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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Shoulder Seams and Sleeves in the Round

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Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Shoulder Seams and Sleeves in the Round

Hello! I hope everyone’s cardis are coming along nicely. I know the armhole pattern was a bit of stumbling block, but we’ve worked through it by helping each other and can move on to the sleeves themselves soon. I hope a week was enough time for your blocking sweater to dry — I know the Nature’s Choice sure took a few days to dry completely for me! But it was well worth it – the lace pattern opened up nicely and now my cardi is shaped to the correct measurements, ready to be seamed and given sleeves. So let’s get to it!

For the shoulder seams, I chose to do a crochet-adapted mattress stitch, also called the invisible sewn seam, because it gives a virtually invisible join on the top of the shoulders. (Mattress stitch is a popular method of seaming in knitting.) You can use any seaming technique you wish (click here for slip stitch seam directions or click here for single crochet seam directions), I’m just partial to the strength and finished look of the invisible sewn seam.

To work this sewn seam, follow along with the below photo tutorial [as usual, you can click on outlined photos to see them larger]:

1. Insert your tapestry needle in the corners of each piece (A and B let’s say) – I don’t use knots, just insert the needle from the bottom of each corner and leave a tail for weaving in later.

2. Work the needle under the top loop of the first stitch on piece A, bottom to top. This is at the base of V of the following stitch, so your needle is coming up through the center of the next V. That loop can be a little tricky to dig out from the base of the following stitch, but you will find it.

3. Repeat on piece B, inserting under the top loop of the corresponding first stitch, again working essentially into the center of the following stitch.

4. Repeat, working back and forth between A and B continuing in this manner, leaving the yarn slack for a couple of stitches.

5. Now tighten it! See how nicely the stitches come together on the two pieces? You can’t even see the seaming yarn if worked correctly. I used contrast yarn to make the process easier to visualize, and yet you still can’t see it!

Time for sleeves! To work the sleeves you are crocheting along the entire armhole opening, then continuing down the sleeve working in rounds. Each round is connected at the end by a slip stitch and then the work is turned and worked back around until you have your desired sleeve length. The great thing about working attached sleeves this way is you can try it on as you go to be sure those sleeves fit! And it’s exciting to see the sweater finally taking shape.

The pattern tells you how many stitches to crochet along the opening and you want them evenly spaced. A trick? Divide the sleeve into sections! For me, I needed 30 hdc, ch 1 stitches around so I divided it in half first, knowing I’d need to work 15 to the top of the opening, then further broke those sections in half to know where my 8th stitch should be ending up. How do you divide them? I find that safety pins or split-ring markers work great! Just slip them in at regular intervals and adjust your stitch placement accordingly to get them to work out evenly around the opening. This way there are no surprises at the end and you have a nice, even sleeve!

When I finished my first sleeve I couldn’t resist trying it on and admiring my handy work – almost a full cardi! However, in doing so I wasn’t sure I was in love with the look of that sleeve. The sweater is made to have large, almost kimono-like sleeves which are a great design, but just not my personal style.

I decided to play around with the second sleeve and see which one I like better.

To do so, first I closed up the armhole opening slightly from the bottom, shortening it about 2 inches using the same mattress stitch from before because I felt the armpit was a little too low on me. Next I figured out how many stitches I’d need to work around the opening by comparing my smaller armhole opening it to the first sleeve: 23 ch-1 spaces instead of 31 for my size S/M. I also thought I’d like elbow length sleeves instead so I continued to try it on as I went until almost the right length, then worked the final hdc rows for the cuff. Here are the results of my sleeve experiment:

Seeing the difference, I think I’ll go with the smaller, shorter sleeves just because of my own preference. So it’s time to rip out the first sleeve and apply these new changes! I love that about crochet — how easily you can rip and re-do without worry to get things how you want them. I’m going to work on getting the other sleeve right, then next week I’ll talk about the hood (and possible collar modifications!) and this cardi will be about finished!

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  • Hi Kendra,

    I am a week behind. So, I am working from the previous blog (Armhole Shaping). I do not understand your clarification on the right and left fronts Row 2. “Ch 2, hdc in same sp. . . . .” I have no idea where the same space is located. I put that hdc in the last ch-1 of the previous row. Is this correct?

    Kendra says: In the same space refers to the same space as where you are working out of for the ch 2, in this case the top of the turning chain from the previous row. Sounds like what you did was right. Hope this helps!

  • i started my left front shaping of the arm hole last night and its not the same size as the right side…..back to the drawing board…….. 🙁

    Zontee says: Hi Joyce, sorry to hear about that. Your gauge may have changed from the beginning of your right piece to the end of it. You may want to re-swatch and adjust hook size accordingly.

    Also, if the difference is relatively minor, it should be able to be corrected with blocking (when the fibers are wet, it’s easy to shape them to specific dimensions if they are already pretty close), so keep that in mind.

  • OK, i took a closer look. not sure where i went wrong. but i had to pull out all the way back to the first row of the right side shaping armhole. so off and running i go.
    kendra i like the short sleeve too.

    Kendra says: Thanks! I’m happy with them 🙂 Sorry the armholes are giving you trouble but hope they work out the second time around!

  • Thank you for showing us the 2 different sleeves. I already knew I did not want the full length ones. I was thinking about elbow length too so seeing how yours turned out helps with my decision!!

    Kendra says: Great to hear! I’m really happy with the change myself, and sometimes it just helps to be reminded that patterns can be changed to suit your likes and wants – it is your garment creation after all!

  • For those of us who are a whole lot slower, will there still be help available for a little while after the CAL leader Kendra has finished? How long? I know I can read the blog in the archives, but what if I have a different question?

    I have heard about making swatches before, but not about washing and blocking the swatches. Does it matter whether you wash or block the swatch first? When doing swatches, if I wash and block the swatch then I can’t take the swatch apart and reuse the yarn anymore, can I? It will no longer crochet the same as unblocked yarn, will it? Wouldn’t it make sense to at least make it big enough to use as a pot holder or a wash cloth or something, so I don’t waste the yarn? How many swawtches does it usually take to get guage right? Isn’t there a lot of difference between one hook size and the next? What if one hook size is too small and the next is too big?

    Zontee says: Hi Kit, as with any Lion Brand pattern, you can ALWAYS e-mail our pattern support team at for help with your questions anytime. We try to get back to you within 24-48 hours. And you are correct that the archive will still be up.

    Swatches should be washed and/or blocked in the exact manner that you plan on washing/blocking your garment so that you know what it will look like afterward — how you do this and in what order will depend on your yarn and how you plan on doing it for the entire garment (some fibers like acrylic just need a run through the cycle and may not really need to be pinned out, depending on the project; others like cotton, you will want to wash and then pin out or steam like Kendra mentioned).

    Yes, many people save their swatches for reference or to use as a potholder; bigger is always better when it comes to swatching (a bigger swatch is more likely to be consistent in the manner a garment would be because there’s less turning of the work); if you’re going to save your swatch, you may want to buy an extra ball of yarn so that you don’t run short. Alternately, since washing a yarn won’t change its properties, you could always rip out the swatch to use–or if you’re uncomfortable using it in your fabric for whatever reason, you can use it for things like seaming.

    Everyone is different when it comes to gauge and how many swatches it takes; if you’re very consistent and know how you crochet in relation to recommended gauge, it may only take you one or two tries to get gauge. If you’re new to it, it may take you a couple of tries. If you’re finding that one hook is too big and the next too small, try changing the type of hook (metal vs. wood vs. plastic) — that often changes your tension as well.

    Keep in mind the fact that learning in crochet is all about experimentation. Take it one step at a time and you’ll find what works and what doesn’t. Hope that helps!

  • This is going to sound like a silly question – but what brand and color nail polish are you wearing? I love it! 🙂

  • Hi,
    I’m at the Arm hole shaping and finishing off the right side, what roll should I end with when I get to the 12″ length, Row 1 or Row 2?


  • […] Beach Cardi Crochet-Along: Shoulder Seams and Sleeves in the Round […]

  • I don’t feel so bad about being behind, I’m now attaching at the shoulder & will start my sleeves, short sleeves.
    I’m really enjoying this pattern & can’t wait until it’s done. It’s not for a beach wear but for a cover for the lite spring evening.


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