This is the second time I joined Joey's KAL. Not that I didn't see projects I wanted to work on, it's just intimidating seeing how fast everyone else in the group is finishing their projects. Plus I have got tons of projects piling up in my stash... Feeling a bit guilty buying new yarn to start a new project when in fact I have got more than enough projects to last me through next year... But the temptation of new patterns and new designs are hard to resist, especially when there's only limited time when you can get your hands on them... And this is one of those cases.
Choosing a suitable yarn and swatching for gauge turned out to be the challenge for this project. The pattern used a fine gauge cotton yarn with a larger crochet hook to achieve the airy look for the lace portion, while most of the FOs in the KAL group used worsted or DK weight yarn resulting in a heavier/chunkier fabric. I tried several options, seen below from left to right: Louisa Harding Grace Wool-Silk, Classic Elite Wool BamBoo, Patons Grace, and Filatura di Crosa Brilla (I did two swatches with Brilla using different size hooks, one in light blue and one in light coffee.) And of course, the one I liked the most is the one I don't have in my stash. A great excuse to visit the LYS and pick up new yarn, and I was glad that they had the exact color I wanted.
Nine balls of yarn proved to be quite heavy for such a little sweater, and I have only a tiny bit of yarn left. The weight pulls down the sweater, making it more drapey, which I love. The one thing I did not anticipate is how the ribbing portion looks when I flip it and wear it as a collar. It is a bit too wide and hard to hold in place, I have to wear it more like a cowlneck for it to stay on my shoulders. I don't know how the more "conventional" way of wearing this sweater (i.e. ribbing at the waist) would fit, since I can't try it on right now. I think I will wear it more in the "conventional" way once I get my waist back, instead of the "upside-down/cowlneck" look.
This project really tested my patience and determination. It took forever! Although the lacy bodice and acorn edging kept the knitting interesting, it's the sheer large surface area of it that wore me out. I chose to knit the bodice and the sleeves first, and then the bottom tier of the skirt. Looking back, I think it is the right decision. If I had to knit the bottom tier first, I probably would have given up half way through the 290-sts-per-row-for-54-rows-twice pieces. It was just too much of the same thing. And I could hardly hold all the stitches on the 32" long circular.
I did make one little mistake though. One of the notes in the pattern said to make sure all the acorns are pointed in the same directions. Well, since I took my time to make this dress, by the time I started the sleeves, two months had already passed since I finished the bodice. I actually started knitting the sleeves on the plane to Chicago in August. To keep my luggage light, I did not bring the finished bodice with me, so I couldn’t look up which way the acorns were pointing. I just thought, well, usually row 1 is the right/public side, and so I continued to finish both sleeves. It was not until I tried to put the pieces together that I realized, the acorns on the bodice were pointing in the wrong direction. I thought about just leaving the acorns in “insert 2” pointing one way, and all others pointing the opposite way, but it just looked too obvious to me. Finally I decided to have the acorns in the sleeves pointing one way, and all others pointing the opposite direction. I guess if I don’t say anything, people wouldn’t notice the difference, right?
I also added acorn edging along the bottom panel. I think the original design looked great without it, but somehow my version just looked ‘”unfinished” (even after blocking). So I knitted two strips of acorn edging (80 repeats each) and sewed them along the bottom. This added quite a bit of weight to the dress. I used 1.5 balls of yarn just for this part. But I really like the effect.
I think I’ll like this dress. Well, since there’s no way I could squeeze my 7-month-pregnant tummy into this dress, I can only guess how it would have fit my pre-pregnancy body. Hopefully I will lose enough baby weight by next summer so I may actually be able to wear it.