Knitting on a bridge…

jenjoycedesign© knitting on a bridge!

Jeff has built a bridge from logs he salvaged from the loggers’ waste, and he hoisted them cross across the small gully which heads over to the garden in now what I am calling “the path of least resistance” with planks nailed to the top from old boards, it is an excellent & rustic installment to the woods and I am super pleased with it!    I helped only minimally, as I did the original “wedding bridge” which was burned in the wildfire.  A new bridge & my sooty knitting trail has of this morning been improved inexpressibly for the better!  Emma inspected & approved…

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There eventually will be builders at work making their presence felt in my quiet seclusion, and this lovely little bridge continues me my private trail out to the garden without having to walk up the road  to the house where the chaos will be going on, and down to the garden from there.  Planning ahead brilliantly!  A short-cut to the garden, a bridge to bliss, a bridge across difficult terrain, so metaphorical.  The garden is life, and inspires me in its quiet little way with bees bobbing about, fluttering butterflies, and small little birds bathing in various bowls and cups sitting about, as well as a fat wild dove flocks bombing about on occasion… tall seedy foxgloves still standing through the perpetual heat.  I chase away the drought with my series of old-timey sprinklers, sitting beside them in the mist as I soak in the moist air and knit. It is a very rustic & secluded spot of calm, where one is really fairly hidden away.

I am trying to settle into a productive life of a busy recluse, and I have been thinking about  things. Post trauma disorder has changed things a bit.  I will very likely never get over that day of wildfire, for at that time forward  is etched into the rhythm of how I experience life, and its injury as much a part of me now as anything could be.  That blink of time when I hurriedly drove off in my car with Emma,  my mandolin, recordings of my music compositions, a small box of photos, and a few clothes, my computer, and a tote full of my needles & favorite yarns to keep me busy in the days following — while instantly regretting other things which I forgot, so much from my life.  Those things which seemed to define me were suddenly gone, especially those rooms, spaces which were integral to my happiness.

But let me tell you how I’ve been thinking about things,  about feeling glad and comfortable with realizing that the only real thing I can ever own, and the only thing which defines me,  are my accomplishments. So that is why I strive to live the busy life of a hermit in newly built hermitage, and the rooms will be far less cluttered and intriguingly sparse, so that I can build on my accomplishments.  My family, and short list of close friends will allow me this reclusive life.     I would like to add that I appreciate all of my pen friends from around the globe with whom I have kept company and shared my days in a more secluded way, I am ever so immensely grateful to my knitting fraternity!

♥  ♥  ♥

dsc_0560-e1534339425631.jpg

blue things

jenjoycedesign© cappuccino and knitting
In the last weeks I’ve been  frequently knitting at the Oakville Grocery cafe to quell life’s blues.  Just a quiet little deli & espresso place on the highway with vineyard views in all directions,  and with picnic benches in the back where I can bathe in the morning winter sun while making progress toward the  finish of a new pattern.  And Emma and I are getting out a little bit for (mostly short) walks on the ridge.

Although it appears the walk up the ridge has lost it’s charm completely, I am trying to embrace it, hoping for better days ahead and the mysterious healing power of Spring.  Other blues:  An intensely blue sky over Oakville on Sunday.  A blue balloon descended from the sky, tangled in the woods,  omen-like.   My blue knitting bag hung on a burned branch while walking up the ridge.  Need I mention the blue knitting with cappuccino?   I would like to see some blue wildflowers soon. Oh but hey, the vernal equinox is only a week away!

Foot Steps

jenjoycedesign©024.JPG

Mid day sun streams through the canopy, and I am feeling the presence of vernal influences…

jenjoycedesign©022.JPG

The blissful places I have been missing for a while beckon to me…

jenjoycedesign©020.JPG

All winter we have had pelting rain storms one after another, and Northern California is officially declared over the drought while reservoir spillways gush furiously!

jenjoycedesign©021.JPG

Something about the approach of the equinox softens nature to a sweetness indescribable…

jenjoycedesign018

So I will leave off and show you the latest I’ve made,

a pair of trail socks!

jenjoycedesign004

 …with my recent discovery of the snugger heel stitch foot, these socks are now ready for adventure!

jenjoycedesign008

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn, in Merlot Heather and Navy

Pattern:  Wild Wool Trail Socks  , with recent update option of colossally snug heel stitch foot section, my pattern is now completely ‘dialed in’.

Project Details: on Ravelry HERE.

jenjoycedesign©012.JPG

Fields of Gold

oct-2-2016

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

trail.JPG

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

John Muir High Country and Wild Wool (Part One)

I so admire the man who found personal transformation and a sense of home deep in the wilderness of the High Sierra Nevada mountains, and fought to bring his experience of the territory into the lives of the general masses … Continue reading

Ridges . . .

jenjoycedesign©001

I have managed in an all-out flurry to design & knit these Ridges mitts!

jenjoycedesign©Ridges Mitts

An addition to Altitude Ridges Cowl, Ridges Mitts are pretty monumental in that they set precedent for additional hand accessories for two remaining of All Three Cowls.

jenjoycedesign©Ridges Mitts & Cowl(3)

These cowls & mitts are designs I am really working hard to put together in time for holiday knitting ~~ so feel free to check out the pattern on Yarnings HERE or on Ravelry HERE.

So now I’ll leave you with lots of photos from our hike up to the peak this morning. This photo taken from my latest secret rock outcropping near the peak,  facing northerly and  overlooking from the ridge in the direction of middle Napa Valley (around Yountville & Oakville)

jenjoycedesign©view from pinnacle

On the way down from the peak,  this panorama overlooking southerly at distant San Francisco Bay Area (left of center) and Mt. Tamalpais (right of center) . . . and if you look closely. . .

jenjoycedesign©ridges San Francisco Bay & Mt Tamalpais

you’ll see buildings rising up through fog,  behind the distorted mirage-like zoom view over the bay and marsh land , and you can see the city of San Francisco itself  which is about 50 miles away by crow.

jenjoycedesign©little town of San Francisco

Beyond that, Autumn is picking up it’s pace here, and getting the first real blustery cold day for the mountain. Emma and I have been walking a lot more mornings in the week to the peak, and enjoying ourselves thoroughly.

jenjoycedesign©morning on top of ridge jenjoycedesign©Emma's stick2 jenjoycedesign©Emma and ridges

Oh , I forgot to mention, the first photo at the top of post right at the start of hike,  looking South East in the direction of Mt. Diablo (the double-crested mountains)  Of course, the purpose of this morning’s  photo-hike was to capture my local ridges to accompany latest pattern ~ Altitude Ridges Mitts !

In a row . . .

jenjoycedesign©hooksTarnished brass hooks on an old oak barrel stave, an artifact from attic, something my mother bought decades ago, and I remember it even then. Now, cut down to fit a new space, and hung again, the row of hooks hold felted wool nests of yarn & needles hanging with purpose midway fulfilled, rounds unfinished, in perpetual knitting motion on the trails which I walk, we walk, Emma and I.

One foot and one paw, in front of the other, we advance over the chaotic forest floor in unison, attempting to find a familiar path to stake. A knitting trail to rake aside the stones and the fallen branches from wind storms, to walk mornings and evenings, while knitting and smelling the wildlife’s potent presence, we go forth. These felted bags seem happy and purposeful, each of them filled with a different knitting project, they wait their turn as well-loved servants.

jenjoycedesign©bags

As the summer wanes, the air brings quiet subtle twinges of Autumn, and my skin nearly feels the rain that will come two months from now.  Autumn is knit-walking season for me, when the forest has an aroma of spice the trails beckon us and knitting explodes into form. I am happy to say that I am finally getting to the hard work of the long-talked-about Knitting Trail.  Glimpses here and there, and everywhere  will be seen as the days shorten and the walks lengthen, and these bags hold secrets one day to be revealed, as will  sections of trail with the rustic forested sitting spots, glimpses to be shared here for you to gather and sit with me.

jenjoycedesign©knitting-bags

Here & now, in the stale weeks left of summer, I try to maintain a sense of productivity.  I can nearly count the days until the Autumnal Equinox, as it always becomes a very longed-for event in my life, when I am once again as a giddy child. Six weeks and four days . . .

. . .and counting !

Landscape With Pullover

jenjoycedesign©dryingHi folks. Now nearly two o’clock in the sun-drenched afternoon, and from where I am overlooks a very uneventful and washed-out, but beautiful blue sky, and heat-soaked deck plants, but most importantly a preview of ….(oh the ecstasy of finishing)… a pullover !!!  This very basic pullover represents about three week’s worth of near constant  pattern writing & testing with actual yarn, and now she dries in the sun after being washed . . .
jenjoycedesign©landscape-with-sweaterA landscape with knitting indeed, so excuse me now, but I must head on up with Emma for that ridge you see upwardly rising in the photo, we’ve been spending far too much time hung up with finish work today of reknitting necklines, and weaving in ends and grafting underarm stitches.  Gotta get ourselves hoofin’ .

(( Forthcoming~~ a dazzling finish photo and new pattern! ))

Gone Wild

jenjoycedesign©peak

At the peak

It has been a lovely morning up here on the mountain. Fog at sunrise, cool, crisp, breathing freshness into an otherwise stagnant stillness of our drying Northern California landscape. I feel as if my life has evolved into a new level of wild, as the days are punctuated mostly by the wildlife, or occasional trips into town, and the coming and going of ‘the man’.  Summer brings chickadees and hornets and straggling tough kinds of wildflowers, but mostly a platinum landscape of dry grasses, and oppressive stickery burrs along the trails which are a true pain to have to endure picking off of one’s self, and one’s dog’s fur. No wonder we have been lazy lately.

The dog and I decided to adventure up & out this morning, and so after weeks upon weeks of very little walking, we made it to the top.  Once near the top on the sharp and narrow knife-edge, the actual geological ridge cresting at a width of barely six feet wide in sections, and  covered in young knobcone pines, makes a lovely path to follow….

jenjoycedesign©geographical-ridgeA cliff drop to the east is Napa Valley, and a rolling descent to the west is Sonoma Valley, and from up here one can nearly feel the mountain’s spirit, as if the rock is slowly cutting through centimeter by centimeter, not stagnant but alive, with an energy about it which is luring, beckoning one to get the reward of being at the top. It is a special place the peak, at 2600 feet, and it really is almost less than a half-hour walk from our house if we hoof it, so we vowed to each other to get our lazy selves up there a lot more than we have, Emma and me.

Back at home, deliciously overcast clouds, and a breeze kicking up. While Emma continues her napping, I’m at the drawing board again on a new design, its endless calculations, and with delicious cup of coffee.

jenjoycedesign©pattern-writing

I’ll leave you with a little slideshow of nice shots from our walk, and wish you all well until next time…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Storm On The Way

jenjoycedesign©manzanita in bloom

Emma and I were out for our morning walk but it was different today, it was deliciously foggy.   To end a seven-week-long warm dry spell of this winter so far, we are due to get hammered with a big storm tonight.  A storm which is absolutely longed for … so I figured we’d go out and take some photos in the drizzling fog and cooling air.  On the way up the ridge there was a pleasant surprise ~~ all the manzanita is peaking in blossom !

008

One of the attractions of this time of year in Northern California mountains is the precious heart-shaped and very fragrant blossoming Arctostaphylos, or as we know it, manzanita. There are mainly two indigenous species which thrive side-by-side up on this mountain, and the most distinct difference is seen this time of year, when they blossom. One has pink blossoms, and the other white …

014

016

Otherwise their form is very similar, but their leaves are also quite distinctive also. I just love to bury my face into a cluster of these sweet blossoms and inhale their fragrance. . .

013

At the top of the ridge, Emma sniffed and I knitted as we meandered along the knife-edge where to the north-east is Napa Valley, and to the south-west is Sonoma Valley.  Just sniffing and knitting our way along.

042 024

026

And then finally we reach the summit, and breathe in the cloud .

030 035

We’re out a lot these days hiking & knitting, so we won’t mind staying indoors while enjoying the lashing rain forecast for the next few days.  I’ll be posting more as the tail end of winter bursts into action in the next weeks, on the mountain and on my needles!

offerings

jenjoycedesign©offering basket
A give-away of another sort.  It is now the end of a knitting project and I a ritual of mine is to go around the house and pick up yarn littered about the floor, as there always is quite a lot, and it seems to just float about and mix in with dog hair . . .

jenjoycedesign©yarn bits

It is entirely too wasteful to throw away the little piles of wool.

009

So I lately I’ve been thinking of ways to make use of these snippings of yarns, and can’t think of anything better than to entice the woodland birds of the forest to making use, perhaps to line their nests.

jenjoycedesign©offering

Times before I would scatter yarn trimmings on the ground, or leave in a basket hung from a handle off the brand of a tree, both cases there was very little taken of the scraps.  Determined, this time I have chosen a more open basket (one that I made a while back actually) and just placed it snugly in the crotch of a dead tree.

jenjoycedesign©yarn scraps

There’s something just so magical living in the woods and in and amongst the wildlife, I am hopeful this time my offerings will be snatched up and line the nests of the woodland birds ~ of robins, woodpeckers, ravens, jays, junkos, chickadees.  If I ever spot evidence of the yarn scraps being used by the wildlife I’ll be sure to tell you about it !

image

Taking It In

002 (3)I’ve been knitting an insane amount lately.  This is a big part of my life, who I am slowly becoming, and I love how I’m involved in it.  Just now I was feverishly working a swatch for a new idea,  and I looked out the window to my beloved mist pouring over the ridge from the Pacific, and remembered that I promised myself to disengage after my last pattern (Penny Candy Winter)… to calm down and enjoy what is left of Autumn, and walk in it every single day. Well, today was one of those rare days I didn’t .  Up here in the California Highlands we’re getting rain, oh yes…

California Highlands… and now two months into Autumn in the mountains and we’re saturated in the mist and rain and the moss is vibrant and I am happy. So happy!  One month left of delicious Autumn to wander and watch the turning of the trees.

My Autumn project is to overhaul a few of my earlier patterns and so I feel at a restless in-between place presently. I’m finished with the last pattern overhaul & update of Dicey Highland Hats,  and now have a pause before starting the next big thing. I’m trying to be a good person and cook a nice quiche for dinner, while doing chores, and at the same time I just want to knit ! Knit!! Knit!!! But I must force myself to stop knitting, to quiet my mind and my racing ideas, and to look around me, because I find that the creative source does need to be rested and nurtured equally as much as it needs to be exercised and developed. Answers come in the void spaces most often, let the mist into the mind to obscure the sharpness, and to let my thoughts have a good rest.

029

Knitting In Nature

019It rained again, and the moss is glowing !

We’ve continued our walks nearly everyday this Autumn.

020

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

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

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

Presently knitting the sweater for this hat , in the colorway ‘moss on oak’…jenjoycedesign©green&grey

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

Walking in Autumn

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

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

001

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

003

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

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

007

 And then….

008

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

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

009

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

011Then I knew where we were exactly and that there’d be close by the old dilapidated bench from one of the abandoned old shacks nearby….

012

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

016

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

020

Have you been out on any walks this Autumn yet?

Each Day In Autumn

jenjoycedesign©vineyard after harvest

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

jenjoycedesign©fungus

jenjoycedesign©fungus in woods

On through hilly & hollow lands we walk….

jenjoycedesign©Wandering

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

jenjoycedesign©wandering3

036

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

jenjoycedesign©almost home

First Morning of Autumn

015

knitting at the peak

I know two posts in one day. Its just that I wanted to share with you all my first walk of Autumn.  We were out in the early hourse on this first morning of Autumn, knitting while hiking about the woods a bit, then hauling on up the ridge to the peak of the mountain (at 2600′ elevation.) There were beautiful views of the distant ridges along the way up.  Mt. Diablo in the distance, rather southerly (to the right behind the trees)…
009Then higher up, looking more westerly, a grand shot of Mt. Tamalpais,  named by the indigenous Native Americans meaning “Sleeping Princess” (did you know Mt Tam is where mountain-biking was invented?) …
011Then at the peak, overlooking Napa Valley, easterly, and the sun was already high …
019We went down our favorite well-trodden paths on the way home…
026and our favorite short-cut deer trails…

028

035Then across the last oak wooded section before landing back home. It was a glorious walk this morning, and I have made progress on a little knitting too !

036

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

What are you up to?

Hey… it’s raining !

006Emma and I spent a few moments greeting the first wet morning of the season.

(it really is wet … just look at it !!!)

 The damp forest drinks in and the dust is washed off,

while whispering drops patter their way down from the trees to the ground.
011
Then a brief break, and the fog pours in over the ridge from the ocean out west…
021

Now as I’m uploading these photos to post, the rain is coming down again, off and on big fat drops on the roof…a sound that is pure poetry to the parched dry landscape of Northern California.  I’ve been posting a lot lately and I must say, it feels good after what seemed a long summer of practically nothing to comment about, bearing down and surviving the summer.  I really am thirsting for a good old-fashioned rainy Autumn, with lots of cooking & baking and squirreling away of knitted things for the holidays ahead.  It just doesn’t get any better than that. Well, lets hope the rain holds out !

Camp Socks

jenjoycedesign©camp knitting
Its already been almost three weeks since we were at 9000 ft elevation and I was knitting-in-the-wild beneath a lovely brewing storm on a huge granite rock. I had so thoroughly enjoyed the quick packing trek to Granite Lake, the sitting cross-legged on the granite in complete stitching meditation, one with the darkening sky and gathering storm, the quiet of everything before the outbreak, even the fish hunkering down.  Yet I remember yet distinct intermittent sounds ~~  the wind whipping the tent about and water boiling to make trail coffee. And it just doesn’t get any better than that ( High Sierra trip posted here ).

So here my friends, are another pair of Penny Candy Socks. Just a simple, wild & maybe even frivolous (and very blue) pair of socks, made on that High Sierra excursion but I hadn’t gotten around to washing & blocking them until just now.

jenjoycedesign©camp socks finished !

jenjoycedesign©finished camp socks

And they are added to the slowly growing pile of knitted socks designated for xmas gifts….

jenjoycedesign©pile of socks

Gad… already LESS than only five months away!   Horror of the crafting gift-maker-and-giver is that xmas appears in a blink after sweltering heat of summer, when one couldn’t feel further away from the winter solstice and gift-giving frenzy. But I’m wise now, at my age, I’ve learned, and I am already stashing knitted gifts…

jenjoycedesign©box of sox

 *  *  *

I’ve already gotten about 12″ into one of two Autumn Sweaters 2014 , but no hints on that yet (top top secret!) .  In contrast to tiny stitches of fingering & fine fingering yarn for socks, gloves, hats….  I am knitting rounds and rounds of worsted-weight, and how refreshingly speedy I’m turning out the rounds for a change!

In the next few days my nieces will be visiting up here in the Hermitage again, for a visit in their last week of summer vacation, so we’ll be up to baking in the kitchen, in addition to just generally “chil-laxing” as they put it,  and not without their ECD’s ((electronic devices of choice ))~~ but no doubt the visit will be  punctuated with famously artistic and fun photo-shoot after digging through my cedar trunk now becoming quite full of knitteds.  Looking forward to that,  and we’ll see you on the flipside of the riotous occasion!

Note:  Oh! The hand-made wooden Shaker-style box, if not authentic Shaker box, was found last week at my favorite thrift shop for $4 ~ a bargain !  It is now a lovely knitting notions box & photo prop as well, and I’m super pleased with myself for finding it.

Back From The High Sierra.

038

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….

012
065

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 as our home for a few days?
061

Something about the fragile alpine flowers …
042
and gnarled trees.
040

fast and furious rain storms …

047
The granite everywhere and deep crystal clear blue lakes …

Granite Lake

wide horizon of jagged ridges and expressive skies.

041

A storm is brewing!
044053

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

022

sending us for cover in our cozy tent to wait it out.
018

Granite Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness was just what I craved.  Bundled up quite puffy  in down and wool layers, knitting in the cold & windy pause between storms …

032

Abandoned my knitting to go fire up the camp stove and make hot coffee!
029
Jeff got to fish a couple of times, though he didn’t get even one bite, too stormy.

025
027

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

034

033

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 !

057
052

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

059

We were so lucky to have Granite Lake all to ourselves, 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.

With only a little over 3 hour drive, we can be in the High Sierra, fishing & knitting at a granite bowl. It just doesn’t get any better than that ! Off we go back home, but we’ll be back . . .
064

Off to the Sierras !

IMG_0046

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.
IMG_0065

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 . . .

IMG_0083

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 . . .
Trinity's 1990 Jennifer Lake Ana

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.

Its Only Knitting

I’ve been busy as a bee working away on my designs, coming up with new ones and further test-knitting my existing ones.  Add now tutorials.  I have gotten to the point in the whole knitting Thing where I really don’t have time or energy to put into anything which is not my own design.  I really can’t regret this , because whether or not I endeavor to write the design into a pattern, I’ve just come to face the fact that I have to make up for lost time.  I’ve embraced Indie Design, and am committed to wear ‘all of the hats’ in the job, and I’m ready for a lot of hard work ahead. The more I tell myself this the more I want to work like an ox towards succeeding. However, the elusive truth often escapes me, and that is ” Its only knitting. ”   A quote of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s used by over-zealous knitters everywhere.  Although it is ‘only knitting’ ,  I am practically ‘only knitting’. I have little chalkboards I’ve made which I’ve placed in prominent places of my work space ,  with lists or sage messages to give me perspective, and I use them to keep my focus clear wherever I turn.  Today’s brilliant message . . .

jenjoycedesign©its-only-knitting

A True Robin’s Egg Blue

jenjoycedesign©robin's egg
I just picked this up from the duff of the forest floor. I nearly stepped on it while knitting along my woods path. In the woods we have a lot of robins , year round, so occasionally one finds a little shell cast aside, just like this, a stark contrast of blue shade against brownish tones of the leaves on the ground. Had I a camera with me I would have done well to photograph it against its natural setting, but I didn’t, and so I collected my little prize into my knitting bag and brought it home to photograph on some white linen.

This color blue, a greenish blue, is such a beautiful color, and I have it now here as reference when examining hues, if I may be forgetting what it looks like. Let it etch into my color memory, for I want to find a way to knit this color!

Morning On The Knitting Trail

jenjoycedesign©morning-walk

Emma and I took off for a walk along the old road, and then on the knitting trail to visit the woods with the green moss which is now absolutely glowing from all the rain.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I have to say, of the many oddities one can find in the woods, this was the most ! I intend to include it in a knitwear photo someday.
042
Well, it’s back to my knitting loft, with a new design adventure and happy pots of tea, for the sky is greying and rain drops are already plopping down on the roof again.  Happiness is rain.  Lots and lots of rain.

((And tea with home-made shortbread.))

jenjoycedesign©tea&shortbread

Blue Dawn

jenjoycedesign©dawn-blue

This morning early, as dawn approached, less than an hour ago, I was looking at shades of blue Malabrigo on their website, studying & sleuthing for that complete natural deep indigo blue, the color of a brewing storm.

I noticed as I looked up from the place I was sitting, in front of the wood stove, next to Emma snoozing in her chair, that the dawn sky with another rain storm on it’s way, showed me the very colors I am hunting for ! I kid you not.  At about 6:20 a.m. I grabbed the camera, and captured it ~~ only moments ago! Here it is folks, ‘Storm Mountain Dawn Sky’. Such a color ! Now that I’ve taken this photo, I can hopefully replicate the blue.

By the way, I am totally into blue lately, absolutely yearning for it, and the sea of unknown possibility is sure to cast me out to drift in it !

First Rain

jenjoycedesign©rain-kitchen-window

Finally we got some rain, making it a lovely break from the dryest Autumn in many years. Emma and I just got in from a little knit-walk as it drizzled, but I didn’t bring camera in case it started to downpour. So here I am, taking photos of the wetness from inside our house.  From the kitchen window above.   Just look at the moss, just drinking it in . . .
jenjoycedesign©moss

From where I sit & knit by the window,  and if you look closely  you’ll see some stones placed in a path. That is actually the path down to the garden, but also it is part of my knitting trail, which goes off into the woods from the garden in a northerly direction . . .

jenjoycedesign©knitting-trail

On the knitting front: I have been preoccupied with a new yarn ~ here winding off 440 yards of a  ‘Botticelli Red’, variegated, 3-plied, hand-dyed hank of finest sock yarn I’ve had the pleasure to knit with to date. I am smitten with Malabrigo sock yarn!

jenjoycedesign©winding-off-malabrigo

A Knitting Trail

jenjoycedesign©knitting-trail2

Emma and I have  been working on our home trail in recent weeks.

 It is to be a knitting trail ! ! !

Our trail begins right next to Jeff’s workshop…

jenjoycedesign©trail-head
And takes off into the woods, just follow Emma.

It goes upwards very quickly…

jenjoycedesign©knitting-trail3

It meanders along old deer-trodden paths ,

which Emma and I  have enhanced with our footsteps.

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail in woods

It passes by tall firs,

oaks & bays,

madrones & maples…

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail in the woods2
You will see my short rows of sticks on occasion,

they are trail markers in sections where the knitting trail goes one way,

while the deer may go another…

jenjoycedesign©trail-markers
Emma is charged with purpose as she surveys the forest, and the wildlife.

There is at least one mountain lion which lives in the area, sighted many times, and  I often wonder if it is the lion which she smells.  I think I would like to put some places to sit (and knit) along the way.  Just sit, knit,  and listen to the wildlife.

jenjoycedesign©knitting-trail4

Some small sections are getting the shovel treatment, like here at the trail-head.

 (Yes, that is our house, and my car, which I try to drive as little as possible)

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail!

So you see, I have been working like an ox lately, for this is the time of year I love most to be outside toiling away, among the falling leaves of Autumn. There’ll be more photos later, as the Knitting Trail is honed to perfection !

* * *

But hey ! Its the last day of October today, and that means it is Halloween!   For the occasion I thought I’d post a photo of something remarkably ominous from the woods!   The raven’s cultural and somewhat spooky  symbolism  is not to be debated, however here they are just a cheerful and welcomed presence, and flock about year round. They make themselves very comfortable, eating the berries in the native trees, and fruit & veggies from our garden, and pick from our compost pile too.  I think they are fascinating birds,  possessing a truly amazing intrigue and even sense of humor (they like to tease Emma every chance they get), and they are the stewards of these woods all the same.  Here is a photo I took last week, zoomed into the branches of an oak while this fellow and his mate were making deep throaty chortling & clucking conversation…
jenjoycedesign©Raven

Happy Halloween everyone !

(( Note:  I am delayed with knitting projects due to interruptions life tends to cause. ))

Golden

Autumn Scapes

Well,  good news has given me a sigh of relief,  and things regarding life on my mountain are not as grim as I had imagined (I talk about in this post the other week) .  Not all the vineyards are uprooted, and this one, perhaps my most walked, seeming like a comfortable nest over-looking the valley, appears to remain, though its devastation is probably only postponed to next Spring.  Most all of the vineyards are going to be replanted with new vines.  This golden landscape photo was taken last year at this time, at end of October. I just love Autumn !

*  *  *

On another thought, I wasn’t going to post again until I had finished submission of the pattern which I’ve been discussing for a few weeks.  All I can say is its nearly ready, just a last-minute bout of design-insecurity seems to be my biggest obstacle.    🙂

Now, if you’ll excuse us,  Emma and I are ready to walk out in this Autumnal Wonderland !

Seasonal

jenjoycedesign©golden

This knoll of Autumnal  vines above I photographed last year in late afternoon, as its leaves yellow’d and fell into the ground or floated in the gusty breezes.  Where I live , on a mountain ridge which borders Napa & Sonoma valleys, the seasons show not only in the trees, but strikingly so in these mountain vineyards.  But something very dismal has been taking place on the mountain very near by.

Change is difficult, but I suppose is necessary all the same, or we’d become rigid as logs in our outlook of the world. Well, one colossal change which has taken place in my life, is that the vineyard very close by, through which rows and roads Emma & I walked frequently for years (her whole life), acres of historic vines, has for the most part been ripped out of the ground, and are presently heaped in massive sad piles.  They are gone, and yet,at least I am grateful that I have these photos to remember them by.

These vines which were plucked out of the rocky soil of the mountain only weeks ago, once produced wines which won ribbons in blind tastings in France in their glorious past. They were beautiful and they were as jovial friends I’d pass by and wave to so often, as I would also the friendly workers who tended them.

When they were colorful and turning gold to crimson in my favorite months of October & November, they spoke of the cooling marine air pouring over the ridge, and they reminded me how happy I was that it is indeed Autumn… finally !

When they were bare as we walked along their long shadows in January, with uncut branches like tendrils, they spoke in words wintery and woody, and they spoke of the promise of a new year ahead.

As they became cropped & pruned it was is they were led to the starting gate at the race, building excitement from within, in February,  with thick grasses carpeting the earth.

Then to leap out at the blink of vernal influence, and their main branches sprouting new growth in March !

And in April & May, the poppies come…

17

I have in recent weeks mourned their death. These old vines as I walked by them almost everyday while knitting, were very important to me, a part of me.  Ah but this life, death, and rebirth, and planting new is to be expected.  I wanted to make acknowledgement to the changes in this post, and my bereavements too, and even Emma’s as surely she notices, and misses her meadow walk along the canyon cliffs….

Meadow desktop

*  *  *

But hey, let me cheer things up a bit I thought I’d mention a happy thing !  Kirra has won the giveaway from my book review & interview with Jean Moss, and I want to congratulate her !

((Kirra, I have sent your address to Taunton press , who have replied already that the book is on its way, and hopefully very soon the book will be in your mailbox, in time for you to make those great little gifts for your friends & family.))

Seasonal times indeed, with the gift-giving time of year nipping at crafters’ heels, time for us to leap for our needle cases and dig through our stashes and shop for more yarn as its officially 11 weeks until Christmas…yikes!!!

:: crack of whip echoes ::

Lets make tea and calmly collect our thoughts, shall we?

What gifts you planning to make this coming holiday season?

 

Things In Trees

jenjoycedesign© nest
I was out walking this morning , with Emma, knitting as I go.  I nearly stepped on this perfect little nest which was upright, in the middle of the path !  It must have been a sad loss for the birds who inhabited it, probably due to a marauding jay or raven or a lashing wind, which brought it to fall from the branches.

It was so fragile and dear and perfect, I couldn’t just walk on by. I put my knitting in my shoulder bag, and picked it up examining it closely as walked a while, with it very carefully perched in my cupped hand. Soon after I found some newly fallen acorns too, how lovely, which I popped inside the nest, looking like tree eggs of a sort.  As I walked from the oaks through the firs,  I noticed then some freshly fallen fir cones too, and picked a few of them up and put in my knitting bag. I tell you, now I feel it, I just know it’s coming, my favorite season of all is knocking at Summer’s door ~~ because things are beginning to fall out of trees!

Yet still a long wait through the hot & dry months before the first rains come, usually in October. But for now, the nest, acorns, and cones are a festive little Autumnal adornment to my loft, reminding me that not long from now is the Autumnal equinox !

jenjoycedesign©Autumn-things

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 !

090

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. . .

038

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.

041

Emma  surveys from the precipice at the top. . .

048

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 !

102

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 !