It’s been a while since I last blogged. Last month’s posts were about how I use crochet to help me manage the stresses in my life from day to day.
Well this month I tried and is still trying to tackle something even more stressful… designing and writing a pattern. I come up with my own patterns all of the time for hats,scarves,ear warmers, blankets etc… but this was my very first time designing a piece of clothing.
I’m not going to lie and say that my first attempt turn out as I planned, it didn’t so I frogged it and went back to the drawing board. Mt first piece turned out way bigger than I wanted, more boxy than I had expected and I truly disliked the stitch pattern I had chosen. I knew I wanted to create a top and have it be visually interesting and yet still easy to follow, but in retrospect I should’ve just sat down and really thought about it. So one day I was sitting at my work desk putting together a list of outfits I wanted to take with me on my birthday trip to Atlanta and I was determined to make this top. I went through my yarn stash and found this awesome chartreuse yarn from Yarnspirations Caron Simply Soft Yarn line. This is by far my favorite yarn to use for just about everything. It so soft and for me at least it washes very well.
So I started by first going onto the Craft Yarn Counsil website for woman size chart standards. This is where I went wrong in my first attempt. I thought I was good by just winging it and for me as I figured out I can wing a crochet stitch but not measurements. I wanted my top to be a little stretchy but not so much that it wouldn’t hug your form comfortably. I brought my yarn up from storage and sat at my work desk again to see what I could come up with. I first came up with a stitch count that I felt as though would be a good starting point for a size medium top which was 75. I then realized that I wanted to keep the stitch count at 75 so I had to add on 1 stitch. I ended up chaining 1 more stitch which in total was 75 + 1. Then I needed to figure out which stitch I wanted to use that didn’t any multiples that were too complicated and I choose single crochet.
As I was crocheting I realized that the top would be a little too boring for me in all single crochet, so I added a few rows of double crochet as well. I looked down at it again and thought to myself that it may be too hot to wear a top with such closed stitches, so I added a row of half double crochet and chain 1 alternating between them until the end of the row.
I then pulled out my notepad and wrote everything down before I forgot what I had done. Then I continued with the stitch pattern I had come up with. So I just went to town from that point on. I was determined to finish this top before my trip and I was cutting it pretty close. As I was starting to get the the measurement that was the half way mark for my top I realized that I wanted another color for the very top of my crochet shirt. I went back in my stash and found some Dark Country Blue by Caron Simply Soft that I could add. So I started working with the darker yarn and loved the look it was creating. I not only could wear this top on my vacation (which I never did wear because it was too muggy) but I could also wear it to my 9 to 5 (which I did on my first week back after my vacation). I finished the front panel and proceeded to start the back panel.
I was so excited that 1). my color change is getting better and less noticeable 2). Most importantly that they both matched!!!. It’s nothing like crocheting something and then realizing that your stitch count was off. Then It was onto the task of measuring where I wanted my sleeves to end, how wide I wanted the neck to be and if I wanted hip slits or not. It took me some maneuvering but I eventually figured everything out and finished my top!! I am so proud of it and myself for not giving up.
Now onto the task of making it again but this time I’m revisiting the Lion Brand Mandala Yarn that I had originally chosen for the top. It is a size 3 weight but requires the same hook size I used with the simply soft yarn. I’m excited to see how this turns out as well. Follow my instagram for updates and pics on how it going.
Until next time,
Tacia, founder of Joanna’s Crochet