Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Confessions of a Lazy Knitter

(We'll save Confessions of a Crazy Knitter for another day.)

Once the Moroccan Blue tank was on the blocking board I started swatching with the MaggiKnits linen - and swatching, and swatching... It took a while to find a needle size that would give the fabric a nice hand. The ball band suggests US size 8 needles. Size 4 worked best for me. I'm making a cardi/jacket, so I wanted a fabric with a stiffer hand.

When Maggie Jackson came to town, she was wearing what I think is probably her signature jacket, because she hasn't published a pattern for it. It was linen, had tassels, and was fabulous. I've been wanting to make something like it ever since. (Maggie has since published a pattern for a jacket with tassels in Book # 13 The Romantic Look. However, the design of that jacket is far more elaborate than the simple jacket Maggie wore or the one I have in mind.)

In Maggie's Ireland I found the pattern for this skirt and shrug with tassels. The directions for adding tassels to a garment look pretty straightforward, so I'm using that as a guide while I design my linen jacket/cardi on the needles. This pattern and most, if not all, of Maggie's designs for linen garments use a seed stitch border. I plan to use that design element, as well. However, this pattern led me astray initially. It gives gauge for stockinette stitch, but does not give gauge for seed stitch. Presumably, once you get gauge for the stockinette stitch, the directions for the seed stitch border will automatically fit the garment. WRONG. I soon discovered I needed to swatch in seed stitch in addition to the stockinette stitch swatches.

Robin's blog has a photo of a great Ballinadee Cardi she made with MaggiKnits linen. She commented that her cardi stretched after awhile. So I scaled down the pattern size to allow for some stretching.

In addition to the Maggie Jackson design elements, I intend to borrow a design element, namely a collar, from the Vera Jacket designed by Mags Kandis of Mission Falls fame. (This is where I get lazy.)

I've made the Vera Jacket (sans stripes) a couple of times using different yarns. I've also worked the collar design into other jacket/cardis I've designed on the needles. It's easy to knit, always fits properly, and lends the finished garment a kind of jackety look. In the past, I've worked button holes into the design, but this time I plan to take an even easier approach. I've noticed that Talbots is selling a lot of sweaters and jackets with hook & eye closures instead of buttons. The front pieces meet in the middle without overlapping. I like the look and plan to incorporate it into the linen jacket, as well.

I took the below photo on Monday, thinking I could get a post together before now. In that photo, the waist shaping on the back panel is about complete. It doesn't look very impressive at that point. (My poor photography doesn't help much.) I've since completed the armhole shaping, and it still doesn't look like much. We'll have to wait and see what develops.

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