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Hempdress – FO Report

Hang me up: I’m a work of art.

This is a seriously great pattern. I think it is one of the best I’ve ever knitted. You start with a provisional cast on across the top of the shoulders, and knit the two fronts and the back separately until you reach the bottom of the armholes, then you join them and work flat, from neckline edge to neckline edge; then you cross the two fronts over and start working in the round, all the way down the skirt. A steady rate of increases creates a swingy a-line skirt, and there’s an optional eyelet round at the waist to thread a ribbon. Which you totally should opt to do.

Pictured: fun.

But the thing that blows my mind is the flawless flow of the jacquard pattern from start to stop. You’re working a zig-zag pattern in purls against knits to create the textured fabric and you never break stride. The pattern never jolts, never needs to be adjusted or fudged.

As you increase down the skirt, you always, amazingly, have the right number of stitches to maintain whole repeats of the pattern. It’s beautiful. The planning, thought and care that has gone into the pattern blows my mind, and it completely works.


A big setback bobbed up partway through, when I completely failed to read an entire 36-row block of the pattern when working one of the fronts. I finished the dress, then snipped a row and reknit that front and then grafted it back to the rest of the front. This pattern is amazing: it deserved to be right. Plus it wouldn’t fit if I didn’t. Can you pick which side it was? Me neither.

A big smile for a happy dress.

Check out the neckline and armhole detail: after you finish knitting the rest, you pick up stitches around the neckline and do a picot trim bind off; around the armholes, you work a quick short row cap sleeve in twisted rib, which looks great:

Neckline detail

Here’s the specs:

Pattern: Gudrun Johnston’s Little Black Dress
I don’t have enough good things to say about this pattern. It was logical, clear and fun, and it has produced an amazing product. (Rav link.) Fits amazingly well, by the way.

Yarn: Elisebeth Lavold’s Hempathy, 12 balls — never tried it before and will use it happily forever. This is a super nice yarn. It’s got a bit of tooth to it, but it’s light, cool to touch, and not even slightly scratchy. Plus it washes like a champion. I’ve heard people say that the inelasticity of hemp makes it hard on the hands, but I didn’t have any trouble: I guess if you’re prone to repetitive use injuries or arthritis, you might want to have a practice knit before you commit to a whole dress (I am not a doctor).

Love it. Love it love it love it.

A fantastic pattern and a beautiful dress: I’m so chuffed right about now.

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