I blinked and suddenly it's the 3rd of November. It feels like the CAL started just a few days ago but it has been running for a number of weeks now.
How is everyone getting on? The Ravelry thread is full of chatter, WIPs, encouragement and the FOs are coming in thick and fast. The WIP and FO threads are really very inspiring and for those that haven't yet tried a garment, it will definitely show you what is possible and how much support is available.
I initially struggled with my choice of garment. I started the Aberdeen Castle Cable Sweater and after a few rows I came to the very firm understanding that I just don't like crocheting cables. Helen had suggested that it might be because of hook size and tension and on reflection I can confirm that I just don't enjoy the process of crocheting cables (I'm not a massive fan of cabling in my knitwear either).
So, that left me in a bit of a pickle. What esle could I do? Then I remembered the Siciliy jumper by Marie Wallin for Rowan. It's a lovely pattern and having already crocheted their Liala pattern I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. I had already birthday purchased some lovely luxury 4 ply yarn for the Aberdeen Castle Cable Sweater which was very different from the 4 ply cotton that the Sicily pattern calls from.
Given that 4 ply wool blend is very different from 4 ply cotton I did a small swatch to check my gauge using the suggested hook size. Oddly, I got gauge on stitches and rows and that NEVER happens. What I didn't do was wash and block the sample. Normally I would do this but I felt very confident that I knew what this wool blend was going to do when wet, so ommited this step, heartened by the fact that I got gauge.
Sizing and shaping
I am a size 14-16 and am quite curvy and therefore very aware of which shapes suite me and which don't. Siciliy is meant to be oversized, or at least it is on the model and with the cotton it looks quite boxy. This is a look that is hard for me to pull off because I have reasonably large boobs (11 year old me had the nickname Big Bust Bella) and boxy jumpers just hang off my chest and make me look larger. A wool blend is always going to cling more than cotton, so that better suits my needs.
I did the required number of chains required for the small size, stood up and placed the length across my hips to see if I needed to go up a size. I felt that the length was a little less than my hips but with blocking it would be a good fit and the next size up would just be too baggy.
I finished the jumper off at the end of October and it fits really nicely. It's my best fitting handmade garment to date and I have already worn it three times.
Having investigated different finishing techiques form my part of the CAL blog hop, I knew exactly which stitch to use. All of the seams were joined using a slip stitch (after some very accurately measured blocking). You can see both the inside and the outside of the joins in the belwo photo.
I played around with the number of stitches in the cuff to make sure that it was tight enough (so it could be pushed up my arm and stay there) but not too tight that it caused the lace part of the arm to puff up in a New Romantics way. I did fewer stitches than the pattern recommends.
I also wasn't sure whether or not the doubled over cuffs were a good look or not. I decided to go with it and it was a good decision to make because if I get a little cold, I can just lengthen the cuff and warm up my wrists and hands a little. I also quite like the overall look of the jumper with the long cuffs.
Sicily as a first garment?
After the set up rows, Sicily is a simple two row repeat pattern. Yes there are some intricacies around the arm extension rows (adding chains from a different ball of yarn) but it really isn't hard - just joining a new yarn and some chains.
The pattern can be a little sparse on direction at times, but if you read through and mark up your own notes, it will all make sense. Because it is a two row pattern repeat, there is very little that can go wrong anyway. I ended up with an extra row on the front panel - did you notice? Thought not. So, even if something does go wrong, this is a very forgiving pattern.
I have added some project notes to my version on Ravelry (I can't do a dircet link to it, but I am Ma Dashper on Ravelry and you will find it in my projects). If you have any questions, you know where to find me and please ask away.
Well of course I have started another crocheted jumper for myself. I should be knitting a cardigan that is a Christmas present but crochet has my attention at the moment.
I already have one panel finished of the Homebody Sweater (FOC pattern from Megan Shaimes) and and it won't take me long to get through the other. I am currently gearing up to vend at Nottingham Yarn Expo next weekend so there is no chance I will start the second panel next week. On Monday the 13th however, when my brain is incapable of processing anything more than rows of htr , sipping tea and watching The Last of the Mohicans (usually Dirty Dancing is my post yarn festival film of choice but we watched it very recently), the Homebody Sweater (see left of photot) is going to be my simple, auto-pilot project.
Progress from other bloggers
If you haven't already caught their #BackToSchoolSweaterCAL progress, you can read blogs from:
Next up is Marta (Saturday) and then the following week it's all about celebrating all of the garments that have been made.
That's is from me for the #BackToSchoolSweaterCAL. If you want to see what other garments or other projects I am working on, come and find me on Ravelry (MaDashper) or Instagram (crochet_circle_podcast or knitiithookit or faydhdesigns).
Good luck with your garments!