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Moderne Jacket Crochet-Along: Choosing a Yarn & Swatching for Gauge

March 12th, 2009

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Welcome to all of you crochet-lovers who have been patiently waiting for your time to crochet together again. I am very excited to host this “adventure in crochet” with all of you! I had such a great time hosting the Cable Luxe Tunic Knit-Along a few months ago, that when I was asked if I wanted to host a crochet-along (CAL) – I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough! As a teacher and designer, I enjoy this camaraderie of our craft, and I know this CAL will be a lot of fun.

I was also thrilled to see which design the majority of you chose –- the Moderne Jacket. This is a great design that I think many of you will enjoy making and adding to your wardrobe. In my case, I am going to make this for my younger daughter, Caroline. My oldest daughter, Lizzie, was the lucky recipient of the knitted “Cable Luxe Tunic” and so I was hoping her sister might like the style of the “Moderne Jacket” – and she does!

OK, so before we go into the yarn I chose for the jacket, make sure you all print off the pattern for the “Moderne Jacket.” You can print this pattern for free until March 23rd! With the pattern in your hands (or yarn basket), let’s talk about what yarns would work well for this project. Actually, this pattern lends itself to a wide choice of yarns. The original pattern calls for a strand of Lion Wool and Lion Cashmere Blend to be worked together. Both of these yarns are worsted weight (category 4) yarns –- but when they are held together in a pattern, they are the same weight as a super bulky weight (category 6) yarn.

So for this pattern you can either work a super bulky yarn (like the beautiful and easy-care Wool-Ease Thick & Quick), or two worsted weight yarns held together (like two strands of Cotton-Ease for a spring jacket or LB Collection Organic Wool that’s perfect for fall), or a heavier worsted and a sport weight together.

I went to my stash of yarn and pulled out a variety of yarns to see how they would work with this pattern. I decided to try a skein of beige Vanna’s Choice (heavy worsted weight) along with topaz Vanna’s Glamour (sport weight). Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Glamour are also great, affordable yarns, and in this economy, they are a wonderful budget-friendly option. The results were beautiful as the Vanna’s Glamour gives a subtle shimmer to the fabric. On my tall, blonde daughter – I think this will be one “knockout” of a jacket!

Lucky for me, the size N crochet hook called for in the pattern was the right size and below is a picture of my swatch (note that each “bump” in swatch is 2 stitches):

Now that I know what yarns I will use, I made sure to order enough of each yarn to make the entire jacket. For the 5 sizes of the pattern, you will need approximately 900 (1000, 1100, 1200, 1300) yards of each of the yarns you will use. For my jacket (which will be a small) I will need 6 skeins of the Vanna’s Choice and 5 skeins of Vanna’s Glamour. Now it is your turn to pick out a yarn and swatch away! For your swatch, make sure to start with an even # for your chain (I chained 18 to get a nice size swatch). I’m going to get busy on the back of the jacket now, but I’m looking forward to your questions and comments!

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  • Jan

    One more–what is the foundation row? I thought I was to begin the pattern right into the foundation chain?

    Heather says: “Hi, Jan: The foundation row is the row done between the chain and the pattern. It is done only once to “set up” your piece for the pattern stitch.”

  • Debbie

    I finished the back and have started the left front. I am to the section where you repeat the pattern stitch for 7 rows. I am making a size large. The pattern says I should have 30 stitches after the decrease row and I do. With a even number of stitches I end up with one extra stitch at the end of the row. What do I do with it???????

    Heather says: “Hi, Debbie: The shaping can be a little tricky at the armhole and I’m glad you are counting your stitches as you are doing your decreasing. If you have an extra stitch, at the armhole edge, you can work 2 sts together at the end, or skip a stitch at the beginning of the next row. Just make sure to do this at the armhole edge so that the front edge will stay nice and straight. Make sure to look at my post later today that talks about shaping and pattern for the jacket!

  • denise

    Thanks, Mary (#95). I decided to do this but then found that it gave a pronounced pattern of vertical loops. This became a problem when I was working on the decrease row so I just frogged the WHOLE thing (about 20 rows).

    I’ve decided to go back to putting the hook THROUGH the ch-1 stitch as from my gauge it looks as though the pattern is less pronounced.

    And in case anyone’s interested ;-) I’m using ONE strand of Red Heart Fiesta — color Millennium — which is a medium worsted yarn. It’s gray with bits of black and white that give it a slight sheen. I’m deliberately making this a bit lighter weight as I hope to wear it in the spring (!) always with a blouse under it, so it doesn’t matter if it’s slightly see-through.

  • Ilehlia

    Hi Jan (#101), the foundation row is the pattern row, it’s just worded differently because it tells you to work into chains instead of stitches. It’s no different than the pattern rows.

    Denise (#103), what size hook are you using for the one strand? I’m also using one strand only, of worsted weight cotton, but I downsized the hook to match. So mine isn’t very see-through, and the pattern texture is smaller. I like it though, as it still has lots of interest, and is a lighter weight. But it takes longer, and I’m amazed to read that some people are already finished the back and starting the front.

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  • Dorothy

    I am using two Vanna’s Choice yarns, one of which is a “tweed” and a size K hook in order to get the gauge. But the jacket so far (just a few inches up the back) is very stiff. Is it supposed to be like that?

  • Inge

    Thanks #93 Denise and #95 Mary,

    I did start over and looked at the pattern again. I went through the chain space area this time instead of through the chain under the first two threads. This makes each stitch more even, for the chain-one does not loop up in a verticle position now but is an even horizontal stitch.

  • Rhelly

    Dorothy,
    I am unsure of the tweedy Vanna’s choice yarn, but I do know that Vanna’s choice yarn is a heavier worsted weight than what the pattern yarn calls for. So 2 heavier worsted weights may cause it to be stiffer even though the gauge came about okay.
    I am using 1 strand Vanna’s choice in navy, and one strand of a sport weight yarn (Bernet satin sport in marina because it was on sale for 1.98 per skein), and it’s a little more flexible. although I do know that this particular jacket done in crochet may not be super flexible, it should have a drape and flexibility that you are comfortable with wearing…
    Hope that helps! Happy crochet, looking forward to seeing your project!

  • Vicki V

    I am doing mine in Vanna’s choice also (with Vanna glamour) – but have not started yet (waiting for glam via mail order). Does anyone think blocking will (or could) take some of the stiffness out?

  • Rhelly

    Vicki-
    Vanna’s is a 100% acrylic yarn, so I don’t think much stiffness will be taking out once blocked. With your yarn choices, I am assuming you wont’ have the stiffness like you may think though. Sounds great, what colors?

  • Denise

    Ilehlia (#104), I’m using the N hook. It’s a plastic one (I *think* its a Bates hook but I’m not at home right now so can’t check).

    I’m finding it tougher going now that I’m doing the “through the ch-1 stitch” rather than in the ch-1 space, but I think it will be worth it. The pattern is a bit more subtle and I hope won’t be as much of an issue when I get the the shaping parts.

    Keeping fingers crossed for the stitch AND for not having to frog yet again…

  • Sue Sayne

    Well, I’m still waiting for my yarn to get here, hope it gets here today so I can start working on my jacket this weekend. I picked charcoal and taupe in the Cotton Ease so it will be two dark tones and I like these colors together. I have ordered the larger hook also, but have been working with some left-over yarn practicing the stitch with my size J hook and it looks like the close-up picture on the first e-mail from our fearless leader so I think I have that right. I’ve even tried the bind off’s for the sleeves to see how that worked out and it seems OK. I’m getting kind of antsy for that yarn to get here. Keeping my fingers crossed that it gets delivered today. Have a good weekend everyone. Hope it’s not snowing where you are, saw that it was coming down like crazy in NY this morning but here in Ohio it’s cool but not that cold.

  • Vicki V

    To Rhelly – I had a few choices going on, but finally chose Vanna’s choice in Honey with Vanna’s Glamour Topaz (original choice was Vanna Choice Espresso and Glamour Copper – but I decided to go ‘brighter’ – my husband’s choice – I finally got my yarn today but had to leave town, so have not had a chance to see how it will look together yet – am excited to start when I get home.

  • Donna

    I am a late starter on this project! I learned to crotchet 25+ years ago but except for a few squares for a “warm-up” afghan, haven’t made anything for 20+ years (been knitting instead). I am excited but a bit nervous. Picked my yarn (Vanna’s Choice linen and Bernat satin denim mist) and swatched with the N hook. It seemed to work so I started the back. But now, after 2.5 inches, it is too short – darn! I am going to rip it out and need to decide if I should just follow the directions for a larger size (was going for a small, go for a medium instead?) or use a bigger hook (but the next one I can find is a P in plastic and I don’t like plastic hooks).

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Hi, I was so excited to find this crochet along. I am hoping to go get some yarn this evening so I can start. I’ve been crocheting for about 8 years, but have never tried anything this complicated. I have made 2 Martha Stewart ponchos, the first being a near disaster with a lot of blood sweat and tears, but the second was much better. I’ve made several afghans, just finished one the other day in fact. Also have made some dish cloths, pot holders, and a few hair scrunchies, but I want to make something I can ware. I am blind, so it is interesting, reading everyone’s comments about their color choices. I’m pale with brown hair and blue eyes, so what colors would go for me? I’ve never had to make a swatch and measure, so this is all new, but am real excited to get started. Hopefully, Michaels has what I want or I’ll have to order. There is an A C Moore, but it’s about an hour away and drivers are hard to find. Anyone live near Charleston, WV? Happy crocheting.

  • Karen E

    Hi, very excited to find this CAL. I’ve been crocheting off and on (more off than on) for 35+ years (afghans, baby things, hats, scarves, discloths). I’ve never made anything this difficult and am really excited by a challenge and believe I can learn a lot from this.

    Just found this site yesterday (3/21/09), so will have catching up to do. Went to 2 yarn stores yesterday evening, couldn’t find the yarns called for in the pattern, so would have to order which would mean more delay. Not sure, does it take quite a long time to get yarn from the Lion Brand site? I’m going to keep checking locally today.

    I did find a beautiful Vanna’s Choice yarn in something called Taupe Mist; however, the store didn’t carry enough skeins (they had only five). It is verigated with what looks like Taupe and Linen. Beautiful. I am wondering, however, before I keep pursuing this yarn (I would just work the same yarn with 2 strands as in the pattern), do you think it would be too busy? Should I try to find the solid taupe and solide Linen? Really want to get started here. Thanks!!!

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Hi again from WV. Went to Michaels last night and their selection wasn’t what I had hoped for, but I did find some yarn that seems to be working. I couldn’t aford most of the LB yarns, especially when I’m not even sure this will turn out, so went with Caron instead. Got 4 pounds of caron, 2 antique white and 2 lace, which my hubby says is kind of a kakki. Both are solids and all they had, unless if I wanted pink or yellow, but wanted something neutral to matc just about anything. Getting ready to start the dec rows in the back. So far, so good. Got all 4 yarns plus a crochet hook for under $30. Now, if it turns out and i like it, I’ll try some of the cotton or even the swaide. Really liked the chenill, but need to save my pennies, first. I do have a question, though. Because I can not see the picture, isit supposed to be short? What about the sleeves? Are they to your wrists or just below the elbows? Thanks.

  • Pat

    Really enjoying reading the posts. Still waiting for my yarn, it will be here tomorrow. I wanted to keep it simple, so swatched with Wool Ease Thick & Quick, but could not get the gauge even at a K hook. Loved the pattern though. Ordered Wool Ease Chunky in Willow , hope it works for me, but I’ve never worked with it. Looking forward to getting started, though it looks as though some of you will finish pretty soon. Keep coming up with those tips and advice, it’s great for those of us who are trailing behind.

  • Karen E

    I have another question. Although, I see not all questions are answered on here. Is there another page or site where they are being answered now?

    Anyway, my question is about the hooks. I have always preferred using a metal hook. The N hook in the Lion brand at our store is plastic. I bought an N hook in a different brand that is metal but the size/shape definitely looks different. Can anyone tell me what you are using or what you think is best? Thanks!!

    Zontee says: Hi Karen, this page is just ONE CAL post by Heather. There are new CAL posts every Thursday until the end of the CAL. Check the main blog page at http://blog.lionbrand.com for new posts OR click the “crochet-along” button under “Categories” on the right-hand bar for ALL CAL posts.

  • Vicki V

    metal for sure – I too do not like plastic hooks

  • Gracie’s Mom

    Well, I was excited when I first read the e-mail about a Crochet Along. I’d never heard of one until a few minutes ago—when I read it. I thought, Cool. I could crochet with folks around the wide world web rather than alone in the living room beside folks who don’t understand the language of sc-sk2-sc2tog. But then I started reading the posts and am so convinced I’d get lost almost immediately that I can’t muster up the courage to even begin thinking about what colors I’d choose…and I consider myself an intermediate stitcher. Hmmm. I may have to re-evaluate my level. Oh well. I’ve been busy thinking about what colors to paint my home with. Maybe I’ll go back to that….
    Best of luck to all in the CAL. Maybe I’ll join next time.

    –D

  • Kitty J

    This will be my first CAL and am a little nervous after reading some of the problems with the gauge and also with the pattern. I just started knitting again after 40 years but love this jacket so will dig into my memory vault for my crochet experience and give it a try. Starting late but they say “better late than never”. I too want to thank LionBrand for providing this outlet. Not sure what yarn I will use but know it will be LionBrand.

  • Brenda Page

    Heather,

    You replied to #53 Beku on the note. My question is the note “FYI” or do you work the note and then work pattern for 7 rows? HELP!

    Heather says: “Hi, Brenda: The note is only in the directions to tell you that the pattern shifts after you do a decrease row. But after you do the decrease row, you work 7 rows without decreasing, then another decrease row – so the 7 rows are the number of rows you do between the decrease rows. Hope this helps!”

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  • Joey

    How do I get the pattern?

    welcomewagon55@comcast.net

    Zontee says: Hi Joey, the pattern is available on LionBrand.com. Click here to see the details page.

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