Aria With Variations: the pattern.

jenjoycedesign© Abelene & Aria 2.JPG

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

jenjoycedesign© Aria detail.JPG

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

jenjoycedesign© Abelene & stoles.JPG

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

jenjoycedesign© Aria & Variation 1 -10

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

jenjoycedesign© Variation 1 -4.JPG

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

so here are those favorite Goldberg Variations highlights !


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

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

Ta ta,
Abelene

Unspun: Midnight Heather

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

jenjoycedesign© unspun for friends project 1

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

Midnight Heather is an intense dark blue color with black undertones. Reminiscent of the dark night sky, Midnight Heather intrigues us with the flecks of blues and blue greens that add visual interest to this usually rich color.
jenjoycedesign© unspun for friends project 1 (2)

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

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

Next, I’ll post the finished skeins!

But until then enjoy Shetland Fine Lace, and remember …

”    Its only Knitting !   “

Inside of diamonds.

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

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

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

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 one of the windswept islands 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.

Aria 2

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

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!

A work in progress.

jenjoycedesign, future loft room

My ” Loft “. December 21, 2018

I’ve been pondering a lot lately about how much of my life feels like a work in progress.  Fortunately the house is ~ finally ~ in progress, but still I can’t even guess as to when it will be a finished thing. I just hope that we don’t move in and then take another several years finishing, like the … um… first time we built it. I recall sharing in this post, November 2012 when we finally put in the upstairs finished floor, and I finally gave my loft its finished paint coat. That folks, was nearly eight years after we had moved in!  When we moved in January 2005, the living room was still a work shop, yup, we were living among chop saws and rip saws, and the like.  I am so worried that this will be a repeat performance, but I know I should not worry, because it is a whole different experience this time around.

Now for a much easier thing, a knitting work in progress.

jenjoycedesign© wip

I can at least force myself to think about stitches to distraction, even if it does border on a sometimes extreme perspective in life where knitting is my meditation, medication, and dedication  (oh, and revisiting Fishwives Shoal is proving to be quite the challenge!)  I am hoping to be finished with this by my birthday in a few weeks. It would be a great present to myself to have knit this special yarn bought back when,  this yarn that was among the few sentimental yarns I took with me when I fled the wildfire (although I brought none of my knitteds) and now I can finally make it into a knitted form.  When I consider all historic elements of this project ~~ this yarn, this design, and this room ~~ it really is quite fitting that I should put importance on this small stole, for it represents a sort of cycle, and coming around to the origin of things.

Check out the original stole I blocked in the original house loft room, the very same space as the the top photo is showing to be again some day…

jenjoycedesignc2a9-sneak-peek-2

From the Archives: June Into July

I don’t know how I can manage to post the past & future photos of my loft together here without drawing tears (now that is progress!)  but the theme really is asking for it. This idea of accepting life to be a work in progress, and all we hold dear, for if we were not working in progress, how unchallenged & bored would we be.  Anyway, after the holidays now I finally have a quiet little recess to explore unfinished projects, big and small, but mostly pondering what that means, and how leaving things unfinished is not good for me. It feels great to seek out this historic yarn I took with me, and to have the opportunity to finish it at last, and to post these photos of the house being built and anticipating my creative space  coming together again.  The house will be done in a blink, and there’ll be me next year at this time thinking & worrying about other things.

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…

jenjoycedesign© detail 2
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.

jenjoycedesign© golden fields stole 12

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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.

jenjoycedesign© golden fields stole 19
jenjoycedesign© golden fields stole 4

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

some lace

jenjoycedesign© blue lace cowl 1

Hi everyone, its me Abelene!

Jen let me try on her most recent lacy things, and they feel so pretty.   Just so nice.   This blue one is baby alpaca, called Alpaca Cloud by Knit Picks, and Jen said it is a sample of a new lace thing she is working on that she hopes to come out with this Autumn. How exciting that I get to model it as a sneak preview!

jenjoycedesign© blue lace cowl 2

Jen told me that there was no room in the Tiny House to block the cowl out to dry, so she pinned it down on her car seat over night ~~ ha ha, very funny!    Also she put this lovely  plum colored ribbed lace on me, told me to say that it is made from a yarn called Gloss by Knit Picks, which has silk and merino wool, and is a modification of her Double Cappuccino pattern … and I just can’t help but think how similar to frothed milk that it feels like. Really so!

jenjoycedesign© plum lace cowl.JPG

Thats me for now, signing off… and its back into the shed I go.

Ta ta,   Abelene

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.

jenjoycedesign© double-cappuccino-cowl3

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

 

Fishwives Lace Shoal

The-Fish-Wife

“The Fishwife” by Edward Charles Barnes

This painting caught my eye last winter, and so when the coast was clear in spring I dove into a lace designing frenzy.  For a while I have wanted to make a female counterpart to my Fishermens Neck Gansey, and so here it is finally ~~~ done & dusted!  Inspired by the painting, and in the same colorway as the painting …

 Fishwives Lace Shoal !

jenjoycedesign© small shawl & cowl together

Small shawl worn over medium cowl.

Fishwives Shoal  = shawl + stole.  ( Okay,  plus a cowl thrown in! )  A play on words, indeed. As many of you have been reading all the fishy posts  leading up to this one (especially Shoal or School?  will help you get the name of my new design).  Fish tails motifs with yarn-overs resembling splashes, and waves in-between create a beautiful lace pattern.  Three styles, and three sizes in each.

The Shawl  is square, and worn folded diagonally around neck double thick and tucked into corset, or just pin together.  This one shown in pink is the small shawl(ette) size,  while largest size, with diagonal of 64”, wraps around whole torso as a traditional Scottish hap does, and would also do nicely as a throw.

 


The Stole is just as a French neck & shoulder wrap, sized from wide scarf to full shoulder wrap.

jenjoycedesign© medium stole 1

Medium stole.

jenjoycedesign© medium stole back

Back of medium stole.

jenjoycedesign© medium stole wrapped

jenjoycedesign© small stole 3

Small stole.

The Cowl is simplest of the three styles, and knit in-the-round.

jenjoycedesign© medium cowl

Medium cowl

jenjoycedesign© medium cowl 3
But of all the three styles, I think I love most is to wear two of them together!

jenjoycedesign© small stole & cowl together 2

Small stole in rose, with medium cowl in natural white.

jenjoycedesign© small stole & cowl together

jenjoycedesign© med stole & small shawl

Medium stole in light grey, with small shawl in pink.

jenjoycedesign© med & small stoles

Medium stole in light grey, with small stole in rose.

Well that about wraps up an epic project. I will be laying low for a while, but soon back on another big idea I am sure.   ~~ Boat loads of thanks to Wendy from Ontario for her test-knitting and generous help with figuring things out! Thanks Wen! ~~xx

Details on Ravelry pattern page over HERE

 I will leave you now with some great old photos of a bygone era of real fishwives in their shawls…

Newhaven Fishwives early 1900s
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Old Photograph Scottish Fishwife St Andrews Scotland
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and another cheery post card, one of a Newhaven Fishwife!

old postcard NewHavenFishwife

Shoal or School?

Clupea_harengus_Gervais.jpgA tasty bit o’ fish fact:  Schooling and shoaling are types of collective behavior of fish.  Any group of fish that stay together for social reasons is said to be shoaling, and if the shoal is swimming in the same direction together, it is schooling.  Herring spend most of their lives shoaling or schooling and become agitated if separated from the group, while others, such as Atlantic Cod school only some of the time. Salmon travel in large, loose schools, eventually migrating into upper reaches of rivers to spawn. Fish generally prefer larger shoals,  with shoalmates of their own species, similar in size and appearance to themselves. Any shoal member which stands out in appearance may be targeted by predators, explaining why fish prefer to shoal with individuals that resemble themselves.  This is called the oddity effect.  read more….

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Herring school or shoal?

Honestly, I always assumed the words ‘shoal’ and ‘school’ were the same meaning, but morphed into two words through cross language use.  I have learned something!  So now that we know about the difference between schools and shoals,  I’d like to share with you one of my favorite fishing songs “Shoals Of Herring”,  this version by the song writer himself, Ewan MacColl.

Words as sung by Ewan MacColl:

With our nets and gear we’re faring
On the wild and wasteful ocean.
Its there on the deep that we harvest and reap our bread
As we hunt the bonnie shoals of herring

O it was a fine and a pleasant day
Out of Yarmouth harbor I was faring
As a cabinboy on a sailing lugger
For to go and hunt the shoals of herring

O the work was hard and the hours were long
And the treatment, sure it took some bearing
There was little kindness and the kicks were many
As we hunted for the shoals of herring

O we fished the Swarth and the Broken Bank
I was cook and I’d a quarter sharing
And I used to sleep standing on my feet
And I’d dream about the shoals of herring

Well we left the homegrounds in the month of June
And to Canny Shiels we soon were bearing
With a hundred cran of the silver darlings
That we’d taken from the shoals of herring

Now you’re up on deck, you’re a fisherman
You can swear and show a manly bearing
Take your turn on watch with the other fellows
While you’re following the shoals of herring

In the stormy seas and the living gales
Just to earn your daily bread you’re daring
From the Dover Straits to the Faroe Islands
While you’re following the shoals of herring

Well I earned my keep and I paid my way
And I earned the gear that I was wearing
Sailed a million miles, caught ten million fishes
We were following the shoals of herring

I also found a lovely Gaelic version, sung by Scottish group The Lochies, from the Hebrides…

Two fun facts:   One, the singer in the group The Lochies, John MacMillan who formed the trio,  was a Harris Tweed weaver from the Hebridean Isle of Lewis in Scotland ~~ amazing!   And two, this song was one of my all-time favorites to play mandolin while backing up my duo mate John, back when we were gigging not so long ago, I’d always beg him to sing it before the gig was over.   

I’ll leave off with a peek of my most recent & last of the prototypes for forthcoming design, which I started only yesterday after ripping out another  in a different color, and which was several days worth of knitting.  This one is a keeper…

jenjoycedesign© sneak peek

Well, that about wraps up this sneak peek until next time, when I will post one more in the Fishy series before the final unveiling of new design!

In the pink.

jenjoycedesign© over-dye

Sipping iced coffee & knitting next to an open window enjoying a very warm breeze wafting through, and listening to a cacophony of birds’ song.  I suppose it is a perfect spring day and I’m feeling utterly in the pink!   What is going on here is over-dying to change a cool ice pink in fingering-weight yarn to a slightly warmer tone…

jenjoycedesign© over-dye

Four skeins overdyed & drying on the line among the oak trees,  on a very warm  June afternoon.  Personally, pink is not my favorite color to wear,  although when you see forthcoming design mentioned in previously posted ‘Fishy’, you will get the Pink Thing.  Yes, and then you will see.  Note that the yarn that I un-plied in Fishy post was far too fine to design with, after all , but it will be very nice to sample the forthcoming design in a finer form.  

♣ ♣ ♣

I hope you are all enjoying your June, and for my nieces school is out for the summer, and we finally have a date to have a photo shoot  of them modeling the Camino Inca designs … so watch this space!

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

*   *   *

 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.

*   *    *

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 . . .

jenjoycedesign©lace-edge2

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.

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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

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.