Thursday, October 17, 2013


This has been a long time coming--more than 15 months since the first prototype was knitted. You've had glimpses of that original jacket and its two followers, but now I'm finally able to present the finished product.  Here's the description from the pattern itself:

There’s something rather romantic and slightly exotic about the Cossack collar. It conjures up images of Doctor Zhivago, and also of one of my favourite childhood books, Noel Streatfeild’s “Ballet Shoes” (1936), about three adopted girls. The middle child, Petrova, of Russian origin, is for me the most interesting, and Ruth Gervis’s illustration of Petrova and her “sisters” in their Cossack-collared dance uniforms has stayed with me over the years, and inspired the name for this design.
The body and sleeves of this jacket are each constructed seamlessly from the bottom up, then joined at the yoke and shaped using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s saddle shoulder method. The richly textured horseshoe cable and seed stitch panel moves from the cuff to the shoulder, where it is joined to the front and back simultaneously by means of a perpendicular join. Finally, the entire front opening is edged with I-cord and invisible buttonholes.

One of the principal features of the design is that the pockets are double knitted, with no extra lining or sewing to deal with. Thank you, Lucy Neatby, for presenting this possibility in your class on double knitting. I’ve taken it a step further by making it happen in seed stitch on the outside with a stocking stitch lining. All of this makes for a fun knit with minimal finishing.
Note that the collar can be worn either unbuttoned to frame the neck, or buttoned up for extra coziness.

From this you can see that there's a lot of interesting (but not terribly difficult) technique going on, which is a big part of the reason it's taken such a long time to get this into print. There is a nice introduction to double knitting, with a smallish dose of it in the making of the pockets. I love the magic moment when the two layers are separated and the opening is revealed.
In a later post I'll talk a bit more about Ruth Gervis's illustrations and the influence of children's literature on my designs in general. For now, here are more photos.

This design sports a lot of buttons--the smallest size has nine, so if you're thinking of knitting this up, be on the lookout for lightweight buttons. Petrova is available here. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Off to Rhinebeck tomorrow...


  1. Such a lovely, interesting design. Have fun at Rhinebeck.

  2. I don't think there is a design of yours I don't like. Love love love this one - will go in my queue as soon as I get home. Beautiful!

  3. I love this so much! The cowl, the cable detailing, the saddle shoulders... I will be making this very soon. And oh my, thank you so much for reminding me of the existence of Ballet Shoes. The moment I read the description, my brain cells began firing, and I realized that was a book I had read over and over as a child but completely forgotten over the years. One of the sisters was named Posy, I remember. I wanted so badly to be named Posy and dance ballet. Neither of which ever happened.