A blue hoodie for the biggest little

The biggest kiddo asked for a blue hoodie with a zipper and pockets as his next sweater, and so I obliged.  And of course finished just in time for the warm weather. Sigh. At least I made it big for him, cause that kid is due for a growth spurt any time now, and when it happens, he's going to be gigantic

Blocked, dried and ready for the zipper! Just in time for summer.

By the way, this picture is horrible in terms of color accuracy, even with me futzing with filters. The sleeve cap and last few pocket pictures are closer to reality. 

I'd picked up the yarn at Rhinebeck, Carolina Homespun Cormo wool, in Morgaine, a gorgeous bright cerulean blue.  The yarn was a bit fine, so I used it held double and it was a damn good thing I overbought based on my half assed guess of yardage, as I had literally TWO YARDS of yarn left after the final kitchnering of the hood.  Just made it.

That is all the yarn that is left from the entire thing. Two yards. A narrow miss of disaster!

After searching some through ravelry favorites, and general patterns, I settled on Doverfell, by Kristen Rengren, as published in Twist Collective.  I love the texture pattern and the design of the set in pockets, plus it was already written for a zip.

Of course, that didn't mean I wasn't going to tweak the shit out of the pattern. Because I am crazy and why follow patterns when you can rework them to suit your quirks? I mean, I almost always use a tubular cast on for anything with ribbing because it's firm but stretchy and looks fantastic.

Oh, look. Lint. And a long tail/Italian tubular cast on. 

But also, for example, the pockets.  As written, the pattern called for knitting the pocket lining separate from the body, and then working the body and pocket fronts in one, and then joining the two at the top edge of the pocket, sewing the three pocket seams later in finishing. 

I don't love seams in the body of knitting, as they never stretch the way the rest of the garment does. And they're a pain to do.  So instead, I knit the linings along with the body of the cardigan.

Before picking up pocket stitches. 

Then when I reached where the top of the pockets would join, I used double pointed needles to pick up the pocket front stitches along the top of the ribbing.  Then I picked up one stitch per row, vertically, on either side of the pocket edges (where the pocket "seams" would be).  I knit up the pocket front, in the texture pattern, knitting the first and last stitches of each row together with the picked up vertical "seam" stitches at each edge.  

The stitch markers on the verticals are to mark where the top of the pocket will be (and the start of the pocket shaping).

Pocket in progress.  Note the two layers. 

The harder part was figuring out the reworked decreases to do the shaping of the upper edge of the pockets.  I wound up just drawing it out, in a semi-shorthand, just so I could work out the numbers and the angle and lean of the decreases. 

Janky shorthand diagram, the original.

Janky shorthand diagram, the original.

 I moved the decreases in from the edge to give a cleaner line to the shaping, and I'd already decided to slip the first stitch of every row to give the nice chained edge (on both the pocket and the front edges)

Almost there.  Stay on target . . . stay on target . . . 

Then, I worked the pocket front stitches together with the body stitches, and the pockets were completely done.  

Finished pocket! Smooth sailing from here on out.  

I finished up the body of the sweater, shifting the armhole shaping in a few stitches as well to echo the shaping lines of the pockets and give a more full fashioned look. And instead of binding off stitches for the shoulders, which frankly, I never do, I used the German short row technique--which is AMAZING and INVISIBLE and I LOVE IT SO  MUCH.  That way I could also three-needle-bind-off the shoulder seams instead of seaming.

Once the body was complete, I reworked the sleeves from bottom-up in the round then sleeve cap worked flat and seamed in, to totally seamless top down sleeves with short row sleeve cap.

This is one of my favorite techniques, though I inevitably have to write out more diagrams to make sure I'm centering the cap right.  I first learned it, as many did, through Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top.  (Did you know that not only is Barbara Walker a knitting guru, from the top down and the stitch dictionaries, but she also wrote the Little House on the Prairie Cookbook and a number of books on feminism, mythology and anthropology? God I fucking love her.)

I put the held underarm stitches on the needles, markers on either side for clarity, and then picked up stitches about 1 stitch every other row (not quite the 3 st to 4 row ideal ratio but it worked fine to make the numbers work),  around the armhole.  I divided the total number of stitches into thirds, with the beginning of the round at the center of the underarm stitches.

Oh hey, if you look hard enough, you could probably recreate my to-do list that's written on the back of this image.

I put markers in, because ain't no way I could keep the count right in my head as I began.  Beginning at the center of the underarm stitches, I worked up the first third of the front vertical stitches, and over the second third of the top of the cap.  Then I stopped, turned the work (again using the german short row method instead of the standard wrap and turn), worked back over that top third, PLUS ONE STITCH.  Wrap and turn, work across the top third PLUS ONE STITCH.

No to dos behind this one! Just shittily framed.

 I kept continuing along, eating up one additional stitch from the verticals every time, until I'd worked all of the verticals up and was at the underarm stitches.  Then I worked around the whole armhole as usual, working the short rowed stitches as per the german method. Voila, sleeve cap done!

Look at that perfect sleep cap! No tell tale anything of short rows! Damn it feels good to be a gangster!

Then I worked the sleeve from the top down, decreases instead of increases, ribbing, and tubular bind off to match the tubular cast on I'd done. Sleeves, done!

The hood was mainly the same as written.  Though I did add a bit more shaping to the center back line of the hood--4 more paired increases after those called for in the pattern.  A bit before wrapping up the hood, I decreased those back down again.  Then instead of three-needle-bind off for the hood itself, I kitchnered that shit. 

Now, that's some grafting of seed stitch right there!

 After all that work I wanted a nice seamless look to the hood, even it meant fudging the hell out of grafted seed stitch (figured out in part thanks to the Tricksy Knitter's tutorial).  

Thankfully texture hides most sins.  And still, a damn sight better than a visible ridge.

Now, I'm just waiting for the two zippers I ordered from ZipperSource--one red, one blue. We'll see which one looks best.  I'm debating using ribbon to cover the back of the zipper.  I think it'll look more finished and add some stabilization, but it also might be more of a pain in the ass than it's worth.  We shall see.