Design Focus – Maddie Dress
Our knitted dresses have become something Purl Alpaca Designs’ is known for. Our Icon dress has been a firm favourite since the launch in 2012. Following the success of the first dress design Kari-Helene started working on a way of using a classic leaf knitting pattern to create the full skirt shape of the Maddie Dress, one of 13 designs in the Manor Farm Collection of 2013.
Through using various needle sizes Kari-Helene manipulates the pattern into creating a flared skirt without decreasing stitches as the skirt is worked from the bottom up. Casting on using needles that seem far too large for the thickness of yarn helps keep the dress lightweight in spite of the large number of stitches cast on. The dress is knitted using Purl Alpaca Fine yarn and uses needles from 7mm to 3.5mm. We recommend investing in a set of circular needles such as Kari-Helene’s favourites; Addi bamboo. Whilst knitting the skirt you will gradually use smaller and smaller needles before ending up with a firm fabric for the body of the dress.
The leaf pattern on the skirt is written out in full whilst the patterns on the sleeves and the back of the dress follows a chart. If you are worried about reading charts, fear not. By the time you reach the charts you will have knitted several repeats of the leaf pattern and by this point know the construction well. This makes reading the charts a lot easier! The stitches involved are mainly knits and purls, yarn overs to create the eyelets and a combination of increases and decreases to create the leaf shapes. It is useful to know the difference between left and right slanting decreases.
In the pictures Kari-Helene has styled the dress using a black petticoat from Vivien of Holloway. This helps show off the amazing fullness of the skirt and makes the dress flare out beautifully. It is by no means necessary though, and the dress looks stunning without too.
The Maddie Dress is an advanced knit. The fullness of the skirt means you cast on between 400 and 600 stitches. We recommend placing stitch markers to keep track! This is maybe not a project for knitting on the bus or in front of the TV (especially not one of the foreign, subtitled dramas) but it is definitely a project that will keep you on your toes and thoroughly entertained.
We hope to have tickled your interest in the Maddie dress, it really is a fascinating knit and we’re confident you will enjoy making it!
Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx