It’s go-time for the Ever-Change Sweater MAL!!! My reason for running the MAL is to help crocheters who need a bit of extra guidance or confidence to make this design as I know it may look intimidating. It was complicated for me to design/grade, but it’s not actually that difficult to make once you get past the first few rows!
Please note - My blog uses UK crochet terminology.
There are no super-tricky stitches in the Ever-Change Sweater – it’s just ch, ss, dc, htr & tr sts. Sometimes they are worked into unusual places as a post stitch or a spike, but photo tutorials are there to guide you when needed. The same techniques are repeated throughout most of the garment, so when you finish the stitching of this week, you can be confident about the rest of the project!
And don’t forget the techniques video – the links for this are in the Special Abbreviations part of your pattern PDF and you can refer to this as much as you need to as you settle into your groove. (You may have forgotten about the videos if you are working from a printed document, but the PDF is packed with these!)
Quick recap on previous blogs:
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.
The pattern PDF can be purchased from either Ravelry or Etsy and please share your fabulous progress on socials (#everchangesweaterMAL) to encourage others to join in before the discounted price ends Dec 24th!
The End Goal this week:
…is to reach the V-point and unite the upper Bodice, so next week we can continue in closed rounds.
This week is about increases to shape the neckline, Bodice and Sleeves.
The Bodice Sections increase at a different rate to the Sleeve Sections, and then the V-neck edge has its own increase pattern too. Because there is a lot happening simultaneously, instructions are presented as tables so you can keep track of stitch counts and tick them off as you go. Once you get used to the colour coding, it will all fall into place!
We start with the foundation double crochet (fdc) and a Set-up Row to mark out Raglan Lines to divide sweater into (Front, Back and Sleeve) Sections. If you are not sure about how to work fdc, click here for a blog all about it and a video demonstration.
Every word in the written instructions is carefully considered so please read each line and the colour coded charts to keep track of your stitch counts and increases as you go.
For those who want some extra checkpoints (which is what the MAL is all about)
here are some bonus tips!
Pattern reading tip - it can be useful to have the separately printed Abbreviations/Special Abbreviations next to you to refer to as you work through the pattern.
Swatching tip - (I know not everyone has swatched yet and a couple people have asked for more detail about exactly where to insert the hook to work the MFP (Main Fabric Pattern) - so here are some close up pics mid row. The photos are the same except that I placed 2 red arrows to show where to insert the hook for the next 2 sts of MFP.
The spike htr (first red arrow) traps the dc and when you work the dc (second red arrow) leave that third loop of the htr (the lowest front loop facing you) unworked and this creates those little horizontal bars in the fabric.
Fdc Row tip - triple check you have the right st count and Sections are marked correctly before proceeding.
Set-up Row tip - triple check you have alternating sts across each Section and don’t have 2 of the same stitch next to each other before proceeding.
Here is a little close up pic of the Set-Up Row in progress:
Raglan Line tip - work these sts a bit firmly compared to how you work the MFP. If the Raglan post stitches are loose or very tall, the length of the Raglan Line will ripple by the time you reach the underarm (this is also why they are htr sts and not tr). The canvas stitch Main Fabric Pattern in each Section is according to gauge.
Extension chain tip - the ext-ch made at the end of each row is counted as an increase of 1 st of that row. After turning, the next ch you make is the turning ch and does not count as a stitch, so the first counted st of the subsequent row is worked into the ext-ch made at the end of the previous row. Avoid loose ext-ch and turning ch.
Working first stitch of the row tip - here are before and after pics showing where to insert hook to work the first counted stitch of Row 2 into the ext-ch at end Set-Up Row (under 2 lps as indicated by green arrow). Please note that I have worked the ext-ch a bit looser than desired so it’s easier for you see the separate loops in the photos – I took the photos then reworked the ext-ch, turning ch and first st with firmer tension before continuing.
Beginning Row 2 (RS): “MFP” begins with 1htr into ext-ch at end prev row.
Beginning Row 3 (WS): “MFP” begins with 1dc into ext-ch at end prev row.
(Demonstration pics use Scheepjes Whirlette in Frosted 852).
Recognising the stitch either side of the Raglan Line tip – PMs in the first and last st of each Section immediately after working across the Raglan Line so it’s easier to recognise them when working the subsequent row. Move Ms up as necessary. (After a while you probably won’t need the Ms to see where you need to work).
V-neck Edge tip – after a few rows, the fabric edge should look like this image below. The main thing is not to work these edge stitches loosely. The future edging will smooth off the bumpiness of the edge but cannot compensate for sagging holey stitches.
Neck Edge (WS) at beg Row 7:
Don’t worry if you frog the first few rows a couple of times until you get the hang of it - you learn something every time, and once you get past the first 12 rows it’s smooth sailing, promise!
End Row 12 (RS Medium Sample) - it seems to be the milestone where everything "clicks"!
...And that’s it for Week 1!
Pepper-Gaggle is my Facebook group where the MAL is being hosted – you can ask questions and I will also be posting some extra close-up photos there to support those first few rows, so if you are not already a member – you can click here to join! (I can’t wait to see your WIP pics there too).
I will be scanning for people needing help over the weekend and around my work commitments next week. My moderators and pattern testers may be able to help you if I am unavailable, and of course it’s also lovely when makers help each other!
See you in the Gaggle!!
Thank you to Scheepjes for contributing some of the yarn that I used in developing my first prototype of this design.