Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Knitting A Dress In The Round: FINISH HIM

The above title is an allusion to 90s beat-em-up button masher Mortal Kombat, in case you were wondering.

Once you have reached up to two-three inches of your desired final length, stop doing the lace repeats and work three rows of knit stitches, knitting over the purled decrease-triangles (they were only purled to keep them visually separate from the lace).  On your fouth row, do a picot row: *knit1, yarnover, knit2tog*; then do another six rows of knit stitches, followed by another picot row; followed by another two rows of knit stitches.  Now cast off

Turn the work wrong-side out, and fold up the hem along the lowest row of picot holes.  Slip-stitch the hem into place with the last of your wool.  Weave in any dangly ends you can see using the TechKnitting tips to help you (they are AMAZINGly good).

Try on your dress right-side-out before blocking, to see which directions it needs to stretch and be moulded.   Bear in mind that the lace will expand downwards a good way when blocked, outwards too.

N.B. the increase/decrease diamond has flattened out
Now hand-wash your dress in warm water with delicates-washing soap.  Don't bash it about too much as we don't want to obscure all the holes in the lace by felting the wool (which makes it fluffy).  When you're bored, pull the dress into a long thick rope top-to-bottom and squeeze the water out from the bodice to the hem.  This helps to lengthen it and straighten the lace stitches.  Lay a towel over a large chair or sofa, and using as many pins as it takes to hold it down, stretch and shape it so that the picot rows stand out at the upper edge and the increase section is nice and flared.  Leave to dry naturally.

Meanwhile, choose your ribbon.  I am lucky enough to live and work just round the corner from VVRouleaux, a boutique which specialises in designer trimmings, ribbon and frills.  Strikingly-coloured ribbons can be a surprisingly cheap or expensive way to tart up a craft creation, depending on how difficult it is to make the ribbons in the first place.  As my dress is an ivory white, I had to choose carefully to get the right level of subtle 'accent' colour.  The light in my workroom is awful but the ribbon is grey/lavender.

When your dress is dry, attach a safety-pin to one end of your ribbon, and using the blunt 'head' end weave approx. 1 metre of ribbon through all of the picot holes at the top edge and under the bust.  Start at the centre, work your way round and cut leaving plenty of length for loosening the tension and for a bow.  Trim the ends with the traditional triangle to discourage fraying, or carefully roll the ends back on themselves and secure with a few tiny stitches.


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