aswim in knits

Thursday, January 03, 2008

silver lining

Do you remember my Nantucket Jacket? The one I started in 2006? It's finally finished.
Nantucket Jacket
(As always, click to Flickr-ize and embiggen.)

It fits exactly as I intended. However, it does not fit right, which is why there are no photos of it on me.

Bear with me while I explain ...
This is the cover sweater from the Fall 2006 Interweave Knits. I loved the pattern, but I knew I wanted to make some modifications.

  1. I wanted long sleeves. It's an aran weight jacket, after all.
  2. I changed the triangular gussets. In the larger sizes, the gussets don't make those nice triangles with a column of lace above. Instead, they decrease into large panels of seed stitch (see this example on Ravelry or on Flickr). But, I was drawn to the pattern because of the gusset/lace column detail. So, I knit the smaller size gusset but added additional cables to make up the width.
  3. I then had to change the armhole shaping because of this. I'm a little fuzzy now on what I exactly did, although I have detailed notes in a notebook somewhere.
  4. I made it a little longer than the pattern called for ... I'm not particularly tall, but I wanted it to cover the waistband of my pants so that I could wear it to work.
  5. I grafted the seed stitch collar rather than three-needle bind off. I thought it would look more finished that way.

I swatched and calculated and worked out the maths to figure out exactly what size I wanted to make, and how to get that size. And, I got exactly what I calculated for. (Come on, did you expect anything less? I was on the math team in high school, for chrissake.)

But, I failed to take several things into account.
  1. The fit of the garment. I thought that an aran weight jacket (i.e. that I could layer over other shirts) should have about 3-4" of ease. With 20-20 hindsight, I realize that the model is probably wearing a sweater with little or no ease, or perhaps even negative ease. (Side note: I wish that Knitting Daily would post one of its fit galleries for all of IK's sweaters! So useful to see how the same size sweater looks at different ranges of ease.)
  2. The cabling details of the sweater. There are purl stitch columns between all of the cable details, which makes the overall design act a little like a ribbed fabric. I don't think I stretched it enough while measuring gauge. So, the edge of the armhole is about an inch or two down my arm instead of where it should be. And the whole sweater is wider than I planned. It's just a smidge big when it is laying flat to block, but it grows a lot when I put it on due to #3, below.
  3. The sproing factor of the yarn -- Berroco Pure Merino. This is some seriously bouncy, springy, stretchy yarn. If typical wool yarn has the bounce of a tennis ball, this stuff acts like one of those crazy super bouncy balls that we played with as kids. You would think that this makes for a good garment -- and it does -- but it also means that the yarn stretches easily. It bounces back, but acts like a slinky -- stretches and springs back, stretches and springs back. Not quite what I expected.
  4. Most importantly, I didn't think enough about how this design would look on my body. As Maryse and the Mafia and I discussed recently, I'm an apple. My waist is almost as large as my hips are. Because of the gussets, this jacket flares out along the bottom. So, on me, there is extra fabric at the bottom and it just hangs there. It almost looks ruffled. NOT the look I was going for! Waist shaping = good, but ruffles = bad.
But, every cloud has a silver lining, right? My mother-in-law -- the one who taught me to knit! whose LYS is Webs! -- tried it on. It looks like it was made for her!! I'll try to get a photo later -- she was sick when she was at our house last, so I couldn't inflict a photo shoot upon her at the time.

I'm going to give her the sweater. In return, she offered to buy me a sweater worth of a comparable quality yarn. Sounds like a good trade to me! And it works nicely with my Knit From the Stash 2008 rules!

But, before I give her the sweater, I might enter it in some fairs. It think it's one of my best pieces of work. I paid a lot of attention to the seaming and finishing. I crocheted that damn edging no less than 4 times before I liked how it looked. I also learned how to graft seed stitch for the collar. I found just the right buttons, and I very carefully wove in all the ends. Superwash wool + large sweater with large collar + 92 yard skeins = lots of ends!

While the sweater isn't what I hoped for, I learned a lot from the experience. I'm glad that it will go to someone who will love it.

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  • Thanks for sharing the whole process - definitely food for thought when planning a project. I'm glad it fits your MIL!!

    By Blogger Chris, at 11:33 AM  

  • That certainly is a silver lining. Learning is part of the process and it's worth it's weight in gold. The jacket is beautiful.

    By Blogger Margene, at 11:38 AM  

  • Wow - that came out fantastic! Sorry it doesn't fit the way you wanted, but at least it will be going to someone that will appreciate it and love it.

    By Blogger Bethe, at 11:48 AM  

  • I'm so glad you found a good home for it- It's such a lovely sweater.

    The waist-hip ratio makes me crazy. I have these gorgeous vintage suits and dresses, but they just don't fit because of that.

    By Blogger Local Egg, at 11:52 AM  

  • What a great analysis and certainly a beautiful sweater.

    By Anonymous Suzanne, at 12:35 PM  

  • I saw that in your sewing room on Tues. when we were taking photos - just gorgeous!!

    I'm sorry that it doesn't fit you the way you wanted, but man, what a learning experience and I think it fabulous that you have someone who it does fit!

    By Blogger Pumpkinmama, at 12:35 PM  

  • I think it's awesome that you found a silver lining in this. And the skills you learned will serve you well on the sweater you make for yourself.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 12:37 PM  

  • Yeah, it's such a beautiful sweater that it deserves several blue ribbons and a loving owner. Sounds like the perfect solution. I'll be sad to see it go, so be sure to get a photo!

    By Blogger FemiKnitMafia, at 1:06 PM  

  • Sigh. I wish it had worked out for you, because it is one of the nicest examples of this design I've ever seen. But it's very exciting that you get to trade it for a whole new batch o' yarn. Everyone wins. :-)

    By Blogger Beth S., at 1:23 PM  

  • Thanks for sharing your details -- very nicely done. It is a beautiful sweater and piece of work. Glad you have such a good plan to show it off AND give it a good home.

    By Anonymous Pi.Grrrl, at 1:39 PM  

  • That turned out so beautiful, I am so sad it doesn't flatter you like it should! I am glad your MIL can wear it, I'd probably be in tears if I had to give something so gorgeous and that I'd spent so much time on away! You are a better woman than I!

    By Blogger Bertha, at 2:05 PM  

  • THAT is a beautiful sweater - a true piece of wearable art! I've decided that knitting sweaters is always a crapshoot - even if all the numbers are right on....luckily people come in all sizes, so there is always someone who will be a perfect fit - lucky MIL!!!

    By Blogger Pat, at 2:44 PM  

  • What a beautiful sweater. You should enjoy the fact that you get to share it with the very person who gave you the joy/agony of the craft. The trade sounds like an excellent one too. Please get pictures. Keep us up to date if you do decide to enter it into fairs!

    By Blogger Lisa, at 3:50 PM  

  • What an eye opener about those seed stitch panels. Yipes! Thanks for sharing. I too posted technically today. It must have been something in the peanut butter balls.

    julia fc

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:28 PM  

  • Well it looks absolutely beautiful. Its good that it'll have a nice home to live in, because a sweater like that deserves to be worn.

    By Anonymous Rebekah, at 6:13 PM  

  • What a beautiful sweater! I never noticed it before, and I own IK issue. Yours is stunning. It's going on my mustknit list.

    By Blogger Emily, at 6:41 PM  

  • It's beautiful; your MIL is one lucky woman. And isn't it nice that it will fit someone you want to give it to.

    Thanks for sharing your mods and lessons learned with us.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:42 PM  

  • Talk about finding a way to make lemons into lemonade! Your MIL is very lucky on all sorts of levels.

    Now, on to the important question. What kind of yarn are you going to buy?

    By Blogger Ruth, at 7:45 PM  

  • well, it does look gorgeous so your MIL is super lucky! great job!

    By Blogger gleek, at 9:18 PM  

  • I really appreciated your accounts of the process of this spectacular piece of work! It really is gorgeous, Danielle! Keep us posted about the awards it wins :)

    By Blogger CynicalGal, at 1:38 AM  

  • Oh, what a bittersweet end. You did work so hard on that sweater, and it is beautiful. So sorry it isn't beautiful on you, but I'm glad to hear your MIL will wear it with pride and the love another knitter can give a hand-made sweater!

    By Blogger Jofrog, at 12:07 PM  

  • Oh, Danielle, it is LOVELY! The color, the style! Too bad it's not right for you. Here's to next time!

    By Blogger Sandy, at 5:26 PM  

  • That is FABULOUS. Nice work!
    (and I am a huge fan of sub-zero ease)

    By Blogger Jess, at 4:48 PM  

  • you did a beautiful job. This sweater is on my to do list, and your notes will definitely come in handy!

    By Blogger PatchesMom1973, at 1:49 PM  

  • Certainly a win-almost win on this one. I'm all for accelerating the learning curve, and making the most of each FO. I think the outcome is perfect (beautiful sweater, going to someone on whom it looks good).

    By Blogger Laurie, at 2:11 PM  

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