A mash-up trifecta
It all started out when Amy of Spunky Eclectic decided to do a sweater spin and knit along on Ravelry for her Less is More pattern. You may already know that I knit a Less is More cardigan not too long ago…but the lure was too great, and I have a lot of sweater-worthy wool.
Not long after getting started on the spinning, a few friends started making comments about how nice it would be to knit Bressay out of handspun – seeing as my spinning was tending towards the fine/fingering weight, I started thinking that perhaps I might knit a Bressay out of handspun applying the less is more color shifts.
While I love the circular yoke of Bressay, I was simply not enamored of the pockets…but I really wanted a dress with pockets, so I started hunting through patterns, looking for something I could combine it with and I found the Still Light Tunic. Bonus for me, they both call for fingering weight yarns and had similar gauges! Another bonus, this would allow me to keep the better fitting yoke of Bressay while adding the neat pocket construction of the Still Light tunic. I don’t know what it is, but I seem to find it challenging to knit a well fitted top-down raglan. I usually overshoot the depth and wind up with too much fabric at the bottom of the yoke – clearly I need to improve on my raglan knitting techniques (or rather, I need to figure out what depth of a raglan yoke I need and write it down so I remember).
In any case, yarn in hand, I got ready to cake it:
The yarn was inspected and the caking process was closely supervised as you can see. Here are all the cakes, lined up in transitional order.
After caking, I did the responsible thing and swatched:
Through this process, I discovered that I would be committing myself to a rather sizeable project on US2 needles. I’m a little amazed still that I finished the knitting in less than a month! With the swatching complete, the knitting got underway. Here’s a close up shot of the yoke:
Once the yoke was done, it was basically miles of stockinette. Trying to estimate length by re-checking row gauge periodically was proving challenging as every time I laid the dress down to measure progress, this happened:
Eventually I decided I was pretty close to matching the called out row gauge, and stuffed the whole dress into a bag, leaving only the working end sticking out – I did this to minimize wear on the fabric while I kept turning it around and around in my lap. Eventually, I hit the end and bound off:
The pockets were then knit in, and the dress laid out to block…
I don’t know if I should be surprised or not, but one of my cats was absolutely enamored of the damp wool and decided that he wanted to try to make a nest out of the previously neatly laid out dress. Luckily for me (and him too, I guess), he’s well mannered enough to not get his claws out while he was trying to rearrange the fabric to his liking!
Here it is, freshly dried, and hastily modeled under the harsh sun:
Fit: Not incredibly flattering, but very comfortable. The dress grew about 3 inches during the blocking process – which unfortunately puts the pockets in an awkward location – you can see that just my fingertips land inside the pockets. Lengthwise, I think the dress is alright – I was going to be happy with anything from just above the knee to just below the knee.
Modifications & Notes: Added some amount of princess shaping at the back and sides, though it does not appear to have been aggressive enough to draw in the dress above my waist – this is also likely due to the design of the pockets, which utilize a pleat formed at the fronts of the dress. I moved the location of the front pleats to be closer to the center of the dress, and had to estimate the number of cast on stitches to make up the front pockets once the pocket separation was completed. I think I could have gotten away with adding fewer stitches, though it would have really made the pockets look like deep slash pockets I suspect. At this point, I’m trying to decide if I’m good with it as is, or if I want to try to tear back to change the location of the pockets and ultimately shorten the dress a bit….for now, I’m leaving things alone, mostly because I don’t want to contemplate what all would be involved in shifting the pockets up several inches. I suspect it would be easy enough to do, I’d just have to work out placement, and tear everything back to that point and reknit – and really, that’s the more daunting bit.
Reference Patterns: Less is More, Bressay & the Still Light Tunic
Yarns: All Bluefaced Leicester Wool, handspun, 2-ply fingering weight. From top to bottom: Southern Cross Fibre Monastic Robes, Hello Yarn Scorch, Spunky Eclectic Friends Forever, HelloYarn/Southern Cross Fibre Mochi en Fuego (combo spin, Superwash BFL), HelloYarn Troublemaker, Southern Cross Fibre Gunslinger. Trim: Southern Cross Fibre Bracken. Ecru accents in the colorwork are a commercially spun superwash merino wool yarn.