Sweater Success!

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Yesterday I met my nieces in Calistoga at the Roastery, we had a little catching up over coffee & tea, then they put on their new Hillwalker sweaters, and this time we headed straight down to the Castle in St Helena for the photo shoot.  They absolutely shone against the old hand-cut stone in their Autumn sweaters!

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A fabulous time, and the usual stellar results! Oh, and behind the scenes my nieces are now also my assistants as well as my models, doing a great job of stepping in to preen as needed… real professionals!  Click and check out these fun unexpected sneak shots…

Hillwalker pattern is available HERE.

But before you go, click on the first image in the mosaic, and view a much more extensive slide show of the whole photo shoot…

 

Out into Autumn

jenjoycedesign© October 21,2018 Out walking I see the Mayacamas mountains rolling southerly down into their foothills.

I am enjoying Autumn now that the leaves are beginning to cover

the blackened forest floor from last year

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This sparse ground cover is only the beginning of the leaf fall,

they will continue to flutter down until winter is here.

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I woke today after having seemingly dreamed almost consciously about a new fresh start in life walking a little more every day,  away from stress of the wildfire,  restoring a positive feeling about myself  and my life, so that when the house is finally ready for us to move into it,  I will be rebuilt too.   Its been a rough year for me, hands down, and I have existed in a self spun cocoon trying to not think about the stressful things,  but I really do believe committing to walking increased distances will cure all that is wrong in my world.  Just one walk at a time.

Hillwalker, and an anniversary.

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Introducing the Hillwalker sweater duo…

(and photographed with my walking stick!)

I have now finished both the pullover and the cardigan,

and that means Hillwalker is now two patterns for one download !

♣    ♣    ♣

Today is the one-year anniversary of the historic Northern California Firestorm  which burned through two counties and thousands of homes, including our own.  Such an anniversary of loss seems to be a time to test resilience, rising above hardship, and moving beyond the grief toward healing happier times. As I walk on the mountain,  I feel the loss, and regrowth in such an overwhelming way.

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There are so many dead trees, but surprisingly, there are many that are alive.

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A favorite Blue Oak, gone.

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Vineyards thriving.

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A favorite rocky meadow.

This Autumn comes as a relief, now I can focus on what is ahead, and what is new, fresh, and positive. Life is short, its over in a blink, and we have every ability to control our attitude.  I’ve learned one very important thing through the experience of this last year, and that is the only thing we can truly own is our attitude, and the accomplishments of  our mind.   The rest is just material & prone to ashes.

♣    ♣    ♣

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Northerly view over valley fog.

Equinox

Frantic artful ‘good mood’ music because things are shifting into action!   Meaning that we have been issued our building permit finally,  after a grueling long wait, and house rebuilding can start at last!     The Autumnal Equinox is Saturday, and I am going to celebrate!

This music reminds me what I have been missing,  a familiar manic wave now only whispering,  approaching me without touching, as if to assure me of its return, and that all will be in a far better place very soon.

Oh, and this trio just hits the spot doesn’t it!  Be sure to listen to Trio Brasileiro videos as they queu up,  because these tunes are deservedly among my favorites and might become yours too!

Sun Into Libra

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Late morning light is pouring in through the southern skylight and the roof beams glow as the sun enters into Libra.  On this equinox there are equal hours of day as there are of night, and that is indeed something to mark in the marching of time and of earth’s unwavering spinning around the sun, so I say ~~ Hello Autumn, please come in and make yourself comfortable!

Happy equinox everyone!

A rustic place…

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Emma and I are pushing ourselves to complete the knitting trail, and it will be indeed a rapturous and celebratory finish!

jenjoycedesign© Emma on trail 1

The equinox is in only two short days.

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I’m sure we’ll make it,  we are already more than three-quarters the way done!

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Big Leaf Maples and Black Oaks are beginning to shed their leaves, and the acorns and fir cones are dropping too.  In this rustic state of being the spicy Autumnal fragrance is faintly rising in the forest, and I am ready to crash into this season with transformative momentum, leaning into it with all of my weight, as I leave Summer’s oppressive heat,  lazy days and restless nights behind me.

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See you on the flipside!

Cooling

I am so looking forward to upcoming Autumn equinox, now only less than two weeks away! We survived an incredible record heat wave last weekend, and mid-week there started a cooling trend, when about Wednesday it actually rained!!!   Just a little drizzle, but it soaked into everything nearly lifeless and started a pulse to the landscape again, which I seem to be a barometer for.  I’m seeing that lovely fog in the valley below again, like a snowy lake, in the early mornings.

I am merrily going through my paces, and thrilled that Emma is perking up and wanted to go for a walk yesterday!  A couple of weeks ago her vet prescribed a half pill of meloxicam daily, and that is now beginning to take effect I think. She is all around moving as well as she was before her surgery early August — her sore hip seems better, with limp barely noticeable some days. ((Arthritis of hips & elbows is the bane of existence for older German Shepherd dogs in case you must be informed, although that is really difficult for me to refer to my Emma in this way, because ~~~ she is my fur child!  ))   Anyway, on our way back to the house from our short walk Emma grabbed a stick, her old game of ‘chase me’ which made me so happy, and away we went, for a faux chase! (right, not a fox chase, but a faux chase).

I’ve got so many things I have queued up for Autumn, but for now its just knitting my nieces’ sweaters, indeed very late this year, but they won’t be worn until probably late October anyway, so I’m aiming for an early October finish.  Also, I’ve begun trail-making in earnest again, determined to ‘walk me arse off’ and regain fitness I’ve lost over a very slothful spring and summer, moping around empathetically with Emma.  So knit-walking… here I go!

All is well, in this place, and for now.

 

Fields of Gold

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Went out for a lovely knitting walk in the late afternoon today, and caught the golden fields at their height and most fragrant as the rain has come, and it won’t be long before they become dull and brown and beaten down by the strong winds up here on the ridge.

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Leaves falling along one of our newer trails, a shortcut home through the edge of black oak woods (can you see the sticks ahead which mark the path?).  Emma and I have really upped our game, and are walking religiously since day one of Autumn , and I’m knitting bunches as we walk.  Grateful that Autumn has greeted us with some cool weather and…. did I mention that it rained last night?   Everything is in its place, and life is good.

Sweater Success !

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Another sweater success!   However we rather fell out of tradition this time not photographing  in Calistoga , but yet again at the castle which is my niece’s favorite photo place.  Few words this post , but I promise to be more talkative of details about the cardigan when pattern is ready, and it is forthcoming shortly!

All Sweater Successes Past & Present

Ravelry project details  here,  and   here.

Equinox Walk

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Happy Autumn Equinox everyone!   It is in recent years, my favorite day of the year. This morning the equinox occurred at 7:21 in the morning, and I planned to get to my secret knitting spot on one of my trails, overlooking a vineyard and hazy Mt Diablo in the distance, only about a ten-minute walk from my door at the most. Here are some more photos of our little early morning walk out to greet the new season…

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Emma enjoyed the scent of the fresh wildlife tracks from the night, and I enjoyed the brilliant angled light fuzzing through the trees. We then reached our secret spot on time, about 7:20, here standing on the big stump of a very large fir, gives a wonderful vantage point of the area we live in.

The light at sunrise had an amber glow and the air is cool. I thoroughly love this little loop in the woods next to my house, at first light.  Tomorrow and often in the days following, I think I will come here to greet the sunrise and feel Autumn’s transitory beauty. Perhaps a thermos of tea and sit on the stump here, knit, and thoroughly enjoy the season as the leaves slowly turn.

I also have a little new knitting going on, but I won’t give details for another week or so…

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Enjoy your first-day-of-Autumn and happy knitting!

 

Ready & waiting for Autumn.

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Its a glorious time of year! Although the temperature is oppressively hot and a layer of dust covers nearly everything, there is an anticipatory glee happening all at the same time,  for we are days away from the Autumn Equinox!

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And perfectly on schedule, two cardigans come off the needles and sit folded, well-mannered and patient, waiting for the eventful day (hopefully soon) they meet their people~~ Miss Sixteen & Miss Thirteen…

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I’ll not say a self-promoting word about what pattern these are knit from or anything like that, I’ll just say that I’ve spent the better part of 6 weeks merrily throwing stitches for these plain & simple sweaters. One last detail to do, the hand-made label…

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And now they are indeed done & dusted. I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment at this point in the year, all ready for the rains to fall, whenever it will be, who knows, but I look forward to that first sprinkle like candy falling from the sky.

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Next time you see these babies, they’ll be on my nieces in Calistoga, for the traditional annual Autumn Sweater photo session.  Autumn is on its way, and life is good!

November Chill

jenjoycedesign© Autum LandscapesEarly this morning I walked to my secret hidden knitting spot which from a neighboring high mountain vineyard overlooks a landscape of beautiful mountain ridges.  I caught the sun illuminating the gold on vines, and maple trees, a lovely sight which always takes my breath away.  Oh look!  Hot air balloons making their way from the valley floor up the side of the mountain!

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This morning, I managed to get a shrouded view of the majestic Mt Diablo in the background. Can you see it there, in the foggy atmosphere?

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This one is from yesterday morning, with the rather strikingly deco-esque water tank. . .

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The forested paths seem to sparkle now with golden leaves falling from the trees to the ground,  I just love to knit while wandering over these paths which meander through the rustic forest.

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The chill of Autumn has begun to take hold. We’ve had some rain with more on the way, and the landscape is now turning shades of gold-to-crimson… and with shy sprouts of grasses coming up!  These weeks have been busy for me, as I’ve managed to make a string of six new patterns in a relatively short space~~  Altitude Cowls and Mitts (the last being the Twist Mitts)

Its time for walks shuffling through rustling leaves, fires in the wood-stove, and the kettle whistling as mugs are filled and sipped throughout the day ((my new favorite is fresh ginger tea!)) . . . and of course knitting till the cows come home for holiday gifts.  Being already past mid-November there are only a short five weeks left to this year, but I am working steady on the designing as well as keeping a firm hold on the homestead.

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Hoping lots of merriment to you this coming Thanksgiving Holiday!

 

Tweedy

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What do I have here? Something very tweedy for Autumn! A set of my Tartan & Tweed  Tam & Mitts for an Autumn birthday gift, and a pretty nice ensemble of Autumney finds of local acorns and fir cones.

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I have used a lovely yarn of alpaca-wool blend called Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, which I really love, and adorned not with a pompom or toorie, or beret loop ~~ but a Dorset Button.

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That is the news from my neck o’ the woods, and I’m roaring along rather productively on another mitt design, soon to be done & dusted with it.  I hope you are all having a wonderful Autumn and enjoying the turning of leaves and things to gold & rust, as I am. Its a slow turning in Northern California, but it is beginning!

Glimpses of Autumn

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A little pocketful of acorns I gathered on my walk this morning. The black ones are from the Canyon Live Oak, and the smaller light tan one is from the black oak. Anyway, the oak leaves from around here have hardly begun to change color & drop, and the Black Oaks won’t be completely bare until late December.

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Still a bit of an Indian Summer here, with very warm temperatures, and just waiting for that first rapturous rain, to herald in true Autumn.   More shots of  changing landscape in days forthcoming, perhaps of the oak trees their Autumn turning… but for now I’m becoming transfixed & transformed on my walks, kicking through the leaves and acorns, enjoying myself completely!

Hello Autumn !

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Just in from a walk on my trail this morning and I found this stag’s antler. The amazing thing is, of all the hundreds of miles I’ve put into trail walking in my life, this is the first antler I have ever found!  Its partially nibbled by some rodent (rather badly on the other side) and Emma sure wanted to get a hold of it !  I’ll admire it for a while, and then I’ll make horn buttons from it one day, an undeniable certainty.

I’m welcoming this Autumn Equinox today with a new habit to acquire, of walking on my own trails  every single day.   Twice a day often as possible, if not three.  Moving mossy stones ‘just so’ out of the way, and preening as I go, a lot of carrying pruners to trim back bits and a bow saw for when a tree falls across…the only way a trail can transform from a deer path to a park-like setting is to walk it and groom as you go. The test of finish being that I am  able to knit while I walk the trail.

Today is the first morning one of my favorite season ~ and  with a bit of an ominous Autumnal find !

Sneak Peek

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” f  ” is for Finnegan,

and also for ” fall ” .

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. . . and ” e ” is for Eleanor.

but also for ” equinox “.

That’s not the end of it !  I must continue through this kid’s knitting delirium as I work steady towards the imminent pattern… as oh… there must be a pattern!  Yes, so I am casting on for one last, another, a test knit official for this kids’ pullover pattern,  and I hope to get ‘er ready to come out and play by the Autumn Equinox.  But these little pullovers are getting sent off to Jeff’s little g-kids right away, and you’ll have to excuse me for being a little quiet for a while, but I have got a lot of work to do so I can soon be   f-is-for- finished !

Foggy

jenjoycedesign©blue oaks in fogI was out knitting & walking this afternoon and the fog was just floating in and around everything ,

it was a beautiful late Autumn landscape.
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Oh how the last of the leaves are stubbornly hanging on to their twigs,

and they land sometimes seeming reluctantly so …
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Tomorrow a huge rain storm is on it’s way, to hit in the night and thrash for a couple of days.  I have a hill-walking date in the morning with a friend, and we’ll go come hell or high-water!

On the knitting front, all is going well, more photos in days ahead of finished happy endings of knitterly things, bathed in wintery light of day, but for now, a sneak peek of what appears to be a candy roll of some tasty tartan & tweedy thing…

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Knitting In The Wild

jenjoycedesign©knitting in the wildAnother glorious hike up to the ridge peak this morning. Shading the camera lens with knitting overlooking the ridge after ridge facing north-easterly.

Greeting the long shadows of morning as the sun’s rays shot through the pines on the crest of the ridge…

jenjoycedesign©019There was knitting the whole way, reknitting that is, of yoke of nieces’ Autumn sweater.

 Capturing the sun streaming through black oak leaves soon to fall …jenjoycedesign©003Greeted the Sleeping Princess (Mt Tamalpais) as she lay like rolling blue ocean waves in the distance…
jenjoycedesign©036And Mt. Diablo as we started up, a stones throw from the house… and you can see the yellow patches in the trees where there is Autumnal color starting.

jenjoycedesign©002At the rocky top,  another  view across the ridges which frame the upper Napa Valley …
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Most of all we enjoyed the contemplative early morning trek, with bright morning sun, mountain air, and knitting all going so perfectly together I think. Looking forward to another like it each day this Autumn, as we have been out nearly every single day . Turning of the season continues to be wonderful this way.  Life is good.

Knitting In Nature

019It rained again, and the moss is glowing !

We’ve continued our walks nearly everyday this Autumn.

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Out in the freshly rained-on moss, and romping around and smelling things.

( Emma tends to like to stick her whole head into tree caves…)

023The really remarkable thing is, that while we were walking in the woods, I was knitting the very colors of the moss on oak bark, and it took me by surprise how much I reflect the colors of my surroundings.

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Knitting in nature is one of the things I love to do most of all.

Walking in Autumn

jenjoycedesign©out in AutumFirst, a lovely shot from our Autumn walk the last weekend.

And now just back from a walk, out rather late we went up the ridge a little ways, by the high vineyard, (um… which is sorely lacking a vineyard for the present)…

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Then we turned around , and went into the woods. Here , knitting poised on a log, and with not much progress from the last photo of it….

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Then we decided to explore and left the trail, began crawling through and over all sorts of things, collecting all sorts of burrs and stuff in our hair, to scout out new places.

 Oh look! Another huge mushroom growing from a dead tree!

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 And then….

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… we ended up at a rather tall henge-like rock out-cropping I did not recognize.

(I’ll take another photo of this place another time soon, in the mist, for affect).

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Seriously though, with different angles to the familiar places, I thought there for a few minutes we were lost. (not really that would be rather impossible) A glance easterly and I see Mt Diablo in the distance, a good bearing.

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Sure enough, after scrambling through a few bushes, there it was !

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A great little secret picnic & knitting spot, wouldn’t you say?

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Have you been out on any walks this Autumn yet?

Each Day In Autumn

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Emma and I have been out walking (and I knitting while walking) everyday this Autumn so far, and plan to walk everyday for the remainder of Autumn, bringing camera and sharing photos often here and celebrate the best time of year !  Harvest is in process, finished in this particular vineyard a stone’s throw from where we live. We passed it along our forest paths near by.  Then Emma spied a big yellow fungus !!!

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On through hilly & hollow lands we walk….

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And with fragrances abound, Emma follows her nose rapturously…jenjoycedesign©wandering2

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And just around this bend (from the opposite direction of last hike posted) we end up back home …

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First Morning of Autumn

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I know two posts in one day. Its just that I wanted to share with you all my first walk of Autumn.  We were out in the early hourse on this first morning of Autumn, knitting while hiking about the woods a bit, then hauling on up the ridge to the peak of the mountain (at 2600′ elevation.) There were beautiful views of the distant ridges along the way up.  Mt. Diablo in the distance, rather southerly (to the right behind the trees)…
009Then higher up, looking more westerly, a grand shot of Mt. Tamalpais,  named by the indigenous Native Americans meaning “Sleeping Princess” (did you know Mt Tam is where mountain-biking was invented?) …
011Then at the peak, overlooking Napa Valley, easterly, and the sun was already high …
019We went down our favorite well-trodden paths on the way home…
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035Then across the last oak wooded section before landing back home. It was a glorious walk this morning, and I have made progress on a little knitting too !

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 I hope your start of  Autumn (or Spring) is equally as happy as mine.

What are you up to?

Autumn Sweaters Done & Dusted !

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I’m ecstatic for two reasons. For one, the Autumnal Equinox has turned, and two, both sweaters I set out to design & knit by the equinox are done & dusted!  I did have to reknit an awful lot too.  This is all you get to see of them for now, but we have the date set with my nieces to give them these and they will model them and we will have a boatload of fun with a photo shoot in Calistoga, and then you’ll get to see photos galore of them. Then sometime in October I will buckle down get the pattern done & dusted too.  But for now, just a happy chirpy sort of pleased-with-myself post on the first day of Autumn.