Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's A Dress After All



It seems I had enough yarn to make a dress after all.

Drunic Sundress

Size: finished item has a 24" chest measurement. Rosebud measures about 22" around.

Pattern: Improvised on the needles by me

Yarn & Needles: Katia Jamaica, US7 I used all of two skeins and dipped a bit into the third.

I loved using the Jamaica yarn, and Rosebud loves the feel of the smooth fabric. It has a little stretch to it, despite being 100% cotton. I wouldn't use the yarn for a top for myself though because I personally don't like the color blips in the stripes. While I think it is provides that whimsical, not-mass-produced look in the dress, I prefer something more sophisticated for myself. It could also be the hot, juicy colors, which again, are perfect for a little girl, but for me, not so much.

I did discover that a great solution to the blip problem is garter stitch. This yarn looks absolutely gorgeous in garter stitch. I briefly considered making Rosebud a long jacket in garter stitch with this yarn, but I wanted something she could wear more immediately, and she does have a pretty cool knitted jacket already. Expect to see some Baby Surprise Jackets in Jamaica in the future!

Pattern Notes: You remember my genius solution for making this dress was using an invisible cast-on to start knitting at the armpits. I mentioned that Barbara Walker led me to my solution, which is true, but I also want to give credit to Marnie for inspiring this idea. I remembered her posting on the CAL that she often uses a provisional cast-on when knitting sweaters from the hem-up, so that she can change the border details or add length once the main body of the sweater is finished without having to cut the knitting. It must have lodged into my subconscious, because I immediately connected her idea when reading Walker's work.

This technique is definitely has its advantages. Obviously, for knitters unable to commit to a plan or unsure about yarn amounts, it is a great idea. You can knit most of the body of the garment, and figure out details like border treatments and necklines as you go. This way also allowed me to try the dress on Rosebud as I knitted for length and fit, much like a top-down garment.

However, there are some drawbacks. First, I could not figure out how to execute this cast-on in the round. I just couldn't do it. I tried multiple times and besides making a moebius every damn time, the first and last few stitches always looked terrible. I eventually cast-on straight and knit back and forth for a couple of rounds. While this allowed me to move on with my project, it created a gaping hole under the arm was a bitch to close. I was forced to abandon my usually persnickety standards for finishing in favor of the "galloping horse" standard. Finally, I ended up with a very visible line of elongated stitches that were caused by unevenness in the cast-on stitches.


The only thing I would change about this project is that I should have planned for more ease, and maybe done more increases to make it wider at the bottom. Rosebud is a slip of a thing, and it fits well, but I was picturing a looser garment with a more pronounced a-line. Luckily, it does not appear to impede her movement or her play, especially in her current favorite activity.

Up next on the needles is yet another Rosebud project -- Bounce, of course!

18 comments:

Bridget said...

Cute little girl, and the dress turned out great. But for me, the tiara is what really makes the look ...

Madge said...

Princess Rosebud is adorable in her new sundress.

Have fun Bouncing. Hey, have you ever seen the book Philippe Halsman's Jump Book?

Christie said...

She is too cute! I love any girl that can rock a tiara.

Anonymous said...

The dress is super cute. I also used a provisional cast-on for Eiffel from Knitty and cast on just below the bust. I'm going to pick up my stitches tonight and knit downwards to finish it. I've learnt so much on the blogs.
Gillian

Sally said...

C'mon, yer hot n juicy. ;o)

This is too cute. Rosebud looks great in those colors.

LaurieM said...

She looks cute as a button in that dress! And it sounds like it will wear for a few seasons too. I think she's a pretty lucky girl to have such a smart mamma.

Okay, here's an alternate cast on method. Using a contrasting waste yarn, cast one in the regular way, join and knit a few rows. Then, add in your project yarn. When you are ready, you just snip the waste yarn in one spot and carefully unravel and remove it all around, picking up stitches as you go.

Honestly, I've never tried it in practice, but it sounds simple enough. I have used waste yarn to knit a hole for a peasant thumb and the principle is the same there.

Dave said...

Very cute -- the kid and the dress!

Mintyfresh said...

ohmigod, the tiara. the tiara! i am shrieking over the cuteness, the adorableness, and the sassiness!

totally cute dress.

nova said...

I love the dress, and the royal accoutrement is perfectly appropriate!

tiennie said...

Love the sassy princess and her pretty dress!

Anonymous said...

beautiful rosebud!

yeah, it's all about the tiara.

anne marie in philly

iSeL said...

It's a dress! It's a super cute dress on a super cute little girl! You made it work, and it looks fantastic.

Margene said...

So cute! The dress and the kid both;-)

Mo said...

Wow! It's a winner! Just love it.

HPNY Knits said...

so well done! its really great.

pamela wynne said...

SO cute!! And the Jamaica will make a wonderful BSJ!

Mozilla said...

Super Cute!!! Both the dress and Rosebud! The garter stitch does look fabulous with that Jamaica

Mighty Momogus said...

Oops - I'm late to the party, as usual.

Great dress, beautiful daughter (I totally approve of the tiara - I wish they were more widely accepted as a regular accessory), great knitterly solutions to thorny problems!