My grandmother has attempted to teach me to knit three times. Once when I was 10, once when I was 15 and the third and final attempt was right before I discovered indie sewing patterns (and my love of sewing was reignited) at age 23.
I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. I’m going to take the three part introduction to knitting at Twill sometime this fall or winter, but until then I have found a glorious work around. Knit fabric panels! I found the Instagram account for O Jolly when I was perusing hashtags one day and as soon as I got my next paycheck 2 of these cable knit panels were mine!
I had already made two White Russian sweatshirts and thought the panels would translate well into a sweatshirt. I looked around other sewing blogs for sewist who had done the same, but didn’t find any. There must be people doing it because O Jolly has already sold out of the panels! I didn’t find any bloggers who had made knit sweatshirts, but I did find tips from Seamwork about using sweater knits that were helpful. All of their examples are much finer than these panels, but I did prewash by hand, used a stretch needle and avoided my iron at all costs. I also serged the borders of my front piece before constructing as suggested, but because this knit is so bulky it looked terrible. I cut it off (the fit of my last White Russian had plenty of ease so I wasn’t worried) and decided if the fraying was bad post construction I could go back and reserge. There are a few other tips on the O Jolly blog here and here, that I didn’t find until my sweater was done that you may find helpful.
The panels had two pieces of the same pattern on them which made it very easy to pattern match. I used one panel to cut my front and back and the other to cut out my sleeves. I cut all four pieces on the flat to make sure I had the cables in the right place. To cut the neck band I used a piece that was left over from the sleeve panel and shown here. It was a lot thinner than the original neck band piece that comes with the White Russian, but the piece of the panel I used looks great as the neck band if I do say so myself.
From version 1 to version 2 (unblogged) of the White Russain I made just one adjustment that I kept for this version. This is meant to be more of a dressed up sweatshirt so I went down a size from my white one and I think the fit suites me much better. I kept the 2 inches added to the sleeve and again decided against embellishing the finished garment. The cables are embellishment enough! The added two inches of sleeve length are perfect when adding sleeve bands, but since the panels already had ribbing at the ends I skipped them. The ribbing extended slightly beyond the sleeve pattern piece so I thought I’d be good for length and I am!
The fit of this is much looser than the fit of my White Russian made with actual sweatshirt fabric. I’m sure it has something to do with the way it is knit and I could have even gone down another size or 2. If you have a sweatshirt pattern that you love it will work well for knit panels, but I highly recommend going down a size or at least being prepared to go heavy on the seam allowances. In this picture it looks like my shoulder has a bit of bulk and I’ve looked at the sweater since and that’s where the neck band seam is lined up with the shoulder seam. Although it looks bulky it doesn’t feel it. I may try and trim it down some more, but I’m not too worried.
I’m not looking forward to colder weather in general, but I am looking forward to the cooler weather so I can wear this all the time! I’m going on a sewing retreat with the NH Modern Quilt Guild in October and can imagine wearing this with leggings the entire weekend because it is just so comfy and warm.