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Sweater Workshop: The Chincoteague Jacket

May 14, 2012

Mimi modeling her Chincoteague Jacket
A note from Kathleen: One of my friends, Mimi, just finished knitting the Chincoteague Jacket from the 2012 Spring issue of Interweave Knits and it is stunning! We took the picture at right before the second sleeve was finished, but still, it's amazing, right?

This is a challenging knit, but so worth it. and it's flattering on lots of body types, too. I can't wait to borrow it from Mimi!

Here's Knits editor Eunny Jang to take us in-depth on the Chincoteague Jacket.

An Experiment in Knitted Architecture

Chincoteague Jacket, side A

In the Spring issue of Interweave Knits, Lisa Jacobs turns knitting inside-out with the Chincoteague Jacket. It's a fascinating piece that takes advantage of stitch structure and garment construction quirks—along with some smart finishing details—to make a completely reversible sweater. Let's look at why it works:

1) A reversible—but two-sided—stitch pattern. This jacket represents one of those great marriages of stitch and garment—it uses a slipped-stitch texture pattern that shows strong herringbone stripes on one side, and a shadowy echo of those stripes on the other. On side A, the stripes are slipped knit stitches floating high above a purled background. On side B, the purls appear as knits, and the slipped stitches disappear, showing only as slight dimples in the fabric where they create tension. The result is a fabric that appeals from the inside and the outside.

2) A crunchy-cool yarn. The Chincoteague Jacket uses a wool/silk blend yarn, Harrisville Designs Silk & Wool, held double throughout. The yarn is slightly, subtly tweedy, with a wonderful heathered quality. It highlights the texture of the slipped stitches, and adds visual richness to the "plain" side of the fabric.

3) Smart construction. This jacket has a classic, double-breasted silhouette with turned-back lapels, set-in sleeves, and knitted-in pockets on the "plain" side. The garment starts with a simple, classic boxy jacket shape with deeply overlapping fronts with a scoop neckline. When a collar piece is knitted on, the upper corners of the front pieces turn back along with the collar to form a lapel that shows a hint of the opposite side's stitch pattern.

Chincoteague, side B
The jacket's real closures are six snaps between the two fronts. Decorative buttons are sewn to both sides of the jacket over the snap positions. Whichever way the garment is worn, the buttons appear to be holding the garment closed, and the fronts are both oriented the right way!

 4) Clever finishing details. The Chincoteague Jacket avoids seams throughout, using invisibly picked-up stitches instead to join one piece of knitting to another. With a body knitted in one piece, shoulder seams that are grafted together, and sleeves that are invisibly picked up and knitted down from the armscyes, the jacket has no ugly wrong-side seam allowances. This invisible pick-up technique is useful in all kinds of places where you don't want a seam to show: If you'd like to try this knitting technique for yourself, just follow these instructions:

*With yarn in back, pick up and knit 1 st, with yarn in front, pick up and purl 1 st; rep from * to end.

At Interweave Knits, we love knits that turn into something more than you'd expect. Subscribe now to make sure you don't miss a single one!

Happy knitting,

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on May 26, 2012 4:32 PM

I totally agree with the post by Ash4J.  This jacket in totally unattractive on a plus size person.  Double-breasted just emphasis girth.  I have learned a lot on new techniques from your website and emails, but rarely knit the patterns that you feature.  Most of them are not flattering on "chuncky-chicks" like me, case in point, Mimi, don't go anywhere in the daylight in this jacket.

sewsweetpink wrote
on May 21, 2012 11:33 AM

Definitely think it looks better on Mimi. Her color choice is nice. I like the length of her unfinished sleeve! . A bracelet length sleeve would mitigate the rather unfitted look which the pattern gives to a thinner person.

1knittymom wrote
on May 19, 2012 2:44 PM

I think it looks far better on Mimi than on the model!! Does seem like an aweful lot of work though for such a lack of fit on the model. I was turned off by the fit on the model in the magazine.

Chingachgook wrote
on May 19, 2012 11:58 AM

The jacket has possibilities... but the shoulder/sleeve line does look ill-fitting. Is it modeled on someone way smaller than this jacket was knit for? Or, is the pattern itself at fault?

The Not-Right-Model was a frequent problem in times of yore; I hope we're not going there again.

JackieW@26 wrote
on May 19, 2012 10:35 AM

I have to agree with most of what Ask4J says--this jacket looks like a lot of work, to end up with a rather lumpy version of what would be a crisp, classic garment in its fabric incarnation.  I'd say I'm just one size down from Mimi, and I know this would feel like a 25 pound sweater when I was done.  The reversible stitch pattern is clever, and the yarn is probably lovely, but I still think--too much of a good thing.  That said, I know I have been delighted with many projects that others would look askance at.  Part of the fun of knitting is that you're pleasing yourself and getting exactly what you chose.

thistle_ink wrote
on May 14, 2012 12:10 PM

I have a question: why is it called the Chincoteague Jacket?  I love Chincoteague, so i was just wondering.

Ask4J wrote
on May 14, 2012 10:30 AM

The Chincoteague Jacket

Wow I am allowed to comment!  Here it is:  this jacket makes even a very thin person look fat so, of course, it looks even worse on poor Mimi who is pleasingly plump, like me.  it is a prime example of what gives knitters a bad rap.  a hand knit project that "failed" look.  my eyes cannot fine one attractive angle or feature of this jacket--and I did try--all I see is a lot of work in pattern and shaping.  With the shoulder seam beyond your shoulder it just looks like the shoulder pads were removed from a thrift store find that had the 1980's over-sized shoulder pads.  It is a tailored style that should be crisp and professional, that element is not there.  I have seen, however, knitted versions of the famous Chanel jacket in a Korea drama that was very attractive, crisp and professional.  Yes, I am a Kdrama fan--they have the most creative knitted garments and accessories that I try to copy once in a while.

jubillee8 wrote
on May 14, 2012 9:26 AM

Question re #4: from where do you begin picking up sts? If I have 2 fronts and a back completed and wanted to have an invisible join, where do I begin? Thanks!

Louise_C wrote
on May 14, 2012 8:43 AM

It looks great! I am working on the sleeve cap of the first sleeve of mine. "Challenging" is a good description of the pattern!