Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sailor Dress - Ruffles and 'Rithmetic

I got about 6 rounds into the cable section before I realized I was just kidding myself. This dress was going to be WAY too small, even for my petite princess. Rather than rip all the way out and start over with a heck of a lot more cast on stitches, I decided to simply give up the box pleat dream and ruffle the skirt instead. Ruffling is pretty dang simple, technique wise, since all it means is really rapid decreasing. As in, decreasing over half your stitches in a single round. And heck, it'll mean less ironing and blocking, too.

I know I say all the time that knitting (especially designing or heavy modding) involves a lot of math. It's usually super basic level algebra, sometimes just plain arithmetic, but I enjoy doing it. It makes my brain feel stretchy. To give you an idea of what my knitting problem solving looks like, here's the Notepad window I used to keep track of my thought process and calculations. Sometimes I write it out on paper; sometimes I type. Either way, it helps me enormously to write out each plodding step, no matter how insignificant or easy to do in my head, so that when things don't come out right in the end, I know exactly where it went wrong. This is even more of a necessity with pregnant-brain.

The proper desktop wallpaper is a crucial part of the process.
So, here's the product of all that math! I've successfully worked the ruffling round, now have the correct stitch count for a 22" body circumference, and am putting in some narrow stripes before I start the cabled top section. I'm fairly happy with the degree of ruffletude - I think it'll drape nicely once the curl is blocked out of the stockinette!

Ruffletude... ruffleosity... rufflishness...?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sailor Dress - Pleats and Problems

I picked up two lovely, silky skeins of Think Bamboo midnight blue lace weight at Black Sheep a couple weeks ago and was inspired to make Chloe a sweet little sailor dress for this summer. I found a pattern I liked as a starting point over at Patons, but I wanted to make several changes for maximum class and cuteness -
  • shorter, diaper-skimming skirt section
  • inverted box pleats instead of knife pleats
  • different cable pattern for the body
  • sleeveless, with narrower shoulders
  • i-cord collar edging instead of the back-flap collar
  • matching i-cord edging around the armholes
I originally intended to leave narrow open spaces  (4 stitches wide) between my box pleats, and I did my stitch math accordingly. However, after working a few pleats that way, I decided I really didn't like the look, and switched to regular inverted box pleats. Stupidly, I completely failed to note that this would dramatically alter my final stitch count. I finished the pleating round and realized I was now working with a 16" waist instead of the 20.5" I was supposed to have. While I think I can get away with the waistband having this much negative ease, I really don't want it that tight through the chest.

Inverted box pleats - half done
So, rather than fiddle with too many increases and making it look baggy, I've chosen a light fingering weight white yarn I had in my stash already to do the cabled top portion of the dress. The gauge change will not be dramatic, but I'm hoping it will be enough to make the dress fit comfortably. If I have to rip this out entirely and start over, I may not finish it in time for her to wear on our trip to visit family this summer.