Okay, now on to the here & now, or what’s been occupying almost the entirety of my knitting time for the past few weeks.
It is no secret that I tend to be drawn to clever construction in knitting garments (which is, I’ve learned, sometimes to the detriment of the finished project). I am often disappointed when I see a pattern and find out that it is made with all of the obvious fiddly constructions that I myself would have used. Generally I want a pattern to be clever and challenge my ways of thinking about knitting (EZ, anyone??).

So when I realized that the Knit 2 Together doctor’s bag was of that sort of pattern–however cute the finished product may be–I wasn’t interested anymore. Usually I can figure that out before I get to far into the project but this time thanks to a timely gift card I’d already bought $45 worth of yarn. Guilt yarn, especially since my favorite Barb had to raid someone else’s hold bag to get my last 2 skeins (in my defense, they had been sitting there for about 5 months, but still, raiding the hold shelf + $45 + not knowing what to do with it = guilt yarn!!).

Backtrack a bit more: The first real knitting book I ever saw that made me think that there was more to it than I had ever imagined was Jean Frost’s Jackets. Here were knits that at the time challenged my ideas of texture, shape, and construction, and ever since that time I’ve been a bit obsessed with knitting a jacket. I’ve tried two or three times (including now, with this yarn) to do Teva Durham’s Diagonal Twist Princess-seam Jacket, and I’ve seriously considered a few others.

When Grumperina proposed the Alpaca Twill jacket from Knitter’s (Fall 2006) I thought I’d found a winner (which is odd–although I’m a fan of hers usually our tastes are quite different, and now we’re making the exact same bag!). And I still think I did, with just a few changes…

Modification #1: There were a few considerations, such as the fact that I was going to be using a loosely-spun 100% wool single whereas Norah Gaughan called for worsted weight 50/50 alpaca and wool held double. Gauge was not a problem, but drape might be. I decided that the jacket could benefit from the structure of wool without the weight of alpaca, and my yarn would benefit from the texture, knit a bit looser to create a little drape. The drape turned out wonderful! We’ll see about the pilling. (I briefly thought about making the whole thing with the herringbone pattern which I adore from the Doctor’s Bag, but the slipped stitches make it a very dense fabric, too thick for this project.)

Mod #2: I’m apparently out of fashion in this regard, but the sleeves rated just a bit too high on the puff-o-meter for my taste. Easy fix, knit smaller sleeve caps! I didn’t do a few of the sets of increases.

Mod #3: I also didn’t have a clue how much yarn it would take to do the whole long jacket, or hey let’s be honest, even if I wanted it to be that length. So I decided to knit the whole thing upside down, starting with the collar instead of the bottom edge. Thank goodness, as we’ll soon see.

Mod #4: The collar. Thought I liked it, turns out on me it looked like I was wearing dumbo ears on my shoulders. It only took my 3.5 reknittings to get the collar to a more demure state (I hope), but just for kicks, here’s the original, courtesy of our friends the safety pin and the computer cam.

ever been eaten alive by a collar?

Between the collar and the sleeves, I’m guessing that my version no longer qualifies for the “classic silhouette.” But mine is wearable!

Mod #5-?: There were other small mods, such as length and rate of increase, plus slipping the edge stitch for a more defined line, that were made on the fly. I reversed the direction of the ribbing on one side so that they mirrored each other, too. I also hope to find some kind of large brooch for closure in the front.

So with no further ado, I present my new fall look (pictures again courtesy of DH and Mom’s garden. We’re getting better!):

Pattern- Alpaca Twill by Norah Gaughan, Knitter’s Magazine fall 2006; Yarn-Kraemer Yarns Mauch Chunky in Blueberry Ice; Needles- size 9 K’picks Options







12 comments so far

  1. Stella on

    OK, wow. That’s just lovely. I really admire your persistence and your eye on this one. I think you stopped at just the right length, too.

  2. Julie on

    Gorgeous! I think all your mods made for a much sleeker, more classicly styled jacket. And the length is perfect! Good call on the collar/lapels, by the way…..

  3. Specs on

    Beautiful! I think you were right about the collar — any bigger and it would look comical.

    Wow, I really, really like this.

    Did I mention that I like this coat? Great work!

  4. sarah lou on

    *jaw on the floor, drooling profusely*

    can i be you when i grow up? seriously, that’s the kind of knitter i want to be some day. these last two knits you’ve blogged? simply breath-taking. 🙂

    thanks for the little chat on colorwork, last night. i’m going to really do some looking around to pick something out for after the holidays. 🙂

  5. carla on

    Sula, it’s perfect! You are not helping my knit-a-long-jacket compulsion. Especially in that pale blue.

  6. Risa on

    Oh my, it’s lovely! Great mods

  7. kara on

    Oh my. That is just gorgey! I have been obsessed with knitting long jackets lately and there you go, having one already done. Always ahead of the game, aren’t ya?

    It looks AMAZING on you!

  8. k on

    my, we’ve been busy. that looks awesome and you obviously made some great choices for mods. a nice pin or brooch in the front and you’re all set for fall.

  9. Tamara on

    Classy! You look awesome.

  10. Nubiancraftster on

    Wow!! the jacket came out gorgeous!!! I love it!! It is so classic and yet you can wear it with jeans or to work. Excellent job!

  11. Bethany on

    hello, I have been searching for the perfect coat to make….and here it is! I do not have the original pattern, do you suggest that i get the pattern and then follow your mods? it would be so great if you would help me achieve this look!!! p.s. I love the color you chose!

  12. […] take good notes?? When I made my “Not Alpaca but Twillish” (rav link) jacket a year and a half ago (blog link), I made a lot of modifications to the pattern (a Norah Gaughan pattern “Alpaca […]

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