Do You Mind if I Knit? Girl's Rustic Jacket

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I started an ambitious knittery project while I was away on holiday. We were perusing a yarn store (as knitters are wont to do, it seems) when we happened upon a back-dated edition of a local magazine featuring a very cute little jacket for girls. And hey, what do you know, we happened to be looking for a very cute jacket for a very little girl - Emma. You met her in an earlier post when I showed you all the baked thingies we made for her third birthday.

Pattern: Girl's Rustic Jacket from Purl Magazine, March 2011
Size: Age 2 - 3 with modifications
Yarn: 3 x 50g Elle Rustica DK in Mauve, 1 x Elle Rustica DK in Aran, 1 x Elle Rustica DK in Strawberry.

In a moment of yarn folly I thought - well, hey, I can knit that. I have two whole weeks! And it's so very small, we'll have it done in no time. Folly! I tell you. So, I bought the pattern and I bought the prettiest yarn and began casting on for the back and front panels. Only then did I realise how very small 4mm knitting needles are, and how very long it would take to knit up an entire jacket in teeny weeny knitted panels. 

I love pretty knitting. It's the same kind of satisfaction I get from seeing lovely neat piles of books all arranged in alphabetical order, or from producing a pile of neatly cut fabric squares for a patch-work project. This yarn is Elle Rustica DK (a South African yarn) - a new wool and superacrylic blend with flecks of fibres in brown, cream and black. It was very nice to knit with. As you can see above, I chose to do the majority of the coat in lavender and I did the stripes in 'strawberry' and 'aran', all from the Rustica DK range.

The yarn is very soft and is being appreciated here by Milo, our miniature dachshund. He is particularly fond of soft fabrics so I guess this is his seal of approval for the Rustica range ;)

He thought it would be far better for me to give him lots of love and attention that to finish knitting the panels of Emma's Rustic Jacket. 

Here's Emma getting involved with the knitting. To her, "knitting" means taking the yarn out of my knittery bag and wrapping it around her fingers until it made a tangled, knotted mess. Hurrumph.

Emma's big brother Daniel was on hand to regulate the amount of wool dispensed for this revolutionary knitting method. 

Soon, the knitting began to demand more and more attention - two weeks really isn't enough time to finish a jacket, you know - so it travelled to tea with me, to Lauriane's house almost nightly, to babysitting events, fabric shopping and even to the World of Birds where a tiny monkey tried to take one of my knitting needles.I have never had the opportunity to so frequently quip, 'do you mind if I knit?'. 

All that knitting in public soon paid off: before long, I had a pile of pretty knitted panels (here you can see the back, two front panels, one sleeve and one pocket). It was about this time that I discovered that the pattern-writer's maths was a bit wonky, and there were numerous mistakes that I had to try and correct as I went along. It turned out okay - they were easy to fix when you see how they should be, and I did a few modifications too: I added in an extra panel to the inside of the sleeves to create a wider sleeve (I knitted up an extra panel of 10 stitches in the same pattern repeats, and sewed it with mattress stitch for an invisible join), I added in extra front panelling to create a wider join at the front where the two front panels meet, and I added in a few crocheted flowers too. But I digress. 

After a lot of late-night knitting, it started to come together and look like a jacket.

I particularly like the cute puffy pockets! The collar also turned out really well and I love the crochet loops and toggle clasps. Glee.

I walked into Emma's room and saw that it was displayed on the bed - I had to take a photograph with the cute animal quilt in the background. You can see my added crochet flowers here too. Forgive the sleeves - they really look quite neat but here the one on the right is a little wonky. 

...and finally, it's done, dusted and best of all - it fits! 

I was still making modifications to the jacket up until the morning I left SA to come back here to London so it was a close call. All in all, I think I can tell you that I learnt a very valuable lesson: it can be done, of course it can be done, and late-night knittery goes a very long way. Plus, tea.

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