Blox Tops

Here are posts about garments made from simple squares or rectangles.  Mainly crocheted, but knitters do it, too:

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2013

Toddler cardigan to crochet


Crocheted Toddler Cardigan

The main thing about this piece is the use of color:  there are 2 solid shades (A and B) and 1 coordinating variegated yarn (V).  For the pattern, work 2 rows of A, 1 row of V, 2 rows of B, and 1 row of V.  That is the color pattern for the body.  Make one sleeve from each solid color.  Do the edging in the variegated.  Honestly, if you apply this to just about any toddler sweater pattern – knitted or crocheted – you will end up with a cute sweater. 

Here are the notes for making this particular version.

One 50-gram ball EACH:  Sateen DK yarn in lavender, blue, and variegated.
6 buttons (optional)
Split ring markers (or safety pins)
Suggested hook: 4mm
Measurements of finished piece:
Chest: 24”
Armhole depth: 5”
Sleeve to underarm: 9”, including cuff; 8-1/2” before cuff
Wrist: 6”
Underarm to lower edge: 6-1/2” before edging;  7” including edging.

Gauge:  5 stitches/inch; 3-3/4 rows/inch

Notes:
This is worked in one piece from the lower edge to the underarm, with the back and fronts continued separately and joined at the shoulders.  The sleeves are worked from the armhole down to the wrist.

All three yarns are used in the body, alternating (2 rows blue, 1 row variegated, 2 rows lavender, 1 row variegated).  When changing to a new color, drop the yarn you are finishing and pick up the new yarn.  Do not cut the yarn unless the instructions say to.  Once you have started all 3 balls of yarn, there should be a strand waiting for you at the end of the row when it is time to switch colors.  In changing colors, hold the new yarn loosely for the first stitch so it does not pull along the edge.  Don’t worry about the strands of yarn along the edge – they will be covered with single crochet when you do the edging.

Draw up a loop”:  Insert hook in stitch indicated.  Yarnover.  Pull the yarnover through only the stitch indicated.

Pattern stitch:  (multiple of 4 stitches, plus 1 more). 
Row 1:  ch1, turn.  (Sc1, skip 1 st, (dc1, ch1, dc1) in next stitch, skip 1) across, ending with sc1.
Row 2:  ch3, turn – counts as 1dc.  Dc1 in last st of pr row.  *(sk1, sc1, sk1, **(dc1, ch1, dc1) in next st.  Repeat from * across, ending at **.  Dc2 in last st.

The edges are finished with single crochet and a finishing row of crab stitch.  Basically, that’s all there is.  For more specific instructions, starting at…

Lower edge of body:
Foundation pattern stitch:  Ch2, sc in 2nd st from hook.  *Yarnover twice, draw up a loop in same chain as sc just made.  Yarnover, pull through 2 loops to make a skipped space.  Yarnover, pull through 1 to make a base chain loosely (you will insert hook into this chain soon).  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) twice to finish a double crochet.  Ch1.  Dc in base chain just made. (Foundation V-stitch just made)  Yarnover.  Draw up a loop in same base chain. Yarnover, pull through 2 loops to make a skipped space.  Yarnover, pull through 1 to make a base chain.  Yarnover, pull through remaining 2 loops to finish a single crochet**. Repeat from * for a total of 32 foundation V-stitches, ending at **.  The piece should measure about 24 inches long.  It is important that there is a multiple of 4 pattern stitches:  half for the back, and a quarter each for the fronts.  This is a foundation version of Row 1. 

Continue in pattern stitch, starting with Row 2, being sure to change colors in this sequence:  2 rows blue, 1 row variegated, 2 rows lavender, 1 row variegated, for a total of 23 rows from the start, or just a touch over 6 inches, ending with 2 rows lavender.

Allowing 8 V-stitches at each end of the last row for the fronts, attach a pin/marker in the sc to mark the underarm point.  There should be 16 V-stitches between the markers.

One front side:
Next row:  Continue in pattern, stitch to the first marker, ending with a stitch in the marked stitch.  Work even for 15 more rows, cutting and rejoining the yarn as needed in the first few rows to re-establish the color pattern.

Neck shaping:  Next row, leave 2 pattern repeats unworked on the neck edge. 
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn (but do not cut it), drape the yarn over to the 9th stitch from the edge, where you will rejoin it with a slip stitch, make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 8 stitches unworked. 

Next row:  Leave 1 pattern repeat unworked on the neck edge.
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn (but do not cut it), drape the yarn over to the 5th stitch from the edge, where you will rejoin with a slip stitch, make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 4 stitches unworked. 

Repeat the last row 1 more time.
Work even 3 more rows.  Finish off and cut yarns.  Total number of rows:  44

Back:
Rejoin yarn in the same first marked stitch at the bottom of the armhole.  Continue in pattern to the next marked stitch, ending with a stitch in the marked stitch.  Continue in pattern, setting up and changing colors to stay in pattern, until the back is as long as the front just worked – 44 rows from the lower edge.  You should end with the same color row.  Finish off and cut yarns.  Remove first marker.

Other front side:
Rejoin yarn at remaining marker.  Continue in pattern, stitch to the end of the row.  Work even for 15 more rows, rejoining the yarn as needed in the first few rows to re-establish the color pattern. 

Neck shaping:  Next row, leave 2 pattern repeats unworked on the neck edge. 
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn, and rejoin with a slip stitch on the 9th stitch from the edge to make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 8 stitches unworked. 

Next Row:  Leave 1 pattern repeat unworked on the neck edge.
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn, and rejoin with a slip stitch on the 5th  stitch from the edge to make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 4 stitches unworked. 
Repeat the last row 1 more time.
Work even 3 more rows.  Finish off and cut yarns.  Total number of rows:  44

Remove the 2nd marker. 
Join shoulder seams.  Decide which side you want to be the right (public) side of the fabric.  Here is one way to join seams:  Hold two edges with right sides together.  Join yarn at one end, with a slip stitch.  *Ch1.  Inserting hook through both layers of fabric, slip stitch in the next stitch (or row ends, if you happen to be joining row end edges together).  Repeat from * across.  Fasten off.

Sleeve (do twice, once with each solid color)
With the right side facing, join yarn at underarm.  Looking at the gauge, you want to have 5 stitches over 3.75 rows around the armhole edge.  Set up a base row of slip stitches around the armhole, working 58 stitches around.  Stitching the pattern stitch into a row of slip stitches gives a more finished look than stitching into the row ends of the body. 

At the end of each row, slip stitch into the top of the turning chain at the beginning of the row – that way you won’t have to join a seam later.

Continuing in the pattern stitch, but staying with just the one color, work even 1 row.  Maintaining pattern stitch, decrease 1 stitch at the end of each row until 30 stitches remain.  Work even until sleeve measures 8-1/2”.   Fasten off.

Repeat on other side with other solid color for second sleeve.

Cuffs and edges
Cuffs:  With the variegated yarn, and right side facing, join with a slip stitch at end of sleeve.  Ch1.  Single crochet in each stitch around.  Join with a slip stitch to starting chain to finish row.  *Ch1, turn.  Sc across row.  Join with a slip stitch to starting chain to finish row.  Repeat from * for a total of 5 rows.  After the last row, right side should be facing.  Do not turn.  Ch1.  Sc1 in each stitch around, working from left to right – that is crab stitch.  Join with a slip stitch to first ch of row.  Finish off.  Repeat on other sleeve.

Edging:  Starting at the center back neck, with right side facing, join variegated yarn with a slip stitch.  Ch1.  Sc around the edge of the whole piece:  Sc1 in the top each stitch.  Sc2 in each dc row end.  Sc1 in each sc row end.  (Sc1, ch1, sc1) in each outside corner to increase (like at the center neck corners or the bottom center front corners).  When you get back to the center back neck, finishing the row, slip stitch in the starting ch1.

Buttonholes:  Pin a marker in each stitch where you want a buttonhole along the front edge.

Next row:  ch1, turn.  Sc in each sc around, increasing (sc1, ch1, sc1)in the ch1 at each corner as set up in the previous row.  When you reach a pin, ch1 but do not skip any stitches – this makes a small buttonhole.  Finish the row with a slip stitch in the starting ch1. 

Next row:  ch1, turn. 
Here’s how to reinforce the buttonholes:  When you reach the sc before a ch, draw up a loop in that sc and in the ch1 space – so there are 3 loops on your hook.  Yarnover, and pull through all three loops to finish the stitch.  Draw up a loop in the ch1 space and also in the next sc – so there are 3 loops on your hook.  Yarnover, and pull through all three loops to finish the stitch.

Sc in each sc around, increasing as before at each outside corner, and reinforcing the buttonholes as defined.  Finish the row with a slip stitch in the starting ch1. 

After the last row, right side should be facing.  Do not turn.  Ch1.  Sc1 in each stitch around, working from left to right – that is crab stitch.  Join with a slip stitch to first ch of row.  Finish off. 


Sew buttons on opposite front edge to match the buttonholes.  Tuck in loose ends.

MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013

18" Doll Clothes, part 1

Clothes for 18” doll 
All the patterns here are fairly traditional shapes for real people, too.  Only the numbers are changed to fit the doll.  The shapes are simple and can be made from a variety of pattern stitches.  Most doll clothes work out better with a smaller yarn, so these garments are made mainly with DK or sport weight yarn.  But some worsted weight isn’t necessarily such a bad thing.

Along with your yarn and hook, you will need a tape measure (all measurements here are in inches, but the same ideas apply in metric).  Here are measurements I took of my 18” doll:

Around neck:  6”      bust:  11-1/2”          hip:  13           upper arm:  4-1/2”
wrist:  3-3/4           head:  12”          waist:  11          thigh:  6-1/4
ankle:  4-1/4           across back at shoulders:  5          armhole depth:  2
underarm to wrist:  3-1/2          shoulder to wrist:  5-1/2          neck to waist:  4
neck to floor:  15          waist to knee:  6          crotch depth:  4-1/2          neck to hip:  8
inseam:  7          waist to ankle:  9

Only a few measurements are used for these sweaters, but if you want to make clothing, it is interesting to see how the numbers work together and are related to each other.  These measurements are of the actual body.  For garments, I often add ease – so the armhole depth would end up being 3” for a sweater that goes over a shirt.  Figure 12 inches for the bust, allowing 6” for the front and 6” for the back.

Six Blocks sweater (7, counting the collar)
DK weight yarn, 4mm hook
Sample:  Sateen yarn by Cascade.  This was leftover yarn from 3 skeins used to make a toddler sweater.
Measurements:
Half the Bust, plus desired ease: (A) – 6”
Half that number:  (B) – 3”
Make six rectangles, measuring A by B.  Start by making two for the front and two for the back.

In this sample, the 2 back blocks are made with 3” rows worked for 6” in length.  The 2 front blocks are made with 6” rows worked for 3” in length.

  Stitches used:
Alternating rows dc and sc/ch1 (odd number of stitches)
(sc, dc) with sc in dc of pr r and dc in sc of pr r
Ch2 net stitch (for sleeves)
Shell stitch for collar.

Join center back seam.  Join halfway across tops for shoulders.

For the sleeves:  Stitch the sleeves starting at the shoulder so you don’t have to sew them on later.  Starting halfway down one side, join yarn, stitch up to shoulder and down to matching point for sleeve depth.  Ch-2 net stitch allows the sleeve fabric to stretch longer to be more sleeve-like.  On the last row, sc1 in each ch space to gather for wrist.

Join one seam for underarm seam and side seam on each side.

For the collar:  Join yarn halfway between front neck corner and start of shoulder.  Stitch around neck, ending at corresponding point on other front neck edge.  Continue in patt st (shell stitch, here) for desired collar depth.

If desired, sc along front to add button/buttonhole bands.


Cardigan and cap
Sample:  Bentley by Cascade, with a 4.5mm hook.  One skein was enough for both the sweater and the cap, with yarn left over – that is the nice thing about doll clothes.


Cardigan:  The body is made in one piece from the bottom edge to the underarm, then the back and fronts are continued up to the shoulders.  It may seem convenient to work this way because you don’t have to sew any side seams.  Unfortunately, it makes sewing in the sleeves tricky.



Pattern stitch:  1 row dc (on the right side), then 1 row (sc, ch1, skip 1).  Maintain the pattern stitch so the single crochets line up over each other when there is shaping. A plain pattern stitch does not compete with the texture of the yarn.

Row-by-row instructions can go on for pages, but all you really need is a schematic with the basic measurements, along with the pattern stitch you choose.

Mark your numbers (from the top of this file) on the chart – that would be in inches.  For this sweater, start at the lower edge with a row of stitching as long as the bust measurement.  Continue in patt st up to the underarm, then stitch the fronts and back sections separately.  Sew the shoulder seams.

For each sleeve (make 2): Starting at the wrist, increase 1 stitch at the beginning and end of every 4th row until the piece is as wide as 2x the armhole depth.  If it isn’t as long as the desired sleeve length, continue stitching without any more increases until it is long enough.

With right sides together, sew the top of the sleeve in at the armhole.  Join the underarm seam, matching a little bit at the underarm to the underarm portion of the body.

Finishing:  Stitch 1 round of sc around the outer edge of the piece, making a ch2 loop (but don’t skip any stitches) for buttonholes.  In a second row, sc (or crab stitch) around,   Here’s how to deal with the buttonholes:  In the st before a buttonloop, draw up a loop.  Draw up another loop in the ch-2 space.  Yarnover, and pull through all loops to finish the stitch.  Draw up a loop in the ch-2 space (again), Draw up another loop in the next sc.  Yarnover, and pull through all loops to finish the stitch.

Cap (an experiment):
Looking at a golf cap recently, it looked like a circle where all the decreases were focused on one side, making a visor, with the back of the cap worked even with no increases or decreases, ending with a slight decrease all around (maybe 10%) for fit.  I made one to try out the idea, and here is what I did:  

Measurement:  snug measurement of head - 12” for doll.
In a firm gauge, make a sc circle about 18” around, or 6” across:  ch3, slip st to form a ring.  (ch1, sc in ring) 6 times (12 sts in all).  Place a marker in the last st of the round, and move the marker each round to keep track of where you are.  Continuing in a coil:
Round 2:  (ch1, sc2) around 1 time – 18 sts.
Round 3:  (ch1, sc3) around 1 time – 24 sts.
Round 4:  (ch1, sc4) around 1 time – 30 sts.
Continue increasing this way until the piece is 6” across.  With the marker at beginning of round, place another marker after 6” in the round – that is halfway around the finished measurement for the hat.  *SC even (no more increases) from the beginning of the round to the second marker.  Continuing in sc, dec 6 sts evenly to the next marker to finish the round.  Repeat from * until only 1/3 of those sts remain.  Measure for fit.  Dec 10% in the next round, all the way around.  Finish off.

Après-Ski pullover
This is a variation on the Two Blocks top.
Sample:  It used about 50-grams of fluffy yarn – it was a bit of leftover yarn.
Measurements:
Bust:  12”
Armhole depth: 3”
Wrist: 3”

Make two squares, based on the bust measurement, in ch-1 net stitch on the diagonal.  With right sides together, join ¼ on each side of the top edges for the shoulders, leaving ½ for the neck opening.  Mark the underarm points on each side.  With RS facing, join yarn at one side edge, sc up to the shoulder and down to the other underarm.  Continue in sweater stitch, decreasing as needed to the wrist measurement.  A schematic helps with the numbers.


Join side and sleeve seams.

Collar:  join yarn at center back.  (sc in next row-end, ch1, sc in next row end) all the way around the neck edge.  This is an increase row.  Continuing in a coil, in ch-1 net stitch, keep stitching until the yarn runs out.  Slip stitch the last couple of stitches to smooth out the finishing point.


Three Blocks vest (4, counting the collar)
Sample: Pima Fine by Cascade, with a 4mm hook
Measurements:
Across Back:  5”
Bust:  12”
Armhole depth:  3”

The finished piece may look tricky, but here is the schematic:

It really is a block for the back and two more blocks for the front.  You can use any stitch you want, but here is the pattern stitch for sample:
R1: ch2 (counts as 1dc), turn, dc2, sk1, (dc, ch, dc) in next st, sk 1), (dc5, sk1, (dc, ch, dc) in next st, sk 1) across, ending with dc3.
R2: ch1, turn, sc across.

Starting at the lower edge, make a block as wide as the across back measurement and as long as half the bust measurement (or desired length).

For each front, make a block 2/3 the width of the back, and just as long as the back.  Join half the top edge of the front to 1/3 the top edge of the back for the shoulder seams.

Collar:  Starting halfway on remaining front neck edge, sc around the neck to the matching point on the other front neck edge.  Stitch a few more rows (sc) until the collar is as wide as the remaining neck edge on the front.

On the buttonhole side of the front, mark the midpoint and halfway between that point and the bottom edge for buttonhole placement.

Finishing:  with right side facing and starting at the center bottom back edge, sc around the whole piece, making (ch2) at each buttonhole location.  Next row:  in crab stitch, stitch around 1 time, reinforcing the buttonholes when you get to them.

FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013

Three Blox Vest (four, if you add the collar)


 Three Blox Vest

The concept:  This works well with a loose gauge, a soft drape.  Start by making a rectangle as wide as the shoulder width and as long as you want the vest to be. The rows can be oriented horizontally, vertically, or on the diagonal.  That is the back.  Figure out your gauge.  Make two more rectangles, both the same size but narrower than the back, for the fronts, so that the back and the two fronts together are big enough to go around the waist.  A fourth rectangle is the collar.  Join seams.  Add edgings and buttonholes.  Add buttons.  That’s about it.

Measurements that matter:
Across back measurement
Waist (mainly to make sure the fronts and back together are big enough).  In my case, the back was 15 inches wide, and each front was 10 inches wide – notice that the front is wider than the back.  If you have an idea of the size but don't know the measurements, refer to a body measurement chart like the one on the Craft Yarn Council website.

Notes:
1. Join half the top front edge to the matching back edge for the shoulder seams.  Stitch a collar rectangle:  join the yarn midpoint of the remaining front top edge, stitch around the neck to the matching point on the opposite front neck edge, increasing about 10-20% so it will lie flat.  Work even for a few inches, then fasten off.

2. If you don’t want to sew shoulder seams, start at the bottom of the back and stop at the top.  Mark the top of the back in thirds.  Work across one third and add the same number of stitches again – so, for example, if the back had 60 stitches, work across 20, then increase another 20 to make 40 stitches for the front width.  Then continue stitching along that shorter width for one front side.  To make the other front side, make a base chain of the added stitches, join to the top of the other side of the back along the other shoulder.

3.  Alternate collar:  On the red version, I made a shawl collar by stitching along the remaining stitches of each front top edge, making rectangular strips that joined at the center back .

4. Mark the armhole depth, taking into consideration how deep it should be to fit over a shirt.  Join the side seams.

5. Add a couple of rounds around the open edges:  For the armholes, single crochet around one row, decreasing 10 percent to avoid the ‘50’s sci-fi shoulder look – the loose gauge helps with that, too.  Then crab stitch a finishing row.  On the front edges, mark where buttons and buttonloops will be.  Single crochet one row, adding button loops where you want them.  Depending on how wide you want the edging to be, sc another row, reinforcing the buttonholes, then crab stitch 1 row to finish.

The samples were made with worsted-  to bulky-weight yarns.  DK weight works well, too, but takes longer to make.

The blue vest was made in Fantasy Naturale, a bulky weight cotton by Plymouth.  Pattern stitch:  Base row: (sc1, dc1) across.  Pattern row:  (sc1, dc1) into dc of pr r.  Skip the sc.

The red vest was made in Cotton Classic, a light worsted weight cotton by Tahki Stacy Charles.  Pattern stitch:  (sc1, dc1) across, with sc into dc of previous row and dc into sc of previous row.  This one is different because the rows are worked up and down:  Make a base row as long as you want the garment to be, then work the pattern stitch until the piece is as wide as the across back measurement.  Make two more blocks the same way until each is about 2/3 as wide as the back.  Join the shoulder and side seams.  This one does not have a notched collar.  Instead, for the collar, join the yarn at the front neck corner of one side.  stitch across the short row, back and forth, joining the end of every 2nd row to a row end on the back neck edge, until you reach the middle of the back.  Finish off, and repeat for the other side of the front.  When you reach the center back on the 2nd collar piece, finish off, leaving a tail long enough to sew the last row of each collar piece together.  For the edging:  Attach pins on the front edges where the button loops should go.  Join the yarn at the middle of the lower edge on the back, with the right side facing.  Single crochet around the whole piece, making a (sc, ch, sc) increase as needed at outside corners, and making a ch-2 loop at each pin marking a button loop.  Next round:  crab stitch around, making 2 stitches into each button loop.  Finish off and tuck in loose ends, and sewing a button opposite each button loop.

The variegated vest was made in Encore, a worsted weight acrylic/wool blend by Plymouth.  Pattern stitch (worked over an odd number of stitches):  Row 1: sc1 (ch1, skip 1, sc1) across.  Row 2: *Dc5, skip 1, (dc1, ch1, dc1) in next st, skip 1. Repeat from * across.  Repeat these two rows for the pattern.  A pattern that alternates tall (dc) rows with short (sc) rows can be really good with variegated yarns because the color changes in the tall direction are highlighted, and the color changes in the short direction are minimized.


SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013

Toddler Pullover to crochet - a basic concept piece

This is the pattern for a toddler sweater at SueDee's, with the class to introduce it scheduled for Saturday, 7/13.  The photo here is of an earlier sample, which is slightly different.  I will get a picture of the current sample and post it shortly.

This is a basic concept, with very little shaping, so you can vary the amount of yarn, the type of yarn, the hook, and the stitch to make a basic pullover sweater.  The buttons at the shoulder are good for small children because the neck opening may be too small to fit.  If you have an idea of the size but don't know the measurements, refer to a body measurement chart like the one on the Craft Yarn Council website.

The concept:  The front and back are simple squares.  Once at least one is done, calculate your real gauge to figure out how to space the decreases for sleeves that taper to the wrist.  Figure out how many stitches to start the sleeve at the shoulder, starting from the body edge and working down to the wrist.  Figure out how many stitches you want to end up with at the wrist, using the body measurement chart and your gauge.  Stitch the sleeves.  Join underarm and side seams.   If you prefer, you can use the same numbers to work the sleeves from the wrist, up, and then sew them to the body.  This is a little more work but has the advantage that the stitches are going in the same direction as the body.  Add plackets at one or both shoulders for closure.

Materials:  yarn enough for a sweater, a hook to match, tape measure, size chart, calculator, yarn needle for tucking in loose ends.

Materials used in the shop sample, size 1 year or 2T:  Pinwheel yarn by Cascade, 1 ball (200 grams) worsted weight yarn, 5mm (size H) crochet hook.  Note gauge given on label.

In the photo here the sleeves are worked from the wrist to the shoulder, and then sewn on.  A mock turtleneck is worked in front and back post double crochets, with the button band only on one shoulder.

Relevant Measurements (this is how big you want the finished piece to be).  For this sample:
Chest/bust: 22 inches
Armhole depth: 4.25 inches
Sleeve to underarm: 8.5 inches
Around wrist: 6 inches

STITCH NOTES:
Pattern stitch:  1 row double crochet (dc), 1 row (single crochet (sc)1, chain (ch)1, skip1).  Over the course of the pattern, the sc should line up over each other, so when there is shaping – for tapering the sleeves – adjust the stitching to keep in pattern.

Foundation double crochet (fdc), to start:  Ch3.  Dc in 3rd ch from hook.  Two stitches made.  Yarnover.  Insert hook in same chain, yarnover, draw up a loop.  Yarnover and pull through 1 loop to create base chain.  Notice the base chain – you will insert into that later.  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) twice to finish the stitch.  Three stitches completed.  *Yarnover.  Insert hook under two strands of base chain.  Yarnover, and draw up a loop.  Yarnover and pull through 1 loop to create next base chain.  Notice the base chain – you will insert into that for the next stitch.  (Yarnover, and pull through 2 loops) twice to finish the stitch.  Repeat from * for desired length (needs to be an odd number because of the pattern stitch).  Starting with a foundation stitch row, along with being aware of the suggested gauge of the yarn, gives you something you can measure right away.  After a few rows, be sure to measure again, to make sure your piece is not too big or too small.  It might be.  That is the time to adjust your number of stitches and start over.  If you are making a size much bigger than a toddler size, consider making a gauge swatch of 30 stitches or so and about 5 inches.  This project is not so precise that gauge is critical.  At the same time, if your piece is much bigger than you planned, you may run out of yarn.  If your piece is much smaller, it may not fit.

Incomplete stitch (i):  An incomplete stitch is a stitch worked up to, but not including, the last yarnover and pull through.  Enough interesting things happen at this point that it is handy to be aware of it.  Decreasing in double crochet, for example, means making 2 incomplete double crochets (idc), then yarnover, and pull through all 3 loops to finish the stitch.  Incomplete single crochet stitches are involved in making the buttonholes.

Seams:  you can join your seams any way you want, but the one used here goes like this:  Insert hook through 2 layers to be joined.  Yarnover and draw up a loop.  Chain 1.  Insert hook in next point to be joined.  Yarnover, and pull loop through all layers and loops to finish a slip stitch.  Joining two rows of stitches, slip stitch in every stitch (both layers) across.  It adds a little bulk, but it provides stability and a little ease so the seam is not tighter than the fabric.  Joining two rows of row-ends (as in a side seam), slip stitch each row end (both layers).  Joining two edges that do not match, take a moment to figure a rough ratio so they can be joined evenly.

Getting Started
Front:
R1:  Fdc 45, or as needed for half bust measurement.  Starting ch counts as 1dc.
R2:  ch1, turn (does not count as a stitch).  Sc1, (ch1, sk1, sc1) across, ending with sc1 in turning ch of previous row.
R3:  ch2, turn (counts as 1dc).  Dc in each sc and ch across.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until piece is square.  Fasten off.  Count the rows: _____

Back:  Make a second piece the same as the Front.

Measure what you have and figure your gauge, for real.  These are the numbers that came out of my stitching (yours may be different):

Chest/bust: 22 inches
Each piece: 11 inches = 33 rows, 45 stitches
Real Gauge:  3 rows per inch, 4 stitches per inch
Using the calculator, here’s the rest of the information:
Armhole depth: 4.25 inches = 13 rows, also 17 stitches
Sleeve to underarm: 8.5 inches = 26 rows
Around wrist: 6 inches = 24 stitches

So in this case, start at shoulder with 35 stitches (17x2, plus one more because I want an odd number of stitches).  I want the wrist to have 25 stitch (odd number), so that means decreasing 10 stitches over 26 rows, which is 13 dc rows.

*Sleeves – do this on both sides:
Mark the underarm 13 rows from the top on each side of the front and back.  With right side facing (of both front and back), start the sleeve at the shoulder.  Attach the yarn at one underarm, dc 17 stitches evenly up to the shoulder corner.  Since you want an odd number of stitches, make 1 more stitch joining the front and back:  idc in last stitch of one side, idc in first stitch of other piece.  Yarnover and pull through all loops to finish st.  Continue down to underarm by dc17 evenly over 13 row ends.

Continue in patt as set for 3 dc rows, then 1 more sc row.  Then start tapering the sleeve:
Decrease row:  ch2, turn. Dec1.  Dc across until 3 sts remain.  Dec1.  Dc in last st.
Continue in patt as set, decreasing every 2nd dc row, a total of 5 times (10 sts decreased).  If a sc row begins/ends with a chain because of a decrease, sc instead of ch – so that row will begin/end with 2sc in order to maintain the pattern st.

Edge:  ch1, turn.  Sc across, decreasing 2 stitches evenly.  Next row:  ch1, turn, sc across.

Seam:  You can join the seams any way you want.  Here is one way:  After finishing a sleeve and ending up at the wrist, fold pc right sides together to join the underarm/side seam.  Ch1.  Inserting hook through both layers, (sl st, ch1) up the sleeve and down the side edge, ending at the lower edge of the body.  Fasten off.

Repeat from * for other sleeve.

Shoulder button band A:
R1: With RS facing, join yarn with sl st at top shoulder corner.  Ch1.  Sc15 (1/3 of the way across).
R2: ch1, turn, sc across.
Repeat r2 for a total of 5 rows for the button band.

Shoulder buttonhole band A:
R1: With RS facing, count 15 sts in from other shoulder corner, join yarn with sl st.  Ch1.  Sc15 to corner.
R2 & 3: ch1, turn, sc across.
R4: Setting up for 3 buttonholes.  Ch1, turn.  S c1, ch2, sk1, sc5, ch2, sk1, sc5, ch2, sk1, sc.
R5:  ch1, turn.  *Isc, isc in ch2 space, yarnover and pull through all loops to finish st.  Sc in same ch space.  Isc, isc in ch2 space, yarnover and pull through all loops to finish st.  ** Sc3.  Repeat from * across, ending at ** just after the 3rd buttonhole.
Finish off, leaving a tail of about 4 inches to tack the edges.
Thread a yarn needle with the tail, and whip stitch the short edges of the bands together and to the open little bit at the top of the shoulder.

If you don’t want buttons on the other side, make another button band (no holes), and finish it by sewing to the opposite shoulder edge of the body.

If you want buttons on both sides, repeat button and buttonhole band on other shoulder, reversing the shaping so the buttons are all on the same side of the garment:

Shoulder buttonhole band B:
R1: With RS facing, join yarn with sl st at top shoulder corner.  Ch1.  Sc15 (1/3 of the way across).
R2 & 3: ch1, turn, sc across.
R4: Setting up for 3 buttonholes.  Ch1, turn.  S c1, ch2, sk1, sc5, ch2, sk1, sc5, ch2, sk1, sc.
R5:  ch1, turn.  *Isc, isc in ch2 space, yarnover and pull through all loops to finish st.  Sc in same ch space.  Isc, isc in ch2 space, yarnover and pull through all loops to finish st.  ** Sc3.  Repeat from * across, ending at ** just after the 3rd buttonhole.

Shoulder button band B:
R1: With RS facing, count 15 sts in from other shoulder corner, join yarn with sl st.  Ch1.  Sc15 to corner.
R2: ch1, turn, sc across.
Repeat r2 for a total of 5 rows for the button band.
Finish off, leaving a tail of about 4 inches to tack the edges.
Thread a yarn needle with the tail, and whip stitch the short edges of the bands together and to the open little bit at the top of the shoulder.

Neck Edge:  With RS facing, join yarn at neck corner of button band, sc along the row ends, across the neck and up opposite row ends.  Fasten off.  Repeat on other side.  Tuck in loose ends.

THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2012

Variations on a Rectangle


Suddenly I have seen several sweater designs based on rectangles.  

This one, for example, is
a 6-foot scarf, about 20 inches wide,
worked in a lacy-kind-of-entrelac stitch.
The short ends were sewn together to make a tube,
then ribbing was added on one side to make a neck,
and on the other side to make two cuffs and the lower edge ribbing.
I saw it in a store for about $30.  The pattern stitch and the concept both seems really cool, so I bought it (and took the ribbing all undone).  The shape was not particularly wearable - there is no underarm sleeve length, but we're talking about the idea, here.

Then recently, a friend described another sweater made from a similar rectangular tube:  on one open side, mark a space for an arm opening,
then sew a bit for a shoulder,
leaving an opening for the neck.
On the other open side, mark a space for the other arm opening on the opposite side,
then sew a bit for a side seam,
leaving an opening for the lower edge.
Using the undone ribbing yarn from the store-bought sweater, I crocheted in a ch-2 net stitch to add to the two open sides to add width, and ended up with this:

And finally, a local yarn shop offered a kit for a rectangle pullover with dolman sleeves.  The pattern calls for knitting it in a 1x1 rib, but I will most likely crochet it in a ch-2 net stitch.  The kit should come in in a couple of weeks.

I like the idea of making things from simple shapes, especially if they work.  But even if they don't work, starting with a simple shape leads to understanding how shaping can make really good sense.

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