Posted to Ontario

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Another couple of yarn cakes of super light-weight lace, bound for Ontario Canada! As in previous posts, Wool of The Andes Sport was the original yarn, and in the cheerful color ” Sprinkle “.  Knit Picks describes their color . . .

Sprinkle is a blue violet color. The heathered strands show the beautiful color variations from a soft robin’s egg blue to a medium red violet giving it the overall look of dusty lavender.

The camera is so color selective, so I must describe what I see. I’ll add that I see flecks of gold which seem to give the color a tiny influence of beige… thus the ‘dusty’ appearance.  I also think un-plying 4 strands lessens the homogeneous affect of the carded mix of ‘heathered’ colors, so the colors are just a little bit more striking.   Photographing while looking down from on the attic ladder, my slippered feet, lavender shirt, and light brown pants ended up in the photo, and rather than crop that out,  I am again surprised to find myself dressing for the occasion!

jenjoycedesign© Unspun in lavendar 2

Absolutely gorgeous complex colorway, I am smitten.  ” UnSpun 1100 ” I have named this transformation, as it is 1100 yards & 100 grams of singly ply very luscious lace-making stuff.

jenjoycedesign© Unspun in lavendar 4

Already sent off and heading to Canada, and finished with two in the series of four. Two more of these UnSpun gifts to make, and then its back to the serious lace knitting for the upcoming pattern, but I am having a good break while making some nice yarn, so feeling really good about that!

You can see all four of this series in Unspun For Friends.

Fair Isle Success!

jenjoycedesign© Wee Hearts in Virtual Yarns Hebridean 2ply

Wee Hearts in nine different Fair Isle Hebridean 2ply colors!   Actually this hat is a study on one of Alice*Starmore’s colorways , a colorway from her design “Mary Tudor” from her 2013 second edition of Tudor Roses ,  using her own yarn, as sequenced in the chart. You could say this hat was a colorway test for Mary Tudor Cardigan, although I did change some colors around from the chart, because of a mistake I made.   I really came out of the study with a better understanding of how the blending of foreground color changes against background color changes can be in modern Fair Isle.

Now I am wondering, do I have time for one more?  Not really, I must be on to Autumnal Sweaters!

A True Robin’s Egg Blue

jenjoycedesign©robin's egg
I just picked this up from the duff of the forest floor. I nearly stepped on it while knitting along my woods path. In the woods we have a lot of robins , year round, so occasionally one finds a little shell cast aside, just like this, a stark contrast of blue shade against brownish tones of the leaves on the ground. Had I a camera with me I would have done well to photograph it against its natural setting, but I didn’t, and so I collected my little prize into my knitting bag and brought it home to photograph on some white linen.

This color blue, a greenish blue, is such a beautiful color, and I have it now here as reference when examining hues, if I may be forgetting what it looks like. Let it etch into my color memory, for I want to find a way to knit this color!

Over-Dyed

jenjoycedesign©over dyed
My latest yarn play. I dyed a ton of yarn  ( details in previous post ) with a mind to knit them into an autumney-equinoxey sort of thing, but now I think not.  I’m calling this colorway ‘curry blend’, or maybe ‘marigolds’ .  Anyway,  I think it fitting for my recent post-pattern-writing crash,  to continue to chill out with a clean slate for a while.  Just knit socks, socks, and more socks, and not have anything big brewing beyond re-writing Penny Candy Socks pattern for the remainder of Spring.    Oh, just look at these cheerful balls of yarn perched , happily waiting for whatever comes.  I am very pleased with the dye this time !

Yarn-scape

jenjoycedesign©over-dyed sock yarn (2)
I’m up to something again.  Here, winding off skeins of Shibui  & Madelinetosh sock yarns.  I’m drowning myself in skinny yarn.  I did mention something about knitting socks with it however, a few posts back . . .

jenjoycedesign©Malabrigo sock-knitting

Which I am doing.

My nieces are coming in a few days, and I am going to rewrite my original Penny Candy Socks pattern completely different ~~ very soon~~  so , I’m madly knitting the above pair (in Malabrigo Sock) for another fun photo session with them !

Then there’s this madness , heaps of skinny Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn (which by the way, like Shibui and Malabrigo, is from Peru) and very fine Lana Grossa (from Italy) . . . over-dyed and drying still  . . .

jenjoycedesign©over-dyed sock yarn (1)

I nearly spent a mint on some fancy hand-dyed superwash Malabrigo Arroyo (I sooo wanted to) , which is a sport weight, for I am erupting with ideas already for Autumnal Equinox sweaters, but decided instead to over-dye a mess o’ sock yarn I had on hand which was bound for nowhere.  Was 4 balls of light blue Stroll — now cayenne red, 4 balls of light grey Stroll –now mustard yellow, 1 ball of hot pink Lana Grossa, — now deep garnet.  All  now a very lovely array of Autumn tones, achieved with Dharma Trading acid dyes in colors “cayenne” ,  “mustard” , & “maroon” .

I had spent hours going color crazy at the kitchen last night ~ while cooking dinner (a habit I always seem to get into ). Today all is calm, and quiet, winding off like a busy bee hive,  immersed in this lovely yarn-scape.

 

Red Sky At Night

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Red sky at night; shepherds delight !

This photo was taken from the same spot as the photo in previous post ‘blue dawn’.  In one day, the sky went from an awe-inspiring blue dawn to a rather surreal orange-red & blue sunset, making it quite a lucky day with the camera !  Usually I’m not so lucky.  These clouds were like fresh blended fluffy bats of wool just off of the carder, hanging there for a long time into twilight.  So, what about a blue dawn and an orange-red dusk? I am finding that the very thing I’m knitting is expressed so well by an Autumn sky photographed a few days ago…

jenjoycedesign©malabrigo

Though the red is definitely subdued in the photo, it is at least suggestive of a ‘red sky at night ‘, knitted in Malabrigo sock yarn which I bought at my local yarn shop  Yarns On First  while browsing their beautiful yarns  recently,  in colors ” Botticelli Red ” and ” Impressionist Sky ” .  Wouldn’t you say the sky in above photo is perfect model for an impressionist painting?

What pattern you see here actually, is Pretty Little Things gloves in the works, yes, sisters of  Pretty Little Things (PLT) socks . These little charmers are taking their sweet time,  and I’m giving them all the time they need, though I did want to show you what I’m working on at least.  Happy, fun, and challenging are gloves !

Blue Dawn

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This morning early, as dawn approached, less than an hour ago, I was looking at shades of blue Malabrigo on their website, studying & sleuthing for that complete natural deep indigo blue, the color of a brewing storm.

I noticed as I looked up from the place I was sitting, in front of the wood stove, next to Emma snoozing in her chair, that the dawn sky with another rain storm on it’s way, showed me the very colors I am hunting for ! I kid you not.  At about 6:20 a.m. I grabbed the camera, and captured it ~~ only moments ago! Here it is folks, ‘Storm Mountain Dawn Sky’. Such a color ! Now that I’ve taken this photo, I can hopefully replicate the blue.

By the way, I am totally into blue lately, absolutely yearning for it, and the sea of unknown possibility is sure to cast me out to drift in it !

Autumn Ahead

jenjoycedesign©blue-cream-cardigan

A welcome sign to me is the first Big Leaf Maple leaves just beginning to fall, and I believe I saw a few on the road-side today, while driving up the mountain !  And it appears as though Autumn Cardigans are well on their way too !   I thought I’d be really thrifty and frugal (and prudent) to use up a pile of about six skeins of light turquoisey tweed left over from a project last October, and well, it only got me this far !  Blast.. that’s the last ball of that, right there on top, with only the body and one sleeve finished (minus yoke & second sleeve and button bands). So no problem, I’ve ordered more, 3 more skeins for Niece Of Thirteen’s cardigan.

Here is the yarn for  Niece Of Ten’s cardigan will be this deep coral pink with mossy green peeries… won’t that be fun?

jenjoycedesign©pink-and-green

Mini Tee

In between knitting bonnets and planting a spring garden, I have been diligently slaving away like an ox on two more Spring Pin-Striped Sweater Tee’s, in fingering weight sock yarn,  in a size 34 and 32 for some big kids. (Jeff’s nieces who live in Vancouver, as we’re going to visit them in May.)   In addition to the original pair I made around the vernal equinox (first day of spring) for my nieces in 28 & 32,  I will say, that I am going dizzy with the little tiny stripes, miles of them, unending. I will be going for more long knit-walks in the next weeks to get these critters off the needles, because as of yet, I am only 1/3 along the way of the first... panic!  I am refining the instructions with this last two tee’s, so that I might hopefully have a pattern of some sort together in another few weeks (cross fingers) before summer.

But wait, that’s not it ! I never showed you this one, knit a few weeks ago. I had opportunity to quickly knit (read ; rabidly knitting for two days, ripping & knitting over, ripping & knitting over again) a wee tee for a darling wee girl.

jenjoycedesign©mini-tee

Totally improvovised, ever so slightly bell-shaped, I couldn’t even say as to what I did, as I just needed it done, and made it in 2 days with some left-over sock yarn I had handy . . .

jenjoycedesign©mini-tee (2)

Here’s Mini Tee,

((event being a very recent Easter hunt))

on a Super Mini Model . . .

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I was rather suprised that the colors worked !  How cheery and old-fashioned even !

 “Firecracker Red” and “Tranquil”

color combo really came together for us.

jenjoycedesign©mini-tee-closeup

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Project details on Ravelry HERE

Mitt Fiesta !

As the credits say at the end of this movie video ~ thank you ~ everybody for your test-knitting contributions, I couldn’t have done it without you ! Your mitts are just all so lovely, I couldn’t help but make a little movie out of them!

And now . . .

a photo gallery !

(be sure to hover your mouse over photo to see caption,

or click to see a full sized-gallery)

Again…. Thank you !

 

Lupinus Albifrons

jenjoycedesign©chullo-detail3
Lupinus Albifrons.  Known as  just ‘ lupine ‘, it is one of the more populated native wildflowers of Northern California, and in April fills the mountain meadows, between grape vines in the rows, and trail-sides with deep blue & purple variegation.  A small woody shrub when mature, however, where grass is mowed annually (as in the vineyard rows here on the mountain)  and where seed is planted from the wind, you’ll see it popping up everywhere as young single stemmed flowers . . .

jenjoycedesign©luipins-albafrons
I luckily had just the perfect yarn handy when I became inspired from my walk of last week.  I had a bunch of green which I over-dyed from grey wool which  perfectly illustrates the ‘silvery’ grey-green leaves of the plant. The rich deep blue and purple played illusive games however with the camera, which wasn’t able to distinguish the two, and both came out as blue tones in most of the photos. But here it is , un chullo, for my brother’s birthday tomorrow!

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I absolutely go wild photographing still-life knitteds ~~ its just one of the things I love doing, in every light possible , which enables me to make an assemblage of photos that catches different tones and characteristics  of the yarns and knitted shapes . . .

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The detail with which I experimented for the first time on this chullo hat, was to add a running crocheted chain just inside the typically chullo-esque double-crocheted edge, to neaten up the edge.

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I love to make my chullo hats a bit of a hybrid with gnome hats by decreasing into a point, then finishing with a braid extending off of the top . . .

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They blossom into a hat with a lot of character and playful whimsy . . .

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The crocheted edges  tame the curling tendency of the stockinette stitch. . .

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Braid finishes being made on both ear flaps . . .

(the purple really pops in this photo below !)

jenjoycedesign©ear-flap-finish

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Un chullo,  inspired from the lupine flowers  in the fields of Northern California.  To be given to my brother tomorrow, and there could be nobody more appreciative than he, who wears them everyday , and who is also a botanical wizard !

jenjoycedesign©finished !

NOTE :  I have taken notes as I knit this one, so if anybody is interested, I could assemble a pattern of sorts from it.

Details on Ravelry HERE

Well, I’m off to walk the mountain with Emma, but I will leave you with a little slide show of the early morning walk of last weekend, from which this chullo’s lupine photos were taken . . .

Refining

I took a dive into my stash of Scottish yarns .

Virtual Yarns, Jamiesons Spindrift and Elemental Effects !

A bit like a wild fox diving nose first into the snow

after a mouse in a wintery landscape !

fox-dives-into-snow

. . . and up I came, with these three skeins !

“Mountain Hare”, “Red Deer” , and “Sun Dew”

of the Hebridean 2-ply from Virtual Yarns.

jenjoycedesign©virtual-yarns

 A little thicker & fluffier than Jamiesons.  I mean to refine things a little , from DK to Fingering,  from Superwash to Virtual Yarns… all of a mitty sort of persuasion.

Woods Knitting

I took my knitting outside, one of the sleeves. I walked about, holding it up to the woods, against Madrone trees, against Bays, against the span of the woods, to see if it is indeed a woodsy colorway. I think that it most definitely is! So it is decided, this sweater will be named ‘Woodsy’.  The camera’s eye isn’t detecting the third color very well, there are three distinct colors here.

Woodsy on the bench…

Woodsy with Emma…

Woodsy down the road…

Catching up today with things In The Woods. I think I will be doing a knit-and-walk a little later (down that very road).  I am thinking it’s highly possible, that if I don’t put my knitting down for any significant time,  I could finish the nieces Autumn sweaters easily by the Autumnal Equinox. Easy peasy.

A blurry glimpse of my Emma & me (in the woods)…DSCN7209

Woodsy

Over-dye madness.  Insanely intriguing varigations.

Here I have heaped the over-dyed green yarns for my Nine Year Old Niece’s sweater on top of the finished and waiting sweater for my Twelve Year Old Niece.

 The ‘bug-guts’ yellowy green has over-dyed

ever-so-nicely into a color

which reminds me of golden green tips of bright moss !

All the colors of the foliage in the forest are running through these four yarns in a very earthy woodsy colorway.

 I have roughly 200 grams each of four different greens, each with many varigations in their various journeys from dye bath to dye bath.


I’m not exactly sure what I am going to do with all of the crazy varigation.  Yesterday was all about dominating the yarn, now that I’ve had my way with the colors, not exactly sure.  I think I’ll let them dominate me for a while. At least until I get the sweater cast-on.  I actually love the challenge of listening to my instincts , and the yarn.  Sometimes this whole business of dying, knitting, and improvising is just  downright delicious  & fabulously exciting !

Three Shades of Grey

I am very delighted to share with you a little project which designed itself as I knitted it up just last night and this morning !!!

Using three shades of grey…

A little something for my Old Pioneer Jar Method of brewing tea…

Though I normally use the clear kind of canning jars, for these photos I used one of my collection of  antique blue glass canning jars, with zinc lids. So pretty…

And so, I made a cozy little Tea Cozy for my Jar Brewing method.  It’s so adorable ,  I’m over the moon about it ! It reminds me a little of a Nepali or Tibeten Headress.

Bird’s eye view, knotted i-cord ‘bobble’ handle…

I call it “Earl Grey”

It rather speaks of it’s delicious namesake…

I like to drink my tea in a pint glass.

…and add whole milk.

Earl Grey Tea Cozy.   Whimsical.  Playful. Silly !

Do you suppose a standard 6-cup English teapot version is inevitable?

Maybe, but for now, I am quite pleased to be presenting my own pioneer tea-brewing method and the cozy”Earl Grey” Tea ‘Jar’ Cozy !

Sneak Preview

Unlikely colorway?

Yes, but of course ! I want to think that somehow these colors are destined to match up, perhaps something more like disagreeable neighbors, but I have faith that it will finish harmoniously.   A stretch of my imagination, maybe, but to be an Intentional Dyer is beyond my ability, and ‘I’m okay with that’.   I often settle with leaving colorways up to the Sisters of Fate, and to just let the sweaters be what they want to be.

I managed to find some one-hundred-percent superwash merino wool yarn in DK (double knitting) weight, on close-out discount, and bought a lot of it.  Light blue and a heathered medium grey.  Over-dyed dramatically,  to create one-of-a-kind colorways in my nieces’  favorite colors, for what will in a couple of months’ time ~ my nieces Autumn Sweaters.  There’s actually really nice and subtle varigation from the original colors and the over-dyed colors… exciting !

What you see draped over the chair is for one of the sweaters, the younger of my two nieces. The other will make an appearance later, in a second colorway, in a second sneak preview. So here I go, winding off a gazillion yards into balls…

Blacker Than A Moonless Night


Just look at this Yarn Candy !

This is indeed the blackest of black animal fiber I’ve ever seen.  I bought it “raw” (weedy & dusty) from Debbie at Brookfarm last year, just over the mountain in Glen Ellen. She didn’t seem very excited to sell me raw unpicked fleece, but it was a special circumstance, and anyway, I nearly begged her. So here I am a year later, in dire need of black wool, or black anything, for Alejandro’s ski hat. Then I remembered this jet black alpaca I had stashed which I only spun up a sample last spring, washed, and noted it’s depth of total true black.

Sunday and today I filled a large bobbin , spinning from handfulls out of the bag (the technical term is called ‘spinning from locks’), then I washed & rinsed it 3 times, thwacked it, and hung it dry. It is absolutely glistening pitch black, and bloomed into soft gorgeousness. I can’t wait to knit it up.

You see, it’s winter in Patagonia, and Alejandro is training for ski, and I’ve promised him a basic ski hat, just in case the other ski hat  I made for Ale doesn’t really work well on the slope.  Let it be said by me that no other kind of hat  belongs on an Argentinian who skis in the Andes more than one made of alpaca, and still more, one hand-spun and knit by a friend who bought the alpaca from another friend.  This will be a hat of great character and integrity. I know Alejandro will like it a lot.

Home-Made Candy


Making candy again. One small batch at a time. I call it ‘micro dying’. I use a little one-quart old blue enamel pot, and I start with some homespun alpaca and cook the sugar just right, mixing hues with abandon.

Navy, royal blue, and a t’wee bit of peacock over-dye natural medium grey alpaca until it becomes unmistakably vivid and bold.

Yummy blue alpaca candy !


Spruce and emerald over-dye grey into a mouth-watering green alpaca candy !

 A  real taste sensation when mixed together !

I suprised myself with the color intensity, unusual for me, and I’ll admit, its only the second time I’ve dyed alpaca, and I really love how the fiber responds.

Sweater Success !


Sunday I met my nieces in Calistoga , beneath the snow-capped Mt.St Helena. Weather permitted, but just.  I photographed them modelling  their new sweaters  in and about the interesting nooks in Calistoga ~ our favorite being the mural of Old Town Calistoga ~ and among some colorful walls of the buildings.

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Then afterward, as is our tradition,

 icecream cones…

because modelling is hard work !

 

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Detailed in Ravelry here.

Mountains Of Alpaca

I am face-to-face with a mountain of natural colors , just off the line,  washed & hung-dried skeins of handspun alpaca, spun up from raw loose alpaca locks I have acquired from three different friends of mine who raise alpacas .  Three !  

This Wind-Off  launches the beginning of knitting for the second April Birthday Project , which is the  Andean chullo / Himalayan sherpa  hat, and for which last week  I began spinning my alpaca stash  .  My brother loves these hats, has a bit of a collection , and for whom I intend to take the design for a twist of a sort, sherpa chullo and  which I want to be a pleasant mix borrowing design from  Andean, Himalayan, and Fair Isle ,  this project calls for alpaca, handspun, in order to give it the touch of stylish authenticity.

I thought alpaca would be the perfect fiber.

During the spinning of the alpaca, a couple things developed.

One,  I really enjoy spinning alpaca, whether raw and weedy or in fine roving.  I have in fact, dyed some and am going to spin up a couple of skeins for the  mother of Nora  , who has delightedly become a knitter !

Alright, item number two.  An amazing thing happened,  similarly to when I posted ” What do I have in common with these women? ”  a short time ago,  marvelling in the acquired skill of double tasking while knitting, well, I have found that I can double task while spinning too ! Even more difficult.  The yarn turned out rather more  “rustic”  than if I were watching with hawk eyes, all the fibers going into the draft, but no, I wanted to read up on my new edition of Textisles and became adept fairly quickly at reading -while – spinning.

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Edit :   Here is the almost-finished product, as I’m running out the door, photographed in bad lighting … was in a rush. I didn’t have a chance to edge it and put tassles on . 😦   I’ll have to add them later….

Kids Love Stripes


It’s time for me to begin designing what I will knit for my nieces’ Vernal Equinox 2012 sweaters.   I’m thinking definitely  seamless-yoke construction (as I am a hopeless addict) , definitely short-sleeved, but wool, as they must be cozy but not too cozy, for warming-yet-coolish spring days .  They must be rugged, so I bought sock yarn, because the key word for the use of these sweaters is ‘play’.

I was fully expecting to design a stranded-color in the yoke with something decorative and showy, but the truth is, I want my nieces to actually wear and really love them.  So I’m changing my course.  I think bright, energized, and fashionably predictable is more their taste, and not my ‘downplayed artsy exotic traditional’.  I chose colors which are not only the colors they asked for ~one will be turquoise with pink , and the other purple with light green~ but they are supposedly hand-painted varigated style yarns  which will make them more intriguing all around.  I am remembering what a great hit their last sweaters were Autumn 2011  indeed very stripey, and well, why not  go with what works, and do another pair. Okay, decided !

 Actually I’m quite relieved I’ve just been let off the hook to design and incorporate through a series of yoke decreases, a motif of some significance to each of them,  because the hard reality that exists is I have bought fingering weight yarn (what was I thinking… um… light fabric for hot afternoons in the playground, breathable and loosely gauged? ) to knit up with #3 or #4 needles, and I’ll have a zillion stitches per inch.  No stranding, nope, just straight color changes at the row. Can you just feel my sigh of relief ?

I’ve bought for each sweater, in KnitPicks “Tonal” ~ two 100g skeins of the main color and one 100g skein of a contrast, so the stripe pattern ought to be two-to-one, or there about. ( I’m planning on having yarn leftover).  As always, the sweaters ‘ will be what they want to be’ (my motto since learning to knit in the 80’s).  I am ready,  the way to proceed is now nailed, and I shall cast on today after knitting a gauge swatch.

Colorways

Red Sea Meets Sandy Shore ~ Finally, starting the colorwork, in most unexpected combination, from the Really Red Cardigan I’ve been letting sit on the back burners while I finished up a few other knitting deadlines. Back some months, I posted the possible colors I was going to use, asking assistance, in this post here Well, I chose the two left on the bottom photo. Here it goes…

Really Red Revisited


Well, folks, I’m lost out in a field of redness again.  “Really Red Cardigan” has been brought forth from simmering on the back burner as I knit up the Kilt Hose and my two nieces’ Mostly Green & Mostly Blue Pullovers.   Again, just swimming in a beautiful sea of garnet red.  Soon I’ll make it to a place where I make some decreases, or color changes, but for now, can you hear me calling in the distance ” Don’t expect me for dinner ” … and I can’t even decide which colors to put into the yoke yet ~ grey and black, or the earthy tones. Well, at about a thousand stitches per inch, I still have time to decide.

“Mostly Green” and “Mostly Blue”


In some races, just finishing is all that matters. These Two Little Bears , though very simple pullovers with stripes,  were lengthy projects, at 6.5 stitches to the inch. Finished the knitting on the Mostly Green pullover, below, and now I’m midway through the yoke decreases in the Mostly Blue pullover, and will have the Autumn Sweaters ready to gift to my two nieces and photograph this coming Sunday. As Spring was incredibly late this year, our Autumn characteristically is always. Leaves are just now starting to turn and flutter to the ground. Our Northern Californian Indian Summer I think is about to end, and to put these winter-worthy pullovers on my nieces to model this weekend ~I hope~ won’t be torture.

Autumn on its way

Look me straight in the eyes …

…and tell me that this unexpectedly interesting color combination looks bad. This is the (mostly) Green Autumn Sweater for my younger niece.

I had bought one of each color of green , and of blue, from KnitPicks Swish ( a yarn which I have found is a really nice choice for making sweaters for growing kids) and came up with this lot.   I thought I’d be lucky to find any combination of a few shades,  but I ended up loving the mismatched hues, and I bought more !  Blueish Teal with Olivey Mossy Green ? You bet ! Reminds me of Amish Quilt color combinations.

( Oh, and the row marker charm was made and given to me by Morrie. )

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So we returned from the “Out-and-About” Treehouse Village in Oregon, as last mentioned in this post .  We stayed for two nights and two days, and I knit most of the time. This was my upstairs little knitting nook…

…and from within, this was my view of the rest of the place. There are catwalks up in the trees , between some really high-up treehouses, all interconnected in a web of rope and wood walkways, seeming to be about 50 feet in the air !!! But we stayed in one of the separate ones, which had steps up to it, called “Serendipitree”.


Here is a photo of the outside .  My knitting nook was the tiny room above.
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I thought to mention also, that indeed Autumn is approaching when it is harvest time in Napa Valley. I took this shot while driving along Rutherford Cross Road last weekend. (click the photo to see a detail of the cabernet grapes)

Lichen Waistcoat


I decided that to stray from the pattern’s borders, peeries, and color sequences was courting disaster.  Even though I always seem to have an overwhelming impulse to substitute (as in cooking), knitting is perhaps a little less flexible.  It’s always a valuable learning experience about just how far I can deviate from the author’s pattern or colorway. I’m one of those who very rarely has stuck completely to a pattern (or cooking recipe). I ended up becoming quite unattracted to the alternate color sequence and peerie which I originally started to substitute in the first attempt at the Lichen Waistcoat in this post , reason being that I didn’t want to introduce a fifth color which would detract from the ‘sparkle’ of the bright green center in the borders, an accident which I found unexpectedly perfect.  I just wanted that green pinstripe to stand alone. That’s not too hard to understand, is it?

I soon ripped back to the first border and settled in to the author’s pattern, and now happy enough with my own colorway at least, being completely infatuated with the pair of Virtual Yarns “Red Deer” and “Mountain Hare” colors, of the Hebridean Moor & Mountain color story, and well, the soflty neutral Jamiesons Spindrift “Natural Black” is a very nice choice for the motifs I think.

I am now back on course with this project. It however, is near the back burner as there are four other projects which have seemed to make their way into my priority knitting. I will have this well under way if not finished, in the Autumn of this year… or am I kidding myself ?

Spring Vests Progress

Nearing the finish of the two bodies of vests for nieces. Can you see the steeked front and sleeve holes? (For those of you who are wondering, steeks are extra stitches made into the round of stitches, to be cut open later, allowing the body to be knit uninterrupted in knit or patterned stitches). So far , this is my 3rd project involving steeks, and I am only now *just* getting the hang of it.

Note: After this project for the nieces, I think I will be quite unlikely to knit self-striping yarn for a while, it’s just so ‘been there-done that’ kind of experience. Vivid, cute, in their favorite colors, but I won’t be in a hurry to knit another self-striping yarn project.

Meanwhile, this just showed up, a box full of one-hundred-percent wool yarn for my next project !

Beet & Neep Heid !

Here I am wearing Beet Heid on it’s maiden voyage down the mountain and into town.  This tam makes me feel my Scottish roots right there in the wee beet roots.

I love this pattern, and have made two of these tams so far!!!  It just knit so intricately, yet the pattern was so well written it just made it seem somehow easy.  I was really blown away at how it came together ~~ I made that ???

Shown above is the one made with mostly Virtual Yarns Hebridean 2ply , and also Elemntal Affects Shetland.  The pattern suggests for a red rooted version, this colorway is called ‘Beet Heid’ as as the neeps are more deep maroon or crimson. The red color for beets = Elemental Affects Shetland “deep garnet”, background = Virtual Yarns Hebridean 2ply “mountain hare”, and the greens are Virtual Yarns “bog bean and calluna”.

Another below, made of scrap fingering weight yarns I had on hand, just to sketch out another colorway (it ended up more a child size with the very fine yarn and needles I used).  I am somewhat of a gardener, and in a family of obsessive gardeners, so I very much connect with this clever designer from Edinburgh, named Kate Davies.  Well, here is my second Neep Heid, folded in quarters to see the full profile of the motif:

Below it is shown blocking out on my ironing board.  Oh, what is that cheerful flowery thing to the right? That little pin cushion is the embroidery sampler my grandmother taught me when I was 10 years old.   I found it in a box recently, of bits from my childhood, and decided to actually use it, to hold blocking pins, and not having tossed it in the years of my disregarding youth.

~ Here is Kate’s pattern for her  Neep Heid Tam.

Handspun for Fair Isle

Spun from gorgeous long staple and soft New Zealand Top roving which I often purchase by the half-pound, at Dharma Trading Co. in San Rafael.  I dyed the roving with Jaquard powder acid dye, various reds and maroons, and this spun up to the finest yarn I’ve spun to date.

Smitten with Fair Isle knitting I really tried to emmulate the Shetland yarn while spinning this, and though I thought I spun fine enough, when plied together, the yarn is still not fine enough. Though it is pretty fine anyway, that is a dime in the photo ! Perfect amount of spin, good evenness throughout,  and made a lovely loft !