Tuesday, September 8, 2009

... And Pulled Out a Plum

The Chanel-ish Cardigan Jacket is done, and everything has turned out better than I could have hoped.

Yes, I stuck in my thumb, all right. It all began with some dubious wool bought in a triumph of bargain-hunting over judgment. I'm stubborn, though, and the colors were pretty. So during last year's Tour de Fleece spinning event, I forged ahead and spun it into an attractive but not very touchable 3-ply yarn.

Though from humble beginnings, this yarn was eager to put on airs. Its nubby, tweedy look reminded me from the beginning of those thick, hairy, multicolored tweeds that are made into boxy Chanel-style jackets worn by polished-looking women with jingling necklaces and freshly touched-up lipstick. While the polish and jingling are not my typical style, the yarn did seem like it would work well in that kind of jacket. It told me so from the very first skein, once I saw the plies of charcoal, turquoise, and lavender twisted together.

I knew exactly the pattern I wanted to use, too. It is a trim, nice-looking design by Mary-Heather Cogar, published in Greetings from Knit Cafe, by Suzan Mischer. Mary-Heather's design is in worsted weight yarn, worked in a two-color stitch pattern reminiscent of a houndstooth check.

The Yarnstruck version, on the other hand, needed to be in a bulky weight yarn, on US size 11 (8 mm) needles, in one busy color. Just a bit different. A minor obstacle. I swatched and charted and converted, decided on a double moss stitch for texture, and launched the knitting.

(In the photo, you can see the eye-popping pocket lining peeking out. Christina suggested giving the whole jacket a lining, which is an interesting idea, especially as it would free me from always wearing long sleeves underneath for protection against this somewhat itchy wool. But that's more work, and, for now, I just want to declare it done. So for the time being, following the suggestion from Puff, I'll just consider it whimsical. :)

The bulky-weight knitting ate up the skeins of handspun at an alarmingly fast clip. After a while, it looked as if I wouldn't have enough left for the long sleeves. After knitting the body , I weighed the yarn that remained for the sleeves, and things did not look optimistic. OK, three-quarter length sleeves? Or even shorter? The only way to find out was to dive in and knit the first sleeve. Well, so what if the second sleeve has to be shorter. Asymmetry is in! Fashion magazines are trying to convince us to wear one-shouldered tops. Ha!

I was nervous, though, I'll say that much. As sleeve #1 grew longer, and the remaining skeins dwindled, I started thinking fondly of 7/8 length sleeves. I started the shoulder cap shaping a couple of inches early, hoping it would help just enough to let me eke out the other sleeve. And what a relief when it did. Barely.

I sewed up the seams (with other yarn, less bulky and more plentiful), and tried it the jacket on, holding my breath. What do you know? It fit, and it had full-length long sleeves! My theory is that there's enough spring in that stitch pattern that the fabric lengthens a little once it relaxes a bit. Whatever it is, it works for me.

With a light heart, I went ahead and worked the edging in a contrasting color of worsted weight yarn. (Lamb's Pride, from Brown Sheep Company, in Deep Charcoal. Lovely, lovely, single-ply wool with a touch of mohair, left over from a successful and happy past sweater project.)

It's all done, almost exactly as I pictured it, and I'm just waiting for cool enough weather to wear it to work and show it off.

And I had all this yarn left over. Three rags and tags. It would have been enough, I estimate, for about one more entire row across both sleeves.

What, me worry?


Anonymous said...

That is absolutely fantastic! Beautiful!

Torhild said...

That is a very stylish jacket Cathy! wow.Yarn looks very lovley as well

Christina said...

Looks just great!
But I want to see it modelled with the jingly jewellery.

besshaile said...

This is stunning. I've been admiring it for several days and Blogger is just now letting me post a comment.

You go girl - this is a beautiful sweater.