This past Sunday, I started in one of the Knit, Swirl patterns, by Sandra McIvers, specifically, the Coat of Many Colors. Luckily, I "know" that for worsted weight yarn, I will get gauge at US 6. But I made a gauge swatch anyways, and I was pretty darn close to both row & stitch gauge.
Before I started, I read through the first few chapters of the book that goes over sizing, gauge, construction, etc, THEN read through all of the helpful notes on Ravelry and hit up the Knit, Swirl website, where Sandra actually more helpful techniques and tricks. With such a big project, it's good to have all of the information before even starting!
And, I did something I tend not to do on most patterns --- I read and re-read the cast on and section on the body...then re-read them again to ensure I understood what was happening. Usually, I tend to just jump right in and only look for those key words "AT THE SAME TIME" whenever possible. But this time around, this required a bit more forethought than normal.
I cast on the needed 500+ stitches (yes, 500+ stitches), and oh, boy was that painful. Sandra breaks the stitch counts down to manageable chunks as there are "sections" for this pattern. So it was easy to cast on the required number of stitches per section, double & triple count, and know that I had the right number at the end.
The joining in the round was another tricky bit -- trying to ensure you're not twisting it as you join is hard enough on hat or cuff-down-sock, but for 500+ stitches?! Oofda. (And here, luckily, Sandra gives you some tips to get through it.)
So, far, so good, but this project is going to take a LONG time to finish. It's been 4 days thus far since I started, and I'm in the middle of Welt # 3, which translates to about 14 roundst thus far. It takes me 40 minutes to get through almost 2 rounds (if I'm lucky). And I believe that there are about 50+ Welts?
However, I'm keeping my eye on the prize --- the final coat. Because after trying it on, I was really hooked on the styling, fit, and flair. And Sandra said that the hard part is at the beginning with so many stitches, but as you go forward, you end up decreasing so it gets easier and easier.
Right now, I'm holding that idea close, because it's getting a bit tedious to go through all rounds (and all of those stitches) of just purling or just knitting each welt. However, on the flip side, this type of knitting allows me to catch up on some of my podcasts that I had been missing because I was working on those fair isle Dire Wolf mittens and thus couldn't pay attention except to the charts.
Some Ravelers mentioned that they snuck in small projects while working on this jacket. I just might have to do the same.
However, I'm committed to doing this!