Sugar and Spice or an adventure in Crochet Clothing…

I have to confess I currently have a subscription to Simply Crochet. I don’t know why I feel the need to confess that, but I feel better that’s over with. I know it’s not the cost, as somehow I managed to get a deal for 5 magazines for £5… (which at the time of writing this blog post is still on…). Even Mr T was easy to persuade at £5 for 5 issues. I think the need to confess maybe comes from the fact that when I get a new magazine, I feel compelled to start another WIP (work in progress), whilst wilfully neglecting the pile that is waiting to be finished…

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The Happy Days Blanket is growing slowly. It is a great car crochet project!

And Simply Crochet Issue 32 was no exception. Well, I had already felt compelled to buy this one, because I saw the advert for the Sugar and Spice Cardigan, by Simone Francis and had fallen in love with it. With 4 girls between the ages of 9 and 2, I was sure to find at least one of them I could make it for. It was, however, unusual for me to consider making a crochet garment. This crochet garment is my first, well unless you count baby hats and my crochet beret. Mainly this is from fear. I fear making a garment that I will hate at the end, because unlike a blanket pattern, I can’t make a little swatch, I fear that it will be the wrong size, I fear wasting all that lovely yarn and time and effort…

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However, I decided it was time to face my fears and do it anyway! This was helped by the fact that the yarn for the project was heavily discounted (Drops Nepal usually £2, down to £1.30 at Wool Warehouse) and with Mr T’s approval, I ordered the yarn before I could change my mind. The pattern helpfully stated what amount of yarn I needed for each size. I decided to go for the largest – size 7-8, as if it was too small it would fit my 5 year old and too large, it would fit my 7 year old (both my 5 and 7 year old are rather tall). I used the same colours, except I substituted light grey green for light beige.

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I did make a swatch first, as I thought that this may help with getting the sizing right. I was amazed to find my swatch was almost identical to the designers! That was a great start. And, phew, with that out of the way, off I went. I really loved making this cardigan (the pattern is really clear and easy to follow). You will notice the pink at the bottom of the yoke on mine looks slightly different to the original. I contacted Simone Francis through Ravelry and she got back to me really quickly to say that the original had row 8 double crocheted in the back loop only, which unfortunately had been misprinted/ not included in the magazine. However, I had already gotten on to the body and Miss H, (my 5 year old) who the cardigan appeared to be fitting nicely, decided she liked it very much as it was, so I left it. I did add an extra row of trebles on to the bottom of the cardigan, as Miss H is rather tall and it fitted better like that.

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I was terrified of blocking the cardigan. The Drops Nepal yarn is a beautiful aran weight yarn, 35% alpaca and 65% wool, which was a dream to work with. The pattern suggested light steam blocking and I was worried I would shrink the yarn. I wasn’t going to bother, as it looked ok, but Mr T looked at it and said, “I think that needs blocking doesn’t it?” (see he does listen, after all…) and that decided it, so I faced my fears again. I pinned it out on a large bath towel on the ironing board and blasted steam at it from a safe distance, until it was lightly damp and left it for 30 minutes to dry. And there you have it!

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My first crochet garment.

Miss H is not known for her ability to stand still...

I’m rather pleased with it, as is Miss H, which is the main thing of course. I do have quite a bit of Nepal yarn left, which I have rather fallen in love with, and I have even planned what I am going to do with it… just need another 17 balls of course. So, I am waiting for the next special offer, and then I will be off on another WIP…

So I think I will have another try at crocheting a garment, as this was a great experience and it took under a week, even with a couple of days procrastinating over blocking. The cardigan is a bit on the baggy side, as Miss H is tall, but slim. I think next time I would try to be a bit more adventurous and try altering the increases to get a better fit. I hope I’ve inspired you to have a try at a garment, if you haven’t already. 🙂

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