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

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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 and someone from our team can address your question. 

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  • 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.

    • I am assuming that you are petite… If so, try using clothing that fits you well to compare to the schematic…. then make your own decision about what waist placement and armhole depth will work well for your specific body. I have to do this all the time as I am very tall… I usually need to increase the length of garments, which includes lengthening armholes and lowering the waist placement.

      • Thanks Grace.

  • Thanks sooo much for larger sizes!!!!

  • 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.

    • Hi Kathleen,
      It looks like everyone is pleased with the larger sizes!

      Don’t worry about falling behind or getting too ahead, everyone will go at their own pace, and we will keep the blog posts up indefinitely, so you can always check back on previous blog posts and get advice from people who are at that point in the project.
      Feel free to start the back now if you feel confident to go ahead, but it sounds like you have a lot of projects to keep you busy!

  • 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?

    • Yup–all of the blog posts stay up indefinitely. Just come to the blog and click on “Crochet-Along” under “Categories” on the right-hand bar to pull up all posts related to our crochet-alongs.

      • That’s great ! Thank you so much.

  • 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.

    • Hi Peggy!
      I’m so pleased that you’ll be making your first garment along with us! Just let us know if you have any difficulties and we’ll help you along. I look forward to seeing your progress.

      • Thanks Lauren. I made my swatch using all one color just to avoid confusion, and it was fine. Today I plan to start the project for real switching the colors. Wish me luck. Peg

        • I think I’m doing this incorrectly. Somehow I’m ending up with a double post and I’ve got 12 double posts across 63 stitches. Oh well. It looks nice. Perhaps I’ve created a new design.

          • I’m definitely doing this incorrectly. The good news is I think I figured out what I’m doing wrong. Problem is I’m on row 11, which means I been struggling with this for some time and even attempted the decrease on row 9. It took me that long to figure out my mistakes. First, I did double front posts across the 64 stitches. In addition, I did not reach deeply enough into the row below and got this little line across the posts. And, I was doing the post stitch incorrectly as well not pulling through enough loops. Now I think I see the errors of my ways. Thing is, do I want to leave the first 11 rows as I’ve done them mistakes and all, or do I start over and try to make a perfect garment?What do you think?

          • Never mind. I answered my own question. I pulled everything out down to row three. Then I worked that row and pulled it out again several times until I got 15 posts across with three sc stitches on either end. I’m now on row 8 and going strong. I’m so glad I went back to the beginning. The sweater/jacket now look beautiful. I’ll soon be coming up onto a decrease. Cross your fingers that I’ll be able to do it. I’m having fun.

          • Please HELP!!!HELP!!!HELP!!!
            I’m on row 24 and having a great time. The piece looks beautiful after a rocky start. I thought I was doing things correctly, but now I think I’m splitting my stitches, when I am doing my single crochets. I’m only picking up one strand of yarn when I pick up a stitch for a single crochet. Is that all right, or does a stitch consist of two strands of yarn??

          • Hi Peggy, if you’re referring to the loops at the top of the stitches in your previous row, unless otherwise noted (where it would say work into “front loop” or “back loop”), you should always work your single, half double, double, treble, stitches into both loops at the top of each stitch. That being said, if you want to work only into one loop and like the look, it gives a different look that can be personal to your design. Hope that helps!

          • So where is all this promised help?

          • Hi Peggy, sorry if you missed it–I responded to your question on Monday (it’s below this comment here on the blog). As this is a free event with hundreds of participants, Lauren will try to cover big recurring questions in her blog posts, and myself, Lauren, and other participants will try to jump in whenever we can on the blog. However, if you need specific help on this (or any!) Lion Brand pattern, you can also email and someone from our team can help you that way as well. Hope that helps.

  • 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.

    • Hi Alexandra,
      I think it may just be that there are long color repeats in the Unique and the balls started with the darker colors, as the back of my cardigan is definitely looking a little brighter, as I’ve crocheted more.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • Hi Donna,
      That sounds like a great idea, if you’d prefer a straighter body for your cardigan. So yes, just start with the final stitch count before decreasing for the armholes. This will give the cardigan a less swingy A-line shape.

  • 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?

    • Hi Paula,

      this is a common problem. Try to pay close attention to the schematic as you work, especially when it comes to armholes and neck-line depth and you can work your piece to the specified measurements with your own row gauge. Match the measurements rather than the row count.
      Also I find that if you’re getting the stitch count with one hook size, you can also try using a hook in the same size but made of different material, so wood, metal or plastic. Sometimes this can alter your row gauge without altering the stitch gauge.

      • I have this same problem, and I thought it was just me being my weird self. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one! And I never thought of changing the material of my hooks. I’m still using the same aluminum hook set that I bought over 20 years ago, so maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit.
        This will be my first group project, and I’ve already learned something 🙂

  • 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.

    • Your swatch looks great! Amethyst is my favourite colour of Homespun, I have to think of a project I can use it in!

  • 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?

    • Hi Trudy,
      That’s a great idea! You’ll get a more subtle striping effect. Just make sure that you can match the gauge.

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

    • I want to leave off the pockets also

      • Hi Tina and Margie,
        Yes you can leave off the pockets, in fact I’ll be talking about this in a future post!

  • 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.

    • Hi Barbara,

      On the first row, skip the first chain from the hook and go into the second. The one you skip is just your turning chain and does not count as a stitch. On every row you should be making 1 turning chain and then SC into the first stitch (the stitch at the base of the turning chain, not the turning chain itself.

      If you keep getting more stitches, you may be going into the turning chain, or going into the stitches more than once, so watch out for this, it’s a little tricky to see in variegated yarns.
      Oh and don’t worry, your post stitches will look a little as if they are slanting to the left as you work, mine do too!
      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks Lauren. I’ll give it another try.

    • Also remember to skip the sc behind the post stitch.

      • Thanks, I’ve been doing that. After about the 15th (literally) time of trying, I realized that I wasn’t going down 2 rows below the row I was on. It seemed too far. But when I tried that–voila!–it started looking like it was supposed to!!!! I’m a visual learner and without someone to actually show me what to do, I find it very hard to visualize myself. Even a drawing would have helped if they’re not going to do any videos. I really wish Lion Brand could at least do a video of about the first 6 lines on the swatch. That would have saved me a lot of frustration and almost giving up. But I think I have it now. Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

        • See below. Didn’t mean to put this here.

  • 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

    • Hi Kelley,
      to work the post stitches you are working around the post of the DC below it, so you’re not actually entering into any loops, just inserting your hook from right to left behind the post of the DC, not into a stitch.
      Hope this helps!

      • Sorry I didn’t realize you replied until now. I did figure out what was wrong. I went on YouTube and found a video. Thanks Lauren.

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

    • I swear if I hadn’t bought all this yarn, I would just forget the whole thing right now. I wish I had tried working the pattern before I ordered the yarn. With that said, I truly believe I have figured out which row the FPDC is worked. I was still wrong in my last post. After reading the instructions for the pattern stitch several more times I now see how to do it which is the way I have always done that stitch. Under notes in #5 which is hidden in with #4 (don’t know why it was typed that way–it needs to be corrected and the last sentence should be bolded I think). That very, very important little bit of information practically disappears because #5 blends in with #4. I was taught to be consistent in format when typing (I was a medical transcriptionist most of my adult life and format is very, very important. Anyway, I think I have it now. BTW this cardigan is for my 31-year-old daughter who is 5’8″ and weighs 110 lbs., so she would actually wear an extra small so I’m using a K size hook. I’m really just guessing at what size to use. Hope I’m right. Wish me luck.

      • Hi Barbara, thanks for pointing out the missing line break; I’ve updated it.

  • 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?

    • Hi Patty, it would be difficult for us to say for sure, but to be safe, I’d recommend that you get an extra ball of each color (which should be plenty).

  • 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.

    • Hi Diane, thanks for pointing it out. We’ll add a note. Since for many years, there were no “official” guidelines to sizing hooks, many manufacturers will call larger size hooks slightly different things–it’s definitely useful to keep an eye on the number/millimeter sizing as well as the letter.

      • OK, it’s official. I have given up. My swatch looks unpresentable–nothing like the sweater. Now to figure out what to do with this beautiful yarn.

        • Hi Barbara, if there’s something specific you’re having trouble with, don’t forget that the group is here to help you. Tell us what you’re having issues with and someone can share tips or links to other resources. For instance, if you’re having trouble with your post stitches, check out this video on YouTube:

          Also, be sure to read through the “notes” section in the pattern for tips from our technical editors. The Crochet-Along is here to help you on your way–and if you truly want to make something else, be sure to check for pattern ideas for the yarn.

          • Thanks Zontee. I know how to do the FPDC and have used it in other projects. That row of single crochet between the row of double crochet seems to be throwing me off somehow. Sometimes I have 4 single crochets instead of 3. Yes, I know not to work the sc right behind the FPDC, but it just doesn’t look right. My FPDCs are severely slanted to the left. I’m also using an I size hook in hopes of making this extra small for my 31-year-old daughter who is very skinny (I should have such problems), but I don’t know if it will even fit her. As I said, I’m a visual learner and I really need to see a demonstration video, but I seem to be the only person who will admit to having problems so I see why you wouldn’t make one. You do have many, many other patterns that are very pretty so I’m just going to try something else. Thanks.

          • Barbara, I had the same problem! Don’t worry! My posts slanted to the left and I had 3 or 4 sc’s between too depending… I had to redo my swatch like 4 times before I realized I wasn’t doing it right because I couldn’t get the posts to make a line pattern (see my comment above). I agree that a video of this pattern stitch would be super helpful, since I am still having issues with the 3-4sc thing. It looks like a lot of us are struggling with it. So could we request a video of this exact swatch please? That would be enormous!

          • Zontee, thanks so much for posting this! I had such a problem with the post stitches because the row of single crochet confused me! Now I know that you do the post stitch around the stitch BELOW the single crochet! That is right isn’t it LOL?? When I did the post stitch around the single crochet it didn’t really show up, wasn’t long enough, nor did it connect the post stitches into a straight line. So I think I got it. That video was very helpful.

    • Hi Diane, thanks for pointing it out. We’ll add a note. Since for many years, there were no “official” guidelines to sizing hooks, many manufacturers will call larger size hooks slightly different things–it’s definitely useful to keep an eye on the number/millimeter sizing as well as the letter.

  • 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!)

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

  • 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.

    • Actually it should be (4)*87/10=34.8 inches. Since the bust size for this is 60″ and it looks like the front may actually be narrower, this makes sense. If anything you may need to go up a hook size. Mine is measuring 36 so I’m thinking I”m going to need to go down another size. Good Luck!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • You shouldn’t be doing the last SC in th cain one. Check for that or to see if you did a sc behind your fpdc–both could increase your stitch count. You should have 16 post stitches with 3 sc between each and at the beginning and end. Good luck!

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

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

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

  • Hello,
    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!!

    • Hi Maria, I’d recommend washing the swatch and seeing if it stretches out to 10 stitches and 13 rows per 10 cm. It may not seem like it, but 1 stitch more per 10 cm will become a big difference over the width of an entire garment (your garment would end up being much narrower). If washing your swatch does not help, I would recommend trying a 8 mm hook of a different material (metal, wood, et cetera) which may make enough of a difference to give you a little bit looser gauge. I hope this helps.

      • Thank you Zontee!, I washed it and yes I get the 10 st x 13 rows with an 8mm wood crochet. Fine!

        I have a new doubt, I’ve started the project, I’m doing it 1XL size (bust 45,5 in) , so I’ve chained 72 stiches to begin the back side and crocheted two rows, I get 27 inches wide, so I think it’s ok.

        Still I see the result very big, I’m afraid of continuing as I have to cut yarn when changing colors.
        Is this pattern big by design? what do you think?

        • Hi Maria, refer to the schematics (the drawings in the pattern) for the sizes that the piece should be. It may seem wide at the bottom because this jacket is A-line shaped (wide at the bottom, narrower at the top). Hope that helps.

  • 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

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