I need a…(Part 2)

Last week, we found two patterns that we’re going to use to design something new. I’m working on combining a skirt and a sweater to make a dress (that’s still not going to be finished in time for this post, sorry). But how exactly do we DO that? The sweater goes up to a 42 inch bust and the skirt goes to a 24 inch waist!

I think it would be fairly obvious that we’re going to have to add a few stitches to get to two to line up.We will also need to pay attention to the gauge on the two patterns. The skirt is written for two types of yarn, using different needles to obtain a gauge of 20 sts=10cm (4in) or 22 sts =10cm (4in). The sweater pattern is using MUCH bigger needles, so you need to align the two gauges so they  match up with what you want. In this case, the bigger needles work to our advantage because the skirt is so much smaller. JUST having bigger needles may not do the trick though, let’s pull out our calculator again.

calculator

Remember that guy? I told you we would need it at some point. This time, we’re going to look at the pattern repeats for the skirt and calculate out exactly how many EXTRA repeats we will need to line up with the amount of stitches that are already on our circular needles. If the math doesn’t work out to an even number, you may have to add or lose a stitch or two. Don’t get too wound up in the math, or you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to make it perfect.

The next thing you’ll need to do is grab that drawing back out and get your measurements (if you need to re-do them, that’s ok too). Decide how long you want the skirt to be and add it into your drawing. I am fairly tall and like a bit of a longer skirt, so I’m going to make mine about 30 inches long (remember I’m measuring from the waist too so it may sound really long, but it’s not exactly). This skirt has a little ruffle, so I’ll do about 3 inches for that and the skirt should hit me about mid calf (which I like).

pink-dress

Before we move on, I’m going to sketch out the dress on a model to see what it will look like. For those of us who are not skilled at drawing the human body, it may be helpful to grab a paper doll printable  you like and print out the doll to sketch on. I like this one, so that’s what I’m working with. At this point in the sketch, color isn’t too important, just pick something in the general range that you’re looking at.

So, now that we have our sketch and know our measurements,  let’s look at the first instruction for the skirt, which is the cast on portion. Since I already have stitches on circular needles for the sweater at this point, I am going to use those stitches rather than casting on any stitches. However, this pattern calls for a provisional cast on (something I’ll cover in the Knitting 101 blog once we get to more advanced skills) so we need to take a close look to see WHY.

In this case, the provisional cast on is being used to create a space for an elastic waist band which is something that I don’t need to worry about because the sweater will be attached at the top to keep the skirt on. That means I can move on to the next instruction.Which will be the section labeled “Skirt” since I don’t need the waistband at all.

Remember, this pattern is written for two different gauges and neither one of them is the one I am using, so I need to pay attention to how many repeats of pattern I am using as well as how many inches I need to add as I go. Luckily the first thing to do is to continue in stockinette stitch for several rows, which I can do regardless of gauge. What I will need to do is to figure out exactly how many rows I should go before starting my increase row.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t list how many rows for her gauge to be square, so we’ll have to figure that part out on our own. The best way to handle this will be to grab a set of 4.5mm (US 7) needles and some worsted weight yarn and make a gauge swatch to match the pattern’s gauge where 20 stitches = 10 cm (4 inches). That will tell you how many rows is four inches and from there you can be on your merry way. By my count, it was about 22 rows to make 4 inches, but don’t take my word for it, you should be doing your own gauge swatch!

Now assuming I’m right, that means 14 rounds should be about 2.5 inches. We are already working with more stitches and a bigger gauge, so I’m going to leave the increase rounds about 2.5 inches apart, whatever that works out to be in rounds. The wonderful thing about A-line skirts is that they are basically circle skirts, so you want them to increase evenly. If the skirt starts to ripple or fold up on itself, you’ll know that you need more space between increases and if it looks too tight or too straight, you’ll need less space between increases. Just play with it until you like how it’s coming out.

When you DO get to the increase round, remember that it may not work out perfectly in pattern. If you’re short a stitch, you can make one. If you’ve got one too many, you can decrease. If you end up with WAY too many or too few, you’ll need to either, increase or decrease evenly around OR just leave a few extra stitches at the end of the round and catch it up when it works out to be the right number. NOTE: This will not work for CREATING a pattern to share with others, but it works for making one item.

Once I have the length I want on the skirt, I’ll be able to move on to the ruffle at the bottom. Working this portion will work almost exactly the same as working the skirt. I’ll follow the first three rounds of the ruffle and then knit about 3 inches (per our gauge). Then I’ll work the next line and another inch or so of stockinette stitch to finish it up.

It’s simple enough right? So get out there and start seeing what YOU can combine! Have fun!

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