A rustic place…

jenjoycedesign© Emma on trail 2

Emma and I are pushing ourselves to complete the knitting trail, and it will be indeed a rapturous and celebratory finish!

jenjoycedesign© Emma on trail 1

The equinox is in only two short days.

jenjoycedesign© trail work Emma 2

I’m sure we’ll make it,  we are already more than three-quarters the way done!

jenjoycedesign© bench

Big Leaf Maples and Black Oaks are beginning to shed their leaves, and the acorns and fir cones are dropping too.  In this rustic state of being the spicy Autumnal fragrance is faintly rising in the forest, and I am ready to crash into this season with transformative momentum, leaning into it with all of my weight, as I leave Summer’s oppressive heat,  lazy days and restless nights behind me.

jenjoycedesign© trail work

See you on the flipside!

Hello Autumn !

jenjoycedesign©stag antler

Just in from a walk on my trail this morning and I found this stag’s antler. The amazing thing is, of all the hundreds of miles I’ve put into trail walking in my life, this is the first antler I have ever found!  Its partially nibbled by some rodent (rather badly on the other side) and Emma sure wanted to get a hold of it !  I’ll admire it for a while, and then I’ll make horn buttons from it one day, an undeniable certainty.

I’m welcoming this Autumn Equinox today with a new habit to acquire, of walking on my own trails  every single day.   Twice a day often as possible, if not three.  Moving mossy stones ‘just so’ out of the way, and preening as I go, a lot of carrying pruners to trim back bits and a bow saw for when a tree falls across…the only way a trail can transform from a deer path to a park-like setting is to walk it and groom as you go. The test of finish being that I am  able to knit while I walk the trail.

Today is the first morning one of my favorite season ~ and  with a bit of an ominous Autumnal find !

Glimpses From The Knitting Trail

jenjoycedesign©trail-blaze

A big granite rock stack leads from our door out into the woods.

Recently Emma had a birthday ! She is nine.  Every year on her birthday I take her for a long walk and follow her wherever she wants to go.  There was a rather hesitant beginning as she contemplated what was down the road…

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Emma’s 9th birthday walk.

Then after we walked all over the place, unexpected places she led me, and I followed without question.  As our walk ended she found herself mesmerized in the sun beams of the forest, a little spellbound perhaps. There’s lots to think about when one is Nine.

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Emma in woods.

For those of you who have been visiting Yarnings for any length of time, know about my Knitting Trail, I talked about a while ago in this post.    I am gradually putting it all together, this spot and that, through forest and wood, through hilly and hollow lands.

Such a beautiful warm spring day!

Some silly photos as I try in vain to get a portrait selfie photo of Emma & me, but Emma was reluctant …

on the Fairy Trail

And  a little knitting happened too …

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail

One of several rough-cut benches along the Knitting Trail.

Morning On The Knitting Trail

jenjoycedesign©morning-walk

Emma and I took off for a walk along the old road, and then on the knitting trail to visit the woods with the green moss which is now absolutely glowing from all the rain.

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I have to say, of the many oddities one can find in the woods, this was the most ! I intend to include it in a knitwear photo someday.
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Well, it’s back to my knitting loft, with a new design adventure and happy pots of tea, for the sky is greying and rain drops are already plopping down on the roof again.  Happiness is rain.  Lots and lots of rain.

((And tea with home-made shortbread.))

jenjoycedesign©tea&shortbread

New (Vineyard) Horizons

jenjoycedesign©off-the-trail
I so wanted to show you this photo taken early today ! It was a windy and cold November morning as Emma and I walked over to our newest (hidden & secret) scenic location, which we discovered only last week from trail-blazing.  Here, this morning,  happy to greet the young vines, and a south-easterly horizon  with distant blue Mt Diablo’s double peak of 3,864 feet visible from where I stood — on a big tree stump, est. elevation of 2100 ft, on a slope facing  San Francisco Bay.   ( Note,  this is not the same vineyards wherein great devastation of historic vines is going on, but a different vineyard. )  By all means, click the photo, and see it full-sized !

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Ahem** I have nearly finished my fourth redesign of the project in natural shades of Jamiesons Spindrift. It is quite an embarrassment to think I was near done, over a week ago, then to have to start over, then over again, and well… it’s a sore subject… but a labor of love and true break-through for me in design, as well as expected set-backs. If I survive this week at all, I will have something to show for all of my determination. I am sure by now you’ve all guessed the theme to have something to do with vineyards.

A Knitting Trail

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Emma and I have  been working on our home trail in recent weeks.

 It is to be a knitting trail ! ! !

Our trail begins right next to Jeff’s workshop…

jenjoycedesign©trail-head
And takes off into the woods, just follow Emma.

It goes upwards very quickly…

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It meanders along old deer-trodden paths ,

which Emma and I  have enhanced with our footsteps.

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail in woods

It passes by tall firs,

oaks & bays,

madrones & maples…

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail in the woods2
You will see my short rows of sticks on occasion,

they are trail markers in sections where the knitting trail goes one way,

while the deer may go another…

jenjoycedesign©trail-markers
Emma is charged with purpose as she surveys the forest, and the wildlife.

There is at least one mountain lion which lives in the area, sighted many times, and  I often wonder if it is the lion which she smells.  I think I would like to put some places to sit (and knit) along the way.  Just sit, knit,  and listen to the wildlife.

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Some small sections are getting the shovel treatment, like here at the trail-head.

 (Yes, that is our house, and my car, which I try to drive as little as possible)

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail!

So you see, I have been working like an ox lately, for this is the time of year I love most to be outside toiling away, among the falling leaves of Autumn. There’ll be more photos later, as the Knitting Trail is honed to perfection !

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But hey ! Its the last day of October today, and that means it is Halloween!   For the occasion I thought I’d post a photo of something remarkably ominous from the woods!   The raven’s cultural and somewhat spooky  symbolism  is not to be debated, however here they are just a cheerful and welcomed presence, and flock about year round. They make themselves very comfortable, eating the berries in the native trees, and fruit & veggies from our garden, and pick from our compost pile too.  I think they are fascinating birds,  possessing a truly amazing intrigue and even sense of humor (they like to tease Emma every chance they get), and they are the stewards of these woods all the same.  Here is a photo I took last week, zoomed into the branches of an oak while this fellow and his mate were making deep throaty chortling & clucking conversation…
jenjoycedesign©Raven

Happy Halloween everyone !

(( Note:  I am delayed with knitting projects due to interruptions life tends to cause. ))

Knitting While Walking


What do I have In Common With These Women?

I collect and carry peat ?  No.  I am able to knit while I walk ?  Yes !

I am proud to report that I now am in a similar league with these Shetland Knitting Peat Carriers of olden days. I must qualify : I am not merely strolling along a paved road at a liesurely pace while watching my knitting ~ nay ~ I am actually really hiking,  along trail and ridge road,  through weedy and rocky sections, and  up and along the mountainside , while watching the scenery and my feet, and while I happen to be knitting without looking at what I’m knitting, for the most part.  There is a difference.   (I say with a playful expression of mock pretentiousness) .

What began this new thing of mine is the awareness I am experiencing about a kind of physical atrophy which happens when one sits around too much knitting, and for too long.  I mean, as if blogging about knitting , and reading about knitting (while knitting) isn’t enough… to actually only knit while knitting is just too too much ( sitting ) LOL.   I figure I absolutely  must learn to double task this whole knitting jones or I’m going to get incredibly lazy.  I have been known on many occasions to knit in the wilderness while backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas, enjoying stunning scenery at great elevations with glaciers all around ~ but that is *destination-in-order-to-knit*  hiking, not knitting *while* hiking. This new thing is entirely different.

I am going to absolutely plunge into this today, and go out again in a couple of hours, to fetch the mail, and with my knitting ofcourse. I will borrow Emma’s treat pouch for the yarn, thinking it may just be the ideal yarn ball holder. Otherwise I will just be bunching the more weighty body of what I am knitting, under my elbow.  No doubt I will refine and share my successes.

My first knit-while-walking excursion this morning was a bit slower pace than my usual exercising pace, but I think over time I can improve on the pace.  For instance,  I took one of my 30 minute routes and it did in fact take 40 minutes, but that is also including stopping and letting Emma sniff or drink in a puddle, and once (I admit) I dropped the ball of yarn and kept walking , for about 30 feet… and had to rewind it while picking a few weeds out. My knitting was also a great deal slower, but that’s to be expected.

I also want to mention the crazy coincidence in the fact that I needed to knit 4 rounds before changing color in my project, and I forgot to bring the other color yarn, but,  I managed to fit exactly 4 rounds (rows), walking in from the end of 40 minutes with about 7 stitches left before switching color !  Talk about perfect gauge ! Of course, I am implying gauge of numbers of stitches knitted over distanced walked, and not inches measured. 😉  I can’t wait to go out again.

It is my dream that one day I will walk and knit in the footprints of those hardy creel-laden women of the British Isles who walked the same path before me.

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Edited in 2 hours later: Well, I managed to walk for one and a quarter hours, all while knitting.  I am observing some things while knitting & walking: In total of two walks today that I was knitting/walking for over 2 hours. That is easily well over an hour I wouldn’t have normally hiked, and the same with knitting.  A win-win?  I think maybe my walking posture is only slightly compromised (though probably no different than walking with hands in pockets), while my knitting posture is greatly improved as I was standing up straight instead of spine curved , neck hunched over knitting while sitting in a chair.  I was aware of nature around me, even noticed a red-tailed hawk fly over (same area as last year I noticed a pair nesting) , and I even sweat !  It goes without saying that every walk won’t have knitting involved and visa versa, nor should I try. But I have found that knitting is a great distraction for walking for the sake of exercise ~  pure dogged daily walking (excuse the pun, but I do have to get Emma out for a run-around most days, if not myself.)  Notice the Peat Carriers making use of the knitting , perhaps for distraction from the work of hauling creels of peat fuel home to burn.

All in all, my mind was too busy watching where I was going, as well as scenery , as well as knitting… like full to max with work to do that the workout aspect of hiking uphill was hardly noticed … and I never dropped a stitch !

Wool for Walking

The trees are bare, and here in Northern California it is the tail end of winter, with many blustery days and lots of clear blue skies.  February on the mountain often sees a blanket of snow, but I’ve known even as late as March to get a light dusting, while the temperatures continue to chill, though in the mountains we don’t get the coldest freezes as in the valley.  I love to walk in the cold, and even in the rain, with an umbrella. Rainy season is yet to come around, it’s been a dry winter.  But these photos were taken last Autumn when…

…  I began in Wovember (I talk about Wovember in this post ) to take another look at the utilitarian aspect of wool.  I began to think of wool as practical and wholesome, taking it beyond a fuzzy arts & crafts medium for playing on the spinning wheel and knitting needles.   For me, this means in particular, my obsession of late…wool skirts. I LOVE WOOL SKIRTS ! The dye-saturation which is particular to wool, means that I love concocting a custom dye-bath each time I find a new wool skirt in a thrift shop.

Photo taken in the beginning of December starting out for a walk up the ridge, and I am wearing one of my several wool skirts.   I have in fact, worn two wool skirts , almost exclusively, all winter .  This green one for walking, and a deep maroon-brownish livery colored one for going down into town, (not counting dressier skirts for gigs), which leaves one or two which haven’t been altered and overdyed yet (I am very fussy about color).

Lately my hips have been a bit sore, and stiff constricting jeans just won’t do.  Winter weight fabric pants just make me feel so *not* in the mood to go for a walk. So I thought to just be the Old-Fashioned sort, and allow myself the distinguishable difference  and somewhat retro-feminist statement of hiking out while wearing a skirt. This one below I over-dyed mossy emerald tones on a light brown fabric, and it is 100 percent worsted wool weave, cut on bias which yields best to movement and makes for *very* comfortable walking !  I Love it !!!  (Little known fact about me: Throughout my 20’s I owned only a couple of pairs of pants ~ my wardrobe was almost entirely skirts and dresses. I even bike commuted in skirts! )

Needless to say, I feel at once back to my old self .  Here I am ,  up close with my  hill-walking companion Emma.