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Sweater Workshop: Knitting the Breacan Swing Coat

Aug 27, 2010

A note from Kathleen: I'm busily taking photos for the Interweave Knits Fall Galleries, and I'm here to say that everyone LOVES the Breacan Swing Coat. It's  flattering to so many figure types and the weight of it is perfect for fall to early-winter—even here in Spokane where winter can come on like a lion! Almost everyone in the galleries loved this coat, and when asked what they would change, they said "nothing" or " try a different color combo."

So I'm really excited that editor Eunny Jang chose it for her sweater workshop for this issue of
Knits. She's here to talk about the coat in-depth, including tips on color combinations!

    
The Breacan Swing Coat
The Breacan Swing Coat

Gwen Bortner's Breacan Swing Coat in the Fall 2010 issue of Interweave Knits is a real stunner—on every level. Let's break it down.

1) Silhouette. The swing coat shape is a classic, for good reason—fitted at the shoulders for neatness but generously proportioned at the hem, swing coats flatter nearly everyone.

A dramatic collar and buttons keep the attention above the waist, while the extra room provided by the A-line shape and open bottom ensures that the coat moves well and doesn't bind, even if you're sitting down.

Swing coats focus attention on the slenderest parts of hourglass- and pear-shaped bodies, give gentle curves to those with straight figures, and skim over pregnant bellies—it's a wonderfully versatile shape that makes for a practical, pretty staple.
     
    Straight figures Curvy figures Mommas-to-be

2) Yarn. The sample sweater uses a lofty, organic, merino singles yarn, Zitron Nimbus—it's just one step removed from untwisted roving, making it wonderfully light and soft. Because this jacket requires double stranding the yarn throughout, the extra loft helps keep the fabric wearable.

    
Two-color combo
Four-color combo
3) Technique. Gwen riffs off woven tartan with the fabric of this jacket: Horizontal and vertical stripes join and split to form areas of intense color and areas of marl. Working with two colors, say yellow and gray, this gives you three color options: solid yellow, solid gray, and yellow-and-gray marl. This type of pattern is often worked with stranded colorwork, which has a finite limit on the number of colors that can be carried per round.

In this jacket, Gwen approaches the same idea in a different way: The jacket is worked in vertical intarsia stripes and plain horizontal stripes at the same time. This increases the number of possible vertical colors to, theoretically, as many as you want. At the same time, the jacket is worked with two strands held together throughout, which mixes vertical and horizontal color stripes in a very simple and graphic way.

The Breacan Swing Coat uses just four colors of yarn—two brights and two grays. Each color is used both as a vertical stripe and as a horizontal stripe. The finished fabric, however, has ten unique colors in it, since every color is at some point combined with every other color.

4) Color fun! Because the color formula for this jacket is so easy to understand but produces such a rich-looking result, it's a great canvas for experimentation. The basic formula of two neutrals plus two brights in the same color family is a good place to start.

Or you could use two brights in different families; or you could get rid of your neutrals and use all brights; or you could go understated in elegant neutrals! We've done some magic below to show you how these combos might look:
Two neutrals + two brights Two brights in different families Four brights Four neutrals

The choice is yours. At Interweave Knits, we love sweaters that you can put your own stamp on—subscribe now and make sure you don't miss your perfect sweater.

How will you knit the Breacan Swing Coat? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Cheers,


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Comments

Penny@4 wrote
on Aug 30, 2010 7:37 AM

I like this coat but did an internet search yesterday and could not find this yarn in sufficient quantities.  Could you suggest a substitute?

Thanks.

Gauss wrote
on Aug 29, 2010 6:51 AM

I will not be making this, either. It sounds like a lot of fussy knitting for a shape and pattern that frankly seems dowdy and not at all flattering. Sorry.

on Aug 28, 2010 3:26 PM

Won't consider making this one.  I am always intrigued by a plaid to knit, fun the way the colors come together for the final look, but it is just too big a plaid for my style.  And I am not sure of the fit of jacket either.  I don;t like the way the hem falls, but maybe some better blocking would help. All that said I still love Interweave patterns best...  :)

saliroc wrote
on Aug 28, 2010 8:37 AM

This Breacan Swing Coat is just gorgeous.  Have read my e-mail and the other material and can't find the pattern anywhere, nor a place to order the pattern.  Can anyone help?

Joy Henault wrote
on Aug 28, 2010 8:25 AM

I 'm sorry but I don't know these terms:  marl and intarsia.  Where can I find descriptions or definitions?  Also I in the Yarn section I don't understand the last sentence.."Because this jacket requires double stranding the yarn throughout, the extra loft helps keep the fabric wearable. "  Does this mean it is very heavy? Is there a suggestion for an alternate yarn more readily available?

bjhayes wrote
on Aug 28, 2010 7:37 AM

Please explain to me the last sentence in the "yarn" paragraph, that  "Because this jacket requires double stranding the yarn throughout, the extra loft helps keep the fabric wearable." I don't understand - does it make it softer or???  Thanks, Jen

joyenglish wrote
on Aug 28, 2010 2:16 AM

Love the style. Hate the plaid. Plaids are not good for larger figures, except maybe with very subtle color changes. And big plaids like this one will just make a big person look bigger.

Could you post a suggestion for substitute yarn if done with one color?

Thanks.

joyenglish wrote
on Aug 28, 2010 2:13 AM

Love the style. Hate the plaid. Plaids are not good for larger figures, except maybe with very subtle color changes. And big plaids like this one will just make a big person look bigger.

Could you post a suggestion for substitute yarn if done with one color?

Thanks.

Prezlaura wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 8:50 PM

Thinking maybe greys, cream and taupe...love the swing coat! I have a couple of sweaters going right now, but can't wait to cast on for this lovely sweater!! :-)

MayleneC wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 6:03 PM

Love it, love it, love it.That is such a lovely shape you could even knit it without the colour and make it plain with contrasting cuffs abd match buttons to that. Can't wait for that issue to appear in Australia.

yssgrrl wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 5:32 PM

I have to agree with most of the others that this is not a flattering pattern. It is not fitted enough at the top and not 'swinging' enough at the bottom and the plaid would make anyone look 'unfortunate.' I would never make this sweater-coat-whatever.

CarolS@2 wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 5:17 PM

Ouch! To quote Michael Kors on last night's Project Runway....."That's just unfortunate".

My fashionista daughter would be all over l me if I tried to wear it in public.

So, I guess I would never knit it, and if I did it would be a solid with a better fit. I just don't see "flattering" anywhere here.

pizan wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 2:29 PM

I can't wait to knit this jacket.  I am gonna use the colors from my Clan Tartan.  

pizan wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 2:29 PM

I can't wait to knit this jacket.  I am gonna use the colors from my Clan Tartan.  

sandy@35 wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 11:04 AM

Would like to see this coat in a solid........

margewatson wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 10:53 AM

I could not get to the web site to order this pattern which by the way is gorgeous!

Can you help?

jomcrox@aol.com

knitbliss wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 10:42 AM

Nice design. How much would the finished sweater weigh?

Jesusan wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 10:40 AM

This is not one I'll be knitting.  Don't care for the collar style and I think the plaid is awful.  I think the design is for younger people than I.

chris@59 wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 9:22 AM

When I saw this in the magazine I loved it. I would like to see it in browns and creams  instead of the black. This would fearless knitting for me - knit on!

SMGustafson wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 8:56 AM

I'm afraid my knitting skills are not up to doing plaid yet. Do you think the coat could be done in a tweedy yarn without the plaid? I do love the style of it!

MarianneY wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 8:37 AM

Hi. I am curious to know if this swing coat is felted? Many thanks, Marianne

Knitnhook wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 8:21 AM

I am not sure I like the fit of this coat. I think it will make anyone who makes it look larger. I would never have created a plaid. If this was a solid it may make it look less bulky. it also looks like a heavy sweater.

This sweater doesn't fit the model either. The sleeves are way too long and looking at the back view the shoulders are much to wide. The lower neckline also is not very flattering. To make this look more like a true swing coat the top should be narrower and more fitted at the top.

on Aug 27, 2010 7:00 AM

I too completely passed this coat by when looking at the magazine.  

I probably won't do a coat but think that it would make a really super scarf, maybe in moss stitch.  That would give me a chance to "try out" the technique.  Since it will have 2 right sides I will be into bobbins again, but since a scarf is not as wide as a coat that should not be too much of a problem.  I have LOTS of fingering yarn left over from a seires of Latvian mitten projects.

on Aug 27, 2010 7:00 AM

I too completely passed this coat by when looking at the magazine.  

I probably won't do a coat but think that it would make a really super scarf, maybe in moss stitch.  That would gie me a chance to "try out" the technique.  Since it will have 2 right sides I will be into bobbins again, but since a scarf is not as wide as a coat that should not be too much of a problem.  I have LOTS of fingering yarn left over from a seires of Latvian mitten projects.

PamV wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 6:37 AM

I have to admit, I didn't even stop to look at this in my first couple of pages through the magazine, but seeing it now I love it!  

My initial thought was a lower key, monochrome look, but now I'm thinking of trying to leverage some stash yarn for the smaller bits, which means something in the green/teal/purple family - likely on a charcoal background.  

Sherley Aho wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 6:22 AM

Wow very nicely done, this lovely coat would look good plaid or plain, would do it in black white and gray . The plaid makes it look like a Madame coat.

Congrats on the results

Julie@7 wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 5:29 AM

I agree that this SHAPE is becoming on many figures. But even an anorexic woman couldn't wear this giant plaid. This may be the fashion - I'm seeing lots of giant plaid in other knitting publications, too. But it's definitely a "what-not-to-wear" mistake. I might make this coat, but it will definitely be in a solid color.

kplumley wrote
on Aug 27, 2010 5:23 AM

Love the swing coat and will probably choose shades of chocolate, medium brown and taupe