Shrug On

After your suggestions and the lovely new patterns (thank you!), I have significantly lengthened my list of future shrug projects. In the meantime, however, I’ve gone with the Cropped Raglan Sweater from Lion Brand.

Pattern: Cropped Raglan Sweater, Lion Brand free pattern #70111, size Large
Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love 100% acrylic, 4-ply worsted, color 099, Antique White, dye lot 34787
Needles: Susan Bates size 7 straights, KnitPicks Options size 8 circulars
Modifications: none planned
Started: April 23, 2007

I may try to make another before I leave (probably the Fiery Bolero), but in the meantime I think this pattern is the one I’m most likely to successfully complete, and it fits all of my requirements. It’s also simple enough that I can knit and read, which is essential in these final crazy busy weeks of the semester.

I’m a few inches in already, at 9 of the 28 initial raglan repeats, and I really like it. I think that it will be really versatile, as it will probably be large enough to wear pinned shut as well as open.

I’m using very soft off-white acrylic (I’ll explain why I usually use synthetics in a future post), and I absolutely love the way it feels against my skin.

It’s almost surprising how much I enjoy the eyelets on the raglan seams.

I am hopeful that this will turn out really nice, and I am excited thinking about wearing it in Italy!

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.