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!

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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!

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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In a row . . .

jenjoycedesign©hooksTarnished brass hooks on an old oak barrel stave, an artifact from attic, something my mother bought decades ago, and I remember it even then. Now, cut down to fit a new space, and hung again, the row of hooks hold felted wool nests of yarn & needles hanging with purpose midway fulfilled, rounds unfinished, in perpetual knitting motion on the trails which I walk, we walk, Emma and I.

One foot and one paw, in front of the other, we advance over the chaotic forest floor in unison, attempting to find a familiar path to stake. A knitting trail to rake aside the stones and the fallen branches from wind storms, to walk mornings and evenings, while knitting and smelling the wildlife’s potent presence, we go forth. These felted bags seem happy and purposeful, each of them filled with a different knitting project, they wait their turn as well-loved servants.

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As the summer wanes, the air brings quiet subtle twinges of Autumn, and my skin nearly feels the rain that will come two months from now.  Autumn is knit-walking season for me, when the forest has an aroma of spice the trails beckon us and knitting explodes into form. I am happy to say that I am finally getting to the hard work of the long-talked-about Knitting Trail.  Glimpses here and there, and everywhere  will be seen as the days shorten and the walks lengthen, and these bags hold secrets one day to be revealed, as will  sections of trail with the rustic forested sitting spots, glimpses to be shared here for you to gather and sit with me.

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Here & now, in the stale weeks left of summer, I try to maintain a sense of productivity.  I can nearly count the days until the Autumnal Equinox, as it always becomes a very longed-for event in my life, when I am once again as a giddy child. Six weeks and four days . . .

. . .and counting !

A Storm On The Way

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Emma and I were out for our morning walk but it was different today, it was deliciously foggy.  You see, to end a 7-week-long warm dry spell of this winter so far, we are due to get hammered with a big storm tonight.  A storm which is absolutely longed for.  So I figured we’d go out with the camera and take shots of the drizzling fog and cooling air.  On the way up the ridge there was a pleasant surprise ~~ all the manzanita is peaking in blossom !

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One of the attractions of this time of year in Northern California mountains is the precious heart-shaped and very fragrant blossoming Arctostaphylos, or as we know it, manzanita. There are mainly two indigenous species which thrive side-by-side up on this mountain, and the most distinct difference is seen this time of year, when they blossom. One has pink blossoms, and the other white.

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Otherwise their form is very similar, but their leaves are also quite distinctive also. I just love to bury my face into a cluster of these sweet blossoms and inhale their fragrance. . .

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At the top of the ridge, Emma sniffed and I knitted as we meandered along the knife-edge where to the north-east is Napa Valley, and to the south-west is Sonoma Valley.  Just sniffing, and knitting our way along. (I had been knitting a long 5-stitch i-cord for another knitting bag I’m making)

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And then finally we reach the summit, and breathe in the cloud .

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We’re out a lot these days hiking & knitting, as well as gardening, so we won’t mind staying indoors while enjoying the lashing rain forecast for the next few days.  I’ll be posting more as the tail end of winter bursts into action in the next weeks, on the mountain, in the garden,  and on my needles!

The Lost Mit

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It does happen then. All this talk about knit-walking, like it’s without consequence. Well, for the most part it is, however, I have tripped, and ‘descended clumsily’ into a fallen tree and scraped up my thumb bad enough. (That was about three weeks ago , and is just now healed nicely).  And I have dropped my yarn and it has unraveled as I walk on unaware for a ways,  sometimes a long ways, before I realize what has happened, then having to wind it back up while picking leaves and twigs and forest duff out of the yarn (very tweedy looking) ~~~ and this has happened countless times !  Oh, but this time, the most recent calamity, was that the other day (my birthday, I am certain) I misplaced a mit somewhere, maybe dropped along the way  . . . and lost it !

So this one pair of pin-striped fingerless mits, was to be my last pair I was going to allow myself to knit, of my mit-mania (um…we’ll see about that), and I’m merrily binding off the second of the pair and starting to chirp the joys of spring as it’s time for finish work ! Weaving in ends, soak in suds & dry. . . then wrap very cheerfull like and send off !  WAIT.   Um . . . but . . . where is the other mit?  Did I lose it ??? Not even panicked,  I search all my knit-walk satchels, then look about.  Mild panic, search the satchels again… at least 3 times, as if once isn’t enough. I mean I stick my hand in and grope disbelievingly,  repeatedly, and actually turn them inside out , as if I can’t feel a mit without doing so the first time.  I’m laughing.  Yet I’m starting to get impatient and swear at the same time, because I know exactly what happened, I probably dropped it ! Not laughing anymore, as I’m knowing full well there isn’t enough yarn to toss one together in the nick of time.   Still ,  I obligingly search the likely places in the house it might be. . . again . . . and no mit.  This was last night mind you, so I couldn’t go out looking for it !

Until this morning. This morning finally dawns, and after feeling the doom that I can’t make another, that it is forever lost,  and how am I going to deal , since I used up the last of one of the pin-stripe colors . . oh sheesh . . . must I dorkily make a mismatched pair????  Well, I searched those knitting bags again, my hands groping around without my mind connected, they just shuffle papers, lifting piles of crap on my desk table, lift pillows, blankets…  looking behind my sideboard,  under the sideboard . . .my hands are hoping for a stupid miracle that I covered them up, or pushed them off the furniture.  My hands are slaves to my disbelief and my reluctance to go out in 34F temperature to go ‘hiking’.  But, at last, Emma and I did go out and retrace our last walk.

This was our Lucky Day…. only a little less than a mile and we found it !

There it was !!!

There it was in the dirt road !!!!!

There it was in the dirt road in the dark woods, damp, shaking, barely alive !!!!!

It was lying so alone,  vulnerable, belly up, in the  middle of the dirt road, right next to a little fir tree snag that had fallen in a recent storm.  Ohhh…yyyeahh… I remember Emma’s leash getting tangled up when she jumped over it, and I remember having to put my knitting in the bag to help her get untangled.  Then we went on, and I carried on with the pin-stripes.,.. probably yanked out the yarn a little too hard.  If this little mit had a voice, I’m sure it would be thin and very high-pitched and calling out in sheer exhaustion ” Here I am, here I am…. oh you found me, where were you, why did you leave me??? I don’t think I could have survived another wild animal sniffing me over in the night . . .”   So anyway, the story ends happily. We have ‘er back, and the pair is reunited !!! Washed, rinsed, and the color has come back into her cheeks. In fact, I bet you can’t tell which one was lost, can you?

Ahhhhhh . . .  . . drying ! ! !

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((( Now these wee mits are somewhere in the air between here and Kelso.)))

:: giggles like a 10 year old ::

Stormy

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Cables ! ! !

Twisted while walking over hill and dale . .

and counted so I could watch my surroundings.

K (1,2,3,4,5,6), P (7,8), K (9,10), P (11,12) . . . repeat,

 & twist cables every 13th row.

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Knitted while walking in the last of the Autumnal color.

Environs greying more each day as the leaves fall to the ground and colors melt away.

Not the last, but another knitted gift for one soon to be Thirteen !!!

I have named it simply . . .

 ” Stormy “.

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Details of this project found on Ravelry here

Turning

A high mountain vineyard.

Emma and I have been walking around this morning, for several hours. She was busy sniffing & tracking while I’ve been knitting. I have knit quite a lot while on the move this morning, I’m actually quite self-satisfied.  I had a bunch of photos, but this one, with the yellow leaves turning on the vines,  just seems to want to stand alone.

Other photos of this walk stashed  here .

Knitting In The Wild

I have been knit-walking rather obsessively lately.  Some days I go out twice, and I am elated to say that as a result I am both knitting and walking an incredible amount more than before.  In fact, I just can’t ever see myself ever again idly walking the mornings away without my fingers making silly loops, one after another.  I know, actually rather weird when you think of it. So here are some photos from this morning…Nearby,  where Emma’s absolute favorite trail takes us, we greet the nearby mountain tops on the other side of a steep and narrow canyon …

We like to hop over to the canyon precipice to take a peek down into the abyss…

((  and to sniff at what the wild coyotes have been up to ! ))

Right at the precipice.  Lichen covered volcanic rock, and grass as dry as papyrus, until it rains, which it hasn’t yet.  We’re having our Northern Californian Indian Summer, where typically in October just after you feel the cool of Autumn, we get visited by the hot clear days for another week or two.

My temporary knit-walking bag,  an old rather small hip pack I dug up this morning from the ‘gear closet’.  I have been experimenting with all kinds of methods to hold the ball of yarn while I knit and walk ~  from stuffing it into various pockets, or inside the front of my shirt, or under my arm, or in one of Emma’s treat  pouches, to wearing one of my felted knitting bags slung over my shoulder.  I have yet to design a ‘ hiking knitting bag ‘ but this seems to do fine for this morning.


A  shot from one of the high vineyards, overlooking the SanFranciscoBay to the south,  however in the bright morning light, and camera’s focus, you can’t see any details in distance.

Is that a tweed sleeve hanging on a Cabernet trellis ?

Two sleeves done & dusted, two more to go, for Two Michigan Winter sweaters.  Then I can join them to the bodies and begin the Elizabeth Zimmerman seamless hybrid ‘shirt style’ yoke I’ve been so looking forward to settling into.

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Making really good progress with the ‘his & hers’ tweed pullovers.

 I am calling them  ” Michigan Winter “.

How could I already be nearly finished with the main body of two full-sized sweaters in one week?  I’ll tell you how, because Emma and I have been doing a lot of  walking this week, being sure to get in at least one walk a day, short or long, and well, I’ve taken my knitting along each time, and I tell you folks,  it adds up !

 Just as I’m plowing through these young homesteaders’ pullovers,  I myself am getting fit as a farmer, and Emma is delighted about all these hikes too, as we go slower, further, longer, and linger at delicious smells in the forest duff.

Autumn in Northern California brings the leaves falling late,

but the Madrones are always first to drop theirs, beginning in July !

I love the terra cotta tones of the leaves as they turn on the ground, before the first rain comes.

As we meander up the ridge, my favorite once bloomed in purple wild sweet peas look so pretty,

even as dried as parchment paper.


I sometimes have to fix a dropped stitch or untangle the yarn,

and Emma waits patiently in the golden grasses.


Here  we are up into the steep section of the climb, and if it were a clear day without foggy haze in the distance,  you’d see SanFranciscoBay, and the GoldenGateBridge beyond the hills…

Emma always finds a stick to befriend…

Approaching the top of the ridge, SonomaCountyLeft and NapaCountyRight….

Finally at the precipice of the peak, overlooking the valley below.

If you could see Emma’s right ear,  it is about touching where we came from. . .

. . . and now it’s time to go back home Emma.  We’ll come again soon… probably tomorrow.