Saturday, March 16, 2013


In the end, I decided to bite the bullet and finish the Green Chai Cardi. I need to have faith in my skills as a crocheter and assume that it will fit - instead of leaving my options open, then spending Mum's entire next visit frantically trying to get it finished.

Did I mention that I hated the sleeves? I hated the sleeves.

The reason was that they didn't come out even. They weren't badly out of alignment, but they were visibly different. I looked at them for a week, then cracked and ripped them out. Then, while the unravelled wool was soaking in a mix of warm water and wool mix to get the crinkles out, I sat down to see if I could work out a way of setting the sleeves straight into the garment. As you may have guessed from the photo below, yes I could. :)

Green Chai Cardi with crocheted-in sleeves
To provide a foundation for the sleeves, I did a row of double crochet into the broomstick lace (one dc for each chain in the foundation chain in the original sleeve pattern). I made sure that the double crochets were evenly spaced to either side of the seam (8 dc each side and 1 dc on the seam). Then I simply followed the pattern, working into the double crochets.

When the pattern changed from rows to rounds, I worked more double crochets to form a foundation for the round. It was actually easier than following the pattern - I found the whole "row of chain and join with a treble" a bit confusing, it took me a couple of goes to get it each time.

I also adapted an old knitter's trick of doing both the sleeves at once. This is a great tip that I got from my great-aunt, who was still knitting strong into her 90s. Her tip was to cast on both the sleeves at once (using two separate balls of yarn) and to work them at the same time. The idea is that you're unlikely to end up increasing on the right sleeve, then forgetting to increase on the left if you have both the sleeves on the needles at the same time.

Shawl Collar Cardigan - sleeves
This also works well for cardigan fronts - in fact, for pretty much anything where you have two knitted pieces that need to be absolutely identical. (Of course, it's no guarantee that they won't be identically wrong - but that is easier to hide that two uneven sleeves or fronts).

The crochet equivalent is to work a round - put a stitch marker or safety pin into the stitch to stop your work unravelling - take the hook out, then work the same round on the other sleeve. It seems to working quite well - I feel like the sleeves look far more even, and this also saves me from having to scribble notes about any 'fixes' that I've needed to make the pattern work out.

Lady Eleanor stole
While I was waiting for the wool to dry out after I frogged the sleeves, I had some time to spend on the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole.

Once I'd worked two tiers, the logic of it suddenly clicked and now I'm happily picking the stole up whenever I've got a spare moment and working a couple of rectangles. The Noro yarn is lovely and warm - very much looking forward to having this in my wardrobe by winter time! The pattern says to work 35 tiers, but I'm hoping I might have the yarn to make it 40. Not because I need a particularly long stole, but just because I'm really enjoying the pattern now that I've mastered it. :)

Stop taking photos and give us back our sofa!!
My next step will be to put together a simple entrelac design and block in at least one class for the winter. I'm thinking of doing something with one of the Jo Sharp tweeds... but more on that in another blog post. For now, I need to open the shop and give the sofa back to its rightful owners (see photo left!).

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