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.
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!):