It’s great to see new Ever-Change Sweaters come to life in Pepper-Gaggle! Those very first rows might have felt a bit challenging, but once you get to around Row 12 you have repeated all the techniques enough that things start to make sense and reaching the V-point means you are well practised at them!
This week is working from the V-point to the underarm (U/arm) in closed rounds. The join is new but everything else is more of the same. Yay, right!?
If you are making custom fit adjustments, there is a bit more to think about. Appendix B provides a comprehensive run-through to show how & where to make custom changes so I won’t repeat that detail here, but I will cover some guiding principles. As always, my blog is written using UK crochet terminology.
Quick recap on previous blog links:
The Pattern Launch Blog with details about the Ever-Change Sweater, the MAL and photos of finished tester samples can be found here.
The Prep Blog with details about how to choose size, check for adjustments to finalise required yardage and swatch to achieve gauge can be found here.
Week 1 Blog (Fdc to V-point tips) is here.
The pattern PDF can be purchased from either Ravelry or Etsy and please share your fabulous progress on socials (#everchangesweaterMAL) to encourage others join in before the discounted price ends Dec 24th!
The End Goal this week for the Ever-Change Sweater :
…is to reach and complete Lower Bodice Round 1 to split the Bodice from the Sleeves, test fit and tweak things if needed. (Weeks 3 & 4 over Christmas/New Year is whizzing through the Lower Bodice and Hemline Ribbing).
The join is the only new technique we use this week - everything else is canvas stitch, shaping with increases and fdc under the arm to split for Sleeves.
Let’s dive in!
Each size has their own table of instructions for V-point to U/arm rounds, along with Minor Adjustment advice relevant for that size/table. All sizes begin with a RS round and finish with a WS round, but the number of rounds and frequency of increases varies between sizes which is why each table is separate and has individual advice.
Pattern tip - print out the table for your size and use it as a tick list when completing rounds and/or mark up with adjustments/notes if required.
Making planned changes - adjustments can be made in any Section as an isolated modification by changing frequency of increases within that Section. Changes can alternatively/also be made in the fdc that bridge the U/arm but changes here are not isolated, they will change the Sleeves and Bodice together.
Tweaking of Fit at U/arm - once you reach the U/arm, maybe your row gauge is tight, maybe the stars have mysteriously not aligned in your favour and the armhole depth is too short or maybe it’s not sitting quite right. What then?
Further down this post I talk about trouble-shooting those lowest shaping rounds (frog a few and re-work slightly differently) to ensure it feels comfortable.
TIPS FOR THE JOIN & JUGGLING COLOURS:
Read through page 23, watch the video showing the secret join.
If you are working in a solid colour of Whirlette or Woolly Whirlette then continuing with the single ball of yarn is fine. If you are working in gradient Whirl or Woolly Whirl, then the video clearly shows how to alternate the 2 yarn cakes to prolong the colour gradient.
Those who are going full ombré can alternate 2 yarn A cakes here if they want the far end of the colour gradient for most of the garment, but if you want a lot of the beginning colour of the gradient then you would cut fuzz-buzzes from the V-point down. (The table on page 4 of Appendix A is there to guide your colour placement.)
MAKING SENSE OF THE SHAPING:
Frequency of increases is different in each Section for each size, but they are governed by the same principles:
Section Shaping Principles:
If the previous round was an increase and the current one is straight, then the Section begins and end with a spike htr (straight-htr).
If the previous round was straight-htr then the current one must also be straight, and the Section begins and ends with a dc (straight-dc). An increase round cannot follow a straight-htr one as it needs a dc to work it.
Any run of straight rounds after an increase one will be an even number as it will alternate (straight-htr, straight-dc) until the next increase round. This is because the increase needs a dc to work into.
A run of increase rounds is possible because the increases always have the dc part as the stitch that is closest to the Raglan Line, so an increase Section begins and ends with a dc.
When you put all this together, increases can be made every 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 row/rounds etc, and straight row/rounds between them must be an even number (2, 4, 6, 8 etc). Some other possible frequencies of increases are 2 of 4 rounds (2 increases followed by 2 straight), or 4 of 6 round (4 increases followed by 2 straight).
When increases are made every round, it creates a rapid “kick out” of fabric which is useful to curve around the body before the U/arm bridge. This kick-out (to some relatively balanced degree) on either side of the Raglan Line allows free movement of the arm when worn.
Good fit means there is comfortable arm movement as well as the desired amount of ease around the upper arm and bust.
TIPS FOR TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR FIT AFTER WORKING LOWER BODICE ROUND 1:
These potential issues below (and the shaping principles above) are a great reference to come back to if you feel things aren’t quite right at the end of Week 2’s test-fit.
I won’t cover every scenario but will cover a couple of examples to demonstrate the principles of tweaking your fit at the U/arm. Finish Week 1, test fit, then frog a few rounds and re-work and test-fit again is the idea. You may need to do this a couple of times before you are comfortable - don’t be disheartened though - you will end up with a super comfy sweater and that is what matters!
1. Armhole Depth seems too short:
· Keep in mind that the added weight of future rounds will make it sit 1-1.5cm lower than it does right now.
· Beyond that, the fix would be to frog Lower Bodice Round 1 and add more rounds (ideally an even number: every 2 rounds should add 0.72cm length if you are on gauge).
· Simply adding more increase rounds for each Section does increase depth of armhole but it also adds stitches to Sleeves and Bodice. You need to decide if you want extra stitches in the Bodice and Sleeves and if not, how to manage things:
· If you are happy to have the extra stitches at Sleeve and Bodice, then just add more rounds as increases for Sleeve and Bodice and keep same number of stitches in fdc bridge when reworking Lower Bodice Round 1. (The outcome of this is to make Armhole Depth, Sleeve and Bodice bigger.)
· If you do not want extra stitches in the Sleeves and Bodice, then you could frog back enough (4-8 maybe?) rounds to re-distribute the existing number of increases over extra rounds (observing frequency patterns as outlined in Section Shaping Principles above), OR sizes XL and larger may be able to add the extra rounds as increases and remove 4 fdc from the U/arm bridge to compensate for some or all of them. (The outcome of this is increasing Armhole Depth, hopefully without also enlarging Sleeves and Bodice.)
· Scenarios 2-4 assume Armhole Depth is okay.
2. Sleeve feels too big, but Bodice feels okay:
· Bear in mind that the Lower Sleeve stitch count will reduce significantly in the first few rounds, so the circumference down the length of your Sleeve will reduce (the pattern as written creates a tapered slim Sleeve). If you like the circumference of current stitch count for your lower arm however, then you could delay and or reduce the decreases down the Lower Sleeve.
3. Sleeve feels too small while Bodice feels okay and/or Sleeve pulls on Bodice when you lift your arm:
· If the Sleeve feels too small that is easy to recognise, but if the kick-out is not balanced enough for the curves of your body, you might think both the Bodice and Sleeves feel fine with your arms down but when you lift your arm it feels uncomfortable, or things bunch up as the Sleeve pulls on the Bodice (See 3 photos below). Adding more increase rounds to Sleeve Sections (only) to increase the kick out will solve either of these issues.
· If you only need the extra Sleeve kick out for a comfortable arm lift you cannot avoid the extra Sleeve stitches, but don’t worry about the Sleeve feeling too big (see scenario 2 above) and you can work extra decreases down the Sleeve if necessary.
· To add stitches to Sleeve only, you will need decide how many extras stitches you need (4 or 8) and frog back enough rounds to insert them into the Sleeve Sections only. Generally, this will be easy to do as the Bodice Sections have a few more increases in a row than the Sleeves do, so by adding more increases to the Sleeves you are inherently increasing the curved kick-out on the Sleeve side of the Raglan Line and improving that balance.
4. Sleeve and Bodice feel too big or too small:
· Adjust the number of fdc at each U/arm bridge to compensate is the easiest approach assuming your Armhole Depth is fine. Limitations for this is described on pages 3-4 of Appendix B.
· If you also want additional Armhole Depth, then refer to Scenario 1.
...And that’s it for Week 2!
The troubleshooting advice may seem a bit complicated but it will be handy (and make more sense) once you have worked all the rounds to the U/arm).
Reach out in Pepper-Gaggle if you need some help and post some lovely pics of your Ever-Change Sweater progress! If you are enjoying this design and are keen to spread the word, post in your favourite crochet groups too! Word of mouth is a fabulous support, and I really appreciate it xx.
Given this is the week leading up to Christmas I am sure you will all have plenty of things that may slow your crochet down though! Never fear, there is plenty of time to catch up in the following weeks, and since the canvas stitch between increases is quite meditative to work just keep plodding along….
Thank you to Scheepjes for contributing some of the yarn that I used in developing my first prototype of this design.