Honey, I Shrunk The Knit

I’d spend most of my knitting hours last year working on a full length knitted coat that I finished at the beginning of October. It was a extended version of the drape front cardigan that I’d posted about earlier in the year. I gave it massive textured cuffs and a similar bottom which I didn’t manage to get a photograph of because I became unwell so all that sort of thing went out of the window. Here’s some process photos that I did get of it though:

The cuffs are shown in progress here and this is the effect I also produced on the bottom hem. Seven ‘humps’ were achieved by purling in the round and then reverting to knitting in four row intervals.

These photos here show the insertion of pockets, it was knitted top down so this was a new process for me and went swimmingly once I’d worked out what I was doing. It involved using waste yarn (shown in yellow) as holding stitches:

All there was to do after the pockets was to knit for several miles until it was ready to start the textured pattern like the cuff to the hem at ankle length. Here is the last photo I have of it as I was working on it, probably around October time.

I must add at this point that I got my first lot of Drops Big Delight as a birthday present in April and over the course of months my ambitions turned from cardigan to full on full length coat with matching beret so I ordered more and more. It seems like a long time ago now, I’ve had to distance myself emotionally from what happened after it was finished. I got about two weeks of wear from it, it was like having a big hug and was my dream coat. Jim said it was the best thing I’d ever made. I was happy with it thought if I’m honest there was still the niggle that the weight of the wool had relocated the pockets an inch downwards which I hadn’t accounted for. So it wasn’t perfect in my eyes. Are you ready for the next bit? OK, I’ll just go for it and say – the washing machine happened. Full on hot wash. Thing came out felted that would just about fit a two year old. I don’t exaggerate, here it is:

The 8″ scissors are shown for scale. I was gutted. It was also at this time that I broke my sewing machine and went through a bad disease flare. It seemed stacked at the time but you’ve just got to wait these things out and do what you can whenever you get another chance to deal with things. I’m still not well but am able to at least start planning on what I’m going to do with it, in order for it not to be a total disaster. I don’t believe in absolute destruction, there’s always something to be raised from the ashes so to speak. In my experience. So my thoughts are that it will be better than it was in it’s first manifestation, when I’m able I’m going to make into a short jacket. Use the shrunken felted wool as fabric panels and pair it with some snooker table green wool coating. I’ve had a piece that I’ve not had quite enough of to do anything specifically with in the past so I reckon it’s meant to be. Anyway, here’s my plan so far:

I think it will work. As the fabric is quite thick, I’m waiting for a time when I’m a bit stronger to undertake the project as it might require a bit of wrestling with and be a test for my new (old) machine. Also the matching beret wasn’t hot washed so I still have that too which is shown during blocking here:

I had quite a few mishaps and ‘disasters’ last year on reflection and I put this down to being compelled to make myself create something during periods of time when I should have been recuperating from significant flares. Anxiety forces the creative process, I feel I need to busy my mind, distract it so that I don’t dwell on the future and difficult personal circumstances. I think I need to adopt a more balanced approach and rest more, not feel the guilt that ‘I’m not up to it’ and just ride it out. I used to be a lot harder on myself than I am now and I’ve come a long way but there’s still work to do especially when it comes to being kinder to myself. Things are a bit more cerebral around these parts at the moment, I’m learning a new language and reading more than I do when furiously knitting or sewing and also resting more. I have also had a break from Instagram as it can be hard to see reminders of what you miss out on whilst convalescing and not being able to/have the energy and resources to take part. As I have recently started posting again it’s lovely to be welcomed back so warmly by folk in the creative community. I don’t feel like I can fully engage yet but don’t want to disconnect and the longer time goes on the harder it is to stop by and say hello. I realise at this point in time too that I’m not able to be more present online and interact like I have previously in order to maintain what little I have. I’ve never really wanted to talk openly about my health, I don’t want to cast clouds for others as we all have our own stuff going on so keep things on as surface level as I can whilst still hoping anything I post makes sense. I leave it at that now and as always, thanks for taking the time out of your day to read a bit of what’s happened in some of mine.