Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sugar, spice and a surprise


Last week, I finished crocheting this little cardigan sweater for the GB. The pattern is called Sugar & Spice Cardi, and it comes from Issue 32 of Simply Crochet magazine. This is a magazine published in the UK. It isn't widely available in the US (I think we can buy it at Jo-Ann Fabrics, but I don't often see it there). I've always thought it seemed like a nice magazine, though; I've seen some of their projects on other blogs and on Ravelry. I subscribe to Interweave Crochet, a quarterly magazine, and I like the project ideas in it, but Simply Crochet's projects are particularly cute and creative, with lots of things for children as well as adults.

A couple of months ago, I was visiting one of my favorite blogs, Ladybird Diaries, and saw that Marianne, a very talented and inspiring crocheter, was planning to make a cardigan for her daughter from issue 32 of Simply Crochet. She shared a photo from the magazine and it really caught my eye. I'd been trawling Ravelry for cardigan patterns, to make one for my own daughter. I told Marianne that I'd like to make one too, but had trouble finding the magazine. Next thing I knew, Marianne was mailing a copy of the magazine to me, all the way from Scotland, where she lives. This was such a sweet and generous gesture and I was excited to have a copy of Simply Crochet. I devoured it in one sitting, folding down the corners of pages with projects I want to try - the Sugar & Spice cardi foremost among them (and trust me, they're all really cute).


Marianne has now made several of these cardis and they're adorable. I started working on mine toward the end of June, using DK yarn and a size 7 (4.5mm) hook. The pattern recommends heavier yarn and a larger hook, but I had this idea that it would be daintier if I did it my way. I was wrong; it was misshapen and very tiny, like a weird little bolero jacket, and every time I tried it on the GB, she looked dubious. I was almost finished when I decided to frog the whole thing and try again the right way. I don't frog things very often; it kind of goes against me - all that work for nothing! But this time, it was the best choice. I wanted the cardi to be nice, something the GB would be proud and happy to wear, so I started again with worsted-weight yarn and a J/10 (6mm) hook.


I used a similar color palette for the second attempt, but decided to make the body in a medium gray (the first was made with cream-colored yarn) because I have a lot of it, numerous skeins I've been collecting for future blankets. All of the yarns in both cardi attempts came from my stash; I really enjoy projects that allow me to use up ends and partial skeins of yarns I already have, and something like this cardi, the yoke of which is meant to mimic the look of Fair Isle knitting, is a great ends-user-upper.


It's such a simple and easy pattern and it worked up quickly. I think I made it in four afternoons. I made some minor modifications to the design; I used a large gray plastic button for the cardi's closure instead of the suggested sewn-on ribbon ties, and I made the sleeves and bottom trim in another neutral color instead of picking up a brighter one from the yoke like the magazine showed. I thought this would keep the cardi simple and easy to match with other clothing (plus, I had a lot of that cream color too).


I had been concerned about the sweater seeming too bulky or heavy at first, which is why I tried it in DK yarn, but I don't think my concerns were founded. The worsted-weight yarn worked up smoothly and I think it has a nice drape. I tried to crochet a little more loosely than I usually do. I've realized lately that I don't think about my tension very often anymore, whereas it used to be on my mind constantly when I crocheted. It feels more natural now; you don't know the worries I used to have, and the way my wrist would cramp up. I don't know why I was so tense; there are no crochet police. But it's nice to be past that and feeling easier about the whole thing.


I'm really happy with this little sweater, and I think the GB likes it too. She said it was comfortable and that she looks forward to wearing it to school when it gets cooler outside. I feel particularly good about the way it fits across her shoulders and back. I had some concerns about the round shape of the yoke as it blends into the sleeves; I wondered if it would buckle across her back. It looks slightly bulgy to me but it's not bad at all. I think it will flatten with wear. She's an active little thing and she'll like having the extra wiggle-room.


I love to make things for her to wear. It really makes me happy and this particular project appealed to me as soon as I saw it. I could just picture my little sprite wearing the sweet little cardi in the magazine. It was fun to make (especially once I took the pattern's materials suggestions!) and it's delightful to see her wearing it. Thank you, Marianne. I appreciate your sweet surprise gift so much. You are a kindred spirit and a lovely friend.

Sugar & Spice Cardi (pattern directions for size 5-6) from Simply Crochet magazine:
J/10 (6mm) and (for edgings) I/9 (5.5mm) Clover Amour hooks
I Love This Yarn worsted acrylic: Graybeard, Ivory, Stonewash, Old Rose, Antique Teal, Rosy Cheeks.

37 comments:

  1. She looks gorgeous, a great pattern. I am going to go back and look at the pattern it would be perfect for my 2 granddaughters.

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  2. It's a lovely make & a thoughtful gesture on Mariannes part x

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  3. It's beautiful Jennifer and it fits perfectly, I hope you will link it to the stash link party. :) xx

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  4. It's so pretty Jennifer, well done you. I really like the way the circular top part goes around her, it suits her a lot. A shame you had to redo it, but it was well worth it I think. No doubt she loves it. CJ xx

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  5. The cardigan is gorgeous, Jennifer. I don't see any bulgyness (is that even a word??) across the back. It fits GB beautifully! :o)

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  6. Wow, I just love that sweater and how it fits so perfectly and it's just CUTE! Bravo! I bet her friends will love it too. I made one sweater for my 1st grandchild, my Jenna. It was pink and green in velour. Loved doing that. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  7. What a pretty cardigan, the colours and style really suit your GB. I am new to crochet and one lesson I have learnt (the hard way) is always to follow the yarn recommendation. The designer really does know best. Good for you that you unravelled and started over.

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  8. It's lovely! I like the colors.

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  9. I adore the cardigan, it is so pretty . I do not crochet, but my mama and nanny did and now seeing your work makes me want to learn how too!

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  10. It is beautiful! I love the colours.

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  11. It's so cute, and she looks adorable in it!

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  12. That is an adorable sweater AND little girl. You chose perfect colors and she looks so happy to wear it. I think clothes made by Mom or Grandma are extra special. :-)
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  13. Your cardigan is fantastic and it really suits GB. Lovely colours too. xx

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  14. GB looks beautiful in it. As a knitter, I am only now getting into crocheting. The idea of crocheting it in 4 afternoons, seems wonderful to me! I'm sure a knited version would take longer. Lovely colours

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  15. It is a very pretty cardigan Jennifer, and GB wears it really well. I have never chrocheted a garment in my life (I am still struggling with Annie's ripple blanket). xx

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  16. Very pretty cardi for a very pretty girl! You did really well with the colours too, Jennifer. It's lovely when bloggy friends think of us so much to go to all that trouble. Greetings from Scotland from me too!! x

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  17. It's a sweet little cardigan and looks wonderful worn by your GB. I love the shape too. It's a really lovely make, well done! And how nice of Marriane to send you a copy of the magazine!

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  18. Well done, Jennifer! That little card is adorable! Not only is it adorable, it also fits GB. It's not always easy to get the fit right on handmade items, so a double well done. :-)

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  19. Thanks for the link to Marianne, Jennifer. I enjoyed visiting her blog. I also enjoyed learning about the generous gift she sent you which resulted in the pretty cardigan that you made for GB and she modeled so sweetly. : ) <3

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  20. A very pretty cardigan and it looks lovely on GB. I love the colours. Have a good week. Jane xx

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  21. Marianne is indeed a delight and so is that amazing cardi for your sweet bear. She looks wonderful in it, good job Mom.
    Meredith

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  22. Beautiful Jennifer! How kind of Marianne to send you the magazine. Aren't bloggers just the very best?! The cardigan looks so pretty on your little girl, and really suits her. X

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  23. It's absolutely gorgeous and suits the GB so well. I really like the colours you chose. I rarely buy crochet magazines but I do sometimes buy Simply Crochet as I think it's especially good, one of the better ones on the market here. I wish Bella would let me make her something like this. I'm going to show her this. :-) xx

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  24. What a beautiful cardigan! You are so talented. Your sweet little girl is very lucky to have a mom who makes such pretty things for her. :-)

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  25. Adorable! And the fit looks perfect. What a pretty colour combo too. (Did you agonise over the colour arrangement? I really struggle with things like that.) I like the way the designer used different-sized clusters to control the yoke increases.

    I've seen Simply Crochet at Barnes and Noble - issues seem to show up about a month or so after they're released in the UK. Not sure why it takes so long - do they come by boat? :)

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  26. Such a cute cardigan! I've been wanting to crochet a sweater or cardigan for my little one. I really like this one. I love gray. I'd love if you'd stop by the Submarine Sunday Link Party to share this wonderful creation!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ The Submarine Sunday Link Party

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  27. The little cardigan is so lovely Jennifer and your girl looks so sweet and happy to be wearing it! You are so very welcome for the magazine...I loved doing this little thing for you, it was an absolute pleasure and I'm glad you've enjoyed the magazine. Thank you for the really sweet things you have said about it me...I'm blushing...but I'm so touched.
    Marianne x

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  28. It's beautiful, I love the colours you have chosen they look wonderful together.

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  29. What a beautiful cardi, Jennifer, and I love your elegant choice of colours. I'm sure the GB loves it too! a great project.

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  30. Lovely cardi, Jennifer, and it looks great on your daughter. That last photo is gorgeous. She's a poppet. Sam x

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  31. That is just so pretty! It looks beautiful on her and I love the colours, you clever old thing xx

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  32. It is lovely !! It looks as if you've bought the cardi in a shop - and I mean that in the positive way !!
    Xxx

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  33. Beautiful cardy Jennifer, lucky little Girl Bear :) I love Simply Crochet too, I'm lucky enough to have a subscription. When hubby goes to the US on business I get him to bring me back some magazines including Interweave crochet, I really like it too.
    Jillxo

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  34. Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what the GB is wearing! Gorgeous, I love the colour palette, and love the way the pattern made it's way to you, so generous! x

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