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…

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Trellis Mitts!

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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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Knitting In The Wild

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We have been walking through the morning hours of Autumn.  Miles of yarn and prints of dog paws, and shoes, side by side. More chaotically spaced actually, mine straight forward, destination ahead, focused on the rounds of lace, of sleeves, of precious warm cardigans, and Emma’s  prints with her own agenda, as the wild life is speaking to her and new smells are exciting her in zig-zag directions and renewed vigor giving her incentive to come up to the peak with me these days.

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Our walks journey through Autumn,  with the arrival of rain, we seem to be experiencing  a gradual awakening of our dormant selves,  as is with the succulent green mosses everywhere … our joy of joys.

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To the peak we have walked a few times this Autumn already.  On the ridge right before the peak, like a comfortable old bed,  there is a soft pine needle layer from an eerie forest of stick-like old trees composting on the jutting toothy rock beneath … it is so dreamy to walk through, I just had to hang my knitting on it and be silly.

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Everything is in its place, and life is good.

Mid August

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August is such a stale time of the year. No cool breezes, no moisture, perpetual aqua blue skies, and a lot of anxiety about wildfire. The grasses stand crisp and golden, and so picturesque, but really it is just in suspended limbo until the rain comes, there in the bleaching hot sun day after day while even the moss in the forest turns brownish and, like the grasses, is frozen in lifelessness for months.

Mid August is even more stale than when the month arrived, and by the end of the month I am usually quite fried,  dreaming of verdant countrysides in far off lands.

I have been thinking about my knitting trail, and ideas.  So far it’s just staked out and haven’t walked it very much, but I need a grand plan, and I need ideas. I was hoping for some from you readers.

Now I will make myself a fresh iced coffee and wait for a little conversation to begin…

Anniversary Socks

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March of this year Jeff and I have been married one year, and 21 years together, and I thought as an anniversary gift to Jeff, with whom I have backpacked the John Muir Trail many many miles, that I would design him trail socks !!  He seemed to be okay with the idea, however, he is very picky about scratchy woolly things and socks, and anything ‘gear’ related.  Made of super fine quality Merino-superwash & nylon sock yarn, in granite tones, the socks ended up very soft & completely not scratchy, and the nice cushioned heel, instep & toe are ultra comfortable in and outside of a boot.  Now  two & 1/2 months after our anniversary,  here is the final result ~~~ and he approves!

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Shown are Wild Wool Trail Socks, designed for and dedicated to Jeff.

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This is actually the first real pair for Jeff that I’ve made since releasing the pattern,  delivered a little belatedly.

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Incidentally, the last time we were in the Sierras in July 2014, it was for our 20th anniversary of being a couple, and we backpacked to Granite Lake in John Muir country, where the inspiration came to me…

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Well, it may have taken me a year and a half to ruminate this design from inspiration to finished pattern, but perhaps for good reason, for the timing of events involve a spooky coincidence of anniversaries! To start, our 20th anniversary in 2014 was 100 years after Muir’s death in 1914, this year is the centennial anniversary of America’s National Parks established August 1916, and lastly, I just happened to have submitted (unknowingly) the pattern on  John Muir’s birthday April 21st.

In forthcoming posts, I may go on with presenting you finished projects, both of my own and of other knitters,  so that we can have a bit of an extended tribute to John Muir.

Sock details on Ravelry HERE.

John Muir High Country and Wild Wool (Part One)

I so admire the man who found personal transformation and a sense of home deep in the wilderness of the High Sierra Nevada mountains, and fought to bring his experience of the territory into the lives of the general masses … Continue reading

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 !

Walking With Wool

I walk in the wild places each day. I walk while I knit wool into things, and I walk while beguiled by the season. I walk into the places which pluck my thoughts from my mundane worries and meaningless schedule and bring them onto a grander stage, extending in all directions and arching from the present to a sort of gelid idea of my future.jenjoycedesign©out walking

I long for my Walk with Wool, as ever-faithful dog named Emma trots along beside me with nostrils flaring, her nose seems to float along in determination to uncover something magnificent. We make great hiking partners even though our agendas are a little different.  Step and stitch together bring me closer to landing grounded to life with a shape. My life which feels at most times so without shape, finds it’s shape this way, in the knitting, and in the walking.

Even at the times when stitches dropped, or yarn falls out of my knitting bag that is slung across my breasts shoulder-to-hip, and unknowingly dragged for a length behind while collecting decaying leaves and even stickery burrs, maybe even some twig-like things. But I feel humor in all of it, and these silly things as yarn tangling among the shrubs as Emma’s leash around things make my life feel rich as heathered colors in a strand of multi-fibered yarn, tweeded with specs of emotions and interrupted by occasional knots which are always discovered with nothing less than annoying inconvenience.

I love my yarns, as I love fresh baked bread, and coffee & chocolate, or a hand-written letter from an envelope. Their poetry is felt as I receive them from out of their bag brought home, and wound with delicious anticipation by hand off of the backs of two chairs or a swift. I love the process of tearing the label off of the skein and then encircling the expanding criss-crossing blades of wood from the swift and tied together until they open into the hoop of yarn. The swift, my new tool of trade, holds the yarn as I secure it, then admire it. Ties clipped, and the end found, gently brought out to meet my hands. To feel the swift move as my right takes the end and loosely winds it around index, middle & ring finger of my left  in a way that the fingers ‘taste’ the yarn as one sips the first cup of rich coffee or aromatic tea.

These feelings, these sensual inner rhythms,  are what a knitter like me feels about the things which make up my creative life. These paths that I wander along, seem to forgive that I am isolated from society but beckon me more passionately to come along and hunker down with nature, and so I am taking to pen so to speak. I am in the mood to begin my knitting-in-nature autobiographical ‘yarnings’ in earnest and at last, so I present to you a first glimpse of “Walking With Wool”. 

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.   To end a seven-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 and take some photos in 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.

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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, 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 and on my needles!

Knitting In The Wild

jenjoycedesign©knitting in the wildAnother glorious hike up to the ridge peak this morning. Shading the camera lens with knitting overlooking the ridge after ridge facing north-easterly.

Greeting the long shadows of morning as the sun’s rays shot through the pines on the crest of the ridge…

jenjoycedesign©019There was knitting the whole way, reknitting that is, of yoke of nieces’ Autumn sweater.

 Capturing the sun streaming through black oak leaves soon to fall …jenjoycedesign©003Greeted the Sleeping Princess (Mt Tamalpais) as she lay like rolling blue ocean waves in the distance…
jenjoycedesign©036And Mt. Diablo as we started up, a stones throw from the house… and you can see the yellow patches in the trees where there is Autumnal color starting.

jenjoycedesign©002At the rocky top,  another  view across the ridges which frame the upper Napa Valley …
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Most of all we enjoyed the contemplative early morning trek, with bright morning sun, mountain air, and knitting all going so perfectly together I think. Looking forward to another like it each day this Autumn, as we have been out nearly every single day . Turning of the season continues to be wonderful this way.  Life is good.

Knitting In Nature

019It rained again, and the moss is glowing !

We’ve continued our walks nearly everyday this Autumn.

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Out in the freshly rained-on moss, and romping around and smelling things.

( Emma tends to like to stick her whole head into tree caves…)

023The really remarkable thing is, that while we were walking in the woods, I was knitting the very colors of the moss on oak bark, and it took me by surprise how much I reflect the colors of my surroundings.

Presently knitting the sweater for this hat , in the colorway ‘moss on oak’…jenjoycedesign©green&grey

Knitting in nature is one of the things I love to do most of all.

Each Day In Autumn

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Emma and I have been out walking (and I knitting while walking) everyday this Autumn so far, and plan to walk everyday for the remainder of Autumn, bringing camera and sharing photos often here and celebrate the best time of year !  Harvest is in process, finished in this particular vineyard a stone’s throw from where we live. We passed it along our forest paths near by.  Then Emma spied a big yellow fungus !!!

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On through hilly & hollow lands we walk….

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And with fragrances abound, Emma follows her nose rapturously…jenjoycedesign©wandering2

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And just around this bend (from the opposite direction of last hike posted) we end up back home …

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First Morning of Autumn

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I know two posts in one day. Its just that I wanted to share with you all my first walk of Autumn.  We were out in the early hourse on this first morning of Autumn, knitting while hiking about the woods a bit, then hauling on up the ridge to the peak of the mountain (at 2600′ elevation.) There were beautiful views of the distant ridges along the way up.  Mt. Diablo in the distance, rather southerly (to the right behind the trees)…
009Then higher up, looking more westerly, a grand shot of Mt. Tamalpais,  named by the indigenous Native Americans meaning “Sleeping Princess” (did you know Mt Tam is where mountain-biking was invented?) …
011Then at the peak, overlooking Napa Valley, easterly, and the sun was already high …
019We went down our favorite well-trodden paths on the way home…
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035Then across the last oak wooded section before landing back home. It was a glorious walk this morning, and I have made progress on a little knitting too !

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 I hope your start of  Autumn (or Spring) is equally as happy as mine.

What are you up to?

Camp Socks

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Its already been almost three weeks since we were at 9000 ft elevation and I was knitting-in-the-wild beneath a lovely brewing storm on a huge granite rock. I had so thoroughly enjoyed the quick packing trek to Granite Lake, the sitting cross-legged on the granite in complete stitching meditation, one with the darkening sky and gathering storm, the quiet of everything before the outbreak, even the fish hunkering down.  Yet I remember yet distinct intermittent sounds ~~  the wind whipping the tent about and water boiling to make trail coffee. And it just doesn’t get any better than that ( High Sierra trip posted here ).

So here my friends, are another pair of Penny Candy Socks. Just a simple, wild & maybe even frivolous (and very blue) pair of socks, made on that High Sierra excursion but I hadn’t gotten around to washing & blocking them until just now.

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And they are added to the slowly growing pile of knitted socks designated for xmas gifts….

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Gad… already LESS than only five months away!   Horror of the crafting gift-maker-and-giver is that xmas appears in a blink after sweltering heat of summer, when one couldn’t feel further away from the winter solstice and gift-giving frenzy. But I’m wise now, at my age, I’ve learned, and I am already stashing knitted gifts…

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I’ve already gotten about 12″ into one of two Autumn Sweaters 2014 , but no hints on that yet (top top secret!) .  In contrast to tiny stitches of fingering & fine fingering yarn for socks, gloves, hats….  I am knitting rounds and rounds of worsted-weight, and how refreshingly speedy I’m turning out the rounds for a change!

In the next few days my nieces will be visiting up here in the Hermitage again, for a visit in their last week of summer vacation, so we’ll be up to baking in the kitchen, in addition to just generally “chil-laxing” as they put it,  and not without their ECD’s ((electronic devices of choice ))~~ but no doubt the visit will be  punctuated with famously artistic and fun photo-shoot after digging through my cedar trunk now becoming quite full of knitteds.  Looking forward to that,  and we’ll see you on the flipside of the riotous occasion!

Note:  Oh! The hand-made wooden Shaker-style box, if not authentic Shaker box, was found last week at my favorite thrift shop for $4 ~ a bargain !  It is now a lovely knitting notions box & photo prop as well, and I’m super pleased with myself for finding it.

Back From The High Sierra.

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We three ~ Jeff, Emma, & me ~ went for a short & sweet trip to High Sierras over the weekend for our anniversary.  There was a little hiking, cooking, tea & coffee drinking, fishing & knitting, sniffing around….

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Restorative in many ways, as always, the alpine scenery soothed a yearning that only it can do. What is it about pitching a tent in the wilderness at high altitude to claim some spot in nature as our home for a few days?
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Something about the fragile alpine flowers …
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and gnarled trees.
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fast and furious rain storms …

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The granite everywhere and deep crystal clear blue lakes …

Granite Lake

wide horizon of jagged ridges and expressive skies.

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A storm is brewing!
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Windy thunder & rain storms which suddenly take hold for a couple of hours in the afternoon,

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sending us for cover in our cozy tent to wait it out.
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Granite Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness was just what I craved.  Bundled up quite puffy  in down and wool layers, knitting in the cold & windy pause between storms …

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Abandoned my knitting to go fire up the camp stove and make hot coffee!
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Jeff got to fish a couple of times, though he didn’t get even one bite, too stormy.

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Then it was time for trail coffee & tea !!!

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We found that Emma was perfectly able to handle carrying a doggie pack and hike as she did once before, and it was as if her little arthritic limp of late almost disappeared completely. 072007

She is in top form !

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Most importantly, this trip to the Sierras was to celebrate a very important mark in our partnership,

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We were so lucky to have Granite Lake all to ourselves, at near 9000′ elevation & less than three miles from the trail-head. It is my theory that the forecast dramatic thunderstorms cleared the lake for us. We were prepared to hike cross-country (off-trail) to another lake for privacy, but had no need, it was a total stroke of luck.

With only a little over 3 hour drive, we can be in the High Sierra, fishing & knitting at a granite bowl. It just doesn’t get any better than that ! Off we go back home, but we’ll be back . . .
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Its Only Knitting

I’ve been busy as a bee working away on my designs, coming up with new ones and further test-knitting my existing ones.  Add now tutorials.  I have gotten to the point in the whole knitting Thing where I really don’t have time or energy to put into anything which is not my own design.  I really can’t regret this , because whether or not I endeavor to write the design into a pattern, I’ve just come to face the fact that I have to make up for lost time.  I’ve embraced Indie Design, and am committed to wear ‘all of the hats’ in the job, and I’m ready for a lot of hard work ahead. The more I tell myself this the more I want to work like an ox towards succeeding. However, the elusive truth often escapes me, and that is ” Its only knitting. ”   A quote of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s used by over-zealous knitters everywhere.  Although it is ‘only knitting’ ,  I am practically ‘only knitting’. I have little chalkboards I’ve made which I’ve placed in prominent places of my work space ,  with lists or sage messages to give me perspective, and I use them to keep my focus clear wherever I turn.  Today’s brilliant message . . .

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First Rain

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Finally we got some rain, making it a lovely break from the dryest Autumn in many years. Emma and I just got in from a little knit-walk as it drizzled, but I didn’t bring camera in case it started to downpour. So here I am, taking photos of the wetness from inside our house.  From the kitchen window above.   Just look at the moss, just drinking it in . . .
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From where I sit & knit by the window,  and if you look closely  you’ll see some stones placed in a path. That is actually the path down to the garden, but also it is part of my knitting trail, which goes off into the woods from the garden in a northerly direction . . .

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On the knitting front: I have been preoccupied with a new yarn ~ here winding off 440 yards of a  ‘Botticelli Red’, variegated, 3-plied, hand-dyed hank of finest sock yarn I’ve had the pleasure to knit with to date. I am smitten with Malabrigo sock yarn!

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New (Vineyard) Horizons

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I so wanted to show you this photo taken early today ! It was a windy and cold November morning as Emma and I walked over to our newest (hidden & secret) scenic location, which we discovered only last week from trail-blazing.  Here, this morning,  happy to greet the young vines, and a south-easterly horizon  with distant blue Mt Diablo’s double peak of 3,864 feet visible from where I stood — on a big tree stump, est. elevation of 2100 ft, on a slope facing  San Francisco Bay.   ( Note,  this is not the same vineyards wherein great devastation of historic vines is going on, but a different vineyard. )  By all means, click the photo, and see it full-sized !

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Ahem** I have nearly finished my fourth redesign of the project in natural shades of Jamiesons Spindrift. It is quite an embarrassment to think I was near done, over a week ago, then to have to start over, then over again, and well… it’s a sore subject… but a labor of love and true break-through for me in design, as well as expected set-backs. If I survive this week at all, I will have something to show for all of my determination. I am sure by now you’ve all guessed the theme to have something to do with vineyards.

A Knitting Trail

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Emma and I have  been working on our home trail in recent weeks.

 It is to be a knitting trail ! ! !

Our trail begins right next to Jeff’s workshop…

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And takes off into the woods, just follow Emma.

It goes upwards very quickly…

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It meanders along old deer-trodden paths ,

which Emma and I  have enhanced with our footsteps.

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It passes by tall firs,

oaks & bays,

madrones & maples…

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You will see my short rows of sticks on occasion,

they are trail markers in sections where the knitting trail goes one way,

while the deer may go another…

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Emma is charged with purpose as she surveys the forest, and the wildlife.

There is at least one mountain lion which lives in the area, sighted many times, and  I often wonder if it is the lion which she smells.  I think I would like to put some places to sit (and knit) along the way.  Just sit, knit,  and listen to the wildlife.

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Some small sections are getting the shovel treatment, like here at the trail-head.

 (Yes, that is our house, and my car, which I try to drive as little as possible)

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So you see, I have been working like an ox lately, for this is the time of year I love most to be outside toiling away, among the falling leaves of Autumn. There’ll be more photos later, as the Knitting Trail is honed to perfection !

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But hey ! Its the last day of October today, and that means it is Halloween!   For the occasion I thought I’d post a photo of something remarkably ominous from the woods!   The raven’s cultural and somewhat spooky  symbolism  is not to be debated, however here they are just a cheerful and welcomed presence, and flock about year round. They make themselves very comfortable, eating the berries in the native trees, and fruit & veggies from our garden, and pick from our compost pile too.  I think they are fascinating birds,  possessing a truly amazing intrigue and even sense of humor (they like to tease Emma every chance they get), and they are the stewards of these woods all the same.  Here is a photo I took last week, zoomed into the branches of an oak while this fellow and his mate were making deep throaty chortling & clucking conversation…
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Happy Halloween everyone !

(( Note:  I am delayed with knitting projects due to interruptions life tends to cause. ))

Things In Trees

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I was out walking this morning , with Emma, knitting as I go.  I nearly stepped on this perfect little nest which was upright, in the middle of the path !  It must have been a sad loss for the birds who inhabited it, probably due to a marauding jay or raven or a lashing wind, which brought it to fall from the branches.

It was so fragile and dear and perfect, I couldn’t just walk on by. I put my knitting in my shoulder bag, and picked it up examining it closely as walked a while, with it very carefully perched in my cupped hand. Soon after I found some newly fallen acorns too, how lovely, which I popped inside the nest, looking like tree eggs of a sort.  As I walked from the oaks through the firs,  I noticed then some freshly fallen fir cones too, and picked a few of them up and put in my knitting bag. I tell you, now I feel it, I just know it’s coming, my favorite season of all is knocking at Summer’s door ~~ because things are beginning to fall out of trees!

Yet still a long wait through the hot & dry months before the first rains come, usually in October. But for now, the nest, acorns, and cones are a festive little Autumnal adornment to my loft, reminding me that not long from now is the Autumnal equinox !

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Summer Landscape In Morning

Its been deliciously foggy down in the valley in the mornings lately , typical of later summer and Autumn around here.  Emma and I set out early today, at 6:30 a.m. to get up to the peak and take some photos of the fog before the sun was too high. On the way up the ridge the light in the grass was just so entrapping ,  I couldn’t stop taking photo’s of Emma in the dried grass, she was just glowing !

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At the peak about 7 o’clock the sun was already high, I’m so glad we didn’t set off any later than we did !

First shot, facing east. . .

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However, the fog  was dense and packed like a snow-covered lake, like I wanted to see it.   In the next frame,  you can see a division between of two ridges in a darkening foreground (actually I see a third very slight sillhouette)… our house is between them, down further at  2000 feet elevation, but it is not visible from where I am photographing, at 2600 ft.  Its my guess the top of the fog must be around 1700 ft.

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Emma  surveys from the precipice at the top. . .

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On the way down, a meadow bordering to the west of tall forest, the dried grass still not gilded golden by the morning sun’s rays seems as lifeless  as you can imagine !

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Next is the whole early morning hike in a slideshow ~~  going up to the peak, then coming back down, with the last shot in our drive.  Arriving home from such an excursion before 8 o’clock in the morning  makes me feel so invigorated, and so I celebrated as I often do, with another cup of fresh coffee, buttered toast & tasty home-made jam !

Northern California In Winter

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It is one month into winter in Northern California.

The trees have been bare for only as long.  This photo was taken weeks ago, but I was waiting for the right time to post it.  It is a Blue Oak, there are many where we walk .

And walking is what Emma and I do a lot of these not-so-grey days of winter.  Last few days have been fair and I got some pink on my cheeks today, as we walked some new terrains under the noon-time sun !

Of course, I brought my knitting . . .

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The Lost Mitt

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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 ::

Fog & Moss

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Emma and I out exploring the mountain for a good long knit walk on Sunday morning . Observing moss dripping off of branches, devouring the old oaks.  So much fog and moisture from the coastal weather pounding this inland ridge which divides Sonoma and Napa counties, before sinking finally into the Napa valley.

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Close to the peak, we seek out our secret precipice . . .

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Emma scouts the ridge along the peak, for her usual treats . . .

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What is this bright blushing wooliness among the foggy forest  ?

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And the view , beyond the knitting, from the peak at 2600 feet !

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Long Shadows of January

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Out walking in the new year.

Long shadows cast in the piercing late morning light, vines and deciduous trees bare, a lovely wintery landscape in the mountains of Northern California.
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Jeff , Emma & I are out greeting the new year with cheer,  walking up and down watery rocky roads of the back country.  Bare trees and fresh grass bursting out from last year’s growth, and water springing out of the ground . . .

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Here Jeff watches a huge flock of doves explode noisily  into the air. . .

(Seems to me dogs rarely look up into the sky, but always into the bush !)

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Other things we saw :

lots of ice on the ground . . .

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deeply grooved erosion from water, in the mossy banked soft rock along the country road.

( We’ve had torrential downpours in the last weeks.)

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Whipping in the breeze, the colorful flags still flying in the meadow along the canyon precipice,

releasing prayers to the wind . . .

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First blossoms of winter !

the manzanita’s pink heart-shaped buds . . .

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A little bright wool resting on the grey bare vines !

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Is this perhaps *moi* knitting while walking???   Two satchels slung to each side, holding two colors being knit into another ( yes still another) pin-striped fingerless mit. Even Jeff commented at the end of our hike how impressed he was that I was able to knit while walking over some of the terrain we just had . . .

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Well, I’ve had lots of practice in recent months !

Happy New Year All !!!

Seeing Red

Knitting again on this cardigan started last year, which went into hibernation due to other projects that came up, and quite frankly, was forgotten.  Now near completion, I am in a total state of agitation, as I have had to knit the left, then the right button bands over, then bind off again & again. Soon it will be finished, and I can show you, after I get it all blocked a second time and buttons sewn on of course.

In the meantime…

I’ll show you some photos from yesterday’s knit-walk.  I followed Emma down in the meadow above the canyon (coyote-ville), and to our surprise, Emma spotted something very curious flapping in the breeze ahead.

Closer and closer,  curiouser and curiouser !


Ah ha ! There has been someone who has been adorning the mountain with Tibetan Prayer Flags around here lately.   The Masked Flagger has struck again !  They are admittedly quite a spectacle of artistic beauty. (That is, until they become bleached by the sun and wind-whipped to shreds.)

Oh, and is this a little knitting growing on a vine trellis ?

Tweedy & Autumny

Finally the rain clouds have come and rained and everything is moist and the forest smells wonderfully spicey with Autumny smells.  We’ve had rain this week enough to soak the forest and give the moss a good drink and I just love rain ~~ just look at those clouds ! 

I went for a knitting walk with this blue lump of a sweater,  with about a half ball of yarn at the start, thinking I’d have plenty for a long walk. I managed to get all the way back to the house, and ran out of yarn *just* as I walked in through the door, just enough to splice on to another ball ~ I call this a grand knitting coincidence !

I’m almost at the section of the Michigan Winter Sweaters (thats two) where I must fuss about with a tedious new technique ~  the seamless ‘shirt yoke’  that I have never tried ~ which will involve knitting back and forth on a lopsided saddle shoulder which is wider on the back than the front, and knits itself into the body as it goes.  This horizontally eating up the end of the vertical stitches, is making me nervous, because I’ve never done a seamless saddle-shoulder, but sounds exciting all the same !   Bless Elizabeth Zimmerman for writing the instructions out so dearly, but still I am not at all confident, because  I really just  am not a very good reader-of-knitting-instructions… don’t be surprised if I come back here and calling for help in another post soon.

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.

Mountain Knitting


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.

Morning Walk & Knit


I’m going to go for a Walk & Knit , down this old logging road, as soon as I post this. Out my door, down this road, navigating over uneven rocky sections in road as I amble along,

… while  k n i t t i n g  ! ! !

Yes folks, this is my new habit that I am giddy about.  I’ve done it a few times already, and everytime out the door it seems I think ” I should have my knitting “.  Some habits take a while to form. So this morning is my official ritual beginning of a Morning Knit & Walk and I’ll post photos of the scenery occasionally here on Yarnings.   Odd? Well, not really, as I walk this road almost daily, as I do knit almost everyday too. I’m very excited to make something official of this, because it will not only ensure I walk more, longer even perhaps (in the case where I am anxious to get back home and do hand work ),   it will certainly help me accomplish more knitting, even if done at a slower pace  (but only slightly slower pace). Well, I am going to have to make myself a proper knitting pouch, something like an apron with a big double pocket (in case I am doing color work and I need to keep yarn balls separate) … perhaps I will zip together upon my return.

Actually, I noticed in my blog specs data, that it has been visited a couple of times on this post , and also noticed search terms ” knitting while walking ” and so I decided to investigate. I searched the same phrase, and I am surprised to find a many fellow Knitter Walkers out there in the world wide web, and also some material to be learned on the subject,  such as various  ‘knitting walking bags’ to be made or purchased !  I kid you not !!!  Is this nothing short of a revisitation to the old traditions of women like these, in this very popular photo of Shetland Peat Carriers of Olden Days ?

Hardy women knitting away while collecting peat for fuel , trying to eek out a living !

(I’ve wondered for some time, is that a big sheep ram off to the left, up the road???)  Well, I’ve got a tweed pullover I just cast on last night, so here I go, on with my hiking shoes, and one of my kitchen aprons will have to suffice for now !

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Upon my return :  I have gotten out the door and walked the back roads near my house without having to tie on my kitchen apron, because I found one of Emma’s old treat pouches which clip on served excellently to hold the yarn.  There are areas where Emma must be on leash,  and the yarn kept getting caught into the retractable leash line  … funny… so I devised a technique to pull out enough yarn for about a row, and wrap it around my arm a few times,  unwinding as I knit.  It worked fine, no mistakes,  I didn’t trip, and I worked up a sweat !