Well, hello! I've been absent a bit longer than I intended - "back to school" bug season always seems to catch me, and I've been ridiculously tired recently. So tired, I haven't even done a lot of crochet! I'm gradually getting back into it now, so I do have something to share, but sadly I'm nowhere near finished. I'm here to demonstrate that it doesn't matter how long it takes you, and how many times you have to join the frogging party (which I hear has been quite a popular destination!), you can still end up with an awesome garment.
Choosing the patternI'm working on Uptown by Dora Ohrenstein, from her book Custom Crocheted Sweaters. I got this book for Christmas - 2015! - and my intention was to spend 2016 learning how to make, and adjust, tops that actually fit me. Instead I spent the year getting hugely sidetracked (I blame Instagram and CALs). I finished the first one, Floating Tee, in May 2016, but I haven't made another from this book, so I thought this CAL would be the perfect opportunity.
Choosing the yarnAt first I struggled with yarn choices. I wanted to use a wool based yarn, for warmth and drape, but I had to stick to a tight budget. I had used Wendy Ramsdale DK to make a knitted shawl last year, and it has become a favourite because it's so cosy. My mother nearly stole it and she doesn't really do shawls. (Don't worry, I caught her!) I swatched to see how it would look and feel and I was very pleased with the result.
|Swatching in the round meant I could try it on for the itch test too.|
Even better, when I was searching for stockists, I found Sconch yarn shop who happened to be having a clearance sale of the Ramsdale.
I may have got slightly carried away, but I got all the yarn for much less than I thought I'd have to spend based on the pattern requirements.
When the CAL started, I did another swatch with the colour I'd chosen. I've been caught out before when using a different colour that it swatches differently, so better safe than sorry.
First adjustment - dropped neckline, front and backThe point of the book is to teach you how to make adjustments, and this pattern was looking at dropping the neckline on a raglan top. A larger bust generally looks better with a lower neckline, so I followed the directions and they worked perfectly. I was worried the back would be too low, but it seems fine.
SizingI'd decided to go for a L, with adjustments for various bumps and slopes! My upper chest is proportionally much smaller than my bust, so I always have to adjust this area down in size. The pattern actually starts the same for the first three sizes, which makes it easier, but because the fabric then gets pulled out over my bust, I still have to pull in the neckline more. It was quite baggy, and I had to stop to see if I could fix it with the neck edging, or if I would have to join the frogging party, but it seemed fixable.
Second adjustment - for large bustI'm always experimenting, trying to find the best way to get the fabric to slide over my bust, which means that I'm a frequent frogging party visitor! This time I decided to do four increases evenly spaced across the front of the top, followed by another four increases at the same point. This created space for my bust, and then I decreased in the same manner.
I also wanted to try short rows, since the back is always longer than the front because of the distance travelled over my bust. I don't know what I'm doing with short rows, I just knew what I wanted to achieve, so any experts would be cringing. I think I've got away with it, and I'm pretty happy with the way the front and back line up when worn. (It looks totally wrong when flat!)
What next?After repeated frogging because I wasn't paying enough attention, I'm finally on the waist shaping. I'm basically back to the pattern, but I've had to adjust the row spacing for the decreases to match up with where I am after the bust shaping.
Next I'm going to adjust for my slightly generous hips, and see how long I want the top - depending on whether I have enough yarn. If I'm not sure, I will probably stop and do the sleeves first, so I don't run out.
It shouldn't take me too long to finish now, as usually it's the bust that takes me the most time. Hopefully I'll be able to post in the finished thread in The Crochet Circle podcast group on Ravelry before the end of the CAL! I'll keep you updated.
#backtoschoolsweatercal on Instagram
Thanks for reading.