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Math4Knitters, Crafty Living: Show 56

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Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette
There are no words. There is only cuteness.

Math4Knitters, Crafty Living, Show 56

Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette
Between the hat and the jacket, I used just about all of two skeins of Encore worsted.

This week, I chat with a knitter and designer in Michigan and share a pattern for a baby jacket at an angle.

Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette
A slight variation in the short row lengths helps add a little more complexity to this very simple pattern.


This baby jacket is a pretty clever use of short-rows. I based it on a pattern from Good Housekeeping New Complete Book of Needlecraft's 1971 edition. (Ravelry link) My version uses a much larger gauge, worsted-weight yarn and some variations on the yoke. I also added a way to handle the edge stitches and color changes in a consistent way.

Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette
These are "peasant" sleeves. You could add ribbing or add more short-rows to shape them into a more snug cuff.

On the yoke, I made the short-rows vary by 1 stitch to introduce a slightly more intricate pattern. It's very subtle in these yarns, but if you had more contrast between yarns, it would stand out more. I think you could change it even more, but I wanted to see how this worked out.

Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette

The principle is, if you work in short-rows, and more or less stack them up on each other, you are basically creating one piece of knitting that has two lengths at the same time. In this case, there is a shorter row every other row. So, if you work for 20 rows, you will have made one side of the piece 20 rows long and the other side 10 rows long.

Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette
You could add buttons, if you wish.

If you turn this piece of knitting sideways, the narrow edge of the knitting could be the neck of a sweater. This turns out to work very well. You can exploit this effect further by changing the colors every other row. This creates a vertically-striped sweater with a solid-colored neck. It also makes the short-rows easier to both understand and keep track of. As Joni Marie and I discussed in the last show, short-rows in garter stitch are pretty much invisible. Using two colors makes them more obvious, but you still don't need to wrap or do anything else to jump the gap in the rows. The squishiness of garter stitch takes care of that for you.

Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette
The shaping is actually surprisingly rounded at the shoulders.

Using two colors on the edge of the piece was a little bit of a challenge for me. I struggled along for a little while. Then, I decided to just the last stitch of each row on the outside edge with both yarns. This kept that edge both neat and stretchy.

Laura J. Gardner - The Journal Gazette
This is the "wrong" side of the work. Garter stitch does interesting and pretty things when worked this way, I think. If you want your jacket to be reversible, just make sure to darn in your ends using duplicate stitch.

I also varied the length of the short rows by 1 stitch, to make the pattern a little more interesting. So, on one short row, you knit 30, then turn. In the next short row, you knit 31, then turn. This is subtle, as I said, but I like the way it looks.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Working both strands of yarn together for the last stitch of each outer edge row and then slipping the stitch creates an elastic, pretty edge.

Ignoring the seams in the original pattern, I grafted the beginnings and ends of the sleeves together. You may want to do that or you could work a three-needle bind-off there.

The jacket could be more sophisticated. Short-row shaping on the sleeves could create more of a cuff and replicate the white edge of the neck. Or, you could make the sleeves shorter, pick up stitches, and make little white cuffs in ribbing. I like a peasant-style straight sleeve. I hear that little kids are squirmy and sometimes you have to reach through the end of the sleeve to pull their little hands through. Personally, I would like a wider sleeve if I had to do that.

If you were so inclined, you could add more fullness to the back of the jacket. You could even add more short-rows all of the way around below the torso break to create a kind of skirted look. If you do, send me a picture!


My conversation this week is with Tanya Thomann, who goes by TanyaTho on Ravelry. We ramble a bit, but we cover a lot of ground, too.