This series of posts takes an in-depth look at knitting with Bella Chenille Big Glimmer yarn by Universal Yarn. The sister line to Bella Chenille Big, Glimmer has 6% metallized polyester fibers that give it a twinkly quality reminiscent of a dark sky on a clear night.
So far, I’ve covered many aspects of working with a super bulky yarn: sampling, joining in yarns and weaving in ends, and yesterday, allowing enough ease. The latter post also includes the pattern for Snug as a Bug, a truly oversized jacket that is both a cozy home and dress-up fashion statement!
In this post, I share my experience and adaptations for Snug as a Bug. My goals are to remove some of the bulk under the arms and shape the sleeves to make them more practical to wear when knitting.
I cast on the stitches for the back. About 6” [15cm] in, I discovered that my tension was not quite what it was in my sample! According to the schematic, the back should measure 35¼” across, and mine was barely making 29”! What the?
Back in my second post , I noted that when working with larger size needles, it can be a challenge to get the exact tension because of the increments between needle sizes. Here’s another example of how sampling can save you time – because I made my samples, I already knew that going up to size 17 [12mm] needles would leave me with a more open fabric, which might sag more than I want.
A jacket with a 58” [148cm] total circumference still gives me plenty of ease, so I forged on. Before I leave this subject, though, I want to remind you that even in a ridiculously oversized garment, tension is important! Also, gauge swatches save time.
To reduce some of the bulk at the underarm, I notched out the back and front pieces to make a square armhole. The sleeves themselves were very large at almost 37½” [95cm] wide – almost 19” [48cm] deep once attached to the garment, so I made them narrower – 32” [80cm] wide, giving an armhole depth of 16” [40cm]. This is still a lot as the armhole depth on my loosest-fitting winter coat is only 13” [33cm].
I decided to add strength to the shoulders by picking up the stitches at the top and knitting the sleeves down. To add to my future knitting comfort, I also decided to taper the sleeves. This was done by decreasing at both ends of every 4th row. I even incorporated a decrease row into the 6 garter stitch rows at the bottom of the sleeves. If you want to make bottom-up sleeves, I will share that I ended with 37 stitches on my cast-off edge.
I adjusted my copy of the pattern to look much like the red lines in the schematic below.
Because of my gauge discovery, I had to re-jig my numbers, but only a little.
Another small adjustment I made was to the pleat at the back of the neck. Rather than sewing it after the fact, I decided to knit that pleat in, knowing that this would make the pleat very sturdy. To do this, all I had to do was rearrange the stitches at the center back.
I took the 8 center stitches and numbered them as they appeared in knitting order on the left needle: 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
For the first half of the pleat, I put the first stitch (1) onto a stitch holder and held it at the front, did an ssk with stitches 2 and 3, then an ssk with stitches 1 and 4. For the other half, I put stitch 5 on a stitch holder and held it at the back of the work, did a k2tog with stitches 7 and 6, then did a k2tog with stitches 8 and 5.
To finish the garment, I used mattress stitch for the seams, which, given the thickness of the yarn, went relatively easily.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the finished product. The sleeves are still larger than I had hoped and the armhole depth could have been shortened even more, for my 5’2” [163cm] frame. My gauge faux-pas left me with a jacket that has a good, sturdy fabric that’ll be disinclined to sag, and still fits me with sufficient ease.
I have more plans for Bella Chenille Big Glimmer. I have a few balls of pink, a couple of white, and one or two of gray. I want to take one of my top-down sweater patterns and make a little capelet to go over my shoulders for when I’m watching TV on nights when Snug as a Bug is going to be too warm. Spring is coming!
This is part 5 of 5 in this series
Go back to part 4: What you need to know about knitting with ease (trendy pattern – free)