My first project of 2011 is complete – hurrah! It has actually been 99% finished for a couple of weeks now but I was putting off the final sewing up and weaving in of ends. It is such a dull job that I have to wait until total ennui has set in and I am finally driven to it. Even now, however, as I savour the smugness that always sets in when I actually complete some sewing, I am still a little ambivalent about the finished project.
This is the first thing I have ever managed to hook which was even vaguely wearable, which is a huge plus in its favour. On the negative side, I used some fairly cheap acrylic as my previous attempts at crocheting clothes for anyone older than 3 months have been doomed to failure so it doesn’t have the best drape to it.
The pattern is the Easy Shrug from Mary Jane Hall’s Positively Crochet which was one of my Christmas presents. I had added the book to my Wish List after seeing someone else’s version of the shrug on Ravelry. I hadn’t really thought about the title of the book. I certainly didn’t realise that every pattern in the book also includes a mawkish, badly punctuated platitude to jolly you along as you hook. They are all more or less vomit inducing but some are also unintentionally hilarious. My personal favourite is from page 15:
“Some of my favourite things in life are the smell of a scented candle and the aroma of a good cup of coffee. Even better though, is a pleasant chat with a friend. What about your family? Is your speech as a pleasant, lingering aroma to them, or do your words have a bitter after-taste? You can always add some sugar for sweetness. A little sugar never hurt anyone!”
See? I feel like I need a brisk rubdown with a Brillo Pad after reading that. This is on a page for a wool-covered bracelet.
Anyway, dragging my appalled eye from the drivel at the bottom of the pattern, I started the shrug just after Christmas. It is, as its name suggests, very easy. You make a T-shaped piece in back-loop only double crochet and seam the ends of the top-stroke of the T to the sides of down-stroke to create an almost circular shrug. (This is quite poorly explained in the book, as it is here. My ears were bleeding before I finally got my head round what she meant.) You use quite large hook, although I had to go 0.5mm larger than recommended to get the gauge, and chunky wool and so the finished product is quite nice and stretchy.
The pay-off for the ease of construction is in the arms. Once you have sewn the side seams, you are left with rather large, gapey holes for your arms. If you suffer from excessive bingo-wings, this could be a winner for you but my arms are quite spindly and pathetic. The pattern suggests you can seam them a little more to adjust the size, which I did, but they are never going to be elegant.
I was less than impressed when I discovered towards the end of the project that the book has a considerable errata on the author’s website. She suggests you might want to make the whole thing larger by about 2″. Thankfully mine has enough give in it to mean that I didn’t need to frog all my work. I think I would have lost my reason if I had to start again as 48″ of double crochet takes quite a time to complete even with a largish hook.
All in all, it’s not a terrible shrug and I will probably wear it at home. I am not sure it will get much of an airing in public. There is another pattern in the book which is for a sleeved shrug which might solve the problems with the armholes. I plan to have a crack at it in a couple of months and will report back if I do.