Posted by: Fern | November 3, 2007

Anything But Sweet

I remember at school before I went for an important exam my mum would always repeat to me “read the whole paper through before you answer any questions”, today I learned why that’s so important, not just for exams, but for crochet patterns as well.

Short N Sweet BoleroFor the last week or so I’ve been working on Angela Best‘s Short and Sweet Bolero. I’m trying to do Christmas on the cheap this year and hand making a lot of things, and so I asked her if there was anything I could crochet for her – thinking a scarf, and she asked for a cardi to go with one of her dresses. So we spent an hour or so browsing through Ravelry at the various patterns until she decided on one that she liked in the Happy Hooker book. Of course it seemed way more complicated than any pattern I’d ever attempted before, but I threw myself into it and once I got the hang of the relief shell I wasn’t even having to look at the chart any more, and I love love love the result this stitch is giving me.

The original is made using worsted weight yarn, which is near to impossible to find in Australia, we have LOADS of 8ply and DK, but 10/12 ply is almost non-existent. So not only was I making a fairly complicated pattern, but I was having to adjust it for the 5ply yarn I was using. So to make the medium size I was working on the large numbers and it was scaling down nicely. I’d worked the back until it was about 12 inches long and about the length that mum was after, that is until last night when I thought I’d flip over a couple of pages and see how the sleeves were worked.


That was the point where I finally clicked that I had screwed it all up, that I’d wasted the last two days of work making the “back” piece six inches longer than it was meant to be. To say I was pissed would be a total understatement, any time I manage to steal to crochet is fairly precious and I was so upset I’d wasted a couple of hours doing stitches that now had to be entirely pulled out and frogged.

Yes, I should have read the pattern through, but I also think that the pattern was worded poorly. As far as I knew I was working on the “back” as that was what it was labelled, but if that section was labelled the “shoulders” then it would mean less confusion. Also the construction diagram in the book was difficult to understand, as I read it the “back” would be 14inches long and I would work down to do that – again trying to make up for my yarn changes, but in actual fact the back(shoulders) would be 6inches and the “body” would be eight. It’s hard to explain without being able to show you the diagram, but it’s not well written, and it seems I’m not the only one to have this problem as the pattern author has posted some clarifications on her website with a diagram that makes far more sense than the one in the book.

Is anyone still reading? Lol. I may have got a bit carried away, but I’m just really upset about having to undo so much work. Hopefully I’ll finish the top in the next couple of days and I can start on the projects for my niece and sister.

Relief shell stitch



  1. […] 5th, 2007 by Fern Blurple Bird was born today out of my frustration with my Not So Sweet Bolero and the feeling that I just haven’t finished any crochet projects recently. Blurple Bird was […]

  2. Owie!! I’m busy making the same jacket for my sister-in-law (found you via Ravelry) and I agree the pattern could be a lot clearer — the bit where you have to add an extra strand of yarn to get the extra half-shell at the front took me half an hour to work out. All much easier now I’m onto the last few rows; I’m trying not to think about the sleeves :-). Anyway, yours looks gorgeous and I hope it works out!

  3. I’ve been searching the internet this evening for help on this pattern. After reading your post, I can see that I am doing exactly what you did. I think I have already done about 30 rows, when I should have stopped at 10 or so.
    So here’s my question. After I RIP EVERYTHING OUT, do I only do the first set of the pattern before going back and doing the front, or do I measure down to the armpit and then start the front, no matter what row I’m on?? I’m new to following a crochet pattern (the only other thing I’ve made is a hat and scarf) so I don’t get the directions that well.
    If you wouldn’t mind responding to my email address, I would really appreciate it.

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