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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.]

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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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