Saturday, April 20, 2013

Crochet-edged Swing Jacket

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I had a huge cone of teeny yarn, manufactured (I think) for machine knitting.  It was a beautiful color, kind of a taupe, beige-ish gray.  Warm gray.  It seemed a little scratchy, but there was a lot of it, and I knew it would be just right for something, eventually.  It sat in my cupboard for, I’m not even kidding, around fifteen years, waiting for the perfect project to come along so it could become that thing.  We were patient together, me and the yarn.

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It finally wanted to be a sweater, so I cast on for this with the idea that it would have large crocheted lace panels at the fronts and big lacy cuffs.  I wanted it to be somewhat long, with a swingy hem.  I wanted to work on it forever, too, or at least I must have wanted that, because I decided to knit it on US size 2 needle; a virtual guarantee that the knitting of it would last a thousand years. 

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I cast on at the neck edge and began working from the top-down.  A top-down sweater kind of measures itself as you go, so there’s not much to do, you know?   Once you know how many stitches to cast on, and the routine of where to increase, you just keep doing that until the raglan seam is the right length for your actual self and the rest will probably fit.  You get a little burst of interest when you divide the body from the sleeves, and then a lot of plain knitting again, relieved only by the occasional consideration about body shaping and upcoming decisions about the hem.  So, knitting this got boring pretty quickly.  It lasted a thousand years.  Well, a couple months anyway.  I began to hate the yarn. 

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It was splitty, and kind of rough.  It looked terrible, too, in its pre-blocked state.  It looked like wet cardboard.  It looked like old mulch.  More than once, I almost threw it in the trash. 

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But there’s something about having most of a sweater all done that makes a person keep going, even when a dozen doubts overshadow her confidence, even when the knitting is a miserable slog.  The sleeves, knit in the round with no shaping on sock needles, went fairly fast, and then I settled on this edging for the fronts and cuffs, called Mermaid Scales, from this book.  That took awhile, and I really, really hated the yarn at that point.  The hook snagged in it continuously. I took more than the usual number of sanity breaks (granny squares, anyone?) and when I put the sweater on, to see how it was working for fit, it squeezed my upper arms like a blood pressure cuff.  I debated, again, throwing it away in a fit of rage.  It would have felt pretty good to do that.  I dug deep, though, and believed in the power of blocking to rescue me in the end.  I guess I don’t have to tell you that it did.  Blocking saved this sweater. 

Here it is in progress.  I had lightly steam-blocked the body, just to quiet my mind about the mess it was, and give myself the will to move on.  It was so tiny and wrinkly and scratchy and miserable until I did that, and I did not want to keep knitting it.  You can see where I had begun work on the right sleeve.  That’s what it looked like unblocked.  Stiff and bumpy and ugly. Yuck. 

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When it was finished, I soaked it in the sink and then spread it out flat on the rug to dry.  A measure of the circumference of my upper arm revealed I was going to have to get fancy here, if I wanted it to fit me comfortably, and using pins to block it hard, the way I would for lace, would have left a ton of little scallops around the edge—no good.  I wanted to give it a hard block, though, to really straighten out the stockinette stitch, soften the wool, and give it some drape, so I cut some pieces of cardboard to the correct measurements and stuck them down into the damp sleeves.

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Yes!  That’s it, the perfect shape and size.  It worked beautifully.

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So, you know, not to keep going on about blocking and everything, but…yeah.  Blocking is the only reason this is in my closet and not in the trash.  Worth it. 

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I was sewing on the buttons and trying to remember which side is the “girl’s side” which I can never remember—I decided, finally, to just alternate them, which might help it stay buttoned, we’ll see.  Those holes are pretty big. 

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This poor yarn is Jaggerspun Maine Line, 2/8 fingering weight, in the colorway “Arrowhead”.  It is probably perfect for machine knitting.  I like to believe it would be perfect for that.  Hoo!  Time to make something else. 

64 comments:

  1. I think this turned out beautifully! It's very delicate and fine. The pearly buttons are a perfect touch. Nice job.

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  2. That is absolutely magnificent! I admire your patience to knit a sweater with such small needles. You picked a wonderful crochet stitch for the edging, too. I haven't seen a sweater this pretty in a long time!

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  3. I love it! I thoroughly enjoy your blog and am always amazed by how much you can accomplish in just a few days :)

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  4. I'm so glad you persevered with the blocking and didn't cave into the trash bin as the cardigan is fabulous. I especially love the edging, x

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  5. That is one of the loveliest jackets that I have seen for a long time. Beautiful combination of knit and crochet, and the blocking was obviously worth it!

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  6. That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen on the internet. The cardigan has such style and line - it was tough getting there obviously but wear it lots and accept with pride all the compliments you will get about it. You can say "I made it" Jo X

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk

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  7. It is GORGEOUS! Well done for sticking with it - tiny needles depress me. I have a cardigan on the needles, stuck at where I split the sleeves, but those tiny needles do me in every time! May be a few years before I pick it up again...

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  8. Well done for staying with it I love the front crochet panels just perfect x

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  9. It is spectacular, so amazing. All your hard work payed off, every teeny tiny stitch has joined together to make something really beautiful and unique.

    Wow. I applaud you for this one.
    Meredith

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  10. another stunning sweater

    so, so lovely

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  11. How completely exhausting and beautiful at the same time. I've said it before and it bears repeating...You are a wizard with the needles. If I lived closer, I'd buy you a drink. Well done!

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  12. Beautiful - that's all x Jane x

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  13. I really admire your patience on making something so fine, but the results speak for themselves, it was definitely worth it! Well done! Rowen @Coastal Colours x

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  14. Very stylish, I hope you enjoy wearing it more than you did making it. A wonderful result!

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  15. wow!!! I don't have your patience!!! this work is amazing!!!
    xxxx Ale

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  16. Your sweater came out beautiful! I don't think I would have the patience to work with that yarn!

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  17. Beautiful and a great save! Your tackling of hard projects is very inspirational.

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  18. Hi There, Why are you not a fashion designer??!! You are amazing!!! Love the crochet panels in the front!!! Well done on a really beautiful garment!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  19. You never fail to inspire. Beautiful. xxx p.s. Think you need to produce a book .... just saying....

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  20. My goodness, you deserve a medal! And, it is so beautiful.

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  21. Stunning! Well done for persevering!

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  22. Oh wow, that is absolutely fabulous!! You should be so proud!

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  23. omg, you are an artist with a huge amount of patience and perseverance. the result is gorgeous, i love the colour, it will go with so many things. Well done !

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  24. It's beautiful, I'm not sure I have the patience for something like this.

    Jacqueline

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  25. Lovely!!! What kind of Judy (hope this is the right english word :-)) are you using? i´m looking forward to buy one.

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  26. Wow... It is gorgeous! You knit like a machine, cranking out such a lot of big project! All of them very pretty and ending up in the right size and all....
    Me, I am really proud of actually knitting the second fingerless mitt, within two weeks of finishing the first. That already cost me some willpower!
    What else have you got stashed in there?!

    Ilse

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  27. Whoa! This is absolutely gorgeous <3 OMGoodness, I'm speechless...
    Smiles, DianeM

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  28. Stunning! And I especially love that you alternated the buttons. Such a charming detail. Your mannequin wears the loveliest things! Do you dress it up regularly?

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    1. Thanks very much! Yes, the mannequin is always dressed in something. :)

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  29. that is just beautiful! I want one!

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  30. It looks Beautiful!!!!!

    Luv Jane XX

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  31. So worth all the effort it is stunning, I to can never remember which side to put girl and boy buttons. Sarah x

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  32. Beautiful Kristen! And clever idea with the buttons.

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  33. That looks absolutly fantastic.I have been looking to make a grey cardi with some lacing ,but I haven't seen anything that matched what i had in my head until now.It looks perfect.You are very clever to just make that up with no pattern,from your head!Will the pattern be available anywhere? I am new to your blog and am looking forward to seeing what else is on there.
    Sorry for long comment, but also can I pin the pictures on Pinterest-I see you have a 'don't use my pictures without permission' and I am never sure of net etiquette?

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    1. Thank you so much, Dette! Yes, you may pin me. :)

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  34. As everyone else has said, that is absolutely amazing. You continue to blow me away with your talent! I am in awe of you.
    Marian

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  35. Thank goodness you didn't throw it away, it's stunning!

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  36. It's beautiful Kristen - a testament to your staying power, perseverance, cleverness and, of course, endless talent!
    As usual you have amazed - the lacy panels are so intricate, and the shape so elegant!
    Well done for not giving up when us weaker souls would have thrown in the towel.
    Gill xx

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  37. G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!!!!!!! Oh my stars (OMS) this is stunning....
    I know the feeling of wanting to trash a project and never have to see or be disappointed or infuriated by it again but this was so worth the slogging on.....
    The crochet is the perfect counterpoint to this fine gauge knitting..... and has inspired me to use cardboard for my next blocking adventure if and when need be....
    Also wanted to share with You a dear and talented friend who crochets: uses vinegar during her soaking period and claims it adds a nice drape to the yarn...... though I have yet had to try this.. I do have a pice crammed into a project bag that I WILL Now complete because it reminds me of all of the reasons you hated this sweater I will try it on...
    Happy Sunday Kristen~

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  38. You have done a fabulous job - I love it -it looks very elegant.

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  39. Wow, that is one gorgeous sweater!

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  40. Oh My Gosh! Your sweater/jacket is absolutely beautiful! I can't even begin to imagine being able to create something like that (has anyone ever told you that you are CRAZY talented?!) I think that you have truly outdone yourself Miss Kristen! (after viewing this sweater my respect /admiration for your artistic, creative talent has risen even more, therefore I feel the "Miss" is in order :-) Anyway, what a treat to open your blog and see your latest amazing creation! Thank you so much for sharing! (need I say that I am impressed?!)

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  41. I have complete and utter cardi envy!! I have a ridiculous cardi obsession and yours has taken my breath away. I adore it!!! The crochet edging finishes it off beautifully.

    Have a fab week hon.
    Leah

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  42. I love this!!!

    Naomi from Finland

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  43. Wow! That is one beautiful chardigan!!! I love it!
    Carly
    x

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  44. This looks gorgeous!! Liefs Else X

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  45. Please feel free to go on about blocking all you want. That's the kind of information we beginning knitters/crocheters need very much, but which everyone always assumes knowledge of. That cardboard idea is genius. I'll definitely have to borrow that idea.

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  46. it is beautiful!!!!!!! well worth the stick-to-it-tiveness!!!

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  47. My goodness...I'm so glad you kept on going. Your sweater turned out JUST STUNNING!!! :)

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  48. I am speechless - that is simply stunning!

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  49. This is the reason I decided to pick up knitting needles and crochet hooks. For the ability to craft something this beautiful and something I can wear and use after all those hours of work and craftsmanship.

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  50. amazing !
    Greetings from Poland :)
    Katarzyna



    www.sajuki.blogspot.com


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  51. Horrid it may have been to knit Kristen but beautiful is the result! I love it. The vision you obviously had was totally worth it.....and a good old dose of perseverance won the day.

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  52. This is STUNNING! You are so talented. I love this and the granny square one that you made! I would love to have these patterns if at all possible?!

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  53. Wow this pattern is beautiful! We're always looking for crocheters and bloggers to share their patterns and insight with us. Let me know if you're interested.

    Thanks,
    Christine
    Editorial Community Manager
    AllFreeCrochet.com
    cweiher@primecp.com

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  54. I love it. It's beautiful!

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  55. I just love this sweater! I have re-discovered knitting and would like to make this sweater. Would you sell the pattern? Email me at cre8iveb@aol.com. Thanks! Hope to hear from you!

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    1. Thank you so much--I'm afraid there isn't any pattern to share, since I figured it out as I went, top-down style. My suggestion is for you to knit whatever simple cardigan pattern you like (subtracting a few stitches at the front edges) and then add a crocheted edge of your choice. Easy peasy! Good luck. :)

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