Calidez Mitts & Hats !

jenjoycedesign© Calidez Mitts & Hat (2) (705x800)

I introduce to you Calidez Mitts & Hats!

jenjoycedesign© Calidez Hats (800x488)

A set of mitts & hats for women & men, girls & boys, meant to showcase hand-spun or odd ball of left over novelty yarn hanging about.

jenjoycedesign© Calidez Mitts

Pattern features the usual Calidez gauge substitution chart for 3.25st to 6 sts = 1”  thus making it an ideal pattern for handspun yarn!  Mitts have narrow & wide thumb gussets for great fit,   and… and…

jenjoycedesign© felted bobble (800x584)

… learn how to make a felted stuffed knitted bobble to top with!

Backstory: In recent posts I have been experimenting a lot with spinning rolags made from a blending board ~~ all blending board posts HERE ~~ and have discovered that the nature of this fun fiber blending art form, is small batches approx 40-100g.  So this pattern was designed with the fruits of the blending boards in mind… or  just any yarn you like!

Two patterns in one download:
Mitts= fingerless mitts, gauntlets, mittens
Hats = beanie (toque), and beret (tam)

More details on Ravelry  HERE

Also I would like to say that this posting of Calidez Mitts & Hats represents  the finish of a lot of work ~~ much of which was the discovery of blending boards! ~~  spinning ( oh yes, I fixed my wheel after a long hibernation), designing, and knitting.   All of this blending, spinning & knitterly fun will continue as my forthcoming holiday knitting, where I hope to promote the mitts & hats in the Autumn months forthcoming with a cheery little stash-busting Mitt & Hat-along! 

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.

 

Fishwives Lace Shoal

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“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.

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Medium stole.

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Back of medium stole.

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Small stole.

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

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Medium cowl

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But of all the three styles, I think I love most is to wear two of them together!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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!

Footsteps 4

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool with Ripples Crafts

The days are blissful here on the mountain, with brief spells of sun transitioning back to grey & wintery.  Rain, fog and lingering cool air, as if the season doesn’t really want quite yet to get balmy yet (which I’m fine with), and I am rising above all that oppresses me!

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Country Socks with Ripples Sock Yarn

Still, there are explosions of wildflowers beginning to bloom~~ lupine, clover, paintbrush, poppies, brodea, iris ~~ all heralding the Spring season,  regardless of the reluctant temperatures.

 

I have wrapped up a lot of epic knitting projects in recent weeks, while kicking off new big BIG design conceptions,  and yet more socks keep coming off the needles. These were such a pleasure, knit with such color that I couldn’t be the least bit gloomy when knitting them!

jenjoycedesign© cafe sock-knitting

I have been enjoying the cafe culture lately, here with my favorite afternoon treat outside on the patio, a cafe latte & and knitting upvalley, stopping off at St Helena Coffee Roastery on my way home from Calistoga last Friday, after photographing my nieces in their Spring Tees 2017

Pattern: Wild Wool Trail Socks in the ‘Country Sock’ variation.

Yarn: Ripples Crafts Hand-dyed Yarns, in   Reliable Sock, in “Assynt Storms” colorway. Note: I highly recommend this sock yarn, for it is really beautiful yarn to knit with, and dying is exceptional with no muddy spots, all pure blends of colors, sparkling, and with quick color transition.

Finer Details on Ravelry HERE.

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Country Socks with Ripples Crafts Sock Yarn

 

Footsteps 3

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I am getting into a great rhythm of knit-trekking, and socks are best knit-trekking project there is. I talk about this in all posts labeled Footsteps, which is fast becoming my most posted category and and is all about socks knitted while walking… or mostly walking.

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The thing is, while getting more fit from all of this perpetual walking, I am knitting socks galore! I would like to start a local “Knit Fit” group, but way up here on the mountain, I am resolved to going at it solo.  Though I am curious, are there any other knit-trekkers out there? If so, please speak up.

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These socks were meant to be for myself, but in trying to use up all of the 53 grams of left-over sock yarn I had, wanting to use exactly what I had, no more, no less, and ripping back several times if necessary to knit either more, or less (only knitters really understand that).  In this case I knit the foot a smidge too long, and so I suppose they will fit Jeff’s daughter’s feet just perfectly.

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By the way, these socks in progress are seen in the last post at the peak !

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Pattern: my own  Wild Wool Trail Socks ( Plain Sock, with heel worked in heel stitch, and with short leg)

Yarn: 53 grams of Malabrigo Sock, in color Aguas.

Details on Ravelry HERE.

Casting on now for some socks quite colorful,  which you will see finished very shortly I am confident, probably about 15 miles from now I will be posting!

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool & Ripples Yarn

Hope you are all enjoying the last day in March, here the intense wind seems to have subsided. Now it’s time for insect season!

A Hopeful Spring

From  this , to this…

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Just before harvest, a few years ago, a regionally famous mountain vineyard ‘next door’ was sold. The bordering woods, meadows,  and canyon cliffs,  as well as bumpy old connecting roads between the quiet & quaint old vineyard clearings  were my favorite places to walk with Emma, and we had to abandon it.  I go into more detail in this post, but I am trying to focus on the new replanted growth now.

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For an epic pause in the life of this mountain landscape there has been rattling machinery disking the earth, pounding great big steel things into the ground, deep trenching miles for drainage, electric conduit, irrigation, erecting a water tank the size of a house…. the usual sprawling construction project of a corporation taken over a couple of hundred acres with jeeps & four-wheelers buzzing about everywhere all of the time.

But now there is a calm.

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Eventually, and ever so gradually, nature softens the work of men, and this mountain vineyard is whispering of spring growth again.

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Since the original design “Vineyard Rows Tam” I have been off & on playing with a series of designs all conceived as tribute to the memory of the beautiful historic vines which were destroyed and the natural wildness of the place that I loved.  Onward. Early this last winter I designed Winemakers Waistcoat, honoring the history of California’s industry in wine, but most recently I have felt a sort of turning about of attitudes; away from a yearning tribute to the past, toward a hope for the future in this place, and maybe even that I sense the presence of the wilderness returning. At least a little bit.

My most recent design, as yet only one mitt, and no pattern yet written, expresses this with motifs of trellises and budding vines eager to branch and fill the expanse.  I am sharing with you my latest design a little prematurely, but what the heck…

jenjoycedesign© Vineyard Rows 3

Trellis Mitts!

jenjoycedesign© Vineyard Rows

The mitts design is an evolving prototype, but here it is nestled into an ensemble with the other two in my Vineyard Rows series.

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Just waving hello to everybody with this one mitt, as I immerse myself in a hopeful spring, and lots of knit-trekking up the mountain (yes, past the vineyard) on the way to the peak…

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I hope you are all enjoying this transformative season!

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The Road To China

A year and a half ago  I wrote a rather traditional feather & fan  lace motif into a simple cowl pattern to be available either  by itself or in an e-book collection of three cowls, and for this lace prototype I used yarn “Road To China Light”.   It was not meant to be by itself anything amazing or noteworthy, but it appears to have meandered its modest way into the Indie Designer Patterns on the Fibre Co. website. I am quite pleasantly surprised, and have excitedly come to spread the news first to Yarnings readers!

I must confess, this is a first for me, and it has brightened everything  on this drizzling cold mountain today.  So, I have decided to make myself another celebratory lace cowl with some more Fibre Co. Road to China Light yarn, and  I have been absolutely craving one in  greyish teal or plum…

Yarn weight: Sport   Skein weight: 50 g
Fibre:
65% baby alpaca, 15% silk, 10% camel, 10% cashmere

Also, I am gifting this pattern (for a very limited time)  to anybody who would like to knit one along with me, in whatever yarn you desire…  

Edit In : Pattern give-away is closed. Thanks to those who joined in!   

I will be posting my lace cowl in whatever yummy color of Fibre Co. yarn I end up choosing and show progress reports on it in forthcoming posts , and I do honestly hope to see you & your project pop up over on Ravelry!

Foot Steps 2

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I have been making sock after sock while knit- trekking  down on the road,  as well as in the wooded trails with Emma who would rather go at a slower pace and sniff her way along. Her adorable grey-whiskery self, hopeful to discover a wonderful scent, ears perked in large German Shepherd ear-triangles, and with all senses focused ahead…. yet… soon easing into a slower happy & careless gait,  with limps that come and go,  so in these recent months I have slowed too, knitting while keeping her pace.

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In February I began to go down on the main road for  one or two additional long striding faster-paced walks in the week,  with my knitting my only companion.  Moving along on the much smoother asphalt in a ‘zone’  the miles seem short and the knitting seems fast, for one activity slightly distracts from the other.

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I feel that I may never stop knitting these socks while walking the miles, for this sock is perfectly trek worthy in more ways than one.  Easily memorized shaping steps; cuff, leg, ankle, heel & instep, heel turn, foot, and toe… not in the least boring, the steps keep the knitting engaging.

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Socks are small and a very portable  knitting project, and excellent for knit-trekking because they are such a symbiotic activity ~~ knitting them to wear & wearing them to knit!

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Pattern: My own  Wild Wool Trail Socks

Yarn:  Valley Yarns Charlemont which is 20% silk/ 60% Merino wool/20% nylon

Details on Ravelry HERE

Foot Steps

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Mid day sun streams through the canopy, and I am feeling the presence of vernal influences…

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The blissful places I have been missing for a while beckon to me…

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All winter we have had pelting rain storms one after another, and Northern California is officially declared over the drought while reservoir spillways gush furiously!

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Something about the approach of the equinox softens nature to a sweetness indescribable…

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So I will leave off and show you the latest I’ve made,

a pair of trail socks!

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 …with my recent discovery of the snugger heel stitch foot, these socks are now ready for adventure!

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Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn, in Merlot Heather and Navy

Pattern:  Wild Wool Trail Socks  , with recent update option of colossally snug heel stitch foot section, my pattern is now completely ‘dialed in’.

Project Details: on Ravelry HERE.

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Country Socks

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Here we have the “Country Socks” variation of my Wild Wool Trail Socks , and  in the favorite color for whom they were made.

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After working the heel & heel turn in the heel stitch pattern option for the Country Socks, I felt good and creative, and decided to experiment by continuing  down bottom of foot, noticing what a sturdy hugging ribbing affect it has…

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However this proved problematic, as the heel stitch pulls in the width, it also does the length, (duh!) so I had to do some ” stealth short rows” for the bottom to catch up to the top section.  I only recommend heel stitch over the whole circumference of foot section, not just the bottom.

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Very pleased with this construction feature, and I am going to try my next Trail Sock with the whole foot section in heel stitch.

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These by the way, were knit in Malabrigo Sock yarn (African Violet) with contrast of some left over dark grey Huntington Sock yarn I had handy. Details for this project can be found on Ravelry HERE

Winemakers Waistcoat

making-wine-circa-1920-californiaWinemaking in California began more than 240 years ago, when in 1779, Franciscan missionaries & Spanish Father Junípero Serra planted California’s first sustained vineyard at Mission San Diego de Alcalá, then continued on to found eight other California missions,  earning him the title of the “Father of California Wine”.

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During Prohibition in the United States, there was a loophole in the law allowing each home to “make 200 gallons of non-intoxicating cider and fruit juice per year,” thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens became home winemakers…

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Thus the Home Winemaker was born! Today winemaking has run up and down the state of California, as well as sideways, and the industry has transformed Napa Valley into a world renowned status of a wine & culinary mecca, although admittedly its beginning was somewhat rustic & countrified.

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The Italians came, the French came, and then the world followed, to settle their green thumbs into an enterprise which  since the 1970’s seems explosive and unending.

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So, have you noticed the vests worn by the winemakers in all of these old photos?

I have born a new collection in tribute to the history of the Califonia winemakers and their wines, in the region where I live, nestled in the fertile hills & dales of Napa Valley & Beyond, and I am aptly naming this kick-off design “Winemakers Waistcoat”…

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This my friends, is the end result of a heck of a lot of designing and intensive Fair Isle knitting !   As  I live in the west mountains of a famous Northern Californian  wine-making region, and here making wine is the thing to do... where practically everybody or their brother is a wine-maker at some level of existence. Lol.. thats no joke.

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So, if you are a wine-maker, or are  just keen on the novelty of wine & vineyards, here is a colorwork vest pattern for you to knit!

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This contemporary colorwork vest is knit in natural shades of Jamiesons of Shetland Spindrift . “Winemakers Waistcoat” uses my own original motifs in the traditional Fair Isle technique; motifs of a large border of splashy asymmetric grape vines, a border of more symmetric vines, a border of abstract trellised vines, and peeries of tiny leaves between trellis posts, make up vineyard rows of variety and interest, and motifs are mirror reversed from center back…

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Winemakers Waistcoat is kicking off a new collection of knitterly varietals, from vest to mitts, to hats~~ its all going to pour out from here, so grab a glass and cast on tonight!

You can find more details about this pattern over on Ravelry HERE

Those of you who have been following Yarnings for a long time may remember my “Vineyard Rows”  California Highlands Bonnet, which at the time was  a tribute to my beloved walking spaces in the high mountain vineyards of Napa Valley. You can see more posts about the creation of all things vineyards from around where I live, particularly this post Knitting & Wine.

Mystery fair isle…

jenjoycedesign-mystery-fair-isle-detailI see no reason not to post a sneak preview at what I’ve been working very laboriously on, since its first mention back in this post.  Something which I have had to do a colossal amount of drawing,  of math, of experimentation, ripping out & knitting over.   Oh, right, that is called designing….

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I am so absorbed in this project that entire days are droning by, so still & quiet, with nothing but the ticking of the clock and Emma’s occasional rustling about, and then of course, very brief strolls in the cold winter outdoors.  Papers are strewn everywhere!  And I have been sitting in my knitting chair far too much in the last two weeks. Far too much. 

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None the less, I am very pleased with myself and am certain that any day now it will be all finished and I can celebrate by revealing what this is, my greatest knitting and design accomplishment  ever.  Until then, I hope you enjoy the mystery!

Rosanna & Cesar

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Rosanna and Cesar have come to visit!  We gathered up all sorts of knitwear, and went out into the darkening wintery woods, along the knitting trail. Rosanna is wearing the Calidez Vest I made for her birthday, while Cesar wears several of my recent Fishermens Neck Ganseys , as well as the yerbe matte (tea) .

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Cesar and Rosanna layer in a couple of Calidez Cardigans …

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Cesar wears my own  cardigan made of Studio Donegal’s  Aran Tweed ~~ posted here. Cesar commented how warm and nice the tweed wool felt against his skin ….

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I was so excited to have Rosanna and Cesar visit, and that they got to model this ensemble of recent designs, because they are both such naturals in front of a camera!  It couldn’t have been a better day, clear and cool, and it was a great time had by all, including Emma…

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come back again soon Rosanna and Cesar!

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A Fishermens Neck Gansey

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I love the textures of the the fishermens sweaters, or ganseys as they are also known. A couple of weeks ago I thought to try one in a simple cowl using my favorite traditional motif from Flamborough gansey.

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I gave a hint of this direction in a recent post Elemental , and now I have knitted four samples of varying shapes of a neck piece I am aptly naming a ‘neck gansey’ !

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Flamborough Head is a beautiful section of the Chalk Coast of British Isles, and I spoke of the colors of chalk, of shore grass, of wet sand, and of stone and storm, all captured  in the language of yarn.

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Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire Coast, England.

I must say, after knitting four simple variations, the repeats are quickly memorized, and are thoroughly pleasant to work, evoking visions from a bygone era of strong courageous fishermen in their striking traditional ganseys.

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In the near future, I would like to augment this design with more traditional fishermen gansey motifs, in a series,  and the pattern will be updated to include the additions (any who purchases pattern will get those updates), but I wanted to get this pattern up and running as soon as possible so that knitters could make them for the holidays.

You can find Fishermens Neck Gansey Pattern on Ravelry  HERE … I hope you try one… and happy holiday knitting!

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ps.  I thought I would mention that I still need to get the neck ganseys photographed modeled, which I intend to do very soon, so watch this space!

In Calistoga today….

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It was pouring down rain most of the day, but fortunately late this morning it settled a bit and we got in some great shots of Miss Sixteen & Miss Fourteen modeling Calidez Vest.

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At the wall outside of Brannan’s on Lincoln and Washington…

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I burst with pride at how talented my nieces have become in front of the camera … as I strive to capture the ‘happy accident’ of the moment.

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(Oh, but they have had a bit of practice you know… )

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We also finally got Autumn’s Calidez Cardigan photographed !

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Don’t ask me why it didn’t occur to me to get a couple of shots with the garments buttoned up all the way…

( I become so distracted!)

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A lucky morning ( good hair day, good skin day ),  and a good day of expressions wonderfully sincere, honest, and artful poses.

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My favorite past-time most definitely, bar none, is hanging out with these smart & beautiful young women!

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