Recently in Jo Aakre Cardigan Category

Casualties: the Jo Aakre Jacket


Now that I've unloaded some of my design-related angst, I'm ready to show y'all the projects that have unintentionally gone by the wayside the past few months while I've been trying to figure out what I wanted from life. :-)


First up is a cardigan/jacket project based on my paternal great-grandmother, Jo Johnson (née Aakre), universally referred to in my memory as "Grandma Jo" or "Grandma Johnson." Translating Jo's character into a garment is a challenge because I think of her as rather un-ornamented, both in her own clothes, and also in her manners. I want the final product to look "plain" but somehow still attractive. Walking the line between "classic" and "frumpy" is always a challenge, especially when Grandma Jo's character keeps inspiring me to veer to the frumpy side! (No disrespect meant, Johnson relations!)

A few months ago I became very enamored of the brioche family of stitches, which combine yarn-overs and k2togs to make a lofty, reversible ribbing that's slightly more visually interesting than a regular 1X1 rib.


Perfect for my goal here: plain and functional, but interesting enough to knit. I knew I wanted a longish cardi/jacket, with pockets (something about Grandma Jo has suggested "cardigan with pockets" since I first started thinking about her design), so I started work on this, which is knit in one piece, back and forth from the bottom up. At some point I started worrying if potential buyers would find the brioche stitch too boring for such an extensive project, but HA HA HA I needn't worry about that anymore! Ahem.

So, that said, there are a few things that I'm going to rip back and revise. You can see a rough sketch of my thoughts here:


My major gripe with Jo Aakre version 1.0 is that the placement of the front decreases is not ideal. At the moment they're right over the pockets, a position based on the princess-line seams in my favorite leather jacket. However, by the time I add a band of knitting to the top of the pocket to hide the lining (indicated by the peach rectangle, although of course the real pocket band will match the rest of the sweater), the first set of decreases will be almost obscured. Given that the architectural lines of decreases and increases are the primary visual interest in the sweater? This is not a good call. It also leaves the front of the sweater looking kind of blocky, an unflattering silhouette for most people.

I'm thinking I'll rip back to just above the pockets, and move the line of decreases and increases over to one of the two locations indicated by the peach V's. I'm leaning toward the right-hand set, since it will coincide with the vertical line of the bust, although the left-hand set of lines might give more of an impression of a narrow waist when the sweater is viewed from the front. Either one will be a lot better than what I currently have, will also create the same kind of long lines I have going on in back:


I may also increase the distance from the first set of decreases to the second, further lengthening the lines. I may also spread out the back decreases more evenly; the benefit of having knitted so much of the bodice already, is that I can position my markers just where I want them, ready to direct me as soon as I get this back on the needles.

So, a fair amount of ripping and soaking is in my future with old Jo here. A good project for a movie night, perhaps. When that's done, and the sleeves are knitted (I was most of the way done with Sleeve 1 when I bogged down on this project previously), I'll just have the raglan yoke remaining. This sweater is one of the top contenders for what to work on after I finish my current project, as it's been sitting on my dress form for months and I've been fitting other sweaters around it!