"I'm crazy about deteriorating surfaces and half demolished derelict buildings - beautiful tiled surfaces found in historical houses and places of disrepute are often left with half told stories in their deteriorating state. The design inspiration came from a photograph of a weathered and corroding town wall in Portugal - the type of surface I get such a thrill from because of its sense of mystery."
Brandon Mably on Old Tiles, Brilliant Knits
I believe part of the charm of this jacket on me came from this. I like to know the stories, if any at all, behind the creation of a design. But of course the combination of the colours is the biggest attraction. I first saw this design in Brilliant Knits, fell for it. Then, saw another version in The Ulitmate Knitter's Guide and fell even harder (maybe because the model wore it better there!). In both, there is only one size and there is NO schematics. Being a really really new knitter then, I didn't realize the hidden dangers lurking underneath. Recently I got Rowan 34, in which Old Tiles appears again, this time from XS to XL ... AND with schematics ... but much duller colour combinations. I was happy that I chose the colours based on the brighter and more colourful versions.
Last night, I read my posts on the jacket again. I believe this will be the one project on which I post the most. The project was started in March this year ... but it felt like a really really long journey. Have you noticed that for this project, I started with the sleeves first, which is not my usual way? I've been secretly patting on my own back for this smart move. Starting with the relatively smaller pieces of sleeves allowed me to learn the various techniques in intarsia knitting and get used to the rhythm of knitting. This is also why I went so much faster at the end. I remember towards the end, I kept thinking that if I could ever finish this project, I could do anything ... a very empowering thought.
Since I have already spent so much time and energy on it, I would like to do everything well. After one trip to Jo-Ann's, I knew I couldn't find the suitable buttons there. After some web searches, I discovered a button shop in the area. 3 Beads & A Button is mainly a bead shop which also sells buttons. I decided on something that is simple and goes well with the main colour of the jacket:
I mentioned earlier the danger of one-size-fits-all. Luckily, it is a boxy design, so there is no problem with the body ... but the sleeves I got leaned toward the short side. Not too much, but I would be much happier if they are, say, 1 inch longer. I have been having this fear that once the jacket is done, its charm on me would be gone. You know things like this happen. But I am happy to tell you that not this time! When I finished all the final touches except the buttons on Monday night, I was already very excited to try it on and took pictures:
And I love love love wearing it! I actually wore it for half an hour in the middle of the night before taking it off! I have also decided that the jacket is meant to be worn without buttoning up:
You see what I mean? Even Husband said he liked it ... he said it had a Spanish feeling to it.
Pattern and Modifications: Old Tiles box jacket by Brandon Mably (from Brilliant Knits)
In the original design, there are 2 front pockets. But the whole thing was complicated enough for me sans pockets, so I omitted them.
Yarns: Rowan Cotton Glace (12 colours), Rowan Fine Cotton Chenille (2 colours), Elann Endless Summer Collection Sonata (3 colours)
I definitely love the Cotton Glace. The yarn is of really good quality, the colours are lovely and it doesn't split at all. On the other hand, substituting with Sonata is a result of my inexperience. Sonata is a slightly thicker yarn than Cotton Glace and it splits like hell. Now that I think about it, I may have better result substituting with Patons Grace. The Fine Cotton Chenille was discontinued long ago. But I managed to find the colours I need here. However, I don't really like knitting with chenille because it is so difficult to control the tension. I can't imagine knitting a whole sweater out of such a yarn! (But you know there are patterns out there! LOL!)
Gauge and Needles: 23 stitches to 4", US2 and US3
How would I do it differently?
This is easy - use wool. Simply out of curiosity, I put the jacket on the kitchen scale, and can you guess how heavy it is? Mind you, it is a short boxy jacket ... and it weighs a whoppy 1lb 5oz!!! Even the loose ends trimmed (am I a bit sick? I saved almost all the loose ends!!) weigh almost 4oz. So, if you are ever interested in making a similar jacket/sweater like this, no matter what cotton yarns the pattern suggests, go for wool. If I were to make this one again (well, you never know, right?), I'll definitely consider KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. If you can afford it, use Rowan KSH ... that would give you an airy lightweight jacket.