I am very enamored of this blazer, "Elizabeth," by Kim Hargreaves. This was my first time knitting a jacket with a notched collar, and I thought the design was quite ingenious. It did take a bit of blocking to make sure that each side of the notch was exactly the same shape and length, but that is what steam is for! I am usually not a fan of knitted collars that emulate suit jackets, as the knitted fabric of the collar inevitably looks less polished than a store-bought piece. But I think Kim Hargreaves successfully avoided a limp or ragged-looking collar by using a double moss stitch pattern to stiffen it. The aran-weight yarn in the design also added thickness to the collar, which made it look more substantial. I think it blends seamlessly with the rest of the jacket, which is probably the best you can do with a hand-knitted fabric. It did help that I chose a yarn in a dark tweed, which disguises any imperfections with the line of the collar edge resulting from the varying knits and purls of the double moss stitch.
Underneath the jacket is a print top that I sewed this September in anticipation of pairing it with the purple yarn. I think the print modernizes the jacket a bit, as you can see in comparison to the effect of the jacket paired with a conventional white blouse:
For those of us who are attempting to use up our stash, it is particularly satisfying to repurpose yarn from a failed project. My yarn of choice was Rowan felted tweed aran. The first incarnation of it was in Goodwill, which my knitting companions suggested that I rename “Bound for Goodwill” given the disastrous result of that jacket, which did look like it belonged in a thriftstore bin. Whether it was my loose knitting gage or some issue with the pattern I will never know, but the front opening of the cardigan drooped so terribly that I had to give it up. My kind mother-in-law, who happened to be visiting, whisked away the offending mess, unraveled it, washed all the yarn, and wound it into skeins, just like a good knitting fairy! Inspired by her kindness, I was able to start fresh on Elizabeth with my “new yarn” all ready to go!
I scavenged three of the self-covered buttons I had created for Goodwill to make Elizabeth, and I think this allows the buttons to blend seamlessly into the fabric, much like the collar. I did add extra waist shaping to this pattern--you can see the shaping particularly in the back:
My one departure from this pattern was the sleeves. I think some women can really pull off a 70’s inspired flared sleeve, but as this jacket was meant for work, and my style is more tailored, I didn’t favor that. Also, when I knitted up the sleeve according to the pattern, the cuff tapered from a wide trumpet to such a narrow point that it seemed painted onto my forearm. It was just too tight, so I spent about two weeks fiddling with variations, until I was able to create a straight sleeve that slowly widened to the prescribed number of stitches that allowed me to follow the pattern directions for the cap; thus ensuring it would fit into the armhole.
It all turned out well, and I am very relieved. In case anyone else is interested in knitting their sleeves straight, I have posted instructions below:
For a size small sleeve:
Cast on 72 stitches.
Row 1: (Sl1, K1, psso) to end
Row 2: purl
Next 4 rows: double moss stitch
Row 7: increase 1 stitch at each end.
Keep increasing one stitch at each end every 4 rows x 2, then every 6 rows x2, then every 8 rows until your total number of increases is 57 stitches. Continue straight until sleeve measures 46 cm from cast on edge, ending w/ a WS row. Shape cap, following pattern instructions.