Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ribbon Tied Dress

Ribbon Tied Dress
Pattern: by Debbie Bliss in Special Knits for Babies
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun (100% acrylic, 168 yds in 70g ball) 2 balls in French Vanilla. Size 4 Addi Turbo Circulars, 24" and 32".
Gauge: 22 sts x 30 rows = 4" square in st st.
Finished Size: 19" chest

Started: July 2, 2006
Finished: July 10, 2006

Many pattern modifications. I wanted to use stash yarn but my gauge at 5.5 sts per in was larger than the pattern gauge. As it was, the fabric was stiffer than I like, so I wasn't about to go down a needle size to achieve gauge... hence recalculating all the stitch counts. I also downsized the pattern by about 1 inch in length and width.

In addition, I changed the instructions to be completely seamless. For the body, this was straightforward. For the sleeves, I decided to knit from the top down to avoid seaming the sleeves into the armholes.

The sleeve is a modified drop-shoulder sleeve. I re-calculated the number of final bound off sleeve sts from the pattern to adjust for my different gauge. Then I picked up half that number of sts up the front and the other half down the back. Finally, I picked up 1 additional st per bound off stitch at the base of the armhole. These additional stitches were decreased at either end of the sleeve one at a time every two out of three rows, kind of like turning a heel on a heel flap sock.

This is where I differed on either side. On the first sleeve, I used SSK with the body st and the first sleeve stitch, knit to the the last sleeve stitch and k2tog with one body st. On the wrong side, it was p2tog, purl to last st, then p2tog-tbl. This left visible strands (picture on left), so I reversed the decreases on the second sleeve. I think the strands disappeared into the faux-seam (picture on right), so I think this approach is worth doing in the future.

I love the look of this dress, but for some reason, the fabric came out really stiff despite being a chunkier gauge than what's specified on the ball band. Weird, huh? Anyway, if I make this dress again, I won't use Microspun. But hey, I used up 2 out of the 3 balls in my stash. Only 2! According to the pattern, I was supposed to need more than 3 since the labeled gauge for Microspun is the same as the recommended yarn, Baby Cashmerino. Hence I opted to downsize the dress by an inch in width and length. Apparently, I over-did it. I guess I'll have leftovers for a hat and booties for the next time.

The modified drop shoulder sleeves knit from the top down were great! I don't think I described it very well, but it really was pretty easy. The armhole "seam" is not bulky at all, and it would have been even less bulky if I had picked up sts a half st in instead of a whole st in. Given my track record with seaming, this was the perfect solution for me. Now if only I could figure out how to tie a proper bow...

BTW, these drop shoulder sweaters just scream to me, "Hug me! Pick me up!" which is good since they're for babies. I just need a baby to actually model these sweaters to see if they don't look so home-made when on a real body.

Previous posts on this project:
Nightmares on July 6, 2006