It always takes me longer to find a good name for a project than it does to knit it. I’ve decided to call the current “modern-art” sweater the Mondrian Jacket after Piet Mondrian, an artist working in the De Stijl art movement in Holland in the early 1900’s. His artwork was characterized by the asymmetrical balance of blocks of color, intended to strip art down to its most essential components. As often happens with famous artwork, I didn’t even know Mondrian’s name until I went looking for it, but I subconsciously had his paintings in my mind’s eye as I designed the color blocks for this piece. I left out the solid black lines and strayed from the primary colors a bit, but the asymmetry and the solid blocks and dynamic color arrangement remain.

Knitting on the jacket continues apace. I was a bad blogger and completely failed to take a photo of the body laid flat before seaming it up, but here’s a nighttime photo of it in progress. This was taken just before the midpoint, in one of the early fit-tweaking sessions.


The sweater is knit up from the hem (which also wraps around the back), then a large section is bound off at the armpit, when increases and shoulder shaping begin. The photo above was taken just after shaping the first shoulder, and before knitting across the sweater back.

Here’s a picture of the swatch sweater laid flat at a similar stage (note that this one was knit with the right side first, while the actual sweater was knit with the left panel first…doesn’t change anything about the shaping, but the swatch would wrap around the mannequin on the opposite side):


From there, I knit across the back, shaped the second shoulder, and then knit down to the hem on the opposite side. I stopped to steam press the fabric so that it would lay flat for a photo, and then completely failed to take it before seaming up the back.

I then picked up stitches from the increase sections and knit the sleeves from the top down.



The only two seams in the garment are shown with dashed lines in the photo below.

joseph coat seams

I still need to finish the second sleeve and knit the front bands and collar, but on size 3 needles it’s going very quickly. I’m a bit torn about what to do with the collar (I  drew it as a flat, kimono-like neckline, but am also considering a deep shawl collar instead), but I think that my choice may be made by my yarn supply in the end. I think that the modern design probably calls for sharper, cleaner lines anyway, so the flat front is probably best. I’m playing a bit of yarn chicken with this project, which was intended to use up yarn from the stash (it will). I definitely have enough to finish the sleeves – wasn’t sure for a while there, but I’m certain now – but I don’t know how much I’ll have left in the dark green for the front bands. Fortunately, Cascade does still make this color if I get myself into a scrape, but I want to see if I can make it without buying any more yarn. It’s always fun to have a challenge, right?

I made a couple of adjustments to the fit while knitting that changed the location of the seam lines. I was hoping for a slightly closer-to-center vertical seam, but I think I’m ok with where it ended up. After trying the sweater on, I think I would also add some short row darts in the sweater back section; it could use a little more length between the shoulder blades than I could give it with the shoulder shaping alone. (Incidentally, if the back had been longer, the seam would have shown up closer to where I wanted it to be….)

Other than that, I’m very happy with the fit and the design so far. It’s certainly been a quick knit, and it’s used up yarn that’s been in the stash forever. I bought the green and gray Cascade 220 at The Fiber Gallery in Seattle in 2008, intended for a colorwork project that never took off (I decided that the yarn was too heavy a gauge). The red and browns were added to the collection for my “weave-knit” swatches while I was in Madison in early 2011. It’s not often that I get to use up so much of the deep stash in one go, and it feels good to knit it up into something after having it hanging around for so long.