Modifications to patterns

Before I get into the project the title refers to, I have a confession to make. I suppose this should come as no surprise, but I despise the image of knitters. I constantly run into references in books, articles, and film of little old ladies knitting. I know the person they were referring to. I think it was my grandmother. Late in life, my paternal Grandparents moved to an apartment. They had a restaurant schedule— Big Boy on Tuesdays, Red Lobster on Wednesdays, Mr. Steak on Thursdays, etc. They had a field guide to birds and looked up the pictures for the birds that frequented the drainage pond behind the apartment. They drove a nice Buick sedan. And Grandma prosed on about how she learned to drive before Grandpa did (wish I had listened more closely to those stories).  I know that I will be an old lady one day and I might watch the birds that come to the bird feeder outside my window and discuss them with my friends.  I might have pizza every Wednesday and Salmon every Friday and discuss every pain with other people my age, but I am not there yet.

As previously noted, I have been knitting since I was a kid. I made an afghan at about 16. I made several projects before I turned 50. And even though I’m 52 now, I still don’t feel like a little old lady. I wish I could change the image, but despite knitting enjoying resurgence with 20-somethings, I don’t imagine the image will change. So, let me shut up and proceed.

I have a very long list of knitting projects. I am usually working on several projects at once. I can’t seem to stick to only one. And I am also the queen of never using the same yarn as the pattern calls for.

So, I am making a pullover based on a Knit Simple pattern from the Spring/Summer 2013 issue. The pattern is for a pullover with a kangaroo pocket by Jeannie Chin, which the magazine labels a Striped Anorak.   You can see the pattern here:

The pattern as written is knit from side to side (sleeves included in front and back pieces) and uses a garter stitch and 3 colors of Cotton Fleece by Brown Sheep Company to make a stripe pattern. I wanted to more closely resemble the similar woven Baja/Mexican hoodie that you can buy in any college town. So, I changed the pattern to a slip-stitch that resembles twill weave. Also, I am using a self-striping yarn from Knitpicks Chroma worsted.

The stitch I am using has a 4 row, 4 stitch repeat, but to make more sense I am using a larger stitch repeat (4 repeats) with 2 selvedge stitches:

Row 1: K1, *S(lip)2 with yarn in front (wyif), K2,* rep ** 4x, K1

Row 2: K2, *S2 with yarn in back (wyib), K2,* rep ** 4x

Row 3: K3, *S2 wyif, K2,* rep **3x, K1

Row 4: K4, *S2 wyib, K2,* rep ** 3x, K2

drug_rag_cu2     drug_rag_CU4

So, basically, the pattern is a double slip-stitch that moves one stitch every row. The fabric is less stretchy than garter stitch and the rows are more compressed. However, my stitch gauge turned out to be about equivalent to the pattern requirements. This works pretty well, because you can use the stitch counts from the pattern, but you have to adjust the row counts and knit as many rows as needed to get the measurements on the schematic drawing. That is, knit enough rows to get the length (width of the piece) you need instead of following the pattern with regard to the number of rows.

Below, is a picture of the garment so far. I probably won’t have enough yarn for a hood, but I might be able to make the pocket. We’ll see. Part of the yarn amount issue is that I need to match colors when changing skeins. Note also, that the striping in this yarn sometimes goes one way and then goes the other way. In other words, the colors have the sequence in this particular colorway is as follows: yellow (y), green (g), butterscotch (b), orange (o), brown (br), light green (lg).   But, the sequence arbitrarily reverses at random places in the color sequence. For example the incomplete piece show below goes (from the left) y, g, b, o, br, lg, y, g, b, o, br, lg (hard to see), y, g and then goes backwards as g, y, lg, br, o, b, g, etc. This doesn’t bother me, but if you don’t like it, you can break the yarn when you hit one of these reverses and wind the yarn off the skein and restart with yarn going in the original direction.

The other thing that might not be desirable about the self-striping yarn is that the sleeves have a different width to their stripes. The pattern avoids this by using separate colors. You could still use the self-striping yarn and avoid this by one of two choices: 1) change colors manually or 2) you could knit the sleeves separately in the other direction (sideways for a sleeve). The former would include a lot of ends to work in and you might find you want to switch colors in the middle of a color (when the color is consistent before/after transition to or from the adjacent color). The later would have the knitting going around the arm instead of lengthwise up/down the arm but would approximate the same distance for a row as the body part of the front and back.


Please note there is an unfortunate association for this style of garment.   My kids call this type of garment a Drug Rug. Not only that, but when you use “Drug Rug” as a search term on, this type of garment shows up.


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