It's pretty unusual for me to start a project with such ambivalence and finish with such a resounding Huzzah! I know Grouch isn't the most timeless thing I've ever knit, and certainly not the most complicated, but hot damn, it certainly is the most trendy. Right now, that's just what I needed.
I didn't really use a pattern; I began with the idea of kipping the shaping from the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but I departed so significantly that my three post it notes constitute their own quick and dirty pattern.
I used 11 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan, which clocks in at 76 yards a ball. Counting my swatch and the parts of the sleeves that didn't survive frogging, I probably used an additional ball, which brings my grand total to 912 yards for the dress. That seems pretty low, but I promise I kept all my labels.
If you're thinking of making your own Grouch Dress:
My measurements (look away, Dad) are 34-28-36. I used about two inch of negative ease through the bust to support everything, but otherwise, there's no ease through the sweater except in the cast on. I'm 5'6" and the dress hits just below my mid-thigh (the decency standard is where my fingertips fall, and it's longer than some of the skirts I wore in college, sigh)
My gauge, using Addi Turbo 7s and Addi wooden dpn 7s was 16 stitches and 28 rows over four inches. For some reason, my row gauge was pretty compressed. The yarn is fairly forgiving, and it has great memory: after wearing the dress all day, it didn't sag. Not a whit, not an inch. Me gusta.
Without further ado: the Grouch Dress, a quick and dirty one size pattern.
Using circular needles, cast on 174 stitches. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist. Work 8 rounds, then decrease 4 stitches, 2 stitches at each edge of the sweater (paired, if you like). All the edges of the sweater are left to roll.
Work 11 decrease rounds and corresponding straight rounds, then one more decrease round. For the curious, I decreased on rows 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90, 99 and 108.
Work 8 rows evenly (109-116) and then increase 4 stitches over the round, 2 at each side marker. Work 12 rows between each increase, so you increase on rows 117, 130, 143, 156, 169. Counting that up, I increased 5 times. Work evenly until row 185. Set aside.
Sleeves: Make 2. Cast on 48 stitches on double pointed needles. Work evenly for 2 inches. Put 8 stitches on a holder (4 on either side of the round marker) and then join the sleeves to the sweater. Centering the held stitches over the side markers. Clear as mud? If you've made a seamless sweater before, this makes sense. If not, check out your LYS or Elizabeth Zimmerman. You're putting the underarm stitches aside to graft later.
Yoke: Work 2 rounds, one to join everything together (186) and one even round (187). Begin raglan decreases at the points where the sleeves meet the body (so, 4 spots) every other row. Mine were on all the even rows. After 5 decreases, I started to short row the front. Five stitches in from each sleeve marker on the front, I did a wrap and turn every row (that's two per row, one on each side) . When the decreases occurred, leaving me with 4 stitches, I picked up the wrapped stitch and moved a stitch closer to the center. This raises the back above the front, so you're not swaddled by the neck. I wish I had kept better notes of what I did here, but I repeated this process until I had 16 stitches left between the sleeve markers. Then I worked a round evenly, picking up all the wraps.
Neck: With everything rejoined into a round, set your round marker at the center of the neck, between the sleeve markers. Put another marker half way across. Work a round evenly. On the next round, add two stitches, one at each marker, to slant the neck forwards. Make 1 left, make 1 right, if you will. Repeat these two rounds (even, increase) 5 times. For the next 4 rows, increase on every round. Work 2 rounds evenly. Bind off all stitches.
Finishing: Graft underarms. Do yourself a favor and use a non-boucle for this. Weave in your ends. Grab your favorite boots and spend the $3700 you would have needed to buy this at Prada on more yarn.