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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 6: Finishing, Styling, and Care

October 27th, 2010

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I finished my brown, short-sleeved Pearl’s Cardigan! The modifications I added are perfect for my climate (living in southwest Florida) as I have many more opportunities to wear a vest than a long-sleeved sweater. Adding ease in the hips instead of side vents was not necessarily an important modification, but I thought it would be fun to show you two different styles of adding ease in the hips so you can either modify this sweater, or think about this type of modification in future sweater projects. Since I had leftover yarn, I decided to add more length to the body, too. I added an extra 6 repeats of the stitch pattern (for an added 6” of sweater length).

Pearl's Cardigan - Belted

The sleeves are worked even in the round in the same stitch pattern as the body of the sweater. There are lots of options here and since we used the top down method, you can try it on as you go to determine how long you want them to be. If you wanted a sleeve with a wider cuff, you could implement the side vents or increasing I demonstrated for the hip ease a few inches above the end of your sleeve. If you chose to work the sleeve as written in the pattern, you could still customize the length, too. Stop after a couple of inches for short sleeves, just below the elbow for 3/4 sleeves, just before your wrist for a long sleeve. For a cap sleeve (like I chose) only work the edging round onto the last row of the yoke where we separated for fronts, back and sleeves.

Pearl's Cardi - Belted from the back

The edging is very similar to the “pearl” rows of the yoke because it is clusters worked sideways into the side of the previous single crochet. Working them on the exterior edge of the garment gives a pretty scallop and “pearl” texture. I varied the length of the clusters used depending on the area of the sweater: along the fronts I used the treble-crochet-clusters, across the bottom edge I used double-treble-crochet-clusters, and around the neck edge I used double-crochet-clusters.

Pearl's Cardi - edging shot

Do you know how to weave in loose ends? As you added new balls of yarn to your project, you may have been tying knots in the yarn and leaving the ends. It is very, very important that you don’t just cut the yarn close to the knots as they will unravel over time and therefore your sweater will unravel, too. Using a tapestry needle, thread the yarn onto the needle and weave each yarn end into the stitchwork of the sweater. A length of 6” is good for ends because it gives you enough to weave the yarn into the work back and forth a couple of times, with enough left to handle with the needle and your hand. At this point, you will cut the remainder of the yarn end close to the body of work.

Here is a photo of my sweater just before I wove in the loose ends:

Pearl's Cardi Unblocked

Next comes the blocking process. As I have previously stated, blocking is a really important process in garment making. As long as you plan on laundering your project, you will need to know if water changes the gauge. We determined that water did change our gauge, and have assumed that post-wash gauge for the sizing of this garment. There are several ways of blocking a garment.

Steam blocking: If you have an iron with a steam feature, you can easily block your garment on a dress-form or hanger. DO NOT steam the garment on a body. It is extremely hot. The steam immediately relaxes the fabric and adds beautiful drape to your fabric.

Mist blocking: You can use a spray bottle and mist your garment, stretch the fabric to the proper gauge, and let dry. Generally, you should use a blocking board or flat surface that can be pinned for this method. If you don’t have a blocking board, a carpeted floor covered in clean towels and T-pins works fine. Or, a mattress can easily replace a blocking board in the same way (just make sure it isn’t a waterbed mattress!)

Wet blocking: Generally, I use my washing machine for blocking – even with fibers that are not supposed to be washed in the machine – but very carefully. I only use the spin cycle. I place the garment in the washing machine, set it for final rinse and watch it to make sure it does not spin (agitate). Stop the machine so the garment can soak for a few minutes, and turn it back on to spin out the water. When it is complete, you will have a damp garment that can be stretched and blocked with whichever tools you have available.

Depending on where you live and what your temperature and humidity levels are, drying time may vary. If you are feeling rushed, a ceiling fan may speed up the drying time.

Pearl's Cardi - unbelted

Based on the color I chose and the climate I live in, I will most often wear my Pearl’s Cardigan with capri jeans, a brightly colored 3/4 sleeve t-shirt, a brown leather belt and some sparkly jewelry. When I go on business trips, I think the vest will look lovely with a button down shirt, dress pants or a pencil skirt, and my (soon to arrive) silk leopard-print scarf, threaded through the belt loop holes. Too late to alter anything, I realized my brown belt is slightly too large for the belt loop holes so I styled my cardigan with the belt on top of the sweater. I like the way it looks and will probably not search out a belt that specifically fits in the holes. For a dressier look, I think a strapless sheath dress in brown or black would look really pretty with my hair worn up and a contrast color silk scarf for a belt. Let’s say I chose red, I would accessorize it with a red flower in my hair or red lipstick (but not both).

Pearl's Cardi - pinned or buttoned

Note: Unfortunately, I was not able to find a silk leopard scarf in time for this blog post. I finally found one, but it won’t ship to me until next week. I will take new photos then, and add them to this post and the Ravelry pages at that time.

When we buy clothing at the store, laundering is a no-brainer! But with handmade crochet and knit garments, it is a different story. If the yarn is machine washable, I often use the machine on gentle cycle, but otherwise I hand wash all my hand made garments using a delicate soap like Eucalan, Soak or Unicorn Fibrewash. Depending on the garment and the gauge, sometimes you may need to slightly stretch or manipulate your garment back to its original finished measurements.

If you choose to add buttons to the front of your sweater, I don’t think a button hole band is necessary as long as you choose buttons large enough to fit through the openness of the sweater on the opposite side. A shawl pin would work nicely on some occasions, too.

As our Crochet-Along comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who participated along the way. Thank you so much! Without your participation it would not have been the same! The photos on our Ravelry CAL page are gorgeous! Don’t worry if you didn’t finish your sweater in the same time frame as me. The CAL posts will remain here on the Lion Brand Notebook and the CAL group on Ravelry will remain, too. In fact, I will continue to monitor the Ravelry Group for Pearl’s Cardigan CAL, so please continue to share your photos with me!

This Friday, I will be having a Pearl’s Cardigan contest on my website, StyledbyKristin.com, so please stop by. You will need to have a photo of your Pearl’s Cardigan sweater to participate, and a couple of words describing where and when you will be wearing your sweater first. But it doesn’t have to be a finished photo. If you just started, a photo of your hook and yarn would suffice. There will be lots of prizes, including a signed copy of “Crochet So Fine” , “Wrapped In Crochet”, a LionBrand.com gift credit of $25, PDF patterns from my pattern line, coupons and much more. Everyone will be a winner! See you there!

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  • Renee Bender

    Wow! Your sweater looks beautiful. I have finished mine it is in the Microspun French Vanilla. I think that I made mine a size to big but I am waiting until I block it to see if it changes any. If not, then I will just have to make another one in a smaller size. I really did enjoy this CAL. I have learned a lot and I am not so afraid to try something that I have never done before.
    Thank you for such a wonderful pattern,
    Renee

    Kristin says: Hi Renee! Thank you so much for participating with me for Pearl’s Cardigan CAL. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but even happier that you learned something and are not afraid to try new things! Keep up the great work! ~Kristin.

  • Iris

    This is a very unflattering pattern.

  • Anne

    Vest looks beautiful! And I love the belt with it, too. : )

  • Julie

    Thank you Kristin for hosting the CAL. I learned some new stitches and have really enjoyed the pattern. You look absolutely beautiful wearing your cardigan. It looks great on you. I like the belt with it. I am working on the sleeves and hope to finish mine this weekend. I enjoy watching your segment on Knitting Daily also. Keep up the good work and I am asking for your book for Christmas!

  • Rebender

    I just wanted to give you an update. I wore my new sweater to work for the first time and had received so many wonderful compliments on it. I have even had some requests from coworkers to make one for them. Thanks again for a great CAL and a wonderful learning experience!

  • skeinartist

    I loved the CAL project. Wore my elbow length sleeve, shorter carti yesterday and got lots of compliments. I made 3 crochet covered buttons for front as I eliminated the belt loops. The top down format made it so easy to change and adjust the pattern, lots of fun!

  • Heather

    On page 118 of the pattern, I have a question. The left front section is 12 rows long while the back and right front are 14 rows long. I’m not seeing a spot where the left front picks up another row. Is this a typo?

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