Imogen Jacket by PerlGrey
Noro Silver Thaw, color 11-- 5.5 skeins
Started: 8 February 2008
Finished: 23 February 2008
US 8 (5.0mm) KnitPicks Harmony circular, various cable lengths
I finished this literally minutes before leaving for the Amtrak Stitch and Ride train to Stitches West 2008, too little time to really think if I liked the sweater or not :) It has definitely grown on me-- I steamed the jacket that morning, planning on giving it a good wetblock when I had composed myself from the *best weekend evar*-- but have been wearing it daily and haven't had the chance, enjoying it that much. I expect to love the feel of it even more once it does get a good soak; judging from the way the sample of Silver Thaw I had from Article Pract's Noro yarn tasting acted after a trip thru kookaburra, it becomes just heaven.
(Speaking of, AP's new yarn tasting is for Colinette and I'm excited to go in a few weeks... not sure if there's space but you can call the store to ask. Browsing the upcoming class list I'm all excited to see that Kristine from A Verb for Keeping Warm is hosting a drop spindle class, and that Krista from PigeonroofStudios is holding a toe up magic loop socks class... hearting the East Bay talent, yall :) I'm hoping there will be a little fiber from both for sale at Article Pract when I make in for the yarn tasting...)
...Meanwhile, back on the farm.
The jacket reminds me of the Hot Lava Cardigan (PDF!) by Blue Alvarez Designs... I knit it forever ago in Malabrigo Chunky, and it has a similar feel if not construction. Looking at that above pic, I realize that I prefer the management of the roll collar on Imogen more, though don't like the way it looks here rolled up.
It is the construction of Imogen that is so interesting and almost confounding... I had to sketch the schematics myself so I could understand how it was knit (which makes a difference if you want to alter the length or width of this unconventional pattern). It is easy when you get the hang of it-- I had *no* seams to seam up when I cast off. The entire thing is stockinette, and can be worked with no seams-- not a typical sweater, but the first adult one I've completed!
Getting ahead of myself though. I did modify the pattern a bit-- I started with a provisional caston, so later on in the pattern I wouldn't have to pick out the caston to start one of the arms/front of the piece. This made life a lot easier, I'm thinking.
Mainly, I "modified" the pattern for sizing...
They weren't real mods, just to get the pattern sized the way I wanted it to fit me. For the following size changes, I used Imogen's sizing numbers as written in the pattern, plugging them in instead of the numbers for the L size.
I knit the L sizing with an XL width... the length on the XL was too much and hung too low for my preference. Even now with the wear it's taken, it is hanging a little lower than I wanted. This was hard to come by-- I didn't really understand the construction and had to rip the back twice to get what I needed. I knew I wanted a slightly loose fit, and preferred to have more fabric across the back to manage that desire than on the front (where bulk is added on the collar as well as the front chest coverage). I'm also built like an ox, so eh :)
The back of Imogen would be awesome to knit on a machine-- a large, large square of stockinette. The striping of the Noro made the time pass well tho...
For the back, I took out several yards of the yellow striping from the color. As wild as these colors look to me already, the yellow just stood out even more. (These pics were taken in fullon sun, so the brightness of the yellow against the relative darker hues of green, black/grey and orange may not be obvious.) I did leave some yellow, and for the arms and front I didn't take out as much since it wasn't as jarring for some reason.
Amy said her Imogen's back slouched in that shrug way b/c of the construction, mine did too but less so. Someone who really understood the schematic/construction of this jacket and wanted to take the time could devise some short row/darting to combat that, I think... but part of the thing about this sweater is that it is sort of slouchy and comfy like that.
arm and front of Imogen
The pattern calls for you to knit the arms flat and seam them up-- there's really no good reason to, unless you like that sort of thing. Instead I just knit the arms in the round, using magic loop and the same circular I knit the back on (32"). I knit the arm lengths as recommended but put them on waste yarn instead of casting off-- I had a hard time seeing how it would fit lengthwise when both were on, and since they're knit top down and in the round, no reason not to. I'm glad I did-- I needed to take out a little extra length once the entire jacket was done and the arms laid as they would when worn.
As I said before, using the provisional caston made life a lot easier when knitting the second sleeve.
Once that was done I picked up the sts for the front using the 48" knitpicks cable.
collar (top) and back (bottom)
Even picking up a bunch of sts at the underarms to try and cut down on holes there, I was only able to pick up enough sts across the back equivalent to the number given for the M size. You can see the collar's sts are more "open" than the back-- not only from use but for a spacing that doesn't quite add up. I didn't sweat it though... I really was worried about the qty of sts across the neck, I hate the feel of bunchy fabric at the back of my neck. So much so that when working the short rows for the front, I used the M directions/spacing numbers so that they hit about 2" shorter than the L directions do (lower on the chest, so not as much fabric far up the neck/collar area) and knit the XL number of short-row repeats so I could get more coverage across my ollieollie frame without the extra roll of fabric at the back of the neck. It worked fine-- I like the amount of fabric it created there, even though I didn't get a good picture of it above.
front of imogen
The overlap in the front is enough that I can secure it if I wanted, even though I actually prefer it open. I think I may go look for some fancy closing stick though... when it's windy the front blows open too much, totally missing the point of a wool sweater.
The edges all roll since its stst-- even the lower edge of the back though its not a traditional stockinette edge. I managed to steam that flat and it's stayed, but it can be a consideration when thinking about the length you want to knit (if you have a fabric that is going to roll and not be tamped down, you may lose length). The collar of course rolls, but a stick will help-- same deal for the cuffs. I really like the castoff details PerlGrey gives for both the cuff edges and the front collar-- it rolls in so it's not really noticeable, but a nice knitterly detail nonetheless.
If you're thinking about knitting Imogen in Silver Thaw, note it has grown in length from when it was cast off during wear. Not bad, but noteable. The arms also grew from a perfect length before steaming to 2" too long... I'm a little afraid to wetblock it for that reason, too! I had planned to take out the extra cuff length, but I actually like it rolled up, that whole comfort sweater thing. The entire effect of the sweater is like being wrapped up-- picking a yarn you love and knitting this pattern in it only helps. Part of the fun of using Noro in this project is getting to see how the long striping repeats work over several different stitch counts; the back, arms and front all have different row lengths, so you get a good variety of striping widths from the same yarn.
I used about 5.5 skeins of Silver Thaw (240 yd per), probably less than a half of a skein to finish... so now I have 4.5 skeins left from the gift of yarn my sister sent :) I can't imagine another sweater in this color (it's grown on me, but yikes-- 2?!), maybe I'll track down some more for a blanket, or put it for swap or sale. It also felts well-- I spitspliced all the ends (including at least one knot per ball, one skein had 6 knots!!), so maybe a felting project. Who knows... I don't want to knit anything lately, just want to spin :)
A spinning post next, for certain...
(ps! i'm going to "upgrade" my blogger template so i can get the tags i love so much to work properly... i didn't know when viewing by tag links my old etsy friday posts only went back 20 posts when there are twice that many. so, apologies if you see wonkiness over the next days here.)