Spun

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I am experiencing a bit of a renaissance in hand-spinning. I never was that much of an intentional spinner, although I am attempting to be now…. perhaps I’ve grown up a little bit? With this alpaca that I brought out of the recesses of my loft closet, I worked it from raw fleece and carded on my blending board, spun it, and now measuring & weighing the yarn to discover what gauge it is.

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Here is what I do:  I run the yarn through a ‘winding station’, which measures yardage while winding off the skein on to a ball, then weigh the ball, and take notes.

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Getting savvy in substituting hand-spun and I am itching to ‘paint’ again with fiber on my blending board. Recycled sari silk (yes, made from silk cloth of saris), bamboo, rose fiber… the works, and Oh! This was my most recent creation over the weekend, taking some very coarse Lincoln-Corriedale I’ve had for 30 years (from my sheep Hazel, plus another part fleece I have long forgotten where it came) , and blended it up together into a bat of 50/50 dark & white, which the white was extremely slubby (thats having little bits of wool puffs) I used that blend to layer with some ultra nice dyed corriedale roving  I recently bought, in colors amber, mulberry, and ruby, and also a little Huacaya Alpaca , and made tasty little wool sausages….

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And, over the weekend, here is what I spun up…. slubby, exotic woolen spun blend

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Meanwhile, the general news…

Emma is in her last days of having to endure The Cone, for the surgery she had a week ago already (to remove a low-grade sarcoma on her front leg, she will be alright, no reason to be alarmed). My nieces have started school already, Miss Seventeen is a senior this year, and Miss Fourteen is now in 9th grade!  I’m very busy presently working up two patterns to be available in a double download, and prototyped in the hand-spun alpaca!  And we’re having some gorgeous cool foggy mornings at last! Life is good.

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Emma 2 days after surgery.

 

casting on…

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News is that Emma is on the mend from her surgery earlier this week. She got a bit of a tune-up at the vet while she was under anesthetic to remove a growth on her front leg, and before she woke up the vet did a quick dental, and trimmed her nails too.  Five more days of antibiotics,  nearly a week of the pain-reliever anti-inflammatory (which I may continue with, for her arthritis), and about ten more days of the annoying cone, then its back to normal. More news is that we are dealing with a bit of a mouse invasion and trying to get them ‘out’ is no easy task.

Another finished Whorl’d Piece …

jenjoycedesign© Whorl'd Piece in Inca Tweed

Its on to the next big thing, casting on for Autumn Sweaters for my nieces, in the above balls of yarn is  Berocco super-bulky yarn named “Peruvia Quick”.  The light blue will be a Calidez Cardigan for Miss Seventeen, and dark blue a Calidez Pullover for Miss Fourteen.  So that is that.

I am embracing the waning summer days, getting through the epic bone-dry season of often smoke-hazed blue sky, while fantasizing a verdant grey-skies wet summer climate elsewhere on the planet, like this…

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Wishing everybody a wonderful last week(s) of summer vacation before going back to the school year routine ~ xx

Emma is Twelve

Emma is twelve!

Amidst all the quiet commotion around here, Emma has turned twelve today!

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early morning, waiting to go to town

Her birthday present thus far has been a trip into town to visit Dr.Tracy (her favorite veterinarian) and got another blood panel test, which I’m sure will be as blue-ribbon results as a year ago. Tip top shape for a ‘tween’ German Shepherd with grey whiskers and a little arthritis, a good regimen of a lot of walks and naps!

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home from town

Well, just look at her here with her birthday presents from last year and the year before, Mr Raccoon and Mr Squirrel….

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The three of them seem to be having some kind of discussion, which I fear to disturb for they seem to be reaching some kind of consensus.

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Meeting appears to be adjourned….

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regardless of the uncertainties…

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the doubts…

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… its a go… they got it worked out,  and now on to other things!

Um, like more napping.

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Because Emma’s trip into town was an event to take in, and it being her twelfth birthday I let her ride up the mountain with all windows down! Oh the smells, pure heaven! I think she’s going to be fine for another birthday check-up next year. When Jeff returns from Peru (more on that later) we will have the celebratory ‘burger with hotdog candles cake’  with perhaps even another toy!

Edit in 5pm closing time : Vet called to tell me that Emma’s bloodwork came back blue-ribbon beautiful again! We’re just so happy here, for our healthy t’ween-aged Emma.

Spring Sweaters 2017 (& Emma)

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Finally the Spring Sweaters are blocking to dry, and are awaiting my nieces!   (Emma is not drying, nor awaiting, but just is.)

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Knit from cotton-linen blend, these tees are from my Calidez pullover design (with short sleeves and ‘summer neckline’ options (details on Ravelry here & here)

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I’ve made a couple of monogrammed labels embroidered rather wonkily on pieces of old silk ties I collect.

Next week is Spring break, and I am meeting my nieces in Calistoga, and will bring back gobs of spectacular photos of them modeling these Spring Sweaters I am sure.

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But for now, Emma and I are just hanging out.

Everything in its place, and life is good.

moody monday

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Emma and I are moody.

When feeling under the weather (on the eve of a birthday)…make candy!

Emma wants some …

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( See her nose? )

 Honestly, I have not gone on a candy-making jag in years.  I used no recipe, just tossed ingredients ( about a cup of org. sugar, a bit more than half cube of salted butter, a glob of corn syrup, and a dash of cream) in a small saucepan over a low flame while cold-water testing until it was right. Poored in a buttered pyrex dish over a bed of chopped toasted almonds, then sprinkled more on top.  I ate a ton of it, it shook off the blues, and then I felt better.

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Oh, and knit something really amazing !!!  Anyway, the rest of it is just cozy, dark drizzling dank gorgeous wintery day, while drinking coffee, munching butter toffee and knitting. I will be home in my hermitage for the week just working on forthcoming design. 🙂

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The events of the day…

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Emma has gotten herself somehow mysteriously injured, and has been hobbling about for a day and a half.  I suspect she may have slipped and fallen on the stairs while we were away at a neighbor’s for dinner on Saturday, because Sunday she just could not move hardly at all.  Today she is a little better, at least been able to walk a little ways although very stiff and sore, far beyond her normal senior-dog arthritis.

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Emma sleeps in our bedroom upstairs, but in recent months she has been getting very unsure of herself on the stairs and has been needing help up and down because of the slippery hard-wood surface. Last weekend I cut up a big old rug for the turning area of the stairs, which helped a lot for that was where she was slipping the most, but the straight sections were still needing to be covered–insert Emma’s injury Saturday evening.  So Sunday morning I went into town and I bought a smattering of small throw rugs, sewed them end-to-end to make runners, cut more rug matting, and created a patchwork of rugs on the whole stairway, which is now very cluttered, and a bit odd, but no longer slippery.

I was so worried last night I slept on the couch downstairs next to her to give her moral support, and joy of joys, today she is much better and at least able to walk around a little outside but won’t be able to climb the stairs for a while yet. Wish her well,  she’s looking up, and I’ll give her a good pet from all of you.

Knitting Track News: I have measured with this wheel the feet distance of the whole knitting track.  The actual ‘track’  is a sloppy figure-eight looping through woods very near our house, total of 1448 feet. Not a big deal, I know , but as the track itself is over 1/4 mile around, so three times around the track plus the walk to and from the track is 1 mile…. and folks, that is not nothing ! 5x is 1.5 miles, 7x is 2 miles, you get the idea.   Just think of the knitting I can accomplish while working up a sweat!

144 finished feet done & dusted, about 1300 feet to go. I did about 60 feet just today, and I’m tired! For now it may seem perpetually under construction, but one day I will be finished and it will be a great accomplishment !!

See my recent post How To Make A Knitting Trail  ,

or all knitting trail & knitting-while-walking related posts HERE.

Emma is Eleven

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Today is Emma’s eleventh birthday.

014We had a party for her with some friends, who brought her lots of doggie treats and presents!006 (2)
We had home-made tamales, chocolate cake & icecream, and we can bake Emma her own dog biscuits now because we have a biscuit form, doggie cookbook and biscuit mix too!

And …

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. . . there’s a new squeaking raccoon toy to torture! 

We went for our traditional walk after the party was over, but Emma and I were too tired to go far. I followed her out into the woods….

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Then she stopped a while,

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and we both decided to go back home and play with her new toys and take a long nap!

Everything is fine.

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Hi everyone. A friend of mine who apparently checks into Yarnings frequently enough to notice I’ve been rather quiet here lately, wrote me personally to ask if everything is alright. I am fine. Everything is fine. I’ve been actually extremely busy with lots of things, and though I fully intended to post photos ((of the wedding bridge Jeff and I made, of all the prototypes of Snowmelt Tam & tutorials of techniques for Snowmelt, of the garden I’m transforming, of the trails I’m working on….)) the blogging about them just sort of slipped by.  But know that I’m fine… even better than fine!

I thought I’d post this sweet photo of Emma lounging on the front porch this morning. This time of year when it starts to warm up, but the mornings are clear and cool and just gorgeous, I often leave the door open for a few crisp morning hours.  I was walking by from my busy table spread out with knitting & tutorial photographing (( I am writing the Snowmelt pattern to submit soon)) across the door to the kitchen to brew a lovely cup of coffee,  and well, the cheerful glowingness of Emma & front porch was so deserving of a photo snapshot shared here.

So in a day or so, you’ll be seeing Snowmelt and all the related business to do with Snowmelt…. arrive here. Watch this space! 🙂

Back From The High Sierra.

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We three ~ Jeff, Emma, & me ~ went for a short & sweet trip to High Sierras over the weekend for our anniversary.  There was a little hiking, cooking, tea & coffee drinking, fishing & knitting, sniffing around…. and photos of it all.

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Restorative in many ways, as always, the alpine scenery soothed a yearning that only it can do. What is it about pitching a tent in the wilderness at high altitude to claim some spot in nature for a few days?
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Something about the fragile alpine flowers
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and gnarled trees
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The granite everywhere and deep crystal clear blue lakes

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wide horizon of jagged ridges and expressive skies,

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Windy thunder & rain storms which suddenly take hold for a couple of hours in the afternoon,

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sending us for cover in our cozy tent to wait it out.
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Granite Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness was just what I craved.  Here with coffee & knitting, bundled up while the storm calmed …

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Jeff got to fish a couple of times, though he didn’t get even one bite

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Then it was time for trail coffee & tea !!!

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We found that Emma was perfectly able to handle carrying a doggie pack and hike as she did once before, and it was as if her little arthritic limp of late almost disappeared completely. 072007

She is in top form !

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Most importantly, this trip to the Sierras was to celebrate a very important mark in our partnership,

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We all did well.  It was our first on this particular trail, and were so lucky to have Granite Lake all to ourselves, as it is an extremely populated lake , at near 9000′ elevation & less than three miles from the trail-head. It is my theory that the forecast dramatic thunderstorms cleared the lake for us. We were prepared to hike cross-country (off-trail) to another lake for privacy, but had no need, it was a total stroke of luck.

One thing is for sure, we found that with only a little over 3 hour drive, we can be in the High Sierra and fish & knit & drink coffee at a granite bowl. It just doesn’t get any better than that ! Off we go back home, but we’ll be back . . .
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Off to the Sierras !

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The High Sierras beckon us this year on our anniversary. Last time we went, Jeff, Emma & I had a great time , it was in the Inyo National Forest of the High Sierras, on the McGee Pass trail, hovering around 10,000 – 12,000′ elevation. This  (slightly blurry) photo was taken while walking along a meadow on the trail, and it was in fact the last backpack trip I was on. Emma was a two-year-old packing puppy and that was seven years ago. Ages !

I can’t believe how long it’s been, and astonished at the pace life just races by.  Here is Emma waiting for me as we climbed over the pass, the rock in the trail so sharp she had to wear her boots.
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And just beneath the pass, resting a poor exhausted puppy Emma in the snow with Jeff looking a little impatient . . .
Jeff and Emma in snow, beneath McGee Pass

That trip was a stunning one, a beauty for sure,  but I’m not feeling very confident in my packing abilities at all now.   Though Jeff has promised me that we will go slowly and not far, for if I am going to want to backpack regularly ~ again ~  it is important that Emma and I do not get whipped by the trek.  Emma is already a little bit limpy with onset arthritis, and I’m not much better, worried about carrying a pack for any distance.

But hey , the altitude & elements I can handle ! How can I not crave to sit and knit for hours with camp coffee by high mountain lakes such as these . . .

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Fact is, I can’t wait !!! But just to give perspective, here’s a photo of me taken around 1990, during very likely my first backpack trip, resting & reading in camp over a glacier-melt filled bowl far below in the backdrop ~ Lake Ana in Trinity Alps . . .
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So interesting that being in the really high mountains has been such a part of me for as long as I can remember.  Jeff and I are making a vow of sorts, to go regularly again, and this is a bit of a kick-start trek.  Well folks, its time for me to go pull out all of my packing gear and assemble things ~ knitting included ~ see you all on the flip-side. Sierra Nevada mountains, here we come.

Glimpses From The Knitting Trail

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A big granite rock stack leads from our door out into the woods.

Recently Emma had a birthday ! She is nine.  Every year on her birthday I take her for a long walk and follow her wherever she wants to go.  There was a rather hesitant beginning as she contemplated what was down the road…

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Emma’s 9th birthday walk.

Then after we walked all over the place, unexpected places she led me, and I followed without question.  As our walk ended she found herself mesmerized in the sun beams of the forest, a little spellbound perhaps. There’s lots to think about when one is Nine.

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Emma in woods.

For those of you who have been visiting Yarnings for any length of time, know about my Knitting Trail, I talked about a while ago in this post.    I am gradually putting it all together, this spot and that, through forest and wood, through hilly and hollow lands.   Also,  I am soon to wrap up my first official ‘Yarn Tasting’ of several sock yarn brands, and will be posting about that, but for now, here’s a little sock knitting of the morning…

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One of several rough-cut benches along the Knitting Trail.

Prudence

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Third time is a charm as they say ! Well, as to be expected, my early start on my nieces’ Autumnal Sweaters has now become a late start. First I thought I’d use up a huge pile of yarn left over from a project last year, as it happens to be the perfect color for Niece Who Is Thirteen, who’s eyes are the very same milky aqua.  Elation!  I set to work knitting  very deep wide ribs for a vest, and I knitted it for two days. Somewhere along the way I fell into throes of indecision and … blast ! … it was suddenly horribly wrong.

I ripped it all out.

Okay, so changing gears again, and with a very bad clutch, I had ordered some more of the same tweed yarn but in different colors, for Niece Who Is Ten , and in a completely different knitting mood I set to stranding two colors in stockinette stitch,  sketching in an improvisational way I always have liked to do in the past.  Seeming to be fun and colorful,  I knitted for two days.  It was fine outside of the fact that the combination of colors eventually started to melt into each other, be very muted and soft,  which is very *moi* , but so completely mismatched for the spirit of  Kid Of Ten.

Ripped it out.

Back to the Blue Tweed.  A new vision came to me of a full cardigan but with just two stripes on cuffs and bottom, knit in plain stockinette stitch. As I knit on I just couldn’t stomach the second stripe, and then the voice of  a simple 4-stitch repeat peerie just spoke to me from the ethers (I have a fondness for this particular peerie ) … so here , now, two days into knitting a third time.  Prudently,  I’ve established a simple stripe & peerie border to be the total decorative feature of the Cardigans To Be , outside of the very flecked tweed texture, which is in itself rather busy and well stands alone.  

It seems that so often, with almost everything, I have learned that to temper my impulses with *prudence* gives me the most personal satisfaction.  Played-down & modest is my new aesthetic.  So I am naming this cardigan “Prudence” , to well mark the lesson I have learned.

Prudence : Caution with regard to practical matters; discretion; economy; frugality.

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So it’s a muggy and slightly less than a glaringly bright  sunny day, and I’ve just given Emma a bath ! She was only minimally tortured ~ it was over before long ~ and she is now surrendering to the task of drying into a fluff.  Here is a photo of her in her post-bath ambivolence…

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As I drafted the above about prudent knitting, two days ago, I am now almost ready to start sleeves and so I’m making a fresh pot of tea .  Irish Breakfast Tea.  In the static quiet vacuum of the afternoon,  I feel compelled to ask, hoping I will make contact with All Who Read Yarnings ~~~ What are you all up to?

Summer Landscape In Morning

Its been deliciously foggy down in the valley in the mornings lately , typical of later summer and Autumn around here.  Emma and I set out early today, at 6:30 a.m. to get up to the peak and take some photos of the fog before the sun was too high. On the way up the ridge the light in the grass was just so entrapping ,  I couldn’t stop taking photo’s of Emma in the dried grass, she was just glowing !

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At the peak about 7 o’clock the sun was already high, I’m so glad we didn’t set off any later than we did !

First shot, facing east. . .

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However, the fog  was dense and packed like a snow-covered lake, like I wanted to see it.   In the next frame,  you can see a division between of two ridges in a darkening foreground (actually I see a third very slight sillhouette)… our house is between them, down further at  2000 feet elevation, but it is not visible from where I am photographing, at 2600 ft.  Its my guess the top of the fog must be around 1700 ft.

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Emma  surveys from the precipice at the top. . .

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On the way down, a meadow bordering to the west of tall forest, the dried grass still not gilded golden by the morning sun’s rays seems as lifeless  as you can imagine !

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Next is the whole early morning hike in a slideshow ~~  going up to the peak, then coming back down, with the last shot in our drive.  Arriving home from such an excursion before 8 o’clock in the morning  makes me feel so invigorated, and so I celebrated as I often do, with another cup of fresh coffee, buttered toast & tasty home-made jam !

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Staying Cool

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I’m in need of  Cool Blues .

Triple digit temperatures in Northern California !

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There’s just something about Emma sprawled out on the floor , sleeping out the heat,  just makes me want to decorate her.

I personally think that yarn towers have magical cooling powers.

Mountain Knitting


Making really good progress with the ‘his & hers’ tweed pullovers.

 I am calling them  ” Michigan Winter “.

How could I already be nearly finished with the main body of two full-sized sweaters in one week?  I’ll tell you how, because Emma and I have been doing a lot of  walking this week, being sure to get in at least one walk a day, short or long, and well, I’ve taken my knitting along each time, and I tell you folks,  it adds up !

 Just as I’m plowing through these young homesteaders’ pullovers,  I myself am getting fit as a farmer, and Emma is delighted about all these hikes too, as we go slower, further, longer, and linger at delicious smells in the forest duff.

Autumn in Northern California brings the leaves falling late,

but the Madrones are always first to drop theirs, beginning in July !

I love the terra cotta tones of the leaves as they turn on the ground, before the first rain comes.

As we meander up the ridge, my favorite once bloomed in purple wild sweet peas look so pretty,

even as dried as parchment paper.


I sometimes have to fix a dropped stitch or untangle the yarn,

and Emma waits patiently in the golden grasses.


Here  we are up into the steep section of the climb, and if it were a clear day without foggy haze in the distance,  you’d see SanFranciscoBay, and the GoldenGateBridge beyond the hills…

Emma always finds a stick to befriend…

Approaching the top of the ridge, SonomaCountyLeft and NapaCountyRight….

Finally at the precipice of the peak, overlooking the valley below.

If you could see Emma’s right ear,  it is about touching where we came from. . .

. . . and now it’s time to go back home Emma.  We’ll come again soon… probably tomorrow.

Endless Yards


Starting a new thing ~ for Nora. Soon it will be her 1st birthday !

Emma wants to inspect my nieces’ *unfinished* Spring Sweater Tee’s …

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Coming up next ~  something for a newborn too, and if there’s enough, another little thing for  Nora’s birthday.  Then hopefully by the Vernal Equinox,  I will have used up the six 100-gram hanks of hand-painted fingering yarn !
Winding off a gazillion yards of very fine yarn !

My Knitting Companion

Emma curls up while I knit.  How sweet.

As is her way, she naps on this particular bed in a slightly guilty slumber, because not only has she only recently been allowed up on this bed ~ which was mine before moving in with Jeff ~ but it’s the only piece of house furniture she’s allowed on. Well, wait, that’s excluding her own chair in the main room, (and mind you , she has three full-sized dog beds in the house as well ! )  There seems to be a theme elsewhere in the knitterly community in which I virtually pack around with, as I was reading another knitter’s blog I found a coincidence that a very similar beast was keeping company somewhere up North, the companion of Celtic Cast-On !

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So the finishing is taking place ( binding off here) with Nieces’ Spring Sweater Tee’s.

How unlikely for me, this near neon mass of knitted color !

But kids, you know, they love color and they love intense shades.

Learning curve: Absurdly it’s taken me three times (each) to knit the neck applying a new technique of short-row shaping around the whole neckline,  2/2 rib , and  binding off , to get the ‘tee’ neckline shape that I want.  It didn’t help that I  just kept changing my mind.  Learned plenty, and made notes !  Just have to weave in the ends and wash & block.  Then I can take photos of them modelling the sweaters, which is by far the best part of the whole thing.  This year they’ll be ready ahead of time !

Knitting While Walking


What do I have In Common With These Women?

I collect and carry peat ?  No.  I am able to knit while I walk ?  Yes !

I am proud to report that I now am in a similar league with these Shetland Knitting Peat Carriers of olden days. I must qualify : I am not merely strolling along a paved road at a liesurely pace while watching my knitting ~ nay ~ I am actually really hiking,  along trail and ridge road,  through weedy and rocky sections, and  up and along the mountainside , while watching the scenery and my feet, and while I happen to be knitting without looking at what I’m knitting, for the most part.  There is a difference.   (I say with a playful expression of mock pretentiousness) .

What began this new thing of mine is the awareness I am experiencing about a kind of physical atrophy which happens when one sits around too much knitting, and for too long.  I mean, as if blogging about knitting , and reading about knitting (while knitting) isn’t enough… to actually only knit while knitting is just too too much ( sitting ) LOL.   I figure I absolutely  must learn to double task this whole knitting jones or I’m going to get incredibly lazy.  I have been known on many occasions to knit in the wilderness while backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas, enjoying stunning scenery at great elevations with glaciers all around ~ but that is *destination-in-order-to-knit*  hiking, not knitting *while* hiking. This new thing is entirely different.

I am going to absolutely plunge into this today, and go out again in a couple of hours, to fetch the mail, and with my knitting ofcourse. I will borrow Emma’s treat pouch for the yarn, thinking it may just be the ideal yarn ball holder. Otherwise I will just be bunching the more weighty body of what I am knitting, under my elbow.  No doubt I will refine and share my successes.

My first knit-while-walking excursion this morning was a bit slower pace than my usual exercising pace, but I think over time I can improve on the pace.  For instance,  I took one of my 30 minute routes and it did in fact take 40 minutes, but that is also including stopping and letting Emma sniff or drink in a puddle, and once (I admit) I dropped the ball of yarn and kept walking , for about 30 feet… and had to rewind it while picking a few weeds out. My knitting was also a great deal slower, but that’s to be expected.

I also want to mention the crazy coincidence in the fact that I needed to knit 4 rounds before changing color in my project, and I forgot to bring the other color yarn, but,  I managed to fit exactly 4 rounds (rows), walking in from the end of 40 minutes with about 7 stitches left before switching color !  Talk about perfect gauge ! Of course, I am implying gauge of numbers of stitches knitted over distanced walked, and not inches measured. 😉  I can’t wait to go out again.

It is my dream that one day I will walk and knit in the footprints of those hardy creel-laden women of the British Isles who walked the same path before me.

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Edited in 2 hours later: Well, I managed to walk for one and a quarter hours, all while knitting.  I am observing some things while knitting & walking: In total of two walks today that I was knitting/walking for over 2 hours. That is easily well over an hour I wouldn’t have normally hiked, and the same with knitting.  A win-win?  I think maybe my walking posture is only slightly compromised (though probably no different than walking with hands in pockets), while my knitting posture is greatly improved as I was standing up straight instead of spine curved , neck hunched over knitting while sitting in a chair.  I was aware of nature around me, even noticed a red-tailed hawk fly over (same area as last year I noticed a pair nesting) , and I even sweat !  It goes without saying that every walk won’t have knitting involved and visa versa, nor should I try. But I have found that knitting is a great distraction for walking for the sake of exercise ~  pure dogged daily walking (excuse the pun, but I do have to get Emma out for a run-around most days, if not myself.)  Notice the Peat Carriers making use of the knitting , perhaps for distraction from the work of hauling creels of peat fuel home to burn.

All in all, my mind was too busy watching where I was going, as well as scenery , as well as knitting… like full to max with work to do that the workout aspect of hiking uphill was hardly noticed … and I never dropped a stitch !

Wool for Walking

The trees are bare, and here in Northern California it is the tail end of winter, with many blustery days and lots of clear blue skies.  February on the mountain often sees a blanket of snow, but I’ve known even as late as March to get a light dusting, while the temperatures continue to chill, though in the mountains we don’t get the coldest freezes as in the valley.  I love to walk in the cold, and even in the rain, with an umbrella. Rainy season is yet to come around, it’s been a dry winter.  But these photos were taken last Autumn when…

…  I began in Wovember (I talk about Wovember in this post ) to take another look at the utilitarian aspect of wool.  I began to think of wool as practical and wholesome, taking it beyond a fuzzy arts & crafts medium for playing on the spinning wheel and knitting needles.   For me, this means in particular, my obsession of late…wool skirts. I LOVE WOOL SKIRTS ! The dye-saturation which is particular to wool, means that I love concocting a custom dye-bath each time I find a new wool skirt in a thrift shop.

Photo taken in the beginning of December starting out for a walk up the ridge, and I am wearing one of my several wool skirts.   I have in fact, worn two wool skirts , almost exclusively, all winter .  This green one for walking, and a deep maroon-brownish livery colored one for going down into town, (not counting dressier skirts for gigs), which leaves one or two which haven’t been altered and overdyed yet (I am very fussy about color).

Lately my hips have been a bit sore, and stiff constricting jeans just won’t do.  Winter weight fabric pants just make me feel so *not* in the mood to go for a walk. So I thought to just be the Old-Fashioned sort, and allow myself the distinguishable difference  and somewhat retro-feminist statement of hiking out while wearing a skirt. This one below I over-dyed mossy emerald tones on a light brown fabric, and it is 100 percent worsted wool weave, cut on bias which yields best to movement and makes for *very* comfortable walking !  I Love it !!!  (Little known fact about me: Throughout my 20’s I owned only a couple of pairs of pants ~ my wardrobe was almost entirely skirts and dresses. I even bike commuted in skirts! )

Needless to say, I feel at once back to my old self .  Here I am ,  up close with my  hill-walking companion Emma.

 

“Mostly Green” & “Mostly Blue” Pullovers


We met in Calistoga for Our Little Tradition of sweater gifting & photo shoot. This time a seriously awesome feature ~ right next to the Calistoga Coffee Roastery where we usually meet was this amazing alley way, with newly painted murals on each side ! Here my adorable, clever, and theatrical nieces seemed to step into a netherworld of characters and places of long ago. We then always always always get icecream, our tradition for four equinoxes running ! I hope you enjoy the little slideshow of them posing in front of the murals while wearing their sweaters for the first time, each very delighted.

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Fare thee well  sweaters,  I’m happy to give you to your new happy homes. You were fun to knit, we thought…