After a very rough start, I finally rallied and finished the Clara dress for Grace. It's always a feeling of accomplishment when you finish a project, but I feel especially accomplished after this one. 

It all started about a year ago when I saw the finished dress on Pinterest and I fell in love. I fell hard and  knew I wanted to make it for my baby girl. However, when Clara and I finally met, we did not get off on the right foot.

I quickly discovered that the pattern is only available as part of a kit (you can get one here). The yarn that comes in the kit is beautiful and super soft, but not machine washable. That is a disaster waiting to happen for a baby garment. BUMMER. I eventually ordered the kit even though I knew I'd substitute the yarn. Thanks to the ladies at my LYS, I selected Cascade Heritage Silk in Charcoal. I came home and was again super excited about knitting this dress.

I quickly got to work winding my yarn only to discover that the hank I purchased as so unbelievably tangled and full of knots. It was almost impossible to work with. It took several hours, lots of deep breathing, and a few curse words to get the yarn into a manageable ball.

I was ready to cast on. I got gauge on size 4 needles, though the pattern calls for 2 or 3. I cast on with my 4s, knit about 3 inches and my needle splintered on me. As I was carefully examining my work for needle shards, I realized there was no way that this dress was going to be the right size. I got the right gauge, but it was going to be huge. I painstakingly frogged the whole thing only to realize I'd lent my size 3 circular needle to my mom. Grrr.

Right about when my needle splintered. :(

Clara and I briefly parted ways. I was too upset - at myself for making the "wrong" size, at the yarn for being so tangled, at the pattern for being badly written, and at my stupid needle for splintering. We definitely needed some time apart.

I'm glad we took our little break because when Clara and I were reunited, it was magical. I cast on with my size 3 and flew through the dress. It took 4 or 5 days in total to finish, including blocking. The final result is a beautiful dress and I could not be more pleased with the yarn selection. It is amazingly soft and has an incredible drape. I can't wait for my baby girl to wear it this fall and winter!

Here's a quick snap shot of her modeling it pre-blocking. I just threw it on over her outfit to see if it even fit. It grew in length about 2 inches after blocking - yay steam!

While the pattern is not well written, I didn't make any major modifications to it. The only changes I made were in the seed stitch sections and the neck bind off. I changed all of the stitch counts to odd numbers so it would work out evenly. I cast on 239, and increased in the last round of seed stitch for the bottom hem. I then decreased down to 121 at the waist, knit the seed stitch rows, and then decreased one more after the final round of waist shaping. I also picked up 43 stitches for the sleeves. A lot of the project notes on Ravelry indicated that the neck hole was too small. I didn't want the neck hole to gape, so I knit the pattern as written, but opted to use Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind-off. I then crocheted the edging as the pattern indicated and it worked perfectly. The crochet edging totally camouflages the looser than usual stitches from JSSBO.

If you're an experienced knitter who is able to improvise, the pattern shouldn't be a problem. However, you really need to read it through and be able to troubleshoot in advance. 

So there you have the Saga of Clara. Who knew knitting could be so dramatic?


  1. Precious! This adorable little dress was definitely worth the frustration. It turned out beautifully!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad I stuck with it - the end result was totally worth it.


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