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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: No-Chain Foundation and Working the Body

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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: No-Chain Foundation and Working the Body

It’s been great reading all of your comments and hearing how excited you are about this crochet- along. I’ve sure been making progress this past week, creating the front and back panels then joining them to work the majority of the body. Traditionally beginning a crochet project means creating your starting chain then working your first row back into it, but personally I like combining those steps with the “no-chain foundation”. This technique simultaneously creates a starting chain and your first row of stitches, half-doubles in this project, resulting in a very clean and stretchy edge.

Here’s how to do it: For the half-double starting chain, begin by chaining 3, then yarn over and insert your hook into the third chain from the hook. Yarn over and draw up a loop, then yarn over and pull through only the first loop on your hook. Then yarn over once more and pull through all three loops left on the hook. Voila! It may not look like much yet, but that’s your first chain with its attached first half-double stitch. It’s just like working a half-double, but with the addition of drawing through one loop before the final yarn over and pull through three — that additional loop is essentially creating the starting chain.

You can click on the picture to make this image larger.

First one done! Now just repeat, working into the bottom stitch indicated in panels 3 and 4, labeled “first chain”. Again, yarn over and insert into chain created previously, yarn over and draw up a loop. Yarn over and pull through first loop only, then yarn over and pull through remaining three loops. See the video below for the full process!

Repeat until you have the correct number of half-double crochets (hdc) – this will be one less than the number of chains indicated by the pattern, but the same as the number of hdc indicated at the end of row 1. In my case for the small, I made 54 for the back and 28 for the fronts. Once you have the number of stitches you need, just turn and proceed as usual, remembering you are already on Row 2 and to work into that first chain 2 at the end of the row.

Of course, you are more than welcome to use a standard chain to start as well, just wanted to share one of my favorite crochet techniques! Please feel free to ask any questions here in the comments or in the Ravelry group; my user name there is UberOrange.

Having completed both the back and two front pieces, it’s time to join them for the body (Row 15 in the pattern).  This is pretty simple: just work across the Right Front, then into the corner of the back and across, then into the corner of the Left Front and across, resulting in one long row to work. One thing I did as I joined was work in the ends of the pieces by crocheting over them as I worked into the stitches.  This just saves time so there aren’t as many ends to weave in when you’re finished, something I hate doing!

The instructions are a little wordy, but just remember you are maintaining that 5 hdc border on each edge for this join row. Row 16, however, is where you switch to creating chain 1 spaces all the way across, with the border only at the beginning and end, and repeating this for another 13 inches (more or less if you prefer to change the length). I’m going to get going on the rest of this body, and next week I’ll talk about the armhole shaping, blocking and seaming!

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  • It might be my browser, but the first set of four pictures is not click-able. The second set does seem to be, but the first four cannot be enlarged. Just wanted to let you know in case anyone else has that problem.

    On a different note – my yarn just game in! I’m about to check it and then get started! 😀 Thanks for doing this; it’s pretty exciting!


    Zontee says: Hi Wednesday, good catch! We’ve fixed it now.

  • I have about 12 inches of the 20 inches completed. Silly me, I have crocheted over yarn ends before, but forgot to do it this time. 🙁 I guess I’m just so excited about this project, that I completely forgot. Cannot wait until next weeks blog. I will be out of town. So I will have to catch up when I get back. 🙂

  • I tried the no-chain foundation last night. It’s really neat!

    Kendra, thanks for the suggestion and also thank you for the excellent instructions!

  • I agree that the no chain foundation is the best! Thanks Kendra for helping us.

    This is my first CAL. I’m in Oakdale, CA.

  • I started ahead of the no-chain foundation instructions. Now I am stuck on the second part of the shape armhole. How do you get from the end of the inches to the “continue in established pattern over these sts. part? I love to crochet, so relaxing!

    Kendra says: Hi! I’ll be covering the armhole section in next week’s post, but the short of it is to follow the instructions for the “left front row 1” in the following instruction set, then back to “right front row 1”, repeating these two rows until it is the correct length. I know “continue in established pattern” is very vague, but this is what they mean, idea being that you only want the 5 hdc cluster on the inside edge and not the armhole opening. Stay tuned next week for all the info!

  • Maybe it’s just me, but I had to use a K size and add 10 chains to get the gauge the pattern called for. I’m not using the yarn it called for, but I am using a worsted weight “4”. I always have a tendency to make really tight stitches, but my stitches in this are extremely loose! Is anyone else experiencing the same?

    I have a question about the pattern. Do we continue with 10 hdcs where the sides and back meet beginning with row 16? Or do we do “hdc and chain one” all the way across the the sides and back?

    I find the instructions hard to follow.

    Kendra says: Hi! Sorry you are having trouble – they are a little vague. After the joining row, you eliminate what would 10 hdcs clusters where the back and sides meet, only working those at the far ends. Otherwise as you guessed, just work the hdc and chain one repeats all the way across. Hope this helps!

    Also, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by needing to add 10 chains to get gauge…did you make the back 10 chains wider, is that what you mean?

  • Hi Patti,
    I did “hdc and chain one” across row 16 and I have the correct number of spaces for my size. I’m not sure how you would check your number of spaces if you added 10 chains to your back foundation. Did you add 5 chains to your foundations on each of the side panels? I guess if you did this, you would have 20 extra stitches in the foundation, and that would mean 10 extra spaces on row 16. I’m sure Kendra will answer your question. 🙂

  • Hi everyone –
    I would just like to comment on a few things –
    First of all, I also had to use a K hook!
    Secondly, I agree that the instructions are a bit hard to follow.
    Thirdly, I am wondering how far I should be in the project by the time the next blog entry is posted? I don’t want to fall behind, but I don’t want to work ahead either, for fear of missing important tips (like the no chain foundation – loved it!).
    I’m having a great time with this, and I’m so excited to wear the finished product – it’s the first clothing item that I have ever made for myself!

    Kendra says: Hi and welcome! Sorry you are finding things a bit complicated but that’s hopefully what the posts will help with! As far as pace, it’s really up to you, but I write the posts with the intention of leading you in some section of the pattern, then give you an idea of what I’ll be covering the following week so you can work up to that point. For example, I covered the no-chain foundation to get you started as well as joining the fronts and backs, leaving you to work up to the armholes, then the next post covers the armhole shaping and so on. Of course you can work at your own pace and use the posts and others comments as they are helpful. Good luck!

  • Hello! First of all, I’m enjoying working with the yarn and have printed out one of the washcloth patterns also using it, I plan to make them for my mom for Mothers’ Day. Usually, when I make a gauge swatch I use a hook 2 sizes smaller than the recommended one and I’m pretty close to the stated gauge. I’m on my 3rd swatch and this one has the right amount of stitches but not the rows. Using an H hook, my gauge is 11 hdc in 4″ but instead of 8 rows I have 9. My question is: do I need to adjust the number of rows and if so, how? I’m just working on the back portion so far. Thank you.

  • Hi Evelyn, Kendra writes about the stitch gauge vs. the row gauge on the previous blog: Apparently it doesn’t matter about the number of rows, because you will be measureing the length in inches to determine where to stop. Happy Crocheting, Jill

  • Hi Evelyn, I also usually have to do a hook 2 sizes smaller, but this one I ended up with a K hook and my gauge never came out exactly right either. I think you are OK as long as your stitch gauge is OK, the row gauge is not as important from what I remember.

    Was anyone else kind of flummoxed that the cover up has side slits? it was a surprise to me, certainly doesn’t show in the picture.

    All that aside…I really enjoy having “Crochet Homework”!!

  • Yes Linda, I thought I was making a mistake, when I got those slits. It definately does not show in the picture. Maybe Lion should include it in the pattern description and/or directions.

    Love this project and all the help from everyone!

  • I added 10 chains in the back and 6 on either side. Even using a K hook and adding the 10 chains, my back only measures 23 inches. Oh well…. since the pattern is measured in inches and not stitch count, I can follow it.

    It is turning out great! I’m about 14 inches long. I like the way it hangs. I can’t wait to finish!

    I think I understand how the armholes work. Hopefully, your next blog will cover that.

  • Hello everyone.
    I finally finished. I am unemployed at this time so I have a lot of time on my hands. Thank you all for your help. I will have changes to make on future sweater colors, and sizes as I love this pattern.

  • Hi.
    My yarn just came in yesterday but I was busy last night so couldn’t get going yet. I plan on getting my gauge today and trying out the no-chain foundation. It looks really cool and I’ve always found working into foundation chains tedious. Can’t wait to get the kids to school and my errands done so that I can get going on this. It’s raining today so it’s a perect day to cuddle up and crochet.

  • Hi,
    As Patti said, I also tend to crochet and knit very tightly and had to use a K size hook and even then my gauge wasn’t the same. So, I just went ahead anyway. I’m only on row 6, but I don’t seem to see 5 hdc at each side when I follow directions. I think I’ll pull them out and start Row 4 again. Any hints on how to count those end stitches? Are there 5 hdc on each end with including one in the turning chain?

    Kendra says: Hi Esther. Since the first chain 2 counts as 1 hdc, there are technically 6 hdc on the starting end and 5 hdc on the finished end, and this reverses every row (as your turn and your end is now the beginning of the next row) to give kind of a staggered look to the sides. This is so the offset lace pattern works out evenly. This is also explained at the end of the Row 4 instructions where it says: “22 (26, 29) ch-1 sp, turning ch and 5 hdc at beg, 5 hdc at end” Hope this helps!

  • Hello Everyone!
    I had to go to Indianapolis IN for training today. A friend saw my sweater and said “Can you make me one?” So I get to do it again sooner than I thought.

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