Ta da! Here's another project, hot off the hook. Please ignore the wrinkled t-shirt. This one is a cropped jacket from a Moda Dea pattern I downloaded for free. Not bad for free, huh? Okay, the yarn I had to pay for. I actually used Cascade Sierra for this one, as I think I mentioned before. I know, in the photo it looks more like a melon color, but it's actually a bright magenta in real time. Despite the open work design, the jacket is actually pretty warm which makes it just about perfect for spring/fall. Also, the yarn is mostly cotton with a little Merino wool for elasticity which means the fabric should breath well and be comfortable at a variety of temperatures.
I was really pleased at how quickly it worked up, and how well the pieces fit together. A sign of a good pattern, I think, when it all goes the way it's supposed to. The only thing that I did differently from the pattern was at the back of the neck, which you can't see here. I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been reading up on techniques to create crochet garments that don't look homemade. The book is Couture Crochet by Lily Chin and I highly recommend it. One of the things she mentions in the book is the difference that a properly fitted neckline can make in the way a garment hangs. Go to your closet or dresser and pull out a shirt, any shirt. If you lay it flat and examine the back, you'll see that the neck area is cut about 1/2 inch shorter than the shoulders. This is because the back of your neck slopes slightly before it meets your collar bone. If the upper back is cut straight across, the garment will have a tendency to hang heavier in the back requiring the wearer to constantly jerk at the front to keep the garment hanging correctly. By cutting out the center, about 5 inches wide and only 1/2 inch deep, you clear the collar bone and the back hangs properly. Learning about this was a real eye-opener for me. It's not something I've seen mentioned in crochet patterns, and it wasn't written into the pattern for this jacket, but I figured out that I could accomplish the same idea if I switched to a slip stitch for those middle 5 inches of the last row. And it worked beautifully; the jacket hangs almost flawlessly. I'm so pleased with how it turned out that I might do another one before long, maybe as a gift.
But while I was finishing up the jacket, I was simultaneously working on this cardigan for my mother. Since I intend it to be a surprise for Mother's Day I've had to sneak working on it during lunch hours, sometimes working a row or two at night. This pattern is from a book called Style For You! from the folks at Leisure Arts and uses Caron Simply Soft yarn. Soft and inexpensive, it's been very nice to work with. I have the back and sleeves done, and have started one of the front sides. The interesting things about this pattern is that you don't work the pieces separately and then sew together. Instead, each section is worked out from the last. For example, when I finished at the upper back I continued on, creating what became the collar and sleeve. Once I figured it out, I really liked the idea because I hate stitching pieces together. I'm crossing my fingers, but I think the fronts should work up fairly quickly as it's all double crochet and chain spaces.