Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Plan

I have a plan. I'm going to knit my new Downton jacket to a self-imposed deadline. This will be a test to see if my knitting objectives are realistic. Here are the details:
Day 1 (Fri., Aug. 26): Knit the back flap, left front, and right front sections to the point where they're joined.
Day 2 (Sat., Aug. 27): Knit to the waist.
Day 3: (Sun., Aug. 28): Knit to the underarms.Put front sections on lengths of waste yarn.
Day 4: (Mon., Aug. 29): I drive James to TO with all his stuff. Drive home if the weather is good and there's time. If not stay over. This will be a stressful day, physically and emotionally, but I'll take yarn and needles and knit the back tab in the gaps.
Day 5 (Tues., Aug. 30): Knit the back to the neck.
Day 6 (Wed., Aug. 31): Knit the left and right fronts to the neck and join the shoulders with 3-needle bind off. Block body and allow to dry. This will probably take 24 hours. Pray that body dries to finished dimensions.
Day 7: (Thurs., Sept. 1): I hate this day. No actual knitting. Feels like a waste of time, but I know it's important to take this step.
Day 8 (Fri., Sept. 2): Knit collar and complete front edgings and buttonholes. Sew on buttons.
Day 9 (Sat., Sept. 3): Knit half of one sleeve.
Day 10 (Sat. Sept 4): Finish first sleeve, including re-vamped cuff with buttons.
Day 11 (Sun. Sept 5): Knit half of second sleeve.
Day 12 (Mon., Sept. 6): Finish second sleeve. Weave in ends and block.
I plan to write up the pattern as I go.
Of course, I could be delayed if the result of the blocking on Days 6-7 is not what is desired. That might add a day. Life may intervene in the plan, but barring the unexpected, I think the goals are achievable. We'll see.
Now, on with the preliminaries. If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that I've struggled with settling on a yarn for the re-make of this design. I did a couple of swatches several months ago with Rowan Felted Tweed Aran and Naturally Aran Tweed. I wasn't happy with either. In my last post, I expressed an intention to knit the jacket in Louet's Gems Worsted. This was after a shop owner reassured me that it really would knit up as a worsted even though the label describes it as a #3 (dk), not a #4 (worsted). I should have trusted my instincts. The Gems, while gorgeous, will have to wait for another project. Yesterday, I thought I would switch to Berroco's Ultra Alpaca. I knitted up a swatch before dinner and blocked it overnight. Want to guess the result? While it knits up to 5 sts/inch, the row gauge is somewhat compressed. Finally, I did a swatch in Ella Rae Classic. Not as luscious, but the gauge is perfect.
Here are my last three swatches, each one 30 sts and 42 rows knitted on a 4.5mm needle and wet-blocked until dry. Note the height difference with the deep blue heather Ella Rae. Note the slight biasing of the Gems. I love the Ultra Alpaca, but the double moss stitch is a little too compressed for my taste.

Now for the good news about this design. The first bit to be knitted is the back flap (see here). This little piece of knitting also functions as the gauge swatch. No yarn wasted. Even better, no time wasted. Yay!
I've decided to add buttons to the deep garter stitch cuffs. I've been looking for a button that is available in two sizes--large for the front closure and smaller for the back tab and cuffs-- and yesterday at Janie H.'s I found the ones.

Lovely, reproduction antique ones.
Ready, set, go!!!