Highway 29 & Pattern !

006

My latest design “Highway 29” is named after the  main road running through Napa Valley from Napa to Calistoga. This old highway is dotted with wineries and famous restaurants enough to make you dizzy, plus some added hot-spots where we locals trek to frequently, beginning in the north end of the town of Napa getting sweet around Yountville, then Oakville, Rutherford, St Helena, and continuing clear on up to Calistoga.  As a local, coming down off the mountain from Oakville Grade when I am going upvalley, I often stop at the very unique Oakville Grocery , founded in 1881, just an old rural ‘backroads’ grocers of a bygone era,  is now a highly trafficked stop-off for locals & tourists alike, with an exceptional coffee bar & deli for drinks, gifts & goodies-to-go.  Until recently it doubled as the local post office, now it offers…. um…. wine tasting

I believe my nieces and I were talking about Oakville Grocery & Post being the inspiration of forthcoming Autumn design, and second in the Napa Valley Collection.

After Oakville you pass a bunch of wineries, and then of course, St Helena where I often knit-in-public or meet friends at  Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, as its the coffee shops I seem to be most familiar with, loving to knit and visit with friends.  After that it’s a stretch of countryside to Calistoga with places such as Bale Grist Mill, founded in 1846…

a working renovated grain mill which is popular for historic reenactment parties and has old-time live music often (one of the bands is my brother & sister-in-law, my nieces dad & mom) , offers tours & grinds corn to sell. It is in front of the entrance to the Bale Grist Mill where these photos were taken for Highway Halter, on the old wooden fence,

The favorite photo spot in recent couple of years for my nieces is Castello Di Amorosa, a medieval Tuscan castle transplanted stone-by-stone in recent decades…

Ah, but it is  here at ‘ The Castle ‘ where you’ll recognize the stone from merely the carriage house where we actually have many of our photo shoots…

Castello-di-Amorosa-Entrance-1

Right off of Hwy 29, this carriage house is at the entrance to the castle gate, erected more recently I think to use some left over stone & brick perhaps, and it houses the ground-keepers tools & provides a place for the chauffeurs to park, and I think some offices devoted to castle business. Here some shots from this spot…

012 - Copy

014 - Copy

032 - Copy

Passing more breathtaking scenery, one finally lands in Calistoga as if by accident.

top_location.jpg

This is the town from which you may recognize many backdrops to my nieces & my photo shoots.  For example, the left on above photo is Brannans Restaurant,  and right across Lincoln Street is the mint-green bank building we have included many times…

But there are many photo memories of Calistoga and not enough room to post. Anyway, enough of all  of this Highway 29 – turned to- Memory Lane,  and all the treasures found along the way… and now it is time for Highway 29 Halter which I’ve just written a pattern for, and which my nieces do real justice to !     In previous post I talk about the significance of naming the latest design “Highway 29” ,   which really is a possibility to start a collection…. I mean, if I’m going to really go through with it… anyway, my nieces  seem to think we should.  If not the name-sake for the design will stand on its own. We will just have to see what comes.

039

017

You can find the pattern for this design on Ravelry HERE .

… or click the Hwy 29 road sign to arrive at the pattern page.

California Highway 29 sign

California Highway 29 road sign in Napa Valley

Snowmelt Gaiters Sneak Preview

Candee Gaiters old poster advert

I found this advertisement when I was researching ‘gaiters’, used once upon a time in a street-smart fashion. Though the word ‘gaiters’ is only mentioned in Candee’s advert, it is the window display of shoes & gaiters which is telling. So commonplace once were gaiters, that the only thing better to improve upon them I guess, was complete rubbers to go over your shoes.

Historically gaiters were used for riding and street-wear, and yet we know them more modernly for alpine trail & snow use. This clever over-shoe accessory has kept ankles warm and shoes dry for centuries. Also known historically as Spatterdashes ( also ‘spats’) made of wool and buttoned up the side, either long knee-length or just above the ankles at the lower calf.  I have a treat for you, I just happen to have handy a real pair of antique gaiters or spats, which I found ages ago in a antiques barn sale, made with sturdy felted wool, complete with their celluloid buttons & fancy buttoning hook. I use to actually be able to wear these, and muddied them a few times. 

jenjoycedesign©003

So folks, what does all this have to do with knitting I bet you’re wondering?

Well, I have designed a purely fashionable simple knitted ‘gaiter’, with Snowmelt flower garland motifs, perfectly accommodating of modern womens’ ankles… and so here I present what it is that I’ve been working away on.

jenjoycedesign©Snowmelt Gaiter

Snowmelt Gaiters are worked in-the-round,  colorwork stranded with spots of duplicate stitch, as is Snowmelt tam & toque, and a spray of smaller 1/2″ hand-made dorset style buttons & icord loops within the edgeing.  I think quite all-around dandy!

jenjoycedesign©Snowmelt gaiter, tam & toque

I’m just a few days away from submitting the pattern, and finishing another pair which is longer , higher up the calf,  and in a granite grey background color , more representing of John Muir country after the snow is melted, rather than the snowy natural white.

jenjoycedesign©Snowmelt Gaiters

Tam O’ Shanter !

. . . This truth fand honest Tam o’ Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses
For honest men and bonnie lasses. . . .

(excerpt from Robert Burns Poem ” Tam O’ Shanter “)

The ” Tam o’ Shanter ” is a name given for the traditional Scottish bonnet which was born  from a character in poet Robert Burns’ imagination,  and comes to life in his epic poem  Tam o’ Shanter.  Also called  a “Tam” or a “Tammy”, the hat is flat on top, usually made of wool , and has a pompom on top called a “toorie”, or pom pom,  even a tassel, but also they are made without any.  There is in fact, an actual arithmetic equation of the popular design, that the crown is  twice the diameter of the head , but I’ve noticed many of the  bonnets in different sizes  and shapes.  Originally, having only plant dyes available, the hat was made only in blue,  but they are now popular in many colors, as well as tartan plaids.   Tam o’ Shanters, the Balmoral bonnet, and the even the somewhat military Glengarry cap all are worn either formally or informally in Highland dress, as well as in uniforms of a number of military units.  (I personally suspect the Glengarry evolved from the Balmoral Bonnet, as a scrunched or folded version, the advantage being that it can be folded flat and tucked into the waist of the kilt).  These Scottish bonnets have been worn by men in a traditional sense ~ however,  it is quite obvious that the Tam is popularly worn by women in modern day, especially the knit versions, having endless designs and motifs.

The Scottish Bonnets I think are smartly fashionable, and though some styles have a bit of a regiment look, I think any excuse to wear one is acceptable !



*

*



*

Originally a soft, knitted blue cap with a flat voluminous crown, it gave the Highlanders their nickname ‘Bluebonnets’. Here the Balmoral style of Scottish bonnets appears in a 16th century portrait …

The band was sometimes checked, or ‘diced’, and sometimes plain. A diced band, with a  feather placed into the band,  is shown in this illustration …

Now , in case you’re wondering about all this hullabaloo about bonnets, well, it is because I am going to make one !  Perhaps several. I am keen to also try sewing one from felted wool cloth, either or both solid and plaid, which I will no doubt over-dye for a signature color affect.  Of course I’ll include the grossgrain ribbons on the band,  and make a cockade  on which to fasten one of my lovely pins .  Whichever I decide to do, I’ll keep you posted !