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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 3: Let’s Get Started!

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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 3: Let’s Get Started!

I’m so excited to share this week’s blog with you because I want to share with you how to customize this pattern to your size–not necessarily one of the sizes written in the pattern. This cardigan is a formula-based top-down construction that I developed over the last few years and one I turn to every time I want to make myself a sweater without following a pattern or writing one first. One of my favorite benefits of this style of sweater is that you can use any stitch pattern and all the increases are worked in only one row, which means you are not increasing in the stitch pattern. I think that is fantastic for a relaxing project or a beginner project.

Because the sweater is a top-down construction, we always begin with the neck. When determining the size, my theory is to work the neck at 50% of the circumference of the bust, and work triple increases in the first row of stitches (working 3 sts in each stitch across or around). The widest point of the yoke should be 3 times the size of the neck (or 1.5 times the bust). For the yoke, you simply work even in your choses stitch pattern for the length of the yoke. Separating the front(s), sleeves and back are easy too: divide the stitches into 6 even parts. One part each for each sleeve, 2 parts for the back, and 2 parts for a solid front or one part each for a separated right and left front (cardigan). Based on ease, insert the appropriate number of chains in the underarm for your comfort (usually 1 – 3” of chains). For a stretchier underarm, use foundation stitches instead of chains.

For Pearl’s Cardigan, I came up with a variation of my original formula pattern template. Because I wanted the look of 3 strands of pearls around the top of the yoke, I increased the size of the “pearls” for each of the rows, then on the following row (when the regular stitch pattern begins) I worked a double increase (instead of a triple increase in the original pattern template). This combination of increases gave the same desired width at the end of the yoke.

When separating for the fronts, sleeves and back, I still used my original theory of splitting into 6 parts.

Some people will find this conceptual information important, while others may prefer the line-by-line instructions in the pattern. Either way, I hope you feel welcome and encouraged to join me in making Pearl’s Cardigan.

Since I have the original 36” bust sweater and find it to be a little too snug on me, I decided to make the 40” bust sweater for the crochet-along. I ordered 10 balls of Microspun in Coffee (instead of the 9 balls required in the pattern) because I knew I would be making some extra swatches for the blog posts and showing some modifications in the following weeks.

Last week, I began the size 40” cardigan in Cleveland, Ohio when I was taping the next season of Knitting Daily TV (season 600) which will begin airing in January 2011. This photo is of me starting the neck of my cardigan while in the green room, waiting to go on set:

Kristin in the Green Room at KGTV

Have you worked sideways clusters before? That is what I used for the “pearls” in the first few rows of the yoke. They are pretty simple to crochet: similar to a cluster at the beginning of a row that uses a set of chains for the first stitch, you work 3 stitches together (like a decrease), BUT the only difference is that you work this entire cluster into the SIDE of the single crochet just made. Normally, we work our stitches into the top “v” of the stitches in the row below, but in this instance, we work into the side of the single crochet just made – in the same row. The stitch will appear horizontal when you complete the next sc. The small “pearls” on row 2 are double crochet based, the medium “pearls” on row 4 are treble crochet based, and the large “pearls” on row 6 are double treble crochet based. On row 8, the double increases are worked so the number of ch5 spaces are doubled (this completes increases for the rest of the yoke and sweater). Rows 9 – 10 are repeated until you reach the length of your yoke. Don’t be afraid to try on the sweater and adjust the length of the yoke for your body. I put mine on the dressform and pulled the fabric taut with straight pins to make sure it looked like the right length.

Yoke Front
Yoke Side

Yoke Back

Join me next week when we will talk about separating for front(s), sleeves and back and begin discussing the many types of modifications to consider. Happy crocheting!!

How far are you in your  sweater? Share a link to your blog or Flickr account — or post your photos in our Ravelry group!

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  • Hi All,
    I just finnished the double increse row on the yoke. took acouple of phots but don’t know how to add them.

    Zontee says: Hi Jill, if you’re on Ravelry, you can add them to the Pearl’s Cardigan CAL group. If you’re on Flickr, you can add them to our Flickr Group. If you have a blog, you can post them on your blog and comment here on Kristin’s blog posts with a link to your blog and the photos.

  • I was disappointed that the issue several of us are having with the size M and the number of ch5 spaces on row 8 (that does not agree with the pattern) was not addressed in the latest blog. Kirstin is not doing that particular size and it does not seem to be an issue in the other sizes. Has anyone figured this out? I need help before I can go past this point!

  • I’m not on any of those other sites

    Zontee says: Hi Jill, it’s free to join and Otherwise, if you’ve uploaded your photos to some other photo-sharing site, you can also just leave a link in your comments.

  • Carol, I have run into that problem myself. I have asked Kristin about it on the Ravelry site. Here is what I have come up with as possible typos in the Medium pattern:

    Row 8 – 42 ch-5 sps is written, should be 44
    Row 10 – 42 ch-5 sps is written, should be 44
    Row 16 – 46 ch-5 sps is written, should be 48
    Row 18 – 50 ch-5 sps is written, should be 52

    I’m at the end point where I add the edging and the sweater looks fine using those corrected numbers. Hope that helps!

  • thanks Zontee for yur help. I joined but am not sure what to do next. Sorry but this blog thing is new to me. this blog is saposed to be about the cardigan. so if i am out of line just tell me and I won’t ask again.
    thanks for your help so far.

    Zontee says: Hi Jill, it’s fine. On, you’ll find a “groups” tab where you can search for the “Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along” and find our group there. There are forums where you can post questions and whatnot. also has directions for how to post a picture into your comments there, as well as other useful information, so be sure to check out those help sections.

  • Thank you for this explanation of your formula, Kristin. I’m still waiting for the yarn to be delivered, but this helps me understand the structure before I get started. Just one question–when you say “the widest point of the yoke,” where are you measuring from and to?

  • Thank you so much to seberu for the info I was looking for. I will proceed now. I am enjoying this so far, it’s my first CAL. It is frustrating when there are errors in the pattern, I seem to have enough challenges without that!

    I am sorry about the typos and very grateful to seberu for sharing! I’m glad you joined us and am here if you have any other questions!

  • Hi Kristin! Actually, I finished mine already! In fact, I love it so much, I really want to make another one, in another color sometime soon, but for now I have other projects in the works… I will get back to it though, thinking I might like to make one in red! Loved this pattern, and had fun making it! Thanks for hosting this event, and sharing this pattern! ~tina

    Kristin says: Hi Tina! Thank you. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  • I am having a little trouble figuring out some of the stitches. I cannot find anywhere on the net how to make a 3-double treble crochet cluster. Is there a key somewhere , other than the book, to what the stitches are? Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Kristin says: Hi Julie. I have a glossary on my website if that helps: But, basically a cluster is worked the same as a decrease, except you are working the post of each stitch in the same space instead of across a section of stitches. If you need more assistance, please ask!!

  • @Julie…there is an explanation in the pattern if you downloaded it…it gives step by step instructions, but they are on a separate page.

  • Actually…I just checked and it is on the Lion Brand Page where you download the pattern. It says “Stitch Explanation”. I guess I just copied and pasted it and printed the page.

    3 double crochet cluster (3-dc cl)
    [Yarn over hook, insert hook into next stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through 2 loops on hook] 3 times in the same stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through 4 loops on hook.

    3 treble crochet cluster (3-tr cl)
    [Yarn over hook twice, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through stitch, (yarn over hook, draw yarn through 2 loops on hook) twice] 3 times in same stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through 4 loops on hook.

    2 double-treble crochet cluster (2-dtr cl)
    [Yarn over hook 3 times, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through stitch, (yarn over hook, draw yarn through 2 loops on hook) 3 times] twice in the same stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through 3 loops on hook.

    3 double treble crochet cluster (3-dtr cl)
    [Yarn over hook 3 times, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through stitch, (yarn over hook, draw yarn through 2 loops on hook) 3 times] 3 times in the same stitch, yarn over hook, draw yarn through 4 loops on hook.

  • I’m using stash, which means various colors will happen at various places.

    If anyone knows or can tell, is there a way I can tell which is the … what looks like edging, can be done in a different color — how I can tell which stitches those are?


    I’m going for the top most part in a slightly shiny white, then an off white for the sleeves and top body, and hopefully the edges! And a flatter white for the bottom of the body.

    I would feel so grateful for any help from anyone! (Clearly, I’m not a Super Crochet-er!) 🙂

  • I’m a total dork — if anyone posts a YouTube video about how to do row 2, that’d be great! 🙂

    I have done and un-done the first 3 bundles of stitches 4 times. I am clearly having issues!

    Hopefully, maybe the next time it will work… though if anyone does have a video about how these stitches work (I’m sure that more of them will bamboozle me!), would someone please let me know?

    Thank you so gratefully much! 🙂

  • Thank you , thank you , thank you !

  • I have another question. On rows 11-14 – do you repeat rows 9-10 TWICE for EACH of those rows? I appreciate the clarification of this for me. So far it is coming along nicely. Great pattern.

  • Julie – Hope this is what you are asking:
    Row 11 is the same as row 9, row 12 is the same as row 10, row 13 is the same as row 9, row 14 is the same as row 10. Just alternate row 9 and 10. The pattern will ask you to do this same repeat in rows 3 through 13 on the body.

  • Thank you Terri ! I read and re-read the pattern and concluded that it could be interpreted 2 different ways. I went ahead and did it the way you indicate here. Thankfully it was correct. I so appreciate you taking the time to clarify it for me.

  • […] Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 3: Let’s Get Started! […]


    No matter WHAT yarn I use or WHAT SIZE crochet hook I CAN NOT get a perfect square, by that I mean a 4″ by 4″ square. If I get four inches in width, the heigth is too short–like 3″. If i get 4″ in heigth, then I get 5″ in width–I REPEAT I HAVE USED ALL YARNS with the same Qualities as microspun and ALL hooks–E, F, F, H. HELP— my GUESS is choose something that is correct in WIDTH and short in height—and add more rows as I crochet to add length to garment.


    Zontee says: Hi Jeanne, like you said, width is more important than height, so if you can only get one, get the width and like you said, add rows if necessary. Just FYI, sometimes it can make a difference in row height to change the material of the hooks, since that can affect your tension. Hope that helps!

  • […] Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 3: Let’s Get Started! […]

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