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Archive for the 'Crochet-Along' Category


Vote for Our Crochet-Along Project!

June 22nd, 2011

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Summer is the perfect time for making a breezy crochet garment. To celebrate, we’re having a crochet-along (a virtual event where we all make the same pattern, with the support of hundreds of other crocheters)! Our friend Kendra, who hosted last year’s Beach Cardi CAL, is back to host. Before we get started, we want you to choose the perfect pattern!
Crochet-along
Clockwise from top left: Persimmon Pullover, Broomstick Lace Crochet Shell, Mesh Raglan Pullover, Light ‘n’ Lively Tank

Click here to cast your vote. We’ll announce the winning pattern on Thursday, June 30th. We can’t wait to get started!

New to our online crochet-alongs? Click here to read our guide to getting started. Remember to check the Lion Brand Notebook on Thursdays for the latest crochet-along posts!


Pearl’s Cardigan CAL Round-Up

November 9th, 2010

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Thank you to everyone who has participated in our Pearl’s Cardigan CAL.  One of the best parts of working with other people on a project is getting inspiration from their finished projects!  Here are a two gorgeous finished projects shared with us on Ravelry.

DinaMarie‘s sweater in Sterling Microspun

cln1105‘s sweater in Lilac Microspun

There are also a few great works in progress that are coming along nicely:

DanaLorz‘s Work In Progress in Ruby Vanna’s Glamour

mmhiscox‘s Work In Progress in Turquoise Microspun

Mudderleigh‘s Work In Progress in Fuschia Microspun

Congratulations to everyone who has finished their cardigan.  Whether you’re finished or still working, make sure to post your pictures to the Pearl’s Cardigan CAL Ravelry group and Flickr group and our Customer Gallery.

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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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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 5: Lower Body and Modifications

October 20th, 2010

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Have you tried on your sweater yet? I have, and although I have my heart set on a longer vest, I know I would be happy with a shorter cardi if I finished now, too.

I just passed the point where the pattern states to separate for the side vents. The reason I added side vents to this design is because I like extra hip ease in my sweaters. First, I think it is like an optical illusion of having shaping in the waist of the sweater. I personally find it to be more comfortable than something with actual waist shaping. That is why in this design I added the belt-loop holes so you can customize the amount of cinching you desire on any given day you wear the sweater. The hip ease adds to the contrast of your custom waist cinching.

As I was crocheting along this week, I realized that this particular pattern would be really easy to modify for increases, so I chose to make another modification and keep the lower body intact (without side vents) but still keep the hip ease. If you are making the side vents (as the pattern calls for) you will still be working even in the pattern, but working in sections, dividing the body into 4 equal parts (1 each for the right and left front, and 2 for the back). I decided to make increases within the pattern for the hip ease instead of separating for side vents. Today, I will explain how you can, too.

However many repeats of the pattern you have (mine has 38), you need to divide your stitches into 4 equal parts. Because mine has 4 equal sets of 9 repeats plus 2 repeats, I chose to work my increases on both sides of the extra stitch. For example, on the sc, ch5 row when I complete 9 repeats, I work an extra repeat into the same stitch, work the next repeat, then make an extra repeat in the same stitch, and continue evenly across the row. If yours has a perfect multiple of 4, simply work your increases on either side of 2 repeats instead of either side of 1 repeat as in the photo.

Increase row

On the subsequent rows, I work even in the stitch pattern. Here is what it looks like after the next row:

Next row of pattern worked even

And here is what it looks like after you work 2 more rows:

Continuing to work even in pattern

Notice how smooth and barely noticeable the increases are. By working 4 increases in the one row, I added 4″ ease to the hip area of my sweater. I think that is plenty for a relaxed fit sweater. If you wanted more swing in yours, I would work another set of increases in the same position (for a total of 8″ increase in the hip section). I tried my sweater on at this point today, and if I were going to add sleeves, I think I would consider this shorter hip-length for the sweater. But for a sleeveless vest, I want to balance everything out with a longer body. It was tempting, but I’m sticking with my plan. I have been shopping for a sheer silk leopard scarf to use as a belt. No luck yet, but I’m still hopeful. In the meantime, back to my hook!

This week I will be finishing up the last few inches of the sweater and working the edging. Next week, I’ll demonstrate the edging, talk about the sleeves and sleeveless modifications and finish up my sweater. I’ll go through the blocking process, laundering of handmade specialty garments and my tips on styling your new sweater!

Happy Crocheting!

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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 4: Bodice and Modifications

October 13th, 2010

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Before we begin with today’s blog post, I want to share a video with you. There have been a lot of questions about how to work the clusters, so I decided to make a video demonstrating how to work the clusters sideways by working them into the side of the previous single crochet. In the video, I crochet a dc-cluster, tr-cluster and dtr-cluster.

In the video, the sweater on the dressform beside me is my work-in-progress Mocha Microspun cardigan. My Pearl’s Cardigan is coming along nicely! How is yours? I finished the yoke, separated for front, sleeves and back, and crocheted the body down to the point where you split ‘right and left fronts’ from ‘back’ to incorporate side vents into the sweater. Here are a few images of the front, side and back of the Mocha Pearl’s Cardigan at my current progress level:

Kristin's Current Progress on Pearl's Cardigan

If you are making a custom sweater, please note that when we separate for fronts, sleeves and back, the yoke is evenly divided into six parts (1 part for each front, 1 part for each sleeve and 2 parts for the back). Then we add enough underarm chains to add enough circumference for the right side bust of the sweater and keep in mind that the amount of chains worked must equal a multiple of the stitch pattern. Some participants desire a wider armhole opening. There are a couple of ways this can be achieved:

  1. You can replace the underarm chains with foundation single crochet stitches instead. Foundation Single Crochet (FSC) stitches are much stretchier than chains and this can give you a little more ease.
  2. You can add more chains (or foundation single crochets) to your underarm stitches. Please keep in mind that you should add them in increments of the stitch pattern (+4, +8, +12, etc…)

Another modification to consider is that you can control the length of the sweater at this point.

  1. If you desire a cropped cardigan, I think you could stop after the belt-loop row and skip to the edging. Weave a belt or sash though the waist and you are done! I would style this with a fit and flare dress, or with a longer tunic and cute jeans.
  2. For an empire waist, you could work the belt-loop row a few inches above where the pattern suggests you add it (a few inches below the armhole opening). The beauty of a top-down sweater is you can try it on as you go, and decide where the waist works best on you! I would still work this empire-waist-modified sweater to the original length in the pattern.
  3. If you prefer to omit the belt-loop row, that is OK, too! Perhaps you would prefer buttons, securing with a shawl pin, or wearing the sweater casually worn open. Simply skip the belt-loop row, but add enough repeats of the body stitch pattern to achieve the desired finished length.

Next week, we will further discuss modifications. If you don’t like the side vents, you could add increases at this point to create a fuller hip width. I will crochet mine both ways to show you the difference. I am considering a sleeveless vest modification, adding the hip increases instead of side vents, and increasing the length by a few inches (using up the yarn that should have been used for the sleeves). I will show you the original sweater in close-up and compare it closely with any modifications I end up using.

Happy crocheting! I’ll be looking for your questions and comments in the coming week!

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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 3: Let’s Get Started!

October 6th, 2010

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I’m so excited to share this week’s blog with you because I want to share with you how to customize this pattern to your size–not necessarily one of the sizes written in the pattern. This cardigan is a formula-based top-down construction that I developed over the last few years and one I turn to every time I want to make myself a sweater without following a pattern or writing one first. One of my favorite benefits of this style of sweater is that you can use any stitch pattern and all the increases are worked in only one row, which means you are not increasing in the stitch pattern. I think that is fantastic for a relaxing project or a beginner project.

Because the sweater is a top-down construction, we always begin with the neck. When determining the size, my theory is to work the neck at 50% of the circumference of the bust, and work triple increases in the first row of stitches (working 3 sts in each stitch across or around). The widest point of the yoke should be 3 times the size of the neck (or 1.5 times the bust). For the yoke, you simply work even in your choses stitch pattern for the length of the yoke. Separating the front(s), sleeves and back are easy too: divide the stitches into 6 even parts. One part each for each sleeve, 2 parts for the back, and 2 parts for a solid front or one part each for a separated right and left front (cardigan). Based on ease, insert the appropriate number of chains in the underarm for your comfort (usually 1 – 3” of chains). For a stretchier underarm, use foundation stitches instead of chains.

For Pearl’s Cardigan, I came up with a variation of my original formula pattern template. Because I wanted the look of 3 strands of pearls around the top of the yoke, I increased the size of the “pearls” for each of the rows, then on the following row (when the regular stitch pattern begins) I worked a double increase (instead of a triple increase in the original pattern template). This combination of increases gave the same desired width at the end of the yoke.

When separating for the fronts, sleeves and back, I still used my original theory of splitting into 6 parts.

Some people will find this conceptual information important, while others may prefer the line-by-line instructions in the pattern. Either way, I hope you feel welcome and encouraged to join me in making Pearl’s Cardigan.

Since I have the original 36” bust sweater and find it to be a little too snug on me, I decided to make the 40” bust sweater for the crochet-along. I ordered 10 balls of Microspun in Coffee (instead of the 9 balls required in the pattern) because I knew I would be making some extra swatches for the blog posts and showing some modifications in the following weeks.

Last week, I began the size 40” cardigan in Cleveland, Ohio when I was taping the next season of Knitting Daily TV (season 600) which will begin airing in January 2011. This photo is of me starting the neck of my cardigan while in the green room, waiting to go on set:

Kristin in the Green Room at KGTV

Have you worked sideways clusters before? That is what I used for the “pearls” in the first few rows of the yoke. They are pretty simple to crochet: similar to a cluster at the beginning of a row that uses a set of chains for the first stitch, you work 3 stitches together (like a decrease), BUT the only difference is that you work this entire cluster into the SIDE of the single crochet just made. Normally, we work our stitches into the top “v” of the stitches in the row below, but in this instance, we work into the side of the single crochet just made – in the same row. The stitch will appear horizontal when you complete the next sc. The small “pearls” on row 2 are double crochet based, the medium “pearls” on row 4 are treble crochet based, and the large “pearls” on row 6 are double treble crochet based. On row 8, the double increases are worked so the number of ch5 spaces are doubled (this completes increases for the rest of the yoke and sweater). Rows 9 – 10 are repeated until you reach the length of your yoke. Don’t be afraid to try on the sweater and adjust the length of the yoke for your body. I put mine on the dressform and pulled the fabric taut with straight pins to make sure it looked like the right length.

Yoke Front
Yoke Side

Yoke Back

Join me next week when we will talk about separating for front(s), sleeves and back and begin discussing the many types of modifications to consider. Happy crocheting!!

How far are you in your  sweater? Share a link to your blog or Flickr account — or post your photos in our Ravelry group!

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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 2: Swatch and Gauge

September 29th, 2010

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Hopefully you have chosen your color and now we need to determine what size to make and how much yarn to order. As I mentioned last week, I chose Coffee. I ordered 10 balls to make size large. There has been some discrepancy in the pattern notes about the size worn by the model in Crochet So Fine, so I measured the original garment, and the sample sweater measures 36″ across the bust (a size medium, not large).

Over the years, I have found that many of us choose our pattern-size based on our bra-size. I believe it is because we are used to shopping for tops based on Small, Medium, Large, X-Large or with the American standard sizes of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, etc… When I see sweaters sized 32, 36, 40 I think of bra sizes.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work, unless you want your sweater to be as snug as your undergarments! I received a great piece of advise a few years ago: lay out some of your favorite clothes on a flat surface and take the measurements of these items, as they include the amount of ease (extra inches for comfort) that you are accustomed to wearing. Those are the sizes you should be making in your stitched garments. Here is an example:

Measuring Flat Sweater

OK, so now you know how many yards (or balls) to order. When it arrives, you will need to work on gauge. I made gauge swatches with 3 different sized hooks because I thought it would be helpful to not only see the right sized swatch, but to also notice how subtle the difference is with the wrong sized swatches. I also took photos before and after blocking as this makes a huge difference in the gauge measurements, too.

Why is gauge so important? Specifically, why is a precise and accurate gauge so important? It is the difference between having a sweater fit or not. You wouldn’t go into a store and buy a size 2 when you need a size 14. And, you wouldn’t buy a size 18 if you needed a size 10. It may sound hard to believe, but if your gauge swatch is off by as little as 1/2″ it can mean being off by many sizes. For example, let’s say your gauge is supposed to be 4 sts/1″ and you came up with 3.5 sts/1″. On a size 36 pattern, your finished garment would turn out to be 31″. If you came up with 5st/1″ gauge, your same size 36″ bust pattern would create a finished garment sized 45″ bust.

Below are my 3 swatches. From left to right, I used an F/5 (3.75mm), G/6 (4mm) and H/8 (5mm) crochet hook. In the first photos the swatches are not blocked. From this photo, I would guess that the swatch on the left is the closest to gauge.

Stitch Gauge BEFORE Swatching

Row Gauge BEFORE Swatching

Next are my 3 swatches after blocking. I think blocking is one of the most important things to do to your swatch because we are talking about a garment that will get wet! Whether in the rain, or when laundered. You need to know how your fabric will react in water. Sometimes, the amount of gauge released in the blocking recedes a bit when the swatch dries, so it is important to not only block but allow it to dry before measuring.

Stitch Gauge AFTER Blocking

Row Gauge AFTER Blocking

Notice how much the swatches grew? If we had chosen the swatch on the right (like I guessed from the original photo) our finished garment (following the size 36″ bust pattern) would create a finished garment with a 45″ bust! Wow. That would be quite a difference!

Now we have decided what size sweater to make, ordered the appropriate amount of yarn, and determined our gauge from the swatches. Before we begin our sweater (in next week’s blog post), I want to share with you how and why I developed this sweater structure technique. After you understand the fundamentals of this design, I hope it will encourage you to crochet this sweater regardless of what size you want to make. This is also a top-down sweater design, the stitch gauge is a lot more important than the row gauge because you can alter the length of both the body and sleeves but just stopping when you reach your desired look.

Normally a round yoke sweater is increased incrementally in the rows from the narrowest point (neck) to the widest point (bottom of the yoke). In this super simple design concept, I use a percentage system to determine the neck, bust and yoke, but work all of the increases into the first row of stitches after the neck is crocheted. As long as you are using a lacy stitch that blocks well, the yoke will be flat. If you use a tighter stitch pattern that doesn’t stretch much in blocking, there will be some puckering at the neck. In some cases, with lighter fabrics, it is still an interesting texture and design element. In Pearl’s Cardigan, there is room for stretch in blocking, so the condensed increases don’t pucker and lay flat after blocking. However, the yoke will begin extremely ruffled but relax as your length grows (as you’ll see in future weeks).

When you know the bust measurement you desire for your sweater, the other calculations are easy to figure out. The neck measurement is 50% of the bust, and the yoke is 150% of the yoke. This means that if you need 4sts/1″ for size 36, 36×4=144 sts for the bust, then you would begin with 144 x 0.50 = 72 and you would need to have increased to 144 x 1.5 = 216 at the end of the yoke. From there, you would separate for front, back and sleeves, add underarm stitches to the sleeve and add the same number of sts to the body when joining the fronts (as we will discuss in the following weeks).

Best of luck swatching everyone. If you have swatch-related questions, make sure to jump in on the comments here or on our Ravelry CAL group!

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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 1: Choosing Yarn and Color

September 22nd, 2010

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Hi everyone!

Pearl'sCardiYarnChoice

My name is Kristin Omdahl and I am very excited to introduce the Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet Along! Pearl’s Cardigan is from my latest collection of crochet designs, published this summer in my second book, Crochet So Fine (Interweave). Over the next few weeks, together we will cover the entire process of making this sweater: from choosing colors to determining gauge with our swatches; determining the correct size sweater to make; crocheting from the line-by-line instructions and charts; making modifications; and blocking and finishing your sweater!

Please participate! Ask me questions! Let me know what YOU want to know from me! This is an interactive crochet-along and I’m so excited to hear from you. You can help me decide what else we need to discuss in further detail.

Pearl’s Cardigan is named after my great grandmother Pearl who was a beautiful Norwegian immigrant to the United States with a dream of becoming an actress in the 1920s. I imagine her wearing this cardigan with a silk scarf threaded through the belt holes and cinching her waist to fit.

PearlsCardiBlush

So let’s get started! For the sample in “Crochet So Fine” I crocheted with Microspun‘s Blush colorway. It is a really pretty light dusty pink. Currently, I am inspired by the animal print trend on fashion runways. For the sweater I will be making in the coming weeks, I wanted to choose a color that would work with a leopard print fabric belt. I was torn between Coffee (below left) and Mocha (below right):
MicrospunCoffee MicrospunMocha

I really liked the way the leopard print would pop against Mocha, but realized I will be wearing this with sleeveless tops and wanted a better contrast against my skin. So, Coffee it is!

What color are you going to choose? Here are some of my favorites:

MicrospunFuschia Fuchsia – an intense hot pink. I think every girl can use a little hot pink in her wardrobe! A dark brown leather belt and dark denim jeans would look great with this hot color!
MicrospunBlush Blush – wear this sophisticated color over a crisp white blouse. Use your favorite floral silk scarf threaded through for a belt and wear over camel gabardine trousers at the office.
MicrospunLilac Lilac – one of my favorite colors to wear. Close this sweater with your favorite shawl pin or brooch. This would be pretty worn over a fit and flare dress (any Mad Men fans out there?)
MicrospunTurquoise Turquoise – if you have a tropical trip planned this winter, I think this color would be incredible over a pair of linen pants and matching camisole.

Think about how you will wear your Pearl Cardigan. It can be worn loose and open, cinched with a belt through the waist, or pinned with your favorite shawl pin or brooch. Will you wear it to your office, on a trip, casually or dressy — or all of the above?

Next week, I will talk about gauge and measuring, we will make our gauge swatches and get started! This pattern has an unusual structure and in the coming weeks I will explain how I came up with the design. Through the explanation, it will become clear how to customize the pattern just for you! I will explain how to change the sleeve, body length, and even how to alter the patter to fit you beyond the sizes listed in the pattern.

Leave a comment and let us know what color you’ve chosen! Have a wonderful week, everyone!

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Join Us for Our Special Guest Crochet-Along!

September 15th, 2010

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Several times a year, here on the Lion Brand Notebook, we like to host a knit- or crochet-along. The idea is that it’s a virtual event that brings yarncrafters together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together.

There’s no need to sign up: simply follow along with the blog posts, work on your projects at your own pace, and comment when you feel like it!

A special fall project from Crochet So Fine

For our fall crochet-along (CAL for short), we’ll be making the stunning Pearl’s Cardigan, a pattern from the book Crochet So Fine by Kristin Omdahl…and as a special bonus, Kristin herself will be hosting the CAL! We are thrilled to have her helping us through this pattern — Kristin will be blogging every Wednesday starting next week for the CAL, answering your question and sharing insights into this beautiful crochet cardigan.

Connect with us! Not only are we working on the CAL here, but you can also find us on Ravelry in our CAL group and on Flickr. Share your pictures, ask questions, and comment on those websites, in addition to here at http://blog.lionbrand.com

Ready to get started? Click here to download the pattern at LionBrand.com!

Pick out your yarn! For this CAL, Kristin will be making her cardigan in the recommended Microspun, a silky-soft micro-fiber that comes in a ton of bright and muted colors, but for those of you who are looking for other DK-weight options, you may want to consider options from our LB Collection of luxury fibers at affordable priced including: Baby Alpaca, Cotton Bamboo, Superwash Merino, and our brand new Angora Merino.

Have a blog or website? Add this badge to show that you’re participating! Right click or Ctrl+click on Macs to save the image to your computer; then upload it to your blog.

Finally, we want YOU to leave a comment and introduce yourself! Tell us who you are, where you’re from, and who you’re making this sweater for! Welcome and thanks for joining us!

UPDATE: In response to your comments, Kristin says that she will talk about modifying the pattern (including larger sizes, sleeve length, body length, etc.) in week 4 of her blog posts, so please hang in there and your questions will be addressed at that time.

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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Belt or Buttons and the Cardi is Finished!

May 13th, 2010

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Hello everyone! Well we’re finally here – the finishing steps of this cardi and then its ready to hit the beach :) I hope that you are happy with your results so far, whether you went with long sleeve or short, collar or hood, and you are ready to get this sweater done and ready to show off!

The first step of finishing the cardi is to work a single crochet edging along the ENTIRE sweater. This means around the back, up the slit, around and up one front, around the collar or hood, down and around the other front, then finally up and down the other slit – phew! I know it’s a long way to go, but it really gives that edge a beautiful finish.

Nice clean edges!

When working this edging, just be consistent about what part of the stitches you are working into and keep those single crochets nicely spaced – generally pretty close together – to keep in looking straight and even. Also, it can help to work 3 single crochet in the same stitch at each of the corners to help turn around them nicely.

At this point you should also weave in any ends, something I know I’ve been putting off until now! For weaving in my ends, I like to work in a diagonal out one way and back another, then I tug at the crochet fabric from all directions before trimming it, to make sure that end moves as much as it is going to! This way it is more likely to stay put for the long term. Also, where I joined a new ball of yarn, I work those two ends in different directions so I don’t end up with a bulky area in my sweater where I am trying to hide two ends together.

Also you will want to block the sweater now, if you haven’t already, following the same recommendations as the post about blocking explained. If you did block the sweater earlier like I did, it is still a good idea to block the sleeves and hood or collar area that hasn’t yet been blocked. The difference is this time use a spray bottle to wet only the areas being blocked, after you have them pinned into place, or experiment with steam blocking, again only steaming the areas you concentrating on. As with before, however, be very careful with applying heat to acrylic yarns, as you don’t want to melt the acrylic component with excessive heat exposure.

Let’s get to the more fun finishing work–how are you going to wear this cardi? Do you like the open, free look of it as is or are you thinking of some type of closure? Do you want the belt and belt-loops of the pattern or are buttons more your style?

For the belt, follow the pattern as written by making a strip repeating hdc’s until desired length. The belt loops are simply a chain of 12 that you then sew to the sweater of the body, although as an alternative you could make them directly on the cardi: simply join the yarn to the top of where you want the belt loop (around the waist) by working into a part of the crochet fabric, then chain 12, and finish by working a slip stitch where you want the bottom of the belt loop to be – no extra finishing required other than weaving in those ends!

Personally, I like the idea of a button instead, but again you have some choices. You can easily buy a button or toggle closure that you like – given the more open nature of this cardi, I envisioned a single closure below the bust line instead of a full button band, but the choice is yours! Alternatively, instead of buying a closure, you can crochet one! Again working from the Moderne Jacket pattern, follow the (slightly modified) button instructions:

Rnd 1: Ch 2. Work 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook; join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in each sc around; join with sl st in first sc – 12 sc.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, (sc2tog) 6 times; join with sl st in first st. Fasten off leaving a long end. Weave end tightly through rem sts. Flatten button slightly and stitch through all thicknesses to secure. Sew button on Left Front.

I worked a crochet chain loop for the “buttonhole”: Join yarn on the side opposite the button placement, chain 8 (or the correct amount for your button size) then work a slip stitch into same stitch as the join to connect the loop and weave in the ends. The result? A different, yet simple way, to finish your cardi!

I guess that wraps up this crochet-along! I hope you are all happy with cardis and have learned some new things in the process. I know how much I have enjoyed reading your comments and questions, both working through challenges and seeing your successes. Please continue to leave comments and post about your finished projects here, on Flickr and in the Ravelry group: I can’t wait to see how your cardis have turned out and if anyone has made other modifications! Thanks for going on this crochet-along journey with me and hope you join our other crochet-alongs in the future!

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