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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Let’s Get Going!

April 8th, 2010

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Spring is in the air here in NYC and I’m already dreaming of trips to the beach–you must be too since the Beach Cardi won in the vote! I’m so excited to be hosting this crochet-along and ready to get started – so let’s talk planning, including yarn choices and swatching.

Based on the pattern sizing, I’m going to make the medium (also called S/M), which has a finished chest measurement of 38.5 inches. When choosing a size, pay attention to phrases such as “finished measurements”–this means the measurement of the garment itself, not of you! For me, I will have a couple of inches of ease (i.e. wiggle room) at this size because the finished measurement is a couple of inches larger than my actual measurement.

To determine your size, it can help to use a flexible tape measure: You can use it to take your own measurement, but you can also size it to garment’s finished measurement, and see how much ease you will have. Another great way to pick a size is to measure a similar garment you already own.

Yarn Selection
The pattern calls for Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, which I’m going to use in the Olive color way. I love this sort of yellow-green color and it seems to be very popular this year. Nature’s Choice is a single ply cotton wrapped with a thin thread, giving it a very plush look, but it also needs a little more delicate care than other cottons, as it requires hand washing. If this isn’t the yarn for you, don’t worry–there are plenty of other substitutes!

Nature’s Choice is considered a worsted-weight yarn, so any other worsted (medium or category 4) yarn would do. Being a summer project, I suggest other cottons, such as Cotton-Ease, Recycled Cotton or Lion Cotton. All three are machine washable and create a little lighter fabric than Nature’s Choice. If you have never worked with it, Cotton-Ease is an excellent yarn: the cotton-acrylic blend makes it very smooth and adds a little more stretch than other cotton yarns. The Recycled Cotton has a multi-colored ply that gives it a heathered appearance, which could be a really great look for this cover-up, and Lion Cotton has a huge range of color options. Alternatively, any other worsted-weight yarn could work, such as Vanna’s Choice or Wool-Ease if you are looking for a warmer option.  When substituting, be sure to take the number of yards-per-ball of each yarn into account in order to calculate how many will be needed for the size you are making.

The Swatch
While sometimes we all want to skip this step, checking your gauge is super important. I personally like swatching because I feel like it’s the first chance to see what you are going to be working with–how the yarn and stitch pattern look together and how you like working with it. Plus, it’s a great feeling to start a project knowing that you are on your way to a successful fit because you know your gauge is spot on!

I like to make my swatches larger than the four-by-four square so you can accurately measure across four inches in multiple places to get a truly accurate gauge. It’s a good idea to treat your finished swatch how you plan to treat your garment; this means washing and blocking it exactly as you will treat your finished piece. This is of particular importance when substituting yarns since some yarns, such as Recycled Cotton, “bloom” (i.e. expand) when washed which will change your count. I soaked the swatch in a mixture of water and my preferred fiber wash, according to directions on the bottle, then pinned it out to dry, just like I will do for blocking the cover-up.

Now measuring is just a matter of careful counting. In this garment, stitch gauge is more important that row gauge because the pattern is worked in inch instructions more so than numbered rows. This means you can work as many or as few rows as you need to get to the proper length, but the stitch gauge determines the measurement around and that’s where the fit comes from. For me, I was able to attain the gauge of 11 hdc + 8 rows on a size I-9 hook.

So pick your yarn and get those swatches going! Next week we’ll be starting the front and back pieces, then joining them to start creating the majority of the cover-up. I’ll be going over the no-chain foundation and more, so look out for that!

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  • Beka

    I’m so excited to start this!

    But buying yarn has been awful! I went to two big yarn stores and fell in love with the nature’s choice cotton in almond (it just screams summer beach wear) but neither store had enough skeins! Then I ordered it from the LBY website 3 days ago, but it hasn’t been shipped yet…I hope I get it this week so I can keep pace with everyone.

    Kendra says: Don’t worry! The first post about no-chain foundation and getting going on the pieces isn’t up until this coming Thursday, so there is still plenty of time to get started!

  • Linda from Pittsburgh

    Kendra, I have tried out my gauge swatch with the I hook. I have 13 stitches in 4 inches, but my row gauge is just right. Would you recommend a smaller hook? maybe a J?

    Kendra says: Try a smaller hook, but smaller would actually be an H-8 – a J-10 would be larger. See what the H-8 does as far as your stitch gauge, because this is much more important than row gauge in this pattern. This is because the stitch gauge is what gives the size around the body, but otherwise the garment length is worked to a certain number of inches, not rows, so row gauge is of less importance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maren-Grimm-Berry/1535377157 <fb:name linked="false" useyou="false" uid="1535377157">Maren Grimm Berry</fb:name>

    I decided to do this as more of a “formal” coverup, so I’m going to use Glitterspun. But it hasn’t arrived yet! I’m hoping that it does soon so I can get started. I’ve never been able to find Glitterspun in stores, so when I saw it on sale, I had to try it! :)

  • Jill

    I purchased another brand worsted (4) weight yarn. I had to go up to a K hook to get the gauge. I hope I have enough yarn. Should I buy more yarn because I am using a larger hook?

    Zontee says: Hi Jill, no, if you got gauge, the yarn should be sufficient. That’s one of the many important things that being on gauge tells you.

  • Barb

    Thanks, Kendra & Zontee! That no chain foundation is slick!! I really like it. I’ve narrowed my yarn choices down to 2. Both give the gauge I need, especially if the stitches are more important than the rows. Now I need to decide if I want a purple-ish or zebra sweater. I’m actually leaning toward zebra right now. :)
    Happy crocheting, everyone!!!

  • shannon

    I’m glad everyone else is excited too! I have also bought my yarn already and am going to do my gauge swatch tonight. I sometimes swatch and other times don’t but I will swatch for this one because I am using a different type of yarn than what the pattern calls for. Yeah for everyone! We can do it!

  • Debbie

    I bought a different worsted weight cotton yarn, too. I’m also waiting for it to arrive!
    I haven’t ever made any clothing for myself, so this is a first.
    I have been eyeing this pattern over a year!
    So glad it won!
    Now, to actually get it made!

  • Christine B.

    Well, I finally decided on a yarn that I liked and fit my budget (under $20 including shipping). I tried searching through my stash, but didn’t have enough of any one yarn or color combo that suited the project. Now I just have to wait for it to arrive. Hope I can catch up with everyone when it does. I’m figuring on making it my ‘travel project’, you know, the one I work on during baseball/piano/soccer practices/games. Sometimes those projects get done faster than my others (5 kids, lots of practices). My travel project is supposed to be my brother’s wedding sampler, but I am waiting on the fabric. I’ll just trade off between the two depending on time and attention level. Good luck all!

  • Joyce T

    Hi everyone,
    i got my yarn last night. i decided on Vanna’s choice. that was on sale. the cotton ease was to much money for me. there was only one color that had enough yarn. dusty rose.
    i did my swatch last night also. i have to increase my crochet hook to a size K to get 11 hdc in 4 inches. is anyone else using Vanna’s choice? just wondering how your gauge work out for you.
    this is the first time that i made a swatch to figure out the gauge. this is also the first clothing item that i’ve ever made. so i just making sure that the gauge is right. i don’t want and oversize cover up. all though it would go with my oversize beanie (now it double as a seat cover). that was my first crochet item. off to double check my gauge. have a great weekend everyone and make time for yarn Happy Crocheting

  • Jill

    Thanks Kendra for the no-chain foundation. After getting my gauge, I went back to read your blog, wishing you had given the directions to this foundation. I am so silly, I didn’t notice until the 2nd read that it was written as a link. I have these moments since I didn’t “grow up” with computers (much less the Internet). I just have to laugh at myself! :D

    Kendra says: Glad it worked for you! But as a word of warning, the link there right now is about single crochet foundation, whereas this pattern is worked in half-doubles. The post this Thursday will have a detailed tutorial and video about no-chain foundation in HDC. Hope it helps!

  • Jill A.

    Hi Joyce T. I couldn’t get Vanna’s Choice in the color I wanted, so i got another yarn that i found and compared in size to Vanna’s. I had to use a K hook also to get the correct gauge. Thanks for your post. I feel better now about my gauge with the K size hook. Have you started the project with the no-chain foundation? Isn’t this fun!

  • Lisa

    Hi everyone.
    I am using Vanna’s Choice yarn and I had to use a size K hook to get gauge as well. The no chain start is a bit hard for me, being blind and using my fingers to feel everything, it is just strange. I can do it though, so yea!

  • Joyce T

    that’s great. it sounds like i did my swatch right. i think that i will go back to the store and look at other yarn. i like the yarn color i got, i’m just not excited about it. you have to love it to ware it.
    i haven’t tried the no chain foundation. maybe when i get back from cleaning my grandpa’s house this morning and the store i will give it a try. i read the instruction but not sure if i can do it. but we will see. have fun everyone happy crocheting

    Kendra says: The post going up this Thursday (4/15) will have a detailed tutorial and video about the technique, specific to the half-double crochet stitch used in this project if that helps clarify. It’s a great technique and one I think worth learning, so stay tuned for that post!

  • Sue L

    I have never made a sweater for myself…or anyone else for that matter! I would like to make this item shorter. Do I just make fewer rows? Or fewer stitches per row? I haven’t started it yet, my question may be more obvious once I start, but….thought I’d ask anyway.

    Kendra says: For a shorter sweater work fewer rows. The number of stitches gives the size of the sweater around the body, the number of rows gives the length. Hope this helps!

  • Sabrina Howard

    Hi all!

    I have a problem with the pattern. It doesn’t go big enough. I’m a 3x, and the pattern only goes to 2x. What do I do?

    Kendra says: It would be hard for me to resize this garment completely for you, but I have two ideas you can try:
    1) Increase your hook size and swatch, seeing how much bigger that makes the fabric, as in 11 hdcs should be 4 inches, but if you get 5 inches over 11 stitches on a larger hook, you’ll increase the sweater by 1 inch every 11 stitches. This is nice because you don’t have to change the math at all.
    2) Increase the number of stitches in the side and back panels by a multiple of 2 (to maintain the pattern repeat) and just keep in mind that your ch-1 space count will be different than the pattern indicates. This will give you more width around the sweater.
    There are a lot of people interested in re-sizing and the beauty of a crochet-along is the chance to help each other with other ideas. Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ginger-Griffin-Stgermain/1402031053 <fb:name linked="false" useyou="false" uid="1402031053">Ginger Griffin Stgermain</fb:name>

    Well i have done right and left panels, back panel, and am about 8 inches into the 20 inches needed before next step….this is going to be the long part but so far it is going well and i am doing in white…just in time for beach/pool weather here in florida!

  • Nicole

    Hello all!

    This is my first crochet-along and also my first real clothing item, and I’m very excited about it. I decided to try it in the Cotton Ease, and am going to try it in two different colours. I’ll be swatching next week – and it’s my first time doing that too. I’m looking forward to learning a lot while doing this project with everyone :)

  • Jane Larson

    Hi,
    I am new to crochet along and making clothing. I have the same question as Sabrina on how to make it bigger. I am also a 3X-4X and would like to make it bigger. What is the correct procedure? Thank you.

    Kendra says: Please see my response to Sabrina above. Good luck!

  • Debbie O.

    I’m confused! I went to the link for no chain foundation – but it’s for single crochet foundation? I thought I read somewhere that we’re to do a half double crochet foundation???
    Does it matter?

    Kendra says: It does matter! Please stay tuned for the post coming out this Thursday (4/15) for a detailed tutorial and video about the half-double crochet foundation. Sorry for the confusion but it’ll be worth the wait, I promise!

  • Jill A.

    Kendra, Debbie has a good question. Does the single crochet foundation chain count as the chain row in the pattern? I made the first 2 rows of the pattern and counted the no-chain foundation as the chain (not as a row). I’m glad I read Debbie’s post today. I don’t want to do any more until you comment on the no-chain foundation. Thanks, Jill

    Kendra says: Hi Jill – Thanks for making this comment. There will be a detailed post about no-chain foundation specific to half-double crochet coming out this Thursday (4/15) complete with a photo tutorial and video. As you will learn in this post, this technique creates both the starting chain and first row all in one step. This means you have already done row 1 (hence the need for the half-double version of the no-chain foundation for this pattern) and will then begin on the instructions for row 2.

  • Joyce T

    i got to row 4 and i’m confused at the end of the instruction where it say’s ch-1 sp, turning ch and 5 hdc at beg and 5 hdc at the end. where does this go?

    Kendra says: It’s telling you what you should have at the end of this row, not another instruction. It’s just a note telling you that you can check you are on the right track by seeing that you have the correct number of ch-1 spaces, as well as the right number of stitches at each end.

  • Anne Cox-Espenlaub

    Sue, if I read the pattern correctly, you just work until the pattern is the length you want. My guess is that you’ll end up with fewer rows. Look at the chart on page 3 and then you can figure out the differences between the measurement indicated and the one you desire. I’ve found if I’m confused The picture helps,too bad there isn’t one of how the hood looks. Are you going to give us one, Kendra?

    Kendra says: I’ll photograph mine as best I can when I get there!

  • Lisa

    Hello all!
    Hope you are having fun. I just got done with the body at 20 inches. I have done first row of right arm hole. Question how do I go up the next row? Ch 2 and turn and start with the 15 hdc, ch1 spaces to the last 5 hdc? I am lost and never having done a sweater before I need help. Thanks.

    Kendra says: You are moving so quickly! We’ll get there – I’ll be sure to explain that as best I can when I get to that point. Sorry to hold you up for now though!

  • Angela

    Joyce T.,

    “ch-1 sp, turning ch and 5 hdc at beg and 5 hdc at the end. where does this go?”

    I don’t think this is part of the actual instruction, it is just telling you that when you’ve finished the row, you should be able to count X number of ch-1 sp (22, 26, or 29 depending on your size) and you should have your turning chain + 5 hdc at the beginning of your row, and 5 hdc at the end. Just the same as in row 2-3 where it says you should end up with X number of stitches at the end of the row.

    At least this is how I read it, and I read it many times! Hope this helps.

  • Angela

    Debbie and Jill,

    You can google, or go to you tube and search for the no chain foundation. There are many different videos to choose from on you tube. But, as I learned from reading a little of the Ravelry groups posts, there is a different tecnique for a single crochet no chain foundation and a double crochet no chain foundation, so make sure you search the right one. and I believe the purpose of this tecnique is to save a step by not making the chain seperatly, so it should count as both the chain and the first row. I am no expert however, just going by what I have googled myself. Hope this helps you guys.

    I too need to go a size up for the pattern, and do not want to purchase my yarn until I am sure that I can. If sizing up is not possible, I will just have to make this one a gift I guess.

    Hope this helps

  • Joyce T

    thank you Angela ,
    this is my first sweater pattern. i was wondering what the info was. Now i understand. i’m sure i will have more question as we go. thanks again happy crocheting

  • Jill A.

    Thanks Everyone. After reading Kendra’s response regarding the no-chain foundation, I am going to take out my two rows and start over when she posts the no-chain foundation with the half-double crochet. I loved working it with the single crochet. I think it is definately worth learning. Happy crocheting! :D

  • http://bookthoughtsbyshanda.blogspot.com Shanda

    Is anyone using cotton-ease and can recommend what hook size they used to get the gauge? I got 1 hdcs with the I hook so now I am going to try H, but just wondered if there were any recommendations.

  • Nora

    Hello to all! I am Nora and I live in the island of Puerto Rico and this is my first CAL. I started this weekend and was confused with row number 4. I stop and entered in the website to see if anyone in the group had the same problem and I am very glad to clarify my confussion. Thanks a lot, ladies! But I will wait until Thursday to learn the no chain foundation. Like many crocheters and knitters I have no problems ripping and starting again.

  • Ruth Ann

    I just bought the yarn yesterday for the sweater. I’m making the sweater for my daughter and we bought white. Can’t wait to get started but I think I’ll work on the gauge and wait to find out how to do the no-chain foundation. This is my first CAL and I’m excited.

  • Ruby

    To make your gauge swatch do you do all hdc or do you go by the pattern? thanks

    Kendra says: Since the pattern gives the gauge in terms of half-doubles, do all hdc stitches for your gauge swatch. Some patterns will give gauge over “pattern stitch” so that is good to pay attention to. Great question!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ginger-Griffin-Stgermain/1402031053 <fb:name linked="false" useyou="false" uid="1402031053">Ginger Griffin Stgermain</fb:name>

    Well around my work schedule and kids i am @ 16″ into the 20″ in portion! so excited…it looks really good so far!

  • Marissa

    Can anyone tell me why the no chain foundation is important? Because the pattern doesn’t say anything about it. I know how to do it, but I was just wondering why we are talking about it. Thanks!!

    Zontee says: Hi Marissa, it’s just another way to start your project, and talking about it here is a good way for people who haven’t done it before to learn how to do it. Of course, you’re always free to use a regular chain if you prefer. Enjoy the CAL!

  • Crystal

    This is my first crochet along! I am so excited and have been working on it as much as I can. I have worked up to 20 inches, and am now on the shaping of the arm hole. I am confused on how to keep going, the pattern doesn’t specify what to do excatly when you turn, can’t wait for the videos of the no-chain foundation, I have never done that before.

  • Jacqueline

    Hi, novice Jacqueline from SoCal on a beautiful Spring day. I am using heather gray Wool-Ease sport weight (4), which calls for J-10, and the stitch gauge for 11 hdc = 4″ is right on, but I needed 2 extra rows (10) to make more than 4″ and end on a RS row, but I’m tall so a “bit more” is no big deal. This is my second attempt, since I started with an acrylic without checking gauge – my bad – and learned my lesson. Also, my rss feed not working and missed all of your great postings! Wish I had had your input during the “dark days” of crochet chaos. Best of luck to us all!

  • Jackie B

    Hi Jacqueline, That’s my name too!
    I just now for the first time came to the blogs and viewed your message first; but the real neat thing was that I am beginning just now crocheting the beach cover-up and I am also using Heather Grey Wool-Ease! :)
    Do I need to do anything else to join the crochet-along? I’ve never even blogged before.
    It was nice seeing a familiar name. Anyway, this is Jackie B from Richmond, Va. God Bless and take care.

  • Jacqueline

    Jackie: how cool is it that we are using the same yarn? No, you don’t have to do anything else to join the CAL – just make sure to read all of Kendra’s postings, and they should all be somewhere on this blog. Confession: I have never blogged either, and I am four decades and counting…. Anyway, I’m so happy you’re here, from Jacqueline from SoCal. P.S. My last initial is also “B”

  • Nicole

    I hope I’m not the only one still looking back at this post, but I’ve got a question about the swatching. When I crochet my gauge swatch, I have holes where I skip the first hdc (according to the instructions). I noticed that the one pictured doesn’t. Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong?

    Thanks!
    Nicole

  • Vangie

    This is my first clothing item and I really am excited about it. I’m about 10 inches into the 20 in” and all is going better that I expected. I had a bit of a problem at the start. I decided to use Vanna’s Choice in Navy and my mind is already swimming with ideas to do this in a different stitch at a later time. Thanks for the great pattern!!!!

  • Vickie

    I am having a hard time.Iguess I dont know how to read the pattern.Iam going to try to get instruction.Ilove this sweater I wish I could knit itHope to catch up. Vickie from Huntsville AL

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