In which there is weird non-Euclidean knitting

Right. Here is the one about the bed jacket. The pattern is here, it is from 1946 and is really called a breakfast coat which I have never heard of but I think it sounds fantastic. It seems like I have been making it forever, mostly because it was going on at the same time as the crazy cardigan but being 2×2 rib all over in one colour it was a lot more portable than carting about a load of different wool for the Fair Isle.  The other reason is that at one point you have 278 stitches and have to knit rib on them for twelve inches which was so boring, I did take it to the cinema one time and manage to knit a couple of inches in the dark…

 I have been having a bit of trouble with it – in the picture on the pattern it is supposed to end up something like this:

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except when I read the pattern and tried to visualise what I was supposed to be doing then the shape I was coming up with in my head was nothing like it. The whole thing is knitted in one piece:

  1. you do the back, fine,
  2. you cast on some extra stitches either side for the sleeves, ok,
  3. you cast off the extra stitches and divide it for the front, ok ish but the bottom of most people’s sleeves isn’t in line with the back of their neck (I’m starting to worry a little now),
  4. decrease the fronts a bit, pick up some stitches and do the frilly bits, sew up the side and sleeve seams, ok sounds vaguely feasible but not really like the shape in the picture.

I carried on in blind faith that it would turn out ok in the end and really hoping that I was not going to have to unravel the twelve inches across the sleeves.

The finished knitting looked like this which is about what I had expected from reading the pattern:

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And now comes the problem, when you fold it in half to join the seams you get this which is also what I was expecting and why I didn’t really understand the pattern:

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That doesn’t look like it would fit anyone does it? I don’t normally have a problem with stuff like this – in year 5 when we were making nets for 3D shapes I think I made a cube and a triangular prism in the first five minutes and then the teacher tried to get rid of me by telling me to go and draw my own net for a cube rather than just making up her printed ones. Once she realised that would only take me another five minutes and she needed something to keep me busy for the rest of the four lessons she had set aside for this she gave me a dodecahedron, an icosahedron and a small stellated dodecahedron (which is very pretty, made from twelve intersecting five pointed stars or by plonking pyramids all over a dodecahedron and not to be confused with a great stellated dodecahedron which is very pretty, made from twelve intersecting five pointed stars or by plonking pyramids all over an icosahedron and spikier than the other one) which I duly made and which did shut me up for a while. There, did you learn something? Here is what they look like flat and made up:

The images are pinched from www.korthalsaltes.com which is a site run by a Dutch guy who likes shapes and there are loads of nets which you can print out to make pretty shapes, go and have look if you like making things or learning about shapes or both. Also if you put ‘small stellated dodecahedron’ into a google image search there is a nice crocheted one quite near the top with a free pattern if you are better with yarn than glue.

Anyway the point of that diversion was I’m normally not bad at working out how shapes fit together so I was a bit thrown by the bed jacket pattern but I hadn’t taken into account the stretchiness of the ribbing – it can stretch out in some places and bunch together in others which means that when you put a coat hanger or a person into it then the fronts start to curve around, the sleeve seams twist a bit towards the front of the arms and the side seams come diagonally across the front and it goes from looking very square and peculiar to looking the right shape in about one second.

Here is obligatory mug shot with mug chopped off of the camera shy recipient:

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I hope she doesn’t spill her breakfast down it…(Hmm, might get in trouble for that!)