive, not rascally, but soft, and I feel like the pima cotton element is making it easier on my fingers too.   I’ve done acres of knitting the  hem with 2.75mm needles, and graduated to 3.25mm for the stockinette.  I got three balls in each color for two sleeveless items, but let me tell you, as this yarn is not wool, I have no bearing as to how yardage and weight work together for a garment, this is me navigating the sea of unknown.

Hey, did you know that Miss Eighteen is leaving for college this summer? This won’t be the last of the darling duo, not by a long shot, but I did want to send Miss Eighteen off with a recent sweater success fresh in her thoughts, as we did miss the Vernal Equinox Spring Tee due to my incessant moving about.  So I’m giving myself until mid July to finish two linen summery things. Counting down. Stay tuned.

Afternoon Light

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Wildflowers lingering in the whitening grass.

My favorites are the tall wobbly blue Brodea,  and the dainty fragile wild roses, absolutely everywhere!

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The cheerful wild peas climbing up the garden fence…

jenjoycedesign© wild pea on garden fence

Yesterday walking about with Emma,

capturing just a few of the woodland wildflowers in the late afternoon sun .

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Quite a different mood & light cast from Early Light that very same day.

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Brodea in small little gatherings , as they wobble in the breeze in unison.

jenjoycedesign© wild native Japanese lanterns

Everywhere these plump yellow-green shy flowers with their faces always cast down.

jenjoycedesign© Emma in May

Life is good, and everything in its place.

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Early Light

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Large patches of trees not burned in their crowns, giving a flooding sense of hope.

This morning as I was taking pen into hand to write my morning journal entry,  I noticed a warm orange glow cast from the sunrise, and giving an intense beauty into the forest. Early morning light sure does give me perspective, and so I grabbed my camera and just looked about.

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My life hasn’t felt very photogenic lately,  so capturing these images suddenly lifts me a little.  It seems always less the subject, and nearly all the light, which makes or breaks a photograph.   And as I have been feeling so overwhelmed with being uprooted during this crazy shuffling about, now seven & 1/2 months since the wildfire, this morning’s sunrise brings a delicate understanding of how both expectation & impatience are troubling me.

As I write this a very big and ominously black raven lands just outside the picture window, on the roof of the little shed next to Tiny House, and seems to be inspecting something. I love the ravens, I am so happy they weren’t away long. The wildlife is indeed more scarce since the fire, but seems to be slowly populating this lonely wood. I have felt thrown out of synchronization with the wild for what is half a year before we moved our Tiny House up here, and I realize this morning that I missed out on a full half rotation around the sun, from 10th of October last year to the 1st of May, being away from this place.  That is a long time for a hermit (merely a soft kind word for agoraphobic) .  I must just … b r e a t h e….. now back up on the mountain. Breathe it in!   This month of May has been such work learning to live and operate inside of a small space. A really small space, and still doing without so much that makes the experience more like camping … as though my ‘real life’ is still on hold.

But life is not on hold,  must forget how life once seemed, and open my eyes to the reality of being here, and now, and this could be as good as it gets.  Still , my knitting design which has been seriously ergonomically tampered with,  nothing in a neat orderly space, but in boxes, here and there, is going to hibernate a spell while we go through more harrowing experience with the demands of the county, which in the end may prove an ironic and impossible situation for rebuilding.

I strive to be happy for what I have.   Namely, my charcoal forest, and sense of place…. the ones I love, and this Tiny House.    I guess I just need more time, figuring my way forward, thinking about what matters. Life is so short, and I feel each day which slips by that even the rhythm of work of my knitting design has become distortingly hazy.   I find I am caught in a sort of reflection of life up to the fire, and am wanting to set in motion the way forward, but frozen peering into that reflection.

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Early morning reflection from window of tiny house.

Life is difficult often, but good,  and everything in its place.

 

A tint of wild rose.

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Along my knitting trail, explosions of new growth in the charcoal forest, and an occasional over-dyed skein drying from the branches.

A few weeks back, only a couple of days after we moved into our new Tiny House,  I dyed this sock yarn with food coloring. My favorite shade of rose inspired by the old-fashioned roses in my garden …

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But perhaps mostly,  the dusty rose of my tea pot .

Jens tea pot

I was going to make this whole experiment into a dying tutorial, and had taken down the steps, but thought to wait how it turned out.   At the dying stage, the experiment was working beautifully, having gone from two balls of Patons Kroy in color Linen ( in this post recently) , to what I was trying for ;  a dusty grey rose tinted slightly variegated overdyed yarn.

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The yarn came out exquisitely.  So I decided to knit the socks.   It took a few weeks, and now here are the results, of um, their good side

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Unfortunately , I am not impressed with this dye, not at all.  Because although the yarn may have been dyed to near perfection, and even though I used vinegar to fix, as I suspected the food coloring would not last… which it did not… in the first wash, there are blotchy patches of fade, showing the tan shade of linen beneath, after drying in the sun, on the faded side …

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So its back to my favorite Jacquard Acid Dye if I am ever to dye again at all.    Dying is such a hazardous hobby, and I really was hoping I could rely on food coloring, but that was wishful thinking.

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A lot of work to put into knitting these beautiful Fishermen Socks  only to have the dye leech out. But with very little yarn left over, I am really happy of the knitting itself, which was very enjoyable, and I fear I am thoroughly addicted to knitting these St Andrews Harbour socks , piles of them, and may just keep on knitting them for the forthcoming winter holiday gift season.

jenjoycedesign© over-dye

This pair will not be worthy of gift giving next winter holiday, but they will be most excellent hard wearing boot socks for my LLBean gardening boots, and what I was thinking of back in this post , of roses captured in socks!

Pattern:  St Andrews Harbour 

Yarn:  Patons Kroy Sock, color ” Linen “, overdyed with food coloring, five parts red to one part blue.

Ravelry details here.

 

Nifty ankle socks!

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A fresh pair of St. Andrews Harbour socks !  I’ve been experimenting further with this fishermen gansey style, with a pair of short sporty ankle length socks.  I also wanted to test the pattern in fine fingering sock yarn, and I’m so happy because I am finding this pattern to be ultimately versatile.

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Note: The pattern is written for sport weight yarn for adult sizes (womens med to mens large) but I wanted to see what size would result knitting the main chart in fingering-weight sock yarn. I find that what is lacking in circumference ease, I made up in length with an extra repeat, as knitted fabric is so extremely pliable & stretchy in all directions, they fit snugly and beautifully, and the toes still have room to wiggle.

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Oh, I thought I’d mention that the yarn I used is Knit Picks Stroll in Dove Heather, and which I over-dyed with blue food coloring, resulting in a lovely variegated hand-dyed affect.  Also, Knit Picks Stroll is a superwash merino wool/nylon fine-fingering sock yarn, and is oh so soft, but also tends to get a little fuzzy, which is more noticeable in this photo…

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I knit the yarn with US2 [2.75mm] needles with about 8 sts = 1″, and I am sure that if knit with smaller needles, getting 9 – 10 sts = 1″ , that these socks — in the Chart A–  would be great for children. I am really happy with the experiment, and now I can confidently recommend this sock pattern for small sizes!

Pattern: St Andrews Harbour socks, in Chart A (56 stitches).

Size: Circ = 6.25″ flat, unstretched.  Height = 5″.  Foot length = 9″

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll fingering weight sock yarn.

More details on Ravelry HERE.

 

Back home, in the Charcoal Forest . . .

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Do you know what day it is today?

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It is Emma’s birthday!

She is thirteen!!

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Woof !!!  :: shake ::

She is wearing just her sock now,  and finally her inflatable collar & cone seem to be phasing out more because her old surgery wound which very mysteriously un-healed in the last six months, is beginning to heal again.  I don’t know about you, but I really do think its stress related.   Which brings me to mention we have moved back up to our Charcoal Forest! We are now living in a Tiny House which arrived April 30th, and what an unbelievable ordeal it was to get it up here !!!     All I can say is that we three are exhausted and recovering from a load of stress,  but ever so grateful that we are home.

jenjoycedesign© Emma 13th BD back home

Emma’s office

Since it is Emma’s birthday, I will give her a belly rub and a pat on the head from all of you!  I had really meant to brush her up nice before her portrait shot, but did not happen, therefore the birthday girl is looking a bit scruffy & ungroomed.  I thought in honor of her birthday I’d link to all Emma posts here.

♣     ♣     ♣

Now home,  with a sense of belonging to a place, and I feel a great release of stress and sadness,  so I will close this post as my old signature use to be,  by saying even with all of its trials & tribulations…

Life is good.

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Yarn Tasting: Kroy

jenjoycedesign© Kroy St Andrews Socks 5

I have knit up a pair of St Andrews Harbour socks

in a new yarn I’ve never tried,

and I’m smitten!

jenjoycedesign© Kroy St Andrews Socks 1
jenjoycedesign© Kroy St Andrews Socks 3

This yarn was found quite unexpectedly in a maze of aisles , with shelves of acrylic yarns reaching nearly to the ceiling,

and I was so surprised to have to tame my yarn snobbery,  for this yarn was found at our local Michael’s Craft Store!

Modest little balls of Kroy …
jenjoycedesign© Kroy Sock yarn

Yes folks, the secret is out, the  yarn is Patons Kroy Sock; a washable wool & nylon 4ply sock yarn, and a surprisingly rustic feeling yarn, in a surprisingly rustic solid shade of “flax” …  (see my post  A Rustic Yarn to get the meaning ).   The confusing thing is that on the label it says “super fine fingering” , don’t let that fool you,  fine fingering weight is not at all what it is, this yarn is 166 yards per 50 gram ball, which equals 332 yards per 100g, definitely in the category of sport-weight. Other yarns with this same yardage are super popular Malabrigo “Arroyo” — which I believe would make the perfect soft sock for this design,  and Cascade 220 sport (not the superwash one) which was the yarn I knit the cover prototype of the pattern, and one of my all-time favorite yarns.     Kroy is sport-weight yarn,  ignore the label.

jenjoycedesign© Kroy St Andrews Socks 4.JPG

This pair of fishermens socks were knit with option to switch to stockinette after gusset decreases are finished, which makes a little less bulky in the shoe ( see Ravelry project details here)     Anyway, I think  I have found a really affordable  “vintage”  feeling  yarn for these fishermen socks;  the yarn is a bit rough at first, but as I knit it it feels better and more compliant, and I just know its going to soften a lot in the wash. Crazy, as I’m such a connoisseur of yarn, but it behaves very well, knits up very stretchy & brings out wool’s best elastic properties, and with great stitch definition.

Oh and the color ” Flax ” is ideal for a rustic old-fashioned look, and I bet the Fishermen of olden days would have loved a pair of socks made from this yarn. Will try the “Gentry Grey” soon, thinking these two colors are the only heathered solids in this yarn. Afterthought: Um… well, folks, I figure now that I can over-dye the Flax color, and have just bought 4 more balls and ideas rushing to the fore!

A Rustic Yarn

A truly rustic yarn, made in a small scale production, is so wholesome it resonates history with each stitch.  In a bygone era yarn was made for the locals, from the local sheep, with woolen mills scattered along rivers, because at one time before the use of electricity it was the power of water which drove the machinery.  Those ancient days are gone now, but there are still a few yarn mills today, making yarn with very old  machinery, in small batches.

Image result for old primitive painting of sheep

In small scale production, a whole fleece off-the-sheep, in its entirety, would be carded and blended, often with no ‘skirting’, and with all the varying shades a natural fleece can have, resulting in each batch being very individual, and creating what I call a rustic yarn.  Today there are still a few old mills standing , where the end result of making yarn is nearly as it was done on the small holding farms.  I might add how nice these small scale boutique mills are for the Indie Designer who wishes to produce a personal line of yarn to sell and with which to prototype their designs, and I am observing a growing number of such designers who are doing this that it seems to have become the fashionable In Thing.  

This of course all is leading up to a Mill Tour, with a short film I recently discovered, about one of those few old mills still standing,   Cushendale Woolen Mills,  in Ireland…

I just love these films of old mills.  Evidently I have begun to collect quite a few, so have created a category on Yarnings called “Mill Tours”,  so click HERE to peruse them all ~~~ I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Un Chullo

jenjoycedesign© D's chullo 1

Another birthday chullo for my brother.  He just loves them so much, he wears them like hair.  For this birthday I chose to make an anniversary of last April’s Camino Inca Chullo pattern release, knitting from the pattern. This one samples the Incan wave motif, and I knit it up in some lovely soft Juniper Moon “Herriot” yarn, which is 100% undyed baby alpaca, and this baby is soft!    My brother likes the folk look of the ‘gnome’ crown, so I worked the option for slower decrease and it is just a bit gnome like…
jenjoycedesign© D's chullo 2

Its the tassels that my brother really loves, and with a brow/mustache comb that has needle-sharp brass teeth, I am able to comb through the pompom fringe and fluff up the fine hairs to a really fine furry puff …

jenjoycedesign© eyebrow comb

Voila!  I even tied on an extra bit of yarn to comb into a tassle at the tip of the earflap.

jenjoycedesign© D's chullo 3

This being the last of the deadline knitting, I am now able to spend some time experimenting with the traditional “mens”  chullo ~~ the varied regional methods of picot edges, and knit with needles traditionally made from  bicycle wheel spokes!     When time, opportunity & energy come together in the near future,  I will continue where I left off, and embark on a new chullo knitting adventure !    But for now I will leave you with an artful & inspiring short travel ad film  which gives glimpses of the wild landscape and colorful textiles of Peruvian Highlands that I have been so very drawn to …

 

From within a garden gate…

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I am hopeful and ready to cultivate something verdant and lush,  a wonderful secret garden, a tonic for a feeling of well-being and happiness wherein the garden fence I can be a caretaker of living things and feel at home, a place out under the sky where the nameless meadowy wild flowers and grasses thrive along side vines of berries, succulent sedums, herbs, foxglove, sturdy fruit trees.  All together keeping time of the seasons together under the showers of the skies or sprinkler, and the comforting shade skips around in a merry frolic with the suns rays.     In wet months miners lettuce explodes in edible clusters,  and somewhere near,  maybe a lucky mushroom pops up…

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”  A. A. Milne

Foraging about in a garden, a secret garden, the kind only a few people visit (namely myself) … with a lovely and nice gate to keep the world out and the magic in. Garden gates utterly fascinate me right now… check out this beauty…

garden gate

The garden is  like a favorite room in a house.  In mornings of April through October there’s me holding a watering hose in one hand and cup of coffee in the other, with knitting bag slung across my shoulders. I am dreaming a thriving green oasis from within my Charcoal Forest, and garden with walls of pink jasmine (just planted, six plants!) to vine and cover the lower fence, and shield from vision the blackest of burn,  and the apple trees trying to shake off the scorched leaves of last Autumn’s wildfire as their new leaves are determined to emerge soon,  very soon, they must, because I just see them in my mind!

“Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.” Sigmund Freud

A place to go, to work hard and get dirt beneath my nails, a  place where  the soul meets life, and the worries of the world are forgotten. My thoughts these days are of knitting, and of a garden with knitting trail made new.   

Petra’s Tam

jenjoycedesign© StAndrews-Harbour-tam1

Pattern:  St Andrews Harbour (Petra’s Tam)

Yarn:  Alice Starmore’s Hebridean 3ply, in Golden Plover

Details on Ravelry: here

It was a lovely knit!   I do recommend the tam in this pattern “set”, for it is so fetching,  sporty, awesomely sea-worthy, and a totally essential accessory of one’s outdoor wardrobe.  This one is made from worsted weight yarn, and it is a bit fashionably floppy, however, knit with finer yarn such as sport weight, it would be just right. If done in Starmore yarn, I would do better to suggest  Starmore’s Hebridean 2ply.   I want to knit another one or two from my handspun yarn, talked about in Tweed Chronicles  which has so much meaning through a time of upheaval as was my obsession in the months right after the wildfire. So on to the next!

♣     ♣     ♣

Meanwhile, I’ve composed a little letter to all of you who follow Yarnings, a new category on Yarnings, entitled “Letter from the editor” ,  to let you know what is going on with us during this time of epic change.

Dear Everybody ~

On to new adventures, and news on every page!    First, our stay at our first holding place did not last long, the landlords want to move back in, and that’s fine, because I’ve longed with a great ache in my heart to live back up on the mountain in my charcoal forest.  Second, the county administration and engineers are making our getting a permit to (re)build hugely difficult and drawn out, adding insult to injury. I don’t really want to talk about details, but we have no real timeline as to when we will be rebuilding, or what we will be rebuilding,  or when we will be living up there in our rebuilt house.  So the original post I made right after the wildfire in October entitled  “Ten Acres ….”   written two days after evacuating our house, flames still smoldering, is now ringing in the rafters as we are in process of getting a Tiny House to park a few hundred yards away from the building site,   nestled right near the trail head to my knitting track in fact.    If I can try to be optimistic, I will tell you that this pleases me a lot, if choices are dreary and few right now, shifting around from city rentals, and not being able to walk in the woods properly has been detrimental to my attitude,  and mental as well as physical health.   Also Emma has been to the vet and back many times in the last months, her wound from her surgery last summer (posted here) never healed properly, and she is cheerily going day to day from stitches to staples, from cone to inflatable collar, but aside from all of that seems to be in good health.    Meanwhile  Jeff has suddenly been laid low from the stress of the whole ordeal of the county, the moving out (again) that he’s caught a bad bug and its developed into pneumonia, but worry not, he is of heroic constitution and never sick, and now on antibiotics will get well soon.    As for me, I’ve thrown my back out and hobbling around, on pain killers,  feeling taped together at best.  Oh, but finally I managed to get a hold of some 90tpi carding cloth, and finally made another jumbo carding & blending board to replace the original , left behind in the wildfire,  (colossal thanks to Adele for lending me your Ashford Blending board these past months! xoxo)  … and so I am ready to get back into tweed-making, visualizing a tiny space in the Tiny House to be my new creative “loft” space.  In fact, I plan on moving into the Tiny House with a good and positive attitude and stop feeling sorry for myself so much.    Years ago we stayed in a treehouse,  (posted here), and I enjoyed myself immensely tucked away up in a nest in the trees,  knitting the hours away, a knitting retreat of retreats! I want to make this new Tiny House feel like that retreat did, and I am visualizing constant knitting & walking, as well as constant gardening.  The garden was the one thing that (mostly) did not burn in the wildfire, so I want to be near it to nurture it and water, and make it an oasis where I can go be with living growing things, and to realize how great it is just to wake to another day.      Wish us luck, and I’ll keep you posted

~~ xxJen   ( aka ‘ the editor ‘ )

St Andrews Harbour Socks

St Andrews Harbour in Scotland, is an historic fishing harbor inspiring this classic ensemble of fisherman gansey style socks, mitts, and tam. Remember my series of fishermen neck gansey posts  from last year? Well, I’ve returned, with a fishermens gansey for … Continue reading

Washed ashore…

washed-ashore-2

Washed ashore.

A poignant pause in a short series of sea fishing posts,    reeling in sentiment for those fishermen who fight the sea,  in love with the sea,

yet inevitably helpless in the incidences where the water, weather, and sea creatures dominate with harsh indifference.

sea-monster-edinburgh-1600's

Sea monster ready to swallow up ship and crew — drawing 1600’s.

” Humanity is always fallible, through every man individually or a crew collectively, (there is) a break in the chain of watch-keeping or good navigation, and there comes tragedy. Going to sea against those elements to take home that resource can never remain safe ” — as heard in previous post from Unknown Fisherman.

 Fishermen Fact:    In the face of tragedy, the fishermen gansey (guernsey) or sweater, its varied patterns on brave & broad shouldered men such as these, is a marker of identity…

“Each gansey has a unique pattern which varied from village to village and from family to family. If there was a shipwreck or accident the bodies washed up on the shore could be identified by their gansey as being from a particular village and family. In this way the fisherman could be returned to their family for burial”… read more

The sea is a dangerous place, and fishermen have had to work within its raw and elemental  nature for as long as they’ve taken harvest from it,  from centuries past to present.   The sporting Fishermens Gansey as we know today,  has survived its original purpose of rugged & essential gear, knit by mothers, wives, and sweethearts, to keep their fishermen warm and safe against the elements as well as they could…

But even so, the fishermens gansey has come into the spotlight of fashion as a genuinely attractive style of knitwear, and knitters have appreciated the cables, moss stitch and purl textures for generations already. As I have also been smitten by those timeless textures,  at last I am bringing the spirit of the sea into a small collection of rugged and sea worthy accessories that I’ve been working on this winter like a team of fisher lassies …

Alive O’ !

jenjoycedesign© pile of knitting

A fresh catch ready to be sorted & groomed for photos (and with pattern forthcoming),  saluting the iconic woollen fishermen gansey, in an assortment of knitteds that every fisherman or fisherwoman, should never be without ! 

blue things

jenjoycedesign© cappuccino and knitting
In the last weeks I’ve been  frequently knitting at the Oakville Grocery cafe to quell life’s blues.  Just a quiet little deli & espresso place on the highway with vineyard views in all directions,  and with picnic benches in the back where I can bathe in the morning winter sun while making progress toward the  finish of a new pattern.  And Emma and I are getting out a little bit for (mostly short) walks on the ridge.

Although it appears the walk up the ridge has lost it’s charm completely, I am trying to embrace it, hoping for better days ahead and the mysterious healing power of Spring.  Other blues:  An intensely blue sky over Oakville on Sunday.  A blue balloon descended from the sky, tangled in the woods,  omen-like.   My blue knitting bag hung on a burned branch while walking up the ridge.  Need I mention the blue knitting with cappuccino?   I would like to see some blue wildflowers soon. Oh but hey, the vernal equinox is only a week away!

The Textiles of Cusco 2

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I am very much enjoying learning about Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez and her life’s work establishing the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco , and keeping part of the past alive.  She has fought an important battle bringing  back the straying generation which nearly put an end to the skilled weavers of the Cusco region, and result has established institution and industry in Cusco,  while  bringing next generations back into the nest of tradition.    Nilda, you go girl!

I am deeply inspired by the imagery of the Andes mountains,  and of industry in spinning, weaving, and knitting  from the Cusco region.  It is obvious that I romanticize their more provincial lifestyle, although I do consider myself very lucky that I can set my feet into a degree of provincialism while at the same time choosing what I like from convenience of the modern world.  I know from my own that it is hard work refining a life in craft has nearly in itself become a novelty in the modern world.   A work ethic in craft is to me all consuming, as I savor and enjoy growing the goodness of making.

Here are a few short interview films about Nilda and her work…


I have found and purchased out one of Nilda’s  books and am looking forward to it arriving by mail, and of sharing it here forthcoming .  I am fascinated in  weaving, and the colors create from natural dyes (as well as natural un-dyed yarns) , but as I am committed to knitting, I hope the muse touches me and brings more ideas into the knit  design that I do.  More to come about my views of the richly exotic textile traditions in the nest of the Andes, so watch this space!

Read more about Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez…

 Nilda’s Wikipedia
Nilda’s books on Amazon
Interview with Cloth & Clay
Interview with World Strides
Smithsonian Folk Life Festival

The Textiles of Cusco

What do you get when you bring together a remote and rugged high mountain range, herds of soft downy llamas, alpacas, sheep, and an indigenous people who’s thirst for artfulness is apparent in all they do?   You get beautiful textiles steeped in ancient traditional, as in the Cusco region of Peru!

I’ve been watching this video over and over, fascinated in the weavings of the Cusco region, and life’s work of Nilda Callañaup Alvarez ,  while I knit and think about All Things Peruvian.  So much that I’m feeling a deep inward shift in this direction. But that is all for now, more to come later, on Nilda and Traditional Textiles of Cusco!

Soon I will have to put everything down to make my brother a chullo, which I knit nearly every year around his birthday, and I am giddy because this year I will get to knit one from my own design.

♥    ♥    ♥

News: I am happy to say that we got the quote from the building contractors, and we’ll manage to build our house again!  We will have to do some of the finish work ourselves, like flooring, and who knows what else, but that is nothing like when we built the whole house before. The timeline of starting date is still unknown, as is an estimated time of finish,  and I suppose everything is getting queued up for a fast and furious build sometime this upcoming spring.  I find it so difficult to blindly wait without knowing when I will go back home.   Anyway, the  very best-case scenario, if everything goes well, and which I am visualizing for dear life,  is that we could very possibly be moving back into our rebuilt house this …  coming …  Autumn … ?