This crochet cardigan pattern is called Heather and is a free pattern with charts and diagrams. Named after the Scottish flower, this cardigan features soft feminine colors. Yet it has a strong framed structure because that’s who we are as women, strong, beautiful and powerful…
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Although made with the DK yarn called James C. Brett Northern Lights (and James C. Brett Double Knitting with Merino for the sleeves), I had to call my cardigan Heather rather than the Northern Lights. That’s because to me the color palette of the yarn looks a lot more like something closer to the earth than the sky. Yet it’s a beautiful yarn that I couldn’t resist to try.
This crochet cardigan was so addictive to make for some reason! I couldn’t wait to finish it, I couldn’t wait to wear it, and I loved the feel of it in my hands as I worked away row by row.
This yarn is perfect for cardigans in my opinion. I just can’t imagine it in any other project, and that’s a good thing. Because I feel it belongs right here in this cardigan so I can wrap myself into it.
I love the sleeves! I love how they contrast with the body, but at the same time they add to the colorway and extend it. And I love how you can see the stitch detail in the sleeves and the body and how the yarn shows it off.
I love how it folds around my neck. It feels so cozy, just like a shawl wrapped around my neck. And I love it how it folds around my bust to give me more volume.
I love it how it instantly lifts my shoulders up and frames me the moment I put it on. I just immediately look and feel different. It gives me a very feminine and flowy look yet a strong power woman’s frame without even trying to strike a pose. It works a little bit like a superhero costume but for an every day look. Because we are every day heroes and we’re worth the title!
The extra fabric at the front not only is flattering but gives you extra comfort too. It makes it easy to put on & go, gives you extra boost at the bust and also hides the tummy well!
I love it that I feel like I’m wearing a scarf or a shawl and a cardigan all in one piece. Because I don’t need to worry about it falling off or having to readjust it like you do with scarves and shawls.
Overall it’s a fun and cute cardigan to wear.
Also I think it’s great for pear-shaped ladies as when it’s belted it gives you an hour glass shape because the shoulder line of the cardigan balances out wider hips.
Solid Shell Stitch
This cardigan uses the solid shell stitch which is just as easy and enjoyable to make as the granny stitch. It goes like this: sc, 5 dc, sc, 5 dc and so on. The single crochet closes the gap between the 5 dc clusters that you normally see in the granny stitch. And thus it creates a beautiful lacy yet solid fabric which is perfect for what we want – elegant cardigans for chilly or windy weather.
Crochet Cardigan Heather: Free Pattern
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This simple an easy crochet cardigan free pattern in James C. Brett Northern Lights and James C. Brett Double Knitting with Merino is named after the romantic Scottish flower heather. The cardigan is made of 3 rectangles seamlessly joined together at the shoulders. While the sides and the sleeves are seamed together with the mattress stitch. This simple yet powerful construction frames your body at the shoulders and your waist with a wide comfortable belt. Easy to make solid shell stitch creates beautifully textured lacy fabric perfect for protecting you from chilly wind while still looking elegant.
XS (S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL)
If you’re not sure about your size, I used these body measurements.
Model’s height is 5’7 ft and the bust is 34.5″. Model wears size M.
To the best of my knowledge when I washed my gauge sample the colors don’t run from the Northern Lights yarn and the pink yarn doesn’t get stained easily when I washed with similar colors, including the Northern Lights sample and similar colors to Northern Lights yarn. But I would recommend washing dark colors separately.
James C. Brett Northern Lights NL1 (the body) is made of premium acrylic and viscose and recommends handwashing at 30 C. While James C. Brett Double Knitting with Merino DM33 (the sleeves) is made of acrylic, siliconised soft polyamide, merino wool and is machine washable at 30 C.
To Handwash Or To Machine Wash?
So you might want to handwash your cardigan but who has time for that (not me!). Besides, I find that when I did do some handwashing in the past (before I had kids…) I was using water which I now know was too hot. Seriously, water that is 30 C is way cooler than I thought. After all, it’s cooler than my body temperature. Which I didn’t realise for years, I just never thought about it. And so naturally, I always used warm water that was pleasant to the touch to handwash my clothes because I thought if it feels good to my hands, it must be good for my clothes. Who wants to use cold water to wash their clothes? That just feels wrong… Anyway therefore I conclude that my clothes are better off in the washing machine 😀
I don’t have a wool cycle setting on my washing machine and my handwash setting uses 40 C temperature which is too high so I washed it in delicates washing cycle for 1 hr 14 min at 30 C with a 1200 revolutions per minute spin speed and I’m happy. Although some of the pretty white speckles in the Northern Lights yarn do seem to look a little less attractive after a wash and are begging to be picked off. But even if I was the manufacturer I would still keep them because they make the fabric look a lot more interesting.
Lie flat to dry.
I personally hate when clothes shrink after the first wash and it’s not just my imagination!
Therefore I thought I would test some fabric samples to see what happens.
And it looks like the Northern Lights fabric stretches after the first wash by about 1 st per 4″ and the sleeve fabric stays pretty much the same.
- Project level: easy
- For blocking I hovered a steam iron over the garment at about an inch’s distance a few times and let it dry flat on a towel.
- To connect new yarn I used the no tails crochet color change method.
- The long sequence of numbers in the pattern refer to the 9 sizes available: XS (S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL). The numbers after the first are in brackets and separated by commas to help you follow your size instructions a little easier.
- It is very easy to make straight edges (on the left and right) with this stitch and it creates a cute scalloped bottom hem finish which doesn’t need a border.
- 5 dc = 5 dc cluster = shell
- Peak of the shell – middle dc or third dc
- You are looking at the right side (as opposed to the wrong side) of your work when you are looking at the diagram.
- You might want to leave long yarn tails to use them for seaming. Leave the yarn tail approx 3X the length of the seam.
Finished Measurements, Chart & Diagram
- James C. Brett Northern Lights (3 / light, 492 yds / 450 m, 5.3 oz / 150 g) 3 (3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4) skeins in NL1
- James C. Brett DK with Merino (3 / light, 317 yds / 290 m, 3.5 oz / 100 g) 3 (3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins in DM33
- Size H / 5 mm crochet hook
- Tapestry needle
- Measuring tape
- Stitch marker (e.g. a piece of string, a safety pin)
The following are the approximate numbers of shells and rows per 4″ X 4″ square measured over the solid shell stitch pattern (as written in Panel 1 below). Northern Lights yarn (body): 3 shells and 10.2 rows. DK with Merino yarn (sleeves, belt): 2.8 shells and 10 rows.
To crochet your gauge sample, make a multiple of 6 sts + 1 and add 1 for the base chain.
Abbreviations (US Terms)
- base chain: foundation chain
- ch: chain
- dc: double crochet
- rep: repeat
- sc: single crochet
- st: stitch
- t: turn
- Make the body: panels 1, 2 & 3. Seam the sides with the mattresss stitch.
- Make the sleeves. Seam the sides of the sleeves and seam the sleeves into the body with the mattress stitch.
- Make the belt and two belt loops.
The pattern is broken into Body, Sleeves and Belt.
Body: Panels 1, 2 & 3
The body of the cardigan has three panels: Panel 1, Panel 2 and Panel 3.
Ch 68 (68, 74, 80, 80, 86, 86, 86, 86). (Also in chart 1)
Row1 Sc into 2nd ch from hook, *skip 2 ch, 5 dc into next ch, skip 2 ch, sc into next ch; rep from * to end, t.
Row2 Ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc into same st, *skip 2 dc, sc into next dc, skip 2 dc, 5 dc into next sc; rep from * ending last rep with 3 dc into last sc, t.
Row3 Ch 1, sc into same st, * skip 2 dc, 5 dc into next sc, skip 2 dc, sc into next dc; rep from * ending last rep with sc into top of ch-3, t.
Rep 2nd and 3rd rows until you reach the required number of rows for your size (see chart 1). Do not break yarn, t.
Mark the middle of last row with a stitch marker.
This is where your Panel 1 ends. Now we’re going to seamlessly attach Panel 2 by crocheting shells into the last row of Panel 1 but only halway accross (up to where you placed your marker).
Row1 of Panel 2 is where we increase. It’s fun because it’s like making a chunky granny stitch as we’re making lots of 5 dc clusters but no sc in between.
Row2 is easy because you’re crocheting 5 dc into spaces between shells and making sc into shell peaks and Row3 is completely back to normal.
Row1 Start crocheting clusters of 5 dc (no sc in between clusters) into each peak and each sc, except for the middle st that you just marked. That includes the first st and the last sc or shell peak before the marked st. Sizes XS, S, M: finish the row, t. The rest of the sizes: after you’ve made (L, XL, 2XL – 12; 3XL – 11; 4XL – 10; 5XL – 9) 5 dc clusters, start adding an extra 5 dc cluster in either one of the 2 sts in each gap between the peaks and the sc till the end of the row, t.
Check that you have the required number of shells by referring to chart 1 (Panels 2 & 3: shells per row).
Row2 Ch 3, 2 dc in same st, *sc into peak of shell, 5 dc into gap between two shells; rep from * ending your last rep with 3 dc into last st t.
Row3 same as Row3 from Panel 1.
Rep 2nd and 3rd rows from Panel 1 until you reach the required number of rows for your size (see chart 1), fasten off.
Facing the reverse side of your cardigan (just like when we were attaching Panlel 2) we’re seamlessly joining Panel 3 with Panel 1 (see the body diagram above).
Row1 Looking at how you made Row1 in Panel 2, skip the marked middle stitch and mirror the same 5 dc cluster making pattern for your size as Panel 2 Row1. So sizes XS, S, M are simply crocheting clusters of 5 dc into each peak and each sc, t. And other sizes are adding an extra 5 dc cluster in either of the 2 sts in between the peaks and the sc at the start of the row, t.
Check that you have the same amount of shells per row as Panel 2 because Panels 2 & 3 need to be the same.
Row2 Same as Panel 2 row2.
Row3 Same as Panel 2 row3.
Rep 2nd and 3rd rows from Panel 1 until you reach the required number of rows for your size (see chart 1), fasten off.
Seam the sides with the mattress stitch, leaving the required number of rows for armholes (see the chart 1).
Sleeves – Make 2
I have to say, I actually love making sleeves. It’s so enjoyable to make a sleeve after making the main body panels because it goes so fast and it seems so easy! Sleeves are even smaller than a scarf, so making them feels like a walk in the park. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I have to redo them. :p
Ch 44 (44, 50, 56, 62, 68, 74, 80, 80). (Also in chart 2)
Row1 Same as row1 in Panel 1. Check that you have the right number of shells (see chart 2).
Row2 Same as row2 in Panel 1.
Row3 Same as row3 in Panel 1.
Rep 2nd and 3rd rows until you complete row 25 (25, 27, 27, 29, 29, 29, 31, 31).
The next row is where you crochet 1 less shell (0.5 shells less from either side) for sleeve shaping (see the sleeve diagram above).
Row26 (26, 28, 28, 30, 30, 30, 32, 32) Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next 3 st, *skip 2 st, 5 dc in next st, skip 2 st, sc in next st; rep from * ending your last rep with sc and omitting the last 3 st, t.
Row27 (27, 29, 29, 31, 31, 31, 33, 33) Ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc into same st, *skip 2 dc, sc into next dc, skip 2 dc, 5 dc into next sc; rep from * ending last rep with 3 dc into sc omitting last 3 sc, t.
Row28 (28, 30, 30, 32, 32, 32, 34, 34) Same as Panel 1 row3.
Rep 2nd and 3rd rows from Panel 1 until you reach the required number of rows for your size (see chart 2), fasten off.
The belt is 3 shells wide so ch 20 and proceed with making rows 1 – 3 from Panel 1. Rep 2nd and 3rd rows until you reach the required number of rows for your size (see chart 2), fasten off.
Belt Loops – Make 2
Ch 25, make 2 rows of sc, fasten off.
Belt Loop Position
Insert loop ends above given rows as follows counting from the bottom hem along the side seams, and sew loop ends together on the inside:
XS – 16 and 23; S, M – 17 and 24; L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL – 18 and 25.
This is my first cardigan pattern and second item of clothing after I made the Neon Sunset tunic dress.
Some more suggestions for crochet cardigan free patterns would be this pale pink subtle lace shoulder Crochet Cozy Cardigan by Sewrella, this lilac color Granny Lace Crochet Cardigan with a link to Yarnspirations free crochet pattern, this fun looking Bubble Gum Blanket Cardigan by Jenny and Teddy and this Easy Glitterball Cardigan by Set Free My Gypsy Soul.
What do you think of this cardigan? Do you like the shape and the colors? Let me know if you run into any problems. I shall try my best to answer all your queries.
Larger ladies, what do you think of these woman size sharts from the Craft Yarn Council (link is under Sizes above), do they reflect your body measurements? Please do let me know if you know of a better source of body measurements so I can improve my patterns to suit you better.
Also what would you like to see more of? What’s your favourite type of crochet knitwear? Would you like to see more children’s patterns, and what kind?
Have a nice day, happy crocheting and come back for more!