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

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

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Hi everyone!


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!

Pearl's Cardigan CALPlease 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.


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):

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:

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!
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.
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?)
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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  • Very excited aboutthis CAL! I love Pearl’s cardigan and I have chosen Fuschia as my colour! Spring is here in Melbourne, Australia and after a winter of wearing black and more black, it’s time to add some colour!

  • I have already started on mine and am almost finished with row 10. I am using Microspun in French Vanilla. It is already looking really pretty. I will have to stop in order to finish another project, but I hope to get back to this shortly.

  • I started already (wanted to make sure I could work the pattern) and love the pattern. I did my swatch and went down a hook size. Am making the sweater in a baby yarn in soft teal. Although it is in the upper 70’s today, fall will be upon us here in NE Ohio shortly. Think this cardi will be a great sweater for these cooler days. Thanks Kristin for working with us.

  • I’ve chosen a baby yarn in light blue. I’ve made a gauge swatch already and am interested to see the “official” swatch!

  • I have chosen a similar yarn in lavender color, and made it to Row 2. This is a great looking cardi! Can’t wait to finish it!

  • Hi, I love the cardi and would like to give it a try. Still concerned that the model is wearing a Size Large. It looks small at the very most a medium. Does the pattern run small (do you have to choose one size higher than you would usually pick?) Thanks. Can the designer comment?


    Kristin says: Thank you for participating in the CAL! I will be addressing the sizing, modifications and more in the weeks to come! Thanks for asking!.

  • I am SO GLAD that you will be addressing the sizing issue. I am going to wait for that post before I start as I don’t want to be going back and un-doing my work if there are changes needed. I haven’t bought yarn yet but I may need to go with a DK weight cotton that I found. Hopefully that will work. The other alternative is some Pingouin Pingofine I have on hand except it is in a wine color and not sure I want this cardi in that color. I’m looking forward to your posts.

  • It sure is neat to have the designer doing the CAL with us! And, so interesting to see people all over the world joining in. I had gotten as far as row 3 in the body, but it looked too small. I was doing the large size, I usually wear a 12, but when I tried it on, too small! My stitch work looked smaller than in the pattern, so I ripped it out, hubby said I must need lots of practice, and am trying the X-Large size and went up a hook size. Live and learn.

    Kristin says: Thank you for participating in the CAL! In the next week, I will be talking a lot about sizing and gauge swatching. I hope it will help you. And, I’ll be around if you have any questions! 🙂 Thanks for asking!.

  • I haven’t even bought yarn for this yet, but I think I want to make the cardigan in black so that it can be worn both dressy and casual with jeans etc. Perfect for fall and winter in Florida!!

    So excited about all the details you will be covering as this is my first sweater. I have only done hats, scarves, gloves and purses so far….. I’m a little nervous, but happy to have all the support! 🙂

  • This cardi looks great. I’m going to make it in a rose shade and can hardly wait to get started.

  • Sound’s good? can anyone suggest a color that would be good for wearing with most jeans, and with, say, a white or navy tank underneath? keep in mind that I’m a teen, so nothing too professional looking. i would wear it to school, church, and probably just when i’m ‘hanging out’ with my friends. can’t wait to get started! 🙂

  • Sound’s good! can anyone suggest a color that would be good for wearing with most jeans, and with, say, a white or navy tank underneath? keep in mind that I’m a teen, so nothing too professional looking. i would wear it to school, church, and probably just when i’m ‘hanging out’ with my friends. can’t wait to get started! 🙂

  • I chose turquoise because it is one of my favorite colors and it flatters my coloring. I expect to wear this cardigan in milder weather and I think it will be great with white or black linen pants and a matching tank underneath. I’m eager for my yarn t arrive and excited to begin along with the advice of the designer!

  • Glad I haven’t missed anything yet. I have not been able to find 9 balls of yarn in the same dye lot in ANY color! I was thinking of the dark brown color too, so I guess I’ll go ahead and order it!! I’m glad the gauge swatch will be discussed as I didn’t understand which stitch to use.

  • I love that bag in the picture! Is there a pattern available for that? (I’m crochet challenged!) 🙂

    Kristin says: Thank you for participating in the CAL! The bag is handmade in Vietnam. It is called “The Tree of Life Bag” by Lantern Moon. You are NOT crochet challenged because you don’t know the bag! 🙂

  • This is my first a-long! So excited. I have chosen a yarn in my stash called Schachenmayr Nomotta Micro. It is a nice silvery grey colour. I think this yarn is pretty similar to Lion Brand’s Microspun. Anyway, happy to be putting my stash to good use 😉 Also, I’ll be looking for tips to make the cardi larger than the size listed in the pattern. Thanks!

  • I think I will be making more than one of these. I actually chose some “baby” sport weight in a “tweed” pattern…blue for me and green for my son’s girlfriend. I work at a college (advising) and my son’s girlfriend works for a veterinarian…we both need wash and wear capability. My daughter’s will be a basic black in baby alpaca…she wants to be able to wear it from day (where she manages a pediatric practice) to evenings out with her husband.

  • I’m with Suzanne about the sizing. The model does not look “large” by any means. I did hear on some TV show that size 10 is considered “plus size” in the modeling profession. If this is a large, then I’ll want extra large for sure.

    Anyway, I admire Kristin’s work. She is one of my crochet heros, and I’m very excited to learn from her in this CAL.

    I think I’ll order the Mocha color yarn because it looks like to would “go” with a lot of different things.

  • I’d better get my yarn! I hope Joann’s has enough of one dye lot so I can buy it there…..

    I really like the color Coffee and think I’ll go with that if I can get enough of it at Joann’s.

  • Ready to start my gauge swatch. I have read the entire patten and love the fax you have the symbols in the bock next to the pattern and the schematics are great. only one hitch I could not find enough micro spun to fit me, so I will make 2 sweaters. 1 in begonia passion (pink) cotton fleece for Oct. Breast Cancer month I am a survivor and will be proud to work on and wear this sweater. The other will be in Vanna White’s Glamor for the holidays maybe red.

  • I was torn between French Vanilla and Mocha….Mocha won out. I am waiting for my yarn to get here. According to Lionbrand’s website, my yarn will get here on Monday. YAY. I can swatch Monday night and start on Tuesday….cannot wait!!!

  • Ok, here we go. I was saying, on the wrong blog, that I would like to use yarn from my stash as oppose to buying new. I wonder if anyone knows if a 4 ply yarn (acrylic) will work. I don’t want to gauge and find out it doesn’t work. I have a 5 year old a 3 year old and a 21 month old so time is of the essence for me. Thank you. If so then I will probably go with your classic black. Nice to meet you Ms./Mrs. Omdahl

  • Hi,
    i too couldn’t wait so have allready started. I couldn’t find the microspun. So i am doing mine in a bamboo blaend that I found in coral. I am on row 16. my goal is to have it done so A can ware it for thankgiving.( late Nov). the swatch i make came out a little larger then gauge. so. I am going with that because I was a little worry that the XL would be a little too small.

  • OOOOOO bamboo, I have wool but may not have enough. I would still like to know if a 4 ply will do?

  • I am using coffee too. I ordered my microspun yarn from Lion Brand and it shipped yesterday. I’m so relieved that this first post was about color and yarn and that I’m not already behind! Can’t wait to get started. Very thrilled to be doing my first CAL with one of the premier crochet designers!! Thank you Kristin!

  • I chose the microspun light lavender. Up to row y and it is gorgeous. Still wonder which row is the right side of the fabric. I like both. Now I am looking for the book.

  • I ordered my yarn today. I am going with Micospun Mocha.

  • I’ve chosen to make my cardigan with turquoise microspun. I’m excited to see the additional instructions as I was wanting to make mine shorter!

  • I’m gonna make mine in Mango. I was inspired when I saw Knitting Daily and saw Krisin talking to a button vendor, she had on a beautiful orange sweater with wooden buttons and a royal blue shirt underneath. Since seeing the episode that has been my inspiration to make something orange…and here it is! I’m going to get royal blue satin and hem the edges and use that for my “sinch” at the waist. Also, I’m on the prowl for a wooden shawl pin…nice!!

  • Hi Renee, read your comments with interest, as you were on row 10 and did not mention having any difficulty with the 22 chain 5 spaces and then the 42 chain 6 spaces. Shouldn’t they double as the others do and be 44 chain spaces? Any help would be appreciated as I love the pattern and it is looking so nice. I have 44 chain 6 spaces and am afraid to continue as the count will be off.

    Kristin says: Hi Caroline,
    You are ahead of me! I will be doing the swatching this week and talking about choosing the right size to make. The following week I will be starting the sweater and talking about the yoke. If I find anything, I’ll definitely let you know!
    Best regards,

  • Thanks for all the comments! I’m so happy to hear all of the color choices. Please join me next week when we start our gauge swatches!!
    Best regards,

  • I have some yarn that I would like to use but it does not have the size. It has the following on the label:50 grs 1 3/4 oz 110 mts 120 yds. It was made in Spain and the brand is Katia. The name on the label says SODA but when I looked it up, what I saw online is not what I have. It is Cotton/Viscose/Nylon and calls for size 2-3 KNITTING NEEDLES. Since I don’t knit, I have no idea how that relates to crochet hooks. Does anyone have any idea if this would work?

    Kristin says: Thank you for participating in the CAL! Please join me in swatching this week. We will definitely be able to determine how to make your yarn work for this project! 🙂

  • I have chosen to make the sweater in Red. I can’t wait for my yarn to arrive so I can start my gauge swatch. This is my first CAL so I am very excited and a little intimidated!

  • I’ve never oined a CAL before, but I am hoping to make this for my sister. She loves bright colors, so I am going to make it in leaf. I’d like to make it for myself, but I am a 2x/3x and I’m not very good at figuring out additions and such. I’ll start on my sisters, and if things go OK, I might thrill myself and make something for me.

  • I am thinking of making this in black, white, or gray. Those three go with everything.

    Too bad Microspun doesn’t have variegated yarns, like a black-white-gray blend. That would be perfect.

    I will be making this pattern soon, but I don’t know if I can keep up with a CAL yet. Gotta wait till payday to get the yarn.

    Kristin says: Thank you for participating in the CAL! Please don’t feel rushed — you can work at your own pace. The CAL will take me 6 weeks to make and write, and the information will remain here for a long time. Relax and start when you are ready. We’ll be here. 🙂

  • Got my Lion Brand Microspun yesterday evening. I chose Lilac since that was the only color they had enough of to complete the project. It is really pretty and I think my Daughter is going to love it. I am eager to get started and will try to wait until next week to go.

  • I am so excited about this. I am using a thicker yarn it is a multicolor twist but a size D crochet hook and it is a little big on the guage. It looks nice and will be a little thicker but I don’t think the overall size will be much different.

  • Went shopping for the yarn for this project and decided on a soft peach color since I couldn’t find the blush. I think it will work out well. Looking forward to my first crochet-along.

  • Adriana, I think anything with a # 3 or sport weight will work. worsted weight might be too thick.
    Allison Mason, I found a Blue baby camo sport weight yarn at Hobby Lobby. very pale with flecks of brown and darker blueish purple. would look good with jeans. that’s what I planned.

  • To Karen A, I think that yarn you have will work just fine as there isn’t too big a difference between what you have and what is being used. You may just need to allow a little more yarn for the cardi and adjust the gauge by using a different hook size.
    You could also take a small sample of your yarn and physically compare it to the one recommended for the project. Just make sure you have enough yards for the project.

  • Received my yarn from Lion Brand yesterday. As I stated in my previous blog, I am going with the L.B. microspun in Blush as used by the creator. I hope that the suggested amount of 7 will be enough, considereing the gauge swatch giving room for trial and error as a first time clothing crocheter!!!

    I know that right now we are discussing the color and type of yarn to choose, but……..Just an “”F.Y.I””… to all who are using the microspun: MAKE sure that your hands are SPARKLING CLEAN. I started to make my gauge swatch and I stopped in the middle to pick up something, came back to begin again and noticed a little later that something from my hands had gotten onto the fabric!! Wash those hands and if you leave to do something else, wash and rewash. You don’t want to spend the money, energy and time to create such a beautiful piece and find that you have stains within the pattern that won’t come out.

    Hope this wil be helpful to others. CWYL 🙂 (crochet with you later)

  • hi all just heard about this so am a little late but love the look of this cardi! am a little bigger than the xl size too(45 bust). but think I’ll still try it and see I guess now I need to see if the local craft store has 11(1 extra for the larger size?) of the same die lot or if I will need to order it.

  • Hi. This is my first CAL. I like this pattern and am looking forward to making it. I am a self taught crocheter. I’ve made a lot of afghans, scarfs, and doilies but never any clothing.
    I’m going to stick with the microspun as the pattern suggests for my first clothing attempt. Don’t know what color yet, will wait to see what Michaels has in stock on Monday.

  • I chose microspun in black – but had to order it – hoping it makes it here on time. I have three skeins os microspun in lily white that I can work with at swatch time until the yarn I want gets here.

  • I have chosen LB Microspun in bright cherry red. This cardigan will be for my daughter to wear at school. The school’s dress code is limited to red, white or navy blue for all tops and sweaters or jackets. Finding nice feminine RED things for her has been difficult – now I can make her one!

  • I am going to go for this, too. I have never really made any clothing, but I think with a CAL, I can do this!
    So, off to finish my baby blanket, and then to Michaels for yarn!

  • hi I interested to see if any of the people that said they are going to micheals for the Microspun find any mine didn’t have any.

  • Linda, Thank you. I guess I will see if I have enough…if not I guess it’s back to Hobby Lobby or Michaels, I use to live somewhere without a store that sold yarn….yikes.

  • I went to Michael’s also this week and they did not have any of the suggested yarns from Lion brand. I guess they have changed their inventory! I will check Joanne’s this week. I am substituting another yarn but not sure I will have enough, good practice anyway. Still worrying about the size M as the number of ch5 spaces doubles on row 8 in the other sizes and I have 44 (double the 22)which is not what the pattern indicates. Hope Kristin will address this!

  • Jill H – I called around to several craft shops in my area and noone had Microspun – tried Michaels, AC Moore, and JoAnn superstore. I was really disappointed – so much so, I am thinking of starting a yarn shop! 🙂

    Karla – I am in the same situation 🙂 Never made clothing (other than hats/scarves) and really want to make my own – so I decided to try this CAL and if it turns out nice, will give to my daughter for the holidays 🙂

  • Michele Hoover- were do you live? I’ve thinking the same thing. the other yarn store in my Area only carry the high end stuff. It’s nice but cant’t alway afford it. the yarn I’m using is a bamboo yarn i did find at Micheals. It is very soft I hope works out ok. should be wonderful to ware. my other thought is to learn how to spin and make my own yarn.

  • I am going with Vanna’s glamour, which I love in a bright red! Thinking about Christmas time, and I have really been wanting to make a bright red sweater for a long time. Only problem is I got mine at Hancock and they only had 4 skeins, which is only about 800 yards. I am a larger size, so will just be making mine a little shorter – I will be swatching tonight!

  • I have stopped after the 1st row of the body, when I chained 11 for the underarm and tried it on the sleeve seemed very tight. I went up 2 sizes of crochet hook to chain the 11 chains but still tight. I am waiting to see if there is a solution to this, as I see a couple other people have the same issue. I also am not sure if I am getting row gauge, it is hard to count but if it’s a little less than 4 inches I hope it will block longer as is silky wool. I am also on the ravelry CAL.

  • Hello to all! I almost missed this CAL. This would be my seoond and I really enjoyed the Beach Cardi, so I’m really excited to start the Pearl Cardigan! I’m still thinking about the color.

  • Couldn’t get yarn in Canada, tried New York no luck at Michael’s or Johannes. Bought bamboo silk yarn, beautiful soft. Not sure to make swatch. I picked out a silver blue. Never did a CAL before, what a great idea.Skinny model with large size?I am not sure what size to make. I am 130 pounds, 5ft 2.

  • Love this pattern but am having problem with the armhole, they are too small. Rest of gauge seems fine, so I’d hate to rip out and start over in fear that the sweater will be too big. Any thoughts?

    Kristin says: Thank you for participating in the CAL! I will be addressing the sizing, modifications and more in the weeks to come! But to answer your question now, I would suggest making the armhole openings with foundation single crochet instead of chains. It will give you a tremendous amount of stretch (or give) in the openings. Let me know if that works for you.

  • Just wanted to verify the wash- and dry-ability of Microspun! I made myself a neck-pillow case out of a spare skein, and I’ve washed and dried it with my sheets at least 8 to 10 times with wonderful results. I was surprised that it could take this much abuse, but it has stood up. If I’m convinced I can make a large enough size, I will make a black version. I’m waiting to see what Kristin has to say about size adjustments.

  • Hi Jill H – I live just outside of Elizabethtown PA – while my home is fairly country – I am really close to both Harrisburg and Lancaster and can’t believe I couldn’t find the yarn I needed 🙁 I did get word just today my yarn has shipped, but will take 7-10 days to get here. I have a few skeins of lily white microspun to practice swatches with until then.

  • Michele Hoover- Don’t feel bad i live just outside of Chicago IL and still couldn’t find it. I couldn’t wait to start so I decided to use another yarn. at lest you have some so you can swatch while you are wait for your yarn to arrive.

  • Hi everyone! Thank you for the great comments! I am blogging from the studio of Knitting Daily TV today because I am taping the next season of the show this week. I’ll be checking in here and on Ravelry to answer any questions. I hope you enjoy the next week’s blog (coming out today) about swatching! Have a great day!

  • […] Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 1: Choosing Yarn & Color […]

  • This is my first CAL altho I’ve been crocheting for years and years. I decided to use the Microspun in Lilac from my yarn stash. Because I only have five balls I am making my own version of the sweater, a short sleeved cropped cardigan. I just finished the first sleeve and really like the way the garment is turning out. I love the feel of this yarn before and after crocheting but am disappointed in the way the threads separate, this makes the clusters especially difficult to make as I’m always pulling one thread away from the strand it belongs with. Since I crochet loosely I am using a D size hook which is almost too small for the yarn. I am anxious to try making this sweater with a different yarn in a lighter weight.

  • i have decided to use cotton bamboo which I purchased for another project and never finished. I have the hot pink,4 unstarted and three balls that I ripped out. I think I have enough.

  • Love this cardigan, will be shopping for yarn ASAP. Not sure if able to get Microspun in Australia, may have to use something else. This will be my first CAL

    Zontee says: Hi Sharon, you should be able to get Microspun from our Australian distributor, The Knitting Loft.

  • I have been looking for the pattern will one be posted

  • Sorry I am a little late to the party! This is my first CAL and my first crochet/knit sweater! Wish me luck!
    When I saw the pattern, I thougth a wide ribbon in the waistband would be a pretty touch. Then I looked at the colors and thought Coffee would be a nice warm, but not black, color. Finally, I read this first blog posting. Glad to see so many great minds think alike!

    Kristin says: Hi Nancy. Thank you for joining us! We have a group on Ravelry, too if you care to join us. There are lots of photos to see there.

  • I am using a Patons yarn called Silk Bamboo made out of, you guessed it, silk and bamboo! It is a rich cranberry color, and incredibly soft. My local Joanns didn’t have the LionBrand microspun suggested. Hope it works well! This is my first project for a human being, rather than a doll, aside from hats and scarves.

  • i want to use Vanna’s Choice worsted instead of Microspun. How can I adjust the pattern?

  • this is my first CAL and hopefully will be a F.O. I started yesterday and am working to the point where you divide for the sleeves. I am using Pound of Love (yes, I swatched) because it is a lighter worsted weight yarn. I skipped the increases and will omit the belt loop row (I’m not a belt person). I probably will not divide for the fronts either.

  • cheap cardigan…

    […]Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 1: Choosing Yarn and Color | Lion Brand Notebook[…]…

  • I know that this post was a long time ago, but I just stumbled across the pattern on the internet and started to make it, it will be my first crocheted sweater. I had finished the yoke and thought that I had done something wrong and was going to pull it all out. Now I will read through your blog and see if I have made a mistake or if it will all work out. So glad I came across this site!

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