As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not overly keen on crocheted apparel. It’s just my personal taste, but then I’ve never really been into boho or beach chic, which a lot of it falls under. Well, I was in Joann Fabric a few months ago, in the queue to pay and this little booklet caught my eye:
It’s a cool little publication called Kimono Style, from Spanish company The Sewing Box (El Costurero in Spanish) and it was actually a few of the sews that initially attracted my attention. All the designs are based around the kimono pattern (i.e. quite simple) and they have some historical information, a few colouring pages; all-in-all a really nice little booklet. There are, however, two crocheted pieces in the bag – a kind of vintage 60s inspired coat and this, a bat wing kimono cardigan.
And I really like both of them! I have to mention a translation issue in the booklet for this particular pattern. The gauge picture is correct, but unfortunately the Spanish-English translation isn’t great and I made the cardigan by using the diagram and the photo. It won’t present any problem to anyone who’s been crocheting a while, but an absolute beginner might be rather confused. I contacted The Sewing Box to let them know and conversed with a charming editor who said they would update the pattern on their website and was rather aghast at the errors. From what I can see so far, only this pattern is affected, but I can’t see any way around mentioning it as it’s fairly consistently mistranslated. 😦
Anyway, back to the task in hand. I was at Urban Craft Uprising here in Seattle in December, and one of the things I purchased was some yarn from Yarnia, who are based out of Portland. I wasn’t familiar with them before that, but it’s a great yarn shop that, as well as selling pre-wound yarns, lets you select your own blend and then winds them for you in 4oz or 8oz cone increments. I saw a greeny-grey yarn with flecks of yellow that I thought would do nicely for this cardigan, so I bought 16oz and got going on it. The yarn mix was called “Lichen”, which is a great name as it does indeed have a mossy, earthy kind of vibe to it.
The cardigan itself is composed of five, pretty simple rectangular pieces – the back, two small front pieces ad two sleeves. There is no shaping needed as it’s a kimono style construction and the only stitches are single, double and treble crochet. It comes as a “One size” type of deal saying it will fit most people. The fabric patterns are for sizes 38-40 EUR though, which is 10-12 UK and 6-8 US, so it’s safe to say they probably aim slightly at the slimmer side of the equation. I was using a slightly larger crochet hook than recommended, so I figured I would give it a go and see how it came out. I’m more of a 14-16 UK (10-12US) right now, so it was a bit of a gamble. The yarn was loose rather than twisted together (I’m sure there’s a proper term for that) so I worked a little more slowly than normal, and was more careful to capture all the threads.
I ran out of yarn very close to the end, so there was a bit of a delay finishing it, but the only issue I really had was with the sleeves, and this was mostly to do with the fact that I decided to add some glittery stripes to liven up the Lichen a touch. This meant that my foundation chain row was at the “fatter end” of my arm and man, that was pretty tight! So basically I ripped the sleeves out and added another 4 rows to the pattern, adding stitches in each row. You can still see a little tightness there, but I think you have to know, that it will ease with time, and, anyway, I’m just not that fussy. 🙂 I also added the glittery yarn (can’t remember what it was as I got it in Germany a while ago) around the neck and front finishing and I’m glad I did.
And finally, I just want to mention blocking. I’ve never really blocked anything properly before and all I can say is WOWSERS. I confess I was getting ready to write this garment off a bit as it just hung weirdly and looked a bit odd before it went through the blocking process. But afterwards it was just… right. I can’t say that it is wildly different at all, but it sits right now and just looks like a finished piece. It makes such a difference. Anyone who has blocked will know exactly what I mean, but it is FOR SURE something that is worth doing to a woolen garment.
Being a kimono style it is not really shaped in any way and the design has you wearing it higher up at the front and then scooped down towards the back. I was slightly concerned about the style before I made the cardigan as I’m more of a shaped-garment person, but actually I really like it post-blocking.
So, my conclusion is that I’m pretty chuffed! I’ve already worn the cardigan a few times and it’s warm and cozy and it fits well. You never know, I might change my mind about crocheted clothing altogether! (I won’t.) Have a lovely rest of the weekend! 🙂