Friday 10 November 2017

Back to School Sweater CAL - my cardigan

Hello! Following on from last week's Back to School Sweater CAL blog hop post by Fay ( it's time for me to share my own cardigan journey. Like most of the CAL participants, I had carefully chosen my yarn, swatched to check tension and was eager to start on the morning of Saturday 16th of September - I crocheted at full speed for a big chunk of the day, everything was going well!

my swatch and colour choices

progress at the end of day 1

I had chosen to follow one of my own patterns - Summer Yoke Cardigan - and give it a winter twist. The first big change was to substitute the summery cotton for cosy alpaca yarn. I chose Eden Cottage Yarns in Whitfell DK - a 100% baby alpaca yarn - and I ordered it directly online (NB. this yarn is currently in the sale as it is going to be discontinued, go grab a bargain while you can!).

this photo © Inside Crochet Magazine
my original Summer Yoke Cardigan design

The pattern begins with a plain yoke and then the pop of colour begins! I deliberately chose a muted, neutral shade for the main colour to really give the other colours a chance to dance and shine!

I love this stage of the making process, when the yoke looks like a rainbow!

Everything was straight forward and went as I expected at this stage. Apart from the yarn, the only other real change I had made was to follow the instructions for small instead of medium because I wanted a much tighter fitting cardigan for the winter. I used a 3.25mm Knit Pro crochet hook to keep the stitches small and neat too.

progress photo

I added 3 more rows of yoke pattern to this version, simply because I felt like it! The next section, from the end of the patterned yoke to the sleeve split was tricky! I spent about a week crocheting, frogging*, crocheting, frogging! The brilliant thing about being part of a CAL was that I wasn't alone; lots of people were unravelling at this stage! 

*frogging: term used in knitting and crochet to describe rows of stitches being ripped out - rip it, rip it - like a frog!

starting the sleeves

The best thing about top-down crochet designs is the fact that you can try them on as you work. In this way I was able to get the fit exactly as I wanted it. Once I positioned the sleeve split exactly in the right place, I began to work 1 ball at a time on a rotation basis; sleeve, body, body, sleeve, body, body etc. In this way I could work evenly across the sections and the garment grew in a harmonious way.

finished sleeves and cuffs

Before I knew it I had reached my desired sleeve length and it was time to think about how to finish at the cuff (my original pattern had 3/4 length sleeves and simply a band of contrast colour to finish). This cardigan was for me and I like snug, draught excluding cuffs on a cosy cardigan so I began with a round of contrast stitches, then a round of half trebles before adding 4 rounds of ribbed crochet cables. 

choosing the perfect button!

Shortly after I finished the sleeves, the main body section was finished too (hoorah! no more plain stitches!). I wanted to make the most of the pretty yarn so I added 4 rows of pattern to the hem before commencing the button band. The button band - the home stretch! Almost finished! Or so I thought ...

... actually the button band itself was ok, it was when I made the decision to add a colar to finish the neckline that it all went a bit pear shaped!

1st collar attempt

The trouble was that the extra height from the button band with a collar worked into it sat too high around my neck and dragged the whole cardigan out of shape. It was not how I had pictured it in my ahead at all. It was at this point that I threw the cardigan on the naughty step and didn't even look at it for a few weeks! During this time I did think about how to solve the problem - often at unexpected moments new ideas would come and go until suddenly it all became clear, I had a new plan! Sadly, this plan involved more frogging, lots of frogging! The entire button band needed to come out, 75g worth of wool in tiny little seed stitch ...

final colar design

The new button band stopped at the neckline, allowing me to work directly into the original chain of stitches at the very beginning of the cardigan. I followed the same increase pattern as the yoke whilst decreasing at either end to create a softer, rounder effect. To finish off I used a row crab stitches (my current fave stitch!). I like the new colar design in the main colour of the cardigan because it focuses all the attention on the pretty yoke.

first photo shoot

my finished Back to School Sweater!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Helen ( and Tamara ( for hosting this CAL - it's been such fun to take part in and to watch other people's sweaters grow and take shape online! Next week Helen and Tamara are going to be sharing a celebration of everyone's making - I can't wait to find out more about it!

Happy hooking,

Marta xx


  1. Such a fabulous finished cardigan! Thank you so much for sharing such an honest account of your making process and thank you for being one of our fabulous bloggers xx

  2. Thanks for your comment Helen - I didn't really plan how this post would be, but when I sat down to write it, this is how it came out. I've really enjoyed being part of this blog hop, thanks for inviting me!

    Marta xx

  3. I love your sweater design Marta and the beautiful colors you chose. Your modifications are really clever too. Thank you so much for being part of our blog hop. It's been so fun!

    1. Thanks Tamara! The colours are very 'me' at the moment, I'm going to enjoy wearing this one! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take part in the blog hop, I've enjoyed the experience.

      Marta xx


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