FO – Green Jellyfish Shrug

(Note: I actually wrote this post in September of 2008, but I didn’t publish it at the time because I didn’t take detail shots until uhh, last weekend.)

As far as shrugs go, this one is already very well traveled.

It was seen on the streets of Milan.

It made undocumented appearances in Venice and Volterra (among other cities).

It went to Rome where it visited many churches.

It even made it to the Vatican.

With each time I took it out of my suitcase and slid it over my shoulders, I think I fell a little more in love.

Pattern: Jellyfish (Ravelry link) by Iris G., free pattern previously available on MagKnits, now available for sale here
On Ravelry: Green Jellyfish
Size: Small
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Worsted 10-ply worsted weight, Grass (dye lot 3740), 60% Pima cotton 40% Modal; I used 4.5 50-gram balls, totaling approximately 225 grams/7.92 oz or 337.5 yards/308.6 meters.
Needles: US size 10 (6.0 mm) straights and Knit Picks Options interchangeable circular needles, in US size 8 (5.0 mm)
Modifications: none

Started: July 10, 2008
Finished: July 14, 2008

This project literally flew off the needles. I’ve knit one Jellyfish previously and loved the experience then, so I knew it would be fun. By substituting worsted weight cotton yarn, I got a denser but still nicely draping fabric which made for a substantial yet cool shrug.

I took a bit of a risk working the size small, since I usually wear a large in store-bought tops, but I think if I had made this any larger it would fall off my shoulders and look sloppy.

The construction of this shrug is really satisfying: the sleeves and body are knit flat, seamed at the underarms, then stitches are picked up to do the neckline ribbing in the round. Because of the heavier yarn, the neck ribbing forms a sort of collar that cuts in sweetly around my clavicle. It’s a nice surprising detail that looks intentional, and I have to like that.

I used Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn bind-off (with instructions from this Knitty article) to maintain the stretchiness of the rib. Because I used a way longer yarn tail than necessary, I wasn’t completely in love with the technique, but I see how useful it is.

The way the vine lace came out just thrills me.

I have previously professed my deep love for this yarn, and it continues to rank among my favorites. I noticed that this color shed slightly more than the others I’ve used, which I hear is a fairly common complaint, but I didn’t find it bothersome. It holds up beautifully to washing and wearing and the color is exactly what I wanted for a summery shrug.

This almost instantly became my go-to garment to wear with sleeveless dresses and tops. I wore it regularly while I was in Italy (and got compliments every time), all over Brooklyn and New Jersey, and basically everywhere I go. It is by far my most frequently worn FO, and I adore it. People consistently comment on its color (which matches my favorite malachite earrings really nicely) as well as its unique style, all of which please me to no end.

I definitely recommend this pattern in a DK or worsted weight yarn, or whatever you could imagine. It was a fast, easy, and pleasant knit and I think it would makes a great gift too. All around, this is one of my favorite FOs, and I look forward to all the wear I’m sure I will continue to get out of it.

Previous Entries on this Project:
Keeping Busy

Sweater Events

I know I’ve read before about these “events” that occur in the creation of a sweater. Casting on, waist shaping, working the neckline, and so on.

I think, apart from casting on and casting off, there are few sweater events I enjoy more than splitting the sleeves from the body of a top-down raglan. It feels like such definite and specific progress, and it breaks the seemingly interminable increase rows into much more manageable sections.

I’ve been slowly knitting here and there on my Featherweight Cardigan all month, and I finally finished the increases and split the sleeves the other night while watching Madama Butterfly on TV.

I switched from M1 increases to kf&b, which I’m happy about. I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying knitting with laceweight yarn, even if it’s slow-going at times. I expect there will be quite a few more laceweight tops showing up in these parts soon.

Zig-Zag Thud

I try not to be superstitious, but I can’t help wondering if maybe this yarn just doesn’t want to be a hat.

To be fair, I’ve never designed a hat before, and I have extremely limited experience in knitting hats. As in, I made one baby hat and one way-too-small Unoriginal Hat.

Looking at this yarn, I thought it would stripe nicely in zig-zags. I was toying with this idea when an episode of Ghost Whisperer came on, where Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s character Melinda was wearing this hat:

I knew I had to give it a try.

Not having that reference photo on hand, I resorted to the only zig-zags I knew, from the Jaywalker sock pattern. It just happened that when I calculated my gauge and measured my head, I’d have the exact number of stitches that the larger size of the Jaywalkers called for. I thought it was fate.

I struggled a bit with how to do the decreases, but a Ravelry user very cleverly worked out a system of dropping the side increases while continuing the center double decreases.

Everything went as planned, but unfortunately it looks kind of like a helmet, with these weird scallops dipping into my eyes and leaving an opening that elongates my forehead.

Seriously, my forehead is not this long!

I tried to tell myself it looked like a cloche style, that it was actually very cute… but this delusion could not persist.

I think there is potential in this idea. Twice or three times as many zig-zags and a snugger fit would probably reduce the amount it dips down into the eyes. Also less ribbing would probably be a good idea.

The upside is, I still love this yarn and it’s really comfortable as a hat. I’m planning to frog this one and do something fool-proof like an easy roll-brim hat, this time from a pattern and being honest with myself if I try it on and, once again, look a fool.

Third time’s a charm, right?

Uncle

I think it’s time to acknowledge that no, I am not going to finish my Tilted Duster for NaKniSweMo. I know, I know, big surprise, but I am disappointed.

This was my progress as of about 5am yesterday morning. Not pictured are two sleeves, knit but not seamed.

I had eight hours of classes yesterday (without sleep), and though I knit for as long as I was awake last night, I still only finished 13 of the 80 skirt rows. Which is to say nothing of the collar or the rest of the finishing.

Considering I have class from 2-10pm today, with all the work I can stand this morning before class, then another full day tomorrow, this just isn’t going to happen.

Sigh.

Looking back on this month, I can come up with plenty of times when I could have been knitting. I took several long train rides, working on my traveling sock instead (great progress there, by the way).

During an extended visit at my parents’, I spent most of my time knitting a hat, then trying out another:

At least I like where it’s going, even if it’s a blazing symbol of my constant knitting infidelity.

I’m not going to completely beat myself up though, because this month has taught me a lot about knitting and myself as a knitter.

For one thing, I shouldn’t have been so afraid of seaming. I let that hold me up for the longest time (if even subconsciously), when it actually took about 20 concentrated minutes of work. The seams came out alright, not great, but acceptable enough for my first full seater.

I should have been afraid of picking up stitches from the cast-on edge, as this turned out to be a nightmare. I still don’t know why I had such a hard time with it, but it literally sucked up hours of knitting time Tuesday night.

I also should have thought more about the pattern itself and what I was attempting to accomplish. The skirt portion is 80 rows of 210 or more stitches per row, which in and of itself is nearly like knitting an entire Tempting over again, but with increases. I might have reflected on the time it took me to knit the original Tempting (which yeah, we’ll talk about soon) and realized that no, leaving a few hours is not sufficient for that part.

Lastly, if I really want to finish something by a deadline, I shouldn’t dally around with other projects. I know it’s so easy for me to rationalize a hat or two or working on my socks instead, but obviously that was time I should have been working on the Duster.

I am much further along in this than any other sweater I’ve started so far, so it shouldn’t be too much time before I finish it, provided I actually stick with it and don’t put it aside indefinitely when I start up Christmas knitting next week.

Ahh the insanity. I realize it’s ludicrous to stress about knitting, since this is the hobby I do to relax, but I don’t like facing my limitations in any context. There may be no NaKniSweMo police (and thank you, Amanda, for reminding me of this), but I can still be annoyed with myself that I didn’t rise to the challenge the way I thought I could.

I hope your NaKniSweMo’s were more productive and successful than mine, and I’m excited to traipse through FO posts when I find a moment.