Wednesday, 12 June 2013

King Cole 3006 - A Review (Sort Of...).

On Saturday, after all of the malarkey on Friday, I couldn't even begin to think what work I had to do. I just couldn't face it. So I started another project - I really didn't ought to have done but I didn't have any of the million wips with me. I knew it had to be quick and I wanted a t-shirt-y thing after the unsuccessful t-shirt-turned-bag-episode. Crochet was the only way to go and pattern 3006 was something I've had my eye on for a while. It's originally crocheted in the King Cole Merino Blend DK but I wanted a summer top and I love the Cottonsoft DK, I just had to choose the colour. My new year's resolution was to wear more black and the only other option was the wine but we only had one ball of that so decision made. I ended up with this:

Which I'm really happy with as an easy to wear summer top. (Not quite so happy with my modelling skills...).

The pattern is well written and clear. I would go as far as to say it would make a fab first garment. I'm not keen on the other side though I can see it in a horsey-countryside sort of setting...

I was pleased with my choice of yarn - reckon it would look lovely in the Bamboo Cotton too - however, I suspect it's a bit thicker than the original. I got 4 rather than 4.5 stitches to the inch but naturally, didn't do a gauge swatch so didn't notice until a few inches in. At this point I thought that the set up was a front and a back sewn together and I've made something like that before, here:

That's King Cole 3491 in navy Bamboo Cotton DK

Completely by accident I made the front and back different sizes here and it worked quite well. I never follow a pattern exactly for the length, so the only difference there was the width of the pieces. It's actually a pretty easy way of giving a slight shape to a garment if you're bigger in front that you are in back (naturally I want to talk about short rows and darts but not everybody's got the time, patience or knowledge for that so different sizes will do). 

If, as I had suspected, the front and back had been two separate pieces this little garment would have been a lot easier. But actually, you work the front, the arms shaping and the neck shaping and then start increasing for the back neck before chaining across the neck opening at the back and then into the back. Does that make sense? Think I may have over-egged that explanation... Once I'd realised that this was the shape I was kind of thinking that it would be simple, I'd just chain less for the neck opening and all would be well but the stitch pattern is six stitches and I'd have had to think about it to get it right and since when have I wanted to think about my crochet? In the end I fudged that bit a little, used the actual stitch count for the chain and then increased a bit when I knew it wasn't going to be quite right.

It makes the shape a bit off-the-shouldery which I like:

I made it all the more difficult by changing the amount of stitches that I added for the sleeves - I just like mine a bit smaller so I did six instead of 10. Those stitches are part of the count around the neckline obviously so I just fudged it a bit. I tend to like my necklines wider than King Cole do (a phobia of things touching my neck if you must know... although onto in certain circumstances) so not only was I messing with the numbers of the sleeves, I was messing with the numbers of the neckline and then I was messing with the numbers of the chain...

What I suggest is that you do a gauge swatch. Ha. You might be more on point if you do use the Bamboo Cotton because it's a fair bit smoother than the Cottonsoft and you might just find that it makes enough of a difference to get gauge without messing around too much. I'm sure if I'd have done a swatch I'd have gone down a hook size (maybe to the 3.5mm in the tiger stripes ) and would be able to wear it without a top underneath - as it is, it's pretty risque.

The stitch pattern is so simple it's unbelieveable. Really effective. For anybody that's wondering, you can do all of those stitches at the end of our Crochet Number One lesson, simple trebles and chains so it's just a matter of confidence in making garments. I think they maybe over explain the stitch pattern - once I'd finished the second row of the pattern I knew where we were going so a good four rows of explanation went unread - but it's a good handhold for newbie crocheters.

Now we come to the only thing that I really thought about before changing rather than just fudges because I'd done something else wrong. The sleeves.

The pattern asks you to get to where the sleeves are and put the body down, use a separate bit of yarn to slipknot and chain nine and then carry on across the body, chaining nine at the end. This is to avoid that 'step'  issue when you add chains at the end of the next two rows in crochet, with the stitches being so tall. What I did instead was to, when I got to where I needed to be, ch6 (or whatever it was), turn, work trebles into the ch, carry on with my row and work foundation treble crochets at the other end. That meant that I avoided the 'step' effect but I didn't have the ballache of sewing in extra ends and it's just a whole lot more elegant, and, if I'm nothing else I'm always elegant...

(Foundation treble crochet - note US terms (i.e. our tr is their dc) apparently no English people have made a video...). 

On the back you have to come in for the arms rather than adding stitches and they ask you to get to the end of a row and then slip-stitch to where you need to start the next row, I just stopped early on the row before. 

I also haven't done any of the edgings required - they're pretty simple dc's all the way around. I sometimes feel that edgings, even simple ones like that, make crochet look old fashioned and too 'finished' - just my opinion. 

And talking about old-fashioned, as I was crocheting I was increasingly overtaken by the idea that I should have made this in white and it might have fitted it with the must-have-festival look for this year - crochet!! 

If I were to make it for this kind of look, I'd deffo use the Patons 100% Cotton DK, but it's not really my style, can't see me taking time off for festivals this year so I'll just leave the thought out there for all you young trendies.


Pattern: King Cole 3006
Yarn Used: Cottonsoft DK
Size Made: Weird mix of 40/42 inch and 36/38 inch. 
Easy?: Deffo!!!
Changes Made: Sizing, foundation treble crochet used for the sleeves and no slip-stitches on the sleeves coming back.

Overall a dead good pattern and I'm pleased to have another wearable tee in my wardrobe. 

Love Eleanor. xxx

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