I am changing the construction of the Flower Cardigan pattern by crocheting it in one piece from the bottom up. Why? I don't want to work the same stripe pattern 3 times and worry about seaming each piece perfectly when I could just as easily create one wide stripe and work up from there. What is the risk? One of my knitter/designer friends warned me that side seams serve a purpose – to provide structure. How would I know if this garment would droop without side seams? Experience certainly. Well, I don’t have that, so here we go. I’m a fairly fast crocheter and I will get to the shoulder seams in no time. If I need to rip out and make separate pieces, I can be back where I need to be quickly.
After much reading and rereading of the pattern, I saw that all the shaping for the pattern – which included decreases at the waist and then increasing back again at the bust is done at the side seams. The exception is at the neck and shoulders which includes some shaping at both sides.
Using my J hook described previously, I chained enough stitches to nearly meet around my hips. I didn’t want the foundation chain to meet or overlap because there is some finishing to the button band and I didn’t want to get in the way of that. Also, I rarely wear my cardigans closed and wanted a little bit of negative ease to accommodate that.
I used stitch markers (aka lever back earrings) to mark off where the sides of the cardigan should be. All my increases and decreases were done just before and just after these markers – moving the earrings er…markers up to the next row each time. Here's the result:
Once I got to the point in the pattern where the armhole shaping was required, I worked one front all the way up to the shoulder, then the back, then the second front side – fastening off after each section. Finally, I used some of the tail ends to quickly "test sew" the shoulder seams and try on the sleeveless sweater to see how things look.
Keep in mind, it hasn’t been blocked, the sleeves are missing, and the button band finishing hasn’t been done, but just for testing purposes, I’m pleased.
My next hurdle is the sleeves. Surprisingly, I'm not going to change anything about the sleeve construction. I considered crocheting them in the round off the finished armhole, but I've never done a set-in sleeve before and I'm curious how that will work.