March Into Spring

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I am participating in a little knit-along over in Ravelry, because I felt like knitting a few pairs of socks, especially since I gave away the whole stack of socks I knit last year for gifts. So now I’m starting a new stack!   Also doing the March Into Spring knit-along because it is March, and so near the Spring Equinox, so if you would like to join in, I’m having a pattern give-away and providing lots of March-ing music (bagpipes mostly)  over here.   Hope to see you there!

Also this is a Yarn Tasting which coincidentally goes with the whole marching & bagpipes theme having “Northumbria” in the title ~  Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering yarn:  It is hand-dyed 100% Blue-Faced Leicester wool, in colorway “adobe”.  Springy, elastic, sturdy,  just all around perfect for socks, with amazingly beautiful variegation from the hand-dying.  Incidentally, this skein was a gift to me after the wildfire,  along with another of the same in colorway of “beach glass” ( thank you so very much Taddy ~xx )  Naturally I am providing music accompaniment of the small Northumbrian Pipes to go with the Northumbria yarn, and I hope you enjoy every bit as I do . . .

Yarn Tasting: Simply Wool

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

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

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

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

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

new lace beginnings 2

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It is raining, how heavenly, and my most recent Unspun experiment,  posted about here, is snailing along very slowly.   Nupps are so cool, but so difficult, taking real skill and concentration , not to speak of excellent light and magnification!

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In previous out gathering lace post you may have not caught it, but I am doing the breadcrumbs thing where I begin to hint of something coming. It will be long coming, a ways down the trail (a long, long meandering, as the lace is taking forever), the theme being woods, music, variations, lace, only vaguely related.   Its far too abstract at the moment, but do expect some puzzling crumb hunting, as I’m having some fun with this veils theme. I have decided that I love to ‘play’ on my blog this way, as I did with the whole Fishy thing the summer before last. I love discovering side trails, merry chase always on the verge of confusion, but then we arrive at destination eventually.

For now I am immensely enjoying this wet weekend with tea & lace knitting.

Oh, and my cough is slowly improving!

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Four Posts

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Now that the posts & beams of the house are going up, I am in a creative mood about what will go inside the rooms.  A couple of days ago I found  this  old oak double bed frame, and I’m really enjoying fixing it up.  It is very solid,  relatively inexpensive and worth every bit of work I put into it.

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It will go in the Loft Room, replacing an old tarnished brass bed I had forever, but I have convinced myself that I love this much better than the old one, for I love the feel of wood, so sensual and natural.
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I spent several hours scrubbing every surface with #0000 (finest) steel wool and a beeswax citrus cleaner, scrubbing off a layer of dirt & old lacquer,  resulting in a satin finish with golden oak highlights! Although it could use another scrubbing, I am reticent for I don’t want to lose the depth of patina in the grain & crevasses.

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A few cracks in the posts and flakes lifted from the veneer of the side boards, but I am absolutely totally in love with it.  I will be looking for old quilts now to dress it with, perhaps making another someday, but for now I am envisioning blocking out lace stoles the whole length of it!

Just flew off the needles!

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Lace + ribbing = a beautiful springy cowl!  I just finished my project in a cowl-along I’ve been knitting in recent week. I intentionally didn’t block it, being very pleased with the three dimensional waffled surface the merino lace yarn creates with the ribbed pattern & yarn-overs.

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It is a very easy modification of Double Cappuccino Legwarmers  , and I chose to work the ribbed lace with really big 6mm needles for a frothy open look,  so it grew in length fast, therefore naturally the patterning  was easy enough that I knit it entirely while walking up on the ridge over the last week!

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So downy soft, yet athletic from the ribbing, that I plan to eventually give it to a certain dancer, hoping it won’t fly off in the middle of her leaping across the stage,  I planned this to go with her mostly black dance wardrobe of course!

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This is the first of my start on gift knitting, for the holiday swiftly on its way.   So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the ridge for a hike while casting on for another !

Pattern: Modification from Double Cappuccino

Details: on Ravelry  here

 

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 .

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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.

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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.

 

Our Tiny House

Greetings from our  Tiny House in the Charcoal Forest! Our Tiny House arrived here at the beginning of May,  and now we have fully nested back in our charcoal forest. It was a major ordeal hauling it up the mountain with … Continue reading

Finding

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After losing most of my things in the wildfire,   I am scouting again.

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  Earlier this week I found this retro beauty in a local consignment shop of antique & vintage objects,   and we picked it up this morning.

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A bathtub is not a delicate or graceful object, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to find one  while out scouting in the thrift & antique shops,  but the utmost in useful things in my opinion, something of daily life, and lifestyle.   I can’t express just how gratified it makes me feel to begin to find pieces of a home again,  which is in so many ways my identity.

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This goes especially for used things,  sturdy and elegant old-fashioned  things that have already endured decades of use. I love, love, love old things, and am ready and eager to bring them into our new house, which likely won’t be any sooner than a year, but I can begin finding now.  We will have at least saved a fortune snatching up this one, and not waiting until later to buy new.

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I suppose I am like so many other Nesters, completely taken in by the beauty of a utilitarian thing like an old bath tub.

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My new finding does have me feeling pleased with myself,  even though for now it will have to stand patiently  next to a big window in our holding place, and I think it will come in handy as a giant yarn bowl, or laundry basket, until  eventually  the new house is built.

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Frustrations over painfully slow rebuilding aside, and nature’s cruel black hand is far from getting use to, but admittedly life is seeming to feel good again as this particular finding brings my focus forward to what might be.

Energy and essence.

Emma & Squirrel

This Christmas Emma got a new squeaking squirrel, since her old squirrel and all of her other toys were all left behind in the fire.  Now with a new squirrel love,  everything is in it’s right place.   The calendar is racing to a close, and I am fairly excited about what is around the corner now.   I go up to the mountain every day if I can to walk a little while, and to go into the garden which is for the most part is still there, to sit and write, sketch ideas, and wonder about the best that might yet be to come.  Pondering colors, palette & writing blending recipes,  and thinking about the landscape, and how our lives will resume there in a different house in the future.

Recently I have been posting from the archives Knitting In The Wild , as I  look  to find the origin of colors for my Tweed Chronicles, but I am also finding in there one of my biggest passions of life  ~~ being out in nature.  There in the wild I am finding the tap root of it all.  It is the landscape that is my true sense of energy and essence ,  who I was and who I strive to become.  From the wild comes a pure sense of myself, and I realize I must continue going there as if I never left … to find new growth & new meaning in the contours, flora and fauna of the mountain, and to feel as a shepherd of something necessary while in it.

Yesterday while re-establishing my knitting trail I observed gopher holes bursting through what seems a cracked brittle thin shell of burned top soil, pushing up through it beautiful creamy soil from  beneath, so like life bursting out of an egg shell.   I feel what is beneath the surface, what is still there wanting to shake off the soot of the fire and resume living.  I watched a black raven surveying the territory, having come back from wherever it fled, I don’t know, and I heard a woodpecker too, tapping through the charcoal bark to find food.  The wildlife is showing up now, on time, finding its way back to beckon me to return.   So I am showing up too.

Tweed News: I am totally and completely immersed in my tweed blending and spinning. Being my own micro mill is pretty much what excites me these days, and I feel I am making headway on my personal palette. More to come, very soon to post my next forthcoming, after it gets spun up.  But for now, I leave you with yet another Tweed Film I have found, as these old films so inspire me!

Spinning by a window …

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Spinning by a window  …
jenjoycedesign© spinning Wild Flaxlight flooding in to  unwind my shadowy worries.

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I cast my mind to a warm landscape of wild flax …

 hoping to find the colors of the flowers in the wool blend …

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I have been doing a lot of fiber blending,  and a little spinning too, which is for now easing me slowly back into creative mood.

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( and am so grateful to “L” for the gift of a beautiful Ashford Traditional spinning wheel!)

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In closing,  FEMA clean-up crews have been working rapidly in Napa & Sonoma counties since the wildfire of October, and by the end of December, maybe a clean slate for us? Impossible to forecast the rebuilding ahead,  for now I find the cozy window here my joy of the afternoon.

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Techy stuff  for my Wild Flax Blue …

  •  2 g each of primary colors (6g tot) , for a base of color-saturated neutral ,  see this post; blend thoroughly on blending board 3 times Total 6g.    Note: for a more dramatic tweed, with gobs of color splashing through, blend only once , then continue.
  • 6g cornflower blue, layer very thinly one color at a time, with neutral base. Tot 12g.
  • Lift batt, layered again with 2g each of white, light green, teal. Tot 18g.

( I was trying to get more blended base, with a ‘dusting’ of brilliant blue on the last blend…)

  • Lift batt, and layered again with 2g  of cornflower blue. Tot 20g.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • Colorway of blend “Wild Flax Blue”
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Artful

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There is a whole different gait about me in this holding place.

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Seeking out new photogenic sweet spots …

I look and look in this new place, and think there is nowhere artful …

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 Then the sun only needs to fall a little and the angles of glowing light reveal it to me …

There are the same warm light and shadow like old friends …

Coming to visit for the afternoon.

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Come friends, and sit at the table, and I will make tea in my new teapot. I am so glad you are not lost, but found again and again …

and every day.

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Oh, and the Autumn sweaters are finally finished. The sweaters were one of the few things I took with me when the fire came.  (( Thank you so very much Wendy for the buttons! ))  I hope to get them to my nieces soon, and experience their beautiful form & faces, and  those familiar places of Calistoga  … soon.