PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

crochet bamboo cardigan

Last July, I posted about my plan to design one knitted and one crocheted cardigan for myself, just for fun:

WIP cardigans - knit and crocheted - by planetjune

Although the crocheted cardigan took a fraction of the time of the knitted one to make, I actually completed the knitted one first – probably because it was Southern hemisphere winter, so knitting a warm cardigan was more appealing than weaving in lots of fiddly ends on a lacey crocheted cardigan! But now, finally, here’s my finished crocheted cardigan:

crocheted bamboo cardigan by planetjune

You may be thinking that the stitch pattern looks familiar, and you’d be right: I knew I wouldn’t be publishing a pattern for this cardigan, but I liked this stitch pattern so much after I came up with it that I used the same stitch pattern in my Frosty Windows Scarf too – no point in keeping a good stitch pattern to myself when you can enjoy it too, in another format!

The story of this cardigan…

I had 3 skeins of deliciously smooth and soft LB Collection Cotton Bamboo yarn in my yarn stash since I chose it as my prize for winning the Instructables/Lion Brand Critter Contest in 2010. I intended to make a PlanetJune Accessories pattern of some sort from it and came up with a stitch pattern, but I hadn’t come up with the perfect project idea.

I picked it up again a few months ago and decided to do something with it. I still liked the stitch pattern I’d designed and thought I’d try turning it into a light summery cardigan. I used a slightly larger hook than recommended so I’d have a nice drapey fabric. I didn’t work out a formal pattern – I just measured some of my existing cardigans and crocheted pieces (two fronts and a back) in my stitch pattern that approximated those sizes. Knowing I didn’t have to keep notes for a pattern to publish made it easy to fly through the crocheting!

crocheted bamboo cardigan by planetjune

My first problem came when I realised I wouldn’t have enough yarn to complete both sleeves and finish the garment – and obviously no way to get more from the US without great expense – so I had to rethink the design for 3/4 length sleeves. I’d worked the sleeves from the cuff up, and I was working both at once (crocheting one round of one sleeve, and repeating the same round on the other sleeve with a separate ball of yarn) so I’d make sure I’d end up with two sleeves that matched. Changing my design to 3/4 length sleeves meant frogging both sleeves entirely and starting again, as they were too fitted at the wrist to wear the original cuff higher up my arm.

And then my second problem: as I’d made the sleeves fairly close-fitting, the armholes I’d left in the body were far too large. That was easily fixed; I just crocheted an edging around both the sleeve tops and the armholes, decreasing as I went around the armholes until I had the same number of stitches in each piece. (An added bonus of this was that the seaming was ridiculously easy and tidy, as I had the same number of stitches on each side to begin with.)

crocheted bamboo cardigan by planetjune
Shoulder seam

To tie it together, I used the same stitch for the body/sleeve linking stitches that I planned to use for the cardigan’s edging. And then it was just a matter of edging the entire garment, adding space for buttons on one side and buttonholes on the other. I edged the cardigan using linked stitches (which I love – I’ll make a video tutorial for them at some time!) to add some structure without stiffness, and I used foundation stitches to leave vertical buttonholes – easy and neat.

All that remained was to weave the ends in securely, block the cardigan, and sew on the buttons. I found the perfect buttons in a craft shop in Jersey while visiting my parents last July, but then I lost my momentum as it was winter here and not the right weather for this type of light cover-up. But now it’s summer and this cardigan is just what I need! So weave, wash, block, sew, photograph, and here we are :)

crocheted bamboo cardigan by planetjune
I flipped the corner up to show you one of the wooden button (left) and one of the hidden anchor buttons on the inside (right)

I used my favourite technique of stitching each button with an unobtrusive anchor button on the inside, to avoid putting strain on the yarn. The finished cardigan is light, comfortable, and silky-soft – I’m already enjoying wearing it:

crocheted bamboo cardigan by planetjune

What’s Next?

This project has convinced me that I really can make non-embarrassing wearable clothes for myself, so I really want to make more, but, with my hand problems, I need to save most of my crochet time for designs I can publish. For that reason, I’ll probably be knitting more clothes than I crochet in future: knitting uses different motions, so I can knit and crochet for far longer than I could just crochet.

I’m really glad to have made a crocheted garment that isn’t stiff, boxy or unflattering – I love crochet and I want to make it clear that, although you’ll be seeing me make more knitted sweaters in future, I’ll never abandon crochet in favour of knitting. If any knitting snobs think I’m knitting clothes because knitting is superior to crochet, I’ll be able to point to this cardigan as evidence to the contrary!

16 Comments »

  1. Amy in TX said

    Beautiful sweater, and it fits you so well!

    • June said

      Thank you, Amy! That’s the advantage of basing my designs on clothes that actually fit me, not on a standard pattern – I always have to leave the bottom button undone on store-bought cardigans ;)

  2. Andrea aka SpringSplndr said

    Too bad you’re not writing a pattern because the sweater is beautiful!

    • June said

      Thank you, Andrea! Maybe in another lifetime I’d have time to be a professional garment pattern designer, but I can’t see that happening in this one (unless I shift focus at some point in the future). At least I know I have options, if the bottom falls out of the amigurumi market ;)

  3. Chrisie said

    Beautiful work! You’ve inspired me to take a leap into crocheting garments.

    • June said

      Yay – I’m happy to have inspired you! This reaction really tempts me to try designing and selling some garment patterns. But no, must resist, already too busy…

  4. GORGEOUS! That is absolutely amazing! I love it! I concur with the others, it fits you perfectly(I know you intended that) but it is so YOU! :) Awesome work!

    • June said

      Thank you! Actually, that’s one reason I’m not planning to publish any garment patterns – I want to design clothes that really fit me, and I’d want everyone who made my designs to have a perfect fit for them too, so I’d want to make calculate-it-yourself designs like my scarf sweater (only it’d be more complicated with a proper garment). I just don’t think that’s what people are looking for in a pattern though: they want a complete pattern that you follow line by line, not one where you have to take your measurements and do lots of calculations before you can even start crocheting…

  5. Your cardigan turned out just lovely.

    I have to admit, I haven’t crocheted myself any clothing. I really should.

  6. Simone said

    Brilliant! It clearly shows your amazing skill.

  7. Tara said

    It’s gorgeous! I want to crochet myself something (I can’t knit-something about the two needles I can’t get my head around!) but I’m not confident enough yet! Maybe later this year :)

    For wool: Have you tried Woolhogs.co.za or Skapie.co.za both seem to have a wide variety of wool and accessories. I’ve used Wollhogs and had nothing but EXCELLENT service from Maryanne.

  8. Ruth said

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Kara said

    Very pretty, June!

  10. Patti B said

    Your cardi is absolutely cute. It reminds me I really ought to relearn how to crochet one of these days.

  11. pam said

    Absolutely love how this sweater fits and looks on that gorgeous model!

    As a nascent crochet enthusiast – I am in awe!!! I am sure many who are not so nascent are in awe as well!!!

    Well done.

  12. joy said

    hi june, i love your pattern,

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Please note that I can only answer questions related to PlanetJune patterns and tutorials (see details), and I can only respond to questions or comments written in English. Thank you :) - June

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    June Gilbank
    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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