Updated: Jul 12
I have HUGE news!! I am super proud to be hosting the FIRST GARMENT MASTERCLASS MAL with Scheepjes starting the 8th of April!! We will make my Sashiko Happy Coat pattern together and share this crochet adventure in the Scheepjes International and Dutch Facebook groups!!! If you are not already a member of these groups – go and join now! Whoop whoop, the count-down is ON!!!!!
I am pretty pumped about this MAL shin-dig, but am also respectful that there are more important things going on than making my coat. We are experiencing such worrying uncertain times from the Coronavirus pandemic with the associated social and economic upheaval, and the onslaught of daily news about it has become quite overwhelming! I have always found being creative and making something to be a soothing thing to do though, and I hope you can find some comfort in crocheting along with me if you decide to join in too.
I can get so caught up in focussing on how the colours are blending and the rhythmic nature of the stitching that it becomes all I see and the world fades away. Even if you experience frustration during the project, it means you are focussed inside your creative bubble rather than worrying about whats going on in the world at large, and it's good to have a bit of a mental break from that don't you think? So .....I will end the "C" word talk now and this MAL will be a Rona-free zone. I figure #stayhomeandcrochet is a pretty positive thing to do!
My original Sahiko Happy Coat won the 2nd place in the Fashion category at the 2019 Crochet Guild of America Annual Crochet Design Competition, and the Technical Merit Award as well. I published the pattern the same week, and the response has been simply amazing! This has been so encouraging to me as I am quite passionate about crochet fashion, and would love to see more crochet garments “out there” in the world.
Crocheting garments can seem a bit daunting at first because if the finished product doesn’t fit, many sad face emojis (and maybe even exploding head emojis) will ensue! But never fear - we will be going through all the steps together, and it might help how you approach any crochet garment in the future.
When I designed this coat for the competition, it was a long (secret) plan to publish the pattern straight after. With this in mind I wanted to design a coat that was striking to look at, and was technically well executed to win over the judges (hopefully), but actually only used basic stitches so it would be achievable for adventurous intermediate level crocheters.
For intermediate hooksters comfortable with all the basic stitches, who can maintain even tension over large areas and who are relatively new to crocheting garments, then this is a great project – you will find some things a bit tricky, there will likely be some frustration (and yes, risk of frogging), but there is a heap to learn, I will do my best to support you, and the finished coat can be worn with pride.
For advanced crocheters, even though the stitches used in this pattern are the basic set, there is challenge in short rows, shaping, edging techniques and working the large areas of embroidery over the coat bodice. There are tips and tricks with fdc and joining methods for the sleeves which are highly transferrable to other projects.
For beginner crocheters, I hope my coat may serve as inspiration to keep developing your crochet skills, but this project is not beginner friendly.
The pattern: is available as a paid ad-free PDF from my Ravelry Store in English UK terms, English US terms, Dutch, Spanish and Swedish! It has been marked down today with a 20% discount (from AUD$12.50 to AUD$10.00) that will run until April 7th (no code needed). The pattern PDF is a 30+ page A4 document with full written instructions, along with numerous schematics, embroidery charts and photos to support the written instructions.
If you are part way through making a Sashiko Happy Coat already, you can join in with the MAL when it suits you! You can purchase the pattern and get started anytime as well, but there is a good reason to hold off making the garment until we talk about some important preparatory issues.
In the lead up to the MAL, we will cover some technical info to prepare: How to make the swatch to test gauge and why it’s so important, how to practice the embroidery technique on the swatch, how to read the schematics and customise the pattern to fit your body, and then …………we will actually start making the coat.
On April 8th we get stuck in!
But for now, let’s begin with the most important decision of all – WHICH COLOURS?
The pattern calls for Scheepjes Our Tribe merino blend double stranded for the coat, providing an enormous choice for the base fabric (particularly when you consider blending two different colours, which gets addictive). The luxurious vibrant range of Scheepjes Alpaca Rhythm co-ordinate so beautifully with the Our Tribe colourways for the slip stitch embroidery. Luscious!
I will be making my third coat for the MAL, mixing Scheepjes Our Tribe The Curio Craftsroom 974 with A Spoonful of Yarn 977 for the coat fabric, Alpaca Rhythm Disco 668 and Paso 662 for the embroidery. See below: that’s my Coat No.2 on the left, and some of my yarn stash ready for No.3 on the right.
I will even be playing yarn chicken, as I have JUST enough for a small sized coat. The wisdom of this is not yet known…. This stash is mainly leftover yarn from the Nishio Sweater and my second Sashiko Happy coat, which was kindly provided by Scheepjes. So I am going to call it my “Leftovers Coat”. Imaginative, huh? Hmmm. It could be “Spoonful of Curio Crafts, Disco-Baby Yeah!” instead, but that’s a bit of a mouthful…. Has a nice ring to it though…?
Most importantly, which colours are YOU going to use?
Colour choice can be so overwhelming, so I have put together some colour palettes to get you started. Check out my previous post Sashiko Happy Coat No.2 for a range of colour palettes that might speak to you. Maybe you like them as they are – maybe you decide to switch out one colour for a different one? The most popular palette after my Coat No. 2 combo proved to be “Lilly 2 Regal” at the time.
We are almost at the last decision for the day – HOW MUCH YARN? (Warning: Online shopping fast approaching…)
Here is the Materials List from the pattern:
I have listed the number of balls for each Yarn A, B and C. There is definitely plenty of Alpaca Rhythm there to cover your needs (Yarns B & C); no dramas. I have described that the number of balls listed for Our Tribe (Yarn A) does include 1 ball for 2 swatches (each swatch weighs approximately 28 grams), so you could order the numbers listed. Totally reasonable thing to do.
However, if your bust/chest circumference is at the upper end of XXL size or larger, or you want extra length, or you have long arms, or you like a loose feel to the garments you wear – anything that makes increasing custom changes likely – maybe order another 2 balls on top of what is specified in the pattern.
If you do run out of yarn because you end up needing more for your custom changes though (I will blog on how to make custom changes next week), it’s not a total disaster. You’ll just wait a bit longer to receive more yarn in order to keep going. The good thing about working double stranded with long gradient colour change yarn is that you can blend in a new dye-lot without too much worry: one strand of old dye-lot with one strand of new dye-lot.
By the way, yarn isn’t the only thing to go online shopping for – I really do recommend using that many stitch markers! The more the merrier. It’s pretty difficult to keep track of edging and attaching the sleeves without them. I like the safety pin style as they don’t catch and pull on the fabric and they stay put.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY THESE GORGEOUS YARNS?
Check here for all Scheepjes retailers worldwide.
Please consider supporting my blog and shop via these affiliate links:
Wool Warehouse (in the UK; normally ships worldwide, but currently limited to within the UK because of the virus we aren't mentioning)
Caros Atelier in the Netherlands
It is no extra cost to you, and helps me to continue designing as I receive a small percentage of the sale.
Other handy shops:
Black Sheep Wools (in the UK)
Jimmy Beans Wool (in the US)
Knotty House (in Canada)
& shopping at Yarns For All helps to support a small Australian business in my local city of Perth Western Australia (a good option if you live in New Zealand - they can still ship worldwide).
I will leave you now to choose colours and go shopping. Check out my next blog tomorrow when we talk swatching for gauge and practising the embroidery!
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