Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Modular Tomten Jacket

Tomten is the small Swedish elf who specializes in good deeds, and your child will resemble him strangely, if you put a Tomten jacket on him or her.
--Elizabeth Zimmermann, Knitting Without Tears

Finally, a few words about my latest finished knitted garment: Elizabeth Zimmermann's Modular Tomten Jacket.

When I saw that Theresa at The Yarnery was wanting a Tomten shop model made with Heritage yarn, I jumped at the opportunity and eagerly volunteered. I had studied the pattern before in both The Opinionated Knitter and Knitting Without Tears, and after finishing EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket last year, I was anxious to start another one of her timeless patterns.

The pattern first appeared in her fall 1961 newsletter as a "Tyrolese garter-stitch jacket" and was reprinted in The Opinionated Knitter (Schoolhouse Press, 2005), a collection of those newsletters from 1958 to 1968. But the little knitted hoodie goes back even further--to around 1940--when she made the first one for her infant son. It was renamed the Modular Tomten Jacket in 1971 when she included the pattern in Knitting Without Tears.

The sweater is fun to make and, in my humble opinion, pure Zimmermann magical genius. Its garter-stitch pattern is worked back and forth, which means nary a purl stitch to knit. Here I am, wearing my newly completed Elizabeth Zimmermann Seamless Hybrid Sweater (blog post forthcoming) while posing next to the completed and displayed Tomten.

My only modification to the pattern was the added garter-stitch button band, which incorporates the EZ buttonholes she includes in Knitting Without Tears. I'm glad I made that addition and am really pleased with how it turned out. I'm also glad I listened to Scooter about keeping the sweater all one color.

We haven't seen the last of the Tomten jacket--I'm currently on the hunt for anyone's leftover Cestari (the yarn used in the Seamless Hybrid Sweater) for my next one, and can't wait to get started.

Thanks again to Debbie for sewing the adorable Norwegian pewter buttons. You can barely see the little trolls in the photo--but they're perfect.

Shop models are displayed for 8 to 12 months, so once it comes home, I'll determine the lucky recipient. Stay tuned!

The Specs
Pattern: Modular Tomten Jacket
Author: Elizabeth Zimmermann
Source: The Opinionated Knitter and Knitting Without Tears
Yarn: Briggs & Little Heritage
Color: Blue Heather 42
Needles: U.S. 6 (4 mm)
Started: October 18, 2008
Finished: December 2, 2008