Thursday, March 18, 2010

Portrait of a Sleeve

After my first successful crochet pattern, the Gia tank, I decided to challenge myself by writing a dress pattern--no easy feat. I didn't really have any idea how to start the dress itself, so I started with a sleeve. The sleeve in my head was a puff sleeve that ended just above the elbow. I experimented with different textures and found one that pleased me, the petite popcorn stitch. I began with a sample of the stitch:
I was happy with this texture, so I continued by making a paper sleeve pattern and crocheting a piece to fit the pattern, recording everything I did as I went.

Just in case you can't read it, here's the closeup:

As you can see, this process quite often drives me bonkers. I hope I'll find more organized ways to develop the initial pattern as I get better at this, but for now it's chicken scratch. Here's how the piece ended up, after I gathered the top edge and sewed the side together:

Not bad...but it was a bit long and I was hoping the shoulder would be a bit more puffy. It's also a bit loose fitting, which I didn't really like. So, back to the drawing board (scratching post?). Instead of making another sample I decided to start crocheting in the actual yarn I was using, Lion Brand's Vanna's choice (yes, that Vanna!). It's a good thing I did, because the Vanna's Choice was a medium worsted weight yarn and the white shown above is a light weight yarn, a fact that didn't really occur to me when I started. So as I used the VC I realized it was much thicker. Once I realized this it became apparent that I would have to start completely over. I could still use the initial pattern as a reference point, though, so I could more easily shorten the pattern, tighten it a little, and puff up the shoulder. I made the new sleeve, and voila:

As you can see, the yarn is much chunkier. The color, Mustard, is one of my favorites! Much more fun to look at than white. Here's a closer look:

I like that it's chunkier, it's a little more kitschy and retro. All right, sleeve complete! Kind of makes me wish you could just wear a pair of sleeves, but that would cause quite a sensation. More dress to come.