Winemakers Waistcoat

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


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


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


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


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

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

jenjoycedesign© Winemakers Waistcoat.JPG

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

jenjoycedesign© detail 4.JPG

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


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

jenjoycedesign© Winemakers Waistcoat back.JPG

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

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

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

21 thoughts on “Winemakers Waistcoat

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, Jen! I will be buying this pattern and looking for the yarn next week (my credit card was hacked yesterday and I’m in Australia now, so it will take the bank a few days to get my new card here…grrrrr!) We’ll be back in Glen Ellen in March. Hope finally to catch up with you in person this trip!

    • Stefanie, thank you, and also for bringing attention to the fact that I failed to mention ‘ knit in-the-round , with steeks ‘ , but now that is edited in on Ravelry pattern page (thanks to you!) 🙂 xx

    • I had you in mind , your superb knitting vining through my progress as the vineyard rows turned into the finished pattern, and hoped with all my heart you would be happy to knit it! 🙂

  2. The perfect homage to your inspiration. I like your matching the sepia-tone yarns to the vintage photographs, but won’t be able to resist choosing vineyard-color greens and purples for my own rendition. Beautiful!

    • Oh I can’t wait to see yours ! 🙂 I may update pattern to have option to embroider French knots for grapes as I did in the Vineyard Rows Highland Bonnet. Maybe you’ll cover yours with lots of clusters of delicious grapes?

  3. I am so amazed at the intricate beauty and how much work this was. It seems modern and yet it looks very traditional. Your best work indeed!

  4. Glenyss, Thank you very much! I have replied to your comment via my jenjoycedesign@gmail address. Please look for it (do check your spam folder if necessary , as it had links)

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