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How I crocheted a mini version of the Pemba Cardi by Toni Lipsey. Pattern review, recommendations, and more. I made the same cardigan but in a smaller, toddler-size with a lighter-weight yarn. I adapted the pattern by taking a sweater that fits my daughter and physically comparing it as I go.
About the Pattern
Talk about texture. The Pemba Cardi is filled with a squishy texture. I chose to make this pattern after falling in love with the addictive honeycomb stitch while making the Third Street Shawl. The construction is made up of 5 flat panels seamed together (1 back, 2 front, and 2 sleeves), not intimidating right!?
Where to find the Pattern
The Pemba Cardi is one of 20 original patterns in the Tunisian Crochet Handbook by Toni Lipsey. You can find the book on Amazon, online from a Local Yarn Shop or if you want to go all in, you can purchase a signed copy directly from Toni’s website.
Whether you are a seasoned Tunisian Crocheter or it’s your first time picking up a hook, I highly recommend this Handbook. I emphasize the word Handbook because of the detailed photos and tutorials.
There are over 60 pages in the book entirely dedicated to going over everything from tools, how to read a pattern, detailed photo stitch tutorials, and even finishing techniques. Toni’s concise and clear writing style makes everything easy to understand. If you master the skills laid out in the book, the skies are the limit of what you will be able to make with Tunisian crochet.
Is the Pemba Cardi beginner-friendly?
Yes! If you are comfortable with the basics of Tunisian crochet, you will easily be able to pick up the honeycomb stitch. And if you are not familiar with Tunisian Crochet, I still believe you can easily pick it up with the help of the included tutorials.
My Yarn Choices:
- Fairway Fibers; Augusta; DK-weight; 100% SW Merino; Dream House
- Purl Soho; Line Weight; Fingering-Weight; 100% single-ply Merino; Clear Sky and Peony Pink
I used a DK Weight, 100% SW Merino Wool yarn that was hand-dyed by Fairway Fibers. She is a local, to me, high school-aged business owner that gives 10% back to charity. The color is Dream House, after Barbie of course, and is the quintessential colorway for my daughter’s personality.
I chose to hold line weight, (100% Merino Wool; single-ply / fingering weight) with this fun hand-dyed yarn to provide a slight fuzzy halo and it also helps outline the texture of the honeycomb stitch. So I decided to hold with it Line Weight (100% Merino Wool; Fingering Weight). I used Peony Pink for the main body and Clear Sky for the ribbing.
The pattern calls for a Bulky weight yarn but I already had a DK yarn that I specifically purchased for making my daughter a cardigan. So I worked a small swatch and experimented in hook sizes. I settled with a 5mm hook for the ribbing and a 6.5mm Tunisian hook for the main body.
How I Modified the Size
This is honestly much easier than it seems. This pattern is great for modifying due to the simple construction. The Honeycomb stitch keeps it interesting and works great for adapting given it only needs to be worked over an even number of stitches.
The pattern calls for making the back panel first, so I took a store-bought sweatshirt measured the width (added 2 inches of positive ease), and used that as my length for the ribbing. I also minimized the number of stitches in my ribbing making it less tall. From there, I continued to physically compare as I went.
Once I arrived at the front panels, I did a little math and figured out what the stitch ratio was of the original pattern. I took the smallest size in the book and figured out what percentage of the back panel stitches were supposed to be on the front.
I wanted to make sure I got that ratio perfect, ensuring it would fit correctly and allow the proper room for the neckline ribbing.
Modifying the Sleeves
Other than yarn weight/hook size, my other modification was the sleeves. Instead of crocheting two flat panels in the honeycomb stitch and seaming together, I wanted to knit in the round. I chose to knit the sleeves because I really love having the visual contrast of the same yarn in knit and crochet form.
Also, I’ll let you in on a little secret… I was worried I would run out of yarn if I Tunisian Crocheted the sleeves, given how much more yarn Tunisian uses.
So, I simply knit in the round a basic tube sleeve, binded off and then added the crochet ribbing in the same manner as the neckline ribbing. In hindsight, I wish I decreased and added shaping toward the end of the sleeve but that’s something I learned for the next project!
Stay away from dark-colored yarns, in my experience the honeycomb texture is not as prevalent with darker hues. I recommend making a quick honeycomb swatch, for at least 4-5 rows, to make sure you love your color and hook size. It wouldn’t be fun to get through the ribbing section and then not be happy!