If you’ve never heard the expression “It’s just not cricket” before, you might wonder what on earth I’m on about. The term is used to express disapproval at something that is unfair, unjust or unsporting.
I’m not sure where in the world this expression has travelled to, but in my head, I can hear The Queen saying it, to express outrage in the most polite, British way possible. I’m not sure if that ever happened or not, but I like to think that’s how she rolls.
It’s a kind of old fashioned term. These days, mostly used in a tongue in cheek, melodramatic way. I am in no way expressing that there is anything unjust about the sweater pattern. I’m pretty proud of it actually!!
You can find more pattern details here or download the PDF Pattern from Ravelry, Etsy or Love Crafts Crochet.
When I was about 7, we lived on an estate with lots of other families. It was a maze of cul de sacs, built sometime in the mid 70s. All the kids used to play out on the street together and I have memories of playing what we termed French Cricket.
If I can trust the memory of 7 year old me, we played it with a cricket bat. Or maybe a tennis racket held like a cricket bat, and a tennis ball.
The rules are vague but I seem to remember that the person that caught the ball became the batter and the previous batter the bowler, and the wicket moved to wherever the catcher stood. Something along those lines!
Given how far you can punt a tennis ball with a cricket bat, I think we took up a lot of space!
I have no idea what was French about it but those snippets of memory of playing in the street will always stay with me.
Fast forward another 7 years and I was living in a different village. This one had the longest cricket green in the county apparently. Opposite a lovely, thatched roof pub. Quintessential England embodied!
I mean it was in the middle of nowhere so 14 year old me hated the rubbish transport links but I can appreciate it now I’m 3 times that age!
7 years later again, when I was studying at Leeds University, I lived just a couple of miles from the famous Headingley cricket stadium. We used to hear the cheering at the matches and it always made me smile.
So, what’s the point of this trip down memory lane?
Cricket was never a huge part of my life, but one of those oddly comforting things that was always there, like part of the furniture. Sunday afternoon TV, on the radio in the background or on the news after a batting collapse or an epic comeback.
What’s that got to do with crochet?
I know, this nostalgia doesn’t have a lot to do with crochet, but I’m getting to it.
From the time I started to crochet, I had it in mind that I would love to make a traditional cabled cricket style sweater.
I always liked those v necks and clean striped edges, but I figured I would have to learn to knit to achieve that look. I certainly never thought I would end up designing one.
It was actually the furore over *that* Aran sweater worn by Chris Evans in the film Knives Out which caused a stir in late 2019 that started my brain ticking.
I started googling crochet cricket sweaters, because someone must have already designed one already right?
Well, apparently not!
How is that possible?
Frankly, it’s just not cricket!
So I decided it was up to me!
Creating the cable pattern
I don’t normally go into a lot of detail on my design process but this one was 6 months in the making so I hope you’ll indulge me for taking my time to share it!!
I got to work on trying to come up with a cable pattern I liked, one lazy Sunday morning in February 2020.
I soon realised why no one had designed a cricket sweater yet!
Here is what my first play around with swatching looked like.
As you can tell from the finished sweater, I went on quite a journey from that first swatch!
Repeating crochet cable patterns are hard to get right. I wanted a design that wasn’t full of gaps and that didn’t look jagged and disjointed as some twisted or crossed crochet cables can do.
It took me a lot of trial and error but eventually I came up with the stitch pattern you see here.
(Note that I am left handed so if you are right handed, you’ll see a mirror image of this where the breaks between cables will slant in the opposite direction!).
Next I could actually get stuck in to designing the sweater.
Designing the sweater
Initially I tried a cotton yarn, because cricket is a summer sport after all (in my head at least!). But I wasn’t keen on the stitch definition with the yarn I tried, so I ended up using a wool blend dk, which was much closer to the image I already had in my mind!
That said, I wouldn’t rule out trying it in cotton now the design is complete. Perhaps just the tank top version though.
I knew I wanted the option to work the pullover as a long sleeved sweater or a tank top. You see both here in different colourways, which gives you an idea of how versatile this pattern can be, simply by changing colours!
I also wanted the pattern to be gender neutral, so I chose a simple drop shoulder construction. The body is quite close fitting, so I do suggest going up a size if you want a baggier look.
There was more trial and error getting the shaping right, around the front V and the neck drop. Getting the stripes in the neckline to look flat and keep that smooth edge was another Sunday morning experimenting… which quickly turned into the afternoon!
I wasn’t happy the first version of the sleeves I made, and it stopped me in my tracks for a while. So the design went into time-out for about 6 weeks as lockdown hit and I focused my energies on the Any Yarn Will Do sweater instead.
A change is as good as a rest!
In early May, when my tantrum over the sleeves had blown itself out, I cautiously went back to it, with a fresh pair of eyes,
I reworked the sleeves and, bit by bit, it started to come together.
Cue testing, which for the first time included a male recipient.
After listening to feedback and feeling strongly that I wanted this design to be an option for men, women or other, I decided to add another size (it’s written for 8 sizes in total).
I resized the neckline for the larger sizes too and added a second option for the hem, which didn’t pull the body in, for those who didn’t want the shaping at the hips.
I created a tutorial demonstrating the cabled pattern repeat because there are a few fiddly bits. Though once you ’get it’, you’ve got it.
This pattern is well into the intermediate category, but I wanted to give enough information in the pattern so that any crocheter with the gumption to do so could tackle it!
I sized up to a Medium for the second sample, the sweater vest you see in navy, and I kind of fell in love with the design all over again.
I snuck out onto my no through road at 7.30am this week to finally get some photos of the sweaters in action. With my tripod, trusty camera remote and a cricket bat I borrowed from my nephews, I had a play in the sunshine. Goodness knows what my neighbours might have made of me having imaginary cricket games with myself!
Check out this fun video montage to see what I mean…
After about 3 tech edits (though I still wake up in sweats that there is a horrific error somewhere that has been missed) and creating a full schematic…
Suddenly, it was done!
And here I am, already feeling nostalgic for it’s roots. Time is a funny thing!
I think this might be the longest I’ve spent working on a single pattern, but I am so happy with the final result and glad I put the extra effort in to get it right.
If you want to give this sweater a try, I would urge you to take your time with it.
Cricket is a slow game, with test matches lasting 5 days. That pace is part of what makes it special. It’s about enjoying the process as much as the result. That’s how I feel about this pattern.
Whatever your approach to crochet; test match or 20/20, I hope you will relish the process of making this sweater as much as I loved (and sometimes hated!) the challenge of designing it!
Perhaps it is cricket after all.