Friday, August 24, 2007

The Saga of the Asymmetrical Shrug - Breakthrough!!

In early May, I started a shrug pattern from the magazine Simply Knitting out of the UK. It was in issue #26 and is called Evening Star by Jennifer Hilton. I loved the look of it and decided to have it finished by the time I went to my family reunion in May. I picked out some aqua extra soft acrylic out of my stash and set down to cast on.
The pattern had a design element that I had never run into before, but I thought how hard could it be. The pattern was done in stockinette stitch and on the knit row you did a YO2. No big deal. But on the purl row, you had to purl into the back loop of the 2nd YO. Try as I might, I could not figure this one out. After much tinking, I did a Google search and found step-by-step instructions with photos on the blog of Lucia, The Knitting Fiend. So once I had that down, the knitting went fairly fast. The Evening Star is knitted starting at the right cuff, then you cast on extra stitches for the back and right front. Once you are done with the right front, you cast off and only work the back stitches. I did fine through all of this. The first problem I ran into was when I got to the Left Arm placement. Most shrugs and/or sweaters are a mirror image, so that what you do to one side you repeat on the other; and this patterns' schematic is drawn that way. However, because this shrug is asymmetrical, it doesn’t quite work that way. The armhole placement is knitted with waste yarn and later picked up and knitted in the round. Once I had the girls from the Frog Pond talk me through it, it went OK. Then I ran into another problem that I finally figured out was an error with the pattern. On shaping the left side, the pattern switched from Knit row, Purl row to Knit row, Purl row, Purl row, Knit row, Repeat. At first, I thought I was just reading it wrong; you know like operator error. These 4 rows were the decrease rows and I was really confused by the Purl decrease row. I tried fixing it on my own, but it didn’t work and I had to tink back. Then I went to Simply Knitting’s website and found a comment posted in April regarding possible errors to the Evening Star pattern. SK was sending the pattern back to the designer to be reviewed. So I packed away the shrug and added my name to their comments in the hopes of getting an email notice when the corrections came out. Well, I have been checking periodically over the last months and SK had still not made any changes/additions to their notice.

You know when you don’t finish something it kind of throws you off your stride. Well, since I didn’t get to finish the shrug and didn’t know if I would ever get an answer to how to finish it, I just wasn’t interested in starting any new big projects or at least finishing any new projects. The few shawls and bags that I have started since, have ended up being set aside partially finished in favor of something else. So instead of 1 UFO, I now have 5. The only thing I have actually finished was a pair of Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake. I also started Knitty’s RPM socks, but that shrug has been haunting me. Now that we have been having some cooler days (occasionally) here in Michiana, I wanted to finish my shrug. So I took it with me on Wednesday when I met some of the Frog Pond girls at Indulgence CafĂ© (YUM!). I talked it over with Elizabeth and we thought of a plan of attack. The first thing I did though was add a lifeline just incase; frogging is much easier than tinking. Well, after working my way slowly through the purl decrease row and switching rows 3 and 4 of the 4 decrease rows, I finally figured it out! I worked on it last night and am almost finished with the left front.

Now I may have run into another problem. The shrug is supposed to be a little snug, but I don’t like snug things as they tend to emphasize area’s that I would rather not emphasize, if ya know what I mean. So I made a size up, and now think it will be too big. And since I knit it in Acrylic (because that is what I had on hand) I know it won’t shrink. So I think I will place the remaining left side stitches on a holder, seam up the right side and add the left sleeve. Then, after trying it on, I can decide whether I want to keep the left-side shorter and therefore have it snug in a bit or finish it off like the pattern says.

Here is a couple pictures of my progress. In the first you can sort of see how the shrug will end up being asymmetrical. The pink stitches it the up right is where the left sleeve will be added and the other pink stitches lower down is my lifeline. The second picture show the how the decreasing looks on the left front side.

Well, that is all for now. I probably won't get much time before I go to work on Sunday to work on the left sleeve. Tomorrow I am going for a "Girls Goof Off" day with my friend McKelle. She has 2 children (5 & 2) and needs an adult conversation with someone other than my husband day. She wants to shop for some fabric and then we are planning on seeing the new Bourne Ultimatum movie. So see ya later.

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