In the course of crochet designing I create pieces of a certain class that never get published. They are prototypes and practice runs, or in blunt terms, they are rejects. Some of these are never finished as full samples and acquire UFO status, see Rule #20. A few are alternate versions of published designs that for whatever reasons are not included with the pattern. And a few are personal garments that (assuming I can squeeze into them!) I wear at events where showing off your crochet is de rigueur.
For the book Convertible Crochet I did a lot of extra crocheting just to figure out for myself how the constructions would work under varying circumstances. Like not getting gauge. Like the neckline being too huge. Like the garment proportions not being human. Like running out of yarn. The worst of the experiments became UFOs that you really don’t want to see or know about; make that I don’t want you to see or know about them.
But a few of the more attractive alternate versions can be enlightening for readers of Convertible Crochet and it’s these saved samples that I’d like to share with you as book extras. Let’s look at Zodiac as published:
In the book, Zodiac is a relaxed fit tunic with octagons added for sleeves, crocheted in DK weight superwash wool, Filatura Di Crosa Zara. Before this yarn was ordered, I began tinkering with an early prototype in a stash yarn, Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk. Not only did this heavenly yarn NOT work to the target gauge, but there wasn’t enough on hand for the sleeves! Owing to the more delicate nature of this yarn, I knew I really shouldn’t rip out the completed body, so this stash remained tied up in a doomed prototype until much later, well after the book was written. Cobbling together any little scrap balls left from the main construction, I created bindings for the armholes in lieu of sleeves and I got a lovely long vest that I previewed in New York at Vogue Knitting Live, January 2012 (a year and a half before the book was published).
This version is crocheted as written for Zodiac, with just a few alterations. Knowing what happened here can help you deal with your own results.
The first issue is the gauge for this yarn. It is a touch finer and silkier than the design yarn, not as wooly, plump and rounded. So the motifs are just a fraction of an inch smaller than stated gauge. There is still plenty of room inside for a vest at this size, but it is slightly shorter in the body.
The major issue is that I ran out of yarn. With the four 50 g hanks on hand (about 580 yards) there wasn’t enough for two more big octagons for sleeves. Here is the book sample laid out flat:
Because the tunic is designed to have a dolman sleeve shape, omitting the sleeve octs leaves huge droopy armholes. I opted to finish the motif edges of the armhole with a binding using Foundation Single Crochet for the foundation, combined with a controlled type connecting round of chain spaces. To match at the neckline, I also worked the binding around the neck edge with Fsc (instead of the Fdc as written).
And here’s a tip that addresses one annoying problem with this design. Zodiac lower sleeve is defined by the connecting of two octagon motif sides; the finished edge at the point of the sleeve is equal to the sum of two motif sides (10″) but the circumference at the connection is somewhat less (more like 8″). Working gauges smaller than written will suddenly and inevitably result in non-human sleeve circumference. If you find yourself in this situation where the sleeve bottoms are too tight for comfort, omitting the sleeves and binding the armholes as I did for this prototype is a brilliant way to rescue your project and have something wearable. Rule #3!