A rustic place…

jenjoycedesign© Emma on trail 2

Emma and I are pushing ourselves to complete the knitting trail, and it will be indeed a rapturous and celebratory finish!

jenjoycedesign© Emma on trail 1

The equinox is in only two short days.

jenjoycedesign© trail work Emma 2

I’m sure we’ll make it,  we are already more than three-quarters the way done!

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Big Leaf Maples and Black Oaks are beginning to shed their leaves, and the acorns and fir cones are dropping too.  In this rustic state of being the spicy Autumnal fragrance is faintly rising in the forest, and I am ready to crash into this season with transformative momentum, leaning into it with all of my weight, as I leave Summer’s oppressive heat,  lazy days and restless nights behind me.

jenjoycedesign© trail work

See you on the flipside!

Rosanna & Cesar

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Rosanna and Cesar have come to visit!  We gathered up all sorts of knitwear, and went out into the darkening wintery woods, along the knitting trail. Rosanna is wearing the Calidez Vest I made for her birthday, while Cesar wears several of my recent Fishermens Neck Ganseys , as well as the yerbe matte (tea) .

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Cesar and Rosanna layer in a couple of Calidez Cardigans …

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Cesar wears my own  cardigan made of Studio Donegal’s  Aran Tweed ~~ posted here. Cesar commented how warm and nice the tweed wool felt against his skin ….

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I was so excited to have Rosanna and Cesar visit, and that they got to model this ensemble of recent designs, because they are both such naturals in front of a camera!  It couldn’t have been a better day, clear and cool, and it was a great time had by all, including Emma…

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come back again soon Rosanna and Cesar!

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The events of the day…

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

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

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

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

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

See my recent post How To Make A Knitting Trail  ,

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

How to make a knitting trail.

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October is the best trail-making month in the year, as the ground is just moistened by a couple of rains at the most, but not muddy. I have been doing a lot of walking in the woods,  both with and without knitting, always with Emma, and we have staked out where we want it to go, our ‘knitting and sniffing track’ !

Oh! But I have left you a little lesson on how to make a knitting trail in the woods for yourself, if you have handy … a bit of woods. 

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First, stake the trail out with sticks and walk it for a few weeks, or months, refining path to contour the land well, satisfied that it is a pleasure to walk , perhaps even while knitting.  Be sure you love walking your trail as it is,  before you disturb the soil and take tools to it!

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I go ahead with the long-handled pruners and bow saw, clear debris in the way that causes tripping, etc. during the first walks.  Then walk some more weeks.
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When you’re ready to commit, begin!
Rake aside duff, sticks, fir cones,  remove big rocks, etc.
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Scrape aside the composting layer gently,  (to be raked back over) to expose dirt.
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Pick, hoe, and scrape, loosening soil beneath the compost layer, and leveling side-to-side by eye.  Or , if you want a really level path as this one will be…
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 use a level straight edge to check that it is roughly level  side-to-side (not fore & aft).  Tamp earth down, firming walking area only.
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Finally, lightly rake compost layer back over tamped, leveled trail.  It should look like the original forest ground, essential to replace plenty of compost over raw soil, and even a sprinkle of the raked-aside debris of small sticks and little cones.
 I have worked out a method whereby I am working both start and finish in a 20-foot section which moves along as I work, then finishing my work by covering the soil as I close up the gap so that there is no more raw dirt, and lay my tools down for next work session, whenever that can be.
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 There is a lot to do yet before I will take out the measuring wheel and see how it measures up in distance. It will look like this for many weeks , perhaps through the whole Autumn it will be a work in progress.

And now if you will excuse me, my coffee break is over, and time for me to go back out. I am so very excited that I am finally making the Knitting Trail ~~~ joy of joys!!

mid-august

jenjoycedesign© August

August is such a stale time of the year. No cool breezes, no moisture, perpetual aqua blue skies, and a lot of anxiety about wildfire. The grasses stand crisp and golden, and so picturesque, but really it is just in suspended limbo until the rain comes, there in the bleaching hot sun day after day while even the moss in the forest turns brownish and, like the grasses, is frozen in lifelessness for months.

Mid August is even more stale than when the month arrived, and by the end of the month I am usually quite fried,  dreaming of verdant countrysides in far off lands.  I must snap out of these lazy wishful days of summer. I have been far too lazy and not working on my well-intention’d project of knitting trail.  A knitting trail?  What trail?  Right. My point exactly. I did take a shovel to a stretch of woodland over the last year, and even though it’s only been a little more than some sticks along the way and a narrow bumpy path, Emma and I have been walking it on occasion ~~ thus far we have named it ‘the knit track’ , and which is about a sixth of a mile circuit, not including the distance to and from the track, which makes it about a half mile, and if one goes around the ‘track’ many times, it adds up.   It is intended to be a mindless walk so I can  knit-while-meandering  and Emma can smell the wildlife in the quiet pause of the afternoons.

Although the knitting trail already has one or two benches, I’d like them to become delicious secret woodland  spots, where one might carry out a pot of tea and accomplish quite a bit of knitting.  That my friends, is what my vague design is.  So how to sharpen those vague lines, and get this thing going?   I have been taking pencil to paper and scribbling out ideas, and I really do want to make this thing happen, here & now, in the face of the suffocating Mid-August!

There are quite a lot of trees to limb up and brush to clear (trees keep falling too, this drought is wretched!)  and general hard sweaty work to do within in the few acres which is the trail site, but nothing a woman (and her dog) can’t accomplish. This is something I’ve wanted to do since we built our house here and moved in 2005.  So Emma will supervise, and I will work, and we will get this woodland Knitting Trail done & dusted.

But first I’d like to call upon you brilliant readers of this blog, and please don’t be shy, give me some ideas about what you think would make a Knitting Trail special. The sky is the limit… and plenty of space in the comment boxes too.

A Home Trail

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In the woods, caught up in the days, and hypnotized by the pendulum of nature, I feel a swing of weeks upon weeks pushing through seasons, while the light changes angle and leaves come and go on the maples and the oaks, and lay papery on the forest floor.  While the chickadees keep time with their greeting in spring, linger through summer, then go elsewhere it seems, and yet the tiny black-headed junco stays.  Perhaps of all the seasonal signs, the pendulum moves most noticeably through the motionless drying landscape of August, the time when the grasses bleach to blonde and mosses turn almost brown, as it is the dry dormant time,  and all things wild wait desperately yet patiently for the first rains of Autumn. The pair of ravens living among the branches near, are talkative, loudly squawking and chortling,  perhaps expressing their impatience too. One never knows.

And here we are one week into September already, a blink away from Autumn! Emma and I are mellowing out waning ourselves into a bit of a stale state.  We are needing incentive to greet the forthcoming Autumn with some kind of significance.  For a long time I’ve pondered, and for a long time I’ve talked, about the big project of the Knitting Trail, while not really applying myself. (Knitting too much? Perhaps!) Taming the wild woods is a boatload of hard labor to put it simply.  Working a delicate maze of trail in and around the framework of the more established trees while trying to see through the forest of younger trees and shrubs is well, an exhausting event of instincts & decisions followed up by manual labor, as I very lightly etch into the forest a path,  inconspicuous as possible, in some places merely moving aside fallen branches or cutting back poison oak. We will have our home trail from where  we can walk through the seasons.

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Me with my trail-making gear consisting of long-handled pruners, a variety of bow saws, and a shovel, while Emma contributes her subtle but constant encouragement, and of course, her nose for a the traffic of the wildlife, which is very helpful.  In need of a really big goal, and I have thought this morning about how life should, oh but very well must, include a physical regimen of some sort, more than once, twice…or thrice out walking closer in to the house. We are going to craft our Daily Mile (or near mile) of walking trail from the bits of trails already in use that we began years back, and impulsively followed, some discarded, some maintained.  And I am going to share with you the whole process. The real challenge is to make this trail nearly entirely near our house’s door step, on ours and on the neighbor’s woods (a generous person granting permission to roam)… so roam we will.

I share this morning, a real determination to make this trail complete.  Beginning from the three-foot tall trail blaze outside of the front door , a stack of stones gathered from the trail head parking lots and roadside of the High Sierra . . .

we go forth !

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 !

A Frolick On The Knitting Trail

043Ready , set ….

Hats on !
045Before setting out into the woods on my Knitting Trail, Maya, Molly & Rosanna chose three hats each out of my chest of knitted pattern prototypes, plus other bits, then we set out with Emma leading & me in the back with the camera.
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Maya is wearing Vineyard Rows Tam.

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And Molly models wintery white with powder blues of Chalten Beret ..
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and Tartan & Tweed Mitts

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Rosanna in the recent infinity scarf I’ve been designing and making lots of lately…

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… which will soon be available in pattern form.

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S w i t c h i n g

                          t h e m

       o u t . . .

goofingly striving for the essence of ” bohemian  raven goth “

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Then we found a fabulously mossy tree log on a very steep slope . . .

and a Dicey Highland Hat

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  Rosanna in the Vineyard Rows Tam and Molly in the Vineyard Rows Toque .

(Toque not yet written into a pattern, but soon!)

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 Hillariously . . . then  Molly began to slide off  . . .

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 Maya in the original Dicey Bonnet, a distracted Emma, Molly in Chalten, & Rosanna in Penny Candy Hat.

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 There was a few moments of a brilliant sunbeam ….

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Rosanna balanced gracefully against a fallen tree . . .

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… and no end to my demands while taking still another photo as we tried to cover trail …

and so a twenty minute trail walk turned to fifty.

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 Another Dicey Highland Hat . . .

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We really had a great time, and for me this was the absolute highlight of the whole holiday family get-together, though it lasted less than an hour.  I couldn’t be happier with the many great shots but I have to choose just some of them, though I just about died to discover how fuzzy the photos were in the low light of the forest. It seems I still have to learn how to use the camera’s settings for different lighting ~~ a New Year resolution!

148Thank you Molly, Maya & Rosanna, for wonderful knitwear photoshoot on the knitting trail! xx

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Maya in Penny Candy Hat

The End Of Summer

jenjoycedesign©contemplating-Autumn

The Autumnal equinox is approaching in a week, and it is my absolute favorite time of year.  When October comes along with the marine fog pouring over the ridge I always feel so cheerful.  And when the first soft rains wash the dust off of the parchment dry landscape, it comes back to life, and then I feel ecstatic.  Like a cougar ready to pounce I am anticipating earnest work ahead on the woodland knitting trail that I have been contemplating well over a year.  Autumn is my happiest time, and my most hard-laboring time.

Just that I will spend the next week, the end of summer, first finishing this…

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(Not the cup of tea, but the sweater ) 😉  I am making good progress on the Autumn sweaters for my nieces, with the first one finished and the second more than half way done.  Soon I’ll be at the yoke joining sleeves to body, then it’s usually done pretty fast from there.

jenjoycedesign©knitting-progress

I am pretty well certain that I will be finished with both of the sweaters by the equinox, which is one week from today… and the photo shoot with nieces wearing them is scheduled for the first weekend in October ~~ so my fingers are crossed, and I’m so excited !  For this last week of summer I knit while the sounds of grape harvest surround us on the mountain , rattling gondolas towed behind tractors on the rugged dirt roads and chatter of jovial pickers are heard in the breeze.

What is happening with you this bittersweet end of summer ?

Glimpses From The Knitting Trail

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

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

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Emma’s 9th birthday walk.

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

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Emma in woods.

For those of you who have been visiting Yarnings for any length of time, know about my Knitting Trail, I talked about a while ago in this post.    I am gradually putting it all together, this spot and that, through forest and wood, through hilly and hollow lands.

on the Fairy Trail

Along the fairie trail

Here a shot as we blaze along the Fairie section of the trail (a very enchanting place that is so amazing!)  Also,  I am soon to wrap up my first official ‘Yarn Tasting’ of several sock yarn brands, and will be posting about that, but for now, here’s a little sock knitting of the morning…

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

Morning On The Knitting Trail

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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.

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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.
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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.))

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After The Rain

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It has rained for four days unending.

(A few glimpses from the knitting trail.)

I’m overjoyed because finally the moss on the mountain has drunk it’s fill.

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Emma and I went out and soaked ourselves taking account of it all.

Now green can sprout from under last year’s brown . . .

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Beautiful morning after rain . . .

jenjoycedesign©facing-south-at-sunrise 
The creeks are gushing and riverlets going in all directions.

Life is good.