Welcome to my Shelley Sweater Crochet-A-Long wrap up where I highlight some wonderful maker projects! It’s been a fun, positive group with everyone sharing their creativity and encouraging each other which is awesome. I have really enjoyed witnessing the growing confidence of makers and their progress inspiring others in the group.
I named the Shelley Sweater after my friend and amazing crochet designer Shelley Husband. I love these happy pics of us, with me wearing my prototype crocheted with Sweet Georgia Yarn Tough Love Sock and Shelley wearing the sample I made for her crocheted with Morris & Sons Empire 4ply yarn. One project can look so different depending on yarn choice and I'm excited to share such a variety with you here today!
The thing about crocheting garments is the fear that it won’t fit at the end.
I know this puts a lot of people off, too scared to take the plunge. Yarn angst is real… downloading a pattern that has heaps of pages and charts can be an overwhelm too, and this is why I decided to release the Shelley Sweater in stages as a Crochet-A-Long. Breaking it down into bite sized chunks.
What I really enjoy about running a garment crochet or make a long is that I can guide people through the initial swatching and gauge anxiety and give them some tips that improves their fit, then watching their project bloom! With the associated cost of yarn and investment of your time and energy you really want (and I want for you) is to crochet a garment you feel good in because it fits you well and is comfortable to wear.
My goal to help crocheters optimise fit is also why I developed my comprehensive full day Getting Into Garments “GIGs” workshop. I am thrilled to share my upcoming Sydney GIGs workshop at Skein Sisters November 4th has sold out btw, and a second workshop will now be offered November 11th! You can click here to read all the info and book.
Skein Sisters is also where I discovered LITLG Moon Sock merino-silk blend that I used to create my 2nd Shelley Sweater sample:
Now, back to the CAL and fashion parade.
Here's what some CAL peeps had to say along the way:
“I am soooo happy with this pattern! It is so clever and brilliantly designed. I Tried it on after finishing the taper rounds and it fits like a glove!” – Julia
“I love this pattern so much.” – Adriana
“Thank you for your wonderful pattern. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the CAL. It feels great on and I think it fits really well, thanks to all your fitting tips.” - Chrissie
“I just couldn't stop. So nice and soothing to work on.” - Inez
“Have really loved making this am thinking about what colour or colours the next one!” – Barbara
“Love this pattern - I should be doing Christmas projects but I just can’t put this one down - shame works gets in the way so I’m not quick but loving the journey!” – Denise
“Just finished off my hem this afternoon, which I really enjoyed. I especially love the little flourish of the last row, giving it a crinkled edge.” – Andrea
“I could not love this pattern more! The fit is perfect, and the clever scaffolding of the final hemline is just brilliant. Cannot wait for the sleeves!” - Julia
Whether or not you finished your Shelley Sweater within the CAL timeframe doesn’t matter. It’s your project to enjoy at your own pace and ongoing pattern support is there in my Facebook group Pepper-Gaggle.
To be included in this virtual fashion parade however, projects had to be finished, and makers were asked to send me photos of their finished projects by yesterday’s date with their consent for my use along with some project details.
As promised, at the end of the post I will select and invite 3 of the included makers to join my next pattern test ….which by the way, is a top-down V-neck little number…. More on that later!
Let’s see some beautiful crochet Shellies!!!
Naomi Boxall goes by @madebydrnome on socials and is already a trusted tester of mine and moderator within Pepper-Gaggle too. I’d love to start with her project as it’s just so damned joyous in these colours! Brilliant work.
Yarn: “Aviana Advent Calendar” by Obsession Yarns (which is inspired by all of Australia’s little native bird friends). Those ends from using the advent set are totally worth it!
Hook: 3.5mm for body, 4.5mm for cuff and edgings
Size: 2, with 7 added bodice rounds and omitted some decreases to up-size the sleeves.
Barbara Bell whipped up her Shelley Sweater with characteristic speed and efficiency. She makes a lot of my patterns, as well as a variety of other projects for her family with many projects on the go at all times. Her hook must generate smoke as she works! Even after a false start with a small glitch that required a frogging, Barbara smashed out this marvel in no time.
Yarn: Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in “Azure”
Size: 4, with 5cm positive ease
Inez Oberg was inspired by the Morris & Sons sample images showing more generous positive ease in my pattern and CAL launch blog post. (I really do love their Empire yarn for its soft drape). Inez is @obergboodee on Insta and lives in the Netherlands. While waiting for her yarn order to arrive from Australia just quietly whipped up half a sweater in Scheepjes Our Tribe in an experimental adventure. Once she received the Morris & Sons Empire 4ply merino Inez also made half a Shelley Sweater with the new yarn, confirmed the Empire was best for this project and continued to finish. Looking gorgeous!
Yarn: Morris & Sons Empire 4 ply merino
Size: 7, with 5cm positive ease. Inez added 15 patt reps in length to the bodice.
Lynley Buckley is @crochet.to.dye.for on Instagram and is our current president of the Crochet Guild Australia. A big thanks to Lynley for her efforts within and integral to the guild! The yarn she used from her shop has glitter in it which adds another element – really love how it turned out and Lynley looks like she feels the same way! Apparently, this is the first CAL she has completed on time which I am really happy about because it means I get to share her excellent Shelley Sweater project!
Yarn: NWM bare yarn (60% merino, 26% nylon, 10% alpaca, 4% metal) dyed in her store in colour “Plum Berry”.
Hook: 3.00mm (Lynley notes she preferred the Clover Armour over the Tulip hook for this yarn and project)
Size: 6, with 0cm ease and 2.5cm of added length.
Kelly Lonergan is @hazenna.inspired on Instagram and a very proficient crocheter, professional crochet tech editor and Tunisian crochet designer. A lover of bold colour choices which I completely applaud! Totally down with that – fortune favours the bold, right – a similar fun vibe to my original prototype and Kelly has created hers with precision stitchery. An amazing and striking project!
Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply merino in colours “Cerise” and “Coastal Blue”
Size: 2, with 3.5cm positive ease
Adriana Beachtime in name and in spirit! Adriana’s project is sunny and glorious in her gradient yarn choice and Adriana looks so beautiful and happy in these pics. You can find her on Instagram as @handmade_by_adriana_tas. Adriana has been crocheting for 40 years and her skills were evident in her management of the Shelley Sweater, though she tells me she did learn a few new tricks from me through the CAL experience.
Yarn: McLana Bobbel – this is a cotton-acrylic blend as Adriana doesn’t use animal fibres – in colour “8545”
Size: Adriana fully exploited all the sizing adjustments that a top-down sweater construction method and my sizing tips allow to achieve this amazing fit! She began as size 9, then made the underarm bridge like a size 7 to adjust fit on the fly. She added an additional 22 bodice rounds to her preferred length. The sleeves were followed as per size 7 to the cuff where she then omitted some of the decreases to upsize the cuff to achieve a cuff size 8 in effect.
Her skills also were at play to manage the gradient yarn colour placement over the project, and then at the end she made some earrings to match!
Pamela Tan took my Shelley Sweater in a completely different direction, and I LOVE it! Pamela is @loveit_hookit on Instagram and is an experienced crochet garment pattern tester, which shows in the confidence of her style choices. Classic black and white and the only Shelley with this colour blocking placement. I want her top!! Part of the joy of designing something is seeing it through other people’s eyes with their colour choices. So stylish!
Yarn: unbranded cotton 200m/50g ball
Hook: 3.50mm for body, larger hook for hemline to enhance its lacey appearance
Size: 1, with 6 additional rounds of waist shaping
Chrissie Sullivan was a bit of a dark horse and emailed me her finished photos without needing any help in Pepper-Gaggle! She finished the project while travelling on holidays and snapped up these pre-blocked pics for me to share. Chrissie is @chrissieknits on Instagram and I adore her elegant project and her joyous smile! Fabulous.
Yarn: Chrissie used a discontinued Phildar yarn from her stash with Fancy Yarns Australia Glitter Deluxe which has some sparkle and glitz to it. So good!
Size: 2, with a few cm length added to bodice and sleeves
Julie Keeble is @blueeyedjulie on Insta. Her project is one close to my heart because one of the first comments she made in Pepper-Gaggle was this:
“I am inspired by all of the amazing crocheting and progress people are putting up. It is really making this such a fun project. This CAL by Susannah Kate is making me excited to try and crochet more garments if this one turns out ok. It is nice to be part of a group of such creative people!”
“I’ve finally finished the first section. Fingers crossed that I have done it all ok. Looking forward to the next part with some trepidation.”
Unlike the others, Julie is not an experienced garment maker nor active on socials, and I am absolutely thrilled she wanted to be included in this fashion show and sent me her pics! I feel privileged to share her project and a few comments from her journey. Here is her finished Shelley Sweater, with wonderful fit and looking incredible! Clapping emojis galore!
Yarn: Morris & Sons Empire 4 ply in “Bluestone”
Hook: 3.50 mm
Size: 5, with 6cm positive ease, removed the underarm bridge and added some length to the bodice.
It was clear Julie was a bit nervous about the project, but chose one of the recommended yarns, just followed the steps and my advice during the CAL and created this wonderful garment for herself.
After working the first few rounds of the lower bodice is the perfect time in a top-down design to check fit and make required adjustments. Frogging and reworking some rounds here is the HUGE advantage of this garment method, to achieve best fit as you can try it on as you go. You just need the willingness to frog and carry on if there is anything to change, and this is exactly what Julie did.
“It looks fantastic. The frogging is a pain but it definitely is worth it to get a garment that fits so well. I am beyond pleased with this pattern. I have had so much fun crocheting it and am looking forward to the sleeves.”
In the end, Julie’s last comment:
“Thank you Susannah Kate for this wonderful pattern. I have finally finished the blocking and am so happy with my finished sweater. The Morris and Sons empire wool feels so luxurious and soft. I will definitely be getting lots of wear out of it!”
And here we are at the end of the Shelley Sweater CAL, so it’s time to invite 3 of these creative people to test my next pattern.
I am currently working on a top-down V-neck with some colour play and textured rib. The prototype is only half done so there is no expected test date yet. I will blog more about this as a WIP in a few weeks’ time (subscribe to my blog and newsletter here if you want to stay informed), but for now the only thing I will share is…
…these 3 makers are invited (should they wish) to join my test group whenever the test period rolls around:
Pamela Tan, Adriana Beachtime and Julie Keeble!
Everyone featured in this blog has done such beautiful work and I am proud to be able to share their projects with you. Peppergoose designs are geared towards intermediate to advanced crocheters and they are so comprehensive because I am including many charts, photos, and descriptions to enable less experienced folk to take on a challenge. So, I like my test groups to be a mix of new and established makers and I seek to test a variety of sizes. Pamela, Adriana and Julie, I hope you will join my next pattern test.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated in my little crochet event! Please share your projects with your fibre friends on socials and in person. Wear your Shelley Sweater with pride and glow with that secret-super-power feeling that “I made it myself” provides!
Happy stitching as always,
*there are no affiliate links in this blog post; all opinions are my own.