Saturday, December 30, 2006

Frozen Fog From Afar

At the End of a Long Grey Day

Today, and yesterday and the day before was full of grey and gray...the grey cloud ceiling just barely rising and lowering with the rhythm of waves, a grey thick humid heavy atmosphere, all sound greyed, dampened and muffled. And then at almost sundown, the clouds brighten and rip apart, and a pale but brilliant sun licks the edges of the torn clouds. The silhouettes of the winter trees were beautiful in front of the holes flying across the sky.

Frozen Fog

Frozen fog creates(I hate to say it almost, but it is the only way to describe it!!) a magical fairy land of lace-ified stuff. It is different from frost, everything is covered with an impossibly delicate outline of crystals, even up into the treetops. The frozen fog on sword ferns...
The detail is incredible, every line and edge is graced with a whisper of frozen fog crystals. I'd love to have a microscope to see what shapes the tiny water drops have formed--are they six sided like snowflakes? are they elaborately branched, or a simple hexagon? The frozen fog on snowberry bushes...the fog remains only on the very coldest outer tips of firs, anything on an exposed dark surface melts quickly though.
The frozen fog in the woods is protected by the canopy above. As the frozen fog melts(decays? breaks down? warms up?) it sags from the surfaces in loops, like cobwebs, adding to the lace effect. I love this new way of seeing edges. Textures and shapes are made more clear and sharp everywhere on everything(like new glasses!). The woods are silent, the birds are huddled together in sheltering trees.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Come IN

Over the past few days I've seen a few Varied Thrushes gliding through the fir canopy, where they feed. They have a gentle, quiet song that hints of Spring, and a shy manner--you have to be paying attention to see them, to know they may be there. Sometimes they'll look for worms in the grass, just like their cousin the robin. Varied Thrushes are a vertical migrator, they come down from the higher mountains to the valleys to pass the winter. Their orange breasts are the color of punky fir wood.

And by chance I came across this poem by Robert Frost...
As I came to the edge of the woods,
Thrush music--Hark!
Now if it was dark outside,
Inside it was dark.
Too dark in the woods for a bird
By sleight of wing
To better its perch for the night,
Though it still could sing.
The last of the light of the sun
That had died in the west
Still lived for one song more
In a thrush's breast.
Far in the pillared dark
Thrush music went--
Almost like a call to come in
To the dark and lament.
But no, I was out for stars:
I would not come in.
I meant not even if asked,
And I hadn't been.
Robert Frost

Winter Solstice

The sun sets in its southermost point on the horizon(from my particular point of view). My Stonehenge!
The wind
comes, rain
on its breath,
The trees
dance weary,
loosening last leaves
to the sky above,
the earth below.
All things
wait for winter,
its feast of old
things turning new.
(by me)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Tree, (Knit) Nativity

Here's my little Tannenbaum, fresh from my woods. It's a little crooked, but totally au naturale.

And here's my knitted Nativity. My dad got them for me in South Africa.
Mary, Joseph, a Magi, a sheep and Baby Jesus.

Stockings Hung By the Chimney With Care

Just wanted to share my stockings hung by the stovepipe with care!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sturm und Drang

("Storm and Stress"--German hoohaa for the volatile emotional life of the individual, deeply delved into by late 1700's artsy fartsy types.) The wind, coming full force straight in from the ocean over the coast range, blew all night and almost all day. Fierce steady rain drove against the windows and wind snagged on any edge it could find, shaking the house--fun!! Sometimes the wind sucks the fire right up the chimney, making it roar in the stove. You can see a little bit how the trees wave, especially the center tree in the three trees.

The firs are stiff, the oaks are more flexible. Each tree sways to their own rhythm designed by each one's particular structure, spread, weight and balance. Branches clack and squeek and whistle in a symphony of tones. Listen long enough and you can catch melody, harmony, themes and variations. A low roar, hum, growl rumbles through the woods. The forest gnashing its teeth--the hills here a giant piles of glacial rubble, rounded knobs of basalt. All those swinging trees are being rung down into their roots like tuning forks, grinding in that glacial bone pile. You can feel it through your feet.

John Muir had a great time riding in a swaying Douglas Fir during such a windstorm. You can read his story here:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Juncos and Rain Ribbons

The Junco is the robin of the forest. In the winter they collect into flocks, roaming for things to eat and sparring to find their place in the pecking order. Eventually you begin to recognize individuals that return year after year--one bird had small white patches on his temples. It's amazing how many crippled juncos there are--mangled little claws, or missing legs altogether, balancing on one foot and the tail.

Their beaks are the prettiest translucent shell pink, especially when the sun shines through them.
Lots of rains showers going over today. The rain runs downhill in ribbons, latte color when it showers, and clearing to crystal clear in between showers. The ribbons braid together to become Fish Creek and Muddy Creek, then the Yamhill River, that flows into the Willamette River, and then into the Columbia River, and finally to the ocean.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


On my walk today I enjoyed listening to the rain fall from the trees. It had quit raining from the sky itself, but the lichens and mosses and needles of the firs and oaks soak that rain up and then gently release it to the ground below. This way the rain soaks in deeply, instead of running off into the rivers. As it should be, the ground is a giant sponge--in the reality of the forest I am walking on water
The light was dim, the cloud ceiling just skimming the treetops. A drop of water hung from the tip of every fir needle, moss feather, twig bud...

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Firs in the Mist, Yarn to Match

Rain is taking its sweet time coming in today, mist wove in and out of the trees bringing gentle drizzle--which isn't really rain yet, in my book. Everything becomes very two dimensional, in layers of flat color going off into the distances. Here are some firs just off the back deck. I like seeing the different perspective of individual trees gained by the filter of mist, the millions of lenses of tiny suspended water drops.
And here are those same colors in a batch of yarn that just arrived for a design project(Encore Worsted Colorspun, it will be a men's pullover for Creative Knitting next year). The swatch shows the nice striping. I really like Encore, it's a nice affordable acrylic wool blend with a nice hand and nice colors. It wears well too. I can mix it with wool in fairisle if I need just the right color that can be found in Encore.
On my walk today I liked how these rusty old Garry oak leaves light up the grays and lichen greens.
And last, a care package arrived from Cherry Tree Hill Yarns. The ribbon yarns will be made into scarves for sale next year at Red Berry Boutique, and the Thick and Thin wool will become something yummy for me(there's enough for a coat!). All in those winter sunset colors I seem to be obsessed by(see pix below in previous posts).

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Sundown on This Day

At the end of day, I caught this reflection in my front windows. You can see a little of the pink clouds through the trees to the south that were in the entire sky, eastern to western horizon. It seems I don't catch this full sky color in the valley(sea-level), but at higher elevations(1000' here)you see more. I enjoy watching the weather roll around the mountaintops here.

And here is the real sundown reflected in the windows...

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Autumn Colors

With the warmer temps, more mushrooms are pushing their way into the daylight, just as colorful as flowers.
Russulas range from pink to burgundy and mahogany.
Witches' butter bubbles out from dead oaks and firs.

A few weeks ago the oaks and maples were at their brightest. And here's some fair isle knitting to match(with old Die Tolle Woolle) in teal, gold, burgundy, leafy green, blue.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


My place is atop a ridge at about 1000', just about at the top layer of the fog. I love to watch the fog roll in and out of the valleys, just like slow motion water sloshing around--which, fog "is" water. It does have a rhythm to its in and out, just like ocean waves.

The sun begins to go down, the moon begins its climb.

The fog wave through the valley, in slo-mo splashing wave action. If you are still long enough you can see the flow--like all day(but you can do things like split wood--swing, whack, look--or knit, or rake leaves.)
Pale watercolor sunset colors through the fog welling up again.

Monday, December 4, 2006


On my walk( a few days ago now...) exploring the snow, the wind was quiet in the hollow where the pond is. The surface of the water was still, and the reflections were as sharp and detailed as the real thing.

I really liked the "double exposure" of the red leaves under the surface of the water, along with the reflection of the ash and oak above.
And here's my snowy little a-frame, snug and content!

Ferncicles and a KnitWIP

Loved these icicles that form on the shed, the longest gets to be about 18". Those are licorice ferns growing in the mosses growing on the roof--keeps it from leaking!

I've been working on the first of my December projects, a womens jacket for Creative Knitting Magazine. It's in Paton's SWS(Soy Wool Stripes), and I've really been enjoying the yarn. The long striping is interesting on the different sized pieces, and the wool soy blend feels nice and soft, not plasticy or itchy. I have found a few knots, it's probably because of the loose twist--the yarn probably keeps breaking in the winding. I am using bamboo needles with blunter tips, because it does want to split with sharp tips. I chose a simple cable and rib pattern combo, so the texture does not fight with the striping. I'll make a hat and some mitts with the extras--I think the yarn will be a just right sort of warmth.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Out for a Walk

Any journey, no matter how small, begins with stepping outside the front walk up the road... stop and look at stuff all along the way...the snow brings out the detail of the smallest branch in these oaks, a billowing curtain of clouds hides and reveals the far hills...
...sunlight makes bold shadows through the trees...
...up around the hill behind the house. I love to see the land with snow, basic forms of trees are made bold: the straight rooted "up" of fir, the meandering worm of oak, the small wiry wave of hazelnut and indian plum.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Woohoo

Here's looking at, no I mean out, the back door. That's where the chickens live in their little bordello behind the shed. Although I can't call it a bordello anymore since the rooster expired last summer. A retirement home for biddies in their twilight years? That crosscut sawblade on the shed was dug up by the bulldozer when we were making the MX track. I also nail up bits of old cable and pulleys and iron things when I find them on our land.
I've found my Christmas tree! I think I'll let it live though. It's much prettier sparkling in the sunlight, snowy rainbow glitter drifting down as it warms it's branches in the sun.

My Place in the Sun

My Place in the Sun

Ribular Hat and Mittens

Ribular Hat and Mittens
Buy my pattern at Ravelry! (Click pic!)

Jambo Afghan

Jambo Afghan
Buy my pattern at Ravelry! (click pic!)

Where You Can Find My Knit Designs

  • ZigZag Yoke Pullover for Women/Classic Elite Yarns
  • Swing Coat/Cherry Tree Hill Yarns
  • Generation Gap Kid's Scarf and Hat/Fall 2006 Knitter's Magazine
  • Doodles Hat and Pullover for Kids/Fall 2006 Knitter's Magazine
  • Headin' East Women's Kimono Jacket/Fall 2006 Knitter's Magazine
  • Snow Bunny Girl's Cardigan/January 2007 Creative Knitting Magazine
  • Snowman Dance Kid's Pullover and Ornament/November 2006 Creative Knitting Magazine
  • Monster Pillows/September 2006 Creative Knitting Magazine
  • Pebble Rib Women's Jacket/September 2006 Creative Knitting Magazine