A Pinterest Kick-start

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much!   xxJen

Harvest

jenjoycedesign©fog-over-ridge

Its harvest time on the mountain.  I think the sudden appearance of the fog in recent days has put a rush on things.  The last few sunsets has lured in delicious cooling fog from the coast, breaking the scorching hot dry spell.  Marine air from the ocean creeps along, rolling over the ridges and sinks into the inland spaces, this mountain range being one of the last hurdles before it pours hungrily north-easterly into Napa Valley . . .

jenjoycedesign©sunrise

Though the grapes love the fog, I believe when they are almost ready to pick, the flavor does not take kindly to the sudden cool moist air. So harvest bursts in to action up here !  If you look closely, you’ll see (camera zoomed in from our deck) the workers filling their bins in the this morning’s early light.  A merry chatter from the jovial pickers echoes from across the trees , along with morning song of birds.

jenjoycedesign©harvest

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Meanwhile, Emma and I just in from our walk along other (already picked) vineyard ways, during which I have finished one of another pair of these socks. Going to cut steeks on Niece’s Autumn Cardigans today !

Mini Tee: The Pattern

jenjoycedesign©mini-tee

Remember the Mini Tee ?

Well it’s been some months flipped on the calendar since I mentioned making a pattern for the Mini Tee.  Last April I believe it was.  Well, EASY little wisp of a baby top that it is, barely a few rounds with i-cord edging is all really,  I decided to include it with the Pin-Striped Sweater Tee  just for fun. Updates have already been sent out for the Pin-Striped Sweater Tee Pattern, so if you already have purchased or been gifted the Pin-Striped Sweater Tee pattern, you have got it waiting to be picked up.  No worries if you are in the middle of knitting one of the tees, as nothing has really changed but a few refinements not worth mentioning, and of course, the addition of Mini Tee. 🙂

Where is the Mini Tee pattern?

Back From Thrift Shop

Today practice was called off, and I decided to just … what the heck… run into town and go to my favorite thrift shops. It has actually been quite a long while since I’ve been ! I managed to find this…. a steal … $5 for a ever-so-slightly moth-eaten Harris Tweed Jacket. I have ideas for it, though I’ll be taking scizzors to it eventually, to make something else from it (I drool for hand-woven tweed)… and of course…carefully remove and transport the label.

Then, there was the usual back room bin of hangers I always rifle through, looking for the old cleaner advertisement ones, and I found a bundle of seven for 50 cents, wherein there were three nice ones to add to my collection.  I’ve been doing this for quite a few years by the way,  collecting them for literally pennies, from the same shop. I actually only have two which are repeats of the same  cleaners !  You can see some of  here , one of my quirky collections I might say… note 4 digit phone numbers !

Join in my Mitt Fiesta !

I have been blessed with a bunch of really helpful & friendly knitters to knit my two new patterns :

Jenjoyce’s Pin-Striped Fingerless Mitts 

Tartan & Tweed Fair Isle Fingerless Mitts

I would like to acknowledge all those involved in refining my first patterns, by throwing a bit of a fiesta!  I will be simply making a gallery page &  video slideshow of all photos , in process, finished, artfully modelled or otherwise, just any photo anybody sent to me with their mitt project.

If you have not yet, please email me your latest photos ~~ finished or unfinished ~~ to jenjoycedesign AT gmail DOT com or my other email address many of you have already by ~~  Monday April 8 ~~  so that I may include your project(s) in my little Mitt Fiesta Slideshow & Gallery !

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I’ve been busy lately with some knitting deadlines, but in between moments of ‘deadline’ equinox tees & birthday knitting, I have finished off a couple more mitts, testing the size ranges.  My Pin-Striped Fingerless Mitts were written ‘one-size’ with suggestions to use smaller/bigger yarn and needles to achieve different sizes .  I’ve since discovered Mini Mitts for a small child are achieved well  with  sock fingering yarn and size US#0 needles , shown here in blue next to the 7″ prototype mitt knit with Superwash DK yarn on size US#3 needles  ~~~

 Now I’ve got evidence that the pattern made with worsted weight wool and size US#5 needles, knit up nicely to a large-size  mitt.  I’ve made a pair !

Here they are, and they have been already sent off  to Argentina where they are in the onset of the Autumn season, and my professor friend Alejandro can work his equations in his frigid cold study now, wearing  ” professor mitts ” . . .

jenjoycedesign©professor-mitts

Here they are in contrast to my original one-size 7″ circumference mitt prototype…

jenjoycedesign©large-fingerless-mitts

I blundered badly and FAILED to measure them before sending them off to Alejandro, and he won’t be getting them for weeks .  I’d say that they are a good deal bigger in circumference and all around ‘bigger’ knit up with worsted weight yarn. They fit Jeff, who’s got big hands.

jenjoycedesign©contrast

Both of these mitts were knit up with Knit Picks Superwash Merino “Swish” and are oh-so-soft.

((note of the mini-mitt, and this larger test-knit will be made soon on pattern page))

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So that’s business I just wanted to get out of the way so I can get on with my frivolous projects at hand , and post in continueing flurry of excitement.  I’ve got quite a few new ideas bursting out of my head !

Sair Heidies

I’ve been posting a flurry of things last two days, this being my second post of the day ! In a post about a package from yesterday I mention some new cookbooks, and a recipe I wanted to try, particularly today, since it’s Easter Sunday. Well, here is my first attempt at making ‘sair heidies’meaning ~~ ‘sore heads’ ~~ which are absolutely darling little cakes inside parchment with broken aspirin-looking sugar cubes imbedded on top (thus the sore head, needing aspirin?) . . . and then tied with kitchen twine. I had neither sugar cubes, kitchen twine,  nor proper baking rings… so I improvised, as I do everything.

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I wish you all were here with me to enjoy a couple of these with tea right about now, because they are absolutely delicious and hitting the spot !!!  Kelly, I thank you again for giving me this creative opportunity in the kitchen, and I look forward to experimenting lots more with authentic Scottish cooking ! 🙂

Edit in ~~ Now all of you may try making them if you like, as I’m posting the recipe from the book , via photos !
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Helpful Note : I did not have sugar cubes, so I cooked a little sugar in a pan, and then tossed the goo with some more sugar and made ‘lumps’. I recommend doing the real thing, and buying sugar cubes (so they can look like broken aspirin too). Also, I did not have ‘self-rising flour’ so I added 1tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda to the flour, worked well !

Vernal Equinox

jenjoycedesign©spring-tee (2)

Today is the Vernal Equinox, and  (pin-striped grey & purple) Spring Tee One is finished!

See how sheer it is when hanging in a light window? This is fingering weight ‘sock yarn’ knit up with size #6 needles, for a light , almost lacey feel (but thinking maybe I should have used #7’s).   I am elated to say that the yarn for Spring Tee Two came in today, so I can finish in time for the photo shoot with my nieces on Sunday !  Soon I will show them off in detail , but for this post  ~ just a silhouette.

jenjoycedesign©spring-tee (1)

Knit Again

I am knitting, ripping, and knitting over (and over) the section of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s  Hybrid Shirt-Yoke Seamless Sweater variation.  The problem is not following the delightfully written instructions for it,  in  “Knitting Without Tears” (and which I talk about briefly in this post ) , but in my usual improvisation of the design , as one of the homesteaders asked for his to have a v-neck. The sweater design of the hybrid shirt yoke sweater of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s actually has a particular neck opening which results from the particular shirt yoke style, and it is not v-shaped in the least. So I have to figure out how to do it.  Wingin’ it again.  Never not improvising, which is exhilarating, but stressful .

Rip, rip , rip, knit again. Repeat.

I know eventually I will get it right, even though I seem to be losing confidence rather than gaining insight.  Jeff seems to be surprised to hear as he comes through the door home from work, that again I’ve ripped back.  ” No… not again ! ”

To him, my knitting must look like this … 
Two steps forward, and one step back.

But to me it feels like this

So I continue to knit & rip, and knit again…because I do know that only by doing this can I get ahead of the learning curve. Only by doing this an insane amount of times, can I truly understand how this all works…. even though at times I feel like a brainless knitting machine.

Oh hey !!!  “Knit Again”  brings something to mind I want to share. It occurred to me in my predicament to ~ finally ~ watch the foreign film that is all about this insane act of knitting and ripping, and knitting again.  “Wool 100% ”  by Mai Tominaga.  This film grasps it truly !  A very abstract film, and a bit nightmarish in imagery, but clean enough.  I highly recommend it for all foreign film loving knitters .

My Favorite Mistake

Now this is my favorite mistake .

I ask myself , how many times can I do the ol’  “accidentally grab the wrong needle end and knit backwards into the row the other direction” mistake ??? Obviously more times than I can count.  Yet each time it happens,  I’m a little dumbstruck that I just did it again. Then I laugh, and think to grab the camera and let you laugh too.  I’m glad *somebody* is getting entertained.

This sweater I’m naming “Berry Smoothie” for my eldest niece who asked for ‘light purple, and maybe also pink’.   The overdyed purply pink and pinkish purple,  I achieved on the yarns was by a very light dip in the dyebath.  No saturation what-so-ever.  The story reads this way:

For Purple : Woman dips grey heathered wool into dye, then yells  ” Oh blast !… this is waaaaaay too dark… quick, out with it ….. fast …. and rinse it out  !!!! ”

For Plum :  “Hmm… I wonder if this little bit of Jacquard Pink left in the container is enough for these five 50g skeins?”  Woman dips light blue yarn in dye bath… exhausts the dye-bath to clear in less than one minute.  Oops, not enough. Hence uneven dyeing and ~luckily~ interesting variegation.

Well, at least I did look at the colors on the dye packets, and I did pre-saturate the yarn in a diluted vinegar rinse before the dye bath dip.  Result was delightedly ‘unsaturated’ variegation of color. I normally prefer the ultra saturated dying, because protein fibers do that so well, and so well attain a depth of richness which exudes such sensuality (I think) and is unmatched by non-protein fibers.  A skein of wool (or silk) yarn only needs to look at a packet of dye to change color. Who said I am an Intentional Dyer?  Not me, the intention is never there.  At best I am a Hopeful Dyer.  I think I’ll write a book ” How to spin, dye, and knit completely by accident “.  Best-seller ?  Not.

But really,  I do love the color variegation !

A quick thanks to friends for  the comments of previous post, for setting me straight. I do think I’m going to do work on taking more thorough paper notes, and swatching, in the way of scrapbooking for a project, and maybe virtually too in some capacity ~ incorporating the old-fashioned and modern.  And, I think I will really work hard at learning to write the text for what I just knit (call it a pattern if you will)…. but…. I’m not going to lay down any rules !

Just doesn’t seem that important. I’m over myself today. Thanks friends !

Makers & Believers

This inspirational Eunny Jang video really does say it all. The web has enabled us to see and be inspired by the work of others, to learn from them, and then to extend that out at a speedy rate, to in turn teach others. I feel this is what has consumed me in recent couple of years, and I have been gradually becoming fit for the world-wide-web.   It was about three years ago, maybe longer, that I tripped over my first knitting blogs, and was led as if by magical breadcrumbs to more vast spaces (Ravelry), which forced me to take bigger strides, always following those who were striding even bigger (much , bigger) before me,  and with me along with hundreds, in their wake.  I am pensive this morning, after watching this video, about potential, about believing in it.  I am surrounded by inspiration, so much it is actually numbing at times.

I like to get going early, around  7 o’clock in the morning, with my creative ‘work’, and interacting on the world-wide-web is a huge part of that process.  For to read about and interact with those that stimulate and excite is essential. I love the saying… “Choose those for friends who you wish to emmulate”.   Such  friends can be virtual presences I do believe, it’s all the same,  the ‘friends’ in my life who make me a better knitter, artist, cook, gardener, musician, and well..  a better person.  Giving is essential to the mix. I can’t get away with just drinking in, just consuming through the screen on my laptop,  or I will implode.  Besides, I don’t think what ‘comes in’ is really processed and progressed until it is ‘given out’.  And I do mean given.  Even more than sold…. (though I fully hope to have some ‘wares’ for sale in the near future)

I can only hope that I have something to contribute to the world , to knitters, and to music lovers, but like so many talented artists and designers I am studying, I might never know the extent of how much my ‘work’ is admired and appreciated by others, if it is at all, it may never be mine to know.   I am perhapas not entitled to know, but to be the workhorse only,  tilling the soil of the creativity.

I think that Potential is never found,  that it is only a direction, and that the path towards it is taken one small step at a time. Though I feel frozen in my tracks sometimes,  it is paramount that I do move into that step….

..and that I am not able to know now, the second step,  only the first. 

Fair Isle Waistcoat Revisited

Oh yes, and this one too, brought forth from the back burner, from the beginning of May.

I have since sorted out the pattern improvisation disaster from the beginning, in this post of several months back ~ here . I’m really enjoying how the colors are working, and how the pattern borders are beginning to contrast from the previous border. So fun!

Lichen Waistcoat


I decided that to stray from the pattern’s borders, peeries, and color sequences was courting disaster.  Even though I always seem to have an overwhelming impulse to substitute (as in cooking), knitting is perhaps a little less flexible.  It’s always a valuable learning experience about just how far I can deviate from the author’s pattern or colorway. I’m one of those who very rarely has stuck completely to a pattern (or cooking recipe). I ended up becoming quite unattracted to the alternate color sequence and peerie which I originally started to substitute in the first attempt at the Lichen Waistcoat in this post , reason being that I didn’t want to introduce a fifth color which would detract from the ‘sparkle’ of the bright green center in the borders, an accident which I found unexpectedly perfect.  I just wanted that green pinstripe to stand alone. That’s not too hard to understand, is it?

I soon ripped back to the first border and settled in to the author’s pattern, and now happy enough with my own colorway at least, being completely infatuated with the pair of Virtual Yarns “Red Deer” and “Mountain Hare” colors, of the Hebridean Moor & Mountain color story, and well, the soflty neutral Jamiesons Spindrift “Natural Black” is a very nice choice for the motifs I think.

I am now back on course with this project. It however, is near the back burner as there are four other projects which have seemed to make their way into my priority knitting. I will have this well under way if not finished, in the Autumn of this year… or am I kidding myself ?