Mar 26, 2007

Decreasing within a stitch pattern

Here you can see how I decided to decrease the lace pattern; the partial flower in the last few rows of lace is divided by a YO at its lower edge, which I felt kept it from looking too blocky. If I decreased further, I could perhaps have made that last flower look more like a mini version of the others--but then the underbust circumference would have been too small.

An interesting problem with this sort of decreasing is that for each stitch decreased within the stitch pattern, you will have the same number of stitches decreased as there are repeats of the pattern; thus, for this top, every time I decrease one stitch within the Dayflower lace panel, I decrease 14 sts per round. The problem arises if/when you try to write a pattern for multiple sizes. I'll use a simple example, a sweater with a lace pattern lower border, in which I want to use decreases within the lace to get from hip to waist circumference. Generally, the amount decreased from hip to waist doesn't vary much from size to size.

But if I want to write the pattern for hip/bust sizes 34 (40, 46, 52), with a gauge of 5 sts per inch, and I have 8 (10, 12, 14) repeats of my lace stitch pattern respectively, then if I decrease 1 st per repeat, I now have decreased 8 (10, 12, 14) sts in one row--or roughly 1 1/2 (2, 2 1/2, 3) inches--a markedly different amount for each size. Not so different with one decrease, maybe, but if I want to decrease 6 inches to shape the waist, then I have to make 4 decreases for size 34, 3 for size 40, probably 3 for size 46 (5 inches--close enough), and 2 for size 52--meaning three different decrease methods. If I tried to decrease the same way for each size, I might end up with (for example) 4 1/2 (6, 7 1/2, 9) inches decreased--which in size 52 is probably too much for any except the best-endowed AND wasp-waisted.

Other options? Compensate by making the hips proportionally larger in the larger sizes, or perhaps leaving a few of the repeats unchanged in the center back/front, or at the sides, in the larger sizes. One solution might work well for a particular garment and stitch pattern, and not for another. But I think you can see why this type of decreasing is not that common, except perhaps in hat patterns.

Oh yes, these pictures also show attempts 1 & 2 at the underbust band, with eyelet holes for a twisted cord tie; I felt that the first one didn't have a clear enough delineation of the band/lace transition, and also that the bust increases (several rows above the eyelet holes) were too visible.


Hattie said...

Either way it looks beautiful so far. I love your original sketch of it and the pattern is great. I always liked the dayflower lace.

I see the problem you're having with sizes too. I think personally I would go with only decreasing on some of the pattern repeats and not all, depending on the size. You probably wouldn't notice it too much that way.


Monica Brown said...

I think the decreases worked out great! How did you create the delination between the lace and band? I just wrote about a similar issue for my lace yoke (Splendour)sweater.

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

Do you think it would look strange if you decreased every other repeat of the dayflower lace? For sizing purposes, I'm just wondering if you really have to decrease every panel for every size. I'd have to swatch it to get a feel for how it would look, but I'm curious to know if this could be a solution.

Thanks for taking my nudge and writing on this. I think it's really useful to see the considerations that you have to take into account when decreasing within a complex stitch pattern.

Ruinwen said...

It is really interesting to watch you figure out the decreases. They came out great! The lace is stunning. :)

jenifair said...

I love the choice of the Dayflower Lace. It's coming out great and I really appreciate your post about the thought process.