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”.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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”…

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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.

Fair Isle Unfurled

jenjoycedesign-bound-upWhat has been bound together while knitted for the last three weeks,

has suddenly been unfurled!

A little slide-show of cutting the steeks…

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Now open, flat, and ready to knit the bands on and make into a three-demensional thing!

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If you are curious about the photos, this is what I am doing:  1. Shaggy  yarn ends on the wrong-side of knitting are cut off (they are the color changes centered in the middle of the steek in front).      2. With the small brushes (one is plastic sewing machine lint brush, the other a brass eyelash comb) I am experimenting with felting the steek (only the stitches down the middle of the steek) with hot water and agitation before cutting. I have never heard of this but wanted to try it out, rather than my usual crochet reinforcement.      3. I cut front steek, then armholes, and the whole thing opens up flat.

Then, a quick three-needle bind off to join shoulders, and now I am ready to pick up the stitches for the bands, nicely folding in all those (slightly felted) raw edges, which will get an additional trim and whip stitched down into back of work.

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Watch this space for a finish very soon!

Mystery fair isle…

jenjoycedesign-mystery-fair-isle-detailI see no reason not to post a sneak preview at what I’ve been working very laboriously on, since its first mention back in this post.  Something which I have had to do a colossal amount of drawing,  of math, of experimentation, ripping out & knitting over.   Oh, right, that is called designing….

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I am so absorbed in this project that entire days are droning by, so still & quiet, with nothing but the ticking of the clock and Emma’s occasional rustling about, and then of course, very brief strolls in the cold winter outdoors.  Papers are strewn everywhere!  And I have been sitting in my knitting chair far too much in the last two weeks. Far too much. 

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None the less, I am very pleased with myself and am certain that any day now it will be all finished and I can celebrate by revealing what this is, my greatest knitting and design accomplishment  ever.  Until then, I hope you enjoy the mystery!

Into the new year…

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new year design swatch!

Tumbling into the new year, with ideas ready for action and a new calendar hung on the wall!         Earlier in Autumn I began to work on a new colorwork design, but I had to put swatches and yarn out of sight, to quiet that vision while other things were necessary to complete first, and so I worked like an ox all Autumn on   all   those   other   things … knitting up to and through the holidays, knitting which demanded all of my time.

But now those things are finished and there is a new open stretch on the calendar,  and I am going out into that field for a major knitterly frolick !

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Oh the joys of a new calendar!! I hope everybody is enjoying a positive fresh beginning of the new year, as I am ~ xx