two done . . .

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am finally finished Autumn Sweaters 2020, two Sol Inca “after-thought” pullovers. Admittedly, I have struggled getting these finished this year, no question these are the most involved Autumn Sweaters I have knit for my nieces to date, but at last a celebratory end to all deadline knitting! I finished the first one last September, and its taken me this long to wait for yarn and knit the second. Next time you see these sweaters my nieces will be wearing them, and it likely wont be until later this month at the soonest. It is just as well because it is still a mild 50’s to 60’s in the December days, the real cold doesn’t come around until January and February in this part of the world, when it will get as cold as an average in the 40’s and 50’s , and sometimes in the 30’s in the day. With those temperatures, the grape vines are going into dormancy and Napa Valley is having a short nap, and by then my nieces might be happier to slip on these very heavy weight sweaters. And, if my nieces are more comfortable and cozy and not breaking out in a sweat, I shall be a happier auntie photographer . So maybe even better to wait until January.

I found a lovely detail was to over-dye some of the light grey with Yorkshire Tea, and it made a lovely tone of dark gold in the middle of the suns in the light grey sweater, and I must say I’m very pleased with with the ease of tea over-dye. And hey, do you notice the labels? I ordered labels some time in the summer, and I really like them, and what a simple polish it gives a finished sweater. Makes me dream a little, about selling a few hand-knits right from my blog here. What do you think? That about wraps it up for my deadline knitting, and as I am just working on new ideas for the rest of the weeks, I am going to brace myself for some cozy sheltering in while I get immersed into the next projects I have had on the back burner while I finished these colossal labors of love.

i love autumn

Just past the colorwork yoke of yet another Sol Inca sweater. This one will be the second Autumn Sweater for nieces, then they’ll be completed and will wait patiently for some day in December. Without the usual gift knitting this year, I believe I will sail on through the holiday weeks ahead without a single distraction, and sink my teeth further into two new ideas. Beyond that I am not certain, but am entertaining the thought of more tweed chronicle experiments, foraging for dye pots, and happily continuing on in my reclusive ways.

I am beyond super pleased at the election results and can imagine there will be a lot of good changes in the new year, which eases my complicated mental state, and calms me like a balm. And along my walks recently, I am reminded of the contentment I so often find in nature, out in Autumn, and soon just may find myself in an uproariously good mood. Oh, and not having much to speak of in the way of rain yet, yesterday we had a random heavy hail storm which burst into the day, downpoured for fifteen minutes, then left in a hurry. I love Autumn!

Yarn Tasting: Simply Wool

jenjoycedesign© Simply Wool
Finally knitting my nieces Autumn sweaters, and so relieved too, as I deliberated endlessly over which yarn, and going in circles I finally decided to try “Simply Wool” ; 100% Eco Wool, by Knit Picks. This yarn is grown and milled in Peru,  eight shades of undyed natural fleece colors, and so utterly basic, the yarn is aptly named.  The colors are warm and visually appealing, no bleaches or chemicals of any kind, just the quiet sheepy tones, and is very soothing to knit,  as if to right all the wrongs in the world.

For a few years now I’ve been wanting to make a departure from superwash wool for my nieces’ sweaters, hoping eventually to win them over to the loft and resilience of natural wool, but I have been too worried anything other than the softest pure Merino will not be soft enough for them, but I cast on in good faith.   After knitting through part of the colorwork yoke I could feel the downy halo of the fibers bloom, unexpectedly,  so it was a green light for me, and full steam ahead.   Intrigued by the complexity of the tweedy heathers blended together to achieve the distinct shades of greys, browns, and natural whites, and being a fan of  undyed fleece colors, I am sure it will be one of my most used yarns in the future.  Besides, I am always keeping my eye out for a good base yarn to over-dye, um, I wonder, maybe this could be it?

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca in Simply Wool

The pattern I am knitting,  Sol Inca, is designed in such a way that the increases happen gradually down the yoke, so I can begin knitting, unsure of what size I ultimately will make, being that once I get past the chart I will have enough knitted I can get an accurate gauge from it. If I need to stop increases, finish the yoke, and continue down the body portion, or if I need to, I can continue the increases and make the yoke the next size bigger (I talk a little bit about  it in this post).  I love this, a real hidden perk if I ever found one by accident in this pattern. I am really relaxing now, giving myself more than enough time for a middle to late November photo shoot.  My nieces are keen on continuing our tradition, and so I am better than fine!

Sol Inca: The Pattern

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca folded -
It finally came.  The moment that happens when months of work completes after the last task.   Then one is merely finished!
jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca trio 2
In previous post   Sol Inca: The Inspiration  Rosanna models two cardigans, the size 3 and size 4, and even pours herself into the size 2 pullover. What I’m thinking is, there are 8 more sizes still yet to be knit, but I am too worn out. Was I really intending to knit them all?   I will leave it up to all of the knitters of the world who pass through to get them knit.

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca detail 1

Sol Inca is a top-down knitted cardigan with an option to convert to a pullover!  I call it an After-thought Pullover.  So much energy, knitting, ripping out, and all the cleverness I could manage, went into the convertibility of Sol Inca,  and I must admit that I am quite pleased about it. However, presently I am having a bit of withdrawal in my brain for it really was a hard struggle involving lots of thinking!  Now I’ve got a mess of yarn bits, stitch markers, needles to put away in their drawers, and go for a walk, if I can manage without collapse.   I will close all of the recent series of posts, with a simple favor to ask , and that is to please go see the pattern live on Ravelry, with all the technical information ~~~ HERE.

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca 11

Thank you, and I’ll see you on the flip-side! xx

Sol Inca: The Inspiration

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca (in the road)

 Rosanna, our very own Camino Inca Princess, models “Sol Inca”.

Rosanna in Sol Inca detail 1

Jeff’s daughter Rosanna has been living in our Tiny House, five hundred feet away, weathering the pandemic up here in the woods.  And all the while I’ve have been designing and knitting a pile of yokes and three sweaters, and I feel so lucky she is here to unveil Sol Inca with me!

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I placed a chair in the road mid-way between our (rebuilt) house and (tiny) house, in the place she and I meet for short chats every once in a while, to catch up on news and exchange some jars of good home-made things to eat.

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca 8

Do you see my sun motif around the yoke? The design is inspired by, and dedicated to, the living ancestors of the Inca, who live in the high mountain villages around Cusco, and tend their herds while spinning.   Herding while spinning the very yarns to weave and knit into amazing intricate indigenous artful things ~~ it all seems to me a very ascetic and poetic culture.

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca 6

Sol Inca… the Inca Sun… the benevolent deity from the starry heaven who brought the Inca people their most prized furry treasures ~~ the llama, the alpaca, the vicuna, and later of course, the sheep ~~ and ever since, the herds and their people have lived in harmony together in the high plains of the Andes.

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca 11

These photos represent a connection to the Peruvian Highlands in two ways, woolly and human. The sweaters designed with Wool Of The Andes yarn which was grown in the Peruvian Highlands, and Rosanna herself spent a week trekking the Camino Inca trail to Machu Picchu with her dad Jeff and her brother just three years ago.

jenjoycedesign© Sol Inca 14

Please see all posts Gifts From The Sun if you would like to see more of the inspiration behind the design.   If you see all posts  Peruvian , and scroll down quite a ways you’ll land back at Camino Inca  posts, three years ago when Jeff trekked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu with Rosanna and her brother.