Next…

jenjoycedesign© handspun mitt

I am knitting this last prototype of a pile of samples which are from my next pattern, and which will highlight this Autumn’s designs ~~ a set of mitts & hats! Just had to photograph a little teaser, because the sun was streaming in through the window and making my yarn glow, a bit of a yarn-henge moment!

jenjoycedesign© pattern writing 2

I do love this yarn, which is such a surprise, from wool I made on blending board and spun up  into this very tweedy yarn  last weekend. But by next week I will have this pattern up and running with legs, thanks to Wendy, Yvonne, Jane & Dawn for test-knitting!

jenjoycedesign© pattern writing

Fish a little, croft a little, weave a yard or two.

I am so inspired by this video about the weavers and the local culture around Harris Tweed, on the Isle of Lewis & Harris in Scotland’s outer Hebrides. I seem to be hooked on these woolen mill films these days! I am not so much infatuated with the idea of weaving the tweed yarn, but if I could be immersed into any one part of the process, it would be the blending and carding of the many colors of wool for the tweed affect in yarn spinning.  This is what excites me the most, and thinking a lot about what to card next on my new blending board.  I realize that I am , and always have been a colorist.  Like a painter dreams of mixing pigments on palette, I am the very same, and training to see past the surface into a hidden palette of color in the fiber.   Anyway, I hope you enjoy this video I’ve watched now countless times…

Spun

jenjoycedesign©001

I am experiencing a bit of a renaissance in hand-spinning. I never was that much of an intentional spinner, although I am attempting to be now…. perhaps I’ve grown up a little bit? With this alpaca that I brought out of the recesses of my loft closet, I worked it from raw fleece and  carded on my blending board,  then spun it, and now measuring & weighing the yarn to discover what gauge it is.

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Here is what I do:  I run the yarn through a ‘winding station’, which measures yardage while winding off the skein on to a ball, then weigh the ball, and take notes.

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This is about an aran weight. Getting more savvy in substituting hand-spun and I am itching to ‘paint’ again with fiber on my blending board. Recycled sari silk (yes, made from silk cloth of saris), bamboo, rose fiber… the works, and Oh! This was my most recent creation over the weekend, taking some very coarse Lincoln-Corriedale I’ve had for 30 years (from my sheep Hazel, plus another part fleece I have long forgotten where it came) , and blended it up together into a bat of 50/50 dark & white, which the white was extremely slubby (thats having little bits of wool puffs) I used that blend to layer with some ultra nice dyed corriedale roving  I recently bought, in colors amber, mulberry, and ruby, and also a little Huacaya Alpaca , and made tasty little wool sausages….

jenjoycedesign© tweed rolags

And, over the weekend, here is what I spun up…. slubby, exotic woolen spun blend

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Meanwhile, the general news…

Emma is in her last days of having to endure The Cone, for the surgery she had a week ago already (to remove a low-grade sarcoma on her front leg, she will be alright, no reason to be alarmed). My nieces have started school already, Miss Seventeen is a senior this year, and Miss Fourteen is now in 9th grade!  I’m very busy presently working up two patterns to be available in a double download, and prototyped in the hand-spun alpaca!  And we’re having some gorgeous cool foggy mornings at last! Life is good.

Emma in the cone

Emma 2 days after surgery.

 

Woolen or worsted?

jenjoycedesign© spinning

Spinning from rolags is a different experience for me. Especially these tightly rolled sausage-like ones drawn off of those nifty blending boards, and from which  I posted about a few weeks ago.   Raw, dirty & weedy alpaca is what I’m practicing this woolen technique I am learning, from rolags. In my spinning past, I’ve spun from locks, from picked fiber ‘clouds’ , from bats, had also tried a badly produced rolag or two and gave up ~~ but mostly all the years I’ve spun its been from roving, sliver, and combed top. I am learning that although I was getting better at spinning a fine even single, the yarn I’ve been spinning has been dense, tough type of yarn. I think I was unconsciously aspiring to spin worsted (or semi-worsted) , however there is true woolen style of spinning which is done this way, from rolags I am learning, and ‘long draw’. Okay, I’m getting this…

jenjoycedesign© spinning alpaca rolags

I must say, this rolag thing is where it is at! Its fascinating, long-draw spinning method, and as yet I am far from being able to do it, and I must resist the urge to pinch the twist too much and let it compress through my fingers into tight even yarn, for that is what is to spinning, like knitting yarn with too small of a size needle I think. It creates a dense compact yarn, that squeezes the life out of the fiber.  Just look how the yarn pulls out of the rolag in a line all by itself, with really very minimal fussing if you do it right…

jenjoycedesign© spinning alpaca rolags 2

Well, I’ve got this pile of rolags that I made from my first carding on my board, a loosely carded alpaca, and when I’m done with this, I will wash it very well as it is dirty. Hopefully it will bloom and be fluffy & beautiful.

As I’ve been ordering & collecting a bit of fancy fibers to play with and blend, and even ‘processing’ some bits of yarn I have on hand to incorporate into the tweed mixes which  I am envisioning for art rolags!  For now I’m glad to be taking a break from knitting as the previously posted yarn was not very nice at all, and I sent it back only to have to start all over with nicer yarn that I enjoy knitting, and more important, that my nieces will enjoy wearing! So I’m waiting for new yarn to come in. In the mean time I’m spinning!  All you spinners out there, I invite you to share in the comments about your preferred spinning methods, and anything you might be able to say about woolen vs worsted spinning ~ thanks!

I’m closing with a posting of a video from 1970’s that I found about sheep & spinning in Donegal Ireland, I hope you love it as much as I do!

casting on…

jenjoycedesign© big yarn

News is that Emma is on the mend from her surgery earlier this week. She got a bit of a tune-up at the vet while she was under anesthetic to remove a growth on her front leg, and before she woke up the vet did a quick dental, and trimmed her nails too.  Five more days of antibiotics,  nearly a week of the pain-reliever anti-inflammatory (which I may continue with, for her arthritis), and about ten more days of the annoying cone, then its back to normal. More news is that we are dealing with a bit of a mouse invasion and trying to get them ‘out’ is no easy task.

Another finished Whorl’d Piece …

jenjoycedesign© Whorl'd Piece in Inca Tweed

Its on to the next big thing, casting on for Autumn Sweaters for my nieces, in the above balls of yarn is  Berocco super-bulky yarn named “Peruvia Quick”.  The light blue will be a Calidez Cardigan for Miss Seventeen, and dark blue a Calidez Pullover for Miss Fourteen.  So that is that.

I am embracing the waning summer days, getting through the epic bone-dry season of often smoke-hazed blue sky, while fantasizing a verdant grey-skies wet summer climate elsewhere on the planet, like this…

Windows

Wishing everybody a wonderful last week(s) of summer vacation before going back to the school year routine ~ xx

Whorl’d Piece

 jenjoycedesign© Whorl'd Piece

Whorl: wôrl, noun. 1. A pattern of spirals (synonyms: twirl, spiral, helix) 2. Historically a small wheel in a spinning wheel, or spindle.

Folks, I introduce to you my little design Whorl’d Piece. Yes, it is a play on the words and very much a hopeful idea for ‘world peace’. I have blogged about the inspiration behind this spinnerly design in this post “Spinning Hope For The Future” .
A cowl for men & women with interesting cables & bobbles whorl around against a background of a wide rib pattern.  Design was inspired by hand-spun from art fibers  blended on my blending board, often from which the spinner creates only one or two balls of like yarn…( and also the hope for world peace!  )   Perfect for using up those odd balls of stashed yarn in all weights!   Whorl’d Piece is knit in-the-round,  bottom up & seamless.  Includes gauge substitution chart, and options for Plain Rib Cowl.

Here is a sample of Whorl’d Piece made with two strands of stashed sock yarn held together, which by the way, is exceptionally soft & stretchy …

jenjoycedesign© Whorl'd Piece in blue

Whorl’d Piece can be found on Ravelry HERE.

 

Seasonal

jenjoycedesign© seasonal-berry-pie
Blackberries line the country roads and harvest is abound in the deep rural places that are secret to we locals. Approaching mid-summer now, and life sometimes feels so uneventful, and yet changes so fast day to day that I can barely acknowledge a blink. Its the punctuation of a season, of a summer,  of things like making a berry pie from hand-picked berries,  just how good it really is when I take a few hours  to indulge to create a little pleasure for the senses.
Life is good.
I just have to remind myself of that on occasion.

stray yarn

jenjoycedesign© sock yarn

Stash [stash] noun. 1. something which is stored secretly; hiding place; cache, as in excess of knitting yarn collected with good intentions to knit, but has not yet been used.

This blue mandala of stray sock yarn is getting a makeover, as is a lot of my stray yarn.  As mentioned in previous post, I am working on a little something to submit so that gift-knitting will be made just a little easier for those of us with too much STASH. No point in getting any more for this one, as it is a stash promoting sort of design for both handspun and purchased, otherwise somewhat misdirected yarn, and in many weights

Meanwhile, Emma and I are hunkering low in the shade here, as Northern California temperatures rise to scorching hot. Oh, ho hum.  Emma has a growth on her front leg which the vet has finally decided should go, so early next week we’re going back to the vet for a quick surgery to get it taken off.  Wish Emma well everybody, in case I don’t post again until then.

Its  going to be hot weekend, but there’s a crazy chance of rain.  I can’t remember last time I experienced a rain in August.  Wouldn’t that be just magic! 

Spinning hope for the future.

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In recent days, while knitting I have been learning about Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, about spinning & carding, and the art & industry of spinning, and also listening to NPR political news which always is a dreary subject.  But more about Mahatma, the “great-souled” man.

Gandhi and His Spinning Wheel: the Story Behind an Iconic Photo

Caption from LIFE magazine (1945): “At 76, the Mahatma is in good physical condition. He weighs 110 pounds, but he is not so frail as he looks.”

Gandhi was a religious leader, nationalist, and social reformer (1869-1948) who’s method of peaceful protest brought change to India, and through his example he empowered millions with a sense of direction and courage.  One of Gandhi’s notorious civil disobedience acts protesting British rule was organizing & leading thousands of people to walk 241 miles to the sea, so they could simply make salt, something that was illegal under an obnoxious salt taxing law of Imperialist oppression at the time (read more about this significant protest….)   Gandhi has since his lifetime gone beyond being a leader of peace in India, to an example of peace in the world.

[wurld]noun + [pees] noun: World peace is exemplified by an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among all people in all nations , ideally encompassing ethics of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare.

But the most iconic thing about Gandhi that I think of , is his gift to people of the spinning wheel to empower and unite them. Gandhi taught his people to spin and to take pride and ownership in their labor & contribution, and so the millions spun on the wheel as it became an integral part in creating the cloth of the nation. The spinning wheel even became the emblem of the nation and was printed on to India’s flag…

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“Every revolution of the wheel spins peace, good will, and love.” –Gandhi

The simple mechanics of turning a whorl to make fine finished thread out of unorganized fluff.  When I think about it, spinning is a wonderful example of human potential, and perhaps what belonged even to the earliest prehistoric civilizations as they made cloth to better their lives.

However in modern days it seems as though the craft of spinning has become a sort of privilege of the artisans life, if not the perpetual hobbyist, but I am digging deep into the well of my own humanity to find a stronger direction from it.  I am suddenly in the throes of wanting to be inwardly groomed by these concepts.  Although my life is already a peaceful protest in a way, I am spinning hope for the future.  

Well, what I have learned about Gandhi and his spinning has at least inspired the name of a new little design forthcoming, but that will be another day.  I will leave off today with one of my favorite quotes…

Gandhi quote

Carding & Blending

jenjoycedesign© rolags

I’ve been lured into somewhat of a trend. The trend is carding & blending boards!  Such a beautiful tool are the ones purchased by Ashford, etc, and I was so excited to buy one, but I resisted knowing that I was perfectly able to make my own. So with Jeff’s help, I did…

005I bought  24″ of  very expensive 12″ carding cloth, but still less expensive than a new 12×12″ board.  We cut some plywood to size, and after a quick glue & nailing down the carding cloth, added a footing to the head, and a handle, and ended up with double the size of the regular blending boards available. Not bad!  I then spent hours practicing on some old weedy raw fleece I had hidden away, found my old carders, and had a go with some alpaca.

jenjoycedesign© carding alpaca

Mixing first by hand, then carding three times on the board,

it eventually looked like this…

jenjoycedesign© carding alpaca 5

Then I drew the 3x carded alpaca back on to the board, caught the tips in between two dowels, then began to pull out, roll, pull out & drafted it rolling into rolags…

jenjoycedesign© making rolags

Eventually I got through all 240 grams of it and made finally into some nifty rolags ready to spin, after a heck of a lot of work …
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Honestly folks, do you have any idea how much work goes into making a simple 100g ball of yarn from raw fleece?   I’m sure there are some of you out there who do.

Which brings me back to the carding & blending board. I did say that it is a bit of a trend, I mean, just look at the process of making art rolags…

The video shows really what the blending board is all about.  I was actually using it in my above photos as a carding board for raw fleece, now I think I’ll go clean up the weeds and fluff that has spread all about my loft, because I am actually waiting for some combed top roving to show up in the mail.

Its such a strange modern era.  I feel that I have shifted from wanting to create from the roughest and unrefined of raw materials ~~ my old self ~~ into craving the ease of beautiful prepared combed top roving to spin from, or with which to create those beautiful blend rolags ~~ my new self.  I think I have worked something through here, and am considering offering to the wild all that old coarse wool from my earlier spinning days, and face a future of pleasure spinning clean exotic selection of fibers, as there is just so much available now.  I have definitely reaffirmed my respect for those who spin from animal-to-yarn, I just can’t seem to be one to run with the flock anymore, but that is okay.

I do feel the urge to spin yarn again, after a long hiatus.  I am very excited to come back and show off some really artful blended rolags from my plus size blending board, as well as the yarn spun from them!

Fishwives Lace Shoal

The-Fish-Wife

“The Fishwife” by Edward Charles Barnes

This painting caught my eye last winter, and so when the coast was clear in spring I dove into a lace designing frenzy.  For a while I have wanted to make a female counterpart to my Fishermens Neck Gansey, and so here it is finally ~~~ done & dusted!  Inspired by the painting, and in the same colorway as the painting …

 Fishwives Lace Shoal !

jenjoycedesign© small shawl & cowl together

Small shawl worn over medium cowl.

Fishwives Shoal  = shawl + stole.  ( Okay,  plus a cowl thrown in! )  A play on words, indeed. As many of you have been reading all the fishy posts  leading up to this one (especially Shoal or School?  will help you get the name of my new design).  Fish tails motifs with yarn-overs resembling splashes, and waves in-between create a beautiful lace pattern.  Three styles, and three sizes in each.

The Shawl  is square, and worn folded diagonally around neck double thick and tucked into corset, or just pin together.  This one shown in pink is the small shawl(ette) size,  while largest size, with diagonal of 64”, wraps around whole torso as a traditional Scottish hap does, and would also do nicely as a throw.

 


The Stole is just as a French neck & shoulder wrap, sized from wide scarf to full shoulder wrap.

jenjoycedesign© medium stole 1

Medium stole.

jenjoycedesign© medium stole back

Back of medium stole.

jenjoycedesign© medium stole wrapped

jenjoycedesign© small stole 3

Small stole.

The Cowl is simplest of the three styles, and knit in-the-round.

jenjoycedesign© medium cowl

Medium cowl

jenjoycedesign© medium cowl 3
But of all the three styles, I think I love most is to wear two of them together!

jenjoycedesign© small stole & cowl together 2

Small stole in rose, with medium cowl in natural white.

jenjoycedesign© small stole & cowl together

jenjoycedesign© med stole & small shawl

Medium stole in light grey, with small shawl in pink.

jenjoycedesign© med & small stoles

Medium stole in light grey, with small stole in rose.

Well that about wraps up an epic project. I will be laying low for a while, but soon back on another big idea I am sure.   ~~ Boat loads of thanks to Wendy from Ontario for her test-knitting and generous help with figuring things out! Thanks Wen! ~~xx

Details on Ravelry pattern page over HERE

 I will leave you now with some great old photos of a bygone era of real fishwives in their shawls…

Newhaven Fishwives early 1900s
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Old Photograph Scottish Fishwife St Andrews Scotland
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and another cheery post card, one of a Newhaven Fishwife!

old postcard NewHavenFishwife

Pour vous, ce beau poisson!

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Just look at these!

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I found these French Victorian era postcards for April 1st, with hilarious & obscure meanings  of ‘fish of April’ , and various happy sentiments with fish, a delightfully bizarre tradition.

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…and simply had to post some of them, to herald in my new design.

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What is so perfect about a theme of ladies in lace… and fish?

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Well, in a day or so you will see, as I will present to you after a long arduous two months of knitting samples ~~  my new lace design!

poisson d' avril post cards-beautiful-fish-april-fools-day

 Until then there’ll be a bit of splashing about as I reel this one in.poisson d' avril post cards 5

 

In closing, if there are any of you from France, or general historians of France, out there who can offer more explanation to the meaning of these old post cards, and the origin of the fish,  I’d be grateful for a comment!

Shoal or School?

Clupea_harengus_Gervais.jpgA tasty bit o’ fish fact:  Schooling and shoaling are types of collective behavior of fish.  Any group of fish that stay together for social reasons is said to be shoaling, and if the shoal is swimming in the same direction together, it is schooling.  Herring spend most of their lives shoaling or schooling and become agitated if separated from the group, while others, such as Atlantic Cod school only some of the time. Salmon travel in large, loose schools, eventually migrating into upper reaches of rivers to spawn. Fish generally prefer larger shoals,  with shoalmates of their own species, similar in size and appearance to themselves. Any shoal member which stands out in appearance may be targeted by predators, explaining why fish prefer to shoal with individuals that resemble themselves.  This is called the oddity effect.  read more….

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Herring school or shoal?

Honestly, I always assumed the words ‘shoal’ and ‘school’ were the same meaning, but morphed into two words through cross language use.  I have learned something!  So now that we know about the difference between schools and shoals,  I’d like to share with you one of my favorite fishing songs “Shoals Of Herring”,  this version by the song writer himself, Ewan MacColl.

Words as sung by Ewan MacColl:

With our nets and gear we’re faring
On the wild and wasteful ocean.
Its there on the deep that we harvest and reap our bread
As we hunt the bonnie shoals of herring

O it was a fine and a pleasant day
Out of Yarmouth harbor I was faring
As a cabinboy on a sailing lugger
For to go and hunt the shoals of herring

O the work was hard and the hours were long
And the treatment, sure it took some bearing
There was little kindness and the kicks were many
As we hunted for the shoals of herring

O we fished the Swarth and the Broken Bank
I was cook and I’d a quarter sharing
And I used to sleep standing on my feet
And I’d dream about the shoals of herring

Well we left the homegrounds in the month of June
And to Canny Shiels we soon were bearing
With a hundred cran of the silver darlings
That we’d taken from the shoals of herring

Now you’re up on deck, you’re a fisherman
You can swear and show a manly bearing
Take your turn on watch with the other fellows
While you’re following the shoals of herring

In the stormy seas and the living gales
Just to earn your daily bread you’re daring
From the Dover Straits to the Faroe Islands
While you’re following the shoals of herring

Well I earned my keep and I paid my way
And I earned the gear that I was wearing
Sailed a million miles, caught ten million fishes
We were following the shoals of herring

I also found a lovely Gaelic version, sung by Scottish group The Lochies, from the Hebrides…

Two fun facts:   One, the singer in the group The Lochies, John MacMillan who formed the trio,  was a Harris Tweed weaver from the Hebridean Isle of Lewis in Scotland ~~ amazing!   And two, this song was one of my all-time favorites to play mandolin while backing up my duo mate John, back when we were gigging not so long ago, I’d always beg him to sing it before the gig was over.   

I’ll leave off with a peek of my most recent & last of the prototypes for forthcoming design, which I started only yesterday after ripping out another  in a different color, and which was several days worth of knitting.  This one is a keeper…

jenjoycedesign© sneak peek

Well, that about wraps up this sneak peek until next time, when I will post one more in the Fishy series before the final unveiling of new design!

forthcoming and fishy….

a21ed5308ab28c98087d478423dd312c--fishing-girls-gone-fishing

Hello folks! Another sneak peek about what is forthcoming & fishy.

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I was surprised to find so many very interesting & artful old photos of women fishing…

1902-July-Man-and-woman-fishing-in-the-Credit-River

These are but a few,

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 Finding these photos has rather set a theme.  A theme which seems to be finding itself, as I knit  and knit  samples of my new design.
d42c258bdb719f6102f2f83fa5757b17--women-fishing-fishing-girls

Something about women …. and… fishing?

Three women fishing. - [1908?]

Well yes,  that’s about it in a nutshell. More to come…

 for now I’m “gone fishing” .

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but I will be back again very soon, with some more knitting and more hints to the forthcoming Fishy Thing!

jenjoycedesign© forthcoming

June Into July

jenjoycedesign© pink.JPGChecking in from the hermitage. I’ve been knitting up a pile of rectangular shaped things, in various sizes, in pink and in grey, for what at first was to be one prototype turned out to be many,  although I am in the last stretch.  These have admittedly completely consumed my time but there is the possibility that this forthcoming ensemble will be one of my favorite designs to date, so well worth it. Let the hours and yarn and heat exhaust me to sweet slumber every night.

Here is a sneak peek of one of them pinned and drying …

jenjoycedesign© sneak peek 2.JPG
Meanwhile Emma and I have done very little walking, for the hot summer days have put us both into a trance, for me the memorable events being turning of rows from right side to wrong side and back again.  I am all over that fresh brewed cup of French Roast and I’m throwing stitches in a caffeine induced frenzy.

♣ ♣ ♣

Incidentally, another past-time of mine while knitting the lace shawls, is perusing old films on youtube about tweed-making, and here is one I discovered,  hope you enjoy it…

 

Invincible Summer Lemonade

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” In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”                           — Albert Camus

In California in winter you might very well witness yellow lemons fattening on the branches of the Meyer Lemon tree, bringing summer into winter.   This is so at odds with one’s expectations, that I found the quote by Camus to be perfect!

And now for a little fun research on the extraordinary & delicious Meyer lemon ~~ ​In the turn of the last century, American “agricultural explorer” Frank Nicholas Meyer collected a sample of a native​ lemon plant on a trip to China​, which was believed by him to be a hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin orange. He introduced ​it to the United States in 1908.

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The Meyer lemon is commonly grown in garden pots as an ornamental tree​, I personally have one, and feel they are delicious and wonderful potted citrus to have.  California Cuisine chef Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley  rediscovered this fruit in the cuisine revolution of the 90’s, as did Martha Stewart when she began featuring them in her recipes.  I remember that era & the popularizing of the Meyer lemon very well. ed4eb8cff64f736b233f46e4813b5fd7

“The Meyer lemon fruit is yellow and rounder than a true lemon. The skin is fragrant and thin, colored a deep yellow with a slight orange tint when ripe. Meyer lemon fruits have a sweeter, less acidic flavor than the more common Lisbon or Eureka varieties. The pulp is a dark yellow…” read more …

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Happy Summer Solstice everyone ~~ and on this first day of summer, I give to you my very own extremely delicious sparkling Meyer lemonade recipe ~~ having just renamed it just for this solstice  “Invincible Summer Lemonade” ! ​ This recipe will make you  a couple of tall glasses of delightful ice-cold lemony refreshment, so dig out your zesters and make sure there’s plenty of ice in the freezer.

  1. Pick 1  ripe fruit from your Meyer lemon tree, or from the produce stall at the market, but really, any kind of  fresh lemon will do,  just avoid using old stale lemons.
  2. With a zesting tool, zest outer skin of entire lemon, only the yellow part, avoiding the bitter white of the peel if possible.   If you don’t have a zester, then use a grater, but more often than not, too much of the peel is lost to the grater.
  3. Into a glass quart jar or liquid measure, combine 2-4 tbsp organic sugar, and lemon peel and let sit for 30 minutes, while stirring once or twice while sugar is leeching out those tasty essential oils from peel, the signature flavor in this drink.
  4. Now juice the peeled lemon and pour juice over sugar-zest mixture. Stir well until all the sugar dissolves in the lemon juice.
  5. Pour into juice 2 to 3 cups sparkling mineral water ( or a combination of sparkling and cold water).  Add more sugar if desired.
  6. Pour lemonade through strainer over ice into pitcher or glasses & enjoy the best taste of summer you’ll ever have.   Perhaps while contemplating the following text by Albert Camus …

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back. Let the situation be as cold as winter but the heat lies within you. “

Meet Abelene!

jenjoycedesign© Meet Abelene!
Hi, I’m Abelene. I am the newest personality here on Yarnings, and live a completely charmed life.    My name is Abelene because my parents were yuppies, and spelled it that way instead of “Abilene” or “Abeline”, the way the name is normally spelled, probably in attempt to be unique & exotic, but it only created a life-long task of my having to explain to “its spelled with three e’s and no i’s” and to give lesson of how to pronounce… “say it like ‘Abba’ … you know, the 70’s rock band from Sweden?… plus ‘lean’…you know, like skinny jeans.”
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Oh, I am a gorgeous 36-26-36, the figure every woman wants though few shall have, and I will not brag about it, but it is one of my very few attributes.  In fact, my figure and my chattiness are all there is to my whole existence.  However, Jen hopes for photogenic abilities too, and she assures me I show potential.  In fact, Jen hopes for a lot from me ~~ design success, fortune & fame~~ in exchange for a charmed life of glamour…. but she says I can’t even dream to compete with her nieces, who are real live models.
Jen debated for a long time about getting me, but recently grubbing around to find me was ‘a score’ as she puts it.  The trauma to clear a space in her ‘studio’ closet was difficult, to find other places for yarn that previously inhabited my new place (by the way, don’t tell anybody, but she calls my living space her Studio Loft , sounding so artsy professional, but really it is only just a guest room where her nieces sleep when they come to stay over).   The door into it is at my left.
Jen tells me that “having a big awkward useless trendy possession” (such as a dress form) is for her a very difficult thing to give in to (um, add a little peppering of guilt there why don’t you!) when in fact she wrestles in strained efforts with her sprawling collection of antique wooden hangers, you know, those ones with old cleaner advertisements?  ( You ought to witness her obsession with those)  Even she realizes her limitations before getting me, that she had a rough time of displaying something as lovely and draping as say… lace. 
(hint … hint)
In any case I think that she is very pleased with my snug dove-tail fitted legs of my solid maple stand, and solid maple finial (that is in place of my head) and is happier than can be with my stability. Things are going to work out she assures me, very well.
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 I am so giddy with pride that I may be having custom made new dress form coverings to wear, as Jen does know how to sew such things pretty well. She has promised me jacquard … linen …. tweed … buttons & bows, and I am very excited to make more appearances in my outfits in the future.  Forthcoming of Jens designs is one of her best achievements yet, a Big Lace Deal, and in more than one shape, so she is busy busy busy knitting lace for the months of May & June and even into July.  I am to be the teaser here, to get a feel of what modeling will be like; here you fine people,  is me in the new work-in-progress, careful to not show any detail prematurely ….
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Ta ta for now,
Abelene.

Camino Inca Live!

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First day of summer vacation for my nieces & a photo shoot of the most recent  “Camino Inca” designs at the castle, and here they are, Miss Seventeen & Miss Fourteen….

Shown here is the small-size Ponchito, which is more of a large cowl draping around collar area &  sits on top of shoulders for a kiss of warmth.

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And the largest size,  A-line silhouette with three tiers of colorful shaped sections with bobbled bands edging each section.

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It envelopes shoulders & neck for a sensual & cuddly bliss!

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I love the way the Camino Inca Ponchito sits snug across & over shoulders while loose and draping around the neck.

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The ponchito is not unlike Peruvians’ traditional wool shoulder wraps pinned at the neck, and I think the Incans would approve, as it is a practical neck & shoulder garment that both women and men would look & feel brilliant wearing.

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It really pulls together an outfit!

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Oh, and almost forgot… in addition to three sizes of ponchito, there is the straight cowl option that comes with the pattern too…

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Camino Inca Chullo is a classic Peruvian style hat (these with very modest pompoms) and is just fun & full of whimsy !

For any age, male or female, this hat can be made simplified, or exotic & costume-like, with motif charts & embellishment suggestions galore.

 

You can see all posts relating to Camino Inca design and the inspiration behind it, (including this one) HERE.

Details for Camino Inca Ponchito on Ravelry HERE,

and Camino Inca Chullo HERE.

In the pink.

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Sipping iced coffee & knitting next to an open window enjoying a very warm breeze wafting through, and listening to a cacophony of birds’ song.  I suppose it is a perfect spring day and I’m feeling utterly in the pink!   What is going on here is over-dying to change a cool ice pink in fingering-weight yarn to a slightly warmer tone…

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Four skeins overdyed & drying on the line among the oak trees,  on a very warm  June afternoon.  Personally, pink is not my favorite color to wear,  although when you see forthcoming design mentioned in previously posted ‘Fishy’, you will get the Pink Thing.  Yes, and then you will see.  Note that the yarn that I un-plied in Fishy post was far too fine to design with, after all , but it will be very nice to sample the forthcoming design in a finer form.  

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I hope you are all enjoying your June, and for my nieces school is out for the summer, and we finally have a date to have a photo shoot  of them modeling the Camino Inca designs … so watch this space!

Artful Patches

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These days when I take a needle & thread to mend,

I attempt to do something artful.

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Becoming intimately involved with warp & weft in the fabric of something that you wear on your skin is beautiful,

and maybe even a little bit essential.

It is such a novelty these days it seems,  to have any skills at all in mending.

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Do you recall this  linen shirt make-over from nearly two years ago?  You might recognize the collar re-do,  and already I have nearly worn a hole in the linen,  and this is just a fun patch job of it, although the white-on-white is not really easy to see the detail, especially in this early morning light.

I have a second shirt I’m patching here,  that is full of holes, and I am using it to practice my new ‘quilt patching’ technique.

Here is what I do:

  1. Whip stitch hole shut, aligning grain of warp & weft  threads as much as possible.
  2. Cut squares of new fabric on the grain, big enough to fold back up to 1/4 inch hem on all edges.
  3. Iron all edges to fold in, and pin to garment with care to aligning grain of fabric with both garment and patch.
  4. With a simple running stitch, sew as close to edge as possible, then again, artfully fill in the patch with shapes, ‘quilting’ the patch against garment, which improves wear of patch as well as looks good. Almost as if you stuck on squares to quilt for the pure craft of it!

Quite a hash of patches, but it makes the shirt all that much more of a treat to wear again!

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Just in case you’re curious, you can see all posts “New From Old”  HERE (including this one, but scroll down!)  This category has grown over the years, sharing  artful mending & upcycling that I have done, where even I go deep into the warp & weft and try my hand at difficult weave darning.

I hope you try the quilted patch on one of your holey shirts, and see how useful as well as lovely a simple running stitch can be!

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