This story started more than three years ago, when I sketched the first draft of the fish motif in my workbook. But, as it always happens, there was something more urgent to make.

Luckily, one day it all clicked into place. I got the perfect yarn, not too thin or too thick, of the perfectly matching colors, and found room in my release schedule to make something fun and cheerful, something that has been calling me for years.

Since my goal for 2016 is to work on garments, I knew from the very beginning that I would use this motif in a top.

It all started very well. I finished the main part quickly, but soon enough ran into the first problem: the sizing.

It is very easy to make one of a kind piece for your desired size, but one of the most important designer's objective is to grade the pattern for multiple sizes. And not only that! The sizing needs to be clear, logical and consistent over all of the suggest sizes.

Eager to make this top for myself, I did not size the design from the start, but when time came, I had to face this question. At one point, I thought this design would never be published. But since there was so much completed already, I had to find a solution!

My original idea was to make the straps look like this:

They look simple, but grading for several sizes was impossible.

Large size motifs (in this case 14 cm across) always limit the layout options. Smaller motifs are a lot easier when it comes to pattern sizing. I needed to keep the fish going around the body in continuous rows and to have the exact number of fish blocks I needed. No, this was a dead end.

The second (very promising!) idea was to leave the fish body as it was and to crochet the upper part in simple granny stitch pattern.

When you crochet flat rather than in motifs, you can do whatever you want with the fabric: you can shape the neckline and the shoulder lines, and make the armhole as deep as you need. Sounds fantastic! But this was no good either. Mostly, because the flat fabric in the upper part had a different drape and was thinner than the lower portion, worked in motifs.

As small as it was, this detail was important. Hot summer weather requires comfortable clothing and this difference would be noticeable.

That was the day when I decided to give up, frog everything and re-join the motifs into a shawl.

And that was not such a bad idea, as leaving this problem for a bit and coming back to it later helped. A path to simplicity is not always as easy as we would like it to be, but bright solutions are often very straightforward. Here is where I should write something like "another month of many passed..." :)

I left the fish part as it was and added two pairs of straps, one in a regular manner and let the other one cross on the back. And finally it all clicked into place:
  • The fish now "swim" around the body in one unbroken line.
  • The grading for any size is possible with a convenient increment of one fish block size (14 cm). (Just work as many fish blocks as it needed for your bust measurement!)
  • The straps make this top very comfortable and do not constrain movement. 
  • Very feminine-looking straps balance the fun and childish fish pattern.

Granny Fish Top pattern is now live and you can find it in my store on Ravelry. The pattern includes several color options and fish layouts for your inspiration, as well as a blank schematics to colorize and create your own unique Granny Fish top.

Happy crocheting!

Granny Fish Top pattern on Ravelry


  1. Thanks for sharing some insights into your design process. I found the details very interesting. And I love the simple playfulness of the top! Regards, Kate in Oregon

  2. Thanks for sharing some insights into your design process. I found the details very interesting. And I love the simple playfulness of the top! Regards, Kate in Oregon

    1. Thank you so much, Kate! I am glad that you find this interesting :)


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