Crochet Sweaters from the Top-Down with Dora Ohrenstein

Dora Ohrenstein’s new book is all about top-down sweater construction in crochet—seems pretty straightforward, right? But as any sweater maker will know, choosing the right yarn is an integral part to a successful sweater project (this applies to knitting, as well). Read on for more from Dora about yarn choice and crochet!

One of the things I aim to impart in my new book, Top-Down Crochet Sweaters, is the importance of choosing great yarns for crochet garments. What makes a yarn the right choice for this task?

We all know that crochet is sometimes compared unfavorably to knitting when it comes to garment-making. Why is that? Crochet stitches were born in the 19th century as a way of imitating hand-made laces and were worked with very thin threads on slender hooks. As the 20th century unfolded, hobbyists turned increasingly to yarn instead of thread, and some of the nuance of crochet, blown up to larger proportions, was lost. Of course crochet can look great even at a larger scale, but for garments that look and feel great, one has to choose pliable yarns, usually in weights thinner than worsted. My favorites are DK, sport and fingering weight yarns.

Today we have so many choices of yarn weights and fibers that one can make absolutely stunning crochet garments. Berocco’s Folio is a perfect example: its fibers—alpaca and rayon—promote drapey fabric. It’s officially a DK weight yarn, but because of the thin strand of yarn, it behaves a lot more like a fingering weight. These two factors—the thickness of the yarn and the flexibility of its fibers—are crucial for getting a crocheted garment that’s just as fabulous as the best knitted sweaters. You can see the result in this sweater from the book called Ava. The stitches are very simple—half double crochet stitches, crossed double crochet stitches, and bobbles—and in this soft, pliable yarn, the result is a fashionable, classic pullover.

Ava sweater crochet pattern in Berroco Folio
Ava Sweater crochet pattern from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters; photo by Melinda di Mauro

Worked top down with circular increases plotted throughout each round, (rather than at 4 raglan increase points) Ava is flattering to many body types and easy to adjust to get the fit you want. It can be styled with little ease, as on the model, or made more roomy to suit your taste. If you’d like to give it a try, join us at my Ravelry group for a CAL on this sweater and others from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters.

I think you’ll be very pleased with how lovely a crochet sweater can be, and you’ll enjoy working with Berocco Folio.

I also used Berroco Folio recently in my Clematis Shawl for Interweave Crochet’s fall 2016 issue too. It had the same marvelous effect on the post stitches featured in this design. Thank you Berocco for creating such a perfect yarn for crochet!

clematis shawl crochet pattern in Berroco Folio
Clematis Shawl crochet pattern from Interweave Crochet Fall 2016; photo © Interweave Crochet/Harper Point Photography

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