FO – Ocean
I am finally finished with my machine + hand knitting experiment! Ignore these strange lines on the dress – the light plays its game with the fabric. It happens sometimes with the mercerized cotton. It was one of the most challenging projects that I’ve done and it was the first time for me to combine hand knitting and machine knitting techniques in one project.
Pattern. Yoke Tunic by Hitomi Shida was in my queue for a couple of years. It is a true masterpiece, but there were some things that stopped me from casting on. The A-line shape never looked good on me, the length seemed too long to wear the tunic with pants, but too short to wear it as a dress and there is something about the sleeves – I just knew it wouldn’t be the best shape for me. As the tunic is pretty elaborate, I did’t want to spend so much time on knitting something that I would never wear. But the stitch pattern for the yoke was haunting me – it is just striking. So, after awhile I got the idea to take the yoke stitch pattern and it was time for another modification series experiment!
Machine Knitting + Hand Knitting. I definitely wanted to make a dress, simple, classic and feminine. As I told you before, dresses are the reason why I bought my knitting machine in the first place and it’s been more than 9 months since I’ve made Pure, my latest knit dress. So, it was time to get back in action 🙂
When I first got my knitting machine I was so excited thinking that I could do some parts of the garments on the machine and some by hand whenever I feel like it. Well, it is not that easy. When I knit on the machine, I get a different from my hand knitting gauge, not only the number of stitches and rows, but also the ratio of stitches to rows. So, when I tried to combine machine knit stockinette and hand knit one, the difference in fabric was so obvious, that I gave up this idea. There are some knitters who don’t have a problem to match the machine knit gauge, but I never managed to do that.
But this project is a little bit different. The body was knit on Silver Reed LK150 knitting machine, stitch dial – 3.5. It is a pretty long dress, lower than knee length, so there was no way I would be able to knit it by hand. When I got to the armholes, I slipped the stitches off the machine needles on the waste yarn. Then I knit the stitch pattern on two different size needles, 2 mm seemed perfect for it. I didn’t have to worry about matching my gauge to the machine one, because two stitch patterns are so different that the only thing matters is if I like the fabric that my hand knitting creates or I have to change something. One more thing I had to think about is to center the “butterfly” in the stitch. I really saw it this way and had to throw in some filler stitches to get the necessary width. Other thing I had to think about is the stitch count. I had to bind off the stitches for the armhole, but at the same time have enough stitches for the stitch pattern repeat. After the bind off I was left with one extra stitch and I just decreased it close to the bind off edge, so it would be invisible.
At first I started working the stitch pattern right away, but I didn’t like the transition from stockinette at all. Ripped back and threw in two reverse stockinette rows to separate the main body from the textured lace part. You can see how it formed a nice ridge.
Yarn. I used local 100% mercerized cotton in beautiful teal shade. I had these skeins forever, waiting for the perfect project. I used the same yarn for my Pure and Violet Gift dresses. I like the slight sheen and stitch definition of it.
Neckline. I trimmed the neckline with reverse single crochet stitch. This textured border is very firm and creates beautiful finishing. You can see the video how to crochet this stitch here – Reverse Crochet Stitch.
Armholes. Armholes were trimmed with basic single crochet stitch. I used a 1.6 mm hook for a very firm finishing. I deliberately made the armholes very small, as the dress is long and cotton may stretch over the time.
Fit. It is a standard fitting double-tapered dress with an accentuated waist. I though that the elaborate stitch pattern is enough for the dress and it didn’t need any other special design details.
I am so happy to have it in my wardrobe! I am really glad that the modifications worked out! If you love the pattern, but want to change some details, go for it! A little bit of math, a little bit of imagination and you can get a perfect for YOU piece of knitwear!
Have a great Sunday!