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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My Rosalind cardigan - at last! (and despite the pattern).

Some time ago I decided to make a jumper that featured in an Inside Crochet magazine, it was called the Torquay jumper and was a pretty lacy summer jumper worked in Sirdar Recycled Aran which is 50% cotton from recycled tee shirts, and 50% acrylic.

I purchased the yarn and worked a tension swatch, there was no way I could get the tension because the length was right but after many increases in size of hook the number of stitches still wasn't right. I contacted the magazine who insisted that there was no error and gave me some "helpful" advice by several of their "experts". Some was possibly useful, use a bigger hook was not - it would come down to my knees! Anyway it is possible using the measurements given of the finished garment and the number of stitches to prove the tension swatch is wrong - but I had gone off the idea of making it and decided to make the Rosalind cardigan from issue 47 Christmas 2013. Designed by American designer Rohn Strong, and worked in Rowan pure wool aran originally. I thought it would work in the recycled cotton yarn - and the tension swatch worked up perfectly with the given hook (also proving the Torquay tension must be wrong). I liked that this cardigan was more challenging and had cables. In cotton it could be a summer cardigan too.

I had to purchase more of the yarn, I researched the yarns and worked out the length per ball of each then ordered the extra. By now the originally inexpensive jumper had become a much more expensive cardigan! I am trying not to spend too much on clothes because I hope to lose at least as much weight as I have already - but seem to have got into a loop where I lost and gained but stayed the same overall in 2014, hopefully I can get stuck in and concentrate in 2015!

Now I am going to give you the whole story, this could be a long post, but this pattern is so full of errors and inconsistencies that it is amazing I ever managed to complete the cardigan - I was pretty determined though! I hope this helps someone else who has tried and given up, or wanted to try this pattern, which is a lot more challenging than the 4 stars given!

First of all I started the back, now I did make a silly error which I will come to, but the first problem I encountered was after completing the "ribbing" the instructions were given to begin the cables which also increased the stitches. After starting three cables there is an instruction to "4ftrf (centre cable made)" then another three cables, so you have a centre cable and three each side. Makes sense, but the centre cable is never referred to again, and not in special stitches where the 3 stitch cable is described.

I contacted the magazine, via email and Facebook messaging, but got no reply. I think that maybe a few things went wrong when the pattern was translated from US terms to British crochet terms, in addition the pattern testers found it too challenging and maybe made modifications - these are my thoughts, I guess I will never know the full story.

I left this over Christmas while I concentrated on other things, but sitting visiting mother in law in hospital then the home for all of January until tomorrow (she comes home on Wednesday) gave me the opportunity to work on it. There was a lot of frogging to her great amusement, and she is expecting to see me wear it in now!

Having studied the photo I decided that the centre cable is in fact two 2 stitch cables and the special stitches for this should read:

Centre cable, or 2 stitch cable times 2.
Miss first rtrf, rtrf round next st, rtrf round missed st, repeat once.

On the row that you work your cable crossing (special stitches) for the 3 stitch cables you also work the centre cable crossings (special stitches as above).

So my back was going well and completed, but my centre cable was not centred and I didn't notice this until after I had completed my first attempt at the fronts - then while taking a photo - EEEEK!
 Apologies for the packing boxes this is on, and the photo isn't that good. This is the back with correctly centred centre cable.

By this time I had got to the sleeves and found the pattern unworkable, so I assumed the non centred centre cable was also a pattern error - but it was me. I had started off making a smaller size on the basis I would lose the weight, and after completing the rib forgot that decision and worked the next size up - doh! So I had to frog it (unravel) and hook the back over again.

There is one other small error in the back instructions: after the armhole shaping, the pattern tells you to work until the back measures 51(23,55,57)cm. Clearly the second size should be 53 not 23 cm, but that is pretty obvious.

At the point of discovering the car crash that forms the sleeve instructions I attempted again to contact the magazine, leaving them messages on Facebook, and their website, and emailing them. I got nothing back until I messaged them one last time saying that it seems that the sleeve errors were beyond their capability to correct, so I was going to sit down and work it out myself.

The magazine photos didn't help here, the photos seem to be of two different garments to me - I could be wrong but the photo of the model on p[age 46 holding her Rowan berries doesn't seem to show a ribbed cuff at all, and the close up of the cuff on page 48 does show ribbing - and that matches the photo on the front cover!

THEN I got a most apologetic email from Charles Voss, who said that my messages had gone into some black hole and been overlooked, and clearly I was an experienced crocheter, and had spent much time and love on this cardigan so he would help. He later emailed me new sleeve instructions - I will talk about those later in this post. He promised me instructions for the centre cable as soon as the designer got back to him - I haven't heard a thing since although I did reiterate that I thought I knew how to do the centre cable.

So onto the fronts, pretty straight forward (or so I thought initially). I completed them and joined them to the back, well one of them because it was clear to me that there should be some sort of neck shaping and there isn't.

The other odd thing about the fronts, if you study the photos the cable on the sleeve side tapers off and vanishes, as do the cables at the sides of the sleeves. This tapering off is not mentioned and my front cables go all the way to the top without going near the sleeve shaping - I think this must be the smallest size shown as it is a model lol.

I had mentioned the lack of neck shaping as being a bit odd in one of my emails to Charles, which has received no response so far. The photos seem to show shaping, as does the crude diagram of the garment. I had three attempts at creating some shaping, the third attempt was a EUREKA moment after really studying the close up of the neck, and finally it clicked.

This photo shows the fronts attached, the one on the left of the photo was attempt number two, and the right is the final solution.

The shoulder shaping instruction tells you to 3ch then tr in each st across. This is what you do on the back, so I did it. But actually you need to either sl st across (if you start at the neck edge), or only work trs until you have left a number of stitches (if you started at the armhole edge), then turn and do your shoulder shaping htrs as described.
So how many sl sts or stitches to leave unworked if you have started from the armhole side? Well the photo shows them starting just before the second cable going from the neck side, and I think you should sl st (or leave) either 11 or 12, I think it is 11 for all sizes.

So onto the sleeves, the pattern gave the two "rib" rows and instructed you to work these two rows until "cuff measures 15cm or 6" from start". It then goes on to detail some increase rows and tells you to work until it measures 35cm or 13.75 from the beginning, but doesn't say if you continue the two ribbing rows.
If you attempt to do as described, you will have a total unshaped  tube measuring 15cm of ribbing, then more ribbing to above your elbow then a very small section of cabling which has to be increased then shaped right away, it sounded crazy.

I gave up and left it for ages, and as I mentioned, the magazine didn't reply to my pleas for help until I got the wonderfully apologetic email from the Technical Director - Charles Voss. Charles did try (and promised to get back to me further when he got hold of the designer), and he provided some new sleeve instructions however I was not convinced they were right either, partly because he repeated the two rows given and the instruction to work until 15cm, then he instructed what would have resulted in ribbing most of the way across but flattened near the seam with the increases but it then said to work until the piece measured 15cm (hang on - didn't I already get to 15cm???). The body of the sleeve instructions that followed could have been ok, there were three 3 st cables created.

I decided to try my own version, and this is what I did. I followed the pattern in the magazine (and the beginning of Charles' rewrite) and did the first two rib rows, then I increased on every 3rd
row three times, so on the 5th, 8th, and 11th rows while continuing in the rib pattern. I increased by working an extra rtft or rtrb in the last tft or trb of the increase rows. This sometimes resulted in three rtrf or rtrb in a stitch, and on the row following that I would work into the back of the 3rd stitch to turn it the other way.
I continued until the cuff measured 15cm then began the body of the sleeve.

The cables on the sleeves are where the increases happen, the pattern in the magazine tells me that after doing the cables I have increased by 4 stitches, and yet there are only 3 cables where you increase by one each time.

I wondered if the intention of the designer was to have a centre cable on the sleeves and I have done this on mine, which allowed me to do two increases at the centre cable, one each at the two flanking cables giving me the 4 stitches I wanted. If anyone needs more details on this let me know.

 Close up of sleeve.
Sleeve again, different angle.

 A year or so later and finally the cardigan is finished! I didn't need the 4 extra balls which were the most expensive ones I have purchased, and I have found I could have got some for nearly half the price online!

 Ermm, didn't have a Rowan branch, so grabbed some artificial flowers. Look back at the first photo, the model wears the cardigan with a gap down the middle and belt to hold it together - she is a lot thinner and more shapely than I am, I grabbed the nearest belt to try it, doesn't look great, oh well moving swiftly on...
Ouch, side view with no belt, looks even worse - go back to the previous shot immediately, or better still shut your eyes!

Anyway I hope this makes sense and maybe helps someone complete a Rosalind cardigan.


  1. My goodness you have the patience of a saint !!! I think i would have been ripping the magazine in bits with frustration lol . I use to design for craft mags and basically i don't know any that have design testers - not for designs for mags ( might be different for yarn ... Its usually a case of the designer following their own instructions to make sure and testing it before they submit it with the brief. You did well and your cardie looks fab ! - love Maddy x

  2. Oh wow Cazzy this is beautiful the colour and the pattern is gorgeous your so talented x


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