January 19, 2015

Crocodile Stitch Cardiagn

Along with the crocodile stitch shawl, I got a pattern for a Crocodile Stitch Cardigan from Bonita Patterns on Etsy.

I spent a few weeks looking for a yarn that I really liked to work it in. I ended up getting the same yarn as called for in the pattern, Caron Simply Soft in Bone. I kind of feel like this is going to make the entire thing too heavy, but for a sweater like this, maybe heavy is good. The last time I used this yarn, I only used 5 skeins of it and made the lace tunic with it, and that thing is so bulky I cannot fit it in a drawer, and have not worn it. This pattern calls for 6 skeins to make the "medium" 1X-2X size. I really wanted to go with something lighter (maybe a DK weight) but trying to find almost 2000 yards of something, in the same color dye lot is tough. I really bought this yarn because it was on sale at Jo-ann's, and I had a coupon. The total yarn cost was just over $30, which is kind of amazing for such a large piece.

So hesitations aside, lets get into the meat of this pattern. The basic construction seems to be a lot like the Open Air Shawl I made in the past. I didn't really care for that piece, but perhaps the larger size and the more cuddly nature of this pattern will make it a winner.

You start, as with most items, with a chain and then go back and work stitches into it. Once again I decided to skip this and work the first two rows instead as a foundation double crochet. You can find tutorials on how to do this all over, and I find that the starting edge is a lot cleaner and you can see that it leaves a nice set of loops at the bottom. I always have trouble picking up both loops from a chain to work into, so I usually only use one, which tends to leave the bottom edge full of holes.
top is foundation dc, bottom is regular chain method
The body is so simple and you don't even need to look at the pattern to work it up. Coming from tiny and complicated stitches from my last few projects, it was a breath of fresh air to work on such a straightforward piece. The body took me about 20 hours to finish over two weeks or so. It took about 3 skeins to do the body, sew up the sides and outline the bodice.
Finished Body
Once the body is done you work on the detailed bodice area around the opening and the sleeves. It is those fantastic crocodile shells that really make this piece into something special. Since I already had plenty of experience making them from the shawl, once again I had little need to reference the pattern, except to start the foundation row for the scales.
Scales on the bodice in progress.
Finished Sleeve
Overall this pattern is wonderfully written and easy to follow. I feel like it would look great in many colors. However, I did not like how it fit on me. It was still a bit tight around the bodice and I wanted the sleeves to be longer, even though I made the 2x/3x size. It is just as snuggly as the pictures made it out to be, just for smaller people I guess. In this neutral color it could go with pretty much anything, whether it's just jeans or a little dress.

If you are interested in owning it, email me, as this sweater is for sale!

Time to complete: ~40 hours
Difficulty: Easy+ (once you've got crocodile stitch down it's a breeze)