Thursday, 28 August 2014

Design Characteristics of an Easy Pattern

I have worked 42 rows so far!
The back panel of my cardigan is done (hooray) up to the start of the sleeve shaping and I am loving its easiness.

The Belcarra Cardigan is straightforward to work due to clever design characteristics.

If that's not enough for simplicity, use available tools (or create your own) to make it even easier to work and navigate your project.

Things I like about Robyn Chachula's design:

  • body worked in one main piece with ribbing added to the body
    • minimal seaming: only sides need to be stitched together and they are straight seams
    • no need for gathering at seams or setting in sleeves
  • no side shaping at waist 
    • a simple first garment
    • easy to remember and maintain stitch count for each row
    • easy to modify length and width (number of rows/stitches)
  • shaping for sleeves is symmetrical
    • easy shape to understand, check and block.
    • easy to modify for different tension or yarn substitutions
  • pattern worked across two rows alternating between dc height and tr height
    • easy to remember which pattern stitch comes next (dc or tr row)
    • easy to navigate - RS is always an even row number and tr height; WS is always an odd row number and dc height (AUS/UK terms).
  • vertically the tr rows alternate between single tr and tr clusters above each other
    • easy to place and count stitches
    • easy to remember which stitch comes next
    • easy to line up the centre stitches when blocking, leading to an even result
  • chain spaces 
    • aid in stitch counting
    • working into chain spaces is quick and easy
All of these 'easy' features make it quick to work.

Tips & Tools

Recycling: large bread tags make cheap and convenient bobbins.

Different uses for stitch markers (from left to right)
White pin: last stitch of row
Yellow pin: secures the work
Blue pin: demarcates back width*
Yellow locking ring: end of back & start of sleeve shaping.*
* for navigation in case unravelling required

I needed to join in a new skein approximately two thirds of the way into the back panel.

Normally,  I will join in the new yarn anywhere, even if it is in the middle of a row, to save waste.

In this case, it is an open pattern and harder to weave in without it showing, plus the sides will need to be seamed together.

Joining the new yarn at row ends, will be neat and tidy - the threads can be hidden in the seam or used to stitch the seam itself.

The leftover yarn end was too short to work another row but long enough to make a useful thread for seaming later.

To keep it tidy, I wrapped it around a makeshift bobbin (see photo).

Unlike other hobbies, crochet need not be expensive

Bobbins can be crafted from recycled cardboard or plastic from clean packaging.  

Stitches can be marked with small threads of yarn in contrasting colours. I like this option when I want to mark a section by weaving a thread through a number of stitches or rows. 

Hair accessories like bobby pins can securely mark stitches and so can jewellery findings like lobster clasps, depending on your yarn weight.

Be creative - as long as your 'marker' does not catch on your work or split the yarn.

For more ideas for home-made solutions, peruse the discussion prompted by Caissa "Cami" McClinton in her article, "Need a Crochet Stitch Marker? (You May Already Have One on You!)" which was published on Crochet Spot in March this year.

Back Panel & Start of Sleeves
40 rows for the back panel and 2 rows of the sleeve shaping

Links & References

Belcarra Cardigan, designed by Robyn Chachula, Interweave Crochet magazine, Winter 2010:

Chachula, Robyn, crochet designer

Crochet Me, web site:

Crochet Spot, web site:

McClinton, Caissa ("Cami"), writer & crocheter

McClinton, Caissa ("Cami"), "Need a Crochet Stitch Marker? (You May Already Have One on You!)", online article, Crochet Spot, 11 March 2014:

Related Posts

Lupey Loops, "Cardigan Swatches", blog entry, 30 July 2014:

Lupey Loops, "Tension Headaches", blog entry, 7 August 2014:

Lupey Loops, "Belcarra Beginnings", blog entry, 21 August, 2014:


  1. You are the most awesome! Fabulous pattern & color choice. As always, THANK YOU! ❤️

    1. Mutual admiration society I think - I love the topics that you write about. Your are more concise than me and your humour shines through in your expression.
      Thanks for dropping by and saying 'hi'! :-) xxx

  2. Hello, what an informative post, thank you so much! Carry on, it's coming along nicely!
    Have a good weekend!
    ingrid xx

    1. Hi Ingrid, great to see you here and that my previous posts didn't frighten you away! :-)
      It is hard to find a balance between detailed information and not being too long.
      I am making progress with the cardigan but taking time to stop along the way to take notes and photographs for future posts.
      I am impressed with the progress you have been making on so many projects, both knit and crochet. What a clever multi-craftual person you are! :-)

  3. Your cardian is really getting there! Can't wait to see it finish (and worn)! :-)

    Each time I look at it, I remind myself how I should get over my fear of making crochet clothes and jump into making the sweatshirt I am thinking about for aaagggeeesss

    Take care

    1. Cami is right! Did you have a specific pattern in mind?

    2. I do actually! This one...
      I even got the yarn already. I just adore the Drops Cotton Merino... Now I just need to gather up courage! Thanks for the encouragment!!! :-)
      Take care

    3. Wow - worked in the round from the top down - no side seams then? Try it on as you go and keep working until it is the right length - I can't think of anything easier! I hereby send you a cyber bucket full of courage for you so that you can get started straight away! I can't wait to see how you go, and remember, you have all of your mates in the blogosphere here to help if necessary. Go for it! :-)
      (oooh I am all excited now - anyone would think that it was me starting a new project, but what are you doing still here reading? Go on, get started on your jumper! hehehe) All the best! xxx

    4. Well, I just finished my Canada Blanket (pictures on my blog), so I reckon I need a new project... :D Thanks you for talking me into it! I will start this weekend (need to get some rows done on a baby blanket first - so many pregnant people around me!)! The colours I choose are blue and white. I also have blue and red... Hm, I wonder which combination I should use first!

    5. Somehow I suspect you would have taken the plunge with your jumper regardless.
      With lots of pregnancies around us at the moment, you might like my next post ("Secret Baby Items"). There's a list of great reasons to make baby blankets. Feel free to make suggestions to add to that list. White freshens up any colour scheme, red, white AND blue always make a lively combination. I can't wait to see the colours and blanket but understand if you cannot share that information right away. Cheers! :-)

    6. Theses colours are actually for my jumper. :-)

      I am currently working on a light blue and white baby blanket (pattern corner to corner of course) and just finished on in mint green for a little baby (the mum chose the colour).

  4. Girl, you are on a ROLL!
    Great post, again. I love how you really take the time to write informative posts as well as fun personal ones.

    1. Thanks so much. I never know whether I write too much or not. Perhaps it is good to write a longer post when there is a week or more between them - then there will be enough to keep you going until the next one is ready? Get your blog-week's worth! :-)
      Thank you for letting me know what you like to see and read on the blog. I will try and maintain a good balance of items and with luck, they will be useful, interesting and entertaining too.

  5. Thank you everyone for your kind encouragement. I love it when fellow blog readers 'chat' to each other through the comments and not just to the blog author because that's what I enjoy about the blogosphere - the sense of community that develops. Please feel free to respond to each others' comments as well as to my posts.

    I am so glad that these posts are informative for you. That's the idea! I hope they will be a good reference point for us and for future projects.

    I have had a lot of compliments over the colour of this yarn which was 'found' by a neighbour and then given to me! Judging by the tags, this yarn had been sitting around in someone's cupboard for at least 10 years. Then I had it sitting around waiting for the right time and opportunity. I was given a 10 (or was it 12?) skein batch so I knew I wanted to use it for a garment of some sort. There is no yardage on the label so it is total guesswork as to how far it will go. A bit of adventure adds spice to life, doesn't it?

    It is a beautiful rich purple colour–love it!