Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Birthday Bog Jacket

Pattern: Bog Jacket, with modifications/add-ons - found in Knitting Around
Yarn: Southwest Trading Co Karaoke, in Durango (I think), with accents in Forest and a tan colored discontinued colorway.
Needles: US6 / 4.0 mm, gauge 4 st/ridges per inch
Size: 42"

Comments and modifications: and there are many! Lets start with the general commentary, shall we?

The Bog Jacket is a garment made essentially from a square or rectangular piece of fabric with little to no waste - for more information and instructions on constructing your own Bog Jacket, please refer to either the book above, or check out this PDF on a woven fabric Bog Jacket. Knit in Garter Stitch, this version of the Bog features the similar construction details - the Garter Stitch fabric was chosen because it lends itself easily to the math and grafting required in assembly. That said, it also lends itself to its own peculiarities. In particular, I re-discovered what I already knew...that Karaoke + Garter St + water (by way of blocking) = Ginormous Knitting - so much so that once I properly blocked the jacket, it is now probably considered tunic length (well past my hips, which is where it was pre-blocking) and the sleeves...oh my goodness. The Sleeves are crazy long. Like long enough for an orangutan - Right now, I'm calling the Bog "Done" - without any closures on it (initially I was thinking zipper, now I'm thinking frog closures, or something similar), and with the crazy long sleeves turned back about 3 times for really fat cuffs. If they bother me too much having those massive bumper-like cuffs bongling around my hands and wrists, I'll consider it Steek practice and use a crochet-reinforcement to mark the cutting point.

Now then, the modifications - I did the various modifications that were suggested by EZ with the exception of the fake seams and the pockets - these included: Short rows in the back to make a slight dropped hemline in the back of the jacket, short rows in the sleeves in an attempt to make them less kimono-like, shoulder shaping (moved out just a smidge from the recommended location, and they hit my shoulders perfectly now, even with all the extra stretch in the fabric), waist shaping (though I had to rip out the entire bottom of the jacket once I had it seamed to relocate the shaping to be much higher), and applied i-cord all the way around. Other modifications or diversions from the proscribed formula: I made the "body" portion of the bog jacket shorter than recommended - I don't recall the as-knitted length, but with the stretch that occurred during blocking, it is more than long enough! For extra sleeve length, I measured my own "wing-span" and determined and cast on the "appropriate" number of stitches to get me to that length - unfortunately I think with all the stretch that has occurred, I may well have been okay casting on very few extra stitches, though I will have to go back to my notes to double check!

Comments for possible future bog knitters - keep in mind that the knitted bog jacket should allow you some flexibility to make the garment fit you in a customized manner. Keeping in mind the extra stretchiness of garter stitch, depending on your personal circumference, you may want to make note of the following:
  • Seriously consider the growth that might happen with your yarn choice and the knitted fabric for your sleeves - you may not need to cast on many extra stitches at all to obtain proper sleeve length!
  • 50% of your circumference may well be way too much fabric for both the sleeves and body lengths - I'd recommend measuring the armscye of a t-shirt that you like to determine the appropriate number of rows to knit for the sleeves.
  • Consider knitting the bog from the top down - if you're really clever, this will allow you to basically make a shrug-like garment - you'd get the kitchenering of the sleeve(s) done earlier on, and you could determine if you've knit way too much sleeve depth or not enough. You may even be able to do the kitchnering without even doing the "thumb trick" but I'm not certain ;) since I haven't completely thought it through. Anyhow, once you have the shrug-like garment completed and the bottom all held on a huge circular needle, you can try it on, and knit your waist shaping accordingly.

Now updated with a photo of me *in* my bog jacket, and all it's stretched garter stitch glory :) Don't get me wrong, I learned a LOT in this construction, and I do like the jacket - it's just it will likely wind up being more like a house / car coat kind of thing rather than an every-day cardi like my Ribby Cardi or my Cabled Cardi.

ps. yes, I know my cardi matches my cat. I wish I could say that his posing on it was planned....but you know cats ;)