Shrug of Many Colors – Finished!

Haute Couture it’s not, but I like it.

The center section, crocheted with the first yarn, reminds me of a faded garden at the end of summer. The outer section? Deep and moody; what you might find in the dark crevices of your garden.

HexesShrugFront

HexesShrugBack

I connected the hexes at the end into a tube for a sleeve. I wanted a slight taper. The end of the sleeves contain 4 hexagons (column 1). I wanted 5 hexes at the upper arm (column 3). This meant that I needed to cobble a puzzle piece to fit into column 2. This was approximately 2/3 of a hexagon. I used LauraLRF’s diagrams for half hexagons as my jumping off point. I also used them to to fill in the top and bottom of the shrug.

I finished the shrug off with a row of single crochet around the sleeves and 2 rows of sc around the body. A bit of steam and light pressing, and it’s done! Just in time for warm weather.

Unlike the other shrug that I used as a basis, this shrug has a distinct top (neck) and bottom.

What would I do differently?

It goes without saying that, if I were to do this again, I would do it all in a single color way, or at the very least, two color ways of similar hues and values.

While I like the ease and convenience of the join as you go method described in the original hexagon recipe at Attic24, I wouldn’t do it again. The hexagons look tacked down, because that’s what it is. You can see blips of tacks in adjacent hexagons.

This method worked for this particular shrug because I was working on a fit/design-as-I-go. Sometimes, this meant ripping out just one hexagon, sometimes it was 5, but not always adjacent. If I joined using any other method, it would have mean ripping out more.

But I do like the serendipity of the color placement that the join-as-you-go method affords. I didn’t have to agonize over the final placement of all the individual hexagons. I think that would have stalled me out and taken longer to finish the shrug.

It’s a trade off that needs more consideration.

I also modified the start/end of round 2. I wasn’t fond of how the first couplet looked in Round 2 (the ch2, 1 dc) pair. It just looked like 2 dc next to each other instead of a bobble like the rest of the round. I have modified it so that the first stitch looks more like a bobble.

Here’s how I did it:

  • ch 3
  • (work a bobble stitch into next stitch, ch 1) 11 times
  • work the first half of the bobble stitch, work a slip stitch into the 2nd stitch of the chain 3 and pull through all the stitches on the hook. The chain becomes the second half of the bobble.

2013 Spring Cleaning #2 Update

Grace wasn’t sure about the contrast between the 2 different yarns. Here’s a picture of 2 bitty scraps, one from each yarn.

SC2Scraps

Pretty darned close, no?

There are color overlaps between the two yarns that make them nearly indistinguishable from each other. The second yarn is mostly black based, but the color sections are similar in hue and value of the darker sections of the rainbow yarn. I think it will work. If it doesn’t? There’s always a dye bath.

2013 Spring Cleaning #2

SC2

No before picture for today’s installment. I came across a partial top down sweater while digging through my stash. The last time I remember working on it, we were living in the little Zen tea cottage* when we first moved back down to California — in 2004. I didn’t have enough yarn to make the sweater I originally intended. I wasn’t happy with the fabric. I should have gone down one more needle size, but that meant I would need even more yarn than what I had available. So it sat. For 9 years.

Last weekend, I pulled it out of the UFO box and ripped the sweater. I had thought that I could make another vest. That was a surprisingly wearable and comfortable vest. I wanted more.

But last night, I finished the last hexagon on my crochet hexagon shawl/blanket thing. Except it wasn’t large enough.

Hexes1

The current size is 15″ deep by 40″ wide. The width is workable — elbow to elbow on me. But 15″ doesn’t cover enough of my back to keep it warm, just the shoulders.

A light bulb turned on. Perhaps I can use the yarn from the former top down raglan to frame the hexagons to make it larger all the way around. I think I even have enough to turn it into a shrug.

Hexes2

Here is the hexagon piece on top of the shrug. The shrug is folded over so the hex piece is about 1/2 of a shrug. I weighed everything. The hex piece weighs just under 8 oz. The former sweater weighs around 9 oz. I definitely have enough to turn this hex piece into a shrug.

The shrug will be colorful. It will be wild. It will most definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it should definitely keep my back warm while I sit and drink a cup of tea.

Shrug Revisited

Now that the weather has turned cold, I find myself reaching for warm and snuggly things to wrap around me.  The item I reach for the most is my shrug. I made this shrug nearly 3 years ago, and it still gets worn on a regular basis.  I like it because it is easy to wear over my jammies.  It gets a lot of comments when it does get out of the house.

There has been several requests in the past for the pattern, but there really wasn’t one. As I mentioned in my original post, I made the pattern up as I went along, using my favorite cotton Benetton sweater/shrug as my guide.

Shrug - frontShrug - back

Instead of providing the pattern, I provided the generic pattern recipe that can be adapted to any size yarn, any size person.  With the recipe, at least one person from the guild has been able to reproduce the shrug for herself and as gifts.

While at SOAR, I was asked again for the pattern.  Again, I gave the generic recipe, but Sarah & Beth were most insistent. I said that I’d write it up when I had the time. I have a bit of down time right now and need some blog fodder, so I present you the shrug pattern in 2 parts: generic recipe with design considerations; and, as Elizabeth Zimmermann would say, the pithy directions for this particular shrug.

Generic Recipe

I had this lightweight cotton Benetton sweater shrug. I loved it. I wore all the time.  It was slouchy and had bat wing 3/4 sleeves.  I wore it over everything whenever I needed just a little bit more. It ended at the waist. The bat wing sleeves allowed me to wear it with baggy t-shirts or fitted shirts.  It was a bit blousy and buttoned up in the front, but I rarely wore it buttoned up.  In fact, I lost a button several years ago and didn’t notice it until months later.

With this in mind, I made two measurements:

  1. depth: neck to waist
  2. length: wingspan for 3/4 sleeves

I didn’t want a fully rectangular sleeve, so I decide to make a slight taper in the sleeves, beginning from the cuff. The finished circumference of the sleeve is the depth of the sweater, minus the ribbing.

The shrug is knit from cuff to cuff.  Sort of.  I wanted the 2 cuffs to be identical. I didn’t want a cast on edge on one cuff and a cast off edge on the other.  So, I knit 2 separate and (nearly) identical pieces and kitchener stitch the 2 pieces together.  You can knit it either as a single piece or as I did, 2 pieces.

Recipe:

  1. cast on stitches for the cuff; place marker, join and work in the round
  2. work in ribbing for 1″
  3. change to st st
  4. increase one st on either side of the marker every 1″ until desired circumference
  5. work even until desired sleeve length
  6. remove marker and work flat until 1/2 the length of the shrug
  7. repeat steps #1-6 for the other half
  8. kitchener the 2 pieces together
  9. pick up and knit around the center where you knitted in the flat; pick up in multiples for the ribbing you choose (I used 3×3 ribs, so I picked up in multiples of 6.)
  10. knit in ribbing for 3″, or more
  11. cast off

The Pithy Directions

Finished Measurements:

  1. depth: 24″
  2. length: 45″

Yarn: handspun 2 ply blue faced leicester from Dicentra Designs; 12 wpi. The shrug weighs 335 g / 12 oz.
Gauge: 5 sts/in, 8 rows/in
Needle: 16″ and 45″ circular needles in whatever size that gives you gauge
Schematic:
shrug-schematics

Directions:

  1. cast on 75 sts, place marker and join
  2. knit 3×2 ribbing for 1″
  3. knit st st for 1″
  4. k, inc 1, k to last st, inc 1, k
  5. repeat steps 3-4 5 times (85 sts)
  6. continue until work measures 8″
  7. remove marker and work flat in st st until piece measures about 22″ (I worked until I finished a skein around the middle of the piece)
  8. repeat steps 1-7 for the second piece, but until both pieces together measures 45″ (e.g. 20″ and 25″)
  9. kitchener the 2 pieces together
  10. pick up and knit 2 sts for every 3 rows around the center opening. Pick up extra stitches around the corners where you changed to working flat to eliminate any holes.  I didn’t predetermine the stitches I needed.  Instead, I counted the stitches that I had and increased to the right number of stitches I needed for my ribbing.  For example, if I picked up 178 sts, but needed 180 to make my multiple for the ribbing, I would increase 2 sts in the next round.
  11. work in 3×3 ribbing for 3″
  12. cast off
  13. weave in ends

That’s it.

Variations:

  • As I said, you can work from cuff to cuff as a single piece. Just take notes of the distance from the last increase to where you start working in the flat, and reverse the decrease to the cuff.
  • Deeper ribbing around the center.
  • Short row the center ribbing around one side for a shawl collar. Although this would create a definite neck edge.
  • Full length sleeves.
  • Fitted sleeves.
  • I’ve been toying with working a center back rectangular panel and pick up from the edges and knit toward the cuff. This allows for design features like cables or lace inserts.

The possibilities are endless. Excuse me while I dig in my stash for more yarn.