Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not a V-Neck!

(Warning- I'm feeling a little fond of the asides today. This post is heavy on the parentheses)
At the time of this post, this jacket has 1079 Ravelry Project pages and is in 4515 queues, including my own. Chances are, if you're reading this, you've at least considered knitting up Drops 103-1 (I wish they'd give their projects better names.) It's a free pattern and it looks great on just about anyone. You should think about it if you haven't.

The first project up is one I'm sure you've seen. It has over 300 faves on Ravelry and is in the top 6 for number of faves for this project. Nina, aka LaNina used US 10 needles and Kraemer Yarns Maunch Chunky in Licorice Snaps. I'm not sure what size she knit up, but this looks like a small to me. Nina shows us here one way to have fun with this pattern that enhances its versatility- funky fasteners! If you look at the Rav page for this project, you'll notice most of the best jackets have huge, in-your-face buttons, toggles, or fasteners. Nina has also turned her collar down, reminiscent of CanarySanctuary's modded version (I know you've seen this version, and Canary knows I love her, so I won't go into detail on her mods here.)

Another thing the best-of-the-best have in common is great color choice. This pattern has lots of detail, but it's not too overwhelming in a bright color. Taija (or Tui to Ravellers) used Garnstudio Eskimo in a bright yellow when she knit up her size xl on US 11s. This version shows how the front detail reigns in what could be problematic bustiness in another jacket. It also illustrates a drawback, however. This is not a jacket that you can leave open.

Although the asymmetric lines and high neck highlight the face, those same lines make for a strange bulge of fabric when left unfastened.

While Taija minimized the bulkiness around her neck, that same bulkiness adds a high-fashion quality to Fragilistica's (or Magda to non Ravelers) (really, are there any non-Ravellers left?) version below. Magda is also showing us a shorter sleeve and more ease than the previous projects. Adding ease (aka knitting up a bigger size) is a good way to make the bulk look like it's coming from the jacket instead of the body. It also doesn't hurt that Magda looks like a supermodel in this photo anyway (really! Why can't I take artsy photos like this?) She used Rowan Chunky Print in Natural and US 11 needles. Magda also happens to be in the top 4 for favorites with this jacket.

And how beautiful is this next photo? Elin is freaking cute as a button (she really is, check out her blog). This photo makes me feel all back-to-schooley excited for fall. I love the boyfriend jeans and slightly baggy look of this jacket (note to self- look into boyfriend jeans). Elin used a little more ease and shorter sleeves, making her 103-1 look like something you'd curl up in after a warm bath on a cool night. Elin, is this thing really as comfy as it looks?

You can use Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Muffin and US 6 needles to try and copy Elin's jacket. She knitted a Medium with smaller needles and yarn than called for and ended up with a 38" bust. She doesn't mention if she was able to match her gauge to the pattern.

Lastly, another beautiful color to ease us into Autumn. (I just realized today is the first day of Autumn. I love Autumn.) This is Amy; she also calls herself Amelie on a certain website. Amy went for longer sleeves and a double-breasted look with six buttons. She went for the 37" size, which I'm going to assume is a Medium-ish? The neck on this jacket is not overwhelming and doesn't compete with her Bettie Page hair and funky glasses. You really have to know when to let your personality speak louder than your clothes. This is Garnstudio Eskimo in purple and she used US 11 needles.

In Conclusion:
You can play around with sleeve length, ease, and how much of a collar you want to make this jacket look sleek, casual, or down-right comfortable. (I do not use casual as a synonym for comfortable.) The detail down the front and buttons near the face draw attention away from any width you may be trying to camouflage. This jacket is also A-lined, which means it will skim the body instead of hugging curves. The simple lines of this jacket give a great opportunity to play around with color and try out the biggest, funkiest, buttons you can find. It will only enhance your face and excuses for funkiness are few and far between.

Speak Up:
Is this jacket in your queue? Have you tried to knit it up? How has ease affected your opinion of your jacket? Show us your buttons!!! Have you played around with gauge or other modifications? What colors would you choose for this jacket and why?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

For the Adventurous

I absolutely can't wait to start on this sweater myself. The adventure comes from three characteristics: a very loose gauge: you'll definitely need a cami under this one, a seriously deep v-neck; see #1, and the fact that this isn't a pattern as much as a set of guidelines.
However, just like mapping the ocean floor, this is one adventure worth taking. And don't be frightened by the lack of stitch counts and that other Hoo-Ha. Knitters with some knowledge of sweater construction will have no problem with this project.
The Cabled Sweater is a gift to us from Ravelry user, Hinke. Click on her name for her Ravelry project page, it's worth it!Readers of this blog will be able to tell in a second why this sweater attracts me. There's a sweeping v-neck and detail right under the bust that draws the eye inward and makes you focus on the slimmest part of the torso. The loose sleeve construction hides any under-arm rolls or tricep flab. Not that Hinke (above) has to worry about any of that. How hot is that picture above?!?!?! Very Abercrombie. Hinke used Phildar Kid Mohair and US 11s for this knit.

Vampiroknit, also know as Weronica, illustrates another plus for this pattern. It's knit up in a thinner yarn with a bigger guage. Here, she uses Anilux Moherek in brown on size US 15 needles! It makes me giddy thinking about how fast this knit can go. The best thing about the loose gauge is the fabric it makes is very flowy and doesn't cling to every hill and valley along the mid-section. The sheerness also adds another bit of sexy that's always a plus in hand-knits. Weronika calls this size 48. I think that's bust measurement, but I'm sure she'll correct me if it's otherwise.

Our last model, Chibitora (blog is in Japanese), AKA Yuko, used two yarns: Jaeger Mohair Art and Bouton d'Or Ondine. I'm assuming she held them together, but I'm not 100%. Yuko? Would you like to let us know in the comments? Yuko also used size US 11 needles and knit up a small. This photo illustrates the best feature of this sweater. Even in a bathroom-mirror-self-portrait, this sweater looks straight from the runway. Seriously, I haven't seen a bad one yet. While you're admiring Yuko's mad photo skills, run over to her Rav Projects Page and be prepared to turn green with envy. Yuko, you are a knitting goddess!

Here's another Red-Hot number by Frauchaotis (Blog is in German.) What is it about this sweater that all the photos look like they belong in Vogue? I'm not sure what kind of yarn she used here, but she knit it up one US 10s. I have to say, after knitting socks for a while the idea of a fast knit on big needles is making me antsy to no end. This version was knit up a little tighter than the others and it looks like a thicker yarn. I'd stick with the looser version if you're a large or bigger, but this tighter gauge is smokin' on the slimmer ladies. It just goes to show how yarn selection, gauge, and fit can work for or against a pattern. Knowing your body and what looks good on it will go miles to insure all your knits work for your shape.

The deep-v and bust detail visually squeeze in your waist and make it look as small as the area right under the bust (which is usually the smallest area on the torso, unless you are a small or extra small, but then, if you are that small, why do you care?) Loose gauge helps the fabric flow away from the body and skim over any lumps or bumps. This is a gorgeous sweater that doesn't seem to allow itself to look homemade. Smaller people can get away with doubling up yarn or using a thicker weight, but it's best to stay on the thinner side in terms of yarn. Kimono-style arms hide under-arm cleavage and flabby triceps. Go on and knit this! Right now!

Speak up:
What do you think of this sweater? How do you think color choice would affect the look of Cabled? Any yarns you're dying to try this in? How tired are you of me going on about the virtues of v-necks?