In the dappled sunlight . . .

A little film we shot after we photographed Solo Sweater Success last week at the castle. The film is a little rough around the edges, and a bit too dark, but my niece is completely natural, totally unpretentious, and of course, so artful. I guess just like our photo shoots usually are. Enjoy our first little film! In order of appearance, she models . . .

Sol Inca cardigan,  Sol Inca pullover,   Calidez vest,  Fisher Vest with Aria Stole.

frothy

A little frothy tasty treat, and so serene, this little Nantucket Looms weaving video popped up when I searched youtube for ‘ weaving on a flying shuttle floor loom ‘. Not that I’m going shopping for a floor loom anytime soon, but while I knit I find so very much pleasure and inspiration in watching short films about mills and weaving in general. The relationship between the fiber and the wood, loom creaking, swishing, clacking, sighing, wheezing into action. Any form of it, industrial or indigenous, slick linen or fuzzy mohair, I could watch for hours and forever the yards of warp inch forward, shifting on the heddles and the weft unwinding in the flying shuttles, interlocking in finality, growing and then winding up again, as purposeful useful thing… it just tickles a spot for me. I’m a dream weaver for sure.

Weaving for a Huipil

Mayan Hands – The Huipil in Danger

It has been a long while since I posted a weaving film, and about time I did. This is one I have been enjoying as I have been learning a little bit about the Mayan weaving and making of the women’s traditional blouse, the huipil. Just like the weavers in Peru which I have posted about a few times, these Mayan women weave on a backstrap loom, for the clothes which keep their ancestral roots alive, but in the modern age, there are concerns about losing this indigenous tradition of weaving, therefore their culture is threatened (read more about this: The Huipil in Danger) . Guatemalan Maya weaving, although on the same type of loom as the Peruvians, and the same simple loom as in many parts of the world, it is their elaborate brocade style that is so very distinctive and original. It is especially when I find these treasure nuggets of weaving films, that I just wish I had another whole lifetime to devote completely to weaving, in particular backstrap weaving ! I hope you enjoy this little weaving story as much as I do.

See all posts about weaving.

The Territory Ahead

I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write a post for weeks, as I’ve been really busy and distracted with things going on. Yes, of course, understandably, mostly now its raising Juno the puppy, but also working out of doors mowing wild grass, nervous as a rabbit in a race against the fire season, hoping to be prepared for the hot drying days ahead. Also I’ve been working on a new pattern that I started to write a couple of years ago when living in the tiny house, and then for some reason that I can’t remember, I put it down and did not follow through. In fact it has been very difficult for me to design anything in the last year, oppressed by worry, but now I feel lifted a bit, and able to focus on the intensive process required to write and knit several prototypes for a new pattern, all the while hunkering indoors being a puppy mommy for the remaining weeks of Spring, and all through the coming months of Summer. Relieved am I to have finally got an idea going again, and so I am putting my stashed yarns to work making samples, one after another, until one day in late summer, I hope to put it all together for Autumn. Until then, I will fill the time with stitches and puppy walks and my usual string of themed posts to entertain myself, wandering through research wormholes on Wikipedia, and of course anybody else who enjoys reading, watching, and listening to what I post, while I slowly but surely head to the finish. Ok! Revisiting of the sea, again,  a theme which continues to pull me out with the undertow, and I’ll not put up any resistance. . . how about I kick off with a sea shanty to get in the mood?

Oh, and I am calling attention to all knitters who regularly read this space who might want to take part in knitting this upcoming design with me in the secret test-knitting phase, all in good fun.  If you are feeling up to it, please message me over at Ravelry soon, and I’ll fill you in and you can decide if it is something you’re itching to knit. Thanks to all and I hope all are doing well, if not much better, on this flipside of a very dreary fifteen months which has been unbearable but is now nearly past. xx

Fish a little, croft a little, weave a yard or two (2)

I am revisiting a very personal ambition of blending signature colors from local landscape and spinning into yarn, as is always the genius of Harris Tweed, and it all began for me in this post a few years ago.  Soon my own color blending experiments were born, and became a literal obsession with me, and I created Tweed Chronicles on this blog. But also it is about my intrigue of the life of a weaver, particularly the tweed weavers of the the Hebrides, their tradition and industry that has held on through the test of time.   Whenever I find an old film about textiles, or mills, I am sure to post it here, and I do look often for the most wonderful ones, and it appears that I have dug one up out of the vast archives of the internet.  The film opens with the weavers working their fields, cutting peat, doing the work of island life, but soon gets in to some great footage of the Harris Tweed company making warp bundles to deliver out to the resident weavers of the island, then once in the hands of the weavers, warp is set up on their looms, weft shuttles loaded, and then the shuttles fly.  I love how when the cloth is finished, its left out on the roadside to be picked up by the Harris Tweed people.  I know you’ll love this little gem as much as I do!

two ripe mangoes

jenjoycedesign© jens mango chutney 2

My latest tasty concoction, just made, still warm ~~ mango chutney in a mini avocado!  In these pandemic days I am broadening my kitchen skills impressively and chutney has been on my list of things to learn to make for over a decade.   Now its done and I wish I never waited.

jenjoycedesign© jens mango chutney

My very simple small batch ripe mango chutney:

two ripe mangoes, one small onion, spices (I used cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, garam masala, chile flakes)  fresh garlic,   fresh ginger,  dried dates,  and coconut oil.

Peel mangoes and cut the fruit off of the pit into large chunks  (do enjoy chewing the lovely impossible-to-cut-off fruit from the pits before proceeding!)  In mortar & pestle crush the spices. Add a small chunk of fresh ginger sliced, 1 garlic clove, and a few dried medjool dates, cut up into pieces, mash all together, and set aside.

Cut onion into small chunks. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in medium saucepan or skillet, and saute onion. When nearly translucent, add mashed ingredients from mortar,  and saute a little bit in the onions and oil.  Add mango and stir until mango begins to break down. Add a little sugar, salt, and pepper to taste if you like.  As this is a very small batch, and made very quickly, canning is not necessary ~~ just enjoy!

Now you must see this seriously artful little film . . . it is what inspired me to go into my kitchen and make use of the two ripe mangoes!

Gifts From The Sun: part 6

As I’ve been researching Things Andean, particularly Peruvian, and can’t help but become most excited about the artful expressions of the high villages in and around Cusco, at the heart of Incas. I am opening my eyes, my ears, and my heart, indelibly imprinted by the culture cradled in the highlands of the Andes mountains, once so isolated, but now tentatively spreading its influence into the modern world.

In the Gifts From The Sun series, I am sharing my best finds with you,   and so another post in this series to fill out the anticipatory space while while I savor the finish work of three sweaters, then one last edit to the pattern. From here on I’ll be staying on topic with the upcoming Andean Thing, until soon  I’ll be done & dusted with this project that has been so long in-the-making.

In  closing, I am sharing some indigenous Andean music, which I’ve listened to incessantly for who knows how many days now, I’m not counting.   I think it is the alpacas, llamas & sheep and their spinning, knitting, weaving humans ~~ and their music ~~ that is the soul of the Andes!


All posts in series
Gifts From The Sun

Gifts From The Sun: part 5

Mario Testino, a renowned Peruvian fashion photographer, in his Alta Moda series seems to carry the theme of his native homeland into a remarkable modernized, carnival like image from his camera, depicting typical things men and women of the regions around Cusco do in the work of their days. It is everyday life to meet the herd in the early morning with a days worth of spinning to do, walking from pasture to pasture, walking while spinning, as quite possibly these women are doing . . .

13.Peru-Machu-Picchu-for-Women

I am excited and anticipating a nice long post-designing break after my forthcoming, to shake off stress from deadlines and the pandemic and just try to enjoy the remaining months of summer. I am hoping to practice walking and spinning in the technique as has been done for centuries in the Andes (sans herd).  But I need to make a little shopping list first, to get prepared.

First I thought I’d get started by finding a sensible wooden drop spindle like I use to have before the wildfire, similar to those used in the Andes, so I am considering either a very inexpensive unfinished Kromski spindle, or a basic sturdy Schacht spindle , both rugged wood that can withstand being dropped on the rocky soil time and time again . . .

A few months ago, when conceiving of the Gifts From The Sun series, I had gotten some Wool Of The Andes roving, which is Peruvian Highland wool. I am wondering now, that I might need or at least want just a few more of these beautiful colors, and Knit Picks has really got it going on!  Be forewarned, although the supplies they carry are exquisite and inexpensive, often they get low on supply and you simply must wait for them to replenish.

Now, as my Peruvian Wool Of The Andes roving and spindle will soon be on their way,  I will be readying to spin around the time my upcoming design is finished. Hoping by mid-August to be celebrating summer solstice belatedly, as well as finished and promoting my upcoming pattern, while studying the lessons from Nilda’s “Andean Spinning” below.  I actually bought the download about a year ago and posted about here , although never really committed myself to spindle spinning.   If anybody out there in the world reading this and wishes to do a little Andean technique in spinning along with me,  I really want to encourage the sale of Nilda’s dvd/books/work and there is no better source to purchase it than from the “Center Of Traditional Textiles of Cusco” …

Lastly, how could I close this post about Andean Spinning without including this little video of a Quechua speaking woman spinning out with her herd up in the high pastures of the Andes.

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”

Gifts From The Sun: part 4

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Coricancha in Cusco, Peru

The beautiful people of the sun. Colossally inventive farmers, phenomenal textile artists of weaving and knitting using the wool from their llamas, alpacas, and sheep, and dyed from plants in the colors of nature. Stone masons like this world has never seen! Musicians of the most enchanting melodies, wooden flutes and simple stringed instruments, is all a part of their legacy which is so intrinsic of their small but mighty culture. Living so high up in the Andes, they are indeed touched by the sun, able to harness the magnificent from a harsh landscape, the Inca thrive with abundance in a sacred place, with their downy woolly four-legged companions.

I have gotten going after a little break, back to my Andean inspired design, narrowing the field, racing to the finish, again researching, and sharing my good finds here. Please enjoy this little documentary on The Sacred Valley of the Incas…

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”.

Gifts From The Sun: part 3

In previous posts I’ve been going on about the camelids ~~ llamas, alpacas guanaco & vicuna of the ancient Inca empire ~~ but sheep are equally a part of herding, spinning, weaving, and living in the Andes of today.   I have been looking for videos of Andean women spinning while out on the grassy slopes with their herds, and I just tripped over this beautifully filmed very short little treasure!

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”

Gifts From The Sun: part 2

Second in a little series I am posting while learning more about textile industry and culture of the Inca ancestors who live in the high plains of the Andes, and who are still herding, spinning, weaving, dying, and knitting with the fibers of their beloved llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuna. 

In this modern BBC documentary one can clearly see the contrast between the micro scale of the traditional highland farming family with their small herds, living on very little income, and the modern sophisticated macro business of alpaca and wool industry in Peru, but where both micro & macro industries are shown to depend upon the other.  Another must-see documentary!

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”

Gifts From The Sun: part 1

The ancient Andean herdsmen interbred camelid ancestors to create an animal with endurance, dependability, intelligence and all around good nature ~~ it was the llama, the prize of the Inca Empire!  I am revisiting my interest in textile & culture of the people who live in the Andes mountains, where herders, spinners, weavers and knitters work their traditional crafts of livelihood today still.  In fact, I am posting a little series as I myself learn, and this one is a bit of a sleepy documentary from the early 90’s about the ancient relationship between the Andean people and their animals; the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuna, on which they seem completely dependent. It is  called “Treasure of the Andes” and I do hope you enjoy!

See all posts in series “Gifts From The Sun”.

A Mill Tour

The sun has moved into Libra  and it is Autumn!    After some sleuthing I have come up with yet another amazing virtual mill tour!  In it is superbly artful wool color blending,  wool sandwiches fed to the fear-not machine, old style mill spinning with a “mule”,  custom weaving into the cloth for a cloth designer, and finally, the cloth finishing.  It is absolutely loaded with all sorts of tweedy goodness ~~~ enjoy!

See all Mill Tours

Two years ago today . . .

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From The Archives:  The Color Of Seashells

Two years ago today I was having a magical summer of discovery of wool blending and of color mixing.  It was on this day,  between blending Seashells, and  spinning Seashells and my hands were full of fluffy ultra-fine merino fluff with streaks of silky shiny bamboo, and splashes of color, and I fell totally in love with color blending on the blending board in that month of September 2017.

I am now making a running start folks, to land this phoenix bird in flight to the very same heartful & mindful place as then,  as if it were a blink of two years that I have not just wasted mourning in upheaval, but I have developed inwardly from great depths.  In transition homeward I feel the grip of intention taking hold and whether I am waking from a dream (yes, it so feels that way) or just finally ready, I am feeling suddenly endowed with a plan. A real plan.  More on this in forthcoming posts!

I have been spinning in the last few weeks a big 500g project of color blending that is mostly wool that was given to me — top roving mostly — and up until now my biggest focus has been color mix. I am all about color these days, being more of a colorist than a spinner with any real talent, but I am feeling a shift going on. I crave to spin submissive fluffy air light rolags and it occurs to me that I need to now focus not only on color, but staple of wool (that is the length of the hairs) and on drafting the rolags in a fashion which allows light-as-air spinning.  To get my thought, please watch this lovely short video (with gorgeous violin) that Morrie (“Moz”) just sent to me after I was writing to her about woolen spinning, and fiber staple, and even fiber consistency  ((thank you Morrie, this was just the drink I needed!)) . . .

If you go visit the page of the video, in the notes the author Ruth MacGregor writes a little bit about woollen vs worsted spinning. Woollen spinning is the technique which is beckoning to me, and at the risk of seeming so fickle, I have a hankering to start another  blending project as soon as our building final has passed sometime in the weeks forthcoming, and really sink my teeth into this woolen spinning technique. I am committed to spinning up all my 500g of English Rose Tweed, although not ‘monogamously’ ~~ I am going to be off on a tangent at the same time. Many tangents perhaps.

Can any of you spinning talents out there suggest your opinion of the perfect breed of sheep for traditional woollen technique of spinning?

One of the things I have wanted to do for a long time, probably starting since that Autumn in the wake of the wildfire,  when I was spinning up a storm and developing a tribute color range in the colors of my mountain — such like Manzanita Blossom, and  Madrone, and Red Clover , and  Moss ,  to create a personal  palette of colors and post the recipes.  I guess when we moved to the tiny house their was no room for spinning and it all got packed in boxes, but now I fully intend to work on that project.

So, here forthcoming, more colors from the mountain, but simultaneously developed with technique of woolen spinning, learning about those particular properties . . . staple and all of that completely obsessive woolly stuff.  I’ll probably be posting in a mad frenzy now, so brace yourself, I fear my blog has caught fire.

newness & oldness

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 2

Spinning in a room that feels old and familiar,

yet is barely even new.

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 1

The rest of the house is in building chaos & still no doors,  but I’ve got the skeleton of my Loft room in place,  filled with old furniture.  I have everything I think I could possibly need, as I have been collecting the essential now for nearly two years, and some unessential as well. I am exhausted of shopping,  I want to be doing now.

I have struggled with the place of things in this room,  but now I think I have arrived at a floor plan that works, although a bit on the cozy side. I am so intrigued with clean surfaces lately, with everything in its proper drawer or cabinet, so the bookcase of three shelves is potentially problematic and some day I plan on downsizing as it for its too large for my little library,  dangerously inviting clutter, and therefore indecision into the room.   jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 6

I have been indecisive and feeling strangely familiar with everything, yet at the same time I feel an awkward discord just not being use to anything.  I hope that odd feeling goes away in time as I begin to work at things, because now all tools of the trade are ready.  I am waiting for the waves of inspiration to carry me away!

So far only spinning for a project.

I am committed to these fluffy beautiful swirls of wool and getting themt spun at a casual pace in the weeks ahead,

and committed to getting to know this room of newness & oldness.

the waning summer

As the summer season wanes into its last weeks, I am feeling nostalgic.  It is probably just the the full moon passing, but the next time it comes around it will be the Harvest Moon, with the equinox very near. (The grape harvest has already tentatively begun here in the Napa Valley, for the sparkling wines.) In my nostalgia I thought I’d share a blissful little watch I found, decades old, about the natural habitat and crofting life in the beautiful windswept Outer Hebrides, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

March Into Spring

jenjoycedesign© March Into Spring KAL.JPG

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 . . .

Aria With Variations: the pattern.

jenjoycedesign© Abelene & Aria 2.JPG

Hi everyone, its me Abelene.    Jen has veiled me in her new lace that she’s been hinting about for weeks in her series of  veils & variations.

jenjoycedesign© Aria detail.JPG

The lace feels so lovely, so fine, I think I feel like what it must be like to be a bride, or a Shetlander, or an Estonian knitter, modeling as best as I can in the tiny house.

jenjoycedesign© Abelene & stoles.JPG

About time she’s finished, because she is so exhausted of drawing and redrawing charts, doing math and wrestling mistakes, so she let me handle posting about the pattern.

jenjoycedesign© Aria & Variation 1 -10

Did you know that Jen’s UnSpun is the reason she  felt compelled to write this pattern? She had just an overwhelming urge to make some really fine lace yarn after watching this video ,  and worked like an ox to get a bunch of really fine lace-weight out to some friends before the pattern was ready.   The UnSpun yarn is beginning to show up now around the far corners of the world and Jen feels its time to finish up and get the lace knitting going!

jenjoycedesign© Variation 1 -4.JPG

Oh but did you notice the diamond motifs showing up in a couple of the videos in her series of veils & variations Goldberg Variations?  Jen tells me this was by pure chance and unplanned,  yet something makes her think that the diamonds must be a subliminal Bach Thing.

so here are those favorite Goldberg Variations highlights !


The pattern actually is three styles; a stole, a square hap shawl, and a cowl, all and each in four sizes!  You can see more information if you go see the pattern which is live now on Ravelry  HERE. Jen would really love it if you would join in on her pattern give-away in the spirit of Valentines, so I’m suppose to mention her post on her group over here , which is running just for a very short time, so that folks can get yarn and cast on for Valentines day!  I hope everyone is in a lace-knitting mood!

Last but not least, Jen is wildly looking forward to photographing youngest niece Miss Sixteen modeling Aria & Variations this weekend at the castle, which will make the pattern a real hit!

Ta ta,
Abelene

Aria mit verschiedenen Veränderungen

The Goldberg Variations are a work written for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, the work is one of the most important examples of variation form.

I imagine the Goldberg Variations have been performed a million times since Bach wrote it, and on every conceivable instrument.   I am a big fan of JS Bach’s music, and I’ve done a lot of  listening to YouTube recordings of this work while knitting my lace interpretation for it, but of all the performers of the Goldberg Variations,  I can’t help but consider Glen Gould possibly the most iconic.  This performance was filmed 55 years ago, and still it rocks!  (If you can’t spare 12 minutes to listen to the whole video, at least fast forward to 10:30 and listen to Glen’s commentary ) . . .  I love Glen Gould humming and enjoying himself with measured rapture during recording!

Next post I will ‘unveil’ what has been a work in progress for weeks upon weeks. I have been enjoying myself immensely for those weeks while knitting a couple samples of lace, and yet , I’m one lace piece short.  I  really want this the pattern to be submitted to Ravelry before the Valentines holiday, but fell sorrowfully behind, so the ‘missing’ lace variation will be cast on to my needles the moment this is posted.  I will take a deep breath and see you on the flip side with my new pattern very very soon!

Unspun: Midnight Heather

I am taking a break from lace knitting and writing about a short series of Unspun projects made custom skeins for a few friends who are being so kind to test-knit my present lace design in progress, and otherwise helping me through a rather wobbly time.   A few days to make a few nice fat skeins of  Unspun fine lace-weight yarn to send off and hoping doing so will temper my erratic mood with a focus of gratitude.  Gratitude cures all. So that’s me, now,  getting ready to lose myself deconstructing yards upon yards, unwinding and splicing and winding again.  The yarn has just arrived, and I will be the mistress of Unspun for a few days!

jenjoycedesign© unspun for friends project 1

Unspun #1:  Deconstructed by hand using this method  from   Wool Of The Andes Sport    in the color of Midnight Heather . This Peruvian Highland yarn is made from the fleeces of corriedale/merino cross sheep, and the fine spinning of the four plies are just coarse enough to be strong to withstand deconstruction, and once it is set into singles, the loft from the fine texture of a bit of merino will be wonderful.  Knit Picks describes the color…

Midnight Heather is an intense dark blue color with black undertones. Reminiscent of the dark night sky, Midnight Heather intrigues us with the flecks of blues and blue greens that add visual interest to this usually rich color.

jenjoycedesign© unspun for friends project 1 (2)

A ball of sport weight ready to separate plies using a drop spindle!

All of this ultra fine yarn I am undertaking makes me think of the weathered & windswept  Shetland Isles where fine lace knitting became world renown. It is my keenest passion at present to explore creating yarn that can be knit into such similar fine lace, and in a colossal palette of colors.    I will leave you with the short film that was my first inspiration,  and which began my quirky obsession making Unspun over two years ago .

Next, I’ll post the finished skeins!

But until then enjoy Shetland Fine Lace, and remember …

”    Its only Knitting !   “

Inside of diamonds.

Its the end of January,  and that means the coldest barest month of the winter is over.  But I’ll take a thousand Januaries, for the rain and cold means the watershed is potent on the mountain, promising a verdant landscape in spring and water trickling through into the heat of summer, pushed down and flowing somewhere deep beneath the forest.  The days are warming up a little, and in a week the fields will be solid yellow with mustard flowers, which are already beginning to bloom!

I am in need of a break, feeling quite assaulted with lace knitting & difficult chart writing, but in the nick of time I’ve recalled the quote from Elizabeth Zimmerman,  and remembered it being a revelation a few years ago in  in this post .   To me this quote of EZ’s is a diamond jewel for staying out of the mindset of crazy perfectionist thinking, reminds me there are no knitting police,  and even though my lace may sometimes be riddled with mistakes,  I can surely hope from my forthcoming pattern, yours will be a flawless veil of heirloom-worthy stitches that you can be proud of,   for that is my first desire,  truly.

In closing, I hope you enjoy this incredibly masterful, energetic, and artful performance film of Mahan Esfahani and his harpsichord.  I’ve got a few more Variations queued up for you, so as long as you don’t mind listening, I don’t mind posting them, until at some point there will be a logical destination for all of them.

variations in veils

An beautiful ethereal performance among gossamer veils,

by the Zilliacus Persson Raitenen String Trio.

( see all posts Veils & Variations )

* * *

Meanwhile, I have got a second stole underway with the single ply lace weight …

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made from my yarn tasting of  Simply Wool .  In fact, I am so utterly smitten with Unspun that I can’t help myself wondering how far out I might go.  I’ll ponder the thought as I take my stole knitting out for a trail walk!

Aria 2

Pacing myself through days strung end to end of insane lace knitting, and my perspective of life has gone into a bit of another dimension. I am at least enjoying discovering unusual variations of “The Variations”, and here posting this true find as another in my secret veils series. I hope you enjoy this sultry evocative performance by Lore Hillenhinrichs and Martina Weber.

In the golden rolling hills of California.

Photo from the archives:  Fields of Gold

I was listening to an eerily beautiful song “Redtail Hawk”  the other day, and remembering fondly my walks and wildlife before the wildfire. There was a pair of redtail hawks I use to see, often times I would go up the ridge, and sometimes one or both of them would fly right over me, as if to say ” hello! ” as they decended down into the grassy rocky meadow in the photo. It was in fact,  in those tall fir trees at the left in the photo,  where they would almost always land.  Perhaps in those trees was their nest, or at least a perching place to survey, and I hate to say but those particular trees did not survive the wildfire.

I should mention that the redtail hawk is as much a part of the golden fields of California as the grass itself,  because of their main diet, the bounty of field rodents which live in and among the swaying grasses. I haven’t seen this pair of hawks nor heard their wavering lonesome screech since moving back up on the mountain into our Tiny House in May,  but I am hopeful they will return, maybe they already have.  If you are interested in these things, you can listen to the Redtail Hawk’s cry,  but I’ll close by sharing with you the song, I hope you enjoy.  Oh, and very soon all this golden grassy genius of the place will come together in a new design I can’t wait to show you, so stay tuned!

Redtail Hawk –  Kate Wolf

The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky
There’s music in the waters flowing by
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs
In the golden rolling hills of California
It’s been so long love since you said goodbye
My cabin’s been as lonesome as a cry
There’s comfort in the clouds drifting by
In the golden rolling hills of California
A neighbor came today to lend a hand
As I fixed the road as best as I can
It’s just something that needs another’s hand
In the golden rolling hills of California
In the golden rolling hills of California
The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky
There’s music in the waters flowing by
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs
In the golden rolling hills of California
In the golden rolling hills of California

See posts about Golden Fields pattern HERE.

Sweater Mania

jenjoycedesign© pile of sweaters.JPG

A pile of sweaters; two finished and one not quite.    Another is not in the photo for it is only half finished, and in a bag somewhere up in the tiny attic, and another still was knit almost to finish and then ripped out. These three represent a lot of knitting through recent months;  through weeks of dusty loud logging, of waiting frustratingly for building permit to be issued, through scorching heat waves, some cool summer fog waves, and through Autumn equinox.  Now the rain has come, and construction of house has begun. It is perfect timing for these sweaters to be finished and have their debut.

A sweater debut?   Yes!  In a couple of days I will be visiting with my youngest niece who is soon having a birthday and turning sixteen ( so will be Miss Sixteen for a year) and she’ll model the brown sweater and then there will be a pattern release of a design I have been working on for a long time.  The Autumn photo shoot with both of them must wait until the November holiday this year, when Miss Eighteen comes home from college.

At first the design was going to be a set-in sleeve invention,  then I couldn’t manage through the stress of things going on, so I changed my mind, promptly ripped it out, and started over with more classic style I realize that can not live without, so it became what it really wanted to be.

I will leave you in your anticipation of the forthcoming while enjoying my latest find of video mill tours, this one has given me hours of enjoyment as I knit frantically one more sweater for niece’s birthday. It rather has a calming effect while starting out a bit sleepy, but the excellent jazz music accompanies about a minute into the narration …

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!

A Rustic Yarn

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

Image result for old primitive painting of sheep

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

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

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

Un Chullo

jenjoycedesign© D's chullo 1

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

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

jenjoycedesign© eyebrow comb

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

jenjoycedesign© D's chullo 3

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

 

The Textiles of Cusco 2

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

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

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


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

Read more about Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez…

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

The Textiles of Cusco

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

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

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

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

(not so) Grey Days

jenjoycedesign© Oakville-grocery2

Knitting while enjoying some amazing coffee, at the Oakville Grocery , once a very small-town grocery just a blink along Highway 29,  and now a roaring tourist stop with coffee bar & deli for those on their way upvalley.   For me it is just off the Oakville Grade, when I come down off the mountain, one of my ‘going out’ places,  and usually by myself.   Lots of being by myself lately, as my days are in limbo and I prefer to sit alone on one of the outside tables like this to knit and ponder with yarn and a coffee connoisseur’s cuppa.

Oh, but about the knitting.   I am in the midst of knitting a pile of prototypes, some made with Isager Tweed (previously posted in yarn tasting) , and some with other wonderful tweedy yarns, and I can only hope that I will surface with some evidence soon, nearer to the point when my pattern is ready.  I am in no rush and presently can not set a lot of expectations upon myself.  I am a snail in the race against nothing.

jenjoycedesign© tweed socks

tweed sock

I just felt like checking in, and  mention that it’s been like spring around here, and while I am under the impression that it is   suppose to be winter,   these oppressive blue skies and warm afternoons since late January are rather frightful.   I only  want nourishing rain  and dark grey skies.

Bring it on rain clouds …

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Most of you know that I have a deep intrigue in films about old mills, and traditions of textile crafts, and especially traditions of weaving.  Here is one I found that shows traditional Korean Ramie weaving.  It seems so like linen but processed completely different. I am so in awe of the older more simplistic methods. It seems the more simple, the more elegant the cloth …