I did say that this wouldn't make it onto pattern of the week but my feelings softened as I got going with it. I must admit the beginning was tetchy but the end was soft as butter. And the final product? Well. Boom. Even if I say so myself...
It's a dress and with my new skirt it doubles as a top! Boom! Can't say fairer than that.
Now, it's a paid for pattern. You can find it here: Ada - Lacy Shells Top by Vicki Chan. I've seen her work before and liked it but never been struck by the bug so much that I couldn't not have the pattern that very instant. Which was the first problem I had. I rushed into it. I always assume that I can just do anything at any time and there'll be no issues but actually, I should have bought the pattern and read it before I jumped right in. There's a lot to it. There's a lot of different versions of the same motif - each beautifully described but subtly different. I should have taken the time to read the key to work out what the difference was, as it was I was swimming around trying to find the right one that were called near identical names because they are near identical but each is ever so slightly different.
I should have also taken the time to think about whether I wanted to follow the written or the charted instructions. Yes, there are both. Isn't that great? Lots of crocheters seem scared of charts but actually they're amazing. They'd have solved some of my problems about the subtley different motifs because it's all there to count, I don't have to find the number that's different, it's just there. However, because of the way that the pattern's put together and that there are so many sizes, there are lots of charts. There is an explanation of which you use when but by the time I thought I'd have a go with the chart I'd already started the whole thing and changed sizes numerous times so I was completely lost. I think you need to choose one or t'other and either would work beautifully.
Which brings me to sizing. The day that I decided to make it was one of the first really nice days this year, it was also about a couple of days after the new colours of the Bamboo Cotton 4ply came in so I was always going to do it in that even though the original calls for 3ply/light fingering. I suppose the Bamboo Cotton 4ply counts as that but I should deffo have done a gauge swatch. Another of my personal problems with this was that it's top down and every size starts with the same chain and intial motifs which I LOVE!!!! I love this because even if you're massively overweight or underweight your shoulders change veeeeeeeeeery little. That's about your bone structure. You boobs change, your belly and your bum, your legs, the width of your arms - they change hugely and should be taken into account but your bones? They don't change. And designers ignoring this is why we fat women end up with armholes down to our waists, not everything needs to change when you get fatter and vice versa when you get thinner. Soooooooo, starting with the same initial chain is great. However, it lulled me into a false sense of security (or rather I lulled myself because I'm a lazy crocheter) into thinking 'I'll be roughly this size but I'll just start and see where I am' as in, I could go up or down a size later on, which I could and did.
Buuuuuut. I didn't counter into the fact that the pattern very nearly made my head explode! I honestly can't explain that now because as soon as I took the sleeves out of play and was working down the body I got it dead easy. The increasing happens within the motif so you're never doing half motifs or anything, it's always full ones they're just bigger or smaller so that can't explain it. I just went a bit mad. I think I went all in and was doing it whilst customers were in the shop and I was on the bus and chatting to Chris and whatever. But it went very very wrong, many many times. I left all the mistakes in. Obvs. But it did mean that I was so confused about that that I found thinking straight about the size difficult and although I changed it I forgot to which one and how much I'd done and. and. and. So by the time I took the sleeves out of play, they were on the smallest size and the body was on maybe the middle size and that left me with a body with the wrong amount of motifs and a different amount of motifs on the front and back.
ANNNNNND. It also meant that I couldn't work out how to do the simple change that would have made it fit me better which is to chain some under the arms. Lots of people, if you look through the projects, have made this slight adjustment to great effect and I felt like I should be doing it. But I couldn't get my tiny brain around it at the time so I just didn't bother and actually, given the Bamboo does stretch somewhat (usually a problem to be overcome, this time a great thing) it's worked out okay.
Phew. That's a lot of writing. Let's have a photo:
So, the dress came out bigger than it should. This could be to do with my crochet gauge because recently everything's been too big, it could be to do with the yarn weight I chose (4ply as opposed to 3ply) and it could be to do with the stretch of the Bamboo. But what it does mean is that I've ended up with a very wide neckline that hangs off my shoulders. I love this. But you might not.
I suggest, dun dun duuuuuuuuuhn, doing a gauge swatch.
I also think that the Navia Uno would be amazing!!!! But then again, it's not a 3ply so you would need to do a swatch.
I think that's all I want to say about the pattern. It is a great pattern, despite my messing around and I love the finished object so much. I'm definitely going to do it again. The motif is just interesting enough that I think I can cope with that but maybe I'll wait a little while.
The colours that I chose were, from top to bottom, Pebble, Dusty Pink, Plum and a sneaky hint of French Navy in the Bamboo Cotton 4ply. I've always wanted to use the Pebble because it is just the most beautiful colour in the world but I didn't think I could cope with it on it's own so it's a lovely way for me to introduce that. I was only going to use the Pebble, Dusty Pink and Plum but by the time I'd got to the end of the yoke with the pebble I'd only made it to 6 repeats of the pattern. I wanted each strip to be the same amount of colour and 18 rows of the pattern altogether wasn't enough to make it into a dress/tunic like I wanted but it was too long for it to be a jumper so I needed to add something else. Opal was my initial thought but I swerved for the French Navy in the end as a less obvious choice and I'm glad I did. I love it. I did make sure to put a little of it around the sleeves which I think makes it look like it wasn't an add on even if it totally was....
And that's that. I know lots of people have been wanting to know more since it appeared on the Kitty Cafe vlog so I'm glad I've plucked up the courage to do it. Lots went wrong but in the end, didn't it turn out well????
Love Eleanor. xxxx