Thursday, May 2, 2013

Upsized Clara

Have you seen the Clara dress pattern?  I fell in love with it before my daughter was born and tried to buy it.  My bank's security system wouldn't let the transaction through - when I contacted Isager because my order didn't seem to be being processed, they advised that this isn't uncommon for Australian customers.  Apparently the 'falcon' thinks that you're trying to shop in person in the US when it knows you were only down the street using your card 20 minutes ago, and it rejects the transaction.  Over a year went by, and I tried again (this time with a card from a smaller bank), and was successful.  The problem is, that the pattern is sized for a chest circumference of up to 20", and that's my daugher's current measurement.  I didn't want to go to the effort of making the dress only to have her grow out of it before winter is over.

Well, after many calculations and much trial and error, I've finally finished my 18-24 month size of the pattern.  I managed to make it out of the two skeins (500m) of wool in the kit, with just 2m to spare (most of the calculations were me working out how many stitches I could expect to knit out of each gram of yarn, and therefore how long I could afford to make the skirt!).

In summary I:
  • Cast on 260 sts (after I had nearly finished I read other posts on Ravelry, and yes it would have been easier to use 261stitches, and decrease one stitch in the first round of the pattern)
  • Then followed the pattern, knitting to a length of 29 cm / 11.5 inches
  • Split into rows at the start of the moss band beneath the bodice, 'splicing' it to create a lapped opening.  
  • Included a moss stitch button band on both ends of the row as I was knitting from this point forward, adjusting the pattern accordingly, and evenly spacing three buttonholes.  In hindsight I would have put the bottom buttonhole in the horizontal moss band - it pulls a little.
  • Knitted the 'set sleeve' row as follows: Moss 5, k26 sts, place next 10 sts on holder, CO 65 sts, k54 sts, place next 10 sts on holder, CO 65 sts, k25 sts, moss 5 (245 sts on needle). 
  • Inserted one additional WS row after Rnd 1, three additional rows (with only one k2tog tbl in each repeat for right-side rows - ie. no decreasing over the length of the row) after 'Rnd 14', and two each after Row 1, Row 3 and Row 5.
  • Omitted Row 9 and Row 10 (giving a total of 32 rows from the top of the moss band to the bottom of the neckband).
  • Knitted up 77 stitches for each sleeve band.  Due to my yarn restrictions I knitted eight rows on each.

No, she doesn't usually get to play with sticks!

I'm joining up over here, and will be checking out what other people are up to working shortly.
Joined up here too.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Introducing Beth Bunny

There have been lots of 'starts' in our household in the last few months, but precious few 'finishes', so I'm proud to have a 'nearly there' to show off today!  I've admired Alicia Paulson's Miss Maggie Rabbit pattern for a while now, and this week I not only managed to buy it, but make a version of it.  If you follow the link to the pattern you'll probably wonder whether in fact I followed it, so here's the rundown on why Beth is Beth and not Maggie:

The fabric:  The pattern calls for felt.  I didn't have any, and am determined to use up my stash.  What I did find was a small leftover piece of woven faux fur fabric.  Not only was it just enough to make Beth, but it is actually a scrap from when my Grandma made me 'Big Bun' when I was two (I'll take a photo when the young one wakes up, but safe to say I've always been very unimaginative in naming things!).  

The construction:  Felt doesn't fray, but my fabric will, so instead of exposed hand-stitching, I used a moderately wide zig-zag and a short stitch length on the machine to construct most of Beth.  To facilitate this I cut the ears about 4mm larger all round than the pattern shows, to allow for turning (I also ended up with nearly 1cm of seam allowance at the base of the ears this way).  I stitched along the edge of the fabric, so for the other pieces I figured that my seam allowance was about the same as Alicia used.

I decided that I wanted Beth's ears to stand up, so before I stuffed her head I pinned the seam allowance at the bottom of the ears to the side of her head from the outside.  I removed the pins after her head was firmly stuffed, and her ears definitely stand up!  Pinning the seam allowances to the top of her head would have given her floppy ears instead.

One drawback of my fabric choice was that I had difficulty seeing what I was sewing when it came to hand-sewing on Beth's arms and legs.  I went round each a couple of times just in case - I don't want to be fixing severed limbs later!
The colours:  I used a paler nose and whiskers for Beth, given her white fur, but I wish now that I'd made the whiskers the same colour as her nose.

The dress:  The dress is a cut-down of a peasant top that the young one wore when she was 3 months old.  It already had the smocking on the front, elastic on the sleeves, the ruffle on the bottom and a button tab down the back.  I used Alicia's pattern as a guide for the sizing of the pieces (although my sleeves are shorter and the dress is longer by the depth of the ruffle).  

The finishing touches:  I do have some red felt in the stash, and have cut out some little boots to finish her off.  All being well this'll happen before Sunday, so that Beth can be carefully placed for the young one to find on Sunday when her brothers are hunting Easter eggs.

Happy Easter!


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