I’ve attempted to replicate a photo I posted on the Autumn Equinox 2017, and about two weeks after that original photo was posted, our house had burned to ashes in the Nuns Wildfire. In the many months following the fire, it was that very post that I gazed at with such a heavy heart of grief and longing. But today is the day of days! As I photograph the same angle of the new rebuilt house, at same time of day, on the same day of the year, I recapture the warmth of that moment again, as the lazy equinox sun sinks low in the afternoon to the west. I feel like I’ve come full circle, having just posted it up to date, home again with everything in its place (sans ceiling fan and squiggly iron rail), not quite finished but very cozy. I am kind of collapsing into a fuzzy warm celebratory mood, a bit weary of the long journey back to my House of Light & Shadow, although I am nothing but colossally grateful. Happy Equinox everyone!
Forthcoming are a very late couple of Autumn 2019 sweaters for my nieces. Here the first one is blocking, that is, washed and drying to shape, on the bed in the loft room across the sunlit stairway landing. The other of the two is in the last stretch of knitting, soon to be blocking in this same space by tomorrow.
The house is feeling like its old self again, regardless of the lack of finish floor and trim, and so the settled place of things brings on a settled feeling of calm, and I am very happy about the way my creativity is slowly returning.
I’m soon to be hoisting up my sails for a run of ideas that have been brewing while I have had to wait until these sweaters were done & dusted, so I am almost there. One down , one to go!
We’ve spent two nights so far in the new house, so we’ve officially moved in, even though the construction mess is ongoing, we’re all just happy to be finally home. Now I’m busy cleaning out the tiny house to its former glory before two humans, a dog, and countless spiders inhabited it for seventeen months, while Jeff continues the finish building. I woke this morning early and watched the rose-gold sunrise, while Emma in her Help’emUp harness acclimates to the new front porch, as that was one of her favorite places before, where she use to spend hours napping in the early mornings.
This morning I went for a first walk from new home into the nearby vineyard. Its harvest in the California Highlands, and the grapes up on the mountain are ripening to perfection.
We are back home, it is Autumn, and life is good.
I have begun collecting little treasures from Autumn ; a leaf from a Black Oak turning gold, a curl of Madrone bark, and a freshly fallen Douglas Fir cone. It was almost a year ago in Autumn that I found this novelty . . .
Now the vintage Four Posts are finally kitted out with a mattress and bedding, and so I’m going to fling off my shoes and curl up on it with some strong coffee in a demitasse, made in a jezve (my thing lately) with fresh shortbread just out of the oven, and contemplate which small quilt I will attempt to make first from “Civil War Legacies” by Carol Hopkins.
The loft room (still without a door as you can see), the kitchen, and upstairs bathroom are the only rooms in the house able to be used thus far, while the main part of the house remains a mess of building, tile dust, and tools. But there is rumor ringing through the rafters, that we may move in this coming weekend, or should I say move out of the tiny house . . . fingers crossed!
The phoenix has landed. I sit peacefully at my laptop parked on the large pastry board in the kitchen, while Emma naps near me, claiming her floor space in the kitchen as she had always done before. As I mentioned last post, we passed the final building & fire inspections, and now we can slowly move in over the next few weeks. I have spent the morning consolidating the construction area to one end of the downstairs floor, and vacuumed, so it feels so much more like home now. All in good time the finish work will get done; doors will be hung, furniture will fill in, although much more sparsely, and things will be again clean, complete, and calm.
Emma is comfortable in the kitchen, most surely she knows she has come home? This of course, is reaching the other side of the bridge to us, having Emma bring us home.
I will be posting more of the usual knitterly & spinnerly things against the backdrop of the rebuilt house as it takes shape, the floor plan nearly identical to what it was before, but with changes that are almost insignificant now. We are all three worn, bedraggled, and *very* tired, but we are home.
Spinning in a room that feels old and familiar,
yet is barely even new.
The rest of the house is in building chaos & still no doors, but I’ve got the skeleton of my Loft room in place, filled with old furniture. I have everything I think I could possibly need, as I have been collecting the essential now for nearly two years, and some unessential as well. I am exhausted of shopping, I want to be doing now.
I have struggled with the place of things in this room, but now I think I have arrived at a floor plan that works, although a bit on the cozy side. I am so intrigued with clean surfaces lately, with everything in its proper drawer or cabinet, so the bookcase of three shelves is potentially problematic and some day I plan on downsizing as it for its too large for my little library, dangerously inviting clutter, and therefore indecision into the room.
I have been indecisive and feeling strangely familiar with everything, yet at the same time I feel an awkward discord just not being use to anything. I hope that odd feeling goes away in time as I begin to work at things, because now all tools of the trade are ready. I am waiting for the waves of inspiration to carry me away!
So far only spinning for a project.
I am committed to these fluffy beautiful swirls of wool and getting themt spun at a casual pace in the weeks ahead,
and committed to getting to know this room of newness & oldness.
We finally got the bathtub that’s been sitting in the woods down at the tiny house for over a year, up on to the 2nd story, all ready for the plumber who is coming tomorrow. We brought it up on a pallet with Jeff’s relic of an old Ford tractor, then we did it just as we had on our first build 15 – 20 years ago; using straps and a come-along tied to a post, to pull the tub up the ramp into the house, then again, tied to a main beam up in the rafters to lift up on to the second story level, and maneuver into bathroom by hand. These photos make it look easy, but there was a :hellofalotof: grief involved, and the event completely shattered my day, even though I managed to get a few photos before and after the worst of it. However, Jeff remained composed, and was on to the next project before I could blink. It is a wonderful little slipper bathtub, and once in its landing pad, I am surprised to see how roomy the space seems! (click 1st photo in mosaic to see slideshow).
I should mention so that there is no confusion if anybody hasn’t been following this epic journey homeward; do see the hyperlinks at the top of the post, and you’ll get the idea. Furthermore, although I was adamant about moving the tools of my trade up into the loft room at the soonest possible date (which was end of June) and it gives the impression that the house is ‘moved into’ , these photos of the bathtub arrival will sober anyone up to the fact that its still a major construction zone, and there is months of work to do before we have it final inspected, which still is an illusive date that I can’t at all even guess at presently. But, appliances are arriving slowly, one by one everything is going into its place, and life is good.
How good it is to be back to my Tweed Chronicles! I seriously have been yearning for this moment for what seems forever, thinking about wool blending in my sleep. So having moved tools of the trade into the new loft room, it is with great celebration that I resume my blending experiments, just as I was doing two years ago. I have been contemplating a pale palette over the last year, ” pastels ” just appeal to me these days, wanting to tame the intensity in life with soothing color I suppose. I received so many gifts from the spinning community after the wildfire, not only a beautiful Ashford Traditional spinning wheel from “L” (thank you so much L , I am forever grateful, and the Ashford is working beautifully after being stored four seasons in a shed!) but there were many gifts of spinning wool too (thank you & hugs to everyone who sent wool!). So now having everything nicely within reach, I looked over it all and got an idea with a hand-dyed color braid I found, by Nest Fiber Club, called “Muse”.
Wanting to lighten up the color a great deal, I added one part white. I went from these . . .
To these . . .
to these . . .
and finally to these . . .
I reckon I will be spinning up these tasty wool sausages next and seeing how my hand at the wheel does after an unplanned hiatus. This was the perfect re-entry into my blending experiments too, although I was a bit forgetful about the steps, it came out lovely. Now as I need some practice again with my recipe documentation, here’s how I did it . . .
♣ ♣ ♣
Techy stuff for One + One…
- Recipe I am calling “One + One” is 1 part hand-dyed colored roving plus 1 part undyed roving in natural white, grey, brown, or black, etc. (in this case white).
- I split a sliver off the “side” of the length of dyed roving, along the entire length so that it has the same colors in sequence as the hand-dyed roving. I then weighed, and it was 28g. I then matched the same weight in ultra fine white merino, totaling 56g.
- Then divided the two rovings equally into 4 thinner slivers ( made into little rolls to photograph) to hold together while drawing onto the teeth of the blending board, until the teeth were moderately full ( which actually only took three times, and why you see my wool rolls count go from 4 to 3)
- Using paintbrush tool to lift batts from board, (rolling up again to photograph 1st mix) I drew out each roll onto the board again as before, resulting in slightly finer mixing of color, for a second batt.
- Repeated last step again, ending after a third time.
- Drew off rolags.
- See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles
Click 1st image in mosaic and go to slideshow in sequence with commentary…
My friends, I feel nearly back home because I have moved all of my tools of the trade into the work space that I have been without for what seems an eternity, and it is ready as ever to begin productive times. As posted a few days ago , I have been busy moving into the new loft space, things I acquired since the wildfire; furniture from odd thrift & antique shops, now all packed to the gills with needles & tools, as well as wonderful yarns & delectable fibers to blend and spin. These things which had stored in places frustratingly inaccessible for over a year, now are all very very much in my reach.
Waiting to get back on with Tweed Chronicles, as my home-made custom blending board #2 is ready to resume blending experiments . . .
And I do want to become better at photographing too. And oh look! It is the ledge of ledges, beneath the south skylight, is nearly as before . . .
The place of hundreds of photographs of knitteds past . . . here my long missed endlessly artful friends Light & Shadow announce their official return!
In the weeks and months ahead the house will slowly get finished, you will see it all happening in the backdrop of things as I post about this & that, then one day almost without notice, months down the line, we will be moved from the tiny house up into the rebuilt house again, and life will be something like “before”. I feel a deep gratitude to those of you who encouraged me along the way, through the worst in the wake of wildfire and beyond.
Now I think it is time to resume the work that I love, and I am overjoyed knowing that the most important things are at long last, here. Everything in its purposeful place, and life is good.
Hi everybody, its me, Abelene.
We have landed! Me, the Ashford wheel, and some dusty old baskets, up here in the new place, because Jen has decided to take claim and begin getting her tools of the trade into the far-from-finished loft, and months ahead of the house completion. Jen spoke of a basket with a sock project in every room a while back in Never Far From A Prayer, and well, she ended up with quite a few (she says she’s embarrassed to admit just how many) vintage Longaberger baskets to load up with knitterly things. And spinnerly things too, and stash about places. She’s got plans for them all. The beautiful Ashford Traditional wheel is going to need some real polishing up, and the drive band got eaten by a mouse in the shed over the last year. Such is Life In A Shed. Jen wants me to tell everybody how much she is looking forward to getting back to spinning and the Tweed Chronicles once her blending board #2 is all set up.
Me, Ashford & The Longabergers, we love our new dwelling, and are snug as a bug in a rug!
Ta ta for now,
I have disappeared for a few days from my usual talkative places, but have been working very hard finishing the walls of my loft room studio. After six days I have just the affect I wanted, a look of weathered exterior walls of an old building, which makes for a very interesting photo background, and begs to have some interesting old hooks mounted.
Since last Tuesday I have plastered with Emma’s fur, painted two coats of primer, two coats of base color (with a quick sanding between coats of color), then finally this morning rubbed a faux finish with a watery semi-gloss sienna tone. Here is the base color, nearly salmon . . .
The end result is a bit different than before, but hopefully the same warm terracotta mood as before, however, I do think that I may put in some more ‘veins’ of sienna color in the big wall, after this all dries . . .
Apparently after six days I am still not finished. Of course, I refined my method as I went, so the first sections are a bust and must be painted over and refinished; a bit disappointing, and definitely anticlimactic, but I can’t settle for ” almost right “, its either right or its not right. I just can’t wait to move my yarns and tools of the trade into this space, and yet I have to wait until the room has had the electrician finish so that I may begin to occupy, which is realistically in July. So still some weeks still.
Fun Fact: Did you know that in old days horse hair was put into plaster to reinforce the plaster? So Emma’s fur in this plaster (although in artful clumps) isn’t far from the old way of doing things.
Our construction folk won’t be here this week so I’ve decided to plaster the loft room by myself, incorporating Emma’s fur into the mud. The style is haphazard, but excellently artful and as this is my studio room as well as guest room, that suits everybody just fine.
I will go over the surface with a damp sponge to knock off the sharp high spots, and then the many coats of paint will completely soften the rough surface, and be less “hairy”, and hopefully end up looking rather old-architectural style. Most importantly, part of Emma is now embedded in the walls of the room, and that means a lot to me.
Just for the sake of interest, the tree pictograph ” Po ” continues to be a photo opportunity, and in itself, a marvel!
And with the rest of the week ahead all by myself, I’m going to see if I can get the room painted to my liking, as before; an undercoat of primer, then a couple of coats of the lightest tones in the fir (a peachy tan), with the deepest tones in the grain to be rubbed on for glaze (a sienna brown).
Knots and crevasses in the wood make mysterious pictures and words. Tree pictographs. What do you think this beam in the loft room is saying? Wood speaks, sings, and I am sure this word is going to give meaning to something, on down the road.
Look here, the loft room just waiting for me to move into it, it is beckoning me to come inside with all my newly collected tools of my trade. About now I am ecstatic because things are really happening! As I post this, the plasterer is about finished with the taping, and tomorrow will be back to perform his artful texture.
Now looking through the doorways into the loft room, I am so much more encouraged than I was back in February, with a Then & Now post. These are rooms taking shape, rooms that have impacted my life, and will again, in a deeply profound way. So many times I would photograph through the front doorway, and capture the bliss of the woods as if through a magic portal, and post here on my blog with a thought of the day. And now we finally have a front door exactly as the former door was.
I do feel a great sense of release of the unbearable heaviness of loss and of waiting. It is such a tremendous gift that I am even here posting these progress photos with you, about something that feels so much like a death & rebirth in a span of a few years, but ripples out into my life in the furthest way, arousing a constant resonating gratitude.
♥ ♥ ♥
” Po ” . . . to me, in this moment,
translates to ” peaceful offerings ” from the mountain.
Stay tuned, so much is happening now, and I will no doubt be back very soon.
I have just been up to the house and its a lovely morning to photograph the new loft room progress, after the sheetrock has started. I am so pleased about this beautiful space, and I think it may even be more lovely than before, as there are a couple improvements made. I am completely obsessed about this room, and work space to be! ((click 1st image to go to slideshow))
Do you recognize that ledge, on which I took so many photos of knitted things and yarns? I just wanted to post these photos, but its time to get back to my frantic sock knitting, but thanks everybody for your comments, and I promise to be talkative again on the flipside of my sock-knitting May-nia.
A cause for celebration because the roof is finished! Most of you out there have no idea what a difficult process it was to get to the point of being ready for the roofers to come, through the gusts of wind and rain, all through winter and early spring, up here in the wild where everything is quite a bit more challenging. But with a sigh in my heart I can now relax, and the next inspection can proceed with roof complete, ready for some serious action to begin in the weeks ahead ; windows and sliding doors will all be in place, and the rooms will begin to take shape with drywall and upstairs subfloor too, covering the plumbing, electrical & mechanical chaos. Soon the elements of the house’s layout & personality will be recaptured.
Meanwhile, it was utterly heartwarming to know that Emma is still a hit on my blog, and although she can’t walk very well, she is a stellar napper, and still keeps me company through the days. Thank you everybody who attended Emma’s little birthday celebratory post last week, and for you who would like to take a peek in the archives, all posts Emma’s Birthday are here.
I thought I’d post a little about the progress of our house rebuilding!
The most exciting thing is that half of the openings in the roof for the sky lights have been rough cut and light is already pouring in and illuminating things in a most magical way.
Compare the original house skylights of Then …
to the rough cut openings of skylights of Now.
Fantastic! I recognize my dearest of old friends Light & Shadow, among the beams.
Oh how I have missed them!
Its been a really late spring folks, with gobs of beautiful rain, and it is still a bit chilly & breezy, but now the perpetual deep blue skies & sunshine is on its way! The foliage from the year-old shoots from burned trees are growing rapidly, and the flowers are bursting open everywhere . . .
Soon will be siding and roofing…
And at the same time Jeff is now rebuilding the deck, with a little bit of my help. Rebuilding has been slow going all winter, and while our county beurocrats have not shown any effort to hasten things, our dedicated few builders commuting from far away have stayed through the worst of storms, and have remained positive and encouraging, so now at last it looks like things will speeding up.
I meditate everyday on being ‘back home’ in our rebuilt house, setting up my loft room and setting new lofty goals for myself ! It is so comforting and gratifying to see how much it looks and feels like our original house, after all it is the very same kit, and its easy to feel like its all just a dream, which I am soon to wake from. I am amazed at some of the blog readers that have commented, apparently keeping track of me and the progress since the wildfire , and that is so heartwarming. I am getting a clearer vision now of the next equinox being a time when I will be a busy bee reacquainting myself with my old routine again.
But do tell me, how is the weather where you are?
All posts Rebuilding
As I stood just this morning inside of newly framed wall of our future master bedroom, looking through the door-to-be, I recalled this photo above, taken October 2016. One year later, nearly to the date, the wildfire destroyed everything, but I think by this coming October I’ll be looking at a very similar scene. We won’t be able to replicate the antique Windsor chair(s) , but I do recall distinctly the color of the paint in the room to be a shade lighter than the color “Monet’s Garden”, and that is indeed something to go by. Yes, going to paint it the same shade if I can help it. I know I’m really asking for an emotional hit when I peruse the photos of our house before the wildfire, but its all a part of rebuilding, and we’re having to consult these old photos often to build the same house, or nearly the same ~ things just change, like sixteen years of the timbers deepening to that beautiful dark honey shade… there are times that I feel so homesick and just want to go home to it. Rebuilding just takes so much time up here in the wild, especially through the winter, but the builders are wonderful, post & beam experts commuting from far away and staying over in Napa on week nights, trying really very hard to recreate our original home that we built ourselves, regardless of the code changes like sprinkler systems, the list goes on. Wow. I am overall just really grateful. October 2019, two years after the wildfire, I will take that above photo again, mark my words.
All posts Rebuilding.
Knitting in a room is a theme I love to post about, because to me its as if rooms can speak silent nurturing words, or be as a listening friend, and even fill me with inspiration. Such was this original loft room, which is nearly half way built again. If I can ignore the dim light, the sprinkler system plumbing over the subfloor, the rough cut opening which will be a window again soon, then I can imagine how it will be.
Those of you who have been following my posts since long before the wildfire, might recognize this spot on the stairs, the most photographed spot for countless knitted things were on this shelf wall at the top of the stairs, with the bright southerly sunshine pouring in from a big skylight. But right now everything is quite dark for the (six) skylights have not been cut out of the roof yet, nor the windows uncovered from plastic to keep the rain out. I am hoping next time I post about rebuilding it will have the light pouring in that I was so fond of !
Until then, I have placed a chair upstairs in my loft room to be, and I can walk up from the tiny house as often as I like (when the builders are gone) to climb the stairs and sit and knit in the room that I am swiftly falling in love with all over again.
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.
Hi, its me Abelene.
I am wearing Jen’s latest knit of a beautiful cowl she knit from Golden Fields Lace pattern. Some lucky lady is going to find this under the tree. It is made from Cascade 220 Sport, in my favorite color of light grey!
Jen says you can knit one for gifts for all the women & dress forms in your life, so be a pal and go find some yarn and needles and cast on! Jen will really appreciate it, because she’s really laid low, struck from the plague & on a short course of strong antibiotics. Actually she has gotten a nasty sinus & upper respiratory infection due to sanding beams last weekend if you can believe it!
It is this beautiful sun-bathed north-facing alcove that has put her down for a stretch…
No more sanding for Jen!
She is happily dreaming of the months ahead when the house might be closer to finished, but for now Jen wants me to say that she hopes you all are enjoying the beautiful Solstice time of year when things up here the Northern Hemisphere are at their most dormant stage. Nothing but dutiful resolutions to come in months ahead, so cozy up in these dark shortest days of the year while you can.
Ta ta ,
Golden Fields Lace.
A tribute to the golden rolling hills of the landscape I live in.
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…
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.
Pattern includes three styles: Stole, cowl, and square shawl with four sizes each style!
Here Golden Fields is shown in stole.
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.
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!
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.