The Spring 2012 Interweave Crochet preview is up, so it’s time to introduce my latest design, the Mizzle Shell. The shell is worked from the bottom up in 2 pieces with no shaping (but it’s easy to add waist shaping, keep reading).
The yarn they chose for this one, Kollage Riveting, is really interesting and fun to work with. It’s made from recycled denim and, like a good pair of jeans, shrinks upon washing. This means you’re going to need to pay careful attention to post-washed gauge, whether or not you are substituting yarns. To be clear: Your washed and dried (or blocked) swatch needs have a gauge that matches the post-washing gauge listed in the pattern. Wash and dry (or block) your swatch regardless of whether you are using the suggested yarn. Since the yarn shrinks (and it seems to shrink mostly row-wise), it might be near impossible to get a similar row gauge, but it’s pretty easy to modify the length of the pattern, so focus on matching the stitch gauge (washing/drying only made 1 extra stitch squeeze into the 4″ worth of stitches).
Just to give you an idea of the pre- and post-washing looks of this garment, here is my lovely sister modeling it, before and after. Note the length, that’s the main change, but everything does snug up in an almost felting-like way. It’s nice and stretchy, which is why I intended it to be worn with 1″ of negative ease (ie. make the size that’s 1″ smaller than your chest size). You could also skip the ease and add some waist shaping instead–you’ll need to work about 3 dc2togs per edge, on both front and back, for every 2″ you want to take off of the waist circumference. I usually space them out with 1 decrease per side per row for a number of rows, to get a gradual change, and I always suggest working the decreases a few stitches in from the edge (vs on the first and second stitch), and of course you’ll need to add the stitches back as you near the hips. I feel like waist shaping is so personal depending on your shape, and this yarn really has enough stretch that I felt good skipping it. Full disclosure: I was also a wee bit afraid that it would shrink differently and the waist shaping would fall in some odd place, so, yeah.
Which reminds me, don’t wash and dry your garment in a different washer/dryer than you used for your gauge swatch. Ask me how I know? Here’s a detail of the lace, although the denimy-ness of the yarn hides it a little. I do like the shrunken effect and want to experiment with it again sometime.