Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Dressage Jacket - finished

Last Sunday I went to see Eclipse with my friend and regular movie-buddy Kate. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not a Twi-hard by any stretch and I don't particularly relate to any of the characters, but if you made me choose I would have to go for Edward (I can't resist a man with sideboards - lucky for me my fella wears them!). I have always loved vampire stories starting in my teens with the original novel Dracula, moving on through the Anne Rice vampire chronicles and I am currently reading the Vampire Academy Novels - so vampire movies are always on my 'to see' list. Plus I love the clothes they put Alice in,! Isn't this coat/smock from New Moon cute?

Image from here.

But the point of this post is not a movie review but a cardigan review. Yes, that's right the Dressage Jacket is finished and has had it's first public wearing.

The yarn:
Sublime aran by Sirdar. The colour is 'wicker'. This yarn feels beautiful to knit with, very smooth and soft, and no splitting. However, there is something you should know. When I blocked the pieces (soaked them in tepid water with wool mix, gently lifted them out and rolled in a towel then patted to shape) they GREW. A lot. The technical diagram for the cardigan shows a finished length of 49cm, I admit I didn't measure before blocking so it may have started out a bit longer than this but after blocking it is now 69cm! it also grew in width but it's hard to measure with the rib. Let's just say before blocking I was thinking it might be a bit tight and now I certainly don't have that concern. If I were to do this over I would knit a reasonable sized swatch, measure it, block it and then measure again. You might find you can go down a size.

I also ran out of wool which was frustrating. Fortunately the yarn shop I bought it from still had some of the same dyelot in stock so it all turned out well, but it is really expensive yarn so I did feel a bit ripped off! For the record I have never run out of wool before, I usually have a good amount left over so if you are a tight knitter you may want to consider having an extra ball as backup.

The pattern:
Dressage from the Third Sublime Aran pattern book. I knitted the smallest size and find it a little big. For reference, my high bust measures 87cm and my full bust measures 91cm. I chose the 84cm size because I prefer my tops to be fitted fairly close. Winters are mild here and I usually only wear a long sleeved t-shirt underneath at most, so I don't need to allow room for bulky under layers. The size is comfortable it is just a little less closely fitted than I would like, but it's just as well because with the extra length I need extra room to go around my hips! The sleeves are quite long, they come down over the back of my hands and aren't snug enough to push up, but I can live with that.  Look at the fit on the model and compare to how it fits me.  You can bet she doesn't have a 91cm bust and it looks tiny on her!

Image from here.

On the back I made an alteration for my short upper back by working short rows just above the waist. I've never done this before and it worked pretty well, at least I don't have a huge fold of jumper in my lower back as I usually do!

I closed it with a shawl stick (which I also bought at the yarn shop), but I think it also looks nice hanging open. Since it's bigger than planned the fronts wrap right across to the opposite side seam so I might sew on ribbons to tie it closed. Long term I think this will cause less damage to the cardigan. I will also stitch some ribbon across the inside of the shoulders and back neck to stabilise them and possibly snug them up a bit.

I am very pleased with this, I used high quality yarn (a real splurge) but it was worth it. The design is modern and smart but also comfy casual at the same time. I did read somewhere that this yarn pilled with only light wearing but fortunately I have not noticed that yet, and I will be very p***ed off if my $180 cardigan doesn't wear well. Some care will be needed when washing it, lest it stretch even more. All in all though I can see myself wearing this a lot in winters to come.


Amy said...

Nice jacket. But a question! When you say that you knit short rows on the back, did you do those at the sides? Or where?

Sewfast said...

Lovely jacket! Actually I had a navy blues smock top in the 70's exactly like Alice's...wish I had hang on to it!!! Wait...maybe Alice has it!

kbenco said...

I love your jacket. In fact I bought the pattern book when you first showed it on your blog.
I am a bit confused though about the short rows. Wouldn't short rows make the back longer and more round - I add short rows for more bust room, not less, but I see that your jacket fits beautifully at the waist. I also wonder if the short rows used up more yarn, as I often use more yarn for my additonal shaping. I don't want to skimp when I buy my yarn for this jacket, but as you say, it is not the cheapest yarn! I don't want to buy too much, either.