I just finished this dress in time to show it off before it gets too warm here. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna make it, it took me all winter and most of autumn to finish this thing. I don’t think anything ever took me so long so complete. Teh dress started with a big 1 kg ball of fiber that Marvin gave me for my birthday. The fiber is from Australian Merino Sheep and very fine and soft. It was combed into roving and consisted of 3 different shades of red, you can find a product picture of it here. Sadly I didn’t take a picture of the huge roving ball I had, looked ridiculous, and I remember thinking that I would never finish spinning it.Marvin actually tried to find out how much fiber I needed to make a complete sweater from it. But I didn’t get the hint and all I could tell him was: that depends. Because it does depend :) So he simply ordered a kilo.

Well, a kilo is a lot of wool :DI started spinning shortly after I finished my first spinning project and it took me about 2 month to complete the yarn. It felt like a lot more :) I spun in short draw (or with short draw? or is it I short draw spun? Is it ‘spun’?:D) and tried to spin as thin as I could.

I managed to get the whole kilo onto the 6 bobbins I own. As you can see I actually only needed 5,5 bobbins and i managed to get 200g on two of the bobbins which was kind of hard ;) But it worked! I 3-plied the threads, because I wanted DK weight yarn and that worked out pretty well :) I used the On-Board Lazy Kate of my Bliss spinning wheel for plying, it is pretty comfortable to have Lazy Kate integrated but I think it is even more comfortable to have the Kate standing besides or behind you instead of in front of you.

I winded the finished yarn and put it into a warm bath to relax the threads. The threads spend a long time on the bobbins until I plied them, which meant that the twist had faded, so that when I plied the threads it looked like I overplied them. When I gave them a bath, the threads regained their twist and the finished thread was balanced.

The finished yarn has 12 WPI and I spun about 2365 m from the one kilo. I swatched with 3.0 mm needles and needed 20 sts x 30r for a 10 x 10 cm swatch. With that knowledge I went to find a suiting pattern.

From the beginning it was clear that I wanted to make a dress. I mean I had 1 kilo of wool! Perfect for a dress! It was kind of hard to find a pattern with all these restrictions but in the end I found Coombe. Coombe is a cabled cowl neck dress designed by Lisa Richardson for Rowan. And as it is often the case with Rowan designs, it is not available digitally. And I guess that is why there are only 20 projects to this pattern on Ravelry. The pattern itself was favorited by a lot of people. Fortunately the pattern was published in the German version of ‘The Knitter’ so it was inexpensive and easy to get the instructions. I usually don’t like working with translated instructions. Especially knitting instructions are always translated very poorly. But I really liked the dress and I was tired of looking for patterns.

I never had an issue of ‘the knitter’ in my hands before so I can only say something about this issue. The dress really has a different style than all the other designs in the magazine. There is this one poncho I would really love to sow you because it looks so strange but it seems like it looks that strange that I cannot even find it in the ravelry database.

My yarn was a little thicker than the original yarn. I hoped that I could simply go one size down, because it wasn’t much thicker, but size S already is the smallest size. So I had to recalculated the stitches (and the rows, but I always have to because of my height). It was kind of hard to knit this dress slimmer, as the cable pattern itself is very wide, but all in all it worked.

I knitted in the round, the pattern wants you to knit flat, but I prefer knitting in the round and I prefer not seaming. I thought about knitting top down, as this is a bottom up design, but the instruction were too confusing at the neck area that it felt safer to just stick to the bottom up instructions. The problem was that in size S that after having finished the armhole decreases you have less stitches than you need to knit the full cable pattern. But there is no hint or anything mentioning that or suggesting some kind of solution for that. I don’t know if the designer wants you to knit the 12 sts cables only over 10 sts. Or to simply knit the 10 sts in stocking stitch. I think both versions would look odd. So I simply increased between the cables. I am not 100 % satisfied with that and if I would have known that before I got to that point I might have thought of something else.

I had that same problem everywhere I had to decrease. At the neck, at the shoulders. I don’t understand why this problem isn’t addressed in the instructions. I think the decreases kind of destroy the cables and the neckline does look a little bit odd. I guess that is why the designer chose to install a cowl neck. Seriously.  I was thinking about omitting the cowl neck, but because I didn’t like how he neckline looked I installed one.

Because I knitted bottom-up my sleeves turned out to long. Well my sleeves always turn out too long (it is that too-short-sleeves-trauma I have that makes me do that), but it is worse when I knit bottom up. Looks a little weird, hehe, but whatever! better too long than too short!

Apart from the neckline issues I had I had some other issues. I got the feeling that the instructions are not that thought through. I had troubles understanding sentences. There were suuuper long and you had to do multiple things at a time. But that might have been a translation shortcoming.

But there also was a section were the stitches count didn’t add up. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad somebody wrote these instructions I didn’t have to think of them completely by myself. But it could have been sooo much better with just a little bit of effort I think.

All in all it took me another 2 month to knit the dress. And that also felt a lot longer ;)  I think I could have been a lot faster if I didn’t have to divide my evening time between spinning and knitting.

What also took some time was the seaming. i really do such at that. I don’t do it often enough. After having completed that I put the dress into the tub to let it soak and it came out 3 times bigger. I did wash my swatch, but the dress weighted so much, that it stretched a lot more. I was very careful, and lay the dress flat onto the floor, careful not to stretch it at all and let it dry. It still was a little wider and the sleeves got even longer then they were before soaking them but I’m just glad the dress still fits :)

It would be fine now if it was cold for another week or so, but o the other hand I really could use some spring and I’m sure there will be another winter to wear the dress :)

If you want you can check out the spinning project here,  and the knitting project here on Ravelry.

Macht’s gut!


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13 thoughts on “Coombe

  1. Dilliander

    This is amazing, what a fabulous dress and you spun the yarn as well! Really impressive, I hope you get many compliments wearing it.

  2. Lisa

    Wow! This dress is gorgeous!!! The color and style suits you well and that you took it from roving to finished dress is just amazing! Even nicer that the roving was a gift from Marvin. :)

    And wanted to apologize for being so far behind in reading/commenting. You are creatively inspiring to me and your blog is always enjoyable and interesting to read. I’ll try to do better to stay up-to-date in the future. :)

    1. Katharina Post author

      Thank you Lisa! For this comment and all the other and your kind words. You don’t need to apologise, I don’t expect you to comment and I am grateful for each one :-*

  3. Carolyn

    Well! This looks absolutely amazing, and I’m in complete awe of your fleece to finished product, project. You’re so creative and inspiring. Incredible work, and you look absolutely beautiful :)

  4. Jen

    Wow, this dress turned out beautifully! Have you written any posts about your knitting technique? I have looked at some of your Ravelry projects in amazement, thinking, “I could never finish that in that amount of time!” Just wondering if you have any tips for faster knitting, or if you find time to knit during odd moments throughout the day (e.g. waiting in line), or a combination of both.

    1. Katharina Post author

      Thank you Jen :)
      No, I haven’t written about that. I hadn’t considered that yet, so thanks for the question :) I knit continentally, I think in general that is faster than English knitting. I didn’t chose continental knitting, it’s just that everyone knits this way in Germany. Or always everyone. I didn’t even know there are other styles before two years or so.:)
      I don’t think I knit very fast, but I knit steadily. I can knit for 5 hours without breaks and I can do things while knitting, like talking and listening and watching movies. And whenever I have a little time I knit. I always carry some socks to knit with me and when I have to wait somewhere I knit. In my knitting group people remarked that I don’t knit especially fast, but that I don’t take breaks.
      But I don’t think it is always a good thing to knit fast. You get things done faster, but after 3 three years of knitting I found myself with a lot of sweaters. I love knitting sweaters, but I really don’t need them. So now I started knitting with much finer yarns and I started spinning, so that the knitting fun lasts longer.