by Jill Wolcott of Jill Wolcott Knits
Moderate / Flat, eyelets and short rows
Jill takes an in-depth look at the pattern and its contents
The Windsor Capelette design was born after receiving a skein of yarn from Vice Yarns (Carnal, 400 yds), which I wanted to knit for myself. I wanted something interesting to knit, but simple enough that I could work on it while I was drinking a martini. My other criteria was that I didn’t want to design it with writing the pattern in mind–I just wanted to knit it.
Since sitting down on my couch to knit the prototype Windsor Capelette for myself I have made some practical changes, modified the construction to be easier to execute than my original, and figured out how to write out the instructions for the finishing touches. I have knit another sample for Vice Yarns and I have begun one in another yarn. I am also making a small in Carnal with slight modifications–which I will share once I complete it. Oh yeah, I didn’t plan to write it up as a for sale pattern, but kept getting asked about it so now you can buy it! As someone who doesn’t make the same thing twice, the fact that I’m on my third and fourth versions says this is a great knit.
Naming this was a fun journey. You may not be aware of the St George’s Baby (I know, I’m not your first thought for a baby pattern), but these intriguing designs are all based on garter stitch. St George was the saint related to the Order of the Garter, which is associated with the Windsors. So I decided that when I embarked on adult sized pieces using the short row techniques used in St George’s Baby I would call them Windsor. I decided to use seed stitch in Windsor pieces instead of garter because I thought the fiber blends I was using deserved the richness of texture found in seed stitch.
I have worn my Poison (color) version of the Windsor Capelette on an untold number of occasions since completing it in February 2014. I am always complimented and have now become kind of offhand about taking the compliments and offering to let people touch it and showing them the buttons I used. I have worn it with jeans and I wear it over a variety of other outfits and dresses. It is always just the perfect thing, whether looking for a little (stylish) warmth or a splash of color.
Test Knit on Ravelry
Vice Yarns generously provided me with six skeins of Carnal in exchange for my making a sample for their trunk shows. I in turn had Test Knitters on Ravelry make samples using that yarn, plus we had other knitters working in other yarns I provided or yarn they provided. A total of 18 of us have made or are in the process of making this one. You can go here to see the conversation during the test knit, and the find project pages. When I made the Trollope (red) sample I ended up with about 3 yards of unused yarn.
Windsor Capelette Miscellany
The Model’s mom was one of the testers. I didn’t know she was a knitter or that she had made Saddle for Sheila! I got great input from the testers, and their comments are reflected throughout the final pattern. One question I got was why I did two panels instead of just working from one front to the other. Great question. The answer is that I cannot get both sides to behave the same if worked from one end to the other.
- One end then has a cast on and the other a bind off–and they are nearly impossible to make the same.
- The short rows create a wedge, but it is not a balanced wedge, so to make the two sides hang in the same manner, two pieces are required.
The Poison version is done in one piece and reflects these issues.
Why Capelette? I actually thought of this as the Shawlette, but Ravelry has other ideas. My initial reaction is to always just do what I believe to be correct, but someone pointed out to me that it would be easier for knitters if I followed the rules. So, because there are closures, it is either a cape or a capelette. I believe a cape must have armholes and, thus, be longer than elbow length, so cape-lette.
Windsor Capelette Pattern
Page 2 Info
- S (M) (L)
- Finished bottom measurement 49″
- Finished Top Edge 17.5”
- Finished Depth 15.25 (18) (21.25)” unblocked / 15.75 (19) (22)” blocked
- Unblocked 5.75 sts/in and 6.5 rows/in = 23 sts/4″ and 26 rows/4″ in Seed stitch on size 4(3.5mm) needles
- Blocked 3.875 sts/in and 4.5 rows/in = 15.5 sts/4″ and 18 rows/4″ in Seed stitch on size 4(3.5mm) needles
- Carnal from Vice Yarns, 70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% silk, using 1 (1) (2) skeins of 115g/400 yds (366m)
- Sheila Devitt is wearing my size M in Poison
- Dress Form is wearing the size M in Trollope
The model in the cover photograph is Sheila Devitt. Sheila’s smaller shoulder structure gives added length to the piece while on the dress form it looks more like it does on my broader shoulders. There are some other photos in the pattern and online there are a few photos of Jill wearing the Poison version (totally staged and not realistic!).
Overall Layout of the Knitting Pattern
- Page 2 is where to find all the information you need to get started. Don’t forget to check gauge and be sure your needle size will get the specified gauge using your needles, yarn, and style of knitting. I am a relaxed knitter and it is not uncommon for other knitters to need a different needle size. Getting the proper fabric is essential to any design ending up as presented. We didn’t really track gauge too carefully on the Test Knit, but we used needles from size 4(3.5mm) (me!) to size 9(5.5mm). Size 6(4mm) seemed to be the most commonly used.
- All of my designs are based on gauge, so it really will insure a more perfect garment if you do a gauge swatch. I consider the swatch my research tool and for anything that I don’t want to rip out and start over, I begin with a gauge swatch. For something like this, even I wouldn’t do a gauge swatch. I would probably cast on and knit the Front Band, and just rip and retry until I got gauge. This one does have a blocked and unblocked gauge, so if you get unblocked gauge, at some point put it on waste yarn and block it for blocked gauge. This project is meant to be not too dependent on absolutely accurate gauge.
- Written instructions begin on page 3 and go through page 6
- Techniques and abbreviations are on pages 7 and 8
- Detail photos are shown throughout the written portion of the pattern
- Following the written pattern, on pages 8 through 15, are the stitch pattern in written and chart form, plus charts by size, and short row charts for each element of the project. There are also “as knit” schematics.
Be sure to always read the general notes on page 2/the Info page. Especially read the note about short rows and how they are presented.
There are long notes at the top of page 3 before the pattern begins about working these short rows. Look at them and refer back to them when you start working the short rows.
- Right Front Trim Sets out the cast on and establishes markers for working the short rows later on. The first four stitches at the beginning of the RS rows are in Stockinette and the balance is all Seed stitch. The number of rows worked is different for each size. There is a subsection where the Written Instructions exactly match the Charts. We found there was some confusion when only one way of setting this out was given–so to stay true to keeping our written instructions aligned to charts, we gave it both in “written” form and “chart/written” form.
- Right Front Eyelets This establishes the eyelets and short rows. These two panels are narrower than subsequent panels.
- Right Panels This is the same as the Right Front Eyelets with an additional 4 rows worked after each PU Row. These additional row add needed length to the neckline and body of the capelette. [A video will be available soon.]
To keep this to one 400 yard skein it is important to keep track of your yarn consumption. One of the testers suggested making your i-cord before making the Left piece–or at the outset.
- Left Front Trim The piece is a mirror of the Right Front Trim and is presented in the same way, with the Stockinette stitches worked at the end of RS rows.
- Left Front Eyelets This mirrors the Right. Picking up the wraps occurs on RS rows so is slightly different in execution.
- Left Panels This mirrors the Right.
- Body Finishing Based on the experience of test knitters, I have moved the blocking to before the Join Center Back so that your finished length should be established.
- Join Center Back This is worked with WS together so the final bind off is on the RS. See this video!
- I-Cord Flourishes There is a long cord that goes through the base of the neck/collar, then additional i-cord flourishes for each button on the fronts. Although these appear here because they are finishing items, these could/should be worked before finishing the Join. I give lengths for the button loops and the Button I-cord, which everyone said was perfect, but some needed different lengths for the neck I-cord. I left mine on a locking pin marker with some yarn attached until I knew my finished length.
- Front Finishes: See below for specifics.
I think Finishing is the secret to most projects. To master techniques before doing the finishing I always practice or, in this case, I basted everything in place so I could assess if it was going to give me the look and function I wanted. Be sure to wrap all the i-cord in the same direction for consistency.
Mark button placements and sew the buttons to the front creating a shank and add backing buttons, beads, or other item. This is a really nice on anything with buttons that is worn open. It can be a perfect use for those beads or buttons you never used–especially if they are small.
- Neck I-Cord This is woven in and out of the top row of eyelets. Depending on the number of eyelets you end up with, skip eyelets as needed. Both ends need to come out on the RS. The left end gets wrapped around the base of the button shank (either thread or button). The button needs to be in line with the eyelets. At the right end, the shank is wrapped, and a loop is created to go over the left button. Specific instructions are given.
- Left Button Finishes These wrap the button shank to match the Left Neck I-cord on the left side.
- Right Button Finishes These wrap and create a loop to match the Right Neck I-cord.
After the buttons and loops are completed, there are a few ends to work in to finalize. Steam or wet block the Front Finishes in place. Block the Center Back Join to smooth it out.
Techniques, page 7 This pattern has set out many of the techniques used right here. They can also be found on JillWolcottKnits.com. There is a video of the flat 3-ndl bind off which joins the backs.
Stitch Patterns & Charts, page 8 Set out in both written and chart form, this is a great reference and perfect for swatching! For the Windsor Capelette there is only Seed stitch.
Stitch Pattern & Shaping Charts, pages 9 through 14 We have created charts for each size for the Right and Left Front Trims so you can easily follow just what you need. These charts show the marker placement. There are short row charts for the Right and Left Front Eyelets and the Panels. Even if you prefer to work from written instructions, charts can help you visualize.
Schematics, page 15: The schematics give you measurements for what your knitted and final blocked pieces should be, along with direction of knitting. Your measurements may end up being slightly different.
There is a lot of detail for a simple piece, because simplicity is never as straight-forward as it looks. The Windsor Capelette was designed to use that perfect skein of hand-dyed yarn you have or want and will result in a piece with all the potential of your yarn unveiled. You can see all the page 2 information on any of the pattern pages: Jill Wolcott Knits, Craftsy, and Ravelry, as well as photos. Buy the pattern and make as many as you like!