Sunday, February 18, 2007

Spring cardigan swatches

As I posted earlier I need to make a cardigan for Abby for a wedding in April in NC. The yarn I want to use is Gedifra 'Wellness', a worsted weight cotton/acrylic blend (1210 yds). I mentioned these possiblities before, but I think I've ruled them all out for this project (as much as I love several).

Kim's Girl's Jiffy Jacket - I love this pattern, but I decided I really want the stitch pattern to be a little open
Robyn's Belle's Flowers - I will make this, but not for the wedding. With this yarn, the motifs were twice the size as designed, making them way too big for a little girl's sweater.
Drop Design 90-16 - I decided this is too open a stitch pattern - not enough warmth.
Crocheted Garden's Sweet Miss - beautiful, but this yarn wouldn't do the pattern justice.
Back to School - too boring - not open enough stitch pattern .

So did I mention, I really want the stitch pattern to be a little open.

I figured I might have to design the sweater around the pattern stitch, so I went a little swatch crazy last night and today. I tried the Coats & Clark Ruffled Cardigan after I saw this young teen, no-ruffle version at crochetville. It has possibility, it looks fine with this yarn. It seems a little bland, but I could edge it in a pale pink to match the dress, or run a pink ribbon through the edging.

Then I started searching magazines.... I pulled the second swatch stitch pattern out of the Openwork Coat from Family Circle Easy Crochet Spring 2007, a rewrite of a vintage pattern. I like the stitch pattern, and it's fine with this yarn, but I think it's too big a shell for a little girl's sweater, particularly if I decide to crop the cardi.

The last two swatches I have are from patterns written for finer yarns again, but since they are also written for toddlers, I was hoping that I could use my yarn with appropriate hook and end up with a sweater for Abby following a 18-24m pattern.

In Melissa Leapman's "Seasons of Love, Sweaters for the Family", I found Baby's Dainty Cardigan. I like the look in the photo from the book, but I think the yarn might be too thick for the pattern stitch. The shells are not as large as the openwork coat shells, but I'm not loving this swatch.

Finally, I found Tammy Hildebrand's Spring Flowers Cardigan from Crochet! May 2006. I love the look of the cardigan in the magazine photo, and I think the yarn is able to carry off the pattern stitch quite nicely. I don't think I'd add the flowers to the sweater, but maybe some pink flower buttons to match the pink in the dress. I think this is my favorite swatch.

So what do you all think??

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

FO: Socks for DH!!!

Can you believe it? My dh finally has his socks! After a visit to sock hell earlier this month (see sock saga), I won the battle and my dh received his socks this morning, for Valentine's Day, no less! I made him a toe-up socks in order to accommodate EE ankles, and I frequently tried them on his feet! I began with the Southbay CGOA sock using my Addi 3.5mm hook with Silja sock yarn in light gray. These are truly custom made socks so I need to document the pattern changes, in case I ever make him another pair!

Pattern changes:

1. Begin with ch 10 and then increase as written for the toe, but continue to increase to 53 st.

2. Continue in pattern stitch for 20 even rounds and then increase (dc, sc, dc) at the top of the foot to accommodate the wide ankle as follows:

  • Increase to 55 st, 2 rnds even
  • Increase to 57 st, 4 rnds even
  • Increase to 59 st, 2 rnds even
  • Increase to 61 st, 1 rnds even
  • Increase to 63 st, crochet 1/4 rnd to a side when laid flat.

3. PM at sides for heel, and begin short-row heel with 31 st. Follow pattern for heel decreases and begin increasing when 6 steps on one side and 5.5 steps on the other.

  • End heel with 65 st, 4 rnds even
  • Decrease at each heel edge - 61 st
  • Decrease at each heel edge - 57 st

4. Continue in pattern for leg for 20 rounds even. Do a round of dc ending with dc, hdc, hdc, sc, join.

5. Add sideways rib: Ch 9, sc BLO in 2nd chain from hook and each ch to sock edge, *slip st in next 2 dc, turn, sc BLO in next 7 sc, sc in last sc, ch1, turn, sc BLO in each sc to sock edge*, repeat * to * around sock edge ending with sc in last sc at top, fasten off. Use tail to join cuff.

I love that it's easy to make a custom sock!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Girl's spring cardigan search...

I need to make a cardigan for Abby for a wedding in April in NC. The wedding is in the late afternoon/evening so she will need some coverage for this dress. She'll be a week away from 5 then and she's tall. So we're talking size 6. I'm hoping to find a pattern so I can whip this off without it turning into another version of my most recent quick sweater fiasco!

In the ideal world, the cardigan would be a little lacy, or textured or something other than just hdc or dc. Or, does the dress demand something more simple from the sweater? In any case, I would like to use this yarn, a wonderfully soft cotton blend in white (center left in photo). It's Gedifra 'Wellness' - 60% cotton, 40% acrylic, 121yd/50g, 4.5st/inch, $1.50/skein. I have 10 skeins (1210 yds). I've searched online and have a few possibilities but, almost all require a bit more tweaking than I'd like or just don't quite match what I'm thinking. So, my online pals, I'm hoping for some more ideas. I've searched the books I own to no avail, but I haven't yet gone through the past 2-3 years of Crochet!, Interweave Crochet, FC Easy Crochet, BH&G Simply Creative Crochet, and Crochet Today magazines - all of which I own. So if anyone has any ideas please shout them out!

Possibilities so far:
  1. Kim's Girl's Jiffy Jacket (I love this pattern, I made the adult version for me) - possibly a little too heavy, not lacy enough?
  2. Robyn's Belle's Flowers (sizes 18m - 8/10) - I just bought this one. It was on the top of my list, but I have two concerns - is it too busy on top of the dress, and it's written for Microspun yarn.
  3. Drop Design 90-16 - I love it - but a little too open mesh for the spring evening wedding?
  4. Crocheted Garden's Sweet Miss - beautiful, but again calls for Lustersheen or finer yarn.
  5. Back to School - sizes 2-8, right yarn, but all dc... too boring, or is this what I need?
Any other ideas??

WIP: Vintage Motif Cardigan

You know how see an old pattern and the picture is kind of blah so the pattern just doesn't wow you? Well that's what I thought about this vintage motif cardigan until some ladies at the 'Ville showed off their sweaters. Here's Roli in her Simply Soft version and in her Tweedy woolblend version with modified cuffs. Here's Artemis in her Wool-Ease version modified to get full length sleeves. Pretty cool, huh? They look so different!

Well their handiwork has inspired a double CAL - one at Yahoo crochet-a-long and one at Crochetville. The sweater is made with 4 inch motifs so several of us are modifying the size or adding motifs to adjust sizing. In addition, some ladies will be using different square patterns. I can't wait to see what they all create.

Here's my single square, done according to pattern at 4 inches, using my Brittany 5.0mm H hook and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Mulled Wine. In the end, after a math session, I decided I'd add an extra round for a little ease, and am making 4.25" squares in 8 rounds. Below you can see my first 4 squares, and then 16 squares pinned to a board.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

January WIP progress report

So back in December, the ongoing WIPs included...
1. Peter's Jacob sweater - a CAL at Yahoo crochet-a-long using RH Medium Spruce which I am making it for my dh, Bob. I've made a bit of progress, but not enough for a new picture. It was put on the back burner in December for presents and then again this month because I wanted to finish....the socks.... status = 20% complete.
2. 'Oxford Style' socks (Crocheted Socks!) - The long awaited socks, formerly for my beloved dh.... story & progress photo at the sock saga. Status = 40% complete.

New WIPS in January
3. Mardi Gras Carnival Socks - a sock-a-long at crochetsocks. This sock pattern was designed for small feet and the pattern stitch makes for a pretty tight sock...more info & progress photo at the sock saga. Status = 15% complete.
4. Autumn Spice Cropped Cardigan - this began as a diversion from my sock nightmare... and became a nightmare all of it's own. At the end of the sweater saga, I won. Status = 99% (just those blasted ends!)
5. Southbay CGOA sock - this is the new pair for dh!! story & progress photo at the sock saga. Status = 45% complete.

February will hopefully see the completion of at least one pair of socks, the ends woven into Autumn Spice, some major progress on dh's sweater and, yes I started another CAL - a Vintage Motif cardigan with both the Yahoo crochet-a-long gang and Crochetville!

Monday, February 05, 2007

WIP nightmares, part 2 - the sweater

So in the midst of the socks from hell, I decided I needed some quick satisfaction. I thought I would find it in the form of Autumn Spice. The pattern stitch was open and it looked like this would be a quick & satisfying hooking project. I had some wonderfully soft yarn that I bought off the sale rack at my LYS this summer. Cascade 'Lana de Oro' Tweed - worsted weight - 45% Superfine Alpaca, 45% Peruvuan Highland wool and 10% Donegal (tweed) - 770yd maroon, 110 yd charcoal - I knew what I had was all there was so when I saw the yarn requirements for this sweater I thought it would be the perfect match. The pattern & the yarn just kept calling to me, I couldn't help myself, so I put down the socks and I started. I was crocheting the back panel in medium and what began as a pleasant evening crocheting turned into a frustrating evening of crunching numbers as I tried to figure out the pattern schematics.

This might be one of those cases where someone just thinks about sweater design from a different perspective than I do. Maybe if I followed the pattern exactly as written it would work. But for the life of me I can't see how. I feel like I was trying to put a square peg in a round hole. I like the designers work. I have other patterns of hers I want to try. I'm pretty sure she is a XS and it seems like the pattern wasn't easy to scale up to larger sizes. As I read the pattern, when you get to the XL the front panels together are 7.5in wider than the back... so there'd be a ton of gathering at the shoulders to attach the front panels. In addition, the back but not the front has a cut for set-in sleeves, so either that's a mistake, or the side seam is slightly to the front. I sort of get this, as maybe because the shell pattern is 2.5" the inset for the front and the back is created only in the back, but think about it, this would effectively add yet more width to the front panels and less to the back!! OK, rant over....

So basically, I loved the stitch pattern, and I had this yarn, and I wouldn't back away from the challenge! I ended up making the back panel of the medium and the the front panels of the small (redesigned to include an armhole inset). I based my general measurements on the Drops Cardigan I did for the crochet olympics last year. Then since yarn was limited, I used the gray tweed to edge the sweater body. I wanted to save every available inch of the maroon for the sleeves.

I made and frogged the sleeves a zillion times. They have to be made from the wrist up, I knew I would have to do 3/4 sleeves because of yardage, so I was trying to make tapered sleeves to get a little more length. First I had to design an increase within this shell pattern. After that I started making sleeves. The first try I started too narrow (nice width for wrist, but not for elbow where it ended up...) After several attempts, I figured out how wide to start, and where to increase, and finally I had the sleeves. The tapered sleeves can be seen in this photo of the sleeves laying in place.

Of course I still have to weave the ends in. But in then end I really like my variation of Autumn Spice - although this "quick break from the socks" nearly did me in, I would not be beaten! Now I just those blasted ends to weave themselves in, and the temperature to rise out of the single digits so I can wear it!

WIP nightmares, part 1 - socks

My ds has been having nightmares lately... I think I have been too, but then again I've been awake. I've been living my nightmare... I've been frogging more than hooking. January was a frustrating month on the crochet front. I'm fairly adept at tweaking patterns to fit, but sometimes it's nice to just crochet what's written and not have to do the math every second. That sounds funny on my blog, 'cause those of you who know me, know that one of the things I love about crochet is the MATH. Yes I admit it, I love math... but I digress, back to crochet and WIPS...

So my 2007 resolution was to finish making my beloved dh his socks - 'Oxford Style' socks (Crocheted Socks!) using Patons Kroy Socks in 'Windsor Tweed' with Silja in 'dark charcoal' for contrasting cuff, heel and toe. So I picked them back up where I left off, finished the leg (55 st around using a 3.25mm hook) of the 2nd sock so both were ready to begin the heel. I switched colors and began the short-row heel. Now, probably because it involves math, I actually enjoy making short row heels, and in no time I am about ready to start then increase on the first heel. So picture this... here I am, feeling so proud of my progress, and as we're sitting in front of the TV, I realize my dh has his shoes off, so I try to put the half sock on his foot.... it DOESN'T FIT!! AGH!!! I had taken all the measurements they tell you to take, foot circ, leg circ, foot length etc. Well, I knew dh had a wide foot, what I didn't realize was that while his widest foot circ is 11 inches, he has wide ankles so the circ around the heel/ankle is 14.5" at the widest point. No way can a crocheted sock stretch 3.5". I refused to frog these babies though, I had spent way too much time on them! I figured they would fit me, even if I had to redo the cuff to make it tighter. I spent the rest of the evening re-reading this pattern, all the other patterns in the book and then digging through all my other sock patterns. (It was then that I ran in to the Autumn Spice sweater pattern, but that's another nightmare story!)

It was time to start again. This time, I decided a toe-up sock was the way to go to accommodate EE ankles. I would try them on his feet hourly if we had to! I chose the Southbay CGOA sock using my Addi 3.5mm hook with Silja sock yarn in light gray. So these have been chugging along OK. I just had to stop and check it on his foot every so often. I took them out to 53st from the toe, did 20 rounds even and then began to increase at the top of the foot as the ankle approached. When I was ready for the heel I had 61 st. I just have to stop frequently to check with his foot. Now that I know sock #1 works through the heel, I'm playing catch up with #2. Then I need to see if I did too many decreases after the heel (it still needs to get over that 14.5" stretch!) I love that it's easy to make a custom sock!

In the midst of all this (while I was still chugging away on those first socks for dh) I started another pair of socks as a sock-a-long at crochetsocks. This time they chose Mardi Gras Carnival Socks, a pattern available at e-pattern central by the same designers as my Crocheted Socks book. Well this one is definitely designed for small feet! More math!! I increased to my usual stitch count for the top cuff and leg, but the stitch pattern just doesn't have much give to it at all. Like another person working on them said, it's a good pattern for elastic sock yarn. I stuck with it to help others through it, but now that most if not all others have finished ot stopped, I'll put it on a back burner. I've done more than this, but not enough to warrant another photo!

So thus is the nightmare sock saga.... two on hold, one moving along slowly but steadily with lots of measurements and adjusting.... maybe I need to go make a sweater!