PATTERN: Mine (a prototype I am working on)
SIZE: 12 months
YARN: Various DK- and sport-weight yarn in cashmere-wool blend and alpaca
Meet Mina! She turned out just as I was hoping. If you could feel that soft nutmeg-brown alpaca you would know that this dress is just bunny soft. It's amazing how many skeins of this yarn I have crocheted up this year. Definitely in the double digits. I haven't met a yarn I loved this much in ages and ages. I love that it is natural and undyed, as well. I used the camel-colored version in the Saskia dress, and the third tulipy dress in progress uses the gray (and it is the same yarn from the Sunshine Day Afghan, as well as my mom's scarf). I love the way it works so beautifully with color. I love bits of color popping off of cloudy neutrals. That says Oregon April to me (as do the weensie Target Liberty rain boots I couldn't resist).
My supervisor helped quite a bit with this one. Half-double crochet is a nice stitch. It goes fast, feels good to work, makes a nice, drapey fabric, and looks sort of the same on both sides. To make this dress, I worked up a square yoke that grew from the neck out, pretty much like a granny square. Then I worked a row of hdcs around the bottom edges of the yoke (leaving the arm edges open), connecting the back to the front. Then I worked the whole skirt in "rounds" that are really rows — at the end of each you join it with a slip stitch to the beginning chain, and turn. So you are working back and forth, but there are no seams to stitch up at the end. The arms are worked like little tubes in the same way.
You get a bit of a visible seam at the join, which for some weird reason I kind of like. I may move the neck opening to the front of the dress, and maybe move the seam to one of the sides. I don't know, I haven't decided yet. But either would be very easy to do. Oh, and I was going to tell you something about working in row/rounds, too. So, if you've done it before, you may notice that the seam can sometimes appear to start twisting to one side as you go round and round. To avoid that, and get it going nice and straight instead, this is what I do: I don't count my turning chain as the first stitch, I skip the stitch immediately below the turning chain, I begin working in the next stitch, and I work the last stitch of the row/round into the stitch out of which the turning chain originates. Then I join the row end to end with a slip stitch into the top of the turning chain. I don't know if that's the official way of doing this, but that's the easiest way I've found to do it (and explain it). And I'll do almost anything to avoid having to sew up a seam. I work over the tail ends of all of my color changes, too, and snip them off (you can use a needle to run the tail back onto itself, too; I don't usally bother with that, as this gauge is fairly tight and seems to hold things together pretty well, but technically you should be running it back for a few stitches again), so there are almost no ends left to weave in at the end of the day, either. That makes me happy.