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Archive for April 29th, 2010


Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Shoulder Seams and Sleeves in the Round

April 29th, 2010

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Hello! I hope everyone’s cardis are coming along nicely. I know the armhole pattern was a bit of stumbling block, but we’ve worked through it by helping each other and can move on to the sleeves themselves soon. I hope a week was enough time for your blocking sweater to dry — I know the Nature’s Choice sure took a few days to dry completely for me! But it was well worth it – the lace pattern opened up nicely and now my cardi is shaped to the correct measurements, ready to be seamed and given sleeves. So let’s get to it!

For the shoulder seams, I chose to do a crochet-adapted mattress stitch, also called the invisible sewn seam, because it gives a virtually invisible join on the top of the shoulders. (Mattress stitch is a popular method of seaming in knitting.) You can use any seaming technique you wish (click here for slip stitch seam directions or click here for single crochet seam directions), I’m just partial to the strength and finished look of the invisible sewn seam.

To work this sewn seam, follow along with the below photo tutorial [as usual, you can click on outlined photos to see them larger]:

1. Insert your tapestry needle in the corners of each piece (A and B let’s say) – I don’t use knots, just insert the needle from the bottom of each corner and leave a tail for weaving in later.

2. Work the needle under the top loop of the first stitch on piece A, bottom to top. This is at the base of V of the following stitch, so your needle is coming up through the center of the next V. That loop can be a little tricky to dig out from the base of the following stitch, but you will find it.

3. Repeat on piece B, inserting under the top loop of the corresponding first stitch, again working essentially into the center of the following stitch.

4. Repeat, working back and forth between A and B continuing in this manner, leaving the yarn slack for a couple of stitches.

5. Now tighten it! See how nicely the stitches come together on the two pieces? You can’t even see the seaming yarn if worked correctly. I used contrast yarn to make the process easier to visualize, and yet you still can’t see it!

Time for sleeves! To work the sleeves you are crocheting along the entire armhole opening, then continuing down the sleeve working in rounds. Each round is connected at the end by a slip stitch and then the work is turned and worked back around until you have your desired sleeve length. The great thing about working attached sleeves this way is you can try it on as you go to be sure those sleeves fit! And it’s exciting to see the sweater finally taking shape.

The pattern tells you how many stitches to crochet along the opening and you want them evenly spaced. A trick? Divide the sleeve into sections! For me, I needed 30 hdc, ch 1 stitches around so I divided it in half first, knowing I’d need to work 15 to the top of the opening, then further broke those sections in half to know where my 8th stitch should be ending up. How do you divide them? I find that safety pins or split-ring markers work great! Just slip them in at regular intervals and adjust your stitch placement accordingly to get them to work out evenly around the opening. This way there are no surprises at the end and you have a nice, even sleeve!

When I finished my first sleeve I couldn’t resist trying it on and admiring my handy work – almost a full cardi! However, in doing so I wasn’t sure I was in love with the look of that sleeve. The sweater is made to have large, almost kimono-like sleeves which are a great design, but just not my personal style.

I decided to play around with the second sleeve and see which one I like better.

To do so, first I closed up the armhole opening slightly from the bottom, shortening it about 2 inches using the same mattress stitch from before because I felt the armpit was a little too low on me. Next I figured out how many stitches I’d need to work around the opening by comparing my smaller armhole opening it to the first sleeve: 23 ch-1 spaces instead of 31 for my size S/M. I also thought I’d like elbow length sleeves instead so I continued to try it on as I went until almost the right length, then worked the final hdc rows for the cuff. Here are the results of my sleeve experiment:

Seeing the difference, I think I’ll go with the smaller, shorter sleeves just because of my own preference. So it’s time to rip out the first sleeve and apply these new changes! I love that about crochet — how easily you can rip and re-do without worry to get things how you want them. I’m going to work on getting the other sleeve right, then next week I’ll talk about the hood (and possible collar modifications!) and this cardi will be about finished!

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