I have finally finished my first ever knitted dress. I was very anxious about taking on this big knit and was worried that I would put all the effort in just to find out that the shape and style didn’t suit me. So I thought I’d collect a few tips for others contemplating a big project.
- Firstly do your research to see if you actually like and suit a full knitted skirt or dress. I suggest having a cheeky try on of a similar item in a shop. I went as far as buying long knitted jumper in the sales so I could have something of the right length to measure against.
- Don’t just check length and style, consider your gauge! The dreaded G word but it is worth remembering that not everyone is flattered by a top to toe chunky knit look. If fine knit is your friend then a full dress is a huge knitting commitment, but a huge reward when you get it right!
- More about gauge, it is your friend. Swatch lots to frog less and don’t forget to wash those swatches. You need to know if you’ve just signed on for a lifetime of handwashing!
- Finally you are ready to cast on a get going, but don’t be afraid to rip it back if it isn’t working out.
This is a photo from my first try at the dress. I got all the way up to the armholes before I decided it just wasn’t right. When I tried it on it was too thin and just not substantial enough for sharp Scottish breezes.
So I made the decision to frog, although I will admit that I delegated the actual ripping back to my DD. She was very stoic about the whole thing.
Second time around I used a double thread which is much more the texture I’m looking for. I’ve now got a firm fabric that isn’t letting any cold in, not appropriate for everyone, but perfect for Highland life.
This is the finished dress before blocking. Sorry for the poor colour, the most accurate is in the first photo.
It’s now going to get a gentle block while I have a steamy shower and I’ll see if it needs more after that.
The finished dress is size S using Rowan Purelife Alder Buckthorne, which I got from Black Sheep.
The pattern is a freebie Drops one from a summer collection so you may need to alter yarn for a Winter knit, like I did.
I realised this week in conversation with my mum that I come from at least 5 generations of knitters that we know of, and DD will be the 6th. I’ve still got a lot to learn but it’s nice to feel these ladies are behind me
In other news…
There has been a meeting of the proposed Moray Firth knitting co-operative. A very exciting project that I am thrilled to be involved with. We will be working to find commissions for talented knitted in the Highlands and making sure that they get recognition and fair pay for their efforts. We will also be investing in training new knitters and hopefully opening up work from home options for people across the rural area. It’s a melting pot of ideas for knitters and designers so I hope to be putting some of my designs to the test through the co-operative in the near future. I have one particular project on the go at the moment which is a real stretch of my abilities but very rewarding.
What’s on the work table?
At the moment it’s really a time for taking stock, clearing out, recycling or storing fabrics that aren’t being used. I’m also lining up the ones that will be used over the next few weeks and cutting the patterns. Actual sewing takes relatively little time compared to planning and ironing but it’s worth getting these things right. The next planned shop update will be at the start of Feb with some Springtime gifts for mothers day.