04 August 2010


(Photo: Cuddy Hubby and I looking into a late afternoon sun with
Flathead Lake, Montana behind us.)

After two years and three previous blog posts (18 July 2008, 4 June 2010, 5 June 2010), I am elated to report that I have completed the Puzzlemaker Jacket by Kerry Ferguson. I completed it while on vacation in Washington State in late June. The knitting had been completed in Atlanta, but there was the matter of weaving in ends and devising a closure.

What I learned:
Even if you live in the South, cotton is not your friend if your project involves a lot of ends. I got the best results for weaving in mercerized cotton by splitting the plies and running them in different directions, then weaving the yarn back on itself and splitting it with a chenille needle. This is similar to the technique used in a Russian join or for weaving in ends on needlepoint canvaswork. There are triangles which took as much time to weave in ends as they did to knit. Changing the pattern from two colors to three only intensified this issue.

The trick of changing gauge to change size did seem to work on this garment. My gauge is around 5.5 stitches per inch. I believe the original pattern is written at 4.5 stitches per inch. I ended up with a garment that fits me, a 32-inch chest, rather than the 44-inch chest for which the pattern is written.

While part of my initial attraction to the pattern was the idea of picking up along the end of the previous triangle as you go, I think this project might be better worked as individual triangles later seamed together. For one thing, the combination of garter and stockinette tends to pucker, so it really needs to be blocked flat. I think it is easier to block individual triangles flat rather than a completed jacket.

Secondly, I am not certain that all the math on this garment is correct. I ended up cutting ten stitches off the right-hand edge of Triangle L, which forms the long diagonal right front of the garment. As that was the next to last triangle, I could tell from my well-established gauge that the edge of Triangle K was simply not long enough to pick up all the bottom of Triangle L. So I worked Triangle L as written, except that I pretended the last ten stitches on the right didn't exist. That adjustment did make Triangle L a little shorter as well as a little narrower, but that worked out just fine. There are a couple places where this garment sort of fits together, particularly at the shoulders and sleeves. If each triangle were worked separately, you could go back and make changes as you put it together if you discover it does not fit quite as you would like. But if you join as you go, it is much more difficult to make adjustments to fit. And I do have to say that the back fit together pretty well.

And speaking of fit and seams, I did make a couple short seams at the shoulders. The neck opening turned out to be a very wide boatneck. The seams I sewed are about the width of the blue border, so they fit in very nicely and make sense with the overall design of the garment. Without them, the sleeves would tend to drop off my shoulders to produce the retro Flashdance look. And if I were to make this garment again, I would not try to sew the bottom seam of the sleeves, but would just leave them to flutter.

I've made a closure using hooks and eyes. In the pictures I have two sets, but I might add a third or I might just seam the whole front closed. I don't know that I'd ever wear this jacket hanging open. I did paint the hooks and eyes to match the bright blue so they blend. And I sewed them on using a single ply split off from a leftover length of the bright blue cotton.

I should add that Abbi Barden at Martingale & Company was very kindly able to provide me with a correction for the "blob" problem on the Triangle I graph. I point this out because even if you don't wish to work the whole Puzzlemaker garment, I believe the individual motifs are worth consideration. Kerry Ferguson has a wonderful and rare sense of texture as well as color in her designs. I think some of the Puzzlemaker motifs would work fabulously on accessories such as mittens, scarves, or bags. I was able to get some wonderful pooling and flashing effects from the Schaefer yarn because the triangles are all smallish units. While I'm not 100% happy with the front of the garment, I love the bold graphic look of the back. Anybody who gets stuck behind me in a long line should be able to stay amused simply by contemplating the back of this jacket.

And just to add a little humor to this already long post, a few observations about Montana.

1. Cuddly Hubby and I both agreed, the sky really is bluer in Glacier National Park.
2. I now understand why Ted Turner wants to buy the state.
3. A place where people live "off the grid" in the middle of majestic nowhere and can be snowed in for several weeks at a time produces a population of self-sufficient, practical individualists who do not see a reason to waste highway funds on guard rails.
4. "Speed Limit 75 MPH." This is the only place the Cuddly Hubby has driven where he wasn't completely comfortable driving the posted limit.
5. Fishing is a basic human need. Other states have signs indicating where restrooms, food, fuel, and lodging can be found. Montana has signs indicating where access to fishing is available. There is an exit off Interstate 90 that doesn't go anywhere, it just provides access to a stream running along the expressway. After driving for two or three hours, don't you really need a quick fishing break to rejuvenate and regain focus?

Can we find a state to provide similar signage -- "Yarn Next Exit" -- for knitting?


Donna said...

Just stumbled on your blog - terrific! Love your passion for yarn. Glad you keep it nurtured.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the jacket. Not that I have the knowledge to appreciate the achievement, but still cool.-fraser