Sum Wear Over The Rainbow

Rainbows and circles for Barbie (and more).

This is the latest pattern in the Sum Wear collection. It is a pattern for knitting three dresses, and a shawl. More importantly, it includes a mini-tutorial about knitting circles.

The two dresses with long skirts have different tops. One is in garter stitch, the other is stocking stitch. One has a straight skirt, which has a slit at the back to allow Barbie enough room to walk. The other is slightly flared.

Both skirts have stripes in the seven colours of the rainbow. Each stripe is wider than the one before. Violet has one ridge of knitting, indigo has two ridges, etc.

I could have knitted a third version with a complete circle for the skirt. It would have been similar to the shawl but starting with a larger hole for the waist. There are several ways of knitting (and crocheting) circles. Some of them are included in the tutorial at the back of the pattern.

Because knitting is very forgiving it can be distorted quite a lot to make the shape so the methods can be very different. They all depend on simple mathematical ideas.

Barbie’s shawl has the same number of stitches added on every row to maintain the shape. A lot of people find it difficult to believe that this is true. They think that, as the circle grows, you must add more and more stitches to stretch round the edge. It has a lot in common with the Rope around the earth puzzle.

It is unfortunate that rainbows have seven colours. Seven is never a nice number to work with and it is unusual to find any patterns that use seven colours. It is a prime number so the sections cannot be split into any kind of repeating pattern.

This afghan also uses seven colours. It is made entirely from left over bits of yarn but they are not really rainbow colours. The violet/ indigo/ blue range is difficult to replicate. This does not look quite like a circle. It is a shape with seven curved sides. I was not making any attempt to make it circular.

It magically turns itself into this shape because of the way the stitches are distorted. There are no sound maths principles to make this happen. On the other hand, Barbie’s skirt with the wedges needs calculations. It doesn’t matter that it has seven sections. There could be any number and the same methods would apply. It is a matter of knowing the length required and how many stitches are needed at the waist. It is then possible to calculate the distance round the bottom of the skirt and work out how many increases are needed to reach the right total. This is much easier in garter stitch than in other stitches because the stitches are square. Widths and lengths can be mixed together without any conversions. The pattern has more information about knitting wedges.

More knitted rainbows
These were made to accompany the Mirror Pillar project. They all give unexpected results when they are reflected in a cylindrical mirror. They are known as anamorphic images. The patterns are in a booklet called Alternative Rainbows.

More knitted circles
There are more patterns with circles in our Ravelry pattern store. These are a few of them.

Download the free pattern for Barbie Rainbows

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