3 Mar 2014

Let's learn 5 tweed effect knitting stitches for jackets!

I wrote about contemporary knitted jackets here. I keep playing with the idea of knitting a Chanel style jacket for myself one day. Today I'd like to share 5 different patterns which not only look tweed-like but also have a firm texture.
The use of these stitches for jackets is limited, because of the lack of stretch, which we often seek in knitted garments. You could use these stitches to create a jacket, a coat, or even a dish cloth.

For a Chanel-style jacket you could take a sewing pattern, make a muslin using a firm fabric and ten simply knit the pieces. The firmer fabric is needed to reproduce the drape of the thicker knit, that way you get a good idea how the finished jacket will look like. The pattern has to be simple, without a lot of figure lines. Think about the 60's and Jackie Kennedy. Short jackets with just a little shaping, just fitted enough. You could use a bit shaping at the waist (sides) and optionally could knit the back in two pieces for a better fit. An example of such jacket could be Simplicity 1699:

You should use a stitch that results in a firmer texture. You want to avoid stretchy patterns because the jacket should keep it's shape. Now let's see the stitches! I used an acrylic yarn in a rather ugly pink color (couldn't find another color in my stash...) but the stitch definition was good enough to show the details in the pictures.

K = knit
P = purl
S = slip

1. single stitch basket-weave

The first one of the patterns is used in the white jacket in the above post. The stitches are zigzagging in a basic cable pattern, it is a sort of basket-weave design. The easy thing is that you cross the stitches as you go, there is no extra needle needed. It works easier with a slippery yarn, like cotton and silk-wool mix. (I made my sample with an acrylic yarn and it wasn't so easy)
- cast on multiple of 2 +1 stitch
R1: S1 knitwise, bring yarn to front, S1 purlwise, bring yarn to back,
*K second stitch on the left needle through back loop, K first stitch in back loop, slip together from needle* K1
R2: S2 purlwise, bring yarn to front, *P second stitch on left needle, P first stitch, slip together from needle*, K1
 2. double stitch basket-weave 

The second pattern is a lot like the first one, only you cross two stitches instead of one. This results in a denser cable knit. You also need an extra (cable) needle, which makes the knitting a bit fussier i.m.o.
- cast on mulitple of 4 sts
R1: K2 *slip 2 sts to cable needle at the back, K2, K2 from cable needle* K last 2 sts
R2: purl
R3: *slip 2 sts to cable needle at the front, K2, K2 from cable needle*
R4: purl
 3. tweed stitch

This is a tweed stitch, which has a fabric-like appearance. By slipping every other stitch you make horizontal lines on the right side. It is not as dense as the first two patterns, because of the slipped stitches it has less stretch than a normal stocking stitch would. As a variation you could use two colors altering every two pattern rows, or even 3 colors!
- cast on a multiple of 2 +1 stitch
R1: *K1, bring yarn forward, S1 purlwise, bring yarn back*, last two stitches K2
R2: *P1, bring wool back, S1 purlwise* last two stitches P2 
4. long tweed stitch

This one is the easiest to knit, but is also has the most stretch, which is not ideal. The idea is the same as with the stitch above: by slipping every other stitch purlwise you make little horizontal lines on the right side in every other row. The horizontal lines are placed diagonally. While the pattern is created by altering knit and slip stitches, you need to cast on an extra stitch, to avoid slip stitches at the sides.
- cast on multiple of 2 +1 stitch
R1: K1 *bring yarn forward, S1 purlwise, bring yarn back, K1*
R2: purl
R3: K2 *bring wool forward, S1 purlwise, bring yarn back, K1* last stitch K1
R4: purl 
5. brioche honeycomb stitch

This is almost the same as the long tweed stitch, only the yarn remains on the wrong side when slipping the stitches. It has the same elasticity, but a totally different, really 3-d pattern on the right side.
- cast on multiple of 2 +1 stitch
R1: K1 *S1 knitwise, K1
R2: purl
R3: K2 *S1 knitwise, K1*
R4: purl 
Also stitch 5 can be knit with two colors, you alter the colors every two rows. The effect is like this (it could be even prettier with more contrast between the two colors)

Finally a few vintage patterns which use the above stitches.
stitch 4: toddler's coats from 1965 and 1940:

stitch 5: ladies' tailored jacket from 1952
stitch 1: hooded sweater from 1958

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