Introducing my Dumpster Diving Diva Dress

by knittinginatree

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might remember the yarn (photo above: 55%cotton, 30% linen and %15 acrylic) I happened to find in the dumpster outside our apartment in pristine condition. Not long after this find, I fell in love with Kristina McGowan’s new book Modern Top-Down Knitting.

Her designs are so well thought out, with a simplistic aesthetic and attention to detail. When the book first arrived at my door I wanted to start every project; they all seem so inviting and fun to work out. Knitting from the top-down as well as knitting dresses are both something I’ve been meaning to explore; this book happens to offer both of these options.

Well, what was I going to do with all the  yarn from the dumpster? Make a dress of course! I was just a few skeins short, so, I hopped onto Webs to see if I could find a few more skeins. While I anticipated that the dye lots would be off, I went ahead and ordered five more skeins of cliche artful yarns. A week later when the yarn arrived, I examined the dye lot on the tag only to find that they were the same lot as the dumpster skeins!  (Thanks be to the knitting gods!) Nothing was stopping me now…I started casting on my first top-down dress early in January.

Fast forward to a few hours ago and here is the result:

Pattern: Jill’s Dress by Kristina McGowan

Yarn: Artful Yarns Cliche (55% cotton, 30% linen, 15% acrylic) 1344.0 yards

Raveled: Here

The yarn calls for US needle size 7, the pattern calls for US needle size 5, and I used US needles size 4 because I wanted a tighter fabric and I liked the drape I was getting with size 4s. As a result my gauge was off just slightly.

Pattern gauge: 20 stitches X 30 rows = 4 inches

My gauge: 21 st and 33 rows = 4inches

Since my gauge was slightly off I decided to knit the dress one size smaller. The magic of knitting from the top down helped in this regard. While my row gauge was off, I was able to start the waste shaping earlier than the pattern called for and was able to determine a final length that worked best for me.

As I mentioned, McGowan pays a lot of attention to important structural details. And, for the first time in a long while, I was excited to work on the finishing details of my garment. After all the time spent to make the dress it really deserves the final touches. I found some crocheted trim (photo above) at a local thrift store and added it to the hem.  And, of course I had to practice my crochet skills in order to add all the seam work.

Some of the women from the Alaskan fiber hounds have appropriately named my dress the dumpster diving diva dress. (Well, I added the diva part, but it is a fitting name don’t you think?) I think the photos below show that I am quite happy with the results. Let’s just say it didn’t take much to turn me into a top-down believer.

PS The iknitarod is officially over. And, no, I didn’t finish my knapsack but I hope to very soon!