In the current issue of Crochet! magazine I saw this:
I was visiting my sister when I purchased the magazine and she said that she really liked that cardigan. Not the colors, but the style. I’ve never crocheted a garment, but there’s a first time for everything, right?
This is the sweater for which I needed to order the Ice Yarn’s Batik Chunky yarn.
I had decided to use these colors because they go with anything and I think that they will also disguise a lot of the cat and dog fur sticking to it. My sister has six cats and 2.5 dogs. They technically have a Chinese Crested Dog (she counts as 1/4 of a dog because she acts more like a cat) and their 13 week old St Bernard/Australian Shepherd counts as 2.25 dogs (he already weighs almost 50 pounds!). To say that there is a lot of fur in that house would be an understatement.
As I stated earlier, I’ve never made a garment before, but I know that gauge is important. So I did a gauge swatch with the hook that the pattern listed. I had too many stitches in the required length, and my rows were too tall. I switched to a smaller hook to see if that worked. That increased the number of stitches in my row (which I’d had too many before) and didn’t help with the height.
I tried a bigger hook, but then I had too few stitches in the row. I switched back to the original hook and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. I managed to figure out how to get my rows the height that they needed to be thanks to this site.
I tried it again and managed go get the height correct (finally), but I still had too many stitches in my row. At this point I was growing impatient (patience is not one of my virtues), so I decided to follow the directions for the biggest size cardigan instead of the almost-biggest size. My reasoning was that as long as I can keep my row height consistent then that dimension should be fine. By following the larger size’s stitch count I should actually come out close to the size that I actually wanted to crochet. At the worst, if it was too big then I would have a cardigan for myself.
Using my row counter I started off crocheting the back of the cardigan.
The first problem that I ran into was with the crochet hook I was using. This pattern calls for the use of two crochet hooks. I’m using an ‘I’ and a ‘K’. I really like the ergonomic handles and so my ‘I’ hook is from the Hobby Lobby branded set that I bought two years ago. The ‘K’ hook is an ergonomic Boye hook. You have to use the larger hook for the puff stitches and I was having a devil of a time. I didn’t like how it fit in my hand and I couldn’t get as many loops as I needed. For the puff stitch you have to have nine wraps of the #5 yarn on your hook! I got tired of fighting with it so I stopped by Hobby Lobby that night after work and picked up a different ‘K’ hook. I opted for the Hobby Lobby brand of plastic hook because I did not want to pay $10 for the Clover plastic hook.
Here is a picture of the new ‘K’ hook versus the old one:
Not only is there very little throat room on the bottom Boye hook, but the hook itself was horrible! It didn’t want to grab the loops or any of the yarn at all. The plastic hook is great because I have all kinds of throat room for the nine loops and it fits very comfortably in my hand. The Boye hook is just too big and not designed very nicely at all. They put way too much rubber on it, which makes it even heavier. Let me show you the difference between the Boye hook and my two Hobby Lobby hooks.
The very bottom is my Hobby Lobby ‘I’ hook and I love it! It’s shape is somewhat similar to the top plastic hook’s shape. Looking at all three of these you can probably see why I wouldn’t like the Boye hook. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. I suppose it will get tossed in a drawer somewhere.
I have managed to make the back and the two fronts so far.
(Chester was making sure the back stayed in place)
The great thing is that so far the pieces are all the same length. I know that’s the ultimate goal, but it’s my first garment so you can’t automatically assume that will happen. Some people might be a little bothered by the fact that the variegated pattern doesn’t match, but at this point I don’t care. I expect that this cardigan will be worn around the house or out in the yard. I’m making it out of acrylic so that it’s easy to wash and dry, and if the animals snag it then it’s no big deal. This is a utilitarian sweater, not one to be worn out for special occasions.
I will write a separate review on the yarn because I have a lot to say about it. For now I’m just happy that this project is coming together!