knitting a bavarian-style baby jacket – a Jankerl
New years are new beginnings. For me, 2015 held a very big new beginning: I changed field. From working in urban energy planning academia to being a construction site manager for renovation projects and tight urban lots. From biking 20 minutes through downtown Munich every morning to hopping in a car to zoom by the downtown-bound traffic heading south and closer to the Alpen. From working on a project that struggled with the whirlwind of a governmental project partner during elections to struggling to to keep tightest deadlines despite unfavourable weather conditions. From mostly defining ourselves where the project would be going and how details would look like to getting lost in „how things are done“ and (procrastinating on) burying my head back in university books and notes.
For family friends 2015 meant a completely different new beginning. The beginning of a whole new life. A little baby joined their little family.
My decision to welcome that little thing with a warming, heartfelt present wasn’t fully selfless. For years there has been this knitting project that I could never quite get off my mind. I had started and quit twice before and decided, before I was going to go for the third-times-a-charm third time, I’d have to prepare better. Start small, slowly grow and finally tackle that masterpiece with the skills under my belt that that beauty of a piece would deserve.
And with the birth of that little baby came along my chance to start small. And simple.
The knitting pattern for this Babyjanker – a Bavarian style jacket in baby size – is based on a pattern in Lana Grossa’s pattern booklet Trachten Filati 4, but rather than knitting a double breasted, collared marching-band-styled piece, I brought it back to basics. The classic Strickjanker would usually be worked in grey heather with a forest green trim – exactly what I would have pictured all Bavarian hunters to be wearing, had I not known that our family hunter didn’t get his home-knit Janker-vest until this christmas. I did want to stick to a classic muted base colour, a warm brown, but combined it with a little more glowing berry trim. It took me a while to realise that was the exact same colour – even shade – as I had chosen for my wedding Dirndl last spring!
When I started out I was worried the little lady would grow faster than I would knit, but that worry proved unnecessary. Especially in that tiny size 78, the whole project took 3 weeks of occasional even sessions by my mum’s fireside and a three and a half hour Dirndl fitting session with Gesa (remember that birthday voucher? That’s the next project in line!) that I spent making remarks over the tips of my knitting needles.
Conclusion: This little Babyjanker is a beautiful, rewarding and absolutely cute project for a beginner. As long as you’re able to knit evenly (there’s barely any purls in the pattern), count rows, and increase and decrease stitches you’re good to go.
P.S.: The photos were taken right outside Sammlung Brandhorst, a gallery that I have never seen from the inside but love for the story about how the facade elements were originally meant to be horizontal until it was realised that that would provide the perfect ladder to comfortably climb up to the roof.