Handmaker's Factory

It’s too hot to knit...

Autumn in Melbourne isn't much fun at the moment. Just when I wanted to get started on all the winter patterns I collected over the summer holidays, it’s too hot knit with any yarn that is even slightly warm. That means that my nearly finished red sweater is on the shelf and I have turned to planning my next project, my SJP jacket.
I already have a Sex in the City jacket knitted several years ago. I based the pattern on a glimpse of Carrie in a grey cardigan over an evening dress on a date with, I think, Mr Big in an early episode of SITC. By the time I took the photo for Ravelry below, it was already well worn!
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My Sex in the City jacket knit in Zara
Here are my rather sparse notes for this knit:
Yarn: Zara DK, gray
Deep Rib cuffs and collar, raglan sleeves, stitch pattern up middle of sleeve and next to front openings, zip front.
Pattern source: From One Thousand Sweaters by Amanda Griffiths
Body: Zip Cardigan #28 Small 1 x 1 rib
Sleeve: #19 Small with deep 1 x 1 rib cuff
Neck: #2 knit double and folded over inside and stitched down
No facings on zip fronts
Pointelle stitch from Lion Brand website
Zara from Filatura di Crosa is yarn that wears beautifully and comes in an amazing range of colours. I’ve knitted quite a few sweaters from Zara that have been worn and worn and washed and washed, always in the washing machine. In the end however, they do wear out, and my SITC jacket is not what it used to be. So it is time for a new one...
SJP Jacket

Sarah Jessica Parker has been out and about in this aran cardigan quite a bit over the last year. I saw her in it first in a magazine while waiting for the dentist/doctor/physiotherapist and snapped the centre picture with my phone from the magazine. The picture on the left is from a google search and the picture on the right gives a good idea of the neck and shoulder detail.
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Sarah Jessica Parker’s aran jacket
Yarn
I’ll be using an aran weight yarn I have had in my stash for ages, and it is nearly the same colour as Sarah Jessica Parker’s jacket. I bought two big bags of Teva Durham’s New Birch in pale aqua (colour 11) about two years ago. First I made Teva’s  ‘Asymmetrical Cable Pullover’ from Loop-d-Loop Volume 3 (on the right below), which has been one of my most worn - and now worn out - sweaters. I did alter the pattern a bit. I don't like reverse stocking stitch, so I made panels of stocking stitch and managed to reverse the cable pattern in the process. The funnel neck just would not stand up the way it did in the pattern, so I reduced it an inch or so after I'd finished sewing everything up. 
A year later I tried ‘Tippi’ by Louisa Harding from Hebe (on the left below). Sadly 'Tippi' is now in the frogging-if-I-can-be-bothered/charity bin. Although both projects were knit at the same tension, the eyelet pattern - while beautiful - has turned my ‘Tippi’ into a shapeless sack. From those two projects, I now know that this yarn needs to be knit using design elements such as cables or twisted stitches to keep some shape in the final garment. This is great example of how the 'hand' of a yarn can be enhanced by pattern details and how some yarns don't have a great 'drape' without them.
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A wardrobe already full of Teva Durham’s New Birch!
Pattern
The book I used for my SITC jacket, Amanda Griffiths’ book One Thousand Sweaters, makes it easy to design a wide of variety of knits in DK or 8ply, although the patterns in the book are a little dated and designed with, in my opinion, overly generous ease.  As I'm using an aran yarn this time, I’ll be attempting to make my pattern from scratch using The New Knitter’s Template by Barry Klein and Laura Militzer Bryant and use 400 Knitting Stitches for the aran pattern details.
There are plenty of things I want to change for my jacket. I’m don't really like the way the cables converge at the shoulders on SJP's jacket. From Teva's sweater, I know that large cables up and over the outside of my shoulders are not as flattering on me as they are on others. I also know that the neckline will not work very well for me, and I will need to add some shaping to my version to add volume in places without creating another sack. SJP in an unshapely sweater looks casual and chic, whereas I would look like I was wearing a large aqua horse blanket. And I’ll need to work out the pattern for the back.
The New Knitter’s Template is a great resource, as long as you are working with yarns that are fingering or 4 ply weight or greater and which knit up to a fairly standard tension. This is not quite the case here, so I'll be doing a bit of jiggling with the row tension as I work out the pattern. There are quite a few steps in the design process outlined in the book. You take detailed body measurements, and with a ‘style diagram’, apply your measurements to a pattern worksheet using the correct template for your yarn tension. Whew…there's quite a bit of maths! So more on how I'm going with that next time!

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msjane
Ms Jane is Melbourne-based artist who earns her living taking photographs and then spends it all on knitting yarn and sewing material. You can see her knitting and sewing projects here or find her as msjane on Ravelry.

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