New Moss

jenjoycedesign© new mossI  went for a walk up the ridge in the foggy drizzle, and turned around only a short way up, where the bad burn begins.  But at that turning point something I saw took my breath away!  It was this bright yellow green carpet emerging from the wet black soot that has covered the dormant forest floor for seventeen months now.  Beads of water hang on the tips of the moss fronds, precious and glistening,  growing up from some magical deep rooted system, and truly a miracle of time and season!  Just as this new moss is sprouting ever so blithely and succulent from a colorless landscape, so I want to be.  I am so happy today to release incessant worries about what is not right,  for thinking it only constantly reaffirms and makes it persist in being.  I am prepared for weightlessness,  living for now,  happy, all focus on productivity of the present, and hyper sensitivity of natures regrowth,  because the greatest inspiration and design element from nature is right before me.
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Snow!

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It snowed last night!  Here at 2000 ft elevation, it is sticking, and temperature is cold enough to keep it a while.  Oh, but there seems to be something nestled into the snow…

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It is two cakes of finished UnSpun!

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of which I mentioned in the last post .

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A gorgeous blackish tealish blue, 1100 yards & 100 grams,  this super fine lace weight is ready to make a journey to Hamburg Germany!  You can see all four of this series in Unspun For Friends

And all is well in our snowy charcoal forest.

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And Emma in  her  car,   snuggled under a blanket with her squirrel …

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She hasn’t a care in the world about the snowy cold!

A walk in the rain.

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Walking along beneath a big umbrella in the rain that has been dumping inches all week,  and I couldn’t be happier about that.  I’ve got a lot of thoughts I want to write about in the coming weeks, but want to pace myself through them so I’m not spent way before my new design is ready.  As I mentioned nearly every recent post, I’m entertaining myself connecting elements into a sort of sprawling theme, of veils & variations, and whatever else jumps in my way to shape it as it goes, and let me tell you, I’ve got a great heap of knitting to do before I’m finished with it, but I want to take the time it demands and give it my best.

While I knit I have been contemplating with great nostalgia to be back in my house again, moving between the rooms, and the sun beams through the windows.  But the situation requires I wait many months yet, so I’m trying very hard to concentrate on the present moment.   Today  I’ve had a beautiful walk through the woods, retracing my old trails again and seeing the forest heal a little more, and life is good.

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In the golden rolling hills of California.

Photo from the archives:  Fields of Gold

I was listening to an eerily beautiful song “Redtail Hawk”  the other day, and remembering fondly my walks and wildlife before the wildfire. There was a pair of redtail hawks I use to see, often times I would go up the ridge, and sometimes one or both of them would fly right over me, as if to say ” hello! ” as they decended down into the grassy rocky meadow in the photo. It was in fact,  in those tall fir trees at the left in the photo,  where they would almost always land.  Perhaps in those trees was their nest, or at least a perching place to survey, and I hate to say but those particular trees did not survive the wildfire.

I should mention that the redtail hawk is as much a part of the golden fields of California as the grass itself,  because of their main diet, the bounty of field rodents which live in and among the swaying grasses. I haven’t seen this pair of hawks nor heard their wavering lonesome screech since moving back up on the mountain into our Tiny House in May,  but I am hopeful they will return, maybe they already have.  If you are interested in these things, you can listen to the Redtail Hawk’s cry,  but I’ll close by sharing with you the song, I hope you enjoy.  Oh, and very soon all this golden grassy genius of the place will come together in a new design I can’t wait to show you, so stay tuned!

Redtail Hawk –  Kate Wolf

The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky
There’s music in the waters flowing by
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs
In the golden rolling hills of California
It’s been so long love since you said goodbye
My cabin’s been as lonesome as a cry
There’s comfort in the clouds drifting by
In the golden rolling hills of California
A neighbor came today to lend a hand
As I fixed the road as best as I can
It’s just something that needs another’s hand
In the golden rolling hills of California
In the golden rolling hills of California
The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky
There’s music in the waters flowing by
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs
In the golden rolling hills of California
In the golden rolling hills of California

See posts about Golden Fields pattern HERE.

Timberframe! Part Two

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The first rafters.

About a week ago I posted first of the posts & beams in Timberframe!   I think the most photogenic and magical part of building a timberframe house is when the posts & beams go together,  against a hopeful blue sky.

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Most days have had thick smoke in the air from yet another dreadful wildfire northeast of Napa County,  but yesterday the breeze shifted and some blue sky was showing, and the tops of many of the trees are somewhat healthy looking in spite of their charred trunks.

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The timberframe should be finished this week and I am already totally and completely in love with our new house.

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Watch this space for old familiar interior shots, as next the house will become enclosed, racing the clock as rain is expected next weekend.

♥    ♥    ♥

See all posts about our building our timberframe house HERE.

Four Posts

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Now that the posts & beams of the house are going up, I am in a creative mood about what will go inside the rooms.  A couple of days ago I found  this  old oak double bed frame, and I’m really enjoying fixing it up.  It is very solid,  relatively inexpensive and worth every bit of work I put into it.

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It will go in the Loft Room, replacing an old tarnished brass bed I had forever, but I have convinced myself that I love this much better than the old one, for I love the feel of wood, so sensual and natural.
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I spent several hours scrubbing every surface with #0000 (finest) steel wool and a beeswax citrus cleaner, scrubbing off a layer of dirt & old lacquer,  resulting in a satin finish with golden oak highlights! Although it could use another scrubbing, I am reticent for I don’t want to lose the depth of patina in the grain & crevasses.

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A few cracks in the posts and flakes lifted from the veneer of the side boards, but I am absolutely totally in love with it.  I will be looking for old quilts now to dress it with, perhaps making another someday, but for now I am envisioning blocking out lace stoles the whole length of it!

Things Happening

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Now for a little catch up on the house construction!

Do you recognize my signature view of the mountains?

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Foundation poured, and floor joists going up , photos just taken less than an hour ago, during the workers’ lunch break.

Then a few hours later….

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Watch this space, things are really happening now. Next week construction starting on the road (we’re forced to put in a road to rebuild!)  and also starting next week will be the posts & beams of the timberframe going up!

♥   ♥   ♥

Emma is thirteen & a half today!

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Yesterday I took Emma out for a little walk, although not very far.  I’ve been rather quiet about things going on with Emma, but now she is on the mend, I will mention that she seems to be slowly recovering from a serious illness which came on in the first days of September rendering her completely unable to move on her own, and with very little appetite. I thought I lost her and was enormously miserable for weeks as I nursed her , but now she’s able to walk a little on her own, getting stronger every day, and eating a lot!IMG_20181101_094756.jpg

  My constant companion Emma ~~ she’s such a soldier!

A new favorite.

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I was out walking on the ridge this morning, and missing my favorite old majestic oaks killed in the wildfire, but now finding new ones to admire. I think this one is a new favorite, but I can’t tell from the photo whether it is a blue oak or black oak, both which thrive side-by-side in this tiny micro-landscape of the mountain. Pushing myself further & faster now, focusing on speed up the ridge in the morning, and relaxing knit-walking in the afternoon. I hope to share more of the changing landscape as I’ve decided to take my phone with me every time I go out now, which is a completely new thing. Oh, and I have a knitting & fitness “game” I’ll be sharing soon!

Out into Autumn

jenjoycedesign© October 21,2018 Out walking I see the Mayacamas mountains rolling southerly down into their foothills.

I am enjoying Autumn now that the leaves are beginning to cover

the blackened forest floor from last year

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This sparse ground cover is only the beginning of the leaf fall,

they will continue to flutter down until winter is here.

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I woke today after having seemingly dreamed almost consciously about a new fresh start in life walking a little more every day,  away from stress of the wildfire,  restoring a positive feeling about myself  and my life, so that when the house is finally ready for us to move into it,  I will be rebuilt too.   Its been a rough year for me, hands down, and I have existed in a self spun cocoon trying to not think about the stressful things,  but I really do believe committing to walking increased distances will cure all that is wrong in my world.  Just one walk at a time.

Hillwalker, and an anniversary.

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Introducing the Hillwalker sweater duo…

(and photographed with my walking stick!)

I have now finished both the pullover and the cardigan,

and that means Hillwalker is now two patterns for one download !

♣    ♣    ♣

Today is the one-year anniversary of the historic Northern California Firestorm  which burned through two counties and thousands of homes, including our own.  Such an anniversary of loss seems to be a time to test resilience, rising above hardship, and moving beyond the grief toward healing happier times. As I walk on the mountain,  I feel the loss, and regrowth in such an overwhelming way.

jenjoycedesign© October walk

There are so many dead trees, but surprisingly, there are many that are alive.

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A favorite Blue Oak, gone.

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Vineyards thriving.

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A favorite rocky meadow.

This Autumn comes as a relief, now I can focus on what is ahead, and what is new, fresh, and positive. Life is short, its over in a blink, and we have every ability to control our attitude.  I’ve learned one very important thing through the experience of this last year, and that is the only thing we can truly own is our attitude, and the accomplishments of  our mind.   The rest is just material & prone to ashes.

♣    ♣    ♣

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Northerly view over valley fog.

Waning Summer

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Its the last days of summer, finally.  I thought I’d never get through them.

The Autumn Equinox is near, and I thought I’d enjoy a nice afternoon walk up the ridge and take some photos of the landscape in the waning summer.

Wild peas  continuing to bloom unusually late…
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As I got higher up the ridge where the bad burn is,

I notice so many sprouted trees, as this baby knob cone pine, about 8 inches tall …

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Sprouted right beneath the scorched parent tree, full of pine cones….

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In a blink it will be the Autumnal Equinox , only four days!  Knowing I am near to being in a far better place mentally with the anniversary of the wildfire so soon to pass, I am so very eager to be grateful again and excited about life’s good things.

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Out Walking

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This morning we got out earlier than we have been.

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I am hiking solo now, but sometimes I’ll drive up the road a little ways and give Emma a ride, then she waits in the car in a nice shady spot.

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She still looks so healthy, but she does not like to walk very far.  Isn’t she just beautiful?

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Today I had my Nikon and took some photos of regrowth in the landscape.  New shoots emerging prolifically from burned trees everywhere!

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The wildfire burned so much foliage and shrubs on the ridge that I’ve been finding old dump sites and old roads long abandoned too, but mostly, trees are making a come-back , and the flowers bloomed as ever before…

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On the way back to our Tiny House, stopping where our house “was”.  Do you recognize the landscape beyond that I so often photographed from our deck?

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Many trees I am finding , are still alive with green crowns, so all is not lost. In fact, the big black oak which shaded our house and most of the deck in the heat of the summer afternoon, was so badly burned we thought no chance, but now it has green sprouting out of ash-grey trunk!  The wildfire brings so much perspective about potential of regeneration, that I must witness this as I walk through the seasons. I’ve put all my focus on the hill before me, and knitting as I go.

Life is good.

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Afternoon Light

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Wildflowers lingering in the whitening grass.

My favorites are the tall wobbly blue Brodea,  and the dainty fragile wild roses, absolutely everywhere!

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The cheerful wild peas climbing up the garden fence…

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Yesterday walking about with Emma,

capturing just a few of the woodland wildflowers in the late afternoon sun .

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Quite a different mood & light cast from Early Light that very same day.

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Brodea in small little gatherings , as they wobble in the breeze in unison.

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Everywhere these plump yellow-green shy flowers with their faces always cast down.

jenjoycedesign© Emma in May

Life is good, and everything in its place.

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Early Light

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Large patches of trees not burned in their crowns, giving a flooding sense of hope.

This morning as I was taking pen into hand to write my morning journal entry,  I noticed a warm orange glow cast from the sunrise, and giving an intense beauty into the forest. Early morning light sure does give me perspective, and so I grabbed my camera and just looked about.

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My life hasn’t felt very photogenic lately,  so capturing these images suddenly lifts me a little.  It seems always less the subject, and nearly all the light, which makes or breaks a photograph.   And as I have been feeling so overwhelmed with being uprooted during this crazy shuffling about, now seven & 1/2 months since the wildfire, this morning’s sunrise brings a delicate understanding of how both expectation & impatience are troubling me.

As I write this a very big and ominously black raven lands just outside the picture window, on the roof of the little shed next to Tiny House, and seems to be inspecting something. I love the ravens, I am so happy they weren’t away long. The wildlife is indeed more scarce since the fire, but seems to be slowly populating this lonely wood. I have felt thrown out of synchronization with the wild for what is half a year before we moved our Tiny House up here, and I realize this morning that I missed out on a full half rotation around the sun, from 10th of October last year to the 1st of May, being away from this place.  That is a long time for a hermit (merely a soft kind word for agoraphobic) .  I must just … b r e a t h e….. now back up on the mountain. Breathe it in!   This month of May has been such work learning to live and operate inside of a small space. A really small space, and still doing without so much that makes the experience more like camping … as though my ‘real life’ is still on hold.

But life is not on hold,  must forget how life once seemed, and open my eyes to the reality of being here, and now, and this could be as good as it gets.  Still , my knitting design which has been seriously ergonomically tampered with,  nothing in a neat orderly space, but in boxes, here and there, is going to hibernate a spell while we go through more harrowing experience with the demands of the county, which in the end may prove an ironic and impossible situation for rebuilding.

I strive to be happy for what I have.   Namely, my charcoal forest, and sense of place…. the ones I love, and this Tiny House.    I guess I just need more time, figuring my way forward, thinking about what matters. Life is so short, and I feel each day which slips by that even the rhythm of work of my knitting design has become distortingly hazy.   I find I am caught in a sort of reflection of life up to the fire, and am wanting to set in motion the way forward, but frozen peering into that reflection.

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Early morning reflection from window of tiny house.

Life is difficult often, but good,  and everything in its place.

 

A tint of wild rose.

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Along my knitting trail, explosions of new growth in the charcoal forest, and an occasional over-dyed skein drying from the branches.

A few weeks back, only a couple of days after we moved into our new Tiny House,  I dyed this sock yarn with food coloring. My favorite shade of rose inspired by the old-fashioned roses in my garden …

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But perhaps mostly,  the dusty rose of my tea pot .

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I was going to make this whole experiment into a dying tutorial, and had taken down the steps, but thought to wait how it turned out.   At the dying stage, the experiment was working beautifully, having gone from two balls of Patons Kroy in color Linen ( in this post recently) , to what I was trying for ;  a dusty grey rose tinted slightly variegated overdyed yarn.

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The yarn came out exquisitely.  So I decided to knit the socks.   It took a few weeks, and now here are the results, of um, their good side

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Unfortunately , I am not impressed with this dye, not at all.  Because although the yarn may have been dyed to near perfection, and even though I used vinegar to fix, as I suspected the food coloring would not last… which it did not… in the first wash, there are blotchy patches of fade, showing the tan shade of linen beneath, after drying in the sun, on the faded side …

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So its back to my favorite Jacquard Acid Dye if I am ever to dye again at all.    Dying is such a hazardous hobby, and I really was hoping I could rely on food coloring, but that was wishful thinking.

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A lot of work to put into knitting these beautiful Fishermen Socks  only to have the dye leech out. But with very little yarn left over, I am really happy of the knitting itself, which was very enjoyable, and I fear I am thoroughly addicted to knitting these St Andrews Harbour socks , piles of them, and may just keep on knitting them for the forthcoming winter holiday gift season.

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This pair will not be worthy of gift giving next winter holiday, but they will be most excellent hard wearing boot socks for my LLBean gardening boots, and what I was thinking of back in this post , of roses captured in socks!

Pattern:  St Andrews Harbour 

Yarn:  Patons Kroy Sock, color ” Linen “, overdyed with food coloring, five parts red to one part blue.

Ravelry details here.

 

Our Tiny House

Greetings from our  Tiny House in the Charcoal Forest! Our Tiny House arrived here at the beginning of May,  and now we have fully nested back in our charcoal forest. It was a major ordeal hauling it up the mountain with … Continue reading

blue things

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

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

Into the mist …

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Went for a stroll out in the drizzling rain,  and took a few photos into the veil of mist.  jenjoycedesign© mist2

The mist softens the blackened soil, but the grass is growing up through it in the open spaces now, hovering over and caressing the wound of the wildfire.

I am feeling a nearly unperceivable whispering heartbeat of optimism …

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… as if life might still be good after all, in spite of itself.

Tweed Chronicles: Manzanita Blossom

photo from archives:  A Storm On The Way

The blossoms of the Arctostaphylos (manzanita) on the ridge trail of the mountain ~~ one with pink flowers, and one with white ~~ are the first blossoms arriving in winter!

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pink blooming manzanita

Nestled side by side on the ridge, the two varieties are perfectly complimenting of each other, and as fragrant as they are breathtaking in beauty.

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white blooming manzanita

((You can read more about the manzanita in this post ))

Now looking at my latest tweed yarn colorway:  “manzanita blossom” …  it will be a pink, with a just a dusting of white.

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A blush of pink against rocky volcanic landscape is one of the most beautiful things in the mountain landscape, and I do think I found just the right shade ( although I wished I put a tiny bit more white in the last blending layer) …

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A shy pink.

A pink which is the color of mid winter … pale and fresh.

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There in the pink is the saturated neutral too.

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Now, let me show you how I do it…

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff for Manzanita (pink)…

  •  Color Saturated Neutral recipe for approx 5g each of primary triad of blue, red, and yellow:  Blended thoroughly on blending board with 15g of white as many times as necessary to fully homogenize…

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  • With neutral-white mix, layer alternately with 5g each of Fuscia, Rose, and Flamingo Pinks, and 5-10g more white  (see Blending For Tweed Simplified)

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  •  Lift batt, and layer again twice more.  (Note to improve: try last layering with another 5g white. to get more white ‘streaking’)
  • Draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  “Manzanita blossom” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

 

Tweed Chronicles: The color of fog …

March's entrance

photo from archives: Shades Of Fog

Fog is a huge part of life on the mountain, for me, and I just love the fog show …

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fog in January, 2015

I love to watch it pour over the ridge from the Pacific, fluid and volatile, and into the valley,  or splashing up from it.  I also love it just thickly hovering about …

jenjoycedesign©blue oaks in fog

photo from archives:  Foggy

So naturally, my next tweed endeavor must capture the color of fog !

jenjoycedesign© fog white

It is my basic white,  well,  a near white, where like fog, you see faint color of images behind …

 

Just a tiny bit of the color-saturated neutral to start, then blended several times with increasing amount of white wool, so you’ll see flecks of blue, red and yellow upon close inspection.

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I really am enjoying developing a personal hand-spun color palette, and see no end to my combing wool in different combinations, racing obsessively from blending board to the spinning wheel, grabbing my camera to photograph, wash, dry, wind on swift, photogragh again …

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… then on to the next !

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff for Fog (white)…

  •  Color Saturated Neutral recipe for approx 10-15% base, primary triad of blue, red, and yellow:  Blended thoroughly on blending board.   Note: for a more dramatic tweed, with gobs of color splashing through, blend only once , then continue.
  • Starting with white, layer alternately with neutral (see Blending For Tweed Simplified)
  •  Lift batt, divide as needed and layer again and again with more white, repeatedly fully hemogenized, more or fewer times until white/neutral values balance as desired.
  • Draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  “Fog” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Buttons

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I’m going through my numerous button jars, sifting and splashing about, trying to decide which one to finish the latest vest…

 

I really love the wild cat-eye buttons in square one, but there are tragically only three, and the other vest I have decided should have the same buttons. Two vests and ten buttons. Choices left then are either the wood, or the metal & plastic in third square.  I’m thinking I’ll go with the warm natural wood for both vests (the other one v-neck, this will be the crew-neck option). Which by the way , should both be done while racing against the clock, by this weekend. My personal goal is to have the pattern up and running by next week for test-knitters, so if you are interested, please say so!

Meanwhile, last night there was a spectacular storm-brewing and wind kicking up amidst a fantastic colorful firey sunset, with fog rolling in from the Pacific coast…sunset

I am still fighting a horrible cold, but fortunately I can stay home and get lots accomplished  with the knitting, while keeping the wood stove crackling, as its suddenly dropped to low 40’s outside. The blustery cold Autumnal mountain weather has finally arrived!

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!!

Knitting In The Wild

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We have been walking through the morning hours of Autumn.  Miles of yarn and prints of dog paws, and shoes, side by side. More chaotically spaced actually, mine straight forward, destination ahead, focused on the rounds of lace, of sleeves, of precious warm cardigans, and Emma’s  prints with her own agenda, as the wild life is speaking to her and new smells are exciting her in zig-zag directions and renewed vigor giving her incentive to come up to the peak with me these days.

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Our walks journey through Autumn,  with the arrival of rain, we seem to be experiencing  a gradual awakening of our dormant selves,  as is with the succulent green mosses everywhere … our joy of joys.

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To the peak we have walked a few times this Autumn already.  On the ridge right before the peak, like a comfortable old bed,  there is a soft pine needle layer from an eerie forest of stick-like old trees composting on the jutting toothy rock beneath … it is so dreamy to walk through, I just had to hang my knitting on it and be silly.

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Everything is in its place, and life is good.

Equinox Walk

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Happy Autumn Equinox everyone!   It is in recent years, my favorite day of the year. This morning the equinox occurred at 7:21 in the morning, and I planned to get to my secret knitting spot on one of my trails, overlooking a vineyard and hazy Mt Diablo in the distance, only about a ten-minute walk from my door at the most. Here are some more photos of our little early morning walk out to greet the new season…

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Emma enjoyed the scent of the fresh wildlife tracks from the night, and I enjoyed the brilliant angled light fuzzing through the trees. We then reached our secret spot on time, about 7:20, here standing on the big stump of a very large fir, gives a wonderful vantage point of the area we live in.

The light at sunrise had an amber glow and the air is cool. I thoroughly love this little loop in the woods next to my house, at first light.  Tomorrow and often in the days following, I think I will come here to greet the sunrise and feel Autumn’s transitory beauty. Perhaps a thermos of tea and sit on the stump here, knit, and thoroughly enjoy the season as the leaves slowly turn.

I also have a little new knitting going on, but I won’t give details for another week or so…

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Enjoy your first-day-of-Autumn and happy knitting!

 

Mid August

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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 have been thinking about my knitting trail, and ideas.  So far it’s just staked out and haven’t walked it very much, but I need a grand plan, and I need ideas. I was hoping for some from you readers.

Now I will make myself a fresh iced coffee and wait for a little conversation to begin…

June and yarn tasting…

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I went into town this morning, and stopped into the local yarn shop, and there was a new batch of yarn in, which I just couldn’t resist. Rowan Purelife “Revive” : 36% recycled silk, 36% recycled cotton, and 28% recycled viscose. Beautiful apricot pink and clay tweeds, which will suit my coloring well, as  I plan on making it into a ‘striped’  Altitude Lace Cowl,  and for moi !   (Ahem… once bought and brought home, I can never resist a good ol’ yarn photo-shoot,  as yarn makes such nice portraits.)

As of a few days ago we’ve had the presence of  some interesting clouds hovering!  Today I swear, it rained a few drops, a few gorgeous wet drops, and threatens to rain some more…

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June is a lovely month. Transitional, mostly unpredictable, mild, beautiful, and cheerful.  I even love the word, so cute, and yet rather ancient sounding… “joon”.

I have decided to not write a pattern for the halter tops I mentioned in last post. Just too much uncharted territory to deal with, as I have so much to get busy with in the knitting, and my non-knitting life too.  So the cotton tops will be a pure & simple yarn tasting and summer treat for my nieces ~~ with no agenda. ( Wow, ‘no agenda’ sounds like I was let out on summer vacation! )

That is it for this post, more a clearing of slate and in a lovely mood as June unwinds into summertime, so soon to be here.

Anniversary Socks

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March of this year Jeff and I have been married one year, and 21 years together, and I thought as an anniversary gift to Jeff, with whom I have backpacked the John Muir Trail many many miles, that I would design him trail socks !!  He seemed to be okay with the idea, however, he is very picky about scratchy woolly things and socks, and anything ‘gear’ related.  Made of super fine quality Merino-superwash & nylon sock yarn, in granite tones, the socks ended up very soft & completely not scratchy, and the nice cushioned heel, instep & toe are ultra comfortable in and outside of a boot.  Now  two & 1/2 months after our anniversary,  here is the final result ~~~ and he approves!

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Shown are Wild Wool Trail Socks, designed for and dedicated to Jeff.

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This is actually the first real pair for Jeff that I’ve made since releasing the pattern,  delivered a little belatedly.

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Incidentally, the last time we were in the Sierras in July 2014, it was for our 20th anniversary of being a couple, and we backpacked to Granite Lake in John Muir country, where the inspiration came to me…

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Well, it may have taken me a year and a half to ruminate this design from inspiration to finished pattern, but perhaps for good reason, for the timing of events involve a spooky coincidence of anniversaries! To start, our 20th anniversary in 2014 was 100 years after Muir’s death in 1914, this year is the centennial anniversary of America’s National Parks established August 1916, and lastly, I just happened to have submitted (unknowingly) the pattern on  John Muir’s birthday April 21st.

In forthcoming posts, I may go on with presenting you finished projects, both of my own and of other knitters,  so that we can have a bit of an extended tribute to John Muir.

Sock details on Ravelry HERE.