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Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #1: Size & Gauge Swatching

Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #1: Size & Gauge SwatchingHi everyone! My name is Lauren, and I’m very excited to be your Crochet-Along host for the Colorfully Modern Cardigan. I work at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City as a knitting and crochet instructor, a great job if you’re as yarn-obsessed as I am.

I was very pleased when you guys voted for this project, as it would have ended up on my “must make” list anyway. Also, I needed an excuse to work with our newest yarn Unique. I love any kind of color-work, especially when the yarn is doing all the hard work for you!

Please don’t be intimidated by the complicated look of the cardigan; it’s really only 2 pattern rows repeated over and over. Even if you are new to garment making, I would encourage you to have a go with this project, as we can all help each other, each step of the way! Please feel free to ask me questions here and visit our Ravelry group. I’d love to see your projects progressing.

Selecting a Size

The first thing you’ll want to do is accurately measure yourself, so you can choose a size. With a flexible tape measure, measure yourself around the fullest part of your bust, wearing whatever clothes you plan to wear underneath your cardigan. I measured myself wearing a t-shirt and sweater, because I plan for this project to be my fall jacket.

My bust circumference came to 34 inches around, so I will be making the smallest size, which is 36 inches, so I have a couple of inches of positive ease. For this project I would recommend making the size that is just a little larger than your bust measurement.

Next the fun part, choosing colors! When I saw this Cardigan, I fell in love with it immediately and decided to make it in exactly the same colors as the pattern suggests. This is the first time I’ve ever done this, and I’ve been a yarn-crafter for over 20 years!

[Editor's Note: There's still time to buy the kit for this pattern in the recommended colors for 25% off! Click here to view the kits.]

Unique has 6 beautiful self-striping colors, so if you wanted a more subtle stripe to your garment, you could use just one color throughout. Vanna’s Choice yarn comes in every color imaginable, so whatever color-scheme you envision, they’ll be something for you! If you wanted to substitute yarns, Tweed Stripes is a similar gauge yarn to Unique and has a similar self-striping action. Whichever yarns you choose, just keep in mind that you'll need to wash them according to the gentlest washing instructions. Unique and Vanna’s Choice are a great combo as they can both be thrown into the washing machine.

Gauge Swatching

Next, you’ll want to make your gauge swatch. I know this isn’t anyone’s favorite part of any project, but it’s essential if you want your sweater fit correctly. Also it’s a great way to see if your color combination works!

The pattern tells me that the stitch pattern is a multiple of 4 plus 3 stitches. So, to make my gauge swatch I chained 16. That’s 12 chains (a multiple of 4) plus 3 that makes 15, and then one chain for our turning chain. I started out using the recommended hook size, 9mm, and found I was getting 12 stitches over 4 inches instead of 10. This would have made my cardigan way too small. I went up to a 10mm and got the correct gauge. So as you can see, just going up of down one hook size can make all the difference.

[Editor's Note: Our patterns use Lion Brand's naming convention and calls the 9 mm hook an "N-13". If your hook set calls the 9 mm hook an "M-13", it's the same thing. Please note that there are is some variation in what different manufacturers call this size hook.]

Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #1: Size & Gauge Swatching
Click to enlarge photo.

To measure your gauge, first wash your swatch as you intend to wash your sweater and then let it dry completely before measuring. I found it difficult to measure from the right side of my swatch (above photo), as the post stitches would get flattened by my ruler, so I turned it over to the wrong side and measured from there. First lay your ruler in the middle of the swatch horizontally and count how many stitches fill in 4 inches. Then place your ruler vertically and count the rows. If you are getting to many stitches or rows per inch, you’ll have to go up a size, like me. If you’re getting too few stitches or rows, go down a size.

Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #1: Size & Gauge Swatching Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #1: Size & Gauge Swatching
Click to enlarge photo.

I hope you guys have fun choosing colors and swatching! I’ll be interested to see how creative you can be with your color choices. (Please post photos!) I’ll see you guys next week as we get working on our cardigan!

[Editor's Note: Looks like there was some confusion last week regarding the lettering of the colors being used. The letters were correct, but the order of the materials list was confusing, so it's been updated. Please note that Vanna's Choice in Charcoal Grey is color C and Unique in Harvest is color D.]

Related links:

While we will try to answer some questions here on the blog and on Ravelry, we do encourage participants to help each other with questions. Learning from each other's experience, mistakes, triumphs, and "design elements" is part of the experience! If you need specific, personal help with the pattern, please feel free to email support@lionbrand.com and someone from our team can address your question. 

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  • Debbie

    It is great that you have extended the sizes up, now how about down? Not thinner, shorter (like petite size clothing). Alternatively, would you give advice on shortening the length? Thanks.

  • Roberta Ferguson

    Thanks sooo much for larger sizes!!!!

  • Kathleen Moore

    Lauren, thanks so much for the larger sizes.
    Have a question. I don't want to fall behind, but I don't want to go too much ahead. I know we can start crocheting the actual cardigan now. But the official, crochet-along, start of the cardigan won't be until next Wednesday.
    Which is fine with me. :) I can take the cardigan yarn to my in-laws next weekend for Labor Day. Right now, I'm working on an afghan for my daughter as a late wedding present. I can work all this week on the afghan. I can't take the afghan with me to my in-laws...my daughter and son-in-law are tagging along.

  • Giovanangela

    I am very excited about this project but I will probably be starting after everyone else. I am in the process of making stuffed toy hippos that I sell and I have to finish them before I can crochet. I haven't received my materials kit for the project either ( it still hasn't shipped). Will the full instructions for each week be on the Lion Brand blog?

  • Peggy

    I can crochet a granny square, but that's about it. I've never followed a crochet pattern, although I do read knitting patterns (my last big knitting project was an Irish fisherman knit sweater for my son-in-law.) I have my yarn for the crochet-along and a new crochet hook size N, and I'm looking forward to tackling a new skill and ending up with a beautiful jacket for my daughter. I just hope I'm up to it. I had to look at a video to see what a single crochet is. I think that's to one I use for the granny. But I'm rearing to go, and with your crochet-along help, I plan to jump right in. I'll keep you posted.

  • Alexandra

    I have started the cardigan and my colors look like the ones in Lauren's post, although the picture for the project seems to be much brighter. Not complaining, I love the colors in the kit, just wondering if those are different colors.

  • Teresa Butler

    I was prepared to do the math to make the larger size for me. Thank you so much for writing this pattern in 3X and 4X!

  • Donna H

    Question - I noticed that the pattern is allowing hips needing more room
    than the bust. My body is pretty much straight up and down and made as
    is would look like a mini-tent on me. I have looked at the pattern and
    it looks like I can just start with the final stitch count as beginning chain count and forget the decrease in the decrease rows. Does this sound feasible?
    I never crocheted something like this before.

  • Paula Farnham

    I have a terrible time with gauge. As soon as I get the correct number of stitches per 4 inches, I have either too many or too few rows. Any suggestions?

  • Chrissy Welter

    My swatch. :) I literally just finished that about five minutes ago, but it looks like I might have to go up a hook size... and listen to the advice given above about having the wrong number of rows. I'll see how it comes out after I wash it, but as it stands, I am looking at too many stiches and not enough rows already.

    As for yarns, I had such a collection I didn't want to buy a whole lot of new yarn, so I'm using Homespun instead of Unique, since it was a similar size. And one of the others is a different brand, but it was similar thickness to Vanna's and I thought it would go nicely. So here's my list:

    A: Homespun Amethyst
    B: Homespun Tumbleweed
    C: Loops & Threads Impeccable Big! Earth Ombre
    D: Homespun Corinthian
    E: Vanna's Choice Dark Grey Heather

    I really love how this color combination looks, so I'm excited.

  • Trudy

    Hi, I'm new to this crochet along but love the idea of this sweater. Would it work if I just used unique in oceania and moonshadows only so it would have the look of the shawl done in unique in the last email? I love that more subtle look OR do I have to add a worsted yarn in solids?

  • Margie

    I just noticed that this pattern has pockets. Can I leave them out if I don't want them?

  • Barbara

    HELP!!! I'm having a terrible time even getting the test swatch made. My FPDCs are slanting to the left and I keep adding stitches somehow. On the first row of the pattern it says to start in the second chain from the hook and thereafter it says to sc in each stitch across or sc in the next 3 stitches (depending on the row). Does that mean sc in the first stich after turning or is the chain 1 considered the first sc and then start in the 2nd stitch from the hook? That is probably how I'm picking up extra stitches? Sorry, I emailed Lion Brand asking for help before I saw this section. I can't figure out how to join the ravelry group. It asks for a tag and I don't know what that means. It seems most everyone is doing just fine except for me. I'm not a novice and considered myself experienced and on an intermediate level. My husband will kill me if I tell him I can't make the cardigan after buying all this yarn. Any suggestions? A video showing how to do a few rows would sure be helpful.

  • Kelley Hartsell

    I'm doing my swatch now and so far I seem to be dead on for gauge. Which surprised me because I tend to stitch tighter. My post rows look so messy though. I think they are either too loose or I'm going through the wrong loop of the previous post row. This is my first time making a garment and following a big pattern too

  • Paula Farnham

    Thank you for the tips. I continue to learn about gauge.

  • Patty T

    Hi Lauren,
    Getting ready to get my yarn for this. However would like to make with a full length sleeve, how much extra yarn do I need?

  • Diane M. Pierce

    I'm confused by the hook size. You say when you did your swatch that you first used the recommended hook size of 9mm. The Materials list calls that an "N" size hook but I just purchased a Susan Bates hook and the 9mm is labeled an "M-13". I'm going to go with the 9mm (M in my case) for starters, but this could be confusing to others who may have simply purchased the "N" hook without looking at the millimeter size.

  • Purple Sweater Lady

    Hi Lauren, it's Purple Sweater Lady ( Kathy) from Top Down Crochet! I have almost finished my second try at that pattern, one size smaller, and it looks great! Just signed on to the crochet along and am looking forward to working with you again ( virtually!)

  • http://blog.lionbrand.com/2013/08/28/colorfully-modern-cardigan-crochet-along-2-making-the-back-changing-colors/ Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #2: Making the Back & Changing Colors | Lion Brand Notebook

    […] Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #1: Size & Gauge Swatching […]

  • Kdub

    Stuck. Made guage swatch that indicated I need a larger hook. Started size L back by chaining 68 sts using 11.5 mm hook. Am I reading the chart correctly that back should be 25.5" wide @ bottom? Measured after 4 working rows and found back was 30" wide. Yikes!! I am working on 67 sts. so have not accidently increased # of sts. I've crocheted hundreds of afghans and scarves so never had to pay attention to guage before. Please help. I really would love to complete this jacket.

  • Lois

    I'm working the 4x size and noted an issue with row 3. The pattern should read 20 and 21 post stis at the end of row 3 for the 3x and 4x respectively.

  • PhillyHelene

    In row 1 and 2 I have the correct 67 stitches but the total stitches in row 3 is 68. Am I completing my last sc in the chain 1 from the previous row? I'm reluctant to cut the yarn if I am doing this wrong.

  • http://blog.lionbrand.com/2013/09/11/colorfully-modern-cardigan-crochet-along-4-blocking-seaming-and-surface-stitches/ Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #4: Blocking, Seaming, and Surface Stitches | Lion Brand Notebook

    […] Colorfully Modern Cardigan Crochet-Along #1: Size & Gauge Swatching […]

  • Lisa

    I am stuck on the pockets. Mine are just attached at the 2 ends. Should the whole length of the pocket be attached? Help!

  • Acksov

    I am using Vanna's Choice vanilla twist. Did anyone have to go up to a P size crochet hook?

  • Maria

    I decided a bit late to start this project, I've just received the yarn this week.
    I'm catalan and I live near Barcelona, Spain. First difficulty was understanding the instructions, as is the second time I follow a pattern written in English.
    The second problem is gauging. I've did a first swatch with a 9mm hook, and I didn't like the result, in my opinion it was too loose. I did a second try with an 8mm hook, I like the texture on this result (I post the picture) and I think it is closer to the texture I see on your pictures.
    I've used a chain of 16 stiches to begin.
    The result is in 4 inches I have 11 stiches and 13th rows.
    Now I think it is correct to start with this gauging, but I'm not sure ... by the way I have not washed the swatch .
    What do you recommend me.
    Thanks a lot!!

  • Maggie Tripp

    Am I too late to start this cardigan. I only recently resumed crocheting (after about 40 years of other projects), and discovered Lion Brand. I fell in love with the pattern, and with the Vanna's Choice Yarn, so I will be using it for the project, probably different colors, though. I need to get the materials together and finish up a couple of other projects, and then I'll be ready to GO!!
    Hopefully some of you that have completed your project will still be around.
    Blog you soon!
    Maggie Tripp,
    Wylie, TX