Indecisive Shrugs

Yesterday I wore a rather uncomfortable and ill-fitting store-bought sweater over a sun dress and it became apparent that I could really use a nice shrug. I’m going to be spending this summer in Venice, and my professor has informed me that women are required to cover their shoulders when going into churches, which is where a lot of the art we’ll be seeing resides, so something really versatile would be great.

That said, I’m having a heck of a time finding just the right shrug. I think part of why I’m struggling is that I already know the yarn I want to use, and I’m trying to avoid buying new needles… but few shrug patterns tend to call for worsted weight or the needles I have.

One contender is this Cropped Raglan Sweater from Lion Brand, though it seems perhaps a bit less fitted than I’d like.

I was also looking at some of the shrugs in the Summer 2005 issue of Interweave Knits, particularly the Fiery Bolero, which is exactly what I want, though I’d have to adapt it for the yarn change.

I’m undecided on the Viennese Shrug, which is for worsted weight, but maybe not my favorite lace pattern ever. I really wish they had a photo of the back.

They also had a set of Staff Shrugs (opens PDF), but they don’t feel quite right for what I want.

I went through every single shrug or bolero pattern in the Knitting Pattern Central database (perhaps I haven’t mentioned – I can get obsessive sometimes), and nothing really called out to me.

This Silk Capelet Shrug is cute, but calls for tiny yarn and needles.

Lastly, I’m rather fond of this Wanda cropped sweater (especially because my grandmother’s name is Wanda), though here the needles are too large, and I wonder if so much detail would feel heavy.

Argh, I feel like I’m being so picky! I wish I knew enough to design my own shrug, but as it is I’m not even comfortable figuring out how to modify an existing one. Ironically, I had started knitting an Esprit Raglan Shrug last summer, but I got so sick of the fiddly tiny elastic yarn that I put it aside and never got back to it.

So I’ll have to think on this a little more…

Lippitt Good

I’m making good progress on my Lippitt halter. Last night I finished the back, and I decided to bind off the top in the rib pattern, following the instructions found here, which was basically to knit the first two stitches, then knit the apparent stitches and bind off as usual. I’m not even sure why I had to look it up, but I wanted to be sure.

I think that binding off in the ribbing pattern gave it a really nice, clean look, and I’m really pleased with the finish.

I actually made the back 13″ long instead of the 12″ that the pattern called for. When I finished the sections of increases I was already at 12.5″ (perhaps my measurements of an inch between them were a bit overly generous), so I figured I’d give myself an extra half inch to absorb the final increases. My boyfriend measured my back for me, and at 13″, the back will come to just the place I want that will allow me to wear my favorite strapless bra without incident.

When I finished knitting this piece, my boyfriend helped again by spacing it out over my back and waist, and it looks like it will fit very nicely. I was so enthused that I cast on for the front and am on my way to the second decrease already.

On an unrelated trip around the internet looking at buttons, it occurred to me that I haven’t yet picked out the ring for the front of this yet. I checked out a few trims and accessories sites. At this point, the front runner is probably this Flat Metal Ring from M&J Trim:

The 50mm (2-inch) one is 1/4″ larger than the pattern calls for, which is perfect because I had wanted a little more of the ring to show. At $3.98, it’s pretty hard to beat, though I may continue looking to see if I can find something dark and wooden like I’d originally envisioned. Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Slightly Better Colors & Imminent Frogging

This storm has made sufficient lighting near impossible this weekend, but I think I’ve managed to get a little closer to the colors of my Lippitt halter and Cable-Down Raglan yarns.

Spruce and cream, nice.

As for the Cable-Down Raglan, I think that a frogging is imminent. I knit the first few rows and made a mess of the increases.

I read that some of the errata deal with the increases, so it will probably be sorted out then. It’s kind of a shame because I rather like the way the knitting looks when it’s done right.

I am still a bit confused about the way the increases are worked on the sleeves, though. (As with all my photos, click to enlarge).

The pattern has the increases done just before the diamond chart begins. This makes sense on the left sleeve, as it makes room for the X-shaped cables which are more toward the sweater front on that side.

However, the right sleeve is starting to baffle me, and I’m not sure how the increases could be done in that place without skewing the design and making the sleeves asymmetrical. Am I thinking too much about this?

I feel like maybe it should be more like this:

Of course, I am no knitwear designer, and I’m still mystified by how it says 8 stitches are increased when I count 9.

I look forward to figuring this all out.

When Knitting and Nerdistry Collide

I have several obsessive-compulsive tendencies which seem especially prone to arise when there is some other task I should be attending to (i.e. schoolwork).

In this case, the fruits of my insomniac labor come as a spreadsheet to organize knitting projects present and future.

I had started out with a Word document listing some (but not all) of the important details about projects. From there I expanded my system to include the following categories:

  • Link to Pattern (if online)
  • Source of Pattern
  • Pattern Name
  • Garment Type
  • Yarn Weight
  • Yardage
  • Size
  • Yarn Used
  • Needles
  • Notions
  • Date Started
  • Date Finished
  • Notes

The beauty of Excel is that I can then sort by any of those categories at several sub-levels. For example, if I have a few hundred yards of worsted weight yarn, I can sort by yarn weight, then yardage, then garment type and see what my options are for using it.

I can also do other things like sort for a project that doesn’t require any notions, or I can find the pattern for some cardigan by Berroco whose name I don’t remember.

Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I have to say, it’s truly a beautiful thing.

A Diversion: the Lippitt Halter

Since I am a notorious project starter and chronic unfinisher, it is probably problematic to have allowed myself to cast on for another project already.

However, I had a couple hundred yards of a rather lovely green yarn which I’d purchased as an alternate for the Cabled Baby Set, and I was itching for a cute summer knit. (Color is of course way off in these photos)

Enter the Lippitt halter, a pretty sexy Y-neck tank from Berroco.

This is totally out of character for me in every conceivable way, since I almost never wear sleeveless shirts, let alone ones that reveal all of my shoulders and arms. I guess this is a bit of a carrot for my upper-arm workouts and motivation for continued vigilance in dieting.

At this point I am 9-1/2 inches up on the back, and it seems to be moving steadily along.

I’m intrigued by the structure and I sincerely hope it will fit well without too much alteration. I think it will look really lovely with a dark wood ring at the neck, giving it a kind of earthy flavor. I’m also debating using a slightly larger ring to show more of it, though I worry what kind of structural effect that may have.

My only question is to do with the name. Some internet research revealed a family of senators from Rhode Island and the Lippitt Morgan breed of horses, neither of which scream halter top to me.