Greetings from our Tiny House in the Charcoal Forest! Our Tiny House arrived here at the beginning of May, and now we have fully nested back in our charcoal forest. It was a major ordeal hauling it up the mountain with … Continue reading
Pattern: St Andrews Harbour (Petra’s Tam)
Yarn: Alice Starmore’s Hebridean 3ply, in Golden Plover
Details on Ravelry: here
It was a lovely knit! I do recommend the tam in this pattern “set”, for it is so fetching, sporty, awesomely sea-worthy, and a totally essential accessory of one’s outdoor wardrobe. This one is made from worsted weight yarn, and it is a bit fashionably floppy, however, knit with finer yarn such as sport weight, it would be just right. If done in Starmore yarn, I would do better to suggest Starmore’s Hebridean 2ply. I want to knit another one or two from my handspun yarn, talked about in Tweed Chronicles which has so much meaning through a time of upheaval as was my obsession in the months right after the wildfire. So on to the next!
♣ ♣ ♣
Meanwhile, I’ve composed a little letter to all of you who follow Yarnings, a new category on Yarnings, entitled “Letter from the editor” , to let you know what is going on with us during this time of epic change.
Dear Everybody ~
On to new adventures, and news on every page! First, our stay at our first holding place did not last long, the landlords want to move back in, and that’s fine, because I’ve longed with a great ache in my heart to live back up on the mountain in my charcoal forest. Second, the county administration and engineers are making our getting a permit to (re)build hugely difficult and drawn out, adding insult to injury. I don’t really want to talk about details, but we have no real timeline as to when we will be rebuilding, or what we will be rebuilding, or when we will be living up there in our rebuilt house. So the original post I made right after the wildfire in October entitled “Ten Acres ….” written two days after evacuating our house, flames still smoldering, is now ringing in the rafters as we are in process of getting a Tiny House to park a few hundred yards away from the building site, nestled right near the trail head to my knitting track in fact. If I can try to be optimistic, I will tell you that this pleases me a lot, if choices are dreary and few right now, shifting around from city rentals, and not being able to walk in the woods properly has been detrimental to my attitude, and mental as well as physical health. Also Emma has been to the vet and back many times in the last months, her wound from her surgery last summer (posted here) never healed properly, and she is cheerily going day to day from stitches to staples, from cone to inflatable collar, but aside from all of that seems to be in good health. Meanwhile Jeff has suddenly been laid low from the stress of the whole ordeal of the county, the moving out (again) that he’s caught a bad bug and its developed into pneumonia, but worry not, he is of heroic constitution and never sick, and now on antibiotics will get well soon. As for me, I’ve thrown my back out and hobbling around, on pain killers, feeling taped together at best. Oh, but finally I managed to get a hold of some 90tpi carding cloth, and finally made another jumbo carding & blending board to replace the original , left behind in the wildfire, (colossal thanks to Adele for lending me your Ashford Blending board these past months! xoxo) … and so I am ready to get back into tweed-making, visualizing a tiny space in the Tiny House to be my new creative “loft” space. In fact, I plan on moving into the Tiny House with a good and positive attitude and stop feeling sorry for myself so much. Years ago we stayed in a treehouse, (posted here), and I enjoyed myself immensely tucked away up in a nest in the trees, knitting the hours away, a knitting retreat of retreats! I want to make this new Tiny House feel like that retreat did, and I am visualizing constant knitting & walking, as well as constant gardening. The garden was the one thing that (mostly) did not burn in the wildfire, so I want to be near it to nurture it and water, and make it an oasis where I can go be with living growing things, and to realize how great it is just to wake to another day. Wish us luck, and I’ll keep you posted
~~ xxJen ( aka ‘ the editor ‘ )
There is a whole different gait about me in this holding place.
Seeking out new photogenic sweet spots …
I look and look in this new place, and think there is nowhere artful …
Then the sun only needs to fall a little and the angles of glowing light reveal it to me …
There are the same warm light and shadow like old friends …
Coming to visit for the afternoon.
Come friends, and sit at the table, and I will make tea in my new teapot. I am so glad you are not lost, but found again and again …
and every day.
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Oh, and the Autumn sweaters are finally finished. The sweaters were one of the few things I took with me when the fire came. (( Thank you so very much Wendy for the buttons! )) I hope to get them to my nieces soon, and experience their beautiful form & faces, and those familiar places of Calistoga … soon.
We have found a place to rent and moved in our few things we took with us. Life has a new routine now in a place that is merely transitory. This is something I have to find the courage to live inside of ~~ a temporary place.
I long to be in our house. I break down frequently, and become hopelessly frustrated in doing the basic things, feeling like I am groping in the dark to find my way around, having to relearn every small movement through the disorder and difference. But each day I am becoming a little more resigned to it.
There are brief moments when I feel that metaphorical sun streaming through a window of my creativity, and I contemplate how I might continue to be artful in this transition. That itself is the key ~~ being creative without roots in a place.
My trail-walking, even knitting, has been put away for a time. One of the things I took in my escape, was a tote full of yarn & mostly all my needles, knowing I might be displaced for a few weeks, and I could cheerfully keep on designing.
But the heaviness took hold and the cheerfulness did not last. It was perhaps still numbness that day I cast on for something that is forthcoming, but only about half the stitches before putting it down, and soon after I learned our house burned to ashes.
So I will not knit for a while. But I crave to blend fibers and spin, and there are a couple of very generous women locally who are setting me up with both a wheel and fiber ~~ bless them ~~ I should be spinning by this weekend.
And thank you so very much dear friends on my knitting forum who have offered their time and welcoming warmth helping knitters with their questions.
Deep gratitude to All of You who have bought my patterns, it was quite an overwhelming response to my previous post , and I can not thank you enough. The selling of my patterns to knitters of the world is enabling me make a priority to swiftly ‘set up shop’ , and in gratitude I am doing so, longing to refine & post in Tweed Chronicles again, as well as All Things Forthcoming with designing.
I will be back soon, hopefully with something creative and artful of my temporary place, and find resilience through the kindness of my lovely friends local & global, and of beautiful generous strangers. Thank you again & again, xxJen
Facing the long process of recovering a life even remotely similar to what was ‘before the fire’ could easily drive one to depression in merely a thought, a blink of an eye. I have discovered that I am very much a person influenced by Things. Sentimental things are good, craved, needed, and unsentimental things (as furnished rentals) could very much send me over the edge. Jeff and I are apparently for various reasons not able to just go up and live on our fire-ravaged land in a trailer any time soon, as was the thought I held on to through the first week of being displaced. We will have no choice but to weather over this storm of drastic life-upheaval, in another place, and I am going to focus a few months to recover only the very basics of what I had and used every day.
I really very much appreciate the resonating requests from all of you, in the comments over the last two posts Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and Ten acres and a trailer, so many people offering to send things to help. I have thought and thought about how to go about asking for it, so I have a favor to ask of anybody who would like to help me recover the basics for my knitting, spinning, sewing studio which I took so much pleasure in posting about on Yarnings over the years. Something like this is easy, digital, no postage necessary, because right now I don’t have an address– and I would get your support.
If you would like to help, please buy a pattern, or two, or more,
from my pattern page on Ravelry.
Be sure to scroll down and see them all, they range from $3.40 – $6, and I am sure you could find something that you would enjoy knitting, even to learn on, or to have a knitter make for you, for many of my patterns are beginner friendly, or if you have no desire for having it knitted, just enjoy having the patterns as a token of your support. The money from this burst of sales could allow me to get specifically what I need , and can form personal sentimental attachment to, which is ever so important. And soon I will get my most recent pattern up and running, and soon I will be in a temporary space, but with my own tools of the trade, and while we rebuild the hermitage on the mountain, at least I could keep working.
I never would ordinarily ask for this pattern-selling promotion, but it is the best way I think, a way that is mutually benefiting. So please buy my patterns, I’d be so grateful, and please spread the word to every knitter you know. I will be coming up with the latest one probably some time mid or late Autumn.
Thank you everybody, for being such an important pillar for me during this time, xxJen
My heart goes out with loving empathy to my neighbors & friends who lost their homes, and others who like me, have had to endure these tortuously bleak and dark smoke-filled days, and still displaced from the wildfire evacuation. I just found out that our house has burned down. There is nothing left. The landscape took a lashing, as did my sanity and sense of confidence in the world.
Thank you again all of you who had left a note on the Ten Acres & A Trailer, for those notes were a reminder that life was still happening during the numbest time of my whole life. In closing, I never really talked much here about the house, but it is so very special because Jeff and I built it ourselves, and it took us nearly six years to do it, working every weekend, every holiday & summer vacation.
But I am healthy, and so am facing forward with gratitude the size of Mt Veeder itself that I still have the ones I love near me, friends who have not lost their home, and a future, even if unknown.
ps. I will look forward to answering all of your comments soon, thank you so much for them, they are giving me a lot of strength ~~ xx Jen
I am soon to land feet down in ash and soot, after floating and free-falling for what seems a lost number of days. Not much needs to be said as the media has been pelting the airspace relentlessly since it all begun, and my perspective on the wildfire situation here in the blazing counties is only another shadowy narration of it. It is immense and I am going to ignore it for now, and try my hardest to not look backwards.
Jeff, Emma and I are in a calm and safe place, and unharmed. The future is all I can bear to ponder right now, perhaps a new routine living in a trailer as we clean up the black coat which will be sticky and heart-wrenching, or simply sweeping up ashes… I do not yet know. I dream now of freshness, of sun streaming in through windows on the mountain’s rugged landscape, and I am willing to accept whatever it looks like, as a loved one who has been injured, I will care for it tenderly, when the time comes soon that we will be allowed to revisit our property and see the aftermath. I crave to thrive, and create, to tap into that effervescent well spring within myself. I want to be there now, I am ready, but I am having to be patient for the scale of the situation involves many thousands of folk just as I am, reluctantly separated and in limbo hoping for anything better than the worst.
For me that would be living in a trailer if I must, and once again walking in the wild places, along those trails that I share with the wildlife, and to scribble the day’s chores on my chalkboard and pace myself through them, never again begrudgingly! ((Oh, and a belated happy birthday Michele, sending you a card was the one important thing I had written on my chalkboard as I left the house, and never got to it!))
Edit in: Friends , I am posting progress of the situation in comments below, where you can be informed of my personal fire news, until I post again. xxJen