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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Belt or Buttons and the Cardi is Finished!

Hello everyone! Well we're finally here - the finishing steps of this cardi and then its ready to hit the beach :) I hope that you are happy with your results so far, whether you went with long sleeve or short, collar or hood, and you are ready to get this sweater done and ready to show off!

The first step of finishing the cardi is to work a single crochet edging along the ENTIRE sweater. This means around the back, up the slit, around and up one front, around the collar or hood, down and around the other front, then finally up and down the other slit - phew! I know it's a long way to go, but it really gives that edge a beautiful finish.

Nice clean edges!

When working this edging, just be consistent about what part of the stitches you are working into and keep those single crochets nicely spaced - generally pretty close together - to keep in looking straight and even. Also, it can help to work 3 single crochet in the same stitch at each of the corners to help turn around them nicely.

At this point you should also weave in any ends, something I know I've been putting off until now! For weaving in my ends, I like to work in a diagonal out one way and back another, then I tug at the crochet fabric from all directions before trimming it, to make sure that end moves as much as it is going to! This way it is more likely to stay put for the long term. Also, where I joined a new ball of yarn, I work those two ends in different directions so I don't end up with a bulky area in my sweater where I am trying to hide two ends together.

Also you will want to block the sweater now, if you haven't already, following the same recommendations as the post about blocking explained. If you did block the sweater earlier like I did, it is still a good idea to block the sleeves and hood or collar area that hasn't yet been blocked. The difference is this time use a spray bottle to wet only the areas being blocked, after you have them pinned into place, or experiment with steam blocking, again only steaming the areas you concentrating on. As with before, however, be very careful with applying heat to acrylic yarns, as you don't want to melt the acrylic component with excessive heat exposure.

Let's get to the more fun finishing work--how are you going to wear this cardi? Do you like the open, free look of it as is or are you thinking of some type of closure? Do you want the belt and belt-loops of the pattern or are buttons more your style?

For the belt, follow the pattern as written by making a strip repeating hdc's until desired length. The belt loops are simply a chain of 12 that you then sew to the sweater of the body, although as an alternative you could make them directly on the cardi: simply join the yarn to the top of where you want the belt loop (around the waist) by working into a part of the crochet fabric, then chain 12, and finish by working a slip stitch where you want the bottom of the belt loop to be - no extra finishing required other than weaving in those ends!

Personally, I like the idea of a button instead, but again you have some choices. You can easily buy a button or toggle closure that you like - given the more open nature of this cardi, I envisioned a single closure below the bust line instead of a full button band, but the choice is yours! Alternatively, instead of buying a closure, you can crochet one! Again working from the Moderne Jacket pattern, follow the (slightly modified) button instructions:

Rnd 1: Ch 2. Work 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook; join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in each sc around; join with sl st in first sc - 12 sc.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, (sc2tog) 6 times; join with sl st in first st. Fasten off leaving a long end. Weave end tightly through rem sts. Flatten button slightly and stitch through all thicknesses to secure. Sew button on Left Front.

I worked a crochet chain loop for the "buttonhole": Join yarn on the side opposite the button placement, chain 8 (or the correct amount for your button size) then work a slip stitch into same stitch as the join to connect the loop and weave in the ends. The result? A different, yet simple way, to finish your cardi!

I guess that wraps up this crochet-along! I hope you are all happy with cardis and have learned some new things in the process. I know how much I have enjoyed reading your comments and questions, both working through challenges and seeing your successes. Please continue to leave comments and post about your finished projects here, on Flickr and in the Ravelry group: I can't wait to see how your cardis have turned out and if anyone has made other modifications! Thanks for going on this crochet-along journey with me and hope you join our other crochet-alongs in the future!

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