yet another . . .

jenjoycedesign© felted basket bag with short handles

I’ve just finished yet another Maiya’ kma felted wool basket,  and with two short handles it is like a market bag.   I can’t believe how much fun they are to make and I can’t seem to stop myself.  It is truly amazing that such a stiff and rugged wool basket was transformed in two hot wash cycles from this . . .

jenjoycedesign© before felting

I really love this colorway by the way . . .

jenjoycedesign© felted basket bag detail

Here it is paired with the one in the previous post, and now they are a nesting pair!

They are ready for the post now for a birthday next week,  and I so do hope the postal service is on time!

jenjoycedesign© nesting baskets 10

Pattern:   Maiya’kma
Yarn:  Knit Picks Wool Of The Andes Worsted(two-held-together)
Details:  For larger here,  For smaller here.

And another.

jenjoycedesign© felted knitting bag 1

Second post of the day, I’m sheltering in and getting lots done.  Barely two days of knitting, and two hot wash cycles,  and I’ve got another perky little knitting bag!

jenjoycedesign© felted knitting bag 4

Felted bags which I am in need of because I keep giving them away.  So crisp and damp just out of the spin cycle,  I’ve got nothing stuffed inside,  the stiffness of the thick fabric is holding its own because the two cycles of hot wash felting creates that much dense structure!

((The late afternoon sun is setting low under dark clouds and glowingly intense!))

jenjoycedesign© felted knitting bag 10

This has the round “basket bottom” shaping variation, and I love this chart in the pattern, and did two repeats.  Beautifully rich textured colors with two “companion” colors held together for background, as well as two for the motif, and the colors diffused into each other almost completely in the felting.

jenjoycedesign© felted knitting bag 7

Pattern:   Maiya’ kma  felted wool bag collection
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool Of The Andes Worsted

kitchen bliss

jenjoycedesign© kitchen bliss

Sun streaming in, warming and brightening a corner where pizza dough rises every Friday  late afternoon, as always, but with a new kitchen cloth and mug from my dear kitchen-loving friend in Hamburg   *thank you Petra*    Yesterday, apple butter . . .

jenjoycedesign© making apple jam 3

Keeping the counters clean, dishes washed (as my hands) if in the very least to boost morale, and feeling a little more relaxed today.  Reporting in this part of the world while sheltering in and waiting for the next rain storm ~ life is good.

♥    ♥    ♥

So, if you’re considering making some yummy apple butter with things you already have in your pantry, to serve along with some fresh baked bread because you don’t want to bother going to the stores, try this . . .

Jen’s Apple Butter: 

1 large jar of applesauce,  1 bag of dried apples, and sugar & spices to taste (I used raw turbinado sugar, a little cinnamon & allspice) . Just enough water to cover dried apples, and cooked over a few hours until the dried apples break down into little tasty clumps.

Make small batch and preserve in sterilized half-cup jars.

 

weathering

jenjoycedesign© weathering 4.28
4:28 pm.

Drama in the sky!

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4:38 pm.

Everything in the world is like the rolling churning weather,

clouds swiftly moving and reshaping.

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4:48 pm.

We’re “sheltering in” at the hermitage in a war against corona virus,

surreal times,   I don’t have words.

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4:58 pm.

I am worried for everybody, and feeling fidgety and nervous. Even knitting is difficult.  I had hoped to launch into something ultra designerly,  but instead I’ve spent two days patching threadbare clothes, hand-stitching, reinforcing shredded edges, and being ridiculously old-fashioned, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t.  This too shall pass.

♥    ♥    ♥

Thank you everybody who left comment in the previous post Emma Was,

it really held me through a rough patch ~~ xx

 

Emma was.

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It takes every bit of bravery I can manage to post this, and take a break from tears. She seemed to want to live forever, and we were so ready to let her, but she died peacefully last weekend, her daddy and me with her.  For nearly fifteen years her fur has lined the nests of generations of birds in this part of the mountain, and her memory does not escape the places we walked, they are forever etched along the landscape. Forever.

You can see  All Posts Emma  archived from the beginning of this blog.

Another

jenjoycedesign© after felting bag
I am quite pleased that I’ve updated the Maiya’kma pattern to include a nice conventional square shaped flap . Here shown is the largest sizes tested and with the shaped bottom, and two straps.
jenjoycedesign© bag detail 2
Before felting,  with a girth of 44″  and nearly 400 grams of wool, having no particular shape, transformed dramatically with two hot wash cycles from floppy into a compact, crisp, thick sturdy bag of 30″ around . . . and is a bit amazing !
jenjoycedesign© before felting bag
Edged in i-cord all around, and with the floats in back of the color-work adding to the thickness of the felted fabric, it has made quite a dandy satchel, and with a gorgeous tweedy affect resulting from two yarns of different shades held together.  I will go more in depth on this ” tweedy ” affect in another post.
jenjoycedesign© bag detail 1
Detail of the button holes which are made by the i-cord edging simply free & detached for a few stitches.  Nearly the whole collection; four sizes of bag, with two of the smallest size baskets . . .
jenjoycedesign© Maiya' kma collection
There’s a quite a hoard o’ wool still left;  a lot of blue, some reds, pinks, and greens left in my Wool Of The Andes  stash.  I’m thinking next will be a few bags for spring perhaps in the colors of native wildflowers.  Indian Paintbrush, Clover , Lupine, Brodea, the flowers that the native tribes of the mountain would have enjoyed every spring. ( Please see Genius Of The Place)

Maiya’ kma  pattern is available HERE

 

Imagination

I discovered this new video rather late popping up on my niece’s YT page, and so beautifully done by the Darling Of The Place!
But maybe discovering it on this very nervous day of the Super Tuesday primary election, is perfect timing after-all. My imagination is really soaring!

The Genius Of The Place.

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A Pomo basket,  Wikipedia- Pomo

I have been trekking the mountain with knitting bag and baby steps (again).  There is no denying that to me the genius of the place is in the landscape’s past. A time not long ago which is so impressed by once indigenous people who lived here,  and who are so close in time relative to the existence of humans, that I nearly feel their presence like a faint breeze tickling the hairs on the back of my neck.

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Wappo Woman,  Wikipedia -Wappo

Then let me be blown through with the breezes of the past, feeling the presence of those who’s arrowheads I have found several of, and I will find my way with wool instead of water plants of the banks of the tidal Napa River.

jenjoycedesign© Maiya' Kma bags 2

Wool to make a sturdy practical thing.   Inspired by the local tribes which wandered Northern California ~~ the Wappo, Pomo and Lake Miwok have walked over the very saddle of the ridge and rested quite possibly where our house now stands, in the shade among Redwoods, Douglas Firs, and many species of Oaks. Two of three arrowheads I have found, I have posted on two occasions here  and here.

jenjoycedesign© felted two

felted in two cycles of a hot wash in machine

It is said that the Mayacamas mountain range where I live was named by the Wappo tribe “Maiya’ kma” said to mean “howling mountain lion”.  I live close to the border on the map between the Southern Wappo and the Pomo, and near the Miwok too, where the black glass obsidian volcanic rock comes from to make the arrowheads.  As I walk the contours of the mountain over the years I have come to understand the paths a bit, how the animal traffic goes, where the old roads that have grown over are, how the watershed goes and up at the top how the rock cuts up through the soil like teeth. Up there you can look to the east and see Napa Valley or to the west and see Sonoma Valley.

tribes of Napa, Lake County & Sonoma

The wildfire that came through here two years ago has created a lot of mess with the trees, but in a blink it will again be as before. I must be patient through the seasons, and understand the mountain as these hunter-gatherer, epic trekkers,  & basket weavers did.  Anyway, I am happy to be finding my way through the new bag designs, and the pattern is written, so soon will I be finished!

jenjoycedesign© felted two 2

See all posts with new projects of Maiya’ kma bags & baskets HERE. 

Up & Coming . . .

jenjoycedesign© felted thing 1

I’ve always knitted bags to felt, so many in fact, that I couldn’t even count them, and have given most of them away.  These are incredibly easy to make, and the felting is instantly gratifying!  I finally decided to go ahead and make a pattern, so after all these years I am working on a bit of a collection that is up & coming soon.

jenjoycedesign© felted thing 3

This is the first of them, a taste test.  It was a big floppy loose bag this morning, and now it is sturdy and has a shaped bottom and stands on its own with a salute!

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I’m really excited to have  this collection soon to be ready, and so pleased with its shape. The motifs will be themed with something that is … well… something that lately I have been thinking is ‘the genius of the place’.  If that whets your curiosity, then all the better!

jenjoycedesign© felted thing 4

I’ve got the pattern mostly written, just need to knit up a few more of them and I’ll see you back here on the flip side.

Light, shadow, and color.

jenjoycedesign© chullo 5

Just off the needles,  photographed in my favorite flooded light place  on the landing of the stairs, beneath the roof window facing to the southern sky.  Every half hour the sun progress across, the light and shadow changes dramatically, the angles creating dark against light and every grey in between. 

jenjoycedesign© chullo 4

I think of my brother, how he is always in need for a new chullo, and needing a fresh idea for yet another, it came into being, trying out light and shadow … with variegating color.

jenjoycedesign© chullo 6

Just a little knitted bit between bigger knitting bits.

A diversion of an idea . . .

jenjoycedesign© chullo 2And of course, tassels galore, the Peruvian way!

I made these with two-stitch i-cord and unravelled the yarn. I somehow really enjoyed the un-twisting and picking each strand-of-four out. Crazy , I know.

jenjoycedesign© chullo 7

I just get so excited about photographing the new knitted things, but I’m heading on down to Oakville Post to send this fun frolick off to my brother now, and upon my return it is time to get back to the forthcoming thing I’ve taken too long of a break from.
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in colors Natural, Black, and Arco Iris
Pattern: chullo modification of Forthcoming

A hopeful garden.

Four months now in the new house , and I feel nearly back to my natural and normal lifestyle, and not near as much sitting at a table knitting & watching knitting podcasts as I did in the confines of a tiny house.  But now I’m experiencing a bit of an epiphany with productivity, as if to make up for lost time.  Hiking around and up the ridge does seem like essential energy spent,  but I am feeling a sense of mortality driven desperation to accomplish things. Things out of doors, but not on trail or road,  things that take a lot of physical work, and for which I am lamely unfit and feel snared in a trap of middle-age. But I am getting myself out, step one is behind already, (take an ipuprofen!) and another step ahead.  I am readying myself for the transformation.

Knitting & designing aside, presently my attention is on gardening, clearing, and making compost, and completely challenged by the lack of any level ground. I have tried to put into practice most of my life, a devotion to gardening, and yet, each spring that turns to summer with the hammer coming down of unrelenting heat and dryness has me always and every time wilting along with the zucchini plants. Last Spring  I posted about  wanting to hang in there with the garden into summer, not just the usual infatuation with the vigor of Springtime growing, but dedicate myself in the summer months.  For June is when the heat can get ahead of me, and by mid July when if a gardener is not equipped with resources, all is lost, rolling into August through September is one long heat wave and even tomatoes die. Oh, and October is the dryest of all. How does one truly garden year-round in this place? So here I am in February, after the first mild days came and I feared the blossoms would explode on the cherry tree I had bought last year and have still not planted, it being a gift for Franny & Zooey, the resident pair of ravens. Soon, in a week or two the vineyard rows will explode in mustard flowers yellow, white, even pink, and become a cacophony of color all up the Napa Valley. The sweet daffodils emerge from the sides of roads, from ghost gardens of houses which are no longer there, the acacia trees ooze pollen and the scent of Spring is intoxicating. Yes, it really does begin in February. That is not to say we won’t still have hail storms, even snow up on the mountain, but it all seems to balance and tip back and forth between frantic outside work and staying in, sheltering from the rain, hail, or snow. So much happens this month, and I am bracing myself for it.

I have a lot of burning to do; now this is work that requires first a call to check if it is a permissive burn day, a handy propane torch is nice to start, but the rest is just a lot of really hard sooty  work, all to reduce a lot of dead wood around, and because we live in a wildfire prone California, it is work that I have come to accept that is important work needing to be done. In fact, indigenous people of Napa Valley made a practice of purposeful burning to balance growth of food and attract animals to hunt , as well as prevent catastrophic wildfire.  I’ve got to get ahead of the learning curve, guess work, or maybe instinctive, tapping into the collective eternal experiential brain of human life — nurture the food producing  micro climate and inhibit the invasive tendency of wild to fight any attempt to control a space.

I hold on to a vision of a more limbed-up woodland space with streaming sun into the official garden plot like a meadow, thriving with tiny micro climates. I do think more about the indigenous people that lived here first, and wonder what this space on the mountain was like a hundred, two hundred, a thousand years ago. I ponder and although I try for elements of English Country Garden, I must get real.  April’s lush verdant water-beaded plants in a cottage garden style are completely lost by July in most certain and unstoppable arrival of aridity. I am still trying to learn about how to garden in this arid-in-summer & mossy wet-in-rain season place , where is the genius of it all , I can’t seem to grasp it.

Growing any food on a steep slope facing near direct West is a challenge. I think I need to plant more fruit trees for the hell of it, not caring what fruit mostly, but the most important crop is a bit of shade in the afternoon. So there’s me, heading off to the nursery this week on the look for another apple, or pear, things that grow well in the rocky volcanic soil of the Mayacamas mountain range. There’s me, shovelling into rocky soil a deep hole, wrestling with hardware cloth to line  and protect from the jurassic gophers lurking beneath. There’s me, against all odds, bubbling up for another hopeful spring, tempering myself into the intimidating summer, and lost to hopeless foolishness watering into the flames of October. I have to get on top of this gardening thing, I’ve got to think this out. I go deep within myself and play out all the sensitive nature against my analytical mind, and want to discover so much the genius of this place.

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Our woodland gated garden in 2015

 

Foot steps, and paw steps.

jenjoycedesign© striped socks 1Wow, January is nearly over. So much is going on, with Spring really just around the corner! I have SO much I want to do, I’m feeling a little naturally overwhelmed, so I’m forcing myself to rein in too much excitement, and keep it to a dull roar.

jenjoycedesign© striped socks 2

Finished a pair of socks, in unexpectedly fun self-striping sock yarn I found at Michael’s Crafts, not believing it could be so beautiful of a colorway.  I’m really attracted to the ochre stripe, that deep mustard, next to the grey.  I think I’m ready for something mustard yellow & grey colorwork, which is a stellar color combo and yet perhaps already a bit tired in the fashionable trends, but I was never one to care about trends.

Pattern: Another pair in Walking With Emma, modified with rib chart A and stockinette leg.

Yarn: Kroy Sock Yarn in color 55102

♥    ♥    ♥

And speaking of Walking with Emma, she’s three months away from 15, indeed a very old girl.  She naps a lot of the day in her car cave, which is her very own hermitage & safe place of contemplation, complete with electric heating pad, and she tolerates being out of it only for short intervals.   With the help of a good harness, together we have four good paws and so she comes in for the morning , and again mid-afternoon, sometimes evening for a snack if she’s barking for something. Here she is just now finished with her home-cooked dinner.  Each day she’s still here is a good day, um, even if she is not squarely on her bed!

jenjoycedesign© Emma Jan 28, 2020

A new thing, and a birthday!

jenjoycedesign© upcoming thing

I’ve been picking up the pace with the knitting in the last few days, ramping up for a new design. Here at the start, with many prototypes ahead yet to knit, and many winter hours spent in  pattern writing concentration, I’m going for it again. More to come, most definitely.

I am really astonished at how time speeds along. Tomorrow is the seventh birthday of Jenjoyce Design! That is, January 25th 2013, I submitted my first pattern to Ravelry, a free pattern, and new projects of it continue to get knit about the place. I have kept things moving forward with JJD very slow and steady, taking my time trying for the most artful and original designs that I can manage, and opting out of all the crazy marketing, video presence… etcetera … and have just stuck with the old-school blogging.  Wanting to rely only on myself, I choose to wear all the hats in the indie design process, keeping it modest and within my ability.  I suppose I have been doing well enough for a hermit knitter enjoying the quietude of her woods hermitage, I can’t really complain about anything, and have mountains of gratitude for everyone who has encouraged me, keeping up appearances in Jenjoyce Design Group on Ravelry, commenting here on my blog, and test knit the new designs ~~ you know who you are, and thank you!

((  Oh, and I am having a very brief pattern give-away celebration just for part of today over on Ravelry  here  in case you want to join in the celebration! Edit In: Now Closed))

This is what seven years looks like . . .

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The darling of the place

I hear ocean waves again,   a sandy beach , a beautiful girl, and a ukulele   all over again.

Carmel sand dunes,  the smell of the beach fire, I am drifting back …

Whenever the darling of the place  makes these great little music videos strumming on her grandmother Barbara’s old Martin ukulele, it touches my heart. Lift to your ear and hear it, just like the conch shell in a swirling tidal magical way,  the sound is so charming, and so lovely!

Short days and long shadows.

jenjoycedesign© small quilt 2
This morning was very exciting when we got hit with a storm, and with the temperature dropping degree by degree, I won’t be surprised if it snows in the next few hours.  I have been taking a break this January from all self-expectations and enjoying some slack!  Three months living in our new house, I’m wanting to work on new habits and trying a few new things, in addition to keeping up the knitting. One of the new things is starting sewing again, which actually is a lifelong passion of mine, but has been pretty much not for a few years.  Lacking a lot of confidence, I have to start really small, so after the holidays passed I made a bunch of quilted coasters and a small coffee table quilt for Jeff’s den, done in the Amish quilt style.

jenjoycedesign© itty bitty quilts

Also I have tentatively begun sewing some much needed clothes,  for making my own clothes is truly is a mark of my authenticity, and so I am experiencing a beautiful reunion with the needle, thread & thimble after a long hiatus.  I’m really enjoying hand stitched finish work, delicious felled & French seams, slowed to a snails pace, and frankly I couldn’t bear it to go any faster for the hand-sewing just tickles some innate part of me which must have lived a hundred years ago. But more on that later.   The month is already half gone and not wanting to lose my knitting mojo entirely I decided to quick knit a pair of socks. I picked up a few ‘flavors’ of Kroy Sock yarn at Michaels some time over the beginning of the holiday, and am now finally enjoying some calm hours to knit.  Here beneath the sleet coated sky window, I thought I would photograph this unexpectedly fun pair I’ve got going . . .

jenjoycedesign© Kroy striped ragg

Pattern is Walking With Emma , chart A ribbing and modified with stockinette.

The days are short but getting noticeably  longer by the week,  and the wet snowy sleet is falling.   I love January!

Sweater success at the castle!

jenjoycedesign© castle 25

Autumn pullovers appear in the interesting castle nooks . . .
jenjoycedesign© castle 11

We met in Calistoga at the roastery for coffee while talking about things going on in our lives, and lucky for us it was an absolutely beautiful sunny winter day, so we hopped over to the castle to take our long waited for photo shoot, which went beyond Autumn into winter . . .

jenjoycedesign© castle 21

We got loads of photos against the stone,

and they modeled their Hillwalker Pullovers

sampled with Icelandic flare this year.

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Just beautiful!   The two of them continue to captivate my interest in designing,  and honestly, it is ultimately for the three of us to have something together that grows and improves over time, with dedication and encouragement interwoven.  I feel so lucky to have these  young women in my life.

jenjoycedesign© castle 12

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After the photo shoot we went into the town of St Helena and enjoyed our traditional lunch at Villa Corona, and then parted ways.   Every minute delightful, the few hours spent together was for me the absolute cherry on top of the whole holiday!

( All posts Autumn sweaters 2019 here. )

For those of you who have been following my nieces here, in their Autumn Sweaters over the last decade, I’ll have you know that my eldest niece will be twenty years old tomorrow, and these are the tenth (pair of) Autumn sweaters that I have knit for them. They having begun their sweater-camera modeling when I first began my blog with the first Autumn Sweaters of 2010, a similar yoke style which I repeated this year . . .

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In front of Calistoga Roastery, Autumn 2010

This post has really brought on the holiday spirit of celebration for me; about craft and nurturing relationships. Having a lovely time and I’m so glad to share with you!

((Please click first image in mosaic and see the whole photo shoot!))

 

Making

jenjoycedesign© felted satchel

A felted bag, made entirely from hand-spun, some of those 30-50 gram skeins that were many of my Tweed Chronicle samples over the last two years ( and it is actually a very vague and rough “sketch” of an upcoming design I’ve been thinking about.) This one will spend a couple of days underneath a tree before belonging to someone dear to me. Oh, and this is my last knitted thing I made for gifts this Christmas, and yet, there is more making to be done!

The term ‘maker’ is a new buzzword, and I’m hearing the word everywhere in reference to a person who is involved with crafting or artisan work of any kind. Admittedly I am one of those completely manic sort.  I decided that although I have some new ideas surfacing for the new year with knitting, I really do need to take a break on it for a short while , so that I can start working on some things I have wanting to for a very long time. So with renewed vigor, I begin making a new kind of mess . . .

jenjoycedesign© quilting trim

. . . a mess which I hope there will be more making photos & posts of in the holidazed hours ahead.  I expect there may be a flurry of such Making posts, for indeed I have gotten bit by the making bug!

♥    ♥    ♥

To Makers All, I am sincerely hoping you are enjoying yourself immensely, because the glee really begins when something is ready for a finish photo and wrapping, then its time to make merry! And if you’ll excuse me, I am off to Calistoga to meet my nieces for a giving of their (uh oh, too late for Autumn) … um .. Winter  sweaters with a photo shoot!

December solstice ahead . . .

Ginsling 1

photo by Ginsling

The December Solstice is almost here, and although imminent Winter will arrive in California with a dank dark chill, I can’t help but be lost in dreams of Summer when I see these photos, feeling the heat of the sun bearing down and smelling the bleached hay fields that I am so accustomed to in my own wild landscape of July.

Ginsling 2

photo by Ginsling

A landscape which belongs to Summer, which it is soon to be in Australia.

Ginsling 3

photo by Ginsling

And a most artful Knitter From The World, is a knitter of Australia, and named in Ravelry as Ginsling .  She has created a stunning stole in kid mohair & silk,  and the photographs are completely representative of the essence of the design of  Golden Fields Stole.

Ginsling 4

photo by Ginsling

Ginsling’s “Remembering The Golden Fields” lace stole is a truly beautiful work, and I am feeling those sparkling rays of sun over on the flipside of the planet in the forthcoming Winter days over here in California.   Thank you Ginsling, for allowing me to honor your beautiful work, represented and photographed in my absolute favorite way ~~ in the wild!

♥    ♥   ♥

Edited in postscript:  I sincerely hope that the timing of this post is not insensitive, being that there are unprecedented wildfires tearing through the part of Australia where Ginsling lives, but as a sister to her in the experience of wildfire, and a bit of a phoenix too, I am sending out a prayer as regular as my own breath that the homes and welfare of she and her kith & kin remain unsinged.

Knitters From The World

mde

Photo by Strickgut

From Hamburg in Germany, there lives a genius with needles and yarn by the Ravelry name Strickgut .  She has made a beautiful and immaculate Christmas tree ball using the motifs from Wee Hearts, which is to my delight a colossal gift from her to All Knitters !

strickgut's ball 2

Photo by Strickgut

And because Strickgut is as generous as she is brilliant, she has provided the knitting community with her ball chart (by my request, but it is of the colorwork only, no inc/dec’s) which can be found on her project page on Ravelry, over here, so Knitters All, there is no reason we cant have some beautiful festive knitting in our holidays,  gratis Strickgut.    Danke Chen*chen!

Out in Autumn (late).

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 5

Walking along a foggy path in the late afternoon,  in late Autumn, I observe the season expiring after the heavy rain last week. Everything seems to be falling to the ground, exhausted.  Soon there will be new grass popping up.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 2

The last of the gold leaves wave in the breeze, as if to say “I’m tired, and it is time to go”, and the vines surely have given all their energy growing grapes for 2019 Harvest, and will wait bare until pruning time in late winter,  leaving the trellises standing like soldiers in a winter field.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 4

The stinging needles on the star thistle rot and become harmless, muted into the dull brown grass.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 7

The fog surely lays burden to the spider webs, and even though nature is bedding down, the creatures are stirring.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 8

The oaks are shedding leaves and covering the ground, another layer of compost for the soil,  two years after the wildfire is nothing less than a treasure.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 6

Yet some of what was dormant is now waking up, becoming lush, verdant, alive, as is the story of the moss.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn walk 3.JPG

So near to the solstice, I believe this little foggy outing has put me in the mood for more walking and writing, for it is at these times when I most intensely feel my existence.  Rituals of coffee and chores, punctuated with knitting, walks, short naps, and contemplative writing, are my comfort as I get older.  Peaceful and nearly silent my days tumble over one another, seemingly inconsequential, but if only to witness my landscape as it goes through the seasons.  And I am happy it is so.

Knitters From The World

Hiyastricklust's Solstice Tam

photo by Hiyastricklust

From an enchanted coast in Denmark,  you might by chance see a lovely lady strolling the rocky Baltic Sea edge in a Solstice Lanterns Tam.  This is an outstanding knit of the design, as I am so very fond of the natural colorway of Hiyastricklust’s tam.  Hers is a great example of how the kaleidoscopic affect of the motifs alone are interesting enough, without making the lantern “lights” a focal point.

Hiyastricklust's Solstice Tam 2

photo by Hiyastricklust

Oh and is that really a thatched roof I see in the countryside there?   Utterly charmed lives some knitters have ~~ thank you Hiyastricklust, for your lovely artful knitting !

thankful

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I am thankful for many things, but at the moment especially so that I finished these.  They are Hillwalker pullovers, with a simple Icelandic style colorwork “sketched” into the yoke,  an easy modification for which the simple circular yoke  is an excellent canvas.  So until the time on a late Autumn day when I will give them to my nieces,  they will waiting, tucked in nice & tidy.  Autumn Sweaters 2019 are done & dusted.

soak

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Just a quick dunk for number two of the Autumn sweaters, inside out, getting the wash & dry blocking , then they’ll be all done.  This is actually a very big deal, because I stressed over these for a couple of months delaying in and around other things, really important things (like moving, and designing a holiday tam) , and now they are finally finished and ready for my nieces for a December photo shoot against the stone in St Helena!

And if that is not good news enough , if you’ll excuse me, I must get to work gathering up and raking out the ditches in the new road to test the run off for we are expecting quite a soaking, having a big rain storm on its way !!!

Forthcoming

jenjoycedesign© Autumn Sweaters 2019

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.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn Sweater

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.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn Sweater #1

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!

Solstice Lanterns Tam!

jenjoycedesign© Solstice Lanterns Tam 2

Solstice Lanterns is a colorwork tam with original motifs depicting lit lanterns glowing in the festive time of deep winter when the earth takes a nap and we all make merry.

jenjoycedesign© Solstice Lanterns Tam folded

Jolly wee lanterns hang in the base of the crown above the ribbing,  and the color changes are close together so you can carry the colors upward without having to snip the yarns, making the finish work of weaving in ends minimal . . .

jenjoycedesign© Solstice Lanterns Tam detail beneathunderside4

. . . and elegant  chandelier lanterns in the upper crown, cozy with scrolls and checking and the detail of the lights casting a glow is rather delightful . . .

jenjoycedesign© Solstice Lanterns Tam lights detail

However, as these sort of things go, it doesn’t much matter what they are,  because the kaleidoscopic affect of the design is quite transfixing.  I knit this tam in a lovely Elemental Affects Shetland 2-ply yarn , which I am a big fan of.  But by the time knitters are able to get their yarn to needles for this, it will likely be only a few weeks left to the Winter Solstice . 

jenjoycedesign© Solstice Lanterns Tam 1

So speedily gather your Shetland 2ply yarns of choice, cups of tea, mugs of coffee, plates of baked goodies, and a lot of spiritual calm and please do knit one of these up for yourself before the holidays are past.

jenjoycedesign© Solstice Lanterns Tam 8

Poetically speaking, the lanterns have a deeper meaning for me, and that is ~~  a light in the dark is hope,  and from our hearts shines a beacon for the future.

  The pattern is available HERE. 

♥    ♥      ♥

Now, just in case you are thinking,  what about the grey-scale tam that I knit up in Jamiesons Spindrift ?  Well, it is a bit of dark humor (excuse the pun) as I knit it during a Public Safety Power Shut-off during a very windy few days in October (power lines and wind are a major cause of wildfires in California) , and which in fact lasted a week in the  mountainous areas north of the bay. Then, due to falling trees there have been still more power outages, and furthermore,  the power is OUT as I post this!!!  With a bit of irony, I introduce to you my slightly sinister  ” Lights Out In California ” . . .

jenjoycedesign© Lights Out in California

Adorned with a tidy wee felted toorie which I made & posted about yesterday . . .

jenjoycedesign© Lights Out In California 1

Equally as good looking as the festive prototype! However, now that I’ve posted the “Lights Out” version, I have a mind to stitch in colored lights. I’ll think about it. In the mean time, please do check out all the details of Solstice Lanterns over on Ravelry, as it is now live!   Thank you ~  xx Jen

Toppings

jenjoycedesign© felted pom pom

A little something that I call  ” the felted toorie ”

toorie 

or tourie (ˈtʊrɪ  )

noun Scottish

1. a tassel or bobble on a bonnet

2. Alsotoorie bonnet

a bonnet with a toorie
Word origin of ‘toorie’

C19: from Scot toor tower

Toorie is just a Scots name for the little ball that goes on top of many of their hats, often looking like little red cherries.

I just made a regular medium-sized pompom,  entirely in Jamiesons Shetland Spindrift — color Sholmit.  I snipped the fresh pom pom right off of the cardboard, then it went through a wild hot & soapy wash while being rolled in my hands, and ended up really bumpy , felted, and generally unappealing  (you can  see my tutorial if you want to see all the steps.)

jenjoycedesign© trimmed toorie.JPG

Until you take scissors to it! Trimmed to perfection , it is ready for this tam.

Two tams are waiting back stage …. nervous, nearly forgetting their lines.

 

Almost

jenjoycedesign© tam scraps

Good morning !   My day was started early this morning finishing the last rounds of the tam, and doing all the finish work, and left with a minimal pile of trimmings for the birds’ nests , as I was able to carry the yarns upward as I went, making very little in the way of ends to weave in.  Now the tam is blocking to dry, inside-out, with many pins to shape it into a slightly taut disc, which later will be turned outside-out and steamed  ever so gently to set the fabric and soften the brim crease.

jenjoycedesign© blocking tam inside out

I have had so much enjoyment designing and knitting this tam that I’m thinking I need to allow myself another tam to design, you know,  just binge with it for a while.  Nevertheless  I am almost done with it, and as it has been quite warm lately,  I am hoping it will be dry and ready for a photo later today . . . and you know what that means?

In a blink this tam pattern will be ready to fly!

jenjoycedesign© blocking tam

The Solstice Ahead

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About five and a half weeks away is the Winter Solstice, and I am working like an ox to get this here tam up and running ahead of the holidays so knitters can knit it for the holidays.   As soon as I finish knitting the prototype here I’ll be done & dusted ;  I’ve got the pattern all ready to go, charts are drawn and redrawn, then drawn again, and so I am confident that the Up & Coming is going to be ready in a blink. It is certainly a significant personal accomplishment in the wake of a couple of years where my creative brain seemed to be on vacation somewhere far away.    It will be knit, blocked (that is, put into a lovely tam shape and un-wrinkled so to speak), then photographed . . . all in the next couple of days.  This is it, the pressure is on . . . and I am on it !

jenjoycedesign© new design 3.JPG

Very soon, very soon,  I will present this holiday design owning a bit of spiritual nuance and a jolly lot of cheer!

Stranded on Fair Isle.

jenjoycedesign© blocking tam

I’ve been feeling like knitting design has taken a back seat for so long that it was becoming inconsequential to big things going on (so many big big things), so I decided to get focused again and design a tam during the week-long power outage in Napa last week. Here it is blocking inside-out on a blocking board drying into shape with a lot of pins. The motif is quite apropos to the power situation, but I won’t be showing it off right-side-out yet, as it is a test-knit to an upcoming pattern idea. That is, I am waiting for my order of Elemental Affects Shetland yarn to arrive for something heart-warming and cheerful for the holidays, but having wanted something to  ‘sketch’ the motif with, I dug into my yarn drawer and pulled out four balls of Jamiesons Spindrift to make a grey-scale version of the colorful holiday one forthcoming, but with a little bit of a sinister spin on it.  And that is all you get to know for now.

♥    ♥    ♥

Oh! And I’d like to mention that it was ten years ago about this time of year that I was becoming obsessed by Fair Isle colorwork,  having knit my first ever Fair Isle tam,  and so I decided to get stranded out in the colorwork rounds again after a two-year colorwork hiatus.  It has been thoroughly delightful and introspective!

Fourteen and a half.

DSC_0173We’ve been hunkered down through a week long power out and biting our nails while Kincade Fire raged in Sonoma County very close by, and my friends from around the world have been worried about us from hearing about it on the news. California is once again the crazy Wild West,  its been a rough last week in October, but November is at long last here.  Oh, and today is Emma’s half birthday.

As a little celebration of Emma’s fourteenth half  birthday, I am having a little two-for-one pattern spree for Walking With Emma  (a collection of eight sock patterns) over on Ravelry , and for details on that, please check it out on my forum post here.

In any case, we’re busy hanging doors, tiling, and in general making our house more of a home every weekend.  I suppose soon I ought to post some house project photos, but here is one ~~  the laundry line is up!

laundry line up, and Emma.JPG

Knitters From The World

Fishwives Shoal makes a beautiful appearance in the wild of Sweden,

with Halvyllet’s Fishwives Stola . . .

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photo by Halvyllet

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photo by Halvyllet

There are some absolutely fantastic finishes of some of Jenjoyce designs showing up in the Ravelry FO’s feed, and this being one that has inspired me to make a new series of posts on my blog ” Knitters From The World”.  I so appreciate these exceptionally beautiful photos of the knitter in the wild, it touches my heart, thank you Halvyllet!

The Places I Walk

jenjoycedesign© places I walk 1

I was out early this morning walking, before I got a chance to get carried away with projects.  This Autumn I am recommitting to getting out and walking as I use to do,  since about the time when I first started this blog.  Each time I go out into the changing landscape I feel its healing influence in me as it ebbs back to health from the wildfire, the prolific growth on the branches and at the stumps of burned trees everywhere remind me of a vibrant desire for life, even though so many trees must give in to lifelessness.

jenjoycedesign© places I walk 3

I walk alone, without distraction,  listening to the grasses sway and the browning leaves shake in the breeze, and as I walk it feels like I am turning stones along the way,  seeing glimpses of my past, unavoidable as I’ve walked these very steps and places so many times before.  This landscape has seen lifetimes of people walking along here in the very same places, back to the indigenous race who’s arrowheads I have found, and sometimes it is as though I walk through time, feeling the ancient geography and the presence of walkers of an ancient time.  Or maybe I will feel happy Emma as a puppy in her explosive energy, or a friend I walked with once . . . all whispers in the wild.

jenjoycedesign© places I walk

Everyday I need to be out in the wild, knitting to keep my hands busy, but sensitive and pondering, ready to let tears fall if they want, or a new exciting idea take hold, whichever seems to be inevitable for the moment.   I am determined to see the landscape change to normal again, and it is what I consider to be the best thing for me, and when I get home I make a cup of coffee and get things done, and all the while I let myself be swept along by the knitted stitches, and that is as good as it gets.

jenjoycedesign© places I walk 4

Two fast knits . . .

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Already it is that time cozy season of Autumn again, my absolute favorite time of the year.  Although much later in Autumn than I have always begun in the past, I’m talking about it being time to knit the Autumn sweaters for my nieces.  I have had the yarn for about a month, but life got in the way, and as I’m just now feeling settled a little bit after being in the new house for already a week, I have cast on.  Past the hoop of the body, I am not yet sure what pattern I’m going to knit.   I have had lots of ideas over the last two years for a new sweater design, but  have not felt settled enough to even think or rise up out of perpetual indecision.   For these two fast knits I’m considering a few different yoke shapings as they go along, and they should go really fast.

I might decide to knit two Hillwalkers, or two Calidez’s,  one of each,  or something entirely new.   Number one, is that I’m not putting any expectations on myself, especially as yesterday was the second anniversary of the wildfire, and the event  very much reminded me how trauma & stress really can change a person’s performance.  All I can say is ~~ we will see.   Finished with the ribbing, and now ready for a bunch o’ rounds of stockinette body, so I’ll be busy with it for some time.  And then I can do the same for the light grey one,  and then I will decide how to proceed.

jenjoycedesign© Autumn Sweaters 2019

Oh! And tomorrow I meet my youngest niece in Calistoga to celebrate her 17th birthday ~~ and that I truly can not believe !