posted by meowser
Okay, enough heavy horseshit on this blog for now. Let’s talk about something fun for a change: Yarn! (And colored tights!)
The skirt you see above is my adaptation of a pattern in Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Crochet called “Violet Beauregarde.” This, it’s safe to say, is the anchovy of skirts. Either you love it, or you think it’s totally blecherous. Since I made the blasted thing, I think you can probably guess which side I lean to. As soon as I saw the picture, it was: “WANT. NOW. MUST MAKE.” And miraculously enough, the pattern even came up to my size.
There was just one problem. The yarn originally called for in the pattern was Tahki Cotton Classic. Now, this is a wonderful mercerized cotton yarn. I’ve used it on smaller projects quite happily. But this project was going to be a lot of frickin’ yarn. And Tahki’s is $6 for a hank. That’s 108 yards. Multiply that by the 16 hanks minimum I was looking at to make this skirt, probably more like 20 or 22 if I wanted it longer (which I did), plus mistake yarn — we’re talking about well over $100 worth of yarn if I went that route. That was so very much not happening.
But I did still want this skirt. Badly. So, I wondered, could I find a cheaper, non-yarn-snob-approved synthetic yarn in a similar gauge and color scheme? Turns out I could: I used Caron Simply Soft in Violet for the purple part, and Bernat Satin in Sea Shell and Maitai for the light and dark pink, respectively. The colors weren’t identical to the Tahki’s, but they were the same color family and complemented each other well. The total cost turned out to be about $22, a fraction of the cost of the Tahki’s.
It worked out fine, although the first ball of Maitai, for some reason, seemed to be just a tiny bit heftier (and duller) than the Sea Shell by the time I got around to using it.. I know about dye lots, but thickness lots? Never heard of such a thing. Something must have happened to it in storage. And when I ran out and got more of it later, the new Maitai was the same gauge as the Sea Shell, so I really don’t know what happened there. I salvaged it by sizing down to a smaller hook when I used the first ball of Maitai.
This was the first major clothing item I ever made for myself. Boy, what a learning curve. I found out the hard way to mark on your pattern what hook you’re actually using, rather than just picking up the one that’s printed on the pattern; I had sized up two entire hook sizes to make gauge, and didn’t realize it until I picked up the project later and thought the stitches I was making with the F hook looked awfully small. Also, I learned never to use frogged (previously knitted or crocheted and then unraveled) yarn to make a turning chain, because it will twist and make me feel like a doltburger for not being able to keep it straight. I can’t even count how many times I had to pull out my work and start over again because I kept messing it up. Fortunately, crocheting is fairly doltburger-proof, as crafts go.
(In case you’re wondering what those two little spots of Maitai and Sea Shell are around the middle of the skirt, they’re part of the end of the drawstring tie. The Maitai got a little loose, which I realized after the pic was snapped. I did tighten it up afterwards.)
And I still can’t figure out how to do double crochet rows in circles without there being an annoying gap between the last stitch and the first that I have to sew together. But it’s done! It took me a few months, but I actually did it. I made a clothing! (It was a great bus-ride stim, lemme tell you.)
The size skirt I made accommodated a 52″ waist and hip, and that was the largest size they offered. If you like this skirt and want to make it larger than this, though, I could probably help you figure out the math. The pattern itself isn’t that complicated; it’s all double-crochet stitches in rounds, pretty much. Even the shell stitching on the bottom is just a bunch of DC stitches, really. It just takes a while. And some brain-fart safeguards, if your brain functions anything like mine does.
Also, if you have the first edition of S ‘N’ B Crochet, you will want to take a gander at the errata page before you make anything. Apparently, they didn’t have someone who wasn’t the pattern author make these cute-ass things before they printed the book. Oops.
And then I ordered tights from We Love Colors to go with it. I was under the height limit but over the weight limit for the nylon/lycra A/B, and I have thighs and calves that go on for months, so I got the C/D. The fit seems pretty good, although I’ve yet to wear them all day to find out how they hold up. The tights in the photo are Rubine color (I also ordered footless in Light Pink). I will say this: Take the Web site representations of colors with a large pinch of salt, because the Rubine looked like a dark purple on their site and is much lighter than the picture. (And the Light Pink is a bit darker than it looks on the Web site too.) But I like it anyway. If you have any more suggestions for accessorizing this thing, fire away.
And now, off to Seattle for my birthday weekend, thanks to the magic of a 2-for-1 coupon for the Amtrak Cascades! I’m going to Experience Melted Plastic (first time ever) and Benihana’s (free birthday meal, I’m so there) on Sunday, my b-day. I am so stoked!