How can brickwork inspire knitting? Just take a look at the one-of-a-kind restored home of Mark Twain in Hartford, Connecticut, a masterwork of masonry, a riot of color in patterned brick designs. The house was designed by architect Edward Tuckerman Potter. Below, a detail of a corner wall.
For 17 years, the Clemens family – Samuel and Olivia and their daughters Susy, Clara, Jean – lived and loved in this fantastical home. Beloved pets included Hash the dog, a herd of cats, pet calves, horses, a donkey, even tamed squirrels.This is where Samuel Clemens – whose pen name is Mark Twain – wrote “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” The story between then and now is quite amazing and can be found at the house museum. Today this world-class destination attracts some 50,000 visitors each year from around the globe.
To me, the colored brick layers on the exterior are a knitting pattern. Since the original Inspira cowl was created with Lion Brand Amazing yarn, that is what our knitters used to stitch up an “Inspira” of a colorful dog sweater. With a few modifications, colorways Mesa and Glacier Bay (53 percent wool and 47 percent acrylic) worked into bold color designs even without the rib.
The next best thing to a visit is “The Loveliest Home That Ever Was,” a book by Steve Courtney, publicist/publications editor at The Mark Twain House & Museum. Published by Dover Publications, the volume is filled with photos by John Groo and interesting details. The foreword is by Hal Holbrook. Do note that part of the restored gem-like interior is a work of art by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Fanciful woodwork features include butterfly, squirrel and floral cutouts.
Note: Riffs on knitting with staggered rib patterns, yarn tips and the beauty of “floats.” More details to come on the Twain house and a proposed coin, too.