Thursday, 22 March 2012

Knitting A Dress In The Round - Flaring the Skirt

By now, if you were getting really bored of this project, you could safely call what you've knitted a 'top'; if you wanted to leave it there, I suggest another two evenly-spaced picot rows at the bottom.  Cast off, and fold the last few rows back along the picot holes, making a nice even scalloped edge.  Hem, and follow the instructions on my 'Finishing' post (in the future) to decorate and fit your garment.

If you're not bored, hooray!  We are now going to very gently flare the lace pattern out over your hips and keep going.

N.B. I have realised while writing this that I keep saying 'your' all the time, as though this blog was directed exclusively at knitting women/dress wearers.  Knitting trouser-wearers: if you are with me on this project, please make sure you measure the intended wearer carefully and at all the relevant points - over-bust, under-bust, between busts, waist, hips, and down the middle.  This presumes a certain intimacy with the person concerned.  Good luck!

Flaring the Skirt
You Will Need your stitch-markers back.  Using your gague, work out how many stitches you will need to add to make up the difference between your waist and hip measurement.

My waist =28ins, and hips=31ins, so I need 3 ins of increase.  At 8 stitches to an inch (or thereabouts) that means adding 24 stitches.  I don't intend to do this all in one go, as it will deform the garment.  Instead, the stitches will be added gradually over a series of rows.

Count the number of lace repeats (groups of 9 stitches) you have on one row.  Divide this number by your gague count.  The result will be the number of repeats between stitch-markers, and between bands of increase stitches.
The red triangle surrounds the purled increase stitches in front of the stitch-marker.  

Follow the pattern below for a smooth transition.  Continue knitting the lace in bands with purl-bands between until you reach nearly the length you want.  Then go to Finishing...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Knitting a Dress in the Round - Main Lace Pattern

Diagonal Lace 2
Here's a link to the lace pattern which I have been using for the body of my dress.  I realised that I personally would go much faster if I used right-leaning decreases (k2tog) rather than left-leaning ones (ssk) so have actually turned the pattern inside out.  If you'd like to do this:

1) Read the pattern 'backwards,' right-to-left when it's written out.
2) Remember that in an instruction '(yo, k1) twice' you will still be reading right to left, so actually (k1, yo) twice.
3) Substitute right-leaners for left leaners, and vice versa.  This is much easier when there's only one kind of decrease in your pattern - e.g. I simply replace every instance of 'ssk' with 'k2tog'.

Here's a further link to the TECHKnitting post where I checked that this would work!  Scroll to the last comments.

Knitting Lace in the Round

It can be done - it just takes a little thought.
When reading your pattern,   if stitches are marked off for the beginning and end of rows - leave them out.  Just do the main lace repeat section for each row all the way round.  E.g. in my pattern, I do not knit 1 at the end and beginning of each row as described.

The lace pattern which I'm using uses multiples of 9 stitches: to create the pattern shown needs a minimum band of nine stitches wide and 36 rows long.  You must knit to get the correct measurement for you according to your gague - if your eventual under-bust stitch-count is not a multiple of 9, fear not.  Start each row with the lace repeat, and at the end of the row knit any stitches which won't fit.  Since the beginning and end of the row is at the back of the garment, this will leave a long strip of plain stockinette down the back which can be decorated with false-pearl buttons as a feature of the dress.

Knitting the Torso

After your decrease rows, do another 2 rows of plain knit stitches, then another picot row - *k1, yo, k2tog*.  Finish this feature with another two rows of plain knit stitches; as you go, remove all of your stitch counters except that which reminds you where the beginning of the round is.  

Measure your torso down to where your hips start to flare out, from your bustline to under your bellybutton.  Follow the lace pattern (plus knitting any odd stitches at the end) until you have the correct length. 

Next I will work out and blog how to flare the skirt gracefully, and choose a different lace or fringe for the hem.  See you soon!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Knitting A Dress In The Round: Lower Bodice

The decreasing section of this dress is more fiddly, as I decided I wanted to have darts down under the busts for subtle(ish) shaping.

The diagram (hooray feeble MS Painting) on the right represents your finished frock.

Dotted lines = picot rows.  Note the under-bust picot row after the decrease rows.

Strong black lines show the direction of increases and decreases.  Measure yourself along the long red line before beginning your decrease rows.

Measure the length generated by your increase rows (short red line).  This will be mirrored by your decrease rows.  If between them they do not add up to the length of the bodice total, you will need to add an appropriate number of plain knit rows between increasing and decreasing (as shown on diagrams).

To locate your darts, measure the distance between the centre of your chest and one of your *ahem* most pointy areas.  Using your gague (stitches per inch), count back an appropriate number of stitches from the centre of your garment and place another stitch marker.  Mirror this pattern to find the beginning of your second dart on the other side of the garment.  As the distances will vary, stitches between the darts are not marked on the chart.

The chart below should be followed from RIGHT TO LEFT and includes a pattern for the increase rows.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Knitting a Dress in the Round: Upper Bodice

N.B: the working edge is nearer the bottom of the garment, so this  is 'upside down'

After all my protestations of feebleness after (barely) knitting the Hurricane Hat, I've begun to knit a dress in the round.  My logic was as follows:
1) a dress is just a very wide tube with sleeves.
2) some dresses do without sleeves, making them even more of a tube.
3) My mother just showed me how to do a 'picot hem', which produces an even row of holes all the way across/around a garment.
4) A picot hem makes an excellent way of threading colourful ribbon around an edge, to gather and tighten a garment at the bustline or waist.
5) If I measure myself, and work out where to increase and decrease at the right points, I could make a widening and narrowing tube which gathers ribbon-taut around ma bazongas.  This would be impressive, and warm.
6) If I did the lower half in lace, it would be less warm and less stuffed-caterpillar-looking, and have more give in the fabric to get a good fit.

I have never swatched so much as I have swatched to design this project.  Swatching is when you make a little square of fabric with your chosen wool on your chosen needles, and measure how many stitches per inch you come out with.  This is your gague.  If it's too many compared to your pattern or the count on your ball of wool, you need bigger needles; too few, smaller.  I also used my swatches to test different kinds of increase and decrease out, trying to find the most appealing.  The incredible TechKnitting blog (linked at the sidebar) has been an invaluable help with this.  I recommend you follow it, for the diagrams alone.

Picot and Lace Knitted Dress - Upper Bodice

To generate my dress, I swatched out my white fingering-weight yarn on 3.5mm needles.  I measured myself at key points (vital statistics etc.) in inches, then multiplied those numbers by my gague to find my cast-on number, and targets for increasing and decreasing to.

The first part of the project is the picot hem.  Cast on as above according to your (measurement under the armpit x gague), adding stitch-markers every 20 stitches.  Knit round 3 rows.  On the fourth row,

*knit 1, yarnover, knit two together* - repeat between the ** until you reach the end of the row, and knit any remaining stitches.

Showing two lines of 'picot' and the increased and decreased central diamond

Identify the centre of your garment, opposite the beginning of the row.  Place a stitch-marker there as you knit your next row.
To identify the number of increase stitches you need, calculate the difference between your under-armpit and bust measurements.  Multiply this by your gague.  I came out with 2 inches, or 15 stitches, because I have no bust.
The increases form a triangle at the centre of the work:
1) knit; find marker; increase 1; knit;
2) knit; find marker; increase 1; knit 1; increase 1; knit;
3) knit; find marker; increase 1, knit 3; increase 1; knit;
4) knit; find marker; increase 1, knit 5, increase 1; knit;
5) knit; find marker; increase 1; knit 7; increase 1; knit;
6) knit; find marker; increase 1; knit 9; increase 1; knit;
7) knit; find marker; increase 1; knit 11; increase 1; knit;
8) knit; find marker; increase 1; knit 13; increase 1; knit
etc. for larger busts.

That's enough for now - I'll continue these posts as I work my way down the dress.  The decrease rows are a little more complicated.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Belted tunic dress

This isn't something I can really claim as my own, it's a New Look dress pattern (below) but the bead detail is mine.

It's made of the electric blue silk which the Man brought me back gosh, how long ago? many months... and I hadn't finished it yet because I suspected that turning the belt inside out would be an arse.  I reckoned without the smoothness of silk though, and in the end the fiddly little tie-ends were the biggest doddle of the whole project.

Look how blue!