8 Top Tips for Working with Mohair Yarn.

Lots of different mohair yarns

Mohair Yarn is the Fluffiest!

Over the last couple of years the popularity of mohair yarn has grown monumentally. Creating the very best of halos, it is the ultimate in warm and fluffy yarn.

Yarny projects can be expensive due the mix of fibres used (mohair is angora goat, with a blend of silk), costs can go stratospheric when holding the yarn double. Therefore, spending money on, and using, mohair can take quite the leap of faith, especially when it’s not always the easiest to work with (hello frogging!). But it’s brilliant and totally worth the risk. Soft, warm and fluffy, the comfort levels are to the extreme!

My fave, holding mohair with a non fluffy yarn.

Alternative Yarns to Mohair

Mohair isn’t compatible with everyone. Affordability aside, it can cause allergies and itching, which is no fun at all. Fluffy yarn is fluffy yarn and the tips below apply to yarns that are others fibres too. Over the last few months I’ve tried a few alternatives and you definitely can get the floof without using mohair. Alpaca is great and easily available. The yarns similar to mohair are often brushed alpaca. You can also get brushed acrylic too but I’ve not tried that yet. The options are quite plentiful. Would a blog post about the ones I’ve used be helpful?

Anyway, if you have decided on a fluffy crochet or knitting project then check out these useful tips…

Crocheting with mohair yarn

Fluffy Yarn Top Tips

Frogging Yarn

Let’s start with a painful one because if you make a mistake in your project then frogging (undoing all your beautiful stitches) is a frustrating and sometimes impossible process. If you find that you have to rip back your work, do it slowly. Really really slowly. Never rip/yank/tug. Doing so will tighten the grip of all those flyaway fibres and you will end up with a horrible knot. Or it will break because you’ve pulled too hard. Instead, slowly coax each stitch apart at a snail’s pace. It seems ridiculous but it’s worth being super patient over.

Lace-weight on its own is hardest to undo. Chunky yarn is a bit easier. When held double with a non-fluff yarn, it’s almost tolerable! It’s best done “fresh,” the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that the fibres will felt together.

I’ve heard that putting it in a freezer before frogging helps but I haven’t tried it.

Choose Simple Patterns

This tip helps to avoid any fractious frogging. Complicated stitches are easy to mess up and difficult to undo. The main star of the show when using fluff is the fluff itself, therefore a simple garment or shawl shows off the yarn without any distractions.

Go Up a Hook/Needle Size

With all that crazy halo, stitches can be hard to see. So, for example, try a 5.5mm instead of a 5mm. A larger hook/needle is often required for mohair patterns anyway but do play around to see what you prefer. I found it also creates a nice lacy look too. Plus the flyaway fibres sort of fill in gaps.

Hold the Yarn Double

After trying a few different ways of using mohair and brushed alpaca, I have discovered that this is my favourite way of using it. A gossamer lace-weight held with a merino 4ply or DK produces a beautifully soft fabric that feels super luxurious.

I used this method in the Wheatfields shawl and I love it!

a crochet shawl made with mohair yarn and 4ply merino
The Wheatfields shawl is Austermann lace-weight mohair held with a hand-dyed 4ply merino from Flyy Dyed Yarns.

Use Stitch Markers

If I can get away with not using stitch markers then I will. I am lazy, life is too way short for undoing, moving, and rejoining a stitch marker. Or worse, multiple stitch markers! However, they are really useful for when stitches are hard to see. Use the stitch markers!

Try Budget Yarn First

If cost is an issue, try a cheaper yarn to experiment with (and a smaller project ). If you like it and you’re happy, move on to bigger goals. The Drops brand have both mohair and alpaca yarns that are budget friendly. I recently made hair scrunchies with a yarn from Flying Tiger that was perfect for a cute hair accessory. It was about £2.25 for a ball of 25 grams (the standard sized ball for mohair yarns). I used a scrunchie pattern from Lottie & Albert’s new crochet book.

crochet hair scrunchies made with different types of mohair yarn
Trying different types of fluffy yarn. Going clockwise from the top: Mustard (“curry”) is Drops mohair, the green is chunky kid silk from MYPZ, lilac and peach both Flying Tiger, the Coral is brushed alpaca silk, the teal (“verdigris”) is Rowan Alpaca classic

Buy an Extra Ball of Yarn

If budget allows, it might be useful to buy an extra ball for swatching. When designing, I will buy an extra ball so I have the freedom to work up a few swatches without the fear of using up yarn that will go into the final sample. I can play around with hook sizes and stitch patterns to see what works and what doesn’t before getting stuck into the actual sweater or shawl.

Or, buy one ball first, swatch it and see if you actually want to use it before buying a sweater quantity! It might save a few quid if you learn that it’s a bit too scratchy against your skin.

Try Simpler Stitches

This one is for those of you who might want to design with mohair and is personal preference rather than a hard and fast rule. With a larger hook size than normal the stitches work up looser and drapier. A loose single crochet stitch or perhaps an extended SC look really effective, much more than you might think. By all means, go for different stitches if that’s your aesthetic but the nature of the yarn is that it does the talking and overly intricate stitches confuse things too much. Think small, dainty stitches as opposed to treble heavy. Whatever floats your boat.

And those are some tips I’ve come up with from my adventures of working with mohair yarn. Oh, and alpaca fluff too! I hope you find them useful. Have you got any tips you’ve like to share? Perhaps I’ve missed something that would be super useful to add. Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers. x

I used a chunky mohair from MYPZ to make this version of the Perfect Cardigan.

Crochet Christmas Sweater. Festive C2C!

Oh Christmas sweater, oh Christmas sweater, how lovely are your pixels!

Sweater? Jumper? Either way, here we have a free crochet pattern (borderline recipe) to satisfy your festive corner to corner compulsions.

I have finally managed to put together a video for you so that you can make your very own crochet Christmas sweater / Christmas jumper using the C2C crochet stitch. It’s super easy to make if you’re familiar with the corner to corner stitch. I would argue that this is an intermediate project and suitable for beginners who are patient and keen to learn a few new techniques.

Below, I have broken down all the essential info you need to make your own crochet jumper but please beware, I haven’t written this as a traditional pattern. It’s a guide, similar to the JW Anderson cardigan that I worked up last year. Actually, tell a lie, this one has waaaay more detail. The video tutorial is HERE. I have also created an ad-free PDF you can download including charts for 9 sizes. You can find that HERE on Ravelry and HERE on Etsy.

I am just over 5.7 and a UK size 12

Yarn, Hooks and other Things you Need

To make a jumper of your own, you will need Paintbox Woolmix Aran [this is an affiliate link so if you buy via the link I receive a minimum of 5% of the cost]. I bought 10 balls of the main colour for size 3, Vanilla Cream, and used nearly all of it! The numbers below are estimates based on the weight of the sample size.

Size123456789
Est. yarn weight in grams749883985100511671230136915401606
Balls needed8910111213141617

Also required are a few metres of each of the five contrasting colours for the motif section. You could always use just one colour for the motif if you don’t want to buy whole balls of each colour just for a few metres.

I used a 3.75mm hook. I have average tension. This hook, with this particular yarn, creates a closed fabric that is not so tight that it feels stiff.

Oh, and stitch markers are helpful. I use them to pin pieces together.

Ideally you want to print out the C2C colour chart. Grab a pencil for crossing off each row as you go.

A decent needle for sewing everything together is also required.

Grading & Sizing your own Crochet Christmas Jumper

It is pretty important to make sure your Christmas sweater is going to fit before picking up a hook and buying loads of yarn. Let me try and provide you with as many tools as possible to work out a size that will fit you.

The sample I made is nearest to a UK 12 but after a bit of wear I suspect it may stretch to a 14. I broke the rules and didn’t block! If you are in between sizes you may wish to make the smaller size.

First things first, it is a very good idea to work up a swatch. You can use this swatch to determine how many C2C blocks you’ll need to work. Bear in mind that every 6.5 blocks is a measurement of 10 cm (4 inches). This will help you work out how many C2C blocks across you need your jumper to be. Work up a C2C square that’s 12×12 blocks to ensure you have a decent amount of fabric to get an accurate measurement. To be fair, you might get away with 11×11 if you’re feeling lazy!

A useful trick is to find a favourite jumper and measure it. How many blocks will you need to get the same width and length?

Size123456789
To fit Bust (inches)28 – 3032 – 3436 – 3840 – 4244 – 4648 – 5052 – 5456 – 5860 – 62
To fit Bust (cm)71 – 7681 – 8691.5 – 96.5101.5 – 106.5111.5 – 117122 – 127132 – 137142 – 147152 – 158
Width (back)  in cm414753596571778389
Length in cm505256525454545656
Body Blocks across293335373941434547
Body Blocks down272729292931313131

Corner to Corner Chart

Stitchfiddle is such a good tool for creating crochet C2C charts. If you’re making a different size to mine you can find the charts in the ad-free PDF on either Ravelry or Etsy. Or try creating your own design chart. Be careful, chopping and changing design ideas is addictive and before you know it, you’ll have lost hours by fiddling about!

Corner to Corner Chart

Working the Corner to Corner Stitch

If you’re an absolute beginner, then this actually isn’t too bad of a C2C project. However, I do assume you have the crochet basics under your belt. I don’t plan on writing specific corner to corner instructions, instead, I demonstrate how to work a swatch in the video.

The basics of of corner to corner are that you build up each row one block at a time. When it’s time to stop building your blocks, you decrease until you reach the opposite corner. However, none of the pieces are exactly square. After building enough blocks to reach the first corner, you then work even by only increasing on one side to create the rectangle shape. Decreasing is my fave bit as it’s the race to the finish line!

Crochet Sweater Pieces

The pieces of your Crochet Sweater are made separately and sewn together.

Main body

The front and back are the same except for the colourful motif on the front. As you know from diligently watching all of the video, I made my front panel upside down to get the colour work done & dusted before the easy stuff could commence. This is why the charts are upside down.

Once you have the corner to cornering done, you can work a Join As You Go rib. I love this bit! Check out the video for the demo on how it’s done. I’ll try and remember to add the timestamps on YouTube for all these useful sections.

For the front piece I snipped the yarn from the main body piece and reattached to the right top corner. Work 3 sc in each vertical block and 2 sc in the bar of the stitch that lays horizontally. When working the back you can just turn, you don’t need to cut the yarn.

Snip again (both front & back) to reattach to the top right side. I think I decided on 11 stitches for the ribbing, so chain 12 to begin. All hdc (UK htr) sts are worked into the front 3rd loop of the st below.

Row 1: 1hdc in 2nd ch from hook and the rest of the chains to end, slip stitch in next 3 stitches of main body, turn to work back up the ribbing.

Row 2: Miss 3 sl sts, 11hdc in front 3rd loop of sts, turn.

Row 3: 1ch, 11hdc in front 3rd loop of sts, sl st in next 3 sts of main body, turn.

Rep Rows 2 & 3 across. You might end on Row 2 or Row 3 depending on how many stitches your foundation row is. It doesn’t matter which!

Sleeves

My sleeves (size 3) are 23×28 blocks. Look at the chart below and you’ll see how many blocks wide to make your sleeves. Don’t worry too much about sleeve length for different sizes. I often make the sleeves the same length across several sizes because our arms aren’t drastically different in length. If you know you have shorter arms, or they’re longer than average, then allow for that, add or remove a row. However, you will want wider sleeves if you’re after a bigger jumper.

Size123456789
Sleeve Length (from under arm to wrist) in cm484848484848484848
Sleeve depth at underarm in cm18.521.521.521.525.525.529.533.533.5
No. of Blocks for sleeve length (cuff not inc)232323232323232323
No. of sleeve blocks across (total)262828283232384242

Cuffs

Make 2, obvs. I worked a foundationless chain of 25 stitches and worked 22 rows in hdc (UK htr) in the front third loop. It’s in the vid but you can also find the foundationless start HERE as a separate video tutorial.

My wrists are a skinnyish 14cm circumference. Add 2 rows for every centimeter.

Sew the cuff ends together to get them ready to ease into the sleeve.

Waistband

Whatever your size jumper, make the waist band approx 10cm (4 inches) smaller than the circumference of the main body of the jumper. Reducing the circumference here brings the jumper in to create a bit more shaping. I worked 11 stitches for 120 rows of ribbing for my size 3, hold it up against the main body to check you’re happy with the length of yours. This was very much an eyeballing task.

Work the ribbing in one length to go around the circumference of the jumper, then sew the ends together.

Corner to Corner Christmas sweater

Jumper Construction

All your pieces are finished, now it’s time to put it all together. So near yet so far! Exciting stuff!

Make sure all sewing is done on the wrong side of your jumper. Pay attention. Double check. Triple check that right sides are facing each other. It is guaranteed I will get this wrong at least once in any garment I make! Unpicking is par for the course for me but please try and do better than my efforts!

Below is a visual image of the steps of construction. Basically, sew the shoulders together first. I went for 10cm at each shoulder tab and I’m happy with that. More or fewer stitches will be required depending on what size you make.

Then sew the open sleeves to the shoulders. I don’t need to spell it out to make this evenly, equally spaced and at the centre of the shoulder. Fold the whole lot over, right sides facing, so you can sew the arms and body together. Voila!

Next up is to attach the ribbing on the sleeves and waistband.

For the sleeves, gather them at the wrist by creating a foundation round of sc stitches (UK dc) around the opening. Work 1 sc over each bar of the horizontal dc (UK tr) stitches and 2 sc into each of the vertical blocks. This brings in the sleeves a bit to make it easier to attach the ribbing. Then use plenty of stitch markers to hold the cuff in place whilst you sew it on. You will probably find the video useful for this bit.

Easing in the waistband is far easier. Use stitch markers to hold it in place here too.

I forgot to draw the neck ribbing on the top two pics. It’s supposed to be there. Sorry!

Overview: How to Crochet a C2C Sweater

Much like the GB Bake Off final, I have taken away some of the instructions. Please refer to the charts to determine how many blocks across & down you need to work to make your size. And watch the video to see how to make everything! Purchase the ad-free version on Ravelry or Etsy.

Step 1: Make a gauge swatch! 12×12 blocks should do it.

Step 2: Make your C2C pieces – 1 back, 1 front (both the same number of blocks), sleeves x2.

Step 3: Add join as you go ribbing to the tops of the main body – see video tutorial.

Step 4: Make ribbing for cuffs and waistband. Work the waistband so that it’s roughly 10cm (4 inches) shorter than the main body of your jumper.

Step 5: Sew shoulders together.

Step 6: Sew sleeves to shoulders.

Step 7: Fold in half, right sides facing, sew along sleeves and down body, both sides.

Step 8: Add the foundation to the sleeves and ease in the cuffs.

Step 9: Ease in waistband. There’s no need for a foundation round here.

Step 10: Blocking? You can if you want. A light steam block is my recommendation but I’m going to let the wearing of it do the job.

The End

How did you get on with your C2C Christmas sweater!?

Alright me Ansome?

Ansome, a crochet hat

Well, hello and good day! Or, if you’re from the West Country, alright me ‘ansome?!

There are unsubstantiated rumours that the Ottery St Mary born poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge would often greet people with “Alright, me ‘ansome” as a way of saying hello. Whether he actually addressed people with this local greeting is a mystery; it’s fun to think that he might have but my money says it’s a made up lie!

Ansome is a crochet hat pattern that is essentially two hats in one. Having made a hat with my new obsession, the puff stitch, I had plenty of yarn left to make a second hat. Both hats start with the same pattern but end up as two different styles.

The written pattern for Ansome is available on Ravelry HERE and Etsy HERE. There is 25% off until the last day of November.

Crochet Puff stitches

Ansome is now available on Ravelry & Etsy but it has been a couple of months in the making. For a while I have been sketching lots of designs using different sorts of crochet puff stitches. The first idea came to me at the beginning of the year. That one turned into the Wheatfields shawl, which is now a fully fledged pattern in its own right. You can find it HERE and HERE. It’s a fabulous combo of hand dyed 4 ply merino and lace weight mohair.

Working up puff stitches is really calming and rhythmic and they are awesome in all kinds of projects. They look fancy but are relatively fun and easy to do. However, do make sure you have a good crochet hook. I used a Knitpro hook, which is not normally my first choice as my hands are too big for the short handle, but it does have a good hooky bit! It helps when pulling through all the loops so try some out before you begin your project.

Potentially there are more puff stitch designs waiting in the wings for me but I think I will revisit those next year. For now I’m happy to focus on these crochet hats, which have come together in a way that felt like a breeze. They’re just meant to be!

The Wheatfields shawl also uses the crochet puff stitch

Devonia Yarn

We’re in November now and headed towards chillier weather in the northern hemisphere. When is a better time to release a hat pattern!? It has worked out quite nicely; I don’t think I had any intention of coming up a hat design. It wasn’t on my list of things to do but sometimes things just work out that way.

The catalyst was a single picture shared on Instagram. I saw a collection of Devonia mini skeins from John Arbon Textiles and fell a little bit in love with the colours. Instantly I knew they should be a crochet hat. So I made one!

Devonia is what I call a proper woolly wool. Warm, comforting and with the essential sheepy smell that I could breathe in all day. It’s a combination of Bluefaced Leicester (an all time fave) and Blueface Exmoor (from Devon, proper job). It also has Wendsleydale & Romney lustre breeds, which, if I’m right, add the shiney sheen that I always think looks super pretty and works really well with crochet.

I am very lucky in that, when I left a comment on the IG pic, to say it was a stunning combo of shades, the super smashin team from JAT asked if I would like to try them. This doesn’t happen everyday. I have no idea why they are willing to support my crochet adventures, I just know that I am very grateful to get the yarn support. Thanks Sonja!!

Maybe it is because it isn’t the first time. Remember the Grainbow shawl from a couple of years ago? And the infamous Dreckly mittens? That’s a triple whammy of JAT yarns: Knit By Numbers, Yarnadelic, and now Devonia! How about Harvest Hues next!?

Devonia comes in DK and 4 ply weights, and 25g minis and 100g skeins. That is one of the best things about JAT yarns, lots of options and versatility. For Ansome, you need 100g of DK for the main colour plus your colourful minis for the contrasts. Oh and I almost forgot! One of the reasons that the guys were sharing Devonia pics is because there are news shades that have just been released. I used Wood Smoke as my main colour, which is one of the new ones.

Dreckly mittens
The Grainbow Shawl

Crochet Hats

Having that much yarn meant there was too much left over to do my usual trick (hide it in the cupboard and struggle for stashbusting ideas). There was only one thing for it, if JAT can have all the options, so can I! Ansome mainly refers to the star of the show, which is the puff stitch hat but the remaining yarn was calling out too. It wanted to be striped up as a “plain” crochet hat. So there are two patterns here and you can make both!

The pattern has three size options and there’s freedom to add more rows if you want extra slouch. I made the medium size for both hats and the puff hat has just a little bit of slouch as there are more rows. A few subtle changes like that and you have two different styles of crochet hat! How good is that?!

The puff stitch hat was blocked too, and that added to the drape. Unsure about blocking crochet hats? I certainly was. So I did what I normally do and guessed. I blew up a balloon inside Ansome to what seemed like my head size and then gave the hat a light spray of water. Once it had dried, boom, perfect hat!

Crochet Hats

The End

And that is pretty much all you need to know about these new crochet hat designs! Can you think of anything you’d like to know? If so, please do get in touch. In the meantime check them out of Ravelry HERE and Etsy HERE.

Ta very much. I would end by using a Devon way of saying goodbye but I can’t remember any phrases.

The striped crochet hat
Ansome ‘at

Stashtober 21. Stash Busting Crochet!

Bust that stash with a cosy cardi

Stashtober 21

Do you know what will never not be popular? Stash busting! The art of using up yarn scraps and leftovers so nothing is wasted. We all have stash hidden somewhere in the house and rather than keeping it tucked away, how about getting the whole lot out and using it!?

Busting your stash can be a real feel good experience. It can also lead to an absolute dog’s dinner of a disaster but let’s just say that we all learn from those situations and move on. Using up every last scrap is hugely satisfying and there are a number of crochet patterns out there to aid you in your exciting mission.

I was watching Claudia Carpenter’s crochet vlogcast on You Tube the other day (I’m sure you know Crochet Luna). I am pretty sure she said “No CALs”. It made me laugh when, just a couple of days later, she got in touch with a handful of designer friends to ask, how about a stash busting Crochet Along? We’ll call it Stashtober!

C2C bag

Crochet Along

For a general overview on what a CAL is go HERE .

Crochet Alongs are extremely popular these days, in fact, I’m taking part in another one right now. Have you seen the Mixtape Medley? It’s a crochet blanket I designed with Knitcraft and I see it as the ultimate stash buster. We’re currently on Week 2 and I’m mentioning it as it fits in perfectly with Stashtober 21.

But I’m not going to talk about that CAL because this post is about Stashtober 21! So, should you wish to partake, Claudia’s idea is for crocheters to choose a pattern or many patterns from the selection of designers she has invited to take part. One of them is me! To make life a bit easier I’ve put together a bundle on Ravelry especially for this event. You can find it HERE. I added patterns (both free and paid) that I thought would be great for using up lots of lovely stash. Especially for Stashtober, during the month of October, you can get 25% off any of my patterns on either Ravelry or Etsy. At the checkout please use the code: STASH21

If you don’t fancy making one of my designs, there are other contributing designers with the perfect pattern waiting for you.

Mixtape Medley, a blanket perfect for stash busting

The CAL Designers

Other crochet designers taking part are some of my absolute favourite people in the crochet community. A lot of us have known each other for a long time and are firm friends.

Claudia is the brains behind it all and has a couple of designs that would work brilliantly for Stashtober. I really enjoyed making Encanto, a scarf with lots of lovely twiddly stitches. Pop over to her Etsy shop to peruse the good things.

Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast is a champion of artisanal crochet design. I wouldn’t mind working up Loft in a collection of colourful yarn. Crochet and stripes are a brilliant match.

Hannah from the Cozy Cottage Crochet is so lovely. Lovely Hannah! Pop over to the Cozy Cottage crochet for a Ravelry chatter thread for the CAL. And check out her designs while you’re at it.

Caleisha of the Quirky Monday Craftcast designed my favourite scarf of last year (or was it the year before?), the Just Feel Festive shawl. I used loads of DK acrylic scraps. It was totally worth all the ends.

Clarisabeth from Crochet Cakes has fab designs to choose from. If I have the time, I absolutely have to make some of Clarisa’s Vintage Wave socks. Check them out.

Michelle aka Dora Explored/Dora Does, has garment making savvy by the bucketful. I might find myself making her latest design dedicated to busting stash, the Waste Not, Want Not sweater. There a couple of other designs that are perfect for stash busting too.

Heather from HG Designs is all about the granny square. The granny square is the most famous stash buster of all time and Heather has some awesome granny designs out there. Making Revival was an absolute joy!

We are an eclectic bunch, it’s guaranteed that you will find a huge variety of crochet styles between us and therefore, you are bound to find the perfect pattern.

Stash Bust Rules

Fear not, there aren’t really any rules other than the projects you make must be made from yarn you already have. Do not buy new yarn! That is it! Also please ensure that your project is not already over 50% complete before the 1st October. So WIPs do count as long as it’s not close to being finished. And don’t forget to choose designs from the crochet champs above.

On the 23rd of October Claudia is also hosting a live Zoom chat. It’s 8pm BST. I have something else in my diary that day but I would love to be there so I’m going to see if I can pull some strings!

Double whammy. My Dreckly mittens with Heather’s Revival jumper.

Crochet Community

There are no prizes for this CAL, that’s not the point. But there are loads of other great reasons to dive right in.

This is an opportunity to create the satisfying feeling of putting old yarn to good use. It’s about community. And also, perhaps it’s introducing you to a designer who you were previously unfamiliar with. There are so many good reasons to take part that prizes aren’t needed! These aspects are rewarding enough, don’t you think? What’s usually used as a CAL prize? It’s new yarn! That’s the total opposite of stash busting!! Not gonna happen for Stashtober!!

I love that Crochet Alongs are community led, it’s better than any other prize I know. You can be as active or as quiet as you choose. Perhaps you’re happy to just loiter and see what others are making. Or, you might fancy chatting on Ravelry or Instagram, or wherever else! It’s entirely up to you. This should be the ultimate No Pressure CAL.

Hopefully we will see you and your makes throughout October! Let us know what you’re making, what stash you’re using etc. We would all love to hear from you. #Stashtober21

Cheers. x

Mixtape Medley CAL. A New Crochet Blanket Pattern

Mixtape Medley Crochet Along

Hallooooo! Happy autumn!! What better way to celebrate a new season than to crochet yourself a new cosy blanket? Fancy it?! The Mixtape Medley blanket is ideal for mixing up classic stitches that you probably already have in your crochet repertoire. The only thing that’s really different is that they’re all brought together as one, with a jazzy, stash busting colour palette.

When I was asked by Knitcraft back in April to come up with ideas for an 8 week Crochet Along I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The brief was to create a design that would introduce beginners to new stitch combinations with a palette that used a variety of different shades (not too rainbow bright, not too autumnal). Much like the rest of my design work, I wanted this to be a bit different!

When you think of classic crochet, what stitches do you come up with? Granny is there, isn’t it? Bobbles too? And I bet those who know me will immediately say Corner to Corner!! It’s all in the Mixtape Medley! And recent favourites such bold colour blocking and plaid feature as well (I’ve been calling it plaid but perhaps it’s gingham?). I desperately wanted a ripple stitch in it but that wasn’t to be. The inevitable concertina effect would have been a nightmare. Instead, I invented a new puff wave stitch. The undulating waves are most welcome, plus there’s the added bonus of delightful texture with some plump puffs!

How to find the Blanket Pattern

You’re probably here to find out more than just the back story so let me tell you what’s what. Aaaages a go I wrote a blog post to explain what a CAL actually is, it’s HERE if you’d like to find out more about crochet alongs (bear in mind it is an ancient blog post though).

You can get get your hands on a copy of the FREE PATTERN PDF with US Crochet terminology, it’s HERE.

This Mixtape Medley Crochet Along is hosted by Knitcraft on the Hobbycraft website in their Ideas section. Knitcraft is the yarny arm of Hobbycraft. Over the next few weeks the written pattern will be released bit by bit so that you can enjoy a few hours of crochet each week. And the best bit is that this is a free crochet pattern!! FREE! Fully tech edited and tested as well, which I love. Everything has been extremely well thought out.

Don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram with the hashtags #MixtapeMedleyCAL and #MixtapeMedleyComp

Now with US terminology! Go HERE to find the written pattern in all one place!

Crochet video tutorials

At the beginning of August I travelled along the coast to a studio in Southampton to record video tutorials. We recorded videos for each stitch and included other helpful bits of information too. It was a really interesting and exciting day! Not something I’ve done before. A few weeks later, once the videos had been put together, I watched them through so I could write a script. Then, it was back to the studio to record the sound.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying the video tutorials are HERE! You might notice that I look a bit like deer in headlights and that’s OK. I may seem super chilled out in my podcasts (usually amateurishly filmed at home in me jammies) but that’s a completely different kettle of fish. No hot studio lights, clapper boards or people you’ve never met wiring you up with a mic n stuff. The experience of working in a studio was awesome and nerves should never stop anyone from doing something new.

In the studio!

Crocheting Together

Seeing everyone getting their boxes of yarn is so exciting! As well as being able to buy the yarn kits from Hobbycraft in super special Mixtape Medley boxes (OMG they are totally gorgeous!), you could also bust your stash and go your own way with colours. This isn’t the kind of blanket where rules apply….well some rules do (count your stitches folks!)

Multiples are given so you could easily make adjustments to make it smaller, or bigger if this isn’t big enough (it’s a single bed sized blanket). I fancy a scarf version myself and hope to make one during the CAL. Hey, you could even get your nails done to match if you wanted to!

Well blow me down! Look at these nails from @the_squirrel_collective

I think that’s it for now. If you have any questions then ask away. I’ll try and get to them as soon as I can but the idea is that you can find all the info you need on the Hobbycraft website so do go there first as details about yarn and sizing etc is all there.

Don’t forget that you can now find the pattern with US terms on my blog HERE.

Right, I’m off to work on some crochet. And maybe do my nails. Cheers. x

Drape it over your legs as you work. That’s what this pic is!

Perfect Mohair Cardigan

Mohair yarn is the candy floss of the wool world. Its popularity has been on the rise for a few years and it is now everywhere you turn. It’s hard to avoid it and it seems that repeated exposure to colourful, fluffy yarn online means that I have joined the floof party.

Working with mohair in other recent crochet projects has provided me with the material to write a future blog post all about it. But that is being saved for another day because what this post is about is the Perfect Mohair Cardigan. A crochet cardigan that ticks all the right boxes for a fun, bright and cosy garment.

Perfect Crochet Cardigan

A few months ago I released the Perfect Cardigan, a crochet cardigan pattern that is perfect for anyone who has mastered the basics of crochet and wants to try and make a proper wearable garment. Using that pattern I made this mohair version. However, because the yarn is chunky kid silk mohair (I bought it from MYPZ) the gauge is ever so slightly different. For those wishing to make one like this, I thought it would be helpful to provide you with some useful tips and info on the adjustments I made.

For the tldr crowd, the easiest way to get yourself a cardi that looks something like mine, is to use the original pattern but make a size smaller than you would ordinarily choose. It might end up longer than the original so watch out for that (it’s what the rest of this blog post is about). Being someone who enjoys making life difficult, I did lots more faffing than just dropping down a size…

The original Perfect Cardigan by Zeens and Roger.

Adjusting handmade garments

Generally speaking there will be no “one pattern suits all” when it comes to making your own clothes. That’s a given. Whilst I have done my best to design a garment that will universally suit all, we all have different tastes and preferences. With a bit of jiggery pokery, you can make a few adjustments to tweak it into becoming perfect for you.

Adjusting patterns is usually a case of having a play around, frogging and trying again (on repeat). Lengthen the depth of cuffs, waist or button bands with additional stitches, widen them with more rows. Add or subtract rows of the main body to crop or lengthen the body. Begin sleeves with additional stitches to create more volume. There are lots of variations to experiment with. However, this is problematic with mohair. You run into the risk of frogging! You definitely want to avoid frogging your work because mohair never wants to let go once it’s snuggled comfortably into a row of stitches. It’s better to have a good idea of what you want before you travel down that path.

Let’s be honest, mohair might not be the best yarn to start learning how to make garment adjustments. It would be beneficial to have already made a few crochet clothes beforehand. If you’re interested in the ultimate guide to making crochet clothes that fit, I recommend this ebook from Dora Does. Michelle, an amazing designer and tech editor, gifted me a copy, she provides an absolute wealth of information on the subject.

Aaaanyway, here are some tips to consider when you make a Perfect Mohair cardi. Please bear them in mind when you embark on making your own version!

Tip number one

When turning this into a chunky mohair cardi is, take your sweet time! It’s a quick make anyway so there’s no reason to jump the gun.

Tip Number Two

Make sure you have enough yarn! The yarn is different but not massively so, which is why it’s OK to substitute it. My mohair cardigan (a sort of mash up of sizes 2 & 3) weighs 575g (the MYPZ chunky is 100m/50g). The original (size 3) weighs 656g (the Paintbox Worsted wool I used is 200m/100g, so the numbers kind of suggest it’s match). The light and fluffy fibres of the mohair means it comes a bigger size though. The chances are, the body and sleeves will be longer and wider (see Tip 4).

I used 11 colours. 13x 50g balls of mohair. 2x Dark grey, 2x Taupe, 1 of each in: RAW Dark Blue, Peach, Bright Purple, Neon Pink, Neon Yellow, Turquoise, Warm Purple, Orange, Mint.

By the way, 2 balls of the Dark Grey were required but I only purchased one. A deep stash dive came up with a grey Drops Melody, which is the yarn used for the button band.

There’s some yarn left but the striping has an effect on the amount of each used. I have not calculated the yarn needed for the other sizes in the mohair version but sizes larger than a 2 will need additional balls. It might be a case of the fewer colours, the better. You’ll use more of what you’ve got without fannying around with individual stripes of all the different shades. Look at my leftovers below, not quite enough of some but plenty of others. No Mint shade left at all. Collectively, there is probably enough yarn left to make the next size up without running out but that is quite the game of yarn chicken!

The leftovers

Tip Number Three

Go up a hook size. Perhaps get a swatch or two on the go to decide which you prefer. I started with the recommended hook size but couldn’t see the stitches! My poor eyes! I like loose stitches with mohair, you can see them better and the drape is good.

Tip Number Four

Try it on as you go. The way the pattern is worked, you can hold it up against you to see if you like what’s going on. I did this and decided to start the decreases and sleeve splits a couple of rows early as it was looking a bit long. At this stage you could brave frogging back a row or two, just do it sloooowwly.

Post split, I followed the decrease pattern for the size 3. I paid zero attention to stitch counts as they would have been different. If I dropped or gained a stitch or two, so what?! It’s not going to be noticeable in amongst all the fluff.

If I remember correctly I also binned off the last couple of rows near the shoulders too. Knocking off an extra few of rows overall meant that the length was almost the same as the original.

Mohair Measurements compared to the original:
Length: 54cm (about the same).
Width: 59cm (5cm wider)
Sleeves (including cuff): 49cm (6cm longer than the original but still not overlong as I made the cuff ribbing smaller, which helped balloon and gather them).

Speaking of sleeves, I held these up to my arm as I began nearing the top. They should be, at the very least, 40cm in length and then you can adjust the depth of the cuff to suit you. Remember that they are drop sleeves so they start below your shoulder rather than on it.

Tip Number Five

Break the rules! The tips above are an attempt to show the difference a few small tweaks made but ultimately, you can do what you want!

For example, I wanted a balloonier sleeve at the cuff so I added an extra 6? 8? stitches to start of my sleeves but followed the size 3 increases in the pattern (again, I ignored stitch counts). I stopped about six rows early so they would still fit the gap in the main body. They were also long enough at this point. You could afford to stop even earlier (I have long arms).

I haven’t even bothered counting the waist band rows, just made it four inches shorter than the main body. It is probably several rows less than the written pattern. Button holes are gone too, I didn’t want buttons. It’s fine. Whatever.

And I have absolutely no intention of blocking it! Ugh, just no.

Everything comes together

I did a couple more tinkerings and typed up notes on my Raverly Project page, which has the adjustments I made there in a shorter format. If I have left out something and you have a burning desire to ask a question about the cardigans, please do so. I will help where I can, if the pattern and/or the info here doesn’t cover it.

You can buy a copy of the Perfect cardigan from Ravelry, Etsy and Lovecrafts.

Hope you like it! Cheers.

Z&R Crochet Podcast 91. Finished Objects

Hallooooo! Welcome to the Zeens and Roger crochet podcast. This is episode 91. Hopefully all the good stuff is here but I did have recording issues. I lost some video but most of it was safe. I think I will need to find an alternative method because the camera I bought especially for podcasting is not good enough!! Bah.

Aaaaanyway, it’s lovely to have you here,I hope you’re well? To watch this fabulous crochet podcast, please click on the picture above, or go here to my YouTube channel.

Links to the crochet latest:

Moorit magazine. I will talk about the name next time. It’s a fun story! How excited are you for Moorit magazine!!!?

The Granny Go Round jumper is finally complete and I LOVE it!!! It’s a pattern by Claudine of Iron Lamb.

The Decked Out shawl is in the latest issue of Inside Crochet mag. Issue 138. I used a really nice sport weight merino from Milla Mia. I have used this before in Seven Summits and One Way or Another.

The Perfect Cardigan! I am super proud of my very first garment release. It was A LOT of hard work and even more learning new skills!! You can read about it HERE. I’ve written up the Ravelry notes HERE for my crazy mohair version, which to be honest, is my new favourite thing! I have added the notes because I made adjustments. I could probably have just made a size smaller than in the pattern and it would have been fine.

I used MYPZ chunky mohair to make the floofy mohair version of the Perfect Cardigan. Super nice yarn and I want more! Not sure if I can justify the stash build but I’m sure I will find a reason.

The cobalt mohair is Drops Kid Silk, a budget lace weight yarn. This brand is perfect if you’re on a budget. I bought mine from Wool Warehouse.

Another yarn discussed are Kingcole Cottonsoft It’s pretty much the only cotton (so far) that I like using!

What I didn’t talk about and wanted to bring up was Patreon. If you would like to support my crochet adventures and join a really fun community, check it out. I am sporadic with my postings but I share behind the scenes stuff and the different tiers all have different treats n stuff.

FYI there are a couple of affiliate links used in this post. It’s no extra cost to you, it just means I get a small percentage of the cost of any yarn you buy through the links.

How to Choose Colour in Crochet!

Bright cakes of colourful
 yarn

Colourful Crochet

Playing with colourful cakes or balls of wool is up there as one of the most satisfying things about yarn crafts. I’m sure you’d agree that colourful crochet can put a smile on anyone’s face! But having to decide which shades to add to a new crochet project can be mega stressful too. How on earth do you choose the best hues to have?! It can be a bit of a head scratcher, especially if the doubt creeps in. But, please! Don’t be afraid of the big beautiful wool, learn how to play with it instead!!

I wrote a fairly decent blog post about how to choose colour in crochet back in 2016 and I’ve just read it. It still stands and I’m pretty pleased about that. However, since 2016 my palette has definitely evolved. In that post I mention about going for random selections of colour and yep, you can definitely see that that was what I was doing. I was clearly going through an Ugly Granny phase too. Not a bad thing.

I have learned an enormous amount from playing with random colour palettes, which has been, hands down, the best part of my crochet adventure!

So how has it evolved from there? The short answer is I dunno, it just happened! Hmm, what about a longer answer that might actually be helpful?

striped crochet mittens

Colour Evolution

My crochet adventures started in 2010 without much of a clue. Colour consideration wasn’t top of the list. I was too busy darting into yarn shops; grabbing balls in a panic! I didn’t belong and didn’t want to outstay my welcome. What a way to start a mindful hobby! It’s obviously absolute nonsense but I know others feel the same. That’s just anxiety talking, stamp that sucker down and be proud.

[OMG! Side moment: the penny has just dropped about why I was making Ugly Grannies! It was all the panic bought yarn being used up! Not quite the same mentality as my Nanna’s make do & mend approach, but kind of similar… Aaannyway…]

After a lot of years mucking about with different yarns I realized that I have two very definite colour personalities and I am so happy about that. My ultimate goal is to tinker and play to see where a mash up of both might lead. I love modern brights, love em! They are great in smooth merinos and fluffy mohair, and let’s not forget; perfect for top quality acrylics but I am also head over heels for natural tones and yarns too. I need toothy wool with bits of straw, and it’s exciting to use yarn when I know it has been spun just up the road from me. Just because I love crazy brights doesn’t mean I can’t also love an undyed alpaca. Natural, earthy colours aren’t boring, they are classics to be revered. They are the cool kids; the brights are kawaii cute.

What I will say is don’t expect to have it down pat right from the start. Using colour in your craft means having a certain amount an expressive freedom and you need to explore that to discover what works for you. I have always been guided by my mood, by the seasons and by what everyone else is up to. Who isn’t?! Trends have a role to play in this whether you like it or not. We absorb fashions like osmosis, we’re all influenced whether we know it, or not.

Essentially, it’s about getting knee deep in a lifelong experiment of matching colour with crochet. If you want.

a crochet shawl
The Grainbow Shawl

The Basic Principles of Colour in Crochet

The nutshell version: it’s all about balance.

You want to know more? Um, I’m not sure how to expand on the original blog post where I say balance warm with cool, and light with dark. Balance out your brights with a neutral, plop in a navy amongst your pastels. If you don’t want to bung them anywhere, think about their placement, even distribution is a safe bet.

If you use these principles as a basic starting point you won’t go far wrong. In 2016 I hadn’t refined the colour palettes I was using, instead, I just chucked all the balls in the air to see what landed where. Sometimes literally. Now I like to think my choices are more deliberate.

Whilst (arguably) using more polished palettes in 2021 I am not a fan of too many rules. Therefore, please don’t feel like you have to dutifully follow some strict formula. Ultimately, go with your gut. If it works for you and it makes you happy, then that’s a winner!

And just to contradict myself with another side note, I do have one rule when working with colour for crochet. The stitches of crochet don’t always look their best in colour-pooling yarns. Where this might create brilliant stripes in knitting, it creates a blocky pixel in crochet and I’m not keen. I will always bear that in mind if purchasing a non solid colour base.

colourful crochet blanket
Havana Nights C2C blanket.

Put it into Practice

I like big stripes of crazy colour combos but also a whole hotchpotch of them fighting each other too. If in doubt, try this: use your go to shades but swap out just one samey ball of colour for one that you’d not normally go for. Nothing bad will happen, honest! If you’re feeling queasy about diving straight in make a swatch first. Then perhaps make a smaller project like a bag or hat. Big blankets and garments can follow later.

This is part of a process, a journey if you like (ugh, I hate that word!). It’s not an overnight change.

Obviously Instagram is a great source of inspiration and I love to mindlessly scroll through Pinterest too but you’ll find it in nature, architecture and places you hadn’t even thought of.

Teh Perfect Crochet Cardigan
The Perfect Cardigan

As long as you remember that it’s all about balance then you won’t go far wrong. Also, use of colour in crochet is totally subjective! What I think looks awesome isn’t going to work for everyone. There are times when I’m not fussed about that thing other people say is the bees knees. It really doesn’t matter. Conversely, someone else will put together a crochet colour palette that will blow my mind! I wish that I’d come up with it! Wistful envy pops up to say hello but I try to remind myself that others feel that way about my dodgy choices sometimes too! A full circle of different ideas.

Each time you put a load of shades together you’ve learned more about what works and what doesn’t. And if nothing else it’s a very good excuse to buy more yarn. Keep going.

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Revival, a jumper design by HGDC. All the crazy colours in lots of neutral grey.
The best crochet cardigan. A JW Anderson inspired crochet cardigan.
A cardigan inspired by the Harry Styles / JW Anderson number
A colourful crochet purse
https://zeensandroger.com/2018/08/20/hotchpotch-c2c-crochet-bag/
Colourful crochet.
The Making of ZZ Block. My C2C baby blanket
How to Choose Colour in Crochet

Crochet Bucket Hat – A Free Pattern & Tutorial

How to Crochet a Bucket Hat: click the pic for the YouTube tutorial

A Crochet Bucket Hat

The promise of summer is here! To celebrate, how about a crochet hat pattern!? Using just one roll of raffia, you can make a straw hat that’s perfect for protecting yourself from summer sun.

An impulse purchase has led to me having a roll of Wool and the Gang’s Ra Ra Raffia sat in my stash for about two years. I thought that one day inspiration might strike for it to become a cute clutch or little tote. Nope, it was a hat that won out in the end. This was due to some fine weather that was forecast for last weekend. A beachy time in Cornwall beckoned and I needed a hat! Alas, the hat wasn’t finished in time for Cornwall; such a shame because photos against a backdrop of sandy beaches would have looked awesome (although I did get some fab photos of my Perfect Cardigan)! Actually one version of the hat did get finished in time but I ended up frogging it half way down the A30. It was too big.

The tangled ball of papery yarn did not look quite so fancy anymore. Thankfully, it worked just as well after being ripped back. With some tweaks and adjustments, the second hat was completed yesterday and it fits like a dream!

Frogging on the A30

Seeing as I’m off work this week I have found some time to film a crochet hat tutorial and write up the crochet pattern. It’s called the Bucket hat because that is exactly what it is! Other name suggestions were “Kick the Bucket” and “Bargain Bucket.” Not sure either of those are the best names though…. What about the Blossom Bucket? Did you watch Blossom on telly back in the 90’s?! That’s a blast from the past!

Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day so me and the boys took a stroll down to the river for a few snap shots. The eldest was paid a few quid to be a photographer for me. Unfortunately, there aren’t many river pics included here because the river’s beaches were busy with loads of people. There was lots of joyous laughter and cheerful frolics going on. Those guys were definitely making the most of the first day of June.

The boy did a great job as chief photographer; he didn’t seem to mind when more shots and more angles were demanded. But I guess you don’t want a massively long story and to be honest, it doesn’t need one. So here follows the pattern….

Next book on the reading list. Haven’t started it yet.

To make a bucket hat, you need:

  • 1 roll of Ra Ra Raffia in Desert Palm (affiliate link).
  • 4mm hook
  • Stitch marker or 2.

Notes & tips

  • The pattern is written in UK terms but, honestly, it’s dead easy to convert: UK htr stitch = US hdc. UK dc = US sc.
  • My head measures 57cm – about average I guess…
  • Every two stitches measures approx 1cm.
  • You can make a hat smaller by missing out the last increase round, this will reduce the size by 4 sts.
  • You can make your hat bigger by working an extra (4 st) increase round.
  • Raffia has a bit of stretch to it. If it feels slightly tight at first, worry not, it will give after wear.
  • Made top down, the hat is worked as a spiral, increasing as you go.
  • Use the stitch marker to note the first st of each round, move after each round.
  • Watch the YouTube tutorial HERE.
Channeling the 90’s with a Blossom style hat!

Crochet Bucket Hat Pattern

  • Rnd 1: 8htr into a magic ring.
  • Rnd 2: inc around – 16 sts.
  • Rnd 3: *1 inc, 1htr; work from * 8 times – 24 sts.
  • Rnd 4: *1 inc, 2htr; work from * 8 times – 32 sts.
  • Rnd 5: *1 inc, 3htr; work from * 8 times – 40 sts.
  • Rnd 6: *1 inc, 4htr; work from * 8 times – 48 sts.
  • Rnd 7: *1 inc, 5htr; work from * 8 times – 56 sts.
  • Rnd 8: *1 inc, 6htr; work from * 8 times – 64 sts.
  • Rnd 9: *1 inc, 15htr; work from * 4 times – 68 sts.
  • Rnd 10: *1 inc, 16htr; work from * 4 times – 72 sts.
  • Rnd 11: *1 inc, 17htr; work from * 4 times – 76 sts.
  • Rnd 12: *1 inc, 18htr; work from * 4 times – 80 sts.
  • Rnd 13 – 22: htr around with no increases.
  • Rnd 23: Repeat rnd 3 – 120 sts.
  • Rnd 24- 27: htr around with no increases. (Any more rounds than this and the brim will curl in on itself).
  • Finish by making 3dc stitches followed by 3 slip stitches. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Half way hat. Before the brim was started. Finger indicates last increase round.
Crochet Bucket Hat
Side view of a crochet bucket hat.

And That’s it!

Such a quick and easy hat to crochet! You can wear it with the brim turned up or turned down. I added four rounds to the brim in the end. However, it did look good with just three rounds. Try playing around with different rounds to see which you prefer. This sort of hat is very forgiving (I am a big fan of forgiving crochet, it hides a multitude of sins!).

OK, I think that’s it for now. I will let the photographs below do the talking. But before you scroll on, if you enjoyed this fabulous pattern, please support my crochet work by buying me a Ko-fi or, check out my Free Patterns page. Cheers x

Don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram #zeensandroger

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Crochet a hat for summer
Not quite Blossom
Crochet Bucket Hat
Tiny dot of a buzzard
Making hay whilst the sun shines
A crochet hat ready for summer sun
Zeens and Roger crochet bucket hat

Made it this far? Haha, well done!! But also, thank you. xxx

My First Garment Design! The Perfect Cardigan.

A Crochet Cardigan

For the longest time I have been too chicken to venture into designing crochet clothes despite having loads of brilliant ideas. Honestly, there are so many sketches and swatches stashed around the house that have been waiting for me to bite the bullet. Past me has made way too many excuses about why it was never a good time to get those garment ideas down on paper. After a drawn out period of procrastination though, voila! My very first, fully formed, crochet cardigan pattern!!

It turns out that garment designing is a wee bit trickier than a shawl or scarf pattern. This is one of the reasons that it was on the back burner for ages. But, with a bit of research and a lot of hard work, I have fulfilled a huuuuge ambition to up the ante with my crochet skills… I bring you the Perfect Cardigan!

The Pattern & Yarn

OK, here I’m putting the good stuff here because I know you don’t want to scroll through the life story of a crochet cardigan to get to the pattern.

For the foreseeable future the Perfect Cardigan is available exclusively on Lovecrafts. This is because they gave me yarn support to make the design. I used Paintbox Yarns 100% Wool Worsted Superwash, which was lovely to work with (this is an affiliate link by the way). The colours are similar to, if not the same as, the usual vibrantly colourful Paintbox colour palettes. They are modern, bright and beautiful shades of yarn that I use all the time.

Go HERE for the Perfect Cardigan crochet pattern.

The Perfect Crochet Cardigan!

The Perfect Cardigan

Over the last couple of years I have been on a mission to perfect my garment making skills. I want crochet to be the very best it can be. First, there’s learning the basics of construction. It’s essential to just crochet crochet crochet; I have made other designer’s patterns, been involved in pattern tests, and eventually made up garments from scratch using simple stitches and some basic number crunching. (I’ve begrudgingly learned to respect maths but it’s still not my friend). It took a while but now is the time to go for it.

Last year I made up my first crochet cardigan based on the infamous JW Anderson cardigan (it is all over Pinterest, I’ve seen loads of people make their own versions and even Mollie Makes magazine interviewed me about its popularity (issue 128 if you’re interested) . Then I made a new (better) version for my sister’s Christmas present. The first version was oversize and not quite right in terms of decent construction but it set things in motion. Whilst too overwhelmed to write up more than a basic cardigan recipe, it gave me the kick up the bum to do what scared me: write my first crochet garment design!

Basically this stripey crochet cardigan is an evolved and much improved version of the first incarnation. It’s a comprehensive written pattern, with links to videos to help you make it. Everything you need is there to make your own size with advice to adapt it a bit too, should you want to.

Garment Grading

A big stumbling block was the maths. I am not a numbers person! How on earth do you grade a pattern so that it is inclusive of lots of sizes?! There are loads of free resources online but they are mostly for knitting and sewing. There has never been much out there for those wanting advise for crochet design. Quite frankly, I didn’t have the time or inclination to Google everything and piece it all together.

Coming in at just the right time was Heather from HG Crochet Design. I tested Heather’s first garment design, Revival, which led to an opportunity to beta test her grading workbook, aimed specifically at crochet designers. You can check that out HERE (this is an affiliate link to Heather’s products). I won’t give a naff sales pitch but I will say that I found it very helpful for spreadsheet formulae, which you need for pattern grading and calculating yarn amounts).

Not So Perfect

Behind the scenes things weren’t totally perfect. The making of the cardigan was a breeze, the grading took plenty of concentration, but pattern writing is a bane in the otherwise brilliant job of a crochet designer.

It is an understatement to say that this pattern was a struggle to write! Oh lordy, how often I would stare into space thinking it was beyond me! Actual (fleeting) terror was experienced…. about crochet! Yes, it’s daft but I really wanted it to be good. Perfect, even. Writing a pattern for a one size item is OK, just boring, and sometimes slightly taxing on the brain. Bring in all the different sizes and then it’s a juggling nightmare! The first draft was ugly and made no sense. Luckily it was only seen by my tech editor who quickly, and kindly, pointed out the atrocities (thanks, Michelle!).

Panic was to blame for not seeing wood for the trees. I wanted to call it the Cardigan of Nightmares, or, My Worsted Nightmare but no, who wants to buy a pattern with negative connotations like that? So it’s called the Perfect Cardigan because, briefly, it felt like it was anything but. However, it is also called the Perfect Cardigan because after that perceived drama, it is actually a blinkin’ good crochet cardi!

An Easy Crochet Cardigan

An excellent crochet pattern should be tech edited and tested by a variety of makers. Not all patterns require both but one or the other is good. All sizes of this stripey crochet cardigan have been tested by crocheters with different skill levels, (apart from the size 9, there were no takers for size 9). There has been some brilliant feedback and I cannot thank testers enough. THANK YOU!!! I won’t mention the grab and run people but know that you will be remembered!

Because of the gang of awesome testers, I know that the Perfect cardigan is easy to make for crocheters who have never made a garment before. Hearing that feedback was music to my ears!! A crochet pattern that is easy to follow, well, need I say more?! The aim of the design is to have a wearable wardrobe item that looks great but is also fun to make.

Most techniques in the pattern link to a video tutorial. Those techniques have been carefully considered so the cardi is seamless (figuratively as well as literally!). None are difficult but maybe some of them are different to what’s seen in other patterns. Those who are new to crochet and/or garment making shouldn’t be short changed on the good stuff! Also, I will help you! Ask me questions and I can explain or point you in the right direction.

Crochet Construction

Talking about techniques, employing methods that are easy to do but look good is the aim of the game. I can’t stand a single crochet rib so it’s not here, instead it’s a stitch that is a firm favourite and based on the half double crochet (that’s htr for UK peeps). Oh, by the way, the pattern is written in UK terms but don’t let put you off, it is dead easy to switch terms, I promise!

This is a bottom up cardigan, worked in once piece so there is no seam down the sides. Don’t worry it is all explained in the pattern. It adds to shaping on the cardigan too in a kind of bomber jacket way. Before you make your version, check out the measurements, you might decide to try a longer version. No problem! Playing around and experimenting is one of my favourite things about crochet. I quite fancy a version with really deep cuffs…. perhaps all in one main colour with contrast colour ribbing. You don’t have to make yours stripey either. There are lots of possibilities and you could make them all!

There are lots of other ways for adapting the design too: make it long, super crop it, have stripes, don’t have stripes, make wider ribbing etc. I love that a maker has so much freedom to explore options. Crochet is fabulous for this sort of thing. But you know, make the actual pattern, that’s fine too!

And there you have it, the Perfect Cardigan! I hope you like it. I reckon I’ve probably mentioned most things about it but if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask. One of the things you’re paying for in a pattern is support.

Although I’ve mentioned where to find the pattern up the top, HERE is the link again.

Have you made crochet garments before? Are you a crochet designer wanting to give garments a go? Hopefully I’ve reassured you rather than scared you away! Let me know! Cheers. x

Are you on Instagram? Use #ThePerfectCardigan

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