The Shelley Sweater is a top-down raglan crochet sweater pattern packed with textural elements, a layered lace hemline and potential for colour play! It’s graded to 11 sizes, and I named it after fellow Australian crochet designer Shelley Husband.
Shelley Husband is the Aussie grannie square Queen, author of 8 (yes, 8!) very popular and detailed crochet books for granny squares and blankets (most recently Granny Square Academy 2)! In June the Crochet Guild Australia gave her an award in recognition of her contribution and service to the Australian crochet community. Shelley’s very cool, a lot of fun and textured crochet stitches is her thing (incidentally this also applies to the garment, lol).
Here are the first 2 samples I made, and you might have already seen them on socials,
but the third one that I finished making for Shelley and shipped to her last week has remained pretty much unseen until now…….
How could I name a sweater design in her honour and not make one for her too!? I am very excited (like, as much as Shelley is in these images) to finally be able to share details of the Crochet-A-Long (CAL) and a range of tester projects!!! Heaps of info to get your creative ideas flowing!
I decided to release the Shelley Sweater as a CAL so I can help makers create their garment in sections to break it down into manageable pieces and working together as a group. I am all about helping crocheters get into making garments, so if sweater patterns make you feel bit squiffy, but you have the basics down pat, then this CAL is for you!
Let’s get straight into the anticipated FAQ...
What can I expect with the pattern document?
Pattern PDFs will be available in English (both UK & US terms).
The pattern PDF is 29 pages cover to cover, packed with photos, charts, and video links too, so lots of resources to help you on your making journey! The pattern PDF will be released progressively via Ravelry & Etsy with updates sent to buyers as we go.
INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDE: Schematic, how to swatch and choose your size, how to figure out what yarn to use if want to substitute something else, comprehensive photo tutorials and video links as extra visual aids to supplement the written instructions and stitch charts to make the garment. Top-down construction means you can try it on as you go, and custom fit tips are also sprinkled through the pattern!
True story: I wanted to know how much of my pattern was “extra help,” so once I got everything finalised, I deleted all the photos and helpful tips dotted through the pattern so it’s just the core info that would be all an advanced crocheter of garments would need to make the sweater. This removed 13 pages, and 2 of the 16 that remain are the cover page and end page so that means 50% of the pattern is “extra help”! (And that’s even separate to the videos linked to the pattern).
What’s the Level of Difficulty?
The Shelley Sweater is suited to an adventurous intermediate to advanced level crocheter. The “adventurous” part means you aren’t afraid to try something new, frog and learn!
The “intermediate”part means you know and recognise all the basic stitches as well as tried a few textured clusters or post stitches, you can increase, decrease, reliably keep track of stitch count, have followed a few patterns (ie. can read and understand instructions) and can maintain even tension over a large piece of crochet.
When will the pattern launch and how much will it cost?
The pattern (first section) will launch for sale from tomorrow morning, Thursday August 24th at 6am local Perth time. This is only 11 hours away….
A reduced price of (Australian Dollars) AUD$11.00 will be available through to Sept 6th, when it will return to full price. Please note, Ravelry and Etsy will add any sales tax/VAT if required for your country to the sale, and that part is processed to the country of the purchaser.
What will be the CAL Schedule?
Thursday August 24th – Shelley Sweater CAL Prep Blog Post – Everything You Need to Know About Swatching, Selecting Yarn & Choosing Your Size. (6am local Perth time). This blog post is essentially the same info as the first 6 pages of the pattern - more detail on this below.
That gives approximately 2 weeks to get ready (swatch etc) and order yarn. Don’t worry if your squishy mail takes an extra week to arrive, the schedule below allows a bit of catch-up time in there for those who might start a little late.
Wednesday Sept 6th – Week 1: Neckline to Underarm
Wednesday Sept 13th – Week 2: Underarm to Hemline
Wednesday Sept 20th – Week 3: Hemline
Wednesday Sept 27th – Week 4: Lower Sleeves, Cuff & Neckline
Wednesday Oct 4th – Week 5: Finishing & Blocking
Wednesday Oct 11th - Shelley Sweater CAL Wrap Up Blog Post with Maker Fashion Parade - Shining the Light on Your Sweaters Projects. (7pm Local Perth time).
Where is it hosted for me to receive help?
Participants will need to join Pepper-Gaggle which is my private Facebook group. I will help people there by answering questions and offering a few tips to accompany the weekly release of the next stage of the pattern.
When do I get each section of the pattern?
Section 1: Thursday Aug 24th: The first section describing Sizing, Yardage and Everything You Need to Know About Swatching (the first 6 pages of the pattern document) will be available for immediate download from Ravelry & Etsy listings on purchase. I will also publish this information as tomorrow morning's blog post, so folk who are a bit unsure can try the stitches out before buying the pattern and join the CAL.
The remaining sections (ie. the full instructions to make the garment) will only be available via the paid pattern and be sequentially uploaded to the pattern listings at the beginning of weeks 1-4.
I will send an update to buyers with a link to download their new PDF according to this schedule: (Note this will be a manual process on Etsy so for Etsy buyers there may be a short delay for me to email everyone the next section via the “Messages” function. On Ravelry it is quicker process as I can email an update to all buyers at once as a group with a new download link.)
Section 2: Week 1: Wednesday Sept 6th – Neckline to Underarm (pages 7-17 will be added, meaning the new PDF download link sent to previous buyers and available to new buyers on purchase will be pages 1-17).
Section 3: Week 2: Wednesday Sept 13th – Underarm to Hemline (pages 18-20 will be added, meaning the new PDF download link sent to previous buyers and available to new buyers on purchase will be pages 1-20).
Section 4: Week 3: Wednesday Sept 20th – Hemline (pages 21-23 will be added, meaning the new PDF download link sent to previous buyers and available to new buyers on purchase will be pages 1-23).
Section 5: Week 4: Wednesday Sept 27th – Lower Sleeves, Cuffs & Neckline (pages 24-29 will be added, meaning the full pattern PDF is available immediately to all buyers from this date onwards.
How Many Sizes, How Much Yarn & Which Hooks?
Hooks: 3.25mm/D-3 crochet hook for most of garment (or hook size needed to obtain gauge). 3.5mm/D-4 crochet hook for part of Cuff (or hook size to adjust to preferred fit at the time).
What is Ease & How Do I Choose Which Size to Make?
Ease it the amount of space between you and the garment you are wearing. Unless specified otherwise it refers to the ease at the bust. So, if your bust circumference is 105cm and the garment’s bust circumference is 115cm then you are wearing that garment with 10cm positive ease
The Shelley Sweater is intended to be worn with approximately 0-5cm (0-2in) positive ease, but you may prefer more than this & various examples of ease are shown further down this post.
The Sizing chart and schematic above shows the finished garment measurements for each size (which is only accurate if you achieved blocked gauge with the yarn you decide to use ). Choose the size closest to your body bust circumference plus your desired ease. If between sizes, choose the smaller size. We talk a bit more about this tomorrow.
Okay, I think that's it for the FAQ, onto.....
Testing, Testing……. Inspiration Alert!
During pattern development and testing my testers and I used range of yarns to broaden accessibility for both your location and preferred budget. Intrigued? Let’s have a look at a variety of sizes, yarns, colour palettes and amount of ease. I have 9 projects for show and tell:
1. My prototype sweater is made this with Sweet Georgia Yarns “Tough Love Sock” (TLS), combining tonal hot pink regular sized skeins as “Yarn A” with 2 Party of 5 sets as “Yarn B”). TLS is 80% Superwash merino/20% nylon with 388m/115g skein. Each Party of 5 set is 5 x mini skeins of 96m = total 480m, so Size 1 can get by with 1 set, but Sizes 2-7 will need 2 sets and Sizes 8-11 will need 3 sets. Tough Love Sock is a Canadian yarn that is resilient, sturdy, and resplendent in an enormous range of tonal hand dyed colours (with repeatable dye recipes). I bought mine by ordering direct from Sweet Georgia Yarns in Canada, but it’s also available from major retailers in the US & UK.
Budget guide: $$$
My prototype is Size 3 worn with approx. 5cm of positive ease. A bold colour palette for a fun and happy aesthetic.
2. The second sample I made is also Size 3. I made this with Life in The Long Grass “Moon”, combining colour 'Bronze' as Yarn A, and 'Sunkissed' as Yarn B. Moon is 80% SuperWash merino/20% silk, with 365m/100g skein. Fancy, schmancy silk - ooh lala!!
This is size also a Size 3, but this time worn with 0cm ease. What’s going on here then? Why different ease if it’s the same size? Ooops, my gauge slipped as I went and became tighter. I blame the buttery soft smooth sheen that’s given to the yarn by that damned luxurious silk fibre content!! It just swooshes over your hook!
Beyond an ego dent, this was not really a problem for me though. I wanted to wear this sweater over a strappy dress, so I didn’t need room to wear much underneath anyway and the silk feels divine. Yes, divine. This is also a bit of a cautionary tale though – If using LITLG Moon, you might want to plan for a few more cm ease than you think to allow for this potential “silk slippage”.
This colour palette is warm and soft using complementary colours for an elegant aesthetic. They come in small dye “boutique” batches so there will inherently be variability in the skeins and you would need to buy all the yarn at once because you won’t be able to match the colour if you top up later.
LITLG Moon is an Irish hand-dyed yarn that is available worldwide through select retailers. Easily accessible in the UK & Europe, and fortunately also here in Australia from Skein Sisters in Sydney (which is where I purchased my “yarn of indulgence”). Budget guide: $$$$$
3. My 3rd sample is THE Shelley Sweater (the one I made for Shelley Husband) and it’s a Size 5. Here I used Morris & Sons “Empire 4ply” yarn which is 100% Australian Superfine merino, and 175m/50g ball. Here you get a bonus example of ease because Shelley demonstrates 2cm ease and further below, I wear the same sweater with approx. 12-14cm ease.
The drape on this sample is killer! It bounces and swings easily. I was amazed how soft it felt on my skin and I have to say I modelled it only for the purpose of demonstrating what the garment looks like with generous positive ease, but I immediately felt comfortable and relaxed and like I need a jumper of my own made in this yarn!
The positive ease works for this yarn specifically because the drape is so fabulous. The original Sweet Georgia TLS is soft but sturdy and does not have the “swoosh” that Morris & Sons Empire provides. Neither does the LITLG Moon. They are both soft and gorgeous yarns, but the spun thread has more body and twist to it and the Empire is fluffier and squishy to handle and then softened a lot during blocking.
Morris & Sons Estate 4ply comes in a wide range of colours – some of them lightly heathered like this “Charcoal” colour but most are solids. Being machine dyed in an industrial setting means little to no colour variance between (large) dye-lots. Repeatable reliable colours, and Morris & Sons can ship within Australia and worldwide.
Budget guide: $$
4. Lydia Callahan tested a Size 2 using Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock, with “Snowfall” as Yarn A and “Windswept” as Yarn B. Here, you see her wearing her beautiful sample with approx. 5cm ease. Speckled yarn against the tonal solid is a stunning effect and the colour combo is really fresh!
5. Annemie Celens tested a Size 5 using Wol Met Verve Merino Singles 100% Superwash merino (366m/100g), with “Wedgewood” as Yarn A and “Herb Green” as Yarn B. Here, she wears her glorious sample with 0cm ease. Should blue and green be seen together? ….Ummm, yes!!
6. Ruth Lambert tested a Size 5 too, also using Wol Met Verve Merino Singles like Annemie, but just in the one very pretty and gently pink colour called Seashell Pink. Super-lovely as it goes with so many different outfits! Ruth also preferred 0cm ease at the bust. You can see Ruth's project page on Ravelry here to find out her thoughts about the pattern and project.
7. Bev Bruce tested Size 7 using Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply Merino (100% Superwash merino; 720m/200g ball), with “Blue Denim” as Yarn A and “Shadow” as Yarn B. These are wonderful colours with the versatility of a neutral. I love her gorgeous ensemble and her sweater is worn with 3cm ease!
8. Carrie tested Size 7 using Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply Merino (720m/200g ball), and she opted to play a little with the colours. Yarn A is “Clover”, and for Yarn B she alternated “Amazon Green” and “Black” for her sweater, which I think you’ll agree looks amazing (worn with 4cm ease)! Carrie also has a project page on Ravelry set up for her experience of the Shelley Sweater - you can check it out here.
9. Amanda Paul tested Size 8 (with 7cm ease) using Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply Merino in “Slate” for Yarn A, and 17 different coloured yarns from her 2022 Lovebird Advent set of mini-skeins for Yarn B. I LOVE this idea – her sweater looks so sunny against the snow backdrop! And click here for Amanda's Ravelry project page.
One more thing to mention…
The Makers Fashion Parade blog post planned for October 11th: I would love to shine the light on YOUR finished Shelley Sweaters at the end of the CAL!
To be featured in this wrap up blog post, makers need to post styled pics of themselves wearing their finished Shelley Sweater on Instagram and/or Facebook, tagging @peppergoose in the post. You also need to email me 2-3 of these photos with your written consent for me to use the photos on my blog, your full name and social account names, yarn used, amount of ease and any modifications you made.
The Shelley Fashion Parade has a potential added benefit. From those who feature in this blog post, I will select 3 makers to join the pattern test group of my next crochet garment!
People ask me how to apply to test for me fairly often, but I don’t do public calls for testers. This is a great way of putting your best crochet forward, though I have no particular time frame in mind (kind of busy supporting the CAL for a while – one focus at a time). No obligation to say yes if invited - maybe you would just like your crochet featured on the blog and that’s cool too. My testers tell me their garment making skills flourish as it’s a collaborative process, so we all benefit.
I am super proud of this sweater pattern. Thank you to the wonderful testers who helped me refine the pattern document by making their sensational set of Shelley Sweaters, and I am also very grateful for my new friend Shelley Husband who embodies celebration of this wonderful craft, cheerily lending support and joy to crochet makers and designers alike!
*thank you to Morris & Sons for yarn support for my 3rd sample. All opinions in this blog are genuine, my own, and there are no affiliate links.