I was excited to knit the Twinkle diagonal stitch coat. It was meant to be big and cosy and comfy. (Photos from the editorial and fashion shoots on the Carefully Making a Mess blog).
It started off well. I liked the wool I bought and thought I had the pattern down, despite the fact that I needed to reverse some stitches and cables due to left-handedness. I had a big long flight to the States and I planned to take my knitting with me and make serious progress on the plane. And I did – at least 1/3 of the main body got finished.
Then I looked at what I’d done and realised, I had messed up the direction of the pattern and needed to start all over.
I ripped it out. I had ripping things out, but it had to be done. And I started over.
I didn’t get as far as last time before realising I still didn’t have it right. And I had to rip it all out again.
This pattern is what I kept screwing up. This made me curse all patterns written for right-handed people, patterns that don’t chart their complicated combinations of cables, yarn overs and decreases. For a left-handed person, this 8 row repeat of a pattern involved some serious mental gymnastics.
I love a challenge as much as the next woman. But I also knit to relax. There was nothing relaxing about this.
But I’ll say, I was proud when it was done. I was pleased I persevered and figured it all out and finished the coat. Until I tried it on.
That’s when I discovered I’d made quite a mistake at the very beginning – a mistake I couldn’t undo without taking the ENTIRE thing apart. I made the wrong size.
Can you believe it?
In sewing, you’re almost always the same size. They are based on your body measurements and the designer of the garment adds in whatever extra ease (fabric) is necessary for the style. So you’re always a size 16 (or whatever), regardless of whether the garment is tight or loose fitting.
Knitting patterns show the finished size. If you want something close fitting, you choose something close to your measurements. Something more bulky and you choose a larger size. I had my ‘sewing head’ on when I marked up this pattern for knitting, meaning I made something close to my measurements, not leaving any extra room for the ‘cosiness’ of this pattern. So when I tried it on, it wasn’t cosy, it was clingy.
So, as you can see, this isn’t exactly the big, comfy, slouchy cardigan coat from the original pictures. But, given the time and effort that went into it, I’m going to stick with it and find ways to wear it.
I’ll admit – it helped that I got two compliments on it on the day I wore it to work. And I still love the colour and think the pattern is great, even though it was so darned difficult to produce correctly. The giant buttons are also great – they feel very Kirstie Allsopp
Any left-handers out there who want to make this coat should get in touch – I’ll send you the pattern repeat rewritten to save you some hassle. 🙂