A Stripey Jacket

I knew this winter a priority in my knitting was to make something substantial for my nephew, Willem. Over the years I’ve made small things for him – socks, hats a vest or two but I hadn’t ever made a proper winter garment for him. By proper I meant a jumper or cardigan, something significant, with sleeves. A few months ago RoseRed made a jacket for her son (a test knit) and she told me the pattern would go up to size 8. I snapped it up and knew it was the one. The pattern is the Alex Jacket and I gave it to Willem on the weekend after a fairly intense few weeks to get it done.

He happily modelled it for me.

Willem's Jacket

I loved knitting this for him. I started knitting properly around the time he was born and so he’s grown up watching me do it. He just knows that it’s what Aunty Bells does and he’s always been a responsive and loving recipient of my efforts. It makes for a very gratifying knitting experience.

Willem's Jacket

The yarn is Cascade 220 and the colours were chosen for me by RoseRed who picked it up for me when she was in Berry a couple of months ago. I’d asked her to look out for what they had and she called me and suggested the chocolate and blue and what a great combination it is. I love it. It suits my blonde haired boy so well.

The pattern is a great one. It’s knitted in one piece, starting with the hood and then down from there. Couldn’t be simpler.

Designer Celia Ng has provided a lengthy document with several options (you can knit it with or without stripes, with or without cables, hooded or hoodless and with a variety of finishes). She also provides suggested striping options – I chose one of the reverse fibonacci stripe patterns and my sister Adele suggested making the chocolate the dominant colour because, as mums of boys well know, it’s likely to last longer between washes if it’s a darker colour!

In all the photos we took of him with the hood down, he is holding his neck and it was only afterwards I figured out why.

Willem's Jacket

He said the wool is a bit scratchy. I must have sounded very disappointed because he put his arm around me and said ‘Don’t worry, I’ll still wear it.’ What a trooper. I thought it over and well, yes, cascade 220 can be a little scratchy I think and it does soften on subsequent washes but I think the weight of the hood must make the neck drag a little at his throat. I think when he’s got the hood down he’ll be ok if she opens the top button. It should help. But honestly, hearing those words ‘it’s a bit scratchy’ is just horrible for a knitter isn’t it? It’s the last thing we want to hear!

I modified it a little at the sleeves – in the pattern the sleeves are very loose at the wrist and though I think it looks great, I just wonder at the practicality of it. I could just see Willem dragging loose sleeves through just about everything and so I opted to make the wrist cuffs more fitted.

And here is the obligatory ‘crazy’ shot that kids are so fond of doing.

Willem's Jacket

Willem just got glasses for the first time last week. I believe these are the first photos of him wearing them. So very handsome.

So in summary, the nearly three weeks I took to make this were a joy. The hood taught me a few lessons in working short rows (a perennially loathed knitting technique of mine) and I think it turned out pretty well. A lot of wool goes into that hood – a whole skein of Cascade 220! It has panels of rib down the side (couldn’t get a decent photo of that) which allows room for growth which is a great idea!

I know this is a pattern I’ll return to again. Willem will be too big for the pattern in a couple of years but I know it’ll get dragged out for newborns and toddlers alike in years to come, boys and girls, because it’s so very versatile. Can’t ask for much more than that from a kids’ pattern can you?

From the leftover yarn, I made a cardigan for Alice – photos of that to come!



25 thoughts on “A Stripey Jacket

  1. Pingback: Knits for Little People in 2011 | Bellsknits

  2. Pingback: In Threes Cardigan: A Cardigan for Alice | Bellsknits

  3. Thats a great cardigan, you are so lucky that he likes to wear your knits. My son never did! Try fabric conditioner on the sweater, it might take the tickle out.

  4. He is indeed very handsome with his glasses and hoodie! Great colour combination Bells, and I’m sure the yarn will unscratchy itself with some washing and wear. It’s definitely worth giving it a soak with some hair conditioner, it’s worked for me on a pretty scratchy scarf.

    Even with the itchyness, it looks like Willem really likes his hoodie and appreciates your gift to him.

  5. WOW that turned out great – love the stripes and great fit. Cas. 220 is a great basic yarn and rather robust, so for little people and all that work it’s a great choice of yarn. Great colours too 😀

  6. It looks lovely and Willem seems a willing model. Pity about the scratchiness; I hope it softens on washing.

    I’ve finshed three Drop Stitch scarves recently, all in hand-dyed Bendigo Classic; I washed them all in hair conditioner to get rid of that scratchy feeling.

  7. its just gorgeous. fantastic colour combo, suits him so well. some of us are more sensitive to ‘scratchy’ than others, i find 220 a bit scratchy, same for bendi rustic. but a good soak might help, and its so cute that he doesnt want to hurt your feelings. such a great job!

  8. The jacket looks fantastic on Willem. I like his new glasses too. I think I will have to make one up for my nephews too and the colors are perfect for boys as they do like to get a bit dirty dont they!

  9. That looks great on the newly bespectacled Willem! I’ve never knit a hood, partly because I try to avoid picking up stitches, so this pattern is even more appealing since it’s knit in one piece. Well done!

  10. It’s a good color combination. And such a versatile pattern. It looks like something he could wear for a long time (unless he goes through one of those infamous growth spurts!)

  11. VERY cute! And won’t it be sweet for Alice to have a matching one! William is so sweet. Tell him it’ll be less itchy after a few washes, I promise.

  12. Willem looks very handsome indeed!! I think glasses are very dashing, as is the new jacket. Love the colours together and the mathematical striping!!

  13. I’ve had success softening 220 by soaking it in a bath with some hair conditioner squirted in (mix it around in the water first so it’s not clumpy, then put the sweater in). That should help. My kids are fine with 220 for hats & mittens but not so much sweaters. That said, it’s really nice and I love the color combo!

  14. Looks fantastic Bells – am sure with the top button down the “scratchiness” will disappear and Cascade220 usually softens up nicely with a wash or two.

  15. That is such a sophisticated combination and light years ahead of the junior navy, cold olive (in contrast to bronze olive) and brash red that dominate boys’ outerwear in Australia. Go Willem, Go Glasses, Go Crazy Shots !

  16. It looks great! Love the blue hood and brown stripey body, it looks great. And looks like it’s got some wiggle room so hopefully will still fit next year, which would be great!
    I’m sure if it worn open or unbuttoned a bit, Willem won’t notice any scratchiness!

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