A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to try something I have never attempted before: making my first crochet sweater.
I started sewing my clothes a few years back and in time I've fine-tuned to perfection the Crescent Skirt Pattern (but I'll leave this for another post). It was time to take care of the upper part of my apparel and create something that matches the crazy prints I love for my skirts.
Skill level: beginner.
I learnt how to do single crochet and double crochet something like 10 years ago but never thought I could do clothing. So,when in doubt, try! If you can crochet a square, you can definitely handle this project. If you can't crochet yet, you might want to practice for a while.
Breann suggests Caron Cakes. I bought them on Amazon but ended up not using them because I don't like the feel of the yarn and it's a bit too heavy for my liking. Caron Cakes are worsted weight (or number 4 - medium weight) yarn, while the one I used is DK.
In her video Breann uses a number 5 hook (UK), while I used 4.5. This means of course a change in the number of rows and stiches, because my stitches are smaller.
I bought my hooks on Amazon (a cheap set with soft handles, they came with 10 stitch markers, you'll need them), while I bought my yarn on Hobbii (it's a referral link, if you buy through this I'll gain some points on my account). The parcels ship from Denmark, so I guess purchases from EU area are not a problem.
This yarn is called Carnival (colour Trinidad), it's 100% acrylic (which means it's machine washable) and I used 6 skeins for a size large (16 UK) with very little leftover (2 for the front, 2 for the back, one each for the sleeves).
To mark the back from the front, I bought these fake leather tags on Etsy. They're soft and smooth so won't irritate your skin.
Around 40 hours. I don't know if I'm a slow or fast crocheter, it took me a couple of weeks of work.
Ok, so, how did I decide how many rows and stitches? I wanted something comfy but not oversize (and this one is already too wide for my taste, next one I'll figure out some reductions for the waist) to wear with my skirts, so I took one of my favourite retail sweaters and measured it against what I was doing. I ended up having 80 rows for the ribbing, but then didn't count the rows neither for the main part nor the sleeves. I just went on until I was happy with it. Just check that the front and back are the same and so the two sleeves!
I really love the ribbing technique, I think it makes all the difference for a finished look.
The yarn was smooth to work with, I learnt the magic knot technique from this video to join the skeins together. It took a bit of colour matching to have the same colours on the front and the back (and it's not perfect, as you can see) because the skeins start with different colours, so you have to cut and join if you want a repeat colour scheme.
I've already bought some yarn of the same type to try a second project. I would like to add some shape with decreases/increases for the waist and a V neck instead of a boat one. I'll also switch to a front post double crochet stitch which I've learnt for another project, because I like the vertical ribbing it creates (you can see it here).
I'm very happy with this sweater, it's nice and warm, perfect for this season here in Scotland and for winter too with some layers underneath. It might be too heavy for summer sunny days, but we'll see, I'm wearing it with thermal long sleeved underwear right now, I haven't tried yet with just a tshirt!