breadcrumbs . . .

jenjoycedesign© on the knitting trail 2

As I walked this morning on the knitting trail, and as latest storm brewed , I decided to drape the lace-in-progress on a lifeless little maple tree, and take a photo. Then I made a silly old-school schematic of the picture   :: laughs ::   I have been slowly and steadily making progress on forthcoming lace design, so far have knit 440 yards, but that is only half of   the 50g Unspun ball I made.    I tell you, this ultra fine yarn really is serious stuff, only a dedicated & determined knitter should ever try knitting with it.   Keep watching for breadcrumbs in the woodland, which can be found in  veils & variations.

veils

There is something so alluring about a veil. It whispers “come see”,  and yet begs not to be lifted, for it seems far more beautiful this way,  even with someone or something sacred and perhaps unimaginably beautiful beneath. A veil plays with our imagination, and a veil of fine lace heightens a simmering anticipation even more.

A hand knitted shawl of old is a priceless garment of any wardrobe . . .

I like to think about the old days how knitting a fully covering lace shawl would provide entertainment in an otherwise bleak and isolated life of a windswept island of Shetland. The kind of shawl that veils a woman completely, yet can be passed through a wedding ring, is the mark of excellency. What privilege to be determined enough to knit a thing like this, for then one spun the yarn so fine and endless, what a bittersweet end when it comes off the needles, and one must go back to the sheep to start all over again.

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Perhaps the most enjoyment in the steadfast driving rhythm of knitting lace, with hands and eyes bound to every stitch, comes from freeing a mind to ponder elsewhere.

new lace beginnings 2

jenjoycedesign© new lace thing 4.JPG

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

jenjoycedesign© new lace thing 3.JPG

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

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

Oh, and my cough is slowly improving!

jenjoycedesign© rain.JPG

new lace beginnings

jenjoycedesign© mystery laceWhat I have here is something I decided afterall to design with the Unspun yarn I posted about earlier. I have been wanting to design something for extraordinarily fine lace weight yarn, for I am really going off the deep end with my Unspun experiments. There’s me, collecting single balls & sampling the post-deconstruction qualities, and forming observations & personal opinions about results.  Why on earth? I suppose this stems from frugal & philosophical roots, the concept of using what one has before running off and buying more, to empower the idea reusing/recycling odd single balls left unused in ones stash. I think of them as orphans needing a home.  A single ball of worsted weight is not enough to really make much out of, but to deconstruct and get enough fine lace yarn to make a whole beautiful lace scarf or cowl, and well folks, now that is exciting!  Quirky, yes, but I am beginning to think it is some kind of an odd calling!

Anyway, for this upcoming design I wanted to be different than all of the other lace designs I’ve thus far written patterns for. First, I want to design a lace thing with finally, straight edges, all sides top and bottom,  for super easy blocking, and secondly I want this one to be ultra simple, very minimal in patterning. Let me mention that in this forthcoming design I am experimenting for the first time — nupps!  Nupps are crazy difficult for me, especially with such fine yarn, because for a nupp-7 is nearly impossible to pick up all the stitches to purl together without accidentally picking up neighboring stitches, or dropping some of them.  I am wearing two pairs of reading glasses for super magnification, but still have been messing up and losing count and having to rip back due to this mistake, many times. So many times in fact, that I have had to devise a method of knitting nupps where I section off each nupp either side with a self-made yarn stitch marker (the metal ones snag this ultra fine yarn, can’t use those), so that I can see the whole nupp cluster so much easier.

Thats me here now, a bit of struggling with the nupps, but more in love with the ethereal feel of really fine lace knitting!

Golden Fields Lace Pattern!

jenjoycedesign© golden fields stole 2

Golden Fields Lace.

A tribute to the golden rolling hills of the landscape I live in.

oct-2-2016

Photo from archives: Fields of Gold

Wild Oat “glumes” (see Anatomy of a Grass) sway back and forth in a golden field of lace, waving & rippling along in the warm breeze…

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A traditional grains motif in an all-over pattern that is simple as it is beautiful, and so easy to knit!  Borders of garter stitch, soft scalloped edges at top and bottom, straight sides, and everything in between is from one simple Golden Fields chart.

jenjoycedesign©out in Autum(archives)

Photo from the archives: Out Walking In Autumn

Pattern includes three styles: Stole, cowl, and square shawl with four sizes each style!

Here Golden Fields is shown in stole.

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Photo from archives: Waning Summer

A few weeks back I did test-knit the cowl, and posted here . The cowl and stole will be really fun for me to knit over many times I think, especially with more samples of different Unspun yarns as I can come up with, as this one was knit with yarn I made and posted here.

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Pattern is now live on Ravelry HERE!

Now please go check it out and get started on your Golden Fields, just in time for a truly wonderful gift to yourself or a very deserving loved one for the holidays & beyond!

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Photo from the archives: Mountain Knitting

Abelene asked me if she could say something, so I will close with her note.

Hi everyone, its me Abelene!

It was a thrill to model Jen’s new lace design in my future house!  A thrill I tell you!  Jen carried me up a ladder to the second story under the rafters, and positioned me in a way where one only saw a small finished area in the house, but really there were tarps flapping and wind blowing through and it was so very cold but very very exciting!  Besides, I was bundled up warm in Golden Fields stole, so feeling no goosebumps. In the photo below,  Jen stepped back only about 6 feet, and you can see the mess and chaos of building, but it is coming along swiftly. Jen and I are both just over the moon.

Ta ta,
xx Abelene

jenjoycedesign© behind the scene 2

Just flew off the needles!

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl2

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

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

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl

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

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl1

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

Pattern: Modification from Double Cappuccino

Details: on Ravelry  here

 

Una Cosettina

jenjoycedesign©Lacey Little  Somethings

Una Cosettina, or ‘ A Little Something’ is the name of these half-mitts, designed especially for Oropa 1ply yarn, which is made with wool from sheep which have roamed the foothills of Alps of Northern Italy for perhaps a thousand years. Who knows for sure?  But, there is an age-old mill in Biella which uses much the same processing methods  as of long ago , and which make the wool from these Old-World sheep into yarn. Oropa 1ply is a rustic heritage yarn as rugged as the mountain terrain it comes from. Truly Oropa yarn is nothing less than a timeless treasure.

((Lots of information about The Wool Box  at bottom of page))

I talk a lot about the yarn, and Biella’s place in Italy’s wool industry in  Posted From Italy  ,  Yarn Whisperer  , and some about elements of design process in my previous post.

jenjoycedesign©Lacey Little Somethings

We have a pattern friends !!!

The design incorporates my own edging  which I will simply call my ‘eyelet edging’, a cast-on and bind-off’ , having  elements of i-cord, rib, and lace all in one.

jenjoycedesign©lace-cuff

Shown in Pearl Grey & Natural Oropa 1ply,  sturdy & feminine, these half-mitts will keep your hands toasty warm, while letting the spring breezes through from it’s open lace-work. A feminine take on riding gloves of olden days perhaps, slightly bell-shaped , stylish, and ready to make a spectacular conversation piece when people ask about them.

jenjoycedesign©Lacey Little Somethings half-mitts

Modeling both sizes ~ smaller size to left, larger size at top.
((I wear a women’s small, by the way))

The photos show both sizes, and two slightly different cast-on eyelet edgings at the beginning of cuff,  the end result in pattern, is slightly again different, combining both. (it was just a matter of changing one round of rib, into knit stitch).

jenjoycedesign©edge-detail

In the weeks ahead this very same pattern is undergoing translation into Italian, and it will then become available to purchase in kit form with the very same Oropa 1ply yarn as you see in photo.  As soon as I have any information to the kit being ready, I will post in celebration of a job well done collaboratively , having a sense of place from both Northern California, and Northern Italy.

jenjoycedesign©mitts-at-work

In photo, larger with optional extra lacework repeat to left, smaller without extra repeat on right.

Meanwhile I will have this pattern for sale along with my other designs, which you will find on Yarnings over it’s pattern page HERE

and on Ravelry HERE

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 Thank you Bonnie, for asking me if I would like to design una cosettina (a little something) for The Wool Box, because I most certainly and thoroughly enjoyed it !  May only ever the warm & soft breezes of spring blow through your lace  ~~ Ciao.

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Now, for a little more information about The Wool Box !

 You may read a little bit about  Some info on The Wool Box  and then check out the English translated websites that Volunteer English-speaking Ambassador to The Wool Box , Bonnie, as created on Ravelry HERE  and on Facebook HERE.

You can read more about “The New History of Italian Wool”  from Bonnie’s blog called “Wool In Italy” . . .  on her post HERE .

If you would like to contact The Wool Box directly (in Italy),  below are links Bonnie  has provided me:

The Wool Box Shop: www.thewoolbox.it
Informazioni: info@thewoolbox.it
Customer Service: customer-service@thewoolbox.com

A Little Something of Lace

 jenjoycedesign©lace-edge

I’ve been working steadily on a project , “A Little Something” ,  for The Wool Box.  I  talk in my previous posts   Posted From Italy  and   Yarn Whisperer  about Northern Italy’s  “The Wool Box” , of Biella’s heritage wool mill and yarns, and of specifically Oropa 1-ply with which I am working in a design.   I’ve changed course a couple of times, with piles of little half-lace mitts strewn about my loft room, I have worked and reworked,  and now I’ve pretty much nailed it.

In the process of experimentation, I’ve come up with a lovely eyelet-icord-rib hybrid edging for the Little Something I’m designing. I pretty much thought it up for myself, and I don’t know what to call it (I’ll come up with something soon).  Love how the single ply’s frisky & playful personality punctuates the edge !  This is after washing and blocking too.  So crisp, Oropa 1-ply is anything but tame . . .

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That said, I have discovered there is a ‘tender underbelly’ of Oropa 1-ply. Being a 1-ply, it does not have the support of another strand keeping it together as much, so when one picks up the end to knit, one must do so delicately, as the end does lose a bit of twist and becomes easily broken (but that’s a no-brainer with any single ply wool). I compensate by taking up a good 12 inches before knitting from an end. Did I mention that this sensitive side of Oropa is just really… well… ‘kitteny’.  . . is that a word?

Better said I suppose, as noting it’s shyer downy quality.

Upon examining the fluff at one of the unraveled ends I noticed  a small percentage of strong & slippery longer hairs and proportionally a lot more of shorter downy wool.  Definitely Old World wool.

*  *    *  *    *  *

On another note, I haven’t been able to knit much today (yet) as I was at a sort of Lady’s Social for the day,  held over at  my neighbor’s, here in the woods.  I actually made a lovely creme brulee from a big fat perfect Meyer lemon growing from our tiny tree in a pot.

jenjoycedesign©creme-brulee-to-go

I packed the three brulees (there were three of us) into a little basket , covered them, threw my knitting bag over my shoulder, kissed Emma good-bye for a while and headed out into the woods (sadly) without her, for what was actually a short five-minute walk through back-country. I felt just like a fairytale character, like Red Ridinghood or Goldilocks.

Meyer Lemon creme brulee to-go, with carmelized sugar and all, delivered back-door style.

  In my opinion, beauty is in the small things, novelties as this. Little pots of golden tastiness !

jenjoycedesign©Meyer-lemon-creme-brulee

The recipe, for those interested, with just three ingredients, it’s incredibly easy and fast to make . . .

Meyer Lemon Creme Brulee:

1 very large and ripe Meyer lemon , 1 pint of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup organic sugar

Finely zest lemon and squeeze juice from it.

In small saucepan slowly heat pint of cream, while stirring, until it begins to boil.  Keep at ‘barely boiling’ for a couple of minutes, while stirring, then take off heat.

Add lemon zest , stir, and then slowly stir in the lemon juice.

Fill about 5 or 6 ramekin cups and let cool. Refrigerate for at keast 4 hours. Rest assured, it *does* set up !

About 20-30 minutes before serving,  sprinkle a teaspoon or two of sugar on top of each brulee,  and with a hand held torch ( or under broiler flame)  carmelize sugar until bubbles and darkens to a deep gold ~~~ while  creating a crisp layer on top.

Eat & Enjoy !

Linen Lace

jenjoycedesign©Euroflax-linen

Recently I stopped in on my Local Yarn Shop  and bought these scrumptious sapphire gems of Louet Euroflax Wet-Spun Linen yarn.  There were three x 270 yard skeins of  fine sport weight yarn that screamed ‘take me home with you!’ all in unison, and so I did.   Actually, had I not had a colossal store credit from a very generous gift, I would never have splurged on these, it was just one of those rare situations.

The honest truth is, I’ve been hankering to try the Euroflax yarn forever,  and to try a simple lace stole too, so why not make this my starting point?   Knowing full well that I am soon to be knitting up something for Spring Sweaters for my nieces, it will have to be something I can put down for a good long rest and just pick up whenever . . .   a ‘take along in my knit-walking bag’ sort of thing, for the months ahead in spring and summer. In fact, I can’t imagine anything nicer to knit in hot weather than deep blue cool tones of linen, in the color of cold mountain lakes, or new jeans.

That’s right, I don’t expect to finish anytime soon, but I can hardly wait to begin those yarn-overs,  just wading through row after row of crisp linen. Just something about linen which tickles a spot for me, and I feel though it was a bit of a stash-quest,  it will be ready when I decide to cast on.

Double Cappuccino & Ruffles

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The lace leg-warmers are at last sweetly embracing my now fourteen-year-old niece . . . . .   sans boots.

The ‘boot leg’ photo will have to be another time.  In fact, these leg warmers are named “Double Cappuccino” because whenever we have our Equinox sweater photos, they always, without fail, begin at Calistoga  Roastery.  That, and they really do remind me of a whip-topped yummy drink.   Until the next time at the roastery , I was lucky to squeeze in this little photo shoot before our visit was up and my nieces had to leave back home.

jenjoycedesign©Double Cappuccino 1

Double Cappuccino Leg Warmers have a frothed milk quality with an ever-so-slightly asymmetrical lace pattern in ribbing,  and is such a speedy and uncomplicated knit.  ((proof : I made these while hiking))  Knit with sport-weight natural undyed superwash sock yarn, achieving just the right light airy quality  from knitting on US 4 – 3.50 mm needles.   Tasty !

My niece in her infinite good taste,  chose to adorn the upper rib with cute little buttons . . .

jenjoycedesign©Double-Cappuccino-leg-warmers

Which makes these warm to the eyes as well as to the touch !

Calistoga Coffee Roastery is the first stop with all of our  modeling of Equinox Sweaters, so it will be the first design (and kick-off) of my ~~ Calistoga Collection !

Double Cappuccino pattern on Ravelry HERE

Pattern page for Double Cappuccino on Yarnings HERE

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Now, I can’t leave it at that , because *both* of my lovely nieces participated in our little impromptu knit-wear photo shoot of this morning.  Here is my adorable eleven-year-old niece in the “Ruffles” scarf I made her for Christmas.

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It is nice simply tied and cascading down the front,

or double wrapped and tied for a very pretty affect.

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Is she not the most photogenic kid ever?

jenjoycedesign©ruffles

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Ruffles details on Ravelry  HERE

Free How-To instructions for Ruffles Scarf  HERE.