Monday, September 30, 2013

Highland heather coat


I am an American, so my people originally came from pretty much everywhere, including here.  I could do a whole discourse on our yearning for a collective culture, and how, from that, we got professional football, but that’s a topic for your freshman sociology essay, so I’ll leave it there. 


My husband decided recently to figure out where his people came from, and when he discovered he is an authentic Mayflower descendant, I got super jealous and asked him to dig around in my family tree, too, because of course I figured he’d find out I’m 36th in line for the British throne or something.  (Alas, I’m not).  It turned up a surprising amount of tribalism.  There was a debate about how long ago two cousins marrying each other was or wasn’t a big deal.  We learned that pretty much everyone alive is related to one King Louis or another.  We got into a big thing about who was “more Scottish” than the other, and he found his family tartan, but I would totally eat haggis, so we called it a tie. 


I don’t know why all that came to mind, but it might have been all the lovely heathers in this knitted coat.  I’m a little proud of it.  I could hardly wait to show you, but our weather has been way too relentlessly nice.  I had to wait for some clouds to come along.  This sweater just seemed to want that, what can I say. 


This is the Fair Isle Coat by Yoko Hatta, from the Fall 2013 Vogue Knitting, knit by me in a mad, monogamous frenzy.  I modified the pattern to knit in the round up to the armholes, then back and forth from there to the top, and I can tell you right now that if I’d had to knit this whole thing back and forth, I never would have done it.  I think that last little bit took just as long as the whole rest of the body.  Anyway, the sleeves are worked in reverse stockinette with the same color sequencing as the fair isle sections, and I worked those both at the same time, which is another thing I don’t love doing—I hate sitting there in the middle of a spiderweb of increasingly twisted yarn strings—but I decided it would be less trouble in the end than having to try to make the second sleeve match the first.  I wet-blocked the stranded body piece, and when it was dry, I reinforced and then (yikes!) cut the steek.  This is getting less scary the more I do it; what a great technique.  My old great-great-great granny sitting beside her stove in a stone cottage in the Scottish Highlands must have thought so, too.  I might never stop worrying that the whole thing will come apart as I wear it, but the truth is, it probably won’t.  The button bands and neck edge are worked last. 


The yarns I used are Cascade 220 heathers in 2422, 9601, 2452, 9567, and 8408, Berroco Vintage in 51168, 5188, and 5167, and Patons Classic Wool in Natural Mix. 


One great side effect of two-color stranded knitting is that your garment is kind of double-thick, and though I don’t think this will be impervious to weather or anything, it will be, because of that, extra warm, and it might felt down a little bit on the inside with wearing, which can only help. 


I was right, too—it turned out a little big.  I made it a couple sizes larger than my usual, because who wants to end up with a tiny coat?  I’m very glad I made that decision, because it is so utterly (you knew I was going to say this) cozy.  Another sweater would fit underneath it, and that really would be weatherproof.  Bring it on, winter.