Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'd Rather Be a Jacket Than a Rug

Yes, I would
If I only could...

Now how cute is this? It reminds of of something Elizabeth Bennett would wear over a pretty cotton dress. And she would look fetching as always. I was drooling over the pages of Twinkle's Big City Knits, and wondering how I was going to do this, that and the other, and with which yarns. Her patterns are all based on three types of yarn (conveniently the three yarns in her own line, and that I do not wish to buy at her prices). The three yarn types are: fine mohair knit on huge needles (as in Super Kydd); super chunky wool (again, lots of substitutions), and DK weight silk/cotton that she strands four together and knits on huge needles. the little wheels in my brain get turning, and Lo, in the middle of the night sometime last week I get the Eureka.

Four strands of DK knit on 10mm needles to get 10 stitches to 4"...Rowan R2 Rag!!! And I have a great big box o' the stuff that I bought to knit rugs before I discovered that I hate knitting rugs.

This is the pattern that I thought would be terrific in R2 Rag: Mini Bolero. Now wouldn't it be nice if we all looked like her? But I remind myself that I am 42, not 16.

I wanted to make mine in Khaki, but I only had one bag of Khaki R2. I did have two full bags of black, however (for rug edging), and the darn thing took 19 of the 20 balls, so a good thing too. Keep in mind that R2 has a whopping 27 yards of cotton tape per 50 gram ball. A person can knit up a ball in about half an hour. I cast on a sleeve, and two hours later it was done WooHoo!!

Now for a whole lotta details. The colour is a nice deep black (like in the first photo), but I included the above photo, taken without the flash, because all the details show up much better.

The jacket is knit in three pieces: two sleeves, and a body piece that is worked all in one. It took me about ten hours to do the knitting. I used 10mm needles (flat for the sleeves, circular back and forth for the body). I used 475 yards of Rowan R2 Rag (100% cotton cloth strip). I was grateful that I had paid 20 dollars a bag for this stuff and not the original ten dollars a ball. Can you imagine a 200 dollar mini bolero????

But that's not all. Once it was knitted, I had to deal with all the little loose ends. I wove in some, and stitched a few to the back of the work. Then you sew two tiny shoulder seams, and a bigger deal on the two sleeves (set in and seamed down the length). THEN, you have about three hours of crocheting to do, which eats up a load of yarn. You crochet around the edges of both sleeves and the entire outside edge of the body. First a row of SC, then a second row of picot edging. Then a bunch of steam ironing. THEN it's done.

Except that I added a piece of R2 threaded through the crochet edging so that I could tie a bow in front to snug up the fit (the back tends to flare out otherwise). I might spring for a nicer piece of ribbon for this part.

I like this piece quite a lot. It was fun to make and relatively quick. The R2 makes it feel like a very short jean jacket, only with a lot more give in the shoulders. It has that soft but heavy denim feel to wear.

Here I am in it. My 14-year-old fashion photographer, Colin, took a bunch of photos, but this was the only one I could live with (elbows strategically placed). Some of the pix made me realize that perhaps I should get back into yoga. He took a few from the side, and then tactfully informed me that I might not want to use those ones. I think the word "dumpy" might have been used. Wha????

That is the sad reality of Super Bulky items. The best way to wear them is over the least amount underneath, and skimpy tanks and cami's can be a bit unforgiving. I can see wearing this over any number of non-clingy summer tanks or dresses. I can also see giving this to my 16-year-old niece. If the yoga thing doesn't work out.

One final note about Twinkle patterns. The finished sizes look to be aimed ridiculously small (and probably for good reason). But...remember that with super chunky, it only takes two stitches to add an inch, and you don't want them baggy, and there's a lot of stretch. My R2 gave me a gauge (9st=4") that automatically gave me an appropriate size for me by knitting the smallest size by directions. You have to pay attention to these details. Also yarn yardages. I don't know what planet her editor was on, but none of the yardages given (in order to substitute yarns) match the original yardages of her yarns. Be warned.

On behalf of our whole family, Daisy would like to thank everyone at the blog and at the elann chat site for all of your kind comments and condolences regarding Peppo. We really appreciated them and felt touched by your words. And now we'll return to Daisy's regular program of climbing into her food dish to see what's good today.


CatBookMom said...

Elizabeth Bennett, indeed. Glad you found something to do with the R2 that looks so pretty. The LYS here had some of that when they first opened, and I think there was some left 2 years later.

The hammie bowl is adorable, of course.

jayne said...

Hi CBM, you sure didn't waste any time in getting here, lol. There are a few other tops, etc that I want to try in some other colours of R2. Now that I've got some ideas.

Daisy is a dear, no doubt about it.

Karin said...

Looks very cute Jayne and another neat use of your stash :). I hope you WILL make the muffatees, and call them such too. Know one here bats an eye (anymore) whenever I call something skookum.

Svetlana said...

Jayne, the bolero looks very cute! I love Twinkle's designs, but cannot wear super chunky here in VA. Almost no season. I still want to order the book.

Lisa W. said...

Darling crop jacket jayne...definately NOT dumpy! yoga...hmmmph!

Joan said...

I just love that, Jayne & the Lizzie Bennett reference is loveable as well. Your little crocheted sleeve edges are lovely! I vote for yoga.

I have tubs of the R2 rag but am saving it for rugs.

jayne said...

Good Luck with those rugs, Joan!

Sandra D said...

Lovely bolero! How handy that you had the R2 on hand just when you got the Twinkle book! One thing that mystified me when I saw a Twinkle pattern in a recent knitting mag is how it called for 4 strands together...and it was her own label yarn! Why not just make a bulky yarn to go with her bulky pattern? Oh well, I'm sure I'll find out eventually, LOL.

junior_goddess said...

Hmmmm-four strands of DK indeed! Very smart to use 1 strand of very bulky instead!

Yoga! IS there a knitting yoga?

Madge said...

Way to go with the R2. The bolero came out sooo cute!

And sorry to hear about Peppo. *hugs*