Wednesday, July 20, 2016

PROJECT: Mavka Dress

Sometimes when I am about to give up on a project, my team member cheers me up showing how GOOD it is! I call her my "cromometer" - crochet thermometer :) If the kitty is happy, I should keep going!

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

STORY: Mavka Dress

I prefer to think about my crochet obsessive-compulsive disorder (aka "using the same motif or stitch pattern over and over again") in a positive way. :)

It is so interesting to explore all of the possibilities a stitch pattern or a motif may offer: how it can be worked in rows or in the round, how increases and decreases can be made, what shapes can be created and so on.

Using the same stitch pattern or motif again doesn't bother me. It is like meeting your good old friend. You've known them for so many years, but there is always something new for you to learn about them and get closer.

However, I would not want to bother my crochet audience with a pile of repetitive designs, so I work on them at my leisure without including them in my design schedule. Just for my own pleasure. :)

Mavka Dress was started in summer 2015, right after the release of the Banana Pie pattern. I knew the top could be turned into a gorgeous dress, but I did not know then how gorgeous it could be! Clear lines, a gradually expanding silhouette and a flared skirt made this dress both playful and feminine, as well as practical.

I hate sewing, nor am I good at it, but I decided that this dress deserved its own fabric lining. I cut two pieces following the dress lines, sewed the top of the dress to the lining, so the neckline and the armhole lines connected directly to the fabric, and let the bottom of the fabric hang free.

I wasn't sure what color the fabric should be, so I first tried the dress against a few samples of different colors. Soft matching colors did not do much for the stitch pattern, while darker shades made the yarn color pop.

The dress layout uses eight motif types. Some of them are worked in the round (pentagon, hexagon and heptagon), and some are worked sideways and help shape the neckline, the armholes and the bottom of the dress.

Mavka Dress
Banana Pie

Saturday, July 2, 2016


This story started more than three years ago, when I sketched the first draft of the fish motif in my workbook. But, as it always happens, there was something more urgent to make.

Luckily, one day it all clicked into place. I got the perfect yarn, not too thin or too thick, of the perfectly matching colors, and found room in my release schedule to make something fun and cheerful, something that has been calling me for years.

Since my goal for 2016 is to work on garments, I knew from the very beginning that I would use this motif in a top.

It all started very well. I finished the main part quickly, but soon enough ran into the first problem: the sizing.

It is very easy to make one of a kind piece for your desired size, but one of the most important designer's objective is to grade the pattern for multiple sizes. And not only that! The sizing needs to be clear, logical and consistent over all of the suggest sizes.

Eager to make this top for myself, I did not size the design from the start, but when time came, I had to face this question. At one point, I thought this design would never be published. But since there was so much completed already, I had to find a solution!

My original idea was to make the straps look like this:

They look simple, but grading for several sizes was impossible.

Large size motifs (in this case 14 cm across) always limit the layout options. Smaller motifs are a lot easier when it comes to pattern sizing. I needed to keep the fish going around the body in continuous rows and to have the exact number of fish blocks I needed. No, this was a dead end.

The second (very promising!) idea was to leave the fish body as it was and to crochet the upper part in simple granny stitch pattern.

When you crochet flat rather than in motifs, you can do whatever you want with the fabric: you can shape the neckline and the shoulder lines, and make the armhole as deep as you need. Sounds fantastic! But this was no good either. Mostly, because the flat fabric in the upper part had a different drape and was thinner than the lower portion, worked in motifs.

As small as it was, this detail was important. Hot summer weather requires comfortable clothing and this difference would be noticeable.

That was the day when I decided to give up, frog everything and re-join the motifs into a shawl.

And that was not such a bad idea, as leaving this problem for a bit and coming back to it later helped. A path to simplicity is not always as easy as we would like it to be, but bright solutions are often very straightforward. Here is where I should write something like "another month of many passed..." :)

I left the fish part as it was and added two pairs of straps, one in a regular manner and let the other one cross on the back. And finally it all clicked into place:
  • The fish now "swim" around the body in one unbroken line.
  • The grading for any size is possible with a convenient increment of one fish block size (14 cm). (Just work as many fish blocks as it needed for your bust measurement!)
  • The straps make this top very comfortable and do not constrain movement. 
  • Very feminine-looking straps balance the fun and childish fish pattern.

Granny Fish Top pattern is now live and you can find it in my store on Ravelry. The pattern includes several color options and fish layouts for your inspiration, as well as a blank schematics to colorize and create your own unique Granny Fish top.

Happy crocheting!

Granny Fish Top pattern on Ravelry

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