Monday, 28 October 2013

Crochet tutorial: textural jumper

For a while, I've wanted to make a very textural jumper using crochet stitches. I love how, when worked back and forth, single crochet stitches make a square-like pattern and I thought it would look really good on a jumper.
This is the jumper I made:

I intended to make the whole thing in the grey colour, but I soon found out that I didn't have enough yarn for that. I keep forgetting that crochet "sucks up" more yarn than knitting. I used the black contrast yarn in strategic places to make up for the indeficient grey yarn (there are some stripes in the back as well). I am actually quite happy with the result.

This jumper is made up of really easy stitches, so it can be made by everyone who knows how to do simple crochet stitches. I thought you might like to know how I made it. This is not a pattern for the jumper, but a tutorial on how you can make your own. It still requires some calculations on your part, but in return it gives you a lot more freedom! You can make it with thicker or thinner yarn, to get a warmer or cooler jumper and you can also work in as many colours as you like. If you decide to make this jumper I would be very happy to hear about it and see some photos!

Determining the gauge by swatching
I started by making a swatch to determine my gauge. Of course I made this swatch in pattern. The pattern is worked as follows: on the first three rows, start with one chain stitch, then work a single crochet in all stitches; on the fourth row (this is a wrong side row), start with one chain stitch, then work single crochets only in the front loop of the stitches. This creates a ridge on the right side of the fabric (see photo below). To prevent the fabric from stretching out at the edges, it is wise to work the first and the last stitch through both loops.

From your swatch you can determine your gauge. In this case it is easiest to measure the length of a pattern repeat instead of determining how many rows go into 10cm. The yarn I choose was to be worked with a 5mm crochet hook. Horizontally, I could fit 17 stitches into 10cm, one pattern repeat was 2.2cm high.

Determining the size of the jumper
Next you should determine the size of your jumper. For this you need a few measurements:
a: the circumference of your wrist (add around 5 centimeters for ease)
b: your armscye, which is the circumference of your upper arm when measured vertically around the shoulder (add around 5 centimeters for ease)
c: the length of your torso, measured from your arm pit to the desired length of the jumper
d: the length of your arm measured from your armpit to your wrist
e: the width of the widest part of your torso (add a couple of centimeters for ease) divided by 2 for front and back
f: the desired width of the neckline (keep in mind that there will be an extra edge worked onto it afterward, so f should be a bit wider than the intended width)

The jumper is made in dolman style, which means there is no shaping of the shoulders and the sleeves make a 90 degrees angle to the body. This makes it a bit complicated to obtain the correct sleeve length. I checked the length by holding my arms at 90 degrees and measuring the span from wrist to wrist. This span should add up to two arms plus half the width of your torso: 2 x d + e / 2. If this measurement differs a lot from the calculated measurement, decrease your sleeve length d to obtain the right span.

To determine the amount of stitches and pattern repeats that go into the sweater, multiply and divide the measurements with the gauge you measured.
This is how you obtain A, B, C, D and E as shown in the schematic drawing:
A = a x #stitches in 10 centimeters / 10
B = b x #stitches in 10 centimeters / 10
C = c x #stitches in 10 centimeters / 10
D = d / length of one pattern repeat
E = e / length of one pattern repeat
F = f / length of one pattern repeat
For D, E and F round off the calculations to full repeats. If E is an odd number, make F an odd number as well. If E is even, F should be even.

The pattern
Now you can start crocheting your jumper! You will start at one wrist and work your way to the other. If you want to use multiple colours, switch between them when you start a new pattern repeat.

Chain A stitches. You will now work the pattern D times, in the meantime you will increase to obtain B stitches. Increases are worked at the beginning and end of a round by working two single crochets in the second and second last stitch. Increases are made regularly along the edges of the sleeve. You have to increase a total of B - A stitches, in D x 4 rows. In my case, I had to increase 28 stitches in 21 pattern repeats (= 21 x 4 = 84 rows). Because you increase 2 stitches in an increase row, that meant I had to work 14 increase rows. To space them evenly, I had to increase every 84 / 14 = 6 rows.

After the first sleeve is made, ending with row 4, you chain C stitches to the end of the last row to start working the body. The first row you work C stitches along the chain, than B stitches along the sleeve, then C stitches along the back of the chain. This means you are already folding the work in half (and that you have to sew one less seam). You are now working across 2 x C + B stitches on all rows. Keep working in pattern. Work (E - F) / 2 pattern repeats. You are now going to work on the front and back separately to create a neck hole in the middle of your jumper. You are working the back first and then the front. Mark the middle of the jumper with a stitch marker.

For the back:
On the first row work until a number of stitches before the stitch marker. This number depends on how deep you want the neck to fall in the back. In the first pattern repeat, you can decrease 2 or 3 stitches on the neck edge to round off the neckline a little bit. After the first pattern repeat, work in pattern on the remaining stitches for F - 2 pattern repeats. Then work another pattern repeat, increasing stitches in the same way you decreased them in the first pattern repeat. If you decreased on row 2 and 4 of the repeat, you should increase on row 1 and 3 of the repeat to make it symmetrical. When you have worked F pattern repeats in total, save the last stitch on a stitch marker and start working the front of the jumper.

For the front:
You will start working again on the right side, a number of stitches down from the stitch marker that marks the middle of the jumper. I started the front panel about twice as many stitches away from the middle than the back panel. The front requires more de- and increasing, unless you want it to be square. To get a nice round-off shape, make sure that you work many decreases in the first pattern repeats and decrease less and less toward the middle of the front panel. I decreased 4 times in the first pattern repeat (in rows 1,2,3 and 4), 3 times in the second (in rows 1,2 and 4), 2 times in the third (in rows 2 and 4) and one time in the forth and fifth (in row 4). Because F was an off number in my jumper, I worked one pattern repeat without de- or increases. Than I worked five pattern repeats, increasing as many stitches as I had decreased before. As for the back, if I had worked a decrease on pattern row 1, I worked an increase on pattern row 4 to make it symmetrical.
When the front panel is worked for F pattern repeats, fasten off the thread.

Start working again with the stitch you saved on the back panel. Work along the back panel, then chain as many stitches as you skipped to form the neckline and then work along the front panel. Calculate how many stitches you should chain by counting the unworked stitches around the marker in the middle. The total amount of stitches you now have should be 2 x C + B, just like it was before. Work in pattern along these stitches for as many repeats as you have done before starting the neckline. You should have worked E pattern repeats in total for the body of the jumper, end with a wrong side row (row 4) to complete a full pattern repeat.

To start the last sleeve, ch1 and sc C stitches, place a marker in the last stitch to mark the beginning of the sleeve. Then sc B stitches and turn, this was the first row of your second sleeve. Work the second sleeve in the same way as you have worked the first, mirroring the increases with decreases (hence, if you increased on the last row of the first sleeve, start decreasing on the first row of your second sleeve). Work in pattern, including the decreases for D pattern repeats. Fasten off the thread. Your jumper is almost done.

Sew the sleeve seams and the one open side seam. Fasten a new thread in the back of the neckline and sc along the neckline. Slip to the first stitch and turn. Sc along the neckline again, decreasing approximately every 8 stitches. Repeat this until the collar has the desired width.

Sew in all loose ends and wear your handmade jumper with pride :D


  1. Thank you for this. I'm hoping to make use of it once I get my confidence up a little bit (I've only made one crochet sweater, or sweater of any kind for that matter, LOL). God bless and thanks again.

    1. I'm glad you like it! Don't worry about the skill level, it really is a very simple jumper.