Thursday, 26 March 2015

Better Than a Bought One

This is the penultimate post about my purple Belcarra Cardigan of 2014. 
(Pattern designed by Robyn Chachula.)  

During the life of this project, I've grappled with indecision and incorrect information,  'swatch sagas' and 'tension headaches', over-analysis and adjustments, and fussing and finishing. 

Now, the Belcarra Cardigan is done in spite of mathematical and motivational challenges, and I am pleased to model it for you today!

Jodie modelling the front of the purple Belcarra cardigan over black pants and top. Jodie is standing with hands on hips. The cardigan has three-quarter length sleeves with ribbing at the cuffs.  The collar and front edges are ribbed horizontally. This ribbing curves around the bottom front corners to complete the bottom hem.
Front view.
This post looks back on an essentially simple project which became unnecessarily complicated by yarn substitutions, recalculations, interruptions and my silly brain (which wades through fatigue fog a lot of the time).  

Let's start the overview with some photographs!

The right hand side view of the Belcarra cardigan modelled by Jodie.
Side view.

This is how the cardigan looked 
straight off the hook.  

It fits well and feels cosy without being too heavy. 

View of the back of the Belcarra cardigan.
Back of cardigan.
The ribbing joins in the centre back of both neckline and hem.

The lengths of sleeves and hem are very pleasing because they are very practical for either standing or sitting.

Right hand side view of the Belcarra cardigan when seated. Jodie is sitting in her wheelchair.
Side view of cardigan while seated.
It is long enough to stay tucked
underneath me and
away from the wheels.

It is quite difficult to find clothes that are suitable for both walking and wheeling.

Often a length that flatters while standing is unsuitable for sitting in my chair. Either it doesn't look good while seated or gets caught up in the moving parts and ruined. 

Of course, the opposite is also often true. The perfect proportions of clothing for wearing in my chair may look dreadful when standing up!

Other friends who use wheelchairs agree: its almost as if we need two different wardrobes–one for walking days and one for 'wheelie' days. I'm glad that it's not 'just me' but frustrated that this is such a common situation in which to be; expensive too if one needs to maintain two separate clothing collections!

Side view of Jodie wearing cardigan in wheelchair with close-up of sleeves in a 'wheeling' posture to demonstrate that the sleeves do not get caught up in the wheels.
The sleeves are the perfect length–long enough to keep my arms protected
without getting caught on my wheels.

Front view of Jodie wearing cardigan while seated in manual wheelchair. The cardigan is long enough to be secured by sitting on it and tucking it into the chair's skirt guards. This prevents the cardigan from flapping about and getting caught in moving parts.
Front view, seated.

These impromptu photos were taken on a visit to a dear friend's home.   Her name is Sarah.

We usually have a craft "Show and Tell" whenever we meet and as we shared, I remembered my promise to model the cardigan.  It was good light outside and we both had some morning energy so we seized the day with my good friend offering amateur photography services.

We had a lot of fun as Sarah wielded my phone-camera while I messed about with silly poses.

Jodie points to the sky while displaying the right hand side of the cardigan.
Silly pose!
Look up there!
Am I distracting you from
the side seams of the cardigan?

'Click! Click! Click!' 

My friend went snap happy at my ridiculous behaviour as we made fun of catwalk models 
and fashion catalogues.  

I can't remember the last time I laughed so much.

We must have been laughing very hard. 
So many photos were marred with blinking and blurredness! 

Thank you, my dearest friend, for such a fun morning!

Sarah admired the Belcarra Cardigan's particular shade of purple. In fact, she loves that colour so much that she had coincidentally purchased a cardigan in the same shade earlier this year.

She fetched her cardigan to compare the two and we were astounded at how alike our cardigans were! They both had ribbing on the cuffs and they both had a ribbed collar that flowed into a border along the front. 

Jodie and her friend both wearing purple cardigans with ribbed collars and cuffs.  Jodie's cardigan is the hand crocheted Belcarra cardigan which has a lace stitch pattern. Her friend is wearing a shop-bought knitted cardigan, the body of which is a solid knit stitch.
Jodie & Sarah

Like young teenagers who will only be seen dressed alike, we excitedly donned our cardigans for the camera.  
How funny!

The shop-bought cardigan's collar could be worn flat or folded back; the body and sleeves were made of a solid knit stitch. 

Sarah remarked that the Belcarra Cardigan was nicer because of its lacy stitches. 

This was a lovely compliment to know that after all the hard effort, my crocheted cardigan truly was …

'better than a bought one!'

More Information About This Belcarra Cardigan

Pattern Details:

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

Chachula, Robyn, crochet designer

Crochet Me, web site:

Yarn Details

I used 10 skeins Kmart 8 ply Sportsknit Crepe
60% wool 40% nylon.
100 grams per skein, yardage not specified. 
Machine washable; 'shrink resist'; Australian made.
Shade: 601 (purple); Lot no.: 12
Recommended knitting tension: 
22.5 stitches to 10 cm, needle size not specified.


5.00 mm

More Project Details on Ravelry

My Ravelry project pages have additional notes: 

Further Information on Lupey Loops

Did you miss something along the way?  
Do you need to revisit any stages of the Belcarra Cardigan's creation?  
The entire process is listed below in this summary of blog entries:

"Cardigan Swatches", blog entry, 30 July 2014:
Reasons for choosing the Belcarra Cardigan and gauge swatches (tension squares): how to make them and what to do with them.

"Tension Headaches", blog entry, 7 August 2014:
Some important lessons about tension squares (gauge swatches).

"Belcarra Beginnings", blog entry, 21 August, 2014:
How to adjust the pattern for a different stitch tension (gauge).

"Design Characteristics of an Easy Pattern", blog entry, 28 August 2014:
Discussion of Robyn Chachula's design features and use of tools to aid navigation and construction.

"From Swatches to Sleeves", blog entry, 10 September 2014:
Creating the sleeves using the 'step' method of increasing with discussion of 'extended' stitches.

"Avoid Second Sleeve Syndrome–Don't Work by Halves!", blog entry, 25 September 2014:
Dividing the cardigan pattern into sections and deciding the order of working.
"Belcarra Cardigan: Neck and Neck", blog entry, 8 October 2014:
Quick photo update as both sides of neck and front shaping are worked simultaneously.

"Blocking Belcarra Cardigan", blog entry, 16 October 2014:
Blocking the pieces before seaming.

"Belcarra Cardigan Seams Easy?", blog entry, 23 October 2014:
Examination of the cardigan's seams.

"Belcarra Ribbing", blog entry, 30 October 2014:
How to crochet ribbing with a practice project to build your skills.

"Ripping Ribbing on Belcarra Cardigan", blog entry, 6 November 2014:
Is it really necessary to rip back?  Discussion of weaving loose ends around ribbing.

"Meditative or … boring?", blog entry, 13 November 2014:
Motivational challenges and calculating width of ribbing according to tension (gauge).

"A Bad Case of …", blog entry, 29 January 2014:
Designing a belt tie for the Belcarra Cardigan.


  1. Beautiful cardigan, I love the colour and understand wholeheartedly about the wheelchair problem. I had a lovely sheer top that I ruined in my chair a few years ago, I try to be more mindful now, though not always easy. xx

    1. Oh Cheryl! I am so sorry that your top got ruined. What a shame. Were you ever able to find a replacement? It is so easy for things to get caught and if they don't get caught, wheel-grease is the next biggest enemy. One needs to be so careful. How disappointing for you.

      Yesterday I found a tiny tear in one of my favourite skirts (the one pictured in the post "A Stolen Scarf" which I had been wearing in my chair. There was no damage when I put it on, but later in the day, I discovered it - right on the knee! I reckon I either got it caught loading/unloading the chair or ran into something with my knee. Fortunately it is small enough that I can save it with careful mending but how disappointing all the same. I hope nobody else has been as unfortunate as us with clothing lately.

  2. Wow! The finished cardian is sooo beautiful! And it suits you well!

    the photoshot looks like a lot of fun!

    1. Thanks, Anne. I hope these photos satisfy everyone's requests to see me modelling it! The photo shoot truly was a lot of fun. We laughed very hard. Good therapy! We don't get to see each other as often as we would like but when we do, we make the most of it. :-)

  3. Dearest Jodie! Wow, I totally love your cardigan! What a great 'photo shoot' you had with your lovely friend!

    I'm so pleased for you and I think it will be incredible useful! I love the rounded shape of it!!! And the colour = win win!!!!

    Enjoy wearing it!!!!
    Ingrid xx

    1. Thanks Ingrid for your compliments. I have been wanting some more purple in my wardrobe so I am very pleased. It is just in time too because this week the cool autumn days have begun.

      I thought the rounded shape would be good for me - length at the back to secure it while seated but not so long from the front that it overwhelms my petite frame. That's the theory anyway! It is nice to know that you like it too.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Cheryl. I have been receiving quite a few compliments lately which is a good pick-me-up, especially when I haven't been feeling crash hot lately. My favourite combination at the moment is to wear orange underneath this cardigan for the bright cheery contrast which brings out the best of both colours. Never underestimate the power of colour to lift the mood.

  5. Hey there, love your purple cardi. I understand completely about the whole chair v standing wardrobe. I often end up looking like a crumpled mess, using a chair to get to my location and then transferring. Crumpled mess on arrival is not good. I've started paying more attention with newer clothes when they do get purchased! Wish I could actually make clothing - I can do accessories and blankets. Hey ho. Loving your latest make, J9x

    1. Hi Janine! I must apologise for not replying sooner. For some reason, I seem to have overlooked your message here and hope that you subscribe to the "better late than never" school of thought.

      Crumpled mess, is not a good look, but so easily done when in a chair. I love the coolness of cotton skirts but they are the worst for crumpling. My other bugbear is wheel grease and getting the corners of jackets and sleeve hems torn in wheel spokes or just worn from the friction of rubbing against the hand rims.

      When buying clothing, what particular features do you look for?
      As for crocheting your own, you CAN do it! It might seem daunting because of size and yarn outlay depending on which fibre you choose, but it is totally possible. Once you have done it, you will wonder why you didn't try earlier and the more you do it, the better you get to know your own dimensions. I made a list in another blog post about some of the features that make Robyn Chachula's Belcarra Cardigan an easy pattern to start off.

      Good luck and remember you have a whole community of crocheters here to help! :-)

  6. It looks fabulous! I really like the rounded hem / collar.

    1. Thank you Leah! I am so sorry to be so late in replying. I didn't see your comment in my mailbox until today! I like your Raiun Cardigan - the pattern is unusual but flattering and I do like the colour (I am very partial to greens at the moment). Do you prefer to knit or crochet?