Thursday, 13 November 2014

Meditative or … boring?

The ribbing on the Belcarra Cardigan seems to be taking forever to complete.

It is simple crochet ribbing–working evenly, 14 stitches per row, the same row over and over–very meditative … or dare I say boring?

So much so that it is getting tedious and I am finding it hard to stay motivated, especially with the call of smaller projects offering more challenges and the promise of almost instant gratification.

It doesn't help that the cardigan is taking longer than necessary to complete due to many interruptions besides ripping out stitches:

  • The latter part of the year is exam time, graduation time and  'concert season' for my children with lots of extra errands.  
  • I have been ill for a couple of weeks (the usual cause–MCTD flare). When I cannot do anything the daily jobs pile up and crochet gets pushed aside as I try to catch up later.
  • Weather is also warming up and the larger cardigan is less convenient to cart around.

Almost completed ribbing around collar and front edges.

Still, ribbing is great for crochet in front of the TV (not that I watch much TV in the first place), and, when I can manage to take it with me it doesn't need a pattern to go with it, as it is easy to remember 14 stitches on every row.

That's the width of the main ribbing: 14 stitches at my tension.

How I recalculated the ribbing

Remember, that my tension is different to the Robyn Chachula's original pattern because I am using a different yarn weight.  I worked out the number of rib stitches at my tension like this:

1. How wide is the 'collar and body' ribbing in the original pattern?
The schematic has limited usefulness because it does not include the ribbing so the answer is in the pattern instructions which are (US terms):

ch 19, sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across … join ribbing to garment
i.e. 18 chains for 18 stitches and 1 turning chain. 

Therefore the original pattern calls for ribbing 18 stitches wide.

2. How wide are the original 18 stitches in inches or centimetres?
The answer is in the gauge specifications:

20 sts and 14 rows = 3¾ inches by 4¼ inches in wallpaper cluster stitch

This is the only gauge measurement given in the pattern so I will work from that even though the ribbing is not worked in wallpaper cluster stitch.
Find out the width of one stitch:
If 20 stitches = 3.75 inches
then 1 stitch = 3.75" ÷ 20 sts
therefore 1 stitch = 0.1875" wide.
Multiply 0.1875" by 18 stitches and the 
'collar and body' ribbing will be 3.375 (3+3/8) inches wide   

20 stitches = 3.75 inches = 3.75 x 2.54 centimetres = 9.525 centimetres
If 20 stitches = 9.525 cm
then 1 stitch = 9.525 cm ÷ 20 sts
therefore 1 stitch = 0.47625 cm wide.
Multiply 0.47625 cm by 18 stitches and the 
'collar and body' ribbing will be 8.5725 centimetres wide.

I can cross-check my mathematics by multiplying:

Inches to centimetres (multiply by 2.54)
3.375 inches x 2.54 = 8.5725 centimetres

Centimetres to inches (multiply by 0.3937)
8.5725 cm x 0.3937 = 3.3749932 inches (which rounds off to 3.375 inches)

Therefore, in Robyn Chachula's pattern, the original 18 stitches of  'collar and body' ribbing will be 3.375 inches (3+3/8") or 8.5725 cm wide.

3. How many stitches at my tension will make ribbing 3+3/8 inches or 8.5725 cm wide?

In the post Belcarra Beginnings, I discovered that my tension was (metric):

17 stitches across 10 cm (1 stitch = 0.5882352 cm, rounded off to 0.59 cm)

Divide the width of the ribbing by the width of each stitch:

8.5725 cm  ÷ 0.59 cm = 14.529661 stitches, rounded off to 14.5 stitches

It makes no sense to work 'half a stitch' so round off to whole numbers. 
At my tension, I will need 14 or 15 stitches for the ribbing.  
I chose 14 stitches because the original pattern had an even number of stitches. 
Therefore I will chain 15 for the first row of 'collar and body' ribbing (14 sts + 1 tch).

Here's the calculation again using Imperial measurements:

My tension: 17 sts across 4 inches (1 stitch = 0.2352941 inches, rounded off to 0.24 inches)
Width of ribbing: 3+3/8 inches = 3.375 inches

3.375" ÷ 0.24" = 14.0625 stitches, rounded off to 14 stitches

When examining the Imperial calculations, one can see that 14 stitches is probably closer to the correct measurement than 15 stitches.

I must take comfort that 14 stitches per row are a lot fewer than the 18 stitches per row as called for by the original pattern. Perhaps it isn't so tedious after all!

Pattern Details

Belcarra Cardigan, designed by Robyn Chachula, Interweave Crochet, magazine, Winter 2010:
  • Crochet Me web site, Interweave:
  • Interweave Store:
  • Ravelry project page:
Chachula, Robyn, crochet designer
  • Crochet by Faye, blog:
  • Robyn Chachula, Ravelry Profile:


" – inches
cm – centimetres
sc – single crochet (US) = double crochet (Aust/UK)
sts – stitches
tch – turning chain

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

"Belcarra Beginnings", 21 August 2014:

"Tension Headaches", 7 August 2014:


  1. You are so very nearly finished!! Consider the finishing of this ribbing to be a small project. Start it from now and you'll soon be finished - just like those small projects you are really wanting to pick up. Listen to me! I'm making a king sized blanket and I've put it away so I can concentrate on small projects. Of course, they're for Christmas, so I don't really have much option now we're in the middle of November!

    1. Ooh! A king sized blanket is impressive. Is it a one-piece or modular design? I can see how time restraints have forced you to put it aside with Christmas getting closer with each day.
      I am also allowing myself to get distracted with end-of-year projects. I have decided to get the one remaining small project done asap because I need to give it to someone before the end of school term. Once that is done, before the weekend is out with luck, I will return to the cardigan.
      All year I have had ideas for Christmas gifts and have been collecting materials but with all the new babies this year, I haven't had time to get started so they will probably be for next Christmas now!

  2. I am sorry to read that you are fighting with another flare. I bet the weather isn't helping either :( My fingers are crossed that you will get better soon!

    I can also understand that such large projects can become a bit boring. I love making blankets but at some point I only want to finish them because it takes soooo long!

    Take care

    1. The changeable Spring weather is not good for me but hot weather is the worst. It was 38°C (100.5°F) yesterday but am still feeling so 'wiped out' today that I cancelled my plans to go to this year's annual Craft and Quilt Fair. Today was the only day for me to go due to other commitments so it is disappointing. I was hoping to catch up with Prudence Mapstone who does beautiful freeform crochet that she calls 'scrumbling'. Her website is "Knot Just Knitting" ( ) and she is a good source for some beautiful yarns and hard-to-find materials.
      You seem to complete your blankets fairly quickly. What is the average time taken for each of your blankets? Is the thought of taking any longer on a blanket the impetus for you to get on with it? I am feeling that way with the cardigan but need to get a little gift done before the end of school term. Only a few more weeks left.

  3. I am glad it isn't 'just me who starts to get sick of a project if it takes too long but I do appreciate your emphatic reasoning. Don't worry - I will not give up on the cardigan. As you rightly suggest, it is almost finished and it would be silly to stop now. That is a useful point to remember and it will sustain my efforts.
    Thank you for sticking with me!

  4. Hi Jodie! You've been doing a great job so far, so just keep going. It will be finished soon! I'm working like mad on my blanket, because I also want to finish it (It's also going to be kingsized I think).
    Sorry to hear you have been unwell. Take things slow and don't push yourself too hard!
    Ingrid xx

    1. I love your blanket and I have also kept going on the cardigan. Almost there! I'm not sure if I am totally happy with the results in the sleeves but time will tell. It is hard to know until it is seamed and washed properly.
      There is a certain satisfaction to be gained from working larger projects that small projects cannot give. I usually like to have one large project and one small at the same time; or one simple and one more involved so that there is something for every crochet mood.
      Thanks for your well wishes and hugs. It helps. I have been trying to take things as slowly as possible and not look at the growing chaos in my home as I leave daily chores to every 2nd or 3rd day [looking out the window as I type this].
      All the best xx

  5. My goodness! This is stunning!
    You're so talented! I wish I could crochet as well as you!

    1. Judging by your projects, you have talent too. Keep practicing and trying new things. Crochet is so broad with its range of techniques, you will soon discover what you enjoy most and what comes easiest to you. There are many ways to develop expertise; e.g. find your niche and practice, practice, practice; or become acquainted with many different techniques and skills to become a versatile 'all-rounder' and practice, practice, practice! Meanwhile, continue to research your chosen area and observe and enjoy the crochet around you. You don't have to worry about talent, Frigga. Be confident!