Nan by Kim Hargreaves

posted in: Knitting | 0

I have the habit of starting things, getting halfway done, and then abandoning them and moving on to something else.  That’s exactly what happened with one of the knitting projects I started last year.  The project is an over-sized jacket called Nan from Kim Hargreaves’ book “Thrown Together.”  It was actually a very easy and quick knit but it was knitted in pieces and then seamed together; it was when it came to seaming that I ran into trouble.  First, seaming is boring and tedious, unlike knitting. It’s just a chore and I don’t know a single knitter, in person or otherwise, who enjoys seaming.  To make it worse, Nan is knitted in super bulky yarns, which makes the seams, well, super bulky.  After I had knitted and blocked all the pieces to size, I sewed the fist seam and hated the look.  Hated it.  It was ugly and bulky. I knew I needed to find a better way to seam them.  I put the pieces away and ignored them for almost a year.  Then a couple of days ago out of the blue I decided I needed to finish this jacket so I found the pieces and the pattern again.  As I read the instructions from where I left off, I saw that the designer actually recommended a type of seam. Duh!  I should have read further!  With that recommendation, I got to work and seamed the whole thing.

The seams are still bulky, but nowhere near as bulky ans before and they also look better. To help the bulkiness, I pressed the seams open but also steamed them. I used a seam roll I use for pressing seams open when I sew and that helped. I used an acrylic/wool blend so I sort of melted the acrylic fibers down. That helped a lot.  I did it from the wrong side so the right side of the jacket was not harmed.  The seams are still not perfect but I can live with them. 

As for the jacket itself, there are some mistakes in the knitting of the edges but I think they are not (too) obvious and I can live with that.  Things do not have to be perfect to be beautiful. I do love the jacket.  The sleeves are bulky under the arms and look a little funny in my pictures but they don’t look much better on the model so I’m going to chalk it up to the design.  I have not attached the buttons, and I probably won’t. 

Picture from the book, on the model.

For the yarn, I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Solid in “Fisherman” and it took about 570 yards, counting scrap yarn. I knitted the size Small, which was a few sizes smaller than what the pattern suggested for my bust size.  I had read some reviews that said the pattern ran huge so I’m glad I made the small, otherwise it would have been enormous.  Also, the sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 length, but I don’t think they were counting on someone my height!  That said, they still don’t come all the way down to my hands.  I like where they fall.

Here are the knitting notes I kept on Ravelry, just so you can see the process:

Gauge swatch done November 14th 2012
November 17th
Got to the armhole decrease for the back last night. I started decreasing this morning and, several rows later, realized that the pattern was offset after the decrease. I have ripped back a gazillion times and have tried every which way but it’s still off. I can’t figure out where I’m going wrong.
FINALLY figured out how to proceed. I just read the knitting from the wrong side to figure out where I needed to knit and where I needed to purl.
Back finished.
November 19th
Left front started and completed.
Right front started.
November 19th part 2
I just realized that I knitted the entire left front wrong. The pattern calls for sl1 at the beginning of every wrong side row, which is a knit. I slipped purlwise and it looks different to the stitches slipped on the right front, which are done at the beginning of the right side. I’ll have to frog and start again. Ugh.
November 26th
Left front frogged and started again.
November 30th
Left front completed…again.
Right front completed.
December 11th
Sleeves finished. It took me longer than it should have because I was having trouble with the increases.
December 19th
The blocking wires arrived yesterday. Now all the pieces have been steam blocked and are ready to be seamed together. I am DREADING that part.
January 2nd, 2013
I sewed one of the raglan seams a few days ago and I don’t like the look or the bulkiness. I am trying to find a better way to seam super bulky yarn.
December 27th 2013
Today I decided to pull this project out of hibernation and give the seaming a second try. This time I used a mattress stitch and it worked. Seamed the sleeves of the back and the fronts and got adjust over half way through the collar.
December 29th, 2013
Done and done! I sewed the last seam today and got the pictures taken. It’s hot here still, we haven’t had any cold days so who knows when I’ll get to wear this for real.
I’m not crazy about the way the sleeves look right under the arms, at the seams, but I suspect that is just the nature of the yarn, the size of the jacket and the weight. Otherwise I’m pleased.
PS. I did a super stretchy bind off for the collar.

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