Fiber Blending Recipe 2 – The Hand-Mix

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This is my first experiment in hand-mixing the fiber before it gets loaded into the blending board to draw out into rolags.  Going for a slightly more tweeded affect, I blend the fibers more — by hand — so the colors begin to haze into each other a little bit.

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One thing, when using a blend of different types of fiber, adding shimmering slippery bamboo for instance, the odd fiber tends to clump up, which is desirable for a loose mix. Its a little more blended than the fiber lasagna, but not as blended as if it were carded.

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Solid colors still coming out in stray untamed splashes…

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Fibers used in this micro batch are: grey Corriedale, grey baby alpaca, fuscia solid Merino, salmon solid Merino, topaz bamboo.  Here is what I am doing , as illustrated by a photo slideshow at the bottom of the post.

  1. Portion out the fiber I want to mix, weighing if possible.
  2. Divide into smaller manageable piles to mix by hand.
  3. One at a time, mix fibers in the smaller piles by hand, holding each end and firmly pulling fiber apart. Repeat as desired — I did this about 10 times each, but it can be more or less.
  4. Fill teeth of blending board with hand-mixed fiber.
  5. Draw fiber out into rolags!

This method is pretty loosely mixed, but still more homogenized than my Blending Recipe 1 – fiber lasagna.   Splotches of color still are varied and add color explosions to the spinning.  And here it is spun up…

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Spinning has a way of hazing together the colors more than the rolags show, quite a bit in the spinning of the singles, and even more after plying two singles together. I  have to keep this in mind when I make the rolags, knowing the spun result will play the colors down far less dramatically.

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Almost a disappointment, although I hate to admit, after careful ‘painting’ of the colors and all the work hand mixing, to have the colors melt into each other so much. Again, one learns for the result, how to prepare the fiber. For big splashes, I prefer the fiber lasagna, and for fine splashes, the hand mix.

And next will be my experiment with a combination hand-mix & carding, for a far more color integrated tweedy result, so watch this space!

And now for the show!

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June Into July

jenjoycedesign© pink.JPGChecking in from the hermitage. I’ve been knitting up a pile of rectangular shaped things, in various sizes, in pink and in grey, for what at first was to be one prototype turned out to be many,  although I am in the last stretch.  These have admittedly completely consumed my time but there is the possibility that this forthcoming ensemble will be one of my favorite designs to date, so well worth it. Let the hours and yarn and heat exhaust me to sweet slumber every night.

Here is a sneak peek of one of them pinned and drying …

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Meanwhile Emma and I have done very little walking, for the hot summer days have put us both into a trance, for me the memorable events being turning of rows from right side to wrong side and back again.  I am all over that fresh brewed cup of French Roast and I’m throwing stitches in a caffeine induced frenzy.

♣ ♣ ♣

Incidentally, another past-time of mine while knitting the lace shawls, is perusing old films on youtube about tweed-making, and here is one I discovered,  hope you enjoy it…

Artful Patches

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These days when I take a needle & thread to mend,

I attempt to do something artful.

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Becoming intimately involved with warp & weft in the fabric of something that you wear on your skin is beautiful,

and maybe even a little bit essential.

It is such a novelty these days it seems,  to have any skills at all in mending.

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Do you recall this  linen shirt make-over from nearly two years ago?  You might recognize the collar re-do,  and already I have nearly worn a hole in the linen,  and this is just a fun patch job of it, although the white-on-white is not really easy to see the detail, especially in this early morning light.

I have a second shirt I’m patching here,  that is full of holes, and I am using it to practice my new ‘quilt patching’ technique.

Here is what I do:

  1. Whip stitch hole shut, aligning grain of warp & weft  threads as much as possible.
  2. Cut squares of new fabric on the grain, big enough to fold back up to 1/4 inch hem on all edges.
  3. Iron all edges to fold in, and pin to garment with care to aligning grain of fabric with both garment and patch.
  4. With a simple running stitch, sew as close to edge as possible, then again, artfully fill in the patch with shapes, ‘quilting’ the patch against garment, which improves wear of patch as well as looks good. Almost as if you stuck on squares to quilt for the pure craft of it!

Quite a hash of patches, but it makes the shirt all that much more of a treat to wear again!

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Just in case you’re curious, you can see all posts “New From Old”  HERE (including this one, but scroll down!)  This category has grown over the years, sharing  artful mending & upcycling that I have done, where even I go deep into the warp & weft and try my hand at difficult weave darning.

I hope you try the quilted patch on one of your holey shirts, and see how useful as well as lovely a simple running stitch can be!

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Footsteps 4

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I have been enjoying the cafe culture lately, here with my favorite afternoon treat outside on the patio, a cafe latte & and knitting upvalley, stopping off at St Helena Coffee Roastery on my way home from Calistoga last Friday, after photographing my nieces in their Spring Tees 2017

The days are blissful here on the mountain, with brief spells of sun transitioning back to grey & wintery.  Rain, fog and lingering cool air, as if the season doesn’t really want quite yet to get balmy yet (which I’m fine with), and I am rising above all that oppresses me!

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool with Ripples Crafts

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Country Socks with Ripples Sock Yarn

Still, there are explosions of wildflowers beginning to bloom~~ lupine, clover, paintbrush, poppies, brodea, iris ~~ all heralding the Spring season,  regardless of the reluctant temperatures.  I have wrapped up a lot of epic knitting projects in recent weeks, while kicking off new big BIG design conceptions,  and yet more socks keep coming off the needles. These were such a pleasure, knit with such color that I couldn’t be the least bit gloomy when knitting them!

Pattern: Wild Wool Trail Socks in the ‘Country Sock’ variation.

Yarn: Ripples Crafts Hand-dyed Yarns, in   Reliable Sock, in “Assynt Storms” colorway. Note: I highly recommend this sock yarn, for it is really beautiful yarn to knit with, and dying is exceptional with no muddy spots, all pure blends of colors, sparkling, and with quick color transition.

Details on Ravelry HERE. 

Sweater Descent #2

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I have gotten another package from Kilcar in Ireland,  a lovely bunch of Studio Donegal yarn ! Worsted-weight,  one-hundred percent merino wool, and aptly named …

“Soft Donegal”

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In Sweater Descent #1  I wrote a sort of introduction for what is now my series Sweater Descent Project…

Descent is a word which takes many directions in meaning, most typically it means to ‘move down’ or ‘lower’ as in a physical place of going, as ‘down from a high place’ as from the peak of a mountain. It has metaphorical meaning to me as well, which I absolutely groove on, like ‘making easier’ and ‘moving into a secure low-ground of the known’.  Of course there is the meaning of ‘lineage’ or ‘clan’, and far-off distant cultures or bloodlines one may have come from.  But for me, primarily  the relationship of the word refers to mountains, and walking, and in my case knitting while walking about the mountain on which I live.

And now for Sweater Descent #2

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This post also being a yarn-tasting theme , I would like to show you my yarn acquisition, and I am watering at the mouth truly, envisioning this in my second very own  Calidez Cardigan !   A rich depth of color, explosion of tweedy flecks, I am totally smitten with the color range of Studio Donegal “Soft Donegal” and see great potential for using this yarn in future designs.  But for now all there is left to do, is cast on!

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ps. I thought I would mention too, that Emma is one-hundred percent better, and managing the stairs all by herself with new addition of rugs!  And thats us… off to the Knitting Track!

new from old

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I just took scissors to another thrift shop mens linen shirt, and made it into a loose draping toss-over shirt with the original cuff placket still showing after I cut off the cuff.

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I simply cut off the sleeves about 1-1/2″ longer than I want, made a pleat, and then pressed it all into a half-inch hemmed cuff.

This time I tried popping off all the buttons on the button bands and simply sew’d the button band over the button-hole band, because as I don’t ordinarily iron, and loath gaping button bands in front, and at the bust-line especially.  Its kind of funky an interesting detail,but worth the experiment.

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And I left a little open at the bottom.

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I was thinking I’d go over it with shell buttons and just sew them on for the faux affect, but then I will wait & decide later, for some shirts are nice to have just pure linen.

The learning curve on this one was,  1. never buy a shirt with front pocket flaps thinking they’re easy to take off (the seam ripping was torturous and long). Although the holes from the previous stitches show now, they’ll go away in the next few washings. Or maybe never.

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And  2. custom bias tape rocks!     With the same kind of fabric, and it can be made easily.  (This I had to use some linen from my stash, as it must be on the bias), but it is a great way to finish a neckline which is curving, for one really doesn’t want a ripply rolled hem like I did on this one.  This is the little bias tape tool (admittedly I don’t really know what that swiveling part on it is for)… pull the fabric through and iron and neaten the folds to the middle as it comes out~~ voila!

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Then I simply sewed the raw edge of the neckline to it and folded it on the inside to sew down.  Simple, tidy, and sews up so professional looking.  I found a good video tutorial on how to make bias tape here

I didn’t have enough cut from the length to make the usual front insert or cuffs, so this is an experiment of how I can change the look minimally.

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The nicest thing about white linen is the transparency so visible when held up against light. The warp and weft of flax threads speak a language I can understand, sort of  like the neat pleats and double-folded hems are sharing with me their secrets, all which make the shirt feel crisp and just a little bit like a veiled treasure.

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I’ve been on a trend lately of simple collarless shirts, for in cool weather they just invite a nice lace cowl, and I am slowly acquiring quite a few of those, more recently craving to cast on with some fine flax lace yarn.

To see all of my New From Old projects, click HERE.

And lastly, is it my imagination or are most of my photos in this post really fuzzy?

Making

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This little pile of wool is what is left of a weekend of fun woolly frolicking!  I have made two felted wool Kinder Bags, for Nora-Who-Is-Four, and her little brother Wee Finn who is already  running about wildly.  I can just see the little guy now, toddling about collectin’ stuff in his wee blue bag. How adorable that should be.

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Truth is, these are just the beginning of the second wave of hand-made gifts I’ve made, as the first wave is already gone with the post to far-off lands, as I was in such a rush and didn’t get a chance to photograph.  That’s me, just here,  a delirious maker-of-things … casting on , then off, then on…. forever in a frenzy of gift-making. Will it end? So far there’s no sign of it!

How are you all doing with your hand-made gifts?

Glimpses of Autumn

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

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

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.

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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.

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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 !

Yarn Tasting: Shibui Twig

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If ‘rascally’ could be a word to describe yarn, I would say linen yarn is very much so. Crisp, unyielding, stubborn, and relentlessly tough stuff,  linen has a great appeal to me… oh such like rusty found things, or uncushioned old benches, or crackled old earthenware. I love this stuff, and wear it constantly, year round.

Even winding it off the swift, into a ball , it has a mind of it’s own…rather messy in appearance, not laying in unison with other strands, wrestling it into a ball, as it tried to be a cube, was a task in and of it’s own!

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I will tame it. It may take ten cycles in the washer & dryer along with a load of white towels, but it will soften and be every bit as wonderful as my favorite linen shirts.

This yarn however, is only 46% linen. I bought it to dip my toes into the feel of linen, for I do have 3 skeins of navy colored 100% wet spun linen waiting to be knit up.   It is also 42% recycled silk, and 12% wool.  It is Shibui “Twig” , and there is 190 yards of it.  I am going to be sampling this lovely summery linen blend with my Una Cosettina pattern , as I have gone quite on a tangent today.

I am putting down Snowmelt gaiters for a short while, let them sit on a table for a few days. What is the rush anyway? I am my own competition , I feel suddenly today like having a little play time, so here I am yarn tasting again, going to pour myself a tall one of what I consider the perfect Northern California yarn!

Napa Earthquake ~ We Are OK

At 3:20 a.m. this morning a horrible rumble shook Napa Valley, as historic buildings fractured, water lines broke, fires started, thousands of wine bottles (and probably a hundred thousand wine glasses) fell from cabinets and even wine barrels toppled off of their stands.  Epicenter of a 6.1 earthquake hit Southwest Napa and energy shot northward. Napa town got struck the worst. Still in all, I’ve heard of no fatalities yet but hurt people sent to the hospital by the many dozens, injuries mostly from broken glass.  Chunks of bricks shook off of Napa’s historic courthouse, and a handful of other historic structures badly injured, as inventory of many local businesses has been decimated in downtown.  We’re still watching news, as the power only was restored a little over an hour ago.

First thing I thought as I was shaken awake in the early morning hours from a jarring swaying motion rocking our rugged post & beam house, and as sounds of crashing objects shattered the night silence, and flashing like lightening I saw out of the windows in the distance, was that all of California had been leveled. I thought earthquake-prone San Francisco would be ground zero if we felt it so hard way up here in the mountains of Napa Valley.  I worried while still half asleep that those flashes were fire, but they were only transformers blowing as the power went out in Napa & Sonoma valleys. I was shocked a couple of hours later when talking to my brother (my nieces father) who lives a ways north of Napa Valley who had been privy to breaking news (excuse the pun) that WE were the epicenter!

Now having a noontime cup of tea I am realizing how lucky we were.  California is earthquake country, this is the third frightful earthquake I have personally experienced in my lifetime, while the memories of little shakes are soon forgotten, the eerie memory of the really dramatic ones are etched in my mind forever.

The worst of the crashing things in our house up on the mountain (not in the town) was in my knitting loft…

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jenjoycedesign©eath-quake Just a few things fell off of my desk, camera & tripod fell over, and a small crack in my Osborne mandolin, it mostly it went out of tune (though of course this is not my main playing mandolin, so no worries there!)  A couple of the large rock stacks which stand along our walk toppled . . .

jenjoycedesign©toppled-rock-stacksSo you see, everything is fine here in our neck of the woods, up on Mt Veeder in Northwest Napa, we’re just a little shook up is all, and Emma very insecure, as dogs become in these incidents.  Now back to some straightening up & knitting to calm down, and staying out of the chaos in town for a few days and put everything back in place.

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If you would like to find out more information about the earthquake which has hit Napa this morning, there is already a wikipedia page up on the net, which is still being updated, here.

Stash

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The other day I made a great find at my favorite local thrift shop. Admittedly it needed work to up-cycle it into the long thought-about colorwork yarn stash cabinet I’d been dreaming of putting on the wall in front of my work table. Just something to show which colors I have on hand , rather than perpetually digging out bags and boxes and dumping about to sift through.   Well, this little cabinet is of very old redwood, and the 3/4″ boards which made up the back were recessed into the frame.

I wanted shelves, and I wanted extra width in the depth than it had ~~ enough for balls & skeins of yarn for colorwork.  So I needed to take that back off in order to get enough width, and to make shelves out of it, and that is exactly what I did (well, with the help mostly of Jeff too) . Here it is as I found it… very dark aged redwood cabinet thing, looking like it may have been a little workshop cabinet once, as it is not in the least bit refined cabinetry, but rough, as I like it.

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I removed the back boards by cutting through the nails with a coping saw blade, gave it a light sanding, then created shelves with the 3/4″ boards that were on the back.  Voila, a framed shelf with glass door ~~ a colorwork stash cabinet made to order !

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My humble work space is now much improved with a glass encased colorwork stash to inspire !

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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 . . .

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Yarn Whisperer

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Hanging out with Emma on a Sunday , knitting A Little Something for Wool Box with Oropa 1ply yarn

“Oropa” wool is a very rare thing, a ‘heritage wool’ as it can not be found anywhere else because the breed of sheep is indigenous to a border region of Italy in the foothills of the alps, neighboring France.  The wool is so special in fact , that it requires particular methods of processing which make Biella’s very old mills unique.   “The Wool Box” is a collective  effort to promote traditions of these local heritage wools and wool industry ~ from shepherding to processing ~ all back to Old World basics.  Just in case you missed it, I mention The Wool Box, and my project designing with Oropa 1-ply wool  in my previous post.

* *  * *   * *

The other evening I was winding off the new skeins into balls (with two chairs and hand-wound ball method) thinking it has very much a hand-spun feel, with a deal of twist in it, and so I wondered what it would say, but I wouldn’t find out it’s secrets until casting on. Casting on numerous times on as many different sized needles, I found myself unsure how to do justice for it. Honestly, I am worried that I have become far too use to docile modern yarns and very unsure of myself designing with yarn having any kind of personality.

At the start, I held a strand of Oropa 1-ply  next to a strand of some of my Superwash Merino sock yarn, and gave it a glance , thinking that they were “close enough” , and so I cast on with the same needles I’ve been knitting oodles of socks and gloves for an eternity with ~~ all because it looks similar in ‘weight’ (we all know that really means thickness).  Merrily swatching away,  with US 2’s, then 3’s I found that the  stitches ‘sproinged’ into loops with tremendous energy it was *almost* wrestling with and twisting the swatch fabric.   It was obvious that Oropa 1-ply  was not going to make the 8-stitches-to-the-inch design I’d had prepared ahead with … um… right, with that docile superwash sock yarn.  In fact, the two colors, Pearl Grey & Natural, of the same Oropa 1-ply yield different gauges with the same needle.  I basically have to take the approach one needs with hand-spun yarn, and factor in a bit of inconsistency.

Swatching, wet-blocking, ripping, and starting again, finally my thoughts shifted as my idea of what I wanted to make needed to be surrendered somewhat.  I tell you, I was convinced that words like ‘coarse’ described Oropa, until I realized I was literally forcing it to being smothered in tiny stitches, unable to breath and bloom and and show off it’s real personality.  Now having knit it on larger needles ( US 4 – 3.25mm)  it is anything but coarse, in fact, it is wonderfully resilient and alive, sturdy and with superior definition.  It has a lovely fuzziness and halo , yet a bit hair-like too, and no surprise, as it is furthest from modern milled yarns that you can get.  Having been shorn from Old World sheep, and spun from an Old World mill, it has a whole different feel, just in case you can’t imagine.  It is not well behaved like a lap dog, no, it is more like a mustang in the training corral … sassy, stubborn, and smart …  with real sturdiness and it’s own ideas of what it wants to do.  I just didn’t know, couldn’t know, until putting down the reins and letting it tell me how to work with it.

 **  **   **

This design process is a lesson for me about paying attention to the yarn, and also patience, as well as a little compromise, but I’m enjoying myself immensely, and suddenly I wish winter would last forever so I could knit a whole bunch of these Little Somethings with Oropa 1-ply !

Eleven Days

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There is something so pure and beautiful and full of quiet wonder when winding off a fresh skein of yarn.

I feel a strong sense of personal obligation to my creativity,

and the yarn, and the potential it has to ‘become’.

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And this project is going to take everything I can muster to ‘get it right’… because it will involve (hopefully) my first attempt at simple lace stitches.  I figure there will be no surprises or mysteries with this project, and that I will post my tentative steps along the way.

Progress of Things Handmade :

Something fuzzy and very leafy green is in the bag . . .

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It incorporates alpaca yarn & mohair/silk yarn alternately.

I love, love, love same-color mixed-texures knitting !

Next, something ruffly, also alpaca, and resembling some kind of a sea creature . . .

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Lastly, something  mysterious,

hanging from a lamp to dry . . .

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There is the progress report for now at eleven  days left to Make before Christmas.

How are your Christmas Creations coming along?

A Whisper In The Woods

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In the woods, on the mountain where I live, in Northern California, we are sheltered by many species of trees. I suppose the Douglas Fir, and even some Coast Redwoods, are most obvious, towering a couple of hundred feet and create a distinct silhouette of the ridge line.  There are sturdy Black Oaks,  well they are likely the most nostalgic of trees to me, as they have live moss on them covering their trunks and lower branches , and so become vibrant with green in the rains,  then which browns in its dormant dry months. I love the moss, and so in my opinion, the oaks are absolutely essential to my happiness.

But I must say, the most cheery and unique of the trees, and possibly the most populated, is the Madrone.  A Madrone tree covers itself in a veneer of bark of deep terracotta clay color, most of the year, then it dries like parchment, and is shed this time of year as the tree grows, along with its leaves. Leaves like little parchment bits in varying tones of terracotta, from a pinkish color to a rich reddish brown. I do wish I could capture the color range of this with the camera, but I never have been able. I shall with yarn some day.  Bark peels like in the above photo, but usually much smaller, falling on to the forest floor with a faintest of rustling sounds as they land  on the forest floor.

Note: I once gathered bags of the bark, as it is such a beautiful color, to experiment with in dying wool, but I never quite got around to it.

The most amazing thing about the Madrone, is that when the skin of bark peels off , it reveals a very bright grass-green new layer beneath, and as the green quickly browns within days, a very interesting pattern occurs of green-to-brown on the tree’s voluptuous smooth body, as it continues to peel. The papery peels flutter and fall to the ground, painting it terra cotta tones for weeks, and the trees change from terracotta to fresh green. It is a cycle magical to see.

The forest tends to be super quiet where I live. That is, quiet with near constant interruption of raucous jays and ravens, softly screeching red-tail hawks, piercing ‘laughter’ of the variety of woodpeckers as they call,  oh and the grand pileated woodpecker steals the show when it goes to work on the dead trees !!  I suppose even the continual chortle of the chickadees and various finches stops on occasion for a moment.  And when one notices that truly quiet moment up here, it is marked by the fact that you can hear nothing but the Madrones shedding their bark and leaves, rather like the sound of stillness.  I know then how it is quiet.  I can hear the forest’s seasonal whisper!

Meanwhile, the morning light from inside my loft beckons whisperingly, as I am finished with a string of projects, looking ahead to what is next . . .

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My Knitting Loft Overhaul


After 8 years living with an indecisive base coat of pale pinkish peach, I’ve taken a brush-over with terra cotta tones,  my ‘creative colors’ .

The look of  ” Old Building ”  I call it.  It invokes in me a sense of warm nostalgia, and puts me in a  good mood for being productive.

All morning I’ve been finishing up the painting while listening on loop to my new composition,  ( and also the sound of Emma barking like a maniac outside , probably a fresh scent of mountain lion).  Having a cheerful tea break now, finished with the paint, and posting about my soon-to-be overhauled Knitting Loft ! I’m very very excited !!!

Over the week-end, as I painted my Loft, Jeff was glueing the new floor I was mentioning the other day. It will take several weekends before the whole upstairs is floored, but I can show you my Knitting Loft after that, after all is in place and needles and yarns properly placed about.  Good-bye subfloor , I’ll not miss the splinters in my bare feet!

And if you’re wondering how I do it :

1. Dab on paint (BenjaminMoore “AF225” I used half of a $5 sample pint !) thinned down with a little water.

2.  Rub around with a dry rag , being very careful to use an edging tool !

( the white smear you see stained into the beam above, was when I plastered the walls over 8 years ago , not having used an edging tool )

Thats all !  The painted sections of the room evolved as I played around with it, some darker than others, and well, that’s the whole point, to emmulate nature’s weathering.

My Knitting Companion

Emma curls up while I knit.  How sweet.

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

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

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

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

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

Thrifty @ Fifty

What luck ! Today, the eve of my fiftieth birthday, I found an amazing work table for my Loft Room, which is my work space.  I’ve been using an old metal folding card table for years, while hoping one day I’d find a nice sturdy drop-leaf antiquish wood table .  I think this is it.  I’m stunned.

On the top, the laquer has been unkept, all kinds of weathered unsightly stains, and it has some scratches, but all was greatly improved with a little light ultra-fine steel wool & beeswax/citrus oil treatment (to soften the old laquer up and smooth out the glare). Most importantly, it has some nice old petina too. I don’t want the surface perfect, but far from it, because as a work table, I expect to put some more petina… lots.   Dove-tail joints in the wee drawer, solid hardwood, underneath hinges are recessed, original label of maker, and…..cost only  $24.99 !!!! I’m stunned, the more I play around with it, the more I realize what a find this is.  Finally, a big table to sprawl out sewing, knitting, craftwork of any kind. What a great present to myself.

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After treating the top of the table, the desk that it’s tucked up beside now needs a treatment. I am so pleased that it fits like a glove beneath the skylight next to my desk, if I move my desk all the way over. I can just pull it out 4 feet, lift up the leafs, and begin work. I am just so happy how it fits right in, how it now centers the sitting cubby (which was lopsided when the desk was centered) ,  and now makes my work space so much more purposeful and gorgeous and complete!