Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cauliflower and Fish

When I was searching for a dress design to use for my grandniece Cauliflower's fifth birthday, a search of Ravelry turned up this one, the Mermaid Dress, designed by Harpa Jónsdóttir. The pattern had been published in the February 2011 issue of Yarn Forward Magazine, and unfortunately wasn't available for sale. If I wanted to make it, I'd have to recreate the pattern using the picture as my guide. I put the project off for a few months because it was easier just to get started knitting something I had a pattern for than to spend time writing a pattern first, but when July arrived it was time to get cracking, as Cauliflower's birthday is in early August. And as so often happens when I finally get around to something I've been procrastinating on, it wasn't so bad a job. After an hour or so of sketching equations and diagrams and charts on a piece of graph paper, I was ready to go.

Here's the resulting version of the Mermaid Dress in a child's size six. I used Sandnes Garn's Smart pure wool DK weight for it. As you can see, I made some changes to the original design. I wasn't able to find four shades of blue that worked together, only three, so I used white for the bodice and sleeves. The neckline in the sample shot was a little low for my liking, so I made it higher. I couldn't quite tell what stitch had been used on the hem, so I used this wave stitch pattern. I think the sleeves in the original are elasticized at the wrist, but I used a drawstring instead, tacking them in place at the sleeve seam so that they can't fall out and be lost. I was fairly pleased with the result.

I also whipped up this little purse to go with the dress, using the Squircle pattern, by Kylie Brown, which is available as a free download. The Squircle pattern is modified a little too. I omitted the band of garter stitch that's supposed to go around it and instead worked the fish pattern into it. I crocheted a shell edging around the top as I'd done around the hem, neckline and sleeves of the dress, and then crocheted the drawstring (so much faster than knitting I-cord). I wish I'd gone with different colours, though. I think a dark blue bottomed purse with a white top, or maybe a pale blue bottom with a white top, would have looked better with the dress. C'est la vie. C'est l'artisanat.

Then I made this little necklace to go with the outfit. I chose blue beads that had the changeable, iridescent colours of the sea, and silver starfish charms. I bought some silver shell charms to use as well, thought they wouldn't work when I was lining up beads on my bead tray, and then regretted not putting them on once I was done. Oh well. There are so many different directions to go when one is designing something and I suppose it's nearly impossible not to have regrets. The necklace goes very well with the dress and I made it about 18" long so that Cauliflower will be able to wear it when she's full grown if she likes.

Cauliflower's birthday gift included an Eloise snow globe. Her middle name is Eloise and on assorted past Christmasses and birthdays I've previously given her the five story books written by Kay Thompson, DVDs of the two Eloise movies starring Julie Andrews, and an Eloise in Paris doll. This is probably the final Eloise item I will give Cauliflower as she'll soon be too old for Eloise stuff. It doesn't quite fit in with the aquatic theme but it took me a year of tracking Eloise snowglobes on eBay before I finally got one (they don't make them anymore), so I was bloody well going to include it, and hey, it does have water in it.

After I'd planned this dress, purse, and necklace for Cauliflower, I planned a coordinating sailboat sweater and sailor's cap from the same lot of yarn for her little brother, Bug, and his present was actually finished, and posted about, first.