Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meeting Highlights: Altering Patterns

April 14th was a beautiful day and a big day for fiber lovers—there was the Yarn Hop and the Textile Center garage sale competing for our members’ attention.

The officers have met recently and determined committees and volunteer opportunities available for our energetic and enthusiastic group. Please take a look at the list below and contact the person directly if you can help or send and an email to the CTClist email address.
  • Education – We’d like to develop a simple skills test and a basic knowledge test that would help assess skills of beginners; such tests would make it easier to help new members. See Carol if you are interested.
  • Publicity / Membership – This committee will determine how to publicize our group more effectively and reach out to new members. Some of the specific projects will be helping design an informational brochure about the group and determining how to maximize our presence on Ravelry and Facebook. If you have graphic arts or communications skills or are just enthusiastic about the group and have ideas about how to reach other crocheters, contact Peggy.
  • Community Outreach - Carla has already spoken about some specific projects at an earlier meeting. Maxine will also be on this committee so you can contact her if you have ideas about other community outreach projects.
  • Program - The program committee has chosen meeting topics for the rest of this calendar year; we are looking for new members who will help plan 2013 meetings. See Maxine, Peggy, or Jodi if interested.
  • Retreat – We're planning a retreat weekend for the September Fifth Saturday meeting; the retreat would be a “sleep-over” with the opportunity to do nothing but crochet for a couple of days (ahh, heaven!!). See Jodi if you are interested in helping plan this event.
  • Blog – Our blog needs to improve as we grow with things like search capability and ability for CTC members to easily post project photos to the blog. See Maxine if you’d be willing to test the new version of our blog.
We now have 18 paid members, including one who has never attended a meeting but wants to support the group (thanks, Denise). We have enough money in the treasury to pay our meeting space rental for the year, with enough left over to pay for duplicating brochures.

Julie shared a variety of yarns and patterns (lots of filet) that she picked up in Portugal.

Carol covered the basics of garment fit and pattern alteration, starting with measuring.  The only size-related measurement usually given for a crochet pattern is the bust measurement.  Often the pattern does not specify whether this measurement is actual bust circumference or finished size, and doesn’t indicate the amount of ease built into the pattern.  If your pattern has schematic drawings of pattern parts, you need to compare these measurements to your own measurements.  A good source for information on how to measure and standard size measurements, see the CraftYarn Council.
One important thing usually not noted is the amount of ease in a pattern.  Negative ease means form-fitting; positive ease means the garment has drape and floats on the body.  There are industry standards for ease.  Sometimes a publication will note that a garment was photographed with x-amount negative ease; this means the garment was x-inches smaller than the model's measurement.  Unfortunately, you don't know if the garment was designed with negative ease or only photographed that way.

There are two excellent books on fitting crocheted garments: 
  • Couture Crochet Workshop, by Lily Chin
  • Custom Crocheted Sweaters, by Dora Ohrenstein
Chin's book focuses on designing your own garment and making it fit.  Ohrenstein's book focuses on making existing patterns fit.  Although these two book cover some of the same territory, they actually complement each other.

Carol demonstrated the method Chin outlined in her book to produce a sloper, or, universal pattern piece for a sleeve and bodice.  The sloper, based on your choice of well-fitting long-sleeved T-shirt, indicates the minimum size and shape needed to fit you.  Crocheted fabric usually does not have a lot of drape or stretch, but it has more than woven fabric does, so the things a seamstress would do to improve fit would not work with crocheted fabric.  You should mark your sloper with the location of the widest part of the bust and with the natural waist.

Important note to those making a sloper from an existing T-shirt:  you need to measure the amount of stretch in the shirt.  Put two dressmaker's pins in the fabric four inches apart; grab the fabric on the outside of the pins and stretch the fabric over a ruler and note how far it stretches.  Do this for the fabric width-wise and length-wise.  Your T-shirt might fit you well but have less ease in some places and more in others.

There are numerous ways to alter crocheted fabric:
  • Add or omit stitches at the end of a row (A-line)
  • Add fabric where needed with short rows
  • Create paired increases or decreases for interior shaping
  • Change your gauge
  • Change height of stitches
  • Change number of stitches in stitch pattern (works for shells)
  • Change stitch patterns (such as from regular to blo sc to make fabric that draws in)
  • Change hook size
We did not have enough time to attempt all three swatches in Carol’s handout.  The first swatch illustrated the problems associated with short rows.  The second illustrated shaping by changing gauge through the use of a progression of hook sizes.  The third provided an opportunity to experiment with subtle stitch pattern changes to achieve shaping.

Our next meeting will be May 12th.  Hilary will complete our series on garment construction with a class on seaming and blocking techniques.