My knitting pace is definitely a lot slower in the summer but I still value partaking of meditative, restorative, plant-based knitting sessions. This past spring, I placed a big order of cotton and linen yarns from Webs. My stash is mostly animal fiber and I knew I would need some good hot weather knitting options if I was going to enjoy my projects this summer. Included in that order were 12 skeins of Classic Elite Katydid, which is a 100% organic cotton tape/ribbon yarn. Sadly it is now discontinued. I say sadly because it turns out I was a bit short on yarn for the pattern I chose and because I like the yarn and want to knit with it again.
Before placing my order, I worked hard to pair up patterns with the yarn I was buying. It is always tricky when you substitute cotton yarns in patterns written for animal fibers. Fortunately, I think I made a good choice with the Zen Garden pattern. Obviously, I opted for the tunic length which adds a bit more of an A-line shape than the shorter version (Ravelry project link). I had a bit of a challenge matching my yardage with this garment as I ordered what the pattern called for and ran a bit short.
My strategy was to stop working on the body when I got near the end and knit up the shorter sleeves following the sweater version instead of the longer tunic sleeves. Then, I went back to the body and worked until I felt like I had just enough left for the hem. In the photo above, I have the trimmed bits from the joins in my left hand and what was remaining of the last skein of yarn in my right hand. So close! Ideally, I might have wanted the tunic length an inch or two longer, but the result I got is wearable. I have to admit, as I was futzing with things in order to stay within the yardage I heard Tim Gunn's "Make it work!" advice on repeat in my brain.
The yarn is dense enough yet light enough that the drape works well. Cotton has a reputation for stretching and drooping, but I think this yarn might avoid the worst of that problem due to its woven ribbon-like construction. Only time will tell on that front.
The flowing design on the front of the tunic was my main attraction to the pattern. I wasn't happy with these stone buttons on my February Lady Sweater, so I eventually swapped them out. This sweater is the perfect fit for them!
The folded over hem instructions in the pattern didn't seem to yield the results I wanted so I played around with some other ways of sewing it to the body. I ended up using a darning needle and the end of the live yarn, grabbing a live stitch from the needle, then a stitch from the finished body and then back to a live stitch from the needle. I am not sure if there is a name for that technique but I like it best out of the options I tried. It was the right balance between firm and stretchy and seemed to minimize the fabric's desire to flip outward.
I think this tunic has good layering potential which will mean it will be able to span the warm and cool months. I wore it to a casual, campground wedding last weekend and it was a bit too hot for that humid summer day, especially with the high, sculptural neck area. I hope to wear it again soon a milder summer day. And there you go, my first knitted dress!