My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Finished Fini Fertig Finito

On Monday afternoon I finished my denim coat and tossed it in the washer to shrink it.

This is knit from Rowan Denim: a cotton yarn. I am not felting the coat, but shrinking it lengthwise and fading the color. I put it in the washer with a large dark colored bath towel (for friction) and sent it through a regular cycle with hot wash and cold rinse. A lot of dye washed off. It actually stained the inside of my washer slightly.

From the washer into the dryer, where it took about 90 minutes to dry on a hot cycle.

Then I repeated the wash/dry process again last night.

After the first wash/dry, it shrunk nicely in length — pretty much exactly how much I expected: about 17%. There was some slight fading of color.

After the second wash/dry, it shrunk in length a wee bit more, so in total it shrunk about 20%. There was a little more color fading as well.

Because the coat is a textured knit, more fading occurs on the parts that “stick out” so you get a nice contrast on the relief portion of the cables.

I used 34 skeins of Rowan Denim in the “Memphis” colorway and a U.S. size 5 needle.

There was a comment recently about the advisability of attaching sleeves before shrinking: wouldn’t the lengthwise shrinking affect the set of the sleeves? It doesn’t. I’ve knit denim sweaters in the past, put them together entirely, and then tossed them in the washer, and it has worked out just fine each time. I discussed this almost two years ago, in this blog post. The only drawback to waiting until I finish a garment before washing it? It’s a long wait to get to see how the design looks after shrinking fading! But that is incentive to knit faster.

There was also a question about whether it would shrink proportionately over the different pattern motifs — would they all shrink at the same rate?

They did.

I am extraordinarily happy with this coat. It is oversized, and that’s what I wanted. Since I will be wearing it as outerwear, I wanted a very loose fit so it would be easy to put on over something with sleeves. I think it is going to make a great light autumn coat.

No photo of it being worn — I was unable to get a good shot indoors.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go pet Lucy, who is waiting patiently.



  1. What a beautiful coat Wendy!! The twining cables are stunning!
    Alice in Richmond´s last blog post ..9.4.12 Overcome by fumes.

  2. Love it! You are amazing!

  3. Beautiful! A magnificent opus!

  4. Gorgeous. I’ve knit denim sweaters for my kids; they seemed heavy. Does this coat feel heavy?

  5. I just can’t believe how fast you knit. I’m a bad lazy knitter. I’m also making a coat but I’m just about 18″ in. And I started it in January. I got Sid tracked with mystery shawls 🙂 and socks and cowls and headbands and ………

  6. Oh how I abhor the auto speller. Side tracked.

  7. Stunning work, as always, Wendy! I have Rowan Denim in my stash, but worried about the shrinkage issues….thanks for ‘splainin it so clearly!

  8. That’s beautiful. I’d love to see you (or another human!) in it.
    I’m tempted to get some of that denim.

  9. Midnite Baker says:

    Lovely Coat. Now don’t lay it down somewhere or Lucy will make it into her bed! LOL!!
    May have to dig out my Rowan Denim books and try my luck at a sweater. Miss Sparky says “hi” to Miss Lucy.

  10. I am in awe Wendy! This blue coat is beautiful and the color is perfect for the cables!!
    You will get so many compliments wearing this!

  11. Its beautiful But I wish we could have seen it on you

  12. 34 skeins?? Wow! Looks great! We really need a live model shot.

  13. The pictures don’t seem to show the fading on the cables. Maybe you can convince one of your colleagues at the office to take a photo of you, at that epic spot on the roof..
    Molly by golly´s last blog post ..Still crazypants

  14. A lot of knitting, but a beautiful result in the end!
    Cindy/KS´s last blog post ..Old Blog

  15. The coat is beautifuL. I am not suure I could have weathered the suspense. Congratulations!

  16. Amazing – love the end result !

  17. Lovely job. and have to comment on the 34 skeins – I don’t know if I could even get up enough courage to purchase 34 skeins, the pressure of then using them… haha. Again, as other said, beautiful, gorgeous coat. Happy the shrinkage turned out as planned. Thanks for the post.

  18. I love this beautiful coat…The color also I really like it…
    Beatriz´s last blog post ..yeast infection

  19. It turned out lovely! The color is great!
    FoFo´s last blog post ..No WIP Pics Today

  20. Great job! You are sure to get many compliments when you step out in this gorgeous creation. Glad the shrinking process went well.

  21. Beautiful! Design and color.

    We had red towels at one time which I always washed by themselves, and my washer had a white enamel interior. Notice “had”. They also stained the interior of my dryer, after some time, slightly.

    If you want to remove the color from the washer, buy ‘Iron Out’ at the supermarket or hardware store. It is intended for serious iron stains, or for addition to water softeners to help keep the resin working, but it will decolorize the washer as well. It is sodium metabisulfite and sodium hyrosulfite and it rather stinks, though the smell dissipates fairly quickly.

  22. Beautiful coat.

  23. Coat looks great. Thanks for the shrinkage and fading info.

  24. Pam Gardner says:

    It is really beautiful

  25. The finished coat is gorgeous. Wear it in good health.(yiddish saying). I enjoy all I learn from your blog.

  26. Good to know about the shrinkage/fading– I can only knit with non-wool yarns, and would definitely like to try a denim yarn at some point. So thank you for sharing that information! Your coat turned out lovely.
    Becky´s last blog post ..My closet challenge: Evaluating what I have

  27. Shirley Gallagher says:

    Beautiful coat Wendy. Your designs are wonderful.

  28. 34 skeins. I’m not sure I even own 34 skeins of a single weight of yarn (and if I do it is sock yarn).
    Seanna Lea´s last blog post ..Everybody poops!

  29. Wow! Wowwy-Wow! What a project…you did a great job. Denim garments feel wonderful and I can only imagine how this coat will feel. Mary in Cincinnati

  30. Whoa. That’s a lot of knitting with size 5’s! What a beauty that’s going to be on you.

  31. Of course, I want to chime in and congratulate you! Beautiful coat and it fits so perfect after the washings!! Just stunning and great color too Wendy! I don’t know if I would ever attempt a project such as this. I am contemplating a poncho though! 🙂