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Hello again fellow crafters! I’ve had this blog for almost a year now and I realize that I have only talked about my crochet passion in one post! If you follow my podcast on youtube you will have heard me preach about my love of crochet garments. Recently I posted a question on quora and I received several different replies. Some people are all for crochet garments while others are not as enamored with the idea and prefer to knit there garments. I can perfectly understand why someone would rather knit their garments, it all comes down to the fabric produced, but I am still a strong advocate of crochet garments, I love making, designing, and wearing them.
Seriously, nothing beats the feeling of wearing something you have lovingly (curse words are accepted as tough love when it comes to crafting) created stitch by stitch. As a way of spreading the love of crochet garment making, I decided to put together some essential elements when tackling garment making.
1. Know yourself
- know your measurements – keep in mind that most crochet patterns are designed based on standard body measurements. Now I don’t know about you, but I dont really follow this standard. My bust is 32″, my waist is 28″ and my hips are 37.5″. What does this mean? It means that I usually have to combine different parts of a pattern to be able to achieve the fit that I would like. Standard women measurements – https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/woman-size
- know your style – Do you like fitted, figure hugging garments or do you prefer comfortable garments, These fits are often referred to negative (50’s style) and positive ease (modern comfort). This will help determine what shaping you would like to adjust in a pattern.
This is a great example of knowing your measurements. This is the Adult Crochet Sweater designed by Claire Sullivan (bobwilson123 on youtube) On the left, the first version I ever made, following the pattern to the T except for the yarn (Lion Brand Heartland). On the right a sport/fingering weight version of the same sweater. The yarn I used was Crafternoon Treats, a Romney Lambswool blend that is woolen spun. For this version I used a 3.75mm hook, but I switched hooks and also decreased for the waist. details are in my ravelry page.
- Super important because we all have different tensions ( how tightly or loosely we crochet and or knit.) and especially if you are considering a different yarn to the one the pattern recommends.
- making a gauge swatch is also crucial if you need to adjust the shaping of lack thereof of the garment. The simplest shaping is done by either increasing or decreasing in certain areas based on your body measurements. If the pattern states that there are 4 stitches in every inch and you need to decrease 2″ around the waist, then you know you need to decrease a total of 8 stitches.
This is the pattern A Good Vintage Cardigan what I call it? My Nemesis Cardigan, I started this evil being 5 times because I was not getting gauge at all. In the end I ended up using a 3mm crochet hook for all of it and of course making it shorted because I only had 3 hanks of yarn. But no matter my troubles, this yarn wanted to be this cardigan. Pattern notes on Ravelry
3. Read the pattern
- You are probably thinking, Clarisa of course I read the pattern, how else am I going to know what to do? What I mean is, before starting the pattern read all the information provided, pattern notes, instructions, special stitches required, materials.
- familiarizing yourself with the pattern is always a good idea but especially if you have never made a pattern by X designger, it really saves time if you understand how the pattern was written and if it doesn’t make sense you can always write it out in your terms. I had this happen with a knitting pattern, I was unfamiliar with the designer and instead of following my own advice, I just jumped right in and started knitting only to realize that there were instructions on page 2 that were necessary to start the project.
4. Love the yarn and hook
- Keep in mind that some garment patterns may only work with the yarn the designer recommends.
- Do not be flustered if you find that the yarn you chose for a project doesn’t want to play. Take a deep breath, have some chocolate maybe some wine and frog it baby! Trust me, you will be that much happier for having listened to the yarn.
- For garments I usually like to use cotton blends or high quality cotton yarns. Of course I also love wool but in Florida I can only use woolly garments for 1 week a year.
- The perfect hook depends on you. Me? I like to use Tulip Etimo Crochet Hook Set” or Clover Amour Hook” . I just love how these hooks make crocheting so much smoother. Side note, I do not use ergonomic bigger than a 6mm. Although, I am interested in trying out the clover 8mm If you are interested in learning more about hooks, I have a blog post here.
This project, the Marigold Sweater is the perfect example of reading the pattern and choosing yarn appropriately. I remember well all the woes with this one, started it 3 times with Cascade Ultra Pima Fine Cotton yarn and it went nowhere. I read the pattern wrong 2 times and the third time I realized I actually needed a yarn with some give to it, so I switched to a cotton, linen, silk blend and et voila here you go!
5.. Do not be intimidated by any of this and use the internet
- Still afraid? . There are youtube tutorials, I have one for the cropped vintage sweater found here
- Blog posts offer information about garment construction as well as free patterns for them. I really enjoyed this blog post written for the back to school sweater cal.
- new books, used books, all books – I have been expanding my crafty reference guide for a while now and one book I really liked was Finishing Techniques for Crochet by Pauline Turner.
6. Have fun! Keep in mind that you are making wearable art, stitch by stitch.
Let me know some of your tips in the comment section below!