Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Lady & The Unicorn Coat

Before I show you the Lady & the Unicorn Tapestry Coat I made back in the 90s I have to brag just a wee bit. Last year I posted a pattern I came up with for a crocheted market bag. I used some old Rust colored Sugar N Cream so I called the bag the "Rust Goes Green" market bag. It wasn't that big of a deal so I posted it as a free pattern on my blog and on Ravelry. That was last June (2008). Since then it has been downloaded every day. I still get hits daily from crochet pattern websites. It's truly amazing.

For the heck of it I checked out my latest Ravelry popularity lists to see where it was at after a year. In the crocheted bag list Rust Goes Green is #10 out of over 1500 bags. WOW! In all the bags available (knit & crochet) on Ravelry It is #49 out of over 5000 bag patterns. To me this is unbelievable. I get emails weekly from people saying they like this pattern. Thanks everyone. I will try to get my act together and get some new patterns out there for you.

So - The "Unicorn Coat"

Back in the late 80s and early 90s when I was designing machine knitting items I came across a pattern by Pat Cook. It was truly amazing. This pattern was pages and pages of graphs for a full length coat - 4 colors per row. It was written for the Passap DM 80. For those of you who have NO idea what this machine is like. I has 180 needles across the bed and is a double bed. That means it can knit and purl or create a double knit fabric.

It also has little metal "pegs" on the bottom of the bed that you move up if you want the needle to knit and leave down if you want the yarn to skip the needle.

To make this beautiful coat on this machine meant setting up the little pegs 4 times for each row of knitting (each color has to be knit separately - 4 colors= 4 passes per row.) That's a lot of work. At the same time the Passap E6000 came out. It is an electronic version of the DM80. Also about this time the DesignaKnit software program came out so you can design on the computer and download to the knitting machine. Definitely better but still - lots of paper graphs and they had to be put on the computer program somehow.

I spend 6 months entering the graph stitch by stitch to the computer. After that was done The knitting was about one month.

I convinced Dad to make buttons for it because he enjoyed working with wood and I wanted big wood buttons. He used and old broom handle and they are perfect.

The yarn for the squirrel on the sleeve is a boucle so it is "furry". The other sleeve has white birds on it.

The yarn is a bit bright by today's standards but you have to remember - this was made in the early 90s - we loved these colors back then.

I have never worn the coat to a real event but this coat has been on many runways. The coat is a bit worn, there's a few spots where I discovered I need to repair yarn pulls and one spot where a hole is beginning. Guess that's what comes from all the miles this coat has traveled. All I can say is for back in its day Pat Cook created an amazing coat design and its still an amazing design.


Jennifer said...

This coat is fantastic! I would totally wear it - and I grew up in the 90s, so those colors are a fun flashback for me.

Guinifer said...


Toni said...

Wow--that is fabulous!!!!!

lynne Blackman said...

Is the pattern for this coat still available as it is outstanding and saw it in one of my old magazines, hence the search on line for it.

Jillsknit said...

Lynne- I'm sorry I couldn't send you an email but your comment doesn't show an email address. Hope you check this post out again.

The original pattern was written by Pat Cook of the UK and I have not seen it since the 80s. Maybe you could do a seach on her name and see if you can hunt up a shop that still has it.
ood Luck!