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12 November 2007 @ 08:58 am
Ram's Horn Jacket  
Is not being able to find an appropriate closure a good enough excuse NOT to post an FO? I'm definitely going to say yes. My little old Ram's Horn Jacket has been sitting around since April for exactly that reason (yes, it's been waiting around for 6 months to be debuted). I've worn it a few times around town without a closure and needless to say, it felt naked without one and was also a bit annoying to have the big old collar just loose and flapping about whichever old way it pleased. So are you ready to see the jacket in all it's ram's horn-ee-ness glory? Of course you are, lots of you have been waiting 6 months!


Pattern: Ram's Horn Jacket, Norah Gaughn, Knitting Nature
Yarn: Cascade 220, color 4011
Needles: Addi turbos, 4.0mm and 3.75mm
Started: October 2006
Finished: April 2007

I fell in love with the pattern as soon as I saw it in the book. But honestly, it's so easy to fall in love with anything in Knitting Nature. The patterns have been styled and photographed so beautifully it's hard not to like anything in there. But what I loved most about this pattern was the insanely huge collar (despite the minor construction issue I had with it). This pattern jumped out of the class of being one of a run of the mill swing jacket patterns to something you could consider a piece of modern art.



And of course the upturned hems on the sleeves and the body are also a nice touch.


I did have a few issues with the pattern. First off, the pattern was severely lacking construction and finishing instructions. It gives instructions on how to knit the hemmed sleeves and body pieces, but no where does it indicate how to finish them. Since I've knit hemmed edges before, I merely knit them up as I knit the piece. However, if I were a beginner who had never knit upturned hems before, I'd be left scratching my head.

Another thing lacking from the instructions was how to attach the front bands. Are you supposed to put them on before or after you finish the upturned hems? Oh wait, they never tell you when or how to finish the upturned hems, so maybe you don't attach them at all? And if you attach them, do you try to seam it to both sides of the hem or just the one? What I did since the hems were knit up as I knit the body piece, I attached the front band to the outer layer of the hem, then went back, and seamed the inside layer of the hem to the band so the "tunnel" created by the hem wouldn't be exposed.

The most major issue I had with the jacket was the collar. The collar is basically knit from the skinny side to the large side and is constructed using short rows. The short row technique used in the pattern left pretty visible stitches, but trusted the pattern and I hoped that they would block out. Unfortunately they didn't but I decided to leave them as is instead of reknitting the entire collar. If you decide to knit this jacket, use the traditional short row method instead of the one the pattern sugguests.


The visible short rows were actually the least of my concerns regarding the collar. If I knitted according to the pattern and ended the collar at 94 stitches, the collar would have stopped at my shoulder, no where near where the collar is supposed to end according to the pattern picture. I was pretty positive the collar wouldn't block out an extra 8 or so inches so I kept knitting. I knew the collar would end up ginormous, but that is what makes this jacket. I ended with about 124 stitches or so and it turned out to be just the right size. There would have been no way that a wimpy collar of only 94 stitches would even do the jacket justice, not to mention even resemble the pattern picture.

And my final construction rant about this jacket, the pattern doesn't even suggest how to attach the collar. Once the collar is knit up, you fold it in half and then seam it. Again there's this issue of two sides of fabric (the folded collar) being attached to one piece of fabric (the neckline of the jacket). I finally decided to bust out the handy dandy crochet hook, and sc'd the free edges of the collar together. Then I seamed that to the neckline. The pattern also does not tell you which end of the collar goes to which side of the neckline. Each front is a different height. The skinny end of the collar is attached to the taller front and the large end is attached to the shorter front.


Are you thoroughly discouraged from knitting this jacket now? I hope not! I've gone through all the knitting pains for you, so now you don't have to. I just apologize that it took me so darned long to post about it. Oh, and for the closure. I was searching high and low for an appropriate shawl pin or something to use. They use a wooden shawl pin in the book which has a HUGE wooden stick. I'm not sure how they were able to manage to get that stick through the fabric, but I do hope they didn't wreck the yarn. With the gauge I knit my jacket, I couldn't imagine taking something of that diameter and forcing it through four pieces of knit fabric (two layers of the collar, the left front and the right front). I was debating alternative closures, such as sewing on a snap or even hook and eyes. But the perfect closure was the most obvious one, a kilt pin. Whodathought?


And one last note, not pattern related, but the cure for my OCD on photo shoots is to find a suitable model and take the photos yourself. There was a marathon putting-together-wedding-stuff-day yesterday and I voluntold my BFF that she would be my model. It worked out well and is even better than taking photos on a dress form! Why? Because you can tell her to do whatever you want, including, I'm a little tea pot!
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
I LOVE it!! I need to finally knit this one, just need to find the right yarn. Your's came out perfect so you know once I start it I'll be bugging you with questions.

(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
This is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've never seen this pattern but LOVE THIS!!!!! You did a wonderful job!

tiirutiru on November 12th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
hahahahahaha..... for a minute i was thinking... wait... did she misspell... hahahaha then i realized.... nope, no typo there ;) i do like that sweater.

oh... and i'm wearing my new sweater today, thank you very much :) now if it can only get warm enough so i can take off my jacket to show it off ;)
(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
i admit that i am one of the folks who have been lurking around just to see how u end up finishing the jacket. and now that you have divulged your secret...i can start yarn hunting to knit the darn thing. oh, love the i'm-a-little-teapot pose. brilliant.

winnie @
savannahchik on November 12th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
beautiful! i love the drape that your collar has. it's lovely :)
(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
The jacket is beautiful and voluntold is my new favorite word.

(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
it's so beautiful! i love the dramatic collar.
trinilove on November 12th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
this jacket is very beautiful.
(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous! Good move volntelling your BFF to model for you :)
(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
This was SO worth waiting for, the jacket is absolutely gorgeous! Love the photos too. :-)
terhi / mustaa villaa
(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
This looks great! Thanks for the detailed notes about how you solved the pattern ambiguities.

(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC)
The jacket turned out so beautiful, and it is a pity that the pattern could have been improved so much better too. Thanks for letting us know what you had to deal with too, it will help when I finally knit one up.
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Beautiful! Love the asymmetric collar.

(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC)
It's so super, it's totally worth all the trouble. And thanks for telling us what to look out for. This is my fave design in the book! And kudos to the BFF, the teapot pose is da best! erin at
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 09:47 am (UTC)
This is a lovely version! Are those little beads/buttons on the collar? Can we have a close up please? :)

I ended up knitting the two long edges of the collar together at the end while I was binding off, and it worked quite well. Much prefer your version though! The cat likes to claw mine too much and it came out a bit bigger than I'd like (especially on the arms), so I don't get to wear it too often.

Lovely lovely lovely :)

(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC)
Ram's Horn jacket
Jai-ann, that looks fabulous. The collar pattern is a trial to knit but so worth the effort. I love mine and cannot wait for next winter here in Oz to wear it again!
sandraknitstoo on November 13th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
even with all the issues you had with the collar and finishing, it was all well worth it. So gorgeous, rangsiwan! :)

and i think that kilt pin suits the jacket just fine.

agh, i miss baseball something fierce. :( i probably wouldn't miss it so much if the Jets didn't suck so bad. boooo. . .
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
Ram's Horn
Wow, this is really beautiful. I probably wouldn't have attempted it, but the finished product is amazing!
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
wonderful technique tips
thanks so much for putting in the helpful finishing notes! I've loved this jacket for ages and have even purchased the recommended yarn. But I've been a little intimidated to start since I was a bit baffled by the collar and wanted to get it just right to really show off this jacket!

(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
i just love asymmetry in knits! looks like this one will get a lot of wear.. cause it's gorgeous!

-- on November 13th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Ram's Horn Sweater
I must say that I have not got around to knitting my first sweater yet (managed to knit a poncho and hats), and want to find a good sweater pattern to get my feet wet. However, it sounds like that you had quite a few issues with this project. I must say that you did a great job figuring out the pattern and turning out something very nice and elegant.
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
From Lashell
I love that jacket. It looks so warm and ready for fall.
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous sweater
I'm delighted to see your finished product - and to thank you for going through it before us. I have been wanting to do this sweater, and will definitely refer to your helpful modifications as I do it.
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
I love it! It looks fantastic on you and I really love the simple gray color. :) Looks super cozy too.

(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
It is crazy beautiful. Looks great on you!!

(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
Ram's Horn Jacket
Oh, I love it so bad! That is definitely one of the patterns in the book that jumped out at me, too, and I'm so glad to see yours finally. It's beautiful! The kilt pin looks great with it, too. I wonder how the heck they use those thick shawl pins without destroying their yarn... I guess you would not take the garment off and on during the day for one thing. Your knitted hems give the jacket such a finished look. Thank goodness you're such an experienced knitter; it sounds like the instructions were pretty skimpy.

Finally? "Voluntold"? SNORT!

(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 09:03 am (UTC)
yeah! finally the fo pictures! i've been waiting for these ;-)
absolutely LOVE the jacket - that collar is heavenly. fantastic work!

kris - s t r i k k e r
(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
Wonderful, just wonderful
That sweater came out looking Gorgeous!!! Thank you for going through all the trouble for the future knitter. That is why blogs rock!! Oh and the details on that collar. Gotta love a big collar!
(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
Horn-ee-ness?! *chuckle*
It looks great on you. Definitely worth all the headaches. Well done!!
(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Wow, it's gorgeous. And it looks great on you. I need to look at the book again.
(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Ram's Horn collar
I had that same problem with the collar and just put the project away. For about six months. I guess I should follow your example and just keep making it bigger until it fits the jacket. Thanks! It looks great!

(Anonymous) on November 15th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
ram's horn jacket
Your jacket is gorgeous! I can't believe you figured out how to solve all of those problems, but the jacket is perfection. Enjoy it.
(Anonymous) on November 16th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
It looks splendid! I fell hard for this one, too, and I'm waiting until I've saved up enough money and store credit to procure the yarn of my dreams for it, Shibui Merino Kid. I wonder if the collar-length issue stems from the yarn substitution throwing the row gauge off? 8" seems like a pretty egregious error in the tech editing otherwise! Ms. Gaughan's slavish (but necessary, I'm sure, since they're her employer) devotion to Berroco yarns is my only quibble with her ever-more-inspiring patterns. So it's great to have your notes on the pitfalls when I make my own substitution!
(Anonymous) on November 16th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
Well, I have uhhh-ed and ahh-ed over the real thing already but man, those photos are great! It's just an amazing piece, and I love that big collar! I like the kilt pin a lot, it's just the right size and doesn't distract from the jacket. Faaaabulous!!!

(Anonymous) on November 19th, 2007 09:18 am (UTC)
omg girlfriend...this is flipping gorgeous. i convined my friend tam to knit this for herself last year and she ran out of yarn right towards the end. she has been planning on reknitting it so i hope after seeing this pics it might spur her on!

well done! just beautiful.
(Anonymous) on December 3rd, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)


The understated color is great for the showy cut. I love that! I love the finishing details too, turned under hems and all that. It looks great on you.

colnerikan on July 22nd, 2012 04:54 am (UTC)
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )