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mandymae

advice for crocheting garments

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While I was checking my email on my lunch break today, I came across the newest Lion Brand newsletter, and I immediately fell in love with the Crochet Persimmon Pullover (it's a free pattern, you can pull it up on the LB website). I've never done a garment of any kind before--I pretty much have stuck to doing scarves, hats, afghans, and granny squares. I was wondering if anyone who has a bit of experience doing garments has any overall feelings or advice to give regarding crocheting sweaters and such! I don't want to buy an expensive yarn and end up either hating the project or ending up with a sweater that doesn't fit, etc. Thanks!

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The best advice I can give you regarding garments or wearables is to make good friends with a tape measure. Get good measurements of yourself (if you are making the garment for yourself) and of anyone you are wanting to make a garment for them. I make wearables for myself and others all the time, but for myself, what is crucial is the measurements for the arms and if it's something that is going to go around my hips to make sure that measurement...

 

Read over whatever pattern you decide to use carefully and for wearables especially I make up a gauge swatch first.

 

Even back in the days when I didn't use other people's patterns and never made up a gauge swatch or even take down measurements for myself, what I would do would be to try on as I worked the garment...for me this would work quite well, but trying to make something for someone else is harder obviously.

 

Another thing you can do is to take a blouse, sweater or other top that you like the fit of from your closet or drawer and use that as a measuring guide for the project you want to make. I did that when I made my husband a sweater for the first time. Worked great. But measurements with a tape measure is the best way to have a more accurate fit I believe.

 

Don't be afraid to rip out your work if you find things aren't going as expected. It's worth it in the end to have a finished garment that you enjoy wearing and will end up wearing a lot.

 

Good luck.

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One more thing...if this is your first time making a garment, rather than buy more expensive yarn for it...try the pattern out first in a less expensive yarn like Caron's Simply Soft. I have made wearables out of that yarn and they are nice to the touch...

 

Also, about the gauge swatch...not only is the swatch good for getting the gauge right, but also a way to practice the stitch pattern in the pattern before starting to actually make the garment.

 

Again, good luck...

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In addition to Eurolyon's advice---I was just looking at Ravelry and a lot of people were commenting on this pattern. It's by Doris Chan, and she has a group on Ravelry where you can get advice from others who are making the pattern, and from Doris herself. I have a feeling there will be a Persimmon Pullover thread started there pretty soon as people start making the pattern.

 

the top-down construction makes it very easy to try on so you can constantly check the fit.

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Very Important!

 

Make a tension square. Measure your stitches against the suggested tension so that you can work out the correct size to make.

 

Also, practice the pattern stitch in some spare yarn.

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Thank you all SO much for your help! I have a lot of Simply Soft in my stash (probably one of my least favorite yarns, which is why I have so much sitting around) so I'm definitely going to try doing the pattern in that yarn first to see how things go!

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Always do a Gauge Swatch for a new Pattern. I'm lucky in that I am usually pretty darn close if not spot on, but I never start a new pattern without checking that I'm getting the right gauge.

 

Always read over the pattern completely before you start it. Reading a pattern is kind of like sheet music in my opinion and when I was in band throughout school, I was always told by my instructor to read the entire piece over before playing it. The same can be applied to Crochet Patterns because if you read it over completely you can get a feel for it better than if you just started it without reading over the entire thing.

 

Always check dye lots if they exist for a particular yarn.

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Everything above, but just to underscore that for top down garments the height gauge of your stitch is very important. For most bottom up patterns, height is not quite as critical as it usally says something like 'work x inches to armholes' instead of 'x rows'.

 

I have tried a couple of Doris Chan's lovely top down sweaters and failed (the armhole depth was too short, and I couldn't just add rows or the shoulders would have been out to my elbows). My width gauge matched, but not my height. I need to try again with a taller stitch, because I'm a yanker and Doris is a lifter (see her blog below)

http://doriseverydaycrochet.blogspot.com/2009/01/confessions-of-lifter.html

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Always read over the pattern completely before you start it. Reading a pattern is kind of like sheet music in my opinion and when I was in band throughout school, I was always told by my instructor to read the entire piece over before playing it. The same can be applied to Crochet Patterns because if you read it over completely you can get a feel for it better than if you just started it without reading over the entire thing.

 

I've been playing the clarinet for 15 years (I started when I was 9 years old) so I DEFINITELY understand the music-reading comparison!

 

Everything above, but just to underscore that for top down garments the height gauge of your stitch is very important. For most bottom up patterns, height is not quite as critical as it usally says something like 'work x inches to armholes' instead of 'x rows'.

 

I have tried a couple of Doris Chan's lovely top down sweaters and failed (the armhole depth was too short, and I couldn't just add rows or the shoulders would have been out to my elbows). My width gauge matched, but not my height. I need to try again with a taller stitch, because I'm a yanker and Doris is a lifter (see her blog below)

http://doriseverydaycrochet.blogspot.com/2009/01/confessions-of-lifter.html

 

I just read the article, and I'm a combo yanker/rider! Very helpful!

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