POP JACKET : : HIP KNIT SHOP : : I KNIT A THING!

Pop Jacket, HipKnitShop, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

Why, hallo you.

Today I’m switching gears to chat knitting. But don’t worry…I am still sewing.

That said, with 2020 being the shaky year that it is {an understatement if ever there was one} I’ve found myself drawn to some pandemic pastimes.  Not everything I’ve tried has stuck…gluten-free sourdough starter, I’m looking at you. Sure, it was fun at first. But twice daily feeding and continual checking of the nest for optimal temperature…for a pet that can’t be pet? What was I thinking? What else? I’ve cut my own hair. Once. I’m on the fence on this one…my stylist will be working from home at some point in the future, but home is literally hours away. Contemplating the logistics of long distance travel that includes a ferry trip stresses me somewhat, but I really miss her. Do I stay or do I go go?

So far the stickiest…in a good way…2020 pastime has turned out to be knitting. Okay…I’ve knit a grand total of one sweater but….I do have the enthusiasm…and yarn…to give a second one a go.  I used to knit years ago…let’s say forty plus years. Back then I knit simple, chunky sweaters….no pattern, I made things up as I went along. Fast forward twenty years and a chance encounter with a scarf my friend wore. It was a narrow, long, and slightly stretchy floofy neckpiece….a trending accessory at many local craft markets. A trip to Michael’s, some beginner lessons for my friends, and we were eagerly knitting our own scarves for a season or so. Since then? The clickety clack of needles has been silent.

Over on IG I follow quite a few makers that both sew and knit and I’m always wow’d by their hand made knits.  Their treasures are eye candy. Lovely to look at, inspiring, but realistically beyond my reach…or so I led myself to believe. Yup, the Art of Knitting was not a craft that I was eager to revisit.

I can’t say for certain when I had a change of heart, but sometime last year I started thinking ‘Maybe’. I was discovering pattern companies that featured colourful, chunky knitwear….a playful and modern take on the garments I knit those many years ago. I was learning about circular needles, knitting in the round, and knitting top down. I decided I wanted needed to knit a pair of socks and endlessly questioned lovely Louisa from Damselfly’s Delights. Socks people! Suddenly, the age old craft seemed so new and fresh, and exciting. And the tipping point? THIS INSTAGRAM POST by the endearing Katie of Katie Kortman Art. Katie had learned to knit and her beginner choice of garment was colourful and bulky sweaters. I was seriously in.

Pop Jacket, HipKnitShop, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

So. Where to begin? For me, it was the Pop Jacket by Hip Knit Shop in Norway. In addition to patterns, the shop sells yarn and related products. You can find them HERE. I was immediately drawn to the five colour palette of the Pop Jacket…you could make it multiple times and it might never look the same. The cardigan is knit from the top down, on circular needles, with double yarn. The front button band is cast on after completion of the main body. The blue and white yarn is created by using a skein of both white and blue yarn. The instructions are clear but it is assumed that you know how to knit. I think this is typical of most knitting patterns. While I may not be a newbie knitter, I am a knitter that has been gone so long that everything on this project was processed as new information. I could, and I did, call a friend from time to time and Youtube became a new BFF.

Pop Jacket, Hip Knit Shop, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

I began this project in the summer after BC had eased some of its physical distancing suggestions….ie I no longer felt I’d be breaking any rules if I ventured into a yarn shop.  Of course there are lots of online shopping options, but I really wanted to see and feel the yarn before I made my selection of Drops Karisma Superwash. Unfortunately, it was my yarn choice that was ultimately the weakest link. I love the colours of my sweater…yes they are vibrant and playful in real life. I love that the yarn is 100% wool…a big step up from my early synthetic yarn days. And I like the price point of this yarn…the cost was well under half the price of the yarn ‘I really coveted’.  The big disappointment, however, is how incredibly stretchy this wool is. Louisa describes Superwash wool as slippery and I couldn’t agree more. My cardigan grows with wear and I find this annoying. The neckline stretches out and the sleeves get longer. After machine washing and drying, it shrinks back to original size, so it’s not a complete loss. I just have to be prepared to shrink it back up in the dryer from time to time. I guess on the good news side…I know it’s easy to launder.

Pop Jacket, HipKnitShop, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

Nope…not napping in this photo. Nor am I basking in late afternoon sunlight. Just that shot where my eyes happen to be closed. From the side view you can see the ‘fullness’ of the Pop Jacket. I made a size small, but I lengthened the body a bit and I shortened the sleeves.

You don’t have to like math in order to knit, but you have to do math in order to knit. Sleeves get their nice tapered shape by casting off stitches at regular intervals. The pattern instructions clearly state which rows to cast off and how many stitches to cast off each time….however…because I made the sleeves shorter I had to ‘draft’ a new sleeve. And…I had to keep precise notes of what I did so that I could knit an identical sleeve on the other arm.

The majority of the Pop Jacket is knit in stockinette stitch with garter stitch accenting the bands of colour of the sleeves.

Pop Jacket, HipKnitShop, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

I hadn’t made buttons in a while, but as I was unable to get into my favourite button stores, I decided to dig into my stash of Sculpey Primo and make my own. One of the little extras I do when working with Sculpey for buttons is after the buttons have been ‘cooked’ and cooled, I wet sand them beginning with 180 grit and working my way to about 2,000 grit. This extra love and attention gives the buttons a smoother, shinier finish.

Looking at the above photo, I’m reminded that the most challenging aspect of this project turned out to be the button band. Again, there is some math involved when it comes to determining the number of stitches to cast on for the band. I calculated my cast on stitches correctly but redid. And redid. My buttonholes numerous times.  I finally settled on a 2 stitch yarn over buttonhole. I intentionally placed all my buttonholes within the garter stitch sections of the rib…and as a result they are not evenly spaced on the band. For someone….me…used to controlling the look of buttonholes on sewn garments, it was a struggle to let go and accept this small imperfection. The only other change….the band is narrower than the pattern calls for.

Pop Jacket, HipKnitShop, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

Well. I think that covers my first knit project. Do you knit? I would love to hear if you a favourite designer or have suggestions for helpful resources.

 

Wearing:

Pop Jacket : : Hip Knit Shop

Gaston Trousers : : Republique du Chiffon See another pair HERE

Roscoe Blouse : : True Bias

12 Comments

  • Reply Sheila (of Ephemera) October 30, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Wow, what a fabulous sweater, Sue! You did a fantastic job! I love your choice of colours and you MADE the buttons? Get outta town!

    I grew up knitting and crocheting and have considered delving back into crochet (I’m a creative person with my wool – not good at patterns! – and prefer doing my own thing), to either try a piece of clothing or just mess around with it. I’ve made oodles of scarves in the past, and once did an entire Barbie Doll collection – we’re talking 40+ outfits, including hats, bags, pants, shorts, tops, skirts, so many dresses, and even a bathing suit! I also completed it with a wedding dress, and gave the whole collection to my nieces who were 10 and 12 at the time (they were boggled but loved it).

    Speaking of getting out of town…time to find a closer hairdresser! Ours is moving north of town in the new year, so both me and my husband need to find a new one. I’m not willing to take a bus, that’s how close mine needs to be!

    Glad to see you – and hope you are well! 🙂 I was reminded of the Vancouver blogger meet-up (can you believe that was 5 years ago??) on my last post so I’ve been thinking of you, and the other folks I met there.

    • Reply Sue October 30, 2020 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Sheila! Thanks for the newsy update! My stylist is in Brentwood Bay….that would be a very, VERY long walk for you and L. 🙂 She moved last year and was commuting into Vancouver a few days a week but…no surprise…the pandemic has changed so much. There are some awesome little salons in downtown Vic and I’m sure you’ll find someone lovely!

      I’m finding the knitting to be calming and I imagine crochet would be the same. I get into a meditative zone, unlike when I’m sewing. Your Barbie collection sounds amazing…I sometimes regret that we didn’t grow up in the age of cell phones with cameras. We could have documented all the inspiring things we made while being kids. I really encourage you to get back into your crochet. You’d come up with something awesome, I’m sure!!

      We’re well thanks…sometimes a little discombobulated, but otherwise fine!

      Sue xo

  • Reply Miriam Hedderson October 30, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    A wonderful sweater, Sue…well done! I sew and knit also. Check out a wonderful yarn source online…Georgian Bay Fibre Co. The colours are out of this world and Carla who does the dye work is inspirational!
    Love it when you blog!

    • Reply Sue October 30, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Miriam!

      Thank you so much! Both for the compliments and for the suggestion of an online yarn source! I’m really excited to check out Georgian Bay Fibre Co.

      One of the things I noticed when working on this cardigan is that my time knitting didn’t ‘take away’ from my sewing time. Even though they are both fibre arts, I find they fill different creative expressions for me. All in all, it’s a great feeling!

  • Reply Mel October 30, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Knitting boggles my mind. I don’t think I’d ever be able to keep track of when to do what, but I love the idea of how you doubled up the yarn. Your colour choices are gorgeous and the buttons go the extra mile (kilometer?). Congratulations on this! Stunning. And great photos too. Plus I love your writing – so good!!

    • Reply Sue November 4, 2020 at 8:12 am

      I have to keep track with pencil and paper. The doubled yarn is a pattern requirement so I can’t take credit for that either. I do love how it creates a patterned look with the blue and white though.

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion October 31, 2020 at 1:37 am

    Oh how I adore this cardigan. The colours, the different patterns, stitches, the buttons (oh such lovely buttons). The way it hangs. The way you styled it with the socks, boots and hat. I am totally in love with this outfit. And I bow deeply for you.
    When I was in primary school I was taught how to knit and I was far to impatient for it. I never got past a few little things like a scarf for my doll. Haven’t knitted since.
    You have knitted so evenly, so smoothly. Really you can be very proud of yourself.
    Greetje

    • Reply Sue November 4, 2020 at 8:15 am

      Thanks Greetje! I struggled with knitting when I was little too. Trying to get my head, and my hands, around the needles, the stitches…and the tension….were such a challenge. Plus….I learnt to knit English style which is quite different than European style. After having had so many years away from knitting, I was able to re-learn knitting European/Continental style and it’s really helped my tension.

  • Reply Miriam Hedderson November 3, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Sue…I am totally inspired to knit one of these jackets. I’m seeing that you used DK weight wool, doubled. What size of needle did you use to get the great result? Thanks.

    • Reply Sue November 4, 2020 at 8:19 am

      Oooo…that’s awesome Miriam.

      The pattern calls for 9mm circular needles for the rib and 10mm circular needles for the body.
      The gauge is 10 stitches x 14 rows = 10cm x 10cm in stockinette
      The pattern instructions are for using their Hipwool doubled.
      I made the size XS-Small
      Hope that helps!

  • Reply Beth Theis November 6, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Ravelry! This “Facebook for knitters” has the outstanding advantage that you can search for patterns in multiple ways – type of item, age, yarn gauge, yarn amount, yarn fibre… Then, best of all, you can see who’s knit the patterns, how they look on real bodies, what modifications knitters have made to the patterns, what alternate yarns they have used… Many discussion forums, etc., which I don’t bother with, but I document my projects with notes to myself about what I did and what I’d do differently another time. Must also, for beginning knitters, recommend Tin Can Knits: two young women designers, one in BC and one in Scotland, who have a suite of free patterns and tutorials to get people started.

  • Reply Beth Theis November 6, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    I should just add that Ravelry is not like Facebook in that they’re not in the business of selling your data. I think the couple who run it make their money by charging designers who use the site to sell their patterns.

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