On the 19th December I cast on a project for myself. I am very surprised that I hadn't blogged about it at all as it was a project I really enjoyed working on and I remember typing lots of information about it. I worked out today that the information I had typed was as I was creating the pattern and the notes section on my Ravelry Project Page.
Well now I can tell you all about this lovely project that I have had brewing in my head since the Adriafil rep came into Mary Clare and first showed us the Boccolo yarn. The yarn is a boucle yarn made with a mix of wool and alpaca. It is soft, light and warm, but does not overheat.
In my head I had an image of a fitted jacket with a mandarin collar which fastened using a zipper. I put these ideas to one side and carried on with my current projects. Then when I had finished all my Christmas knits I was desperate to knit something for myself that was a little bit of a treat and also warm. If you remember the temperatures in December 2009, you will understand why! I splashed out and bought some yarn in a mottled shade of grey. The colour is 045. I bought 8 balls but only used 7.
I used a top down construction for the jacket and used a generic pattern from Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits: 25 Projects (Plus Variations) and Techniques for Customizing to Fit Your Style and Your Body. This pattern proved to be invaluable in creating my jacket and only a small amount of adjustments were required to obtain the look and size I needed.
I used Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book , Yarn Forward Magazine Issues 15 and 16 and a Knotions.com article to work out how to create the right amount of short row shaping to take into account the bust increases I needed. This was by far the most difficult part of the process, but I don't think I will forget how I worked it out in a hurry, mainly because I wrote it all down.
I knit the garment from the top down and (sort of) in the round. I say "sort of" because it was a jacket and therefore there was an opening down the front. This meant I had to knit the body back and forth to create stocking stitch. I placed markers where the back and front met underneath the armholes and used these markers to show where increases and decreases should be made.
Once the body was complete I picked up stitches around the neckline to make the collar. I folded the fabric over once it reached twice the required height and used the same technique I used in the Rachael Hat to create the fold. I sewed closed the open ends of the collar.
In order to knit the sleeves I picked up and knitted stitches around the armhole and then used short row shaping to create a "set in" sleeve. I then continued in the round until I got the required length. I did no shaping in the arm and I made them a little shorter than normal, as I always get annoyed when I get damp cuffs.
The short row shaping for the sleeve was detailed in the Custom Knits: 25 Projects (Plus Variations) and Techniques for Customizing to Fit Your Style and Your Body book. I really think that this pattern proved how useful this book is going to be.
Once the sleeves were finished I was left with this.
I hand sewed the zip into the front of the jacket and tried it on. It was fabulous! The photo below shows the jacket now that it has been worn quite a lot and it is now a little stretched. It will spring back once it is washed though. It really turned out to be a great fitting jacket.
The jacket is warm, light and versatile. I am sure as the weather gets warmer in Spring, it will be used as an outer jacket, whilst at the moment it is being used as a cardigan. All in all I am very pleased with my first attempt at working out a well fitting garment for myself. It has given me great confidence to try and make something new in the near future. I just have to work out what it is going to be!