After we tallied the votes for our Crochet-A-Long it became clear that many people want to make the Fisher’s Island Cardigan, but simply cannot make it to the store. So, we decided to host the CAL online! If you ever wanted to make a complicated garment like a cardigan, but were nervous to start on your own and couldn’t get help anywhere else, fear no more! I will guide you through each step of the process.
My name is Edita and I work at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City, and from time to time post on my blog http://doubleagent.blog/. You can visit me there as well and ask questions. Ok, grab your yarn, your hook, print the pattern and have 1(!) drink of choice. Let’s get started!
Sizing Your Fisher’s Island Cardigan
First off: the pattern is only graded for 3 sizes and they are quite generous (Small, M/L and 1X/2X). The measurements are given for the project’s finished bust circumference (37”, 43” and 49” respectively). This means that the project includes positive ease, in other words, there is room for movement and the garment is not supposed to be tight. To find your fit you can measure your favorite sweater or cardigan with plenty of ease by laying it flat on a table (buttoned or zipped up) and run the measuring tape across the bodice about 1” down from the armhole. You might get a measurement in between those given in the pattern, for example you can get 40”. At this point you may decide if you want you garment to fit a little looser or tighter, and in any case the final project can be blocked closer to the desired measurements.
Yarn Selection & Quantity
Once you find your size you would want to make sure you have enough yarn to crochet the cardigan. Let’s take a look at the materials. For the smallest size you need 8 balls of Vanna’s Choice. What does that mean to us? What if I don’t like this yarn? Can I use something else?
- ‘8 balls of Vanna’s Choice’ means that we have to use medium weight yarn (size 4 or worsted) in the amount of 1,360 yards for the smallest size (8 balls X 170 yards per ball= 1,360 yards)
- If you would like to use different yarn you have to make sure that the yarn you are choosing must be of medium weight and no less than 1360 yards (for the smallest size).
- What other yarns could I substitute? You can choose from a variety of Lion Brand yarns such as Fishermen’s Wool, Heartland worsted, Jeans, LB Collection Organic Wool, LB Collection Merino Yak Alpaca and others. If you are shopping at the store, don’t forget that the entire yardage should come from the same dye lot.
Now it is time to make a gauge swatch. I cannot stress enough the importance of making a gauge swatch! It is the indicator of your future garment’s fit, feel and look. For Fisher’s Island Cardigan it is crucial to get not just the stitch gauge (11 sc per 4”), but also the row gauge (10 rows in 4”) because the row gauge represents the width of the cardigan while the stitch gauge points to the length of it. Please note that the swatch must be made in pattern. This means that you should use the exact same stitch sequence you will be using to crochet the cardigan for your swatch. You will find the instructions for the pattern stitch on the 2nd page of the pattern.
The Pattern Stitch
Let’s take a look at the pattern stitch (please check the abbreviations at the last page of the pattern):
Hdc and Sc Rows (worked over an odd number of sts)
Row 1 (RS): Ch 1, turn, sc in first st, *sc-blo in next st, sc in next st: rep from * to end of row.
Row 2: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc), turn, hdc in next st and in each st to end of row.
Rep Rows 1 and 2 for Hdc and Sc Rows pattern.
Working the Pattern
The pattern repeat is only 2 rows and, frankly, you will be able to memorize it by the 2nd or 3rd repeat.
The pattern has a right and a wrong side. I suggest that you place a marker on the right side of the pattern if you need to, however, the sides will be very distinctive since half of the sc are worked through the back loop and create an obvious ridge on the Right side.
Now, the HDC rows are worked on the Wrong side of the pattern (always!!!). If you find yourself working HDC on the Right side, go back and check for a mistake. The HDC rows start with ch 2. This chain represents a stitch, for us it means we have to skip the first stitch of the row below and work the next HDC into the second SC of the row below (working the STRAIGHT row for EACH HDC row). On the other hand, when you work your SC rows you work every stitch across INCLUDING the turning chain (ch 2) of the HDC row (working the regular row), since it counts as a stitch. I saw my students struggling with this concept a little bit, so take your time to practice.
- All the SC rows will be on the Right side and always the ODD numbered
- All the HDC rows will be on the Wrong side and always the EVEN numbered
- HDC rows are straight rows where ch 2 counts as a stitch and the next HDC is worked into the second stitch of the row below.
- SC rows are regular rows, do not skip anything. The last SC goes into turning chain (ch 2) of the row below.
How to Swatch
Start your swatch with the suggested hook size K-10.5 (6mm). If your gauge is more stitches than 11sc, opt for a larger hook, if it is less, choose a smaller hook. If your stitch count is off by about a stitch or so, play with the hook material, for example, if you get 10 stitches per 4 inches with a plastic hook, switch to a bamboo hook of the same size. The texture of bamboo doesn’t allow yarn to slide off the hook too easily and “sticks” to it, creating a tighter gauge. If you got 12 stitches with a plastic hook, get a metal one instead. The slippery surface of the hook lets yarn drop off creating a looser stitch. Make sure to crochet a square somewhat bigger than 4 by 4 inches, you don’t want your selvage stitch to be counted into your gauge, because the selvage stitches and rows are usually tighter than the rest of the swatch.
To begin, start with at least 16 chains and work in pattern stitch for about 14 rows or so.
Ideally you want to fasten off your test piece, stretch it in different directions (imagine putting your garment on, stretching it with your hands and arms), then wash it in a lukewarm water and pin it to a blocking board or a stack of towels. Wait until it is dry, and NOW you are ready to measure it. Also, you will be able to tell how you like the look and feel of the fabric after being handled. You may not like it too much. For example, my fabric seemed a bit flimsy and way too open weave. At that point I decided to double strand my yarn to create cushy but structured feel to it.
Don’t forget that there are 2 rows between 2 ridges.