Idea Log: Cropped wool shirtjacket

Idea Log: Cropped wool shirtjacket

I’ve had one of those moments where two thoughts collide in my head into one bright idea. Thought One was how much I love my army shirtjacket that I refashioned a couple of years ago (seen on me here) and hate that I don’t have a cold-weather counterpart for it. Thought Two was how much I love my pal Jen Beeman’s chainstitched rendition of her new Thayer Jacket pattern. As much as I want a chainstitched one now, it got me thinking about how useful a little cropped, unlined Thayer would be for indoor-outdoor wear in cooler weather — a good cardigan stand-in. I happen to have some nubby black wool remnant fabric in my stash that could be great for this, although I’m not sure it adds up to enough fabric to pull it off. But I feel like I need to clean off my table and spread it all out to see if I can make it work.

While I ponder what my chainstitched version might be …

(As I uploaded this image, I realized the buttons in my drawing look like nipples! Forgive me for that.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Summer sweater-jacket

Idea Log: Summer sweater-jacket

Idea Log: Summer sweater-jacket knitting concept

That pic up top is my friend/colleague Cara wearing a little jacket I haven’t been able to get out of my head since I saw the photo long before I knew her. It had been designed by Hackwith Design House for my fellow Nashville small-biz owner Goodwin, and was out of my price range. I keep going back to this image thinking what a useful little thing that could be for much of year here, and it would not be hard to recreate in linen or something, but then you know when it’s summer and you long for that feeling of a sweater knit on your skin? So I’ve been pondering the possibility of a sweater equivalent in a linen-cotton blend or something. Knitting pattern designer Elizabeth Smith seems to be feeling a similar vibe with these two patterns of hers: 1979 (lower left) and Layla (lower right), which could just as easily be single-color stockinette. Either one would be a good jumping off point for a summer jacket like this.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Everyday vest (now in progress)

Idea Log: Everyday vest

Idea Log: Everyday vest

As my mini Sólbein awaits its buttons and ribbon backing and sleeve seams, and the bulky black cardigan I started knitting and didn’t finish in December is now useless until next year (if then), I’ve been really weighing my next cast-on, wanting it to be imminently wearable. Yet another mild winter here has proven that cardigans are smarter than pullovers, and vests are even better. And in addition to (always) craving a good shawl-collar cardigan, I’ve become fanatical about protecting the back of my neck. I’m also really into this photo, his whole look, but in particular his ivory waistcoat. So a garment has formed in my mind, and will hopefully soon be forming on my needles.

My goal is for this vest to be the sort of thing I throw on over whatever else I’m wearing on any given day — the sweater-vest equivalent of a smock. I want it wide and slouchy, but not too much, with deep armholes (similar to my converted Clyde vest) so it can go on over all shapes of sleeves.

For optimum wearability, it should be ivory, of all things, and I have enough natural worsted in my stash to pull it together, albeit in the form of mismatched yarns that are identical enough in color that I think I could knit different pieces from different yarns and all would be fine. But it would be even more useful if it weren’t 100% wool. So I’m torn between patchworking it together from stash or acquiring a cotton or cotton blend for this.

Not sure yet if I’ll adapt it from the Anna Vest or create it from scratch.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Shrunken crewneck Charles

Idea Log: Shrunken crewneck Charles

Idea Log: Shrunken crewneck Charles

I mentioned in my Queue Check last week that I only expect to knit one more sweater this year, and I really want to get it right, in terms of feeding what I’m yearning for while also filling a legitimate gap in my sweater collection, which means a non-wool pullover, and I’m really really really wanting navy. A feeling that was compounded yesterday by seeing (once again) that pic of Sofia Coppola in her perfectly plain navy sweater on my forever mood board. But the sweater I can’t get out of my head is Michele Wang’s Charles, which I’ve gone on about how many times since it published last year? That fixation is meaningful, and I want to heed it, and while I can make a case for adding an aran-weight wool turtleneck to my closet to replace the sad old storebought one currently playing that role, it’s by no means by most pressing need at the moment. Do you know about L’Envers? It’s a small-batch sweater company in France — a wonderful slow-fashion brand worth knowing about — and if I weren’t a knitter, they’d be getting some of my money. (They might anyway, at some point.) The other day on Instagram, they posted a sweater that brought ol’ Charles to mind again, their Jane & Serge jumper. Although I like it even better in ivory, I’ve well established that I do not need any more ivory sweaters! So I’m thinking about knitting Charles at a lighter gauge, scaling down the silhouette to more like my aran-gansey (not nearly as long as the L’Envers one), and knitting it in a blend of some kind.

This is the always challenge for me: What I enjoy knitting is more fanciful, shall we say, than what I enjoy wearing, but I think this idea would satisfy both. Still, I’m not quite ready to commit. It could be another fisherman sweater in navy, which would also be Sofia approved, if you know what I mean, or a navy version of my aran-gansey, or a navy-and-black marlisle sweater, which I’m also never not thinking about. But I need to find the perfect yarn: dk or light worsted weight, a nice deep dark navy, and not 100% wool. Which is even harder than just finding a nice deep dark navy wool, which is hard enough. (A vexation for many of us, I know, and I’ve promised a roundup!) If you have yarn suggestions that meet all of those criteria, please let me know! I’ve got a decision to make.

(And a ball of Navia Bummull headed my way for a round of speed dating …)

p.s. If you’re wondering, I promise I’ll have Marlisle KAL prize winners for you very soon! 

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Carbeth coat

New Favorites x Idea Log: Carbeth coat

New Favorites x Idea Log: Carbeth coat

When Kate Davies published her Carbeth Cardigan pattern back in February (photos above), it went immediately into my Ravelry favorites, and I’ve daydreamed about it often and watched all sorts of lovely examples pile up in the ensuing months. I’m especially tempted by ilo’s, Garnomera’s, VeryShannon’s and this incredibly creative mod by @suninthesixth. Like the latter, I keep thinking I want it in coat proportions — with even deeper armholes and wider sleeves, along with the longer body and, of course, some pockets. But it was just yesterday,* as I was pondering possibilities for it (in terms of both shape and stash), that it dawned on me how much it might satisfy the cocoon sweater-coat Idea Log I posted last November (sketch above). I even have a couple of good yarn options in my stash for it.

*The day we were talking about how it’s too hot to get dressed! And here I was fantasizing about sweater coats.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Textural neckwear

Idea Log: Marlisle pullover

Idea Log: Marlisle-inspired pullover

As I’m knitting this heather-grey sleeveless sweater vest thingy, and temps are hovering blissfully in the 50s and 60s, I have a conversation with myself every single day about whether I should put sleeves on it. It’s beyond well-established that a cotton-blend, grey, everyday pullover is a garment my closet would benefit from tremendously. But I really want the sleeveless thing! So the conversation ends each day with me reminding other me about this other pullover I mean to knit, sketched up top.

It’s been in my head since the day I got my hands on Anna Maltz’s brilliant Marlisle book, and it’s sort of a cross between the adorable hat pictured above (Hozkwoz) and a beloved 10-yr-old J.Crew cardigan I auctioned off last October, pictured last above. That cardigan was an all-time favorite of mine — a tiny fair isle pattern used float-side-out, with a 3- or 4-stitch wide stripe at the seams, forming strong style lines. So what I’m planning here is a simple raglan marl pullover using non-marl stripes at the raglans, side seams and running down the sleeves, similar in many ways to Anna’s Humboldt sweater, now that I think about it. And perhaps the fabric will be akin to my grey marl, but this time predominantly ivory with light grey for the marl?

This is almost certainly one of my Summer of Basics garments this time around.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Not quite harem pants

Idea Log: Not quite harem pants

Idea Log: Not quite harem pants

I have a longstanding longing for a pair of utterly perfect drop-crotch pants. Something slouchy and cool. Understated — not overly harem-ish. Definitely not Hammer pants. The other day I ran across the image above (middle left) on Pinterest, linked to a page where someone had dumped a ton of images with no credits, so I have no idea who designed them or was photographed wearing them or anything, but they are pretty damn dreamy. The mutton-leg shape is just the right proportion between the upper volume and the lower leg width, and omg those pockets. But even if I could locate and order them up, they’re still a little bit more voluminous than I probably really want to wear. They’re just such a polished example, something to strive for! My friend Kate alerted me to the Straight-Cut Sarouel Pants pattern pictured above (middle right), from Happy Homemade Sew Chic, and they look pretty promising. Especially this slightly modified pair. But basically I’m looking at these, my toddler pants pattern (modified Robbie) and Folkwear’s Japanese Field Pants pattern, and imagining what sort of hybrid I might be able to cook up. I have a few lucky yards of this lightweight fabric made from recycled denim that’s begging to become … these.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: The pre-Spring sweater

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