Friday, 12 January 2018

Regeneration Jacket Knitting Pattern


I have been knitting box jackets much like this since my own kids were toddlers. In chunky yarn, they don't take long to make and are properly snug in cold weather; pockets and hoods don't get left behind or lost the way mittens and hats so often do. Twenty years ago, I would knit each section separately. These days, I am a great fan of circular needles. Revising my old pattern, I decided to knit the body and hood in one piece, flat, but on a long circular cord, leaving only the sleeves to sew in at the end.  The basic proportions are easy to scale up or down and simple stocking stitch does show off a gorgeous yarn. 
This is Sudbury Merino Chunky dyed with madder root, which I bought from Native Yarns several years ago as a birthday present for my Mum. Coming across the shrug she had knitted from it, the glorious depths and shades of a top quality madder root dye glowed like a beacon from amongst the other knitwear she left behind. It  clearly deserved a new lease of life.


Regeneration Jacket


Materials

5mm circular needle
pair of 5mm straight needles
4 x 100g skeins Sudbury Merino Chunky = 400m (I had about 20m left over)
Large tapestry needle for weaving in ends and sewing up sleeves
2 stitch markers
6 buttons

Tension

After washing, 10cm square = 10.5 stitches and 17.5 rows

Dimensions
My niece Emelia is seven years old, so hers is the size given below, plus a bit of growing room. The proportions are straightforward to adapt to any size of child and to other brands of chunky yarn - when swatching, I would choose a slightly smaller needle than the ball band recommends in order to get a dense jacket fabric.




Made to fit chest size 70 cm, once buttoned up, the actual jacket measures 80cm.

Method

Pocket lining (lowest section)

Using 5mm straight needles, cast on 11 stitches and knit 4 rows of stocking stitch, then break yarn leaving a long tail for sewing up the pocket later. Knit a second pocket lining, leaving it attached to the remainder of the ball of yarn. Keep both pocket linings on the straight needles.

Body

Using 5mm circular needle, cast on 85 stitches and going back and forth, make three rows of knit 1, purl 1 rib. The next four rows are stocking stitch
Row 4 knit
Row 5 purl
Row 6 knit
Row 7 purl

Row 8 knit 13 and turn, leaving the other stitches on the circular cord - you will now be knitting only the front of the right pocket, which has a sloping opening created by reducing one stitch every three rows.
Row 9 purl back to left edge
Row 10 knit 11, knit 2 together (12 stitches)
Row 11 purl
Row 12 knit
Row 13 purl 2 together purl to left edge (11 stitches)
Row 14 knit
Row 15 purl
Row 16 knit 9, knit 2 together (10 stitches)
Row 17 purl
Row 18 knit
Row 19 purl 2 together purl to left edge (9 stitches)
Row 20 knit
Row 21 purl
Row 22 knit 7, knit 2 together (8 stitches)
Row 23 purl
Leave these 8 stitches on a holder with the yarn still attached.

Making more of the body and completing the linings of the pockets. 
Take the straight needle with the second pocket liner on it and using the right side needle on the circular cord, knit across the 11 stitches using the yarn already attached to the pocket lining, then knit on across the main body stitches on the left needle of the circular cord to 13 stitches before the right edge. Take the straight needle with the first pocket lining and knit across these 11 stitches so that there are 81 stitches on the right hand side of the circular needle and on the left, the 13 stitches not yet knitted. These 13 can now be kept on a holder.
Purl back across the 81 stitches.
Continue working in stocking stitch for another 18 rows.
Cast off 6 stitches at the start of the next knit row and then cast off 6 stitches at the start of the following purl row (69 stitches). 
Break yarn leaving a long tail for sewing in the pocket lining.
Knit across the 8 stitches on the holder for the top of the right pocket then knit straight across the main body (77 stitches) until your work looks like this.



Using the straight needles and a new ball of yarn, return to the 13 stitches on the holder at the left edge. Attach yarn at pocket edge to knit the front of the left pocket.
Row 1 knit
Row 2 purl
Row 3 knit 2 together, knit to end (12 stitches)
Row 4 purl
Row 5 knit
Row 5 purl to last 2 stitches, purl 2 together (11 stitches)
Row 6 knit
Row 7 purl
Row 8 knit 2 together, knit to end (10 stitches)
Row 9 purl
Row 10 knit
Row 11 purl to last 2 stitches, purl 2 together (9 stitches)
Row 12 knit
Row 13 purl
Row 14 knit 2 together, knit to end (8 stitches)
Row 15 purl
Break yarn. Continuing from the left edge of the main piece on the circular needles, knit across the 8 stitches which form the top of the left pocket (85 stitches).

Continue knitting in stocking stitch until the work measures 25 cm, finishing with a purl row. After washing, my swatch shrank in height by about 8%, so to get a finished length of 25cm, I knitted 27cm. At this stage, sew in the edges of the pocket linings so as to stop them flapping and avoid having all the sewing up to do at the end.

Continuing Right Front

Using a straight 5mm needle, knit 17 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 2 and turn, leaving the remaining 64 stitches on the circular needle.
Purl back across the 20 stitches, using the other straight needle.
Continuing in stocking stitch, knit 2 together at two stitches before the end of the next four knit rows, reducing the stitch count to 16.
Continue straight until the armhole measures 14 cm ( to account for shrinkage, I knitted 15cm) 
Knit 12, turn and purl back.
Transfer all 16 stitches to a holder with the yarn still attached.

Continuing Back and Shaping Right Shoulder

Attach a new ball of yarn to the stitches on the circular needle, starting at the base of the right armhole.
Knit 2, slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit 35, knit 2 together, knit 2 and turn, leaving remaining 21 stitches on the circular cord.
Purl back across these 41 stitches.
Continuing in stocking stitch, by the same method, reduce one stitch at each side of the next four knit rows, reducing the stitch count to 33.
Continue straight until the armhole measures 14 cm ( to account for shrinkage, I knitted 15cm).
Fold the right front over so that it lies against the matching part of the back with the wrong sides facing out.
Use a three needle bind off to cast off joining the right front and the back together, the first four stitches of the outside edge of the right shoulder. The working stitch left after casting off four should be transferred to join the stitches remaining on the holder for the top of the right front.
Continue knitting across the back until 4 stitches before the end. Turn and purl back.
Working with the wrong sides facing, use the three needle bind off to cast off joining the right front and the back together, the next four stitches at the outside edge of the right shoulder. 
Break yarn and slip the remaining 8 stitches of the right front onto the circular needle. Your work will look like this.



Completing Left Front

With the right side facing you, rejoin yarn at the base of the left armhole.
Row 1 Knit 2, knit 1, slip 1 and pass slipped stitich over, knit to end.
Row 2 Purl
Repeat these two rows four more times.
Continue in stocking stitch until the work measures 14cm (15cm to allow for shrinkage).
On the last purl row, purl 12 and turn.
Knit back to the front edge.
Purl across all 16 stitches.
Folding the right sides together and working from the wrong side, use a three needle bind off to cast off 8 stitches joining together the back and front of the left shoulder and break the yarn. Transfer the remaining 8 stitches of the left front onto the circular needle.

Hood

There will now be 31 stitches on the circular cord, 8 from the right front, 15 from the back and 8 from the left front.
Knit and purl to and fro in stocking stitch until the work measures 25cm (I knitted to 27cm to allow for shrinkage).
On the last purl row, place a marker on either side of stitch 16 (centre).
Row 1 Knit to 4 stitches before marker, knit 1, slip 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit 2, slip marker, k1, slip marker, knit 2, knit 2 together, knit to end.
Row 2 Purl
Repeat these two rows two more times.
Fold the hood in half with the wrong sides facing out. Use a three needle bind off to close the top of the hood, casting off while joining the two sides.

Button Band

Formed by picking up stitches continuously starting from the bottom of the right front, going up to the top of the hood and coming down to the bottom of the left front.
Use the spaces between the first and second column of stitches. Pick up a stitch through the first hole and then the second hole, miss the third, pick up from the fourth, miss the fifth - continue in this fashion, picking up 3 stitches from every 5 rows.
Row 1 (wrong side) work in knit 1, purl 1 rib.
Row 2 (right side) makes the button holes - by convention, these are on the left front edge for a girl and the right front edge for a boy, but I always do them on the right. Rib 3 * yarn over, knit 2 together, rib 6* repeat 5 more times and then rib to end.
Row 3 (wrong side)  work in knit 1, purl 1 rib.
Cast off in rib.
Sew on 6 buttons to match the button holes on the opposite border.

Pocket Edging

With right side facing, pick up and knit 13 stitches evenly across opening of pocket.
Cast off knitwise and sew down edges.
Repeat on the other pocket.

Sleeves (knit two)

Cast on 21 stitches.
Work 3 rows of knit 1, purl 1 rib.
Continue in stocking stitch, increasing one stitch at either end of of 7th and every following 8th row. I do this by knitting through the back then the front leg of the first and last stitch.
When there are 35 stitches on the needle, continue straight until the sleeve measures 35 cm (to allow for shrinkage, I knitted 38 cm) finishing on a purl row.

Row 1  Knit 2, slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit to last 4 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 2
Row 2 Purl
Repeat these two rows four more times (25 stitches).
Cast off on a right side row in purl.

Sew sleeves into armholes, aligning the reduction rows with the matching reductions on the back and front. Turn inside out to sew up the long sleeve seams. Wash and smooth into shape before drying flat.

'Poor Emelia, what a boring Christmas present for a child. I expect she would have preferred a game for her new iPad.' My companion finished her tea and set down the cup with a sharp clink.
'She put that jacket on straightaway and when I told her madder roots were what they used to use to dye soldiers coats scarlet, she was really interested.' I put our cups into the sink and turned to speak over the noise of the taps. 'Emelia has plenty of imagination. High Tech isn't the only kind of gift that appeals to the new generation.'
'What was your most exciting Christmas present, then, Beaut? A new tea towel?'
'Actually, Elinor, my biggest thrill was unwrapping some extravagant, handmade French rubberwear. From himself, with love.'
My companion blinked.
'You would never wear anything like.'
'Oh but I do, often. Light weight and close fitting, never any chafing, no matter how much I run about. Easy to slip into any time.'
Her eyes were popping by now.
'You sit there a minute while I put my new French rubberwear on, then we'll go down the beach.'





Friday, 5 January 2018

Backtrack Cushion Knitting Pattern

My companion, Elinor Gotland, turned up again last Tuesday and wished me a Happy New Year.
'You look rough, Beaut. Big party, was it?'
'I stayed home, actually. Would have gone to bed at midnight, only once the fireworks started, the dog went into meltdown and had to be hugged under a blanket til two in the morning.'
'Same social whirl here, then. Ooo, this is new.'
Elinor had settled herself into an armchair and was running a critical hoof over the fabric of my new cushion cover. She frowned. 'Not quite new. I'd guess Christmas knitting with recycled yarn?'
'Got it in one, Elinor. Cup of tea?'
'Don't mind if I do. Nice to be back, Beaut. Always very restful here, if a bit dull. Pass me a book to read, would you?'
By the time I'd boiled the kettle, she was fast asleep. Despite the yarn being a little pilled and felted, I think my new cushion was proved fit for purpose.


The wool was originally handspun from the fourth fleece I ever bought, which was a particularly soft Jacob. I well remember spending ages on my knees sorting out the dark brown and the white sections from the mixed shades and then dyeing the white yarn with daffodils. My Mum died last year and while my sister and I were clearing out her house, I couldn't quite decide whether the Jacob cardigan I knitted for her should go on the chuck or the charity pile. In the end, I brought it home and unravelled it back into balls. The spinning was much too low in twist, felting in the wash is probably what has held the yarn together. Though it is uneven, the thickness averages out around worsted weight or a heavy double knitting yarn.


Backtrack Cushion Knitting Pattern

Materials

4.5mm circular needle 80cm cord
a 4.5mm straight needle
tapestry needle to weave in ends
50cm closed end zip in colour to match your choice of yarn B
sewing needle and matching thread to set zip.
Yarn
Brown (B) 120g approx 240m
Variegated (V) 90g approx 180m
Yellow (Y) 50g approx 100m
Green (G) 50g approx 100m

Note - The dimensions of my final cushion are 50cm by 55cm. If you prefer a square cushion, or you happen to have a 50cm square cushion pad to fill the cover with, knit one less pattern repeat and two fewer plain rounds of brown at both the top and bottom.

Tension
In stocking stitch 10cm square is 17 stitches and 25 rows

Method

Cast on 160 stitches in B.
Join to work in the round, placing marker. Knit 10 rounds of stocking stitch. (8 for square cushion)

Pattern seen from wrong side
Note - once you have slipped the indicated stitches, keep the float of working yarn loose behind them when you start to knit the next stitch - I put my finger on the right needle behind the slipped stitches and bring the working yarn out behind it to make sure the floating yarn is slack. 
Once the knitting is washed and blocked, short, tight floats would make the fabric pucker instead of opening out flat to display the ovals.

Pattern Rounds
1 Knit all stitches in V
2 As round 1
3 Change to B *slip 2 stitches, knit 8* repeat to end of round
4 Change to Y slip 3 *knit 6, slip 4* repeat to last 7 stitches, knit 6 and slip 1
5 In Y knit as round 4
6 In B knit as round 3
As round 1
As round 1
9 Change to B knit 5 *slip 2, knit 8* repeat to last 3 stitches and knit 3
10 Change to G knit 4 *slip 4, knit 6* repeat to last 6 stitches, slip 4, knit 2
11 In G knit as Round 10
12 In B knit as Round 9

Slip stitch pattern at round 4

pattern mismatch along line of round marker
Note - At the round marker, a line of slightly disjointed ovals will form. I couldn't get my head round managing a jogless join and I decided it didn't really notice, being on the edge of the cushion. 

Repeat pattern rounds 1-12 a total of fourteen times. (13 for square cushion)

Change to B and knit 6 rounds. (4 for square cushion)

Flip the knitting so that the right side faces inwards. Using a straight 4.5mm needle, make a three needle bind off to close the top edge of the cushion. This is a helpful video tutorial. 

Weave in loose ends of yarn with a tapestry needle.Turn the cushion right side out.
Wash and block the fabric, pinning the width at 50cm.

Lay the cushion cover out flat. At the open end, pin the zip parallel to the bottom edge, with its right side facing the right side of the knitting and sew it to the front layer of the cushion. Flip the zip so its right side is facing you and turn in the bottom edge of the back layer of the cushion to match the front. Bend the fabric on the other side of the zip inward against the folded hem on the back of the cushion and fiddle in a couple of pins to hold it while you unzip the zip and then pin the loose side neatly against the fold at the back of the cushion before sewing it on. Put a cushion pad inside and zip it up.


'You like the cushion, Elinor?'
My companion woke up with a start and scrabbled to switch on her phone.
'Ych y fi, this tea's gone cold. Make us another one and put a drop of sloe gin in it, there's a love.'
From the kitchen, I could hear a flurry of text alerts arriving. 
'Here's your tea plus additives. Aren't you detoxing this January?' I peered over her shoulder. 'Are those messages about auditions for your next role on stage or screen?'
'No Beaut. This year I am resolved to have a bit more fun. Enjoy the good things. Spend time with old friends.'
I beamed at her.
'Oh, I am glad. I was thinking of going into Cardiff shopping tomorrow.'
Elinor tapped away on her phone. She looked up.
'Cracking. You can pick me up a box of patisserie, I've invited some chums to tea.'