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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Hood or Collar? You Decide!

Hello! Hope you have all had a great week and your cardi has sleeves and is soooo close to being done! Did anyone else modify their sleeves (you can see my sleeves below)? How do they look? Please leave comments as to how your progress is going--I love hearing how else everyone is liking their cardis! Hopefully you are as happy with the result so far as I am!

This week I'm moving on to the hood section of the cardi: to work the hood, you are joining the yarn into one corner of the front neck edge, then crocheting back and forth along the neck edge to create the hood. I used the same marker technique I applied to crocheting along the armhole to make sure my stitches were evenly spaced, and found that to have 23 ch-1 spaces I was going to be pretty squished! I decided to take a little part of my shoulder seam apart on both sides to allow a little more room in the neck area and that worked to give my stitches a little breathing room.

To shape the hood there are increases made in the center of the neck to give the hood some volume, created by working 3 hdc in the center ch-1 space. Just be sure to keep track of this "center" because it does shift slightly whether you have an even or odd number of ch-1 spaces (as in, an even number of ch-1 spaces means no middle space) so I worked just to the left of center for the increase in that case. Then on row 2, work your hdc into the center hdc of the increase row instead of the usual ch-1 space.

Once you have increased to the indicated number of ch-1 spaces continue to work even, while maintaining the hdc cluster on both sides, until it is the correct length - 15 inches in my case. Now it's time to seam it! I played around with the seaming a bit to see what looked best. First I tried the same mattress stitch-type seam I did at the shoulders, but didn't like the look of it for the hood. Instead, I chose to work the invisible sewn seam and it looks great! Hardly even noticeable as it looks barely wider than a regular row of stitches, with a slight line down the middle.

The best part is it looks the same on both sides, good in the case of a hood where the inside is visible:

This seam is worked by going under the full stitch (i.e. both arms of the V) of one piece, inserting your needle back to front, then under the corresponding full stitch on the other piece, also working back to front.

Here's how the cardi looks with the hood:

I think the hood looks very cute, but I'm also intrigued by the idea of a collar as some of you suggested. I took a look at the Moderne Jacket pattern (click the highlighted text to go to the pattern) and decided to adapt the idea of that collar to this project by working an increase at each end of the collar every few rows to give it a little shape. Taking something from one pattern and applying it to another is a great way to changes without starting from scratch! The only complication for our cardi is maintaining the look of the hdc clusters at each end while increasing, but here's what I did:

First, I worked a few less stitches along the neck edge, working only in the ch-1 spaces around for my spacing instead of trying to reach a specific number of stitches, and found that I had 17 ch-1 spaces between my hdc cluster borders. I then worked as follows:

Row 1: Ch 2, turn, sk first hdc, hdc in next 4 hdc, hdc in next ch-1 sp, *ch 1, hdc in next ch-1 sp, repeat from * across to last 4 hdc, hdc in next 4 hdc and in top of turning ch.
Row 2: Repeat row 1.

Then increase by:

Row 3: Ch 2, turn, hdc in same st, hdc in next 3 hdc, sk next hdc, hdc in next ch-1 sp, *ch 1, hdc in next ch-1 sp, repeat from * across to last ch-1 sp, sk next hdc, hdc in next 3 hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in turning ch.
Row 4: Ch 2, turn, hdc in next 3 hdc, sk next hdc, hdc in next ch-1 sp, *ch 1, hdc in next ch-1 sp, repeat from * across to last ch-1 sp, sk next hdc, hdc in next 4 hdc, hdc in turning ch.
Row 5: Repeat row 1.

Rows 6-8: Repeat rows 3-5.

I stopped after row 8, but feel free to repeat the increase row (3) until collar is desired shape or just repeat row 1 if you want to make it longer. Here's my result:

Please feel free to ask questions if you need help with these instructions! This was just my way of playing with increases to shape the collar, but I'm sure there are many other options as well - be creative and please share if you make any of your own modifications.

My question for you this week: which look should I go with--the hood or the collar? Having seen both I'm feeling torn! Leave your comments and I'll take them into consideration in deciding how to finish my cardi. Next week the end is here: making the sweater looked polished with a single crochet edging and belt or button closures!

As usual, highlighted text and photos with outlines are clickable. Click the photos to enlarge them, if you want to see them bigger.

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