August 29, 2014

Open Air Shrug

So, now that I got a few toys out of my system, it is time to try and tackle another piece of clothing.
I have been trying out clothes that are worked on one or two pieces, so that I don't have to try to deal with advanced pattern making or sleeves or anything like that. When I saw this pattern by Lion Brand for an Open Air Shrug, and saw that it was one piece that was seamed up, and considered Easy, I thought I would give it a go.
Note: You might need a Lion Brand free account to see/download this pattern. 

I'm using the other set of yarn I got at Hill Country Weavers... the Berroco Weekend DK. The color for this yarn is 2982 or "Coast". It is 75% Acrylic 25% Peruvian Cotton, and can also be machine washed but air dried, which is good, since I see myself wearing this around the house and over summer dresses a lot, and I wanted to be able to clean it.

This yarn was very reasonable at the 6.50 a skein, and of much better quality and feel, in my opinion, than say a Red Heart or Vanna's Choice, and for something that I am going to wear and have on my skin, I want it to feel good. They had a sweater made up from it that really sold me on how it would look and wear. Doing the math based on what the pattern called for, I needed 5 skeins of the Berroco. That makes the yarn cost for this sweater about $35 with tax. That seemed about right for what I might pay in a store for something like this, so that was comforting.

The pattern calls to use two different hooks; an F hook for the sleeves and a J hook for the body. After I made my gauge swatch in the suggested F hook, I found my swatch was too small, so I used a G (4.25mm) hook for the sleeves. (G is one size up from F as you might guess...)
The pattern is worked from one sleeve, across the body, and to the other sleeve. Then the sleeves are seamed. Working on the first sleeve was very simple. The pattern has 4 repeating rows and the only tricky part is making sure that you count the turning chains at the beginning as a stitch and making sure you have the same number of stitches at the end of each row. I had to count and rip out several rows because I wasn't paying attention.

As for the body, I a few issues as well to work out. In Row 3 you have two somewhat unfamiliar stitches, a 3DC cluster and a "dtr". I was lucky I knew the 3DC cluster from previous work, which is basically 3dc in the same stitch but you only do half of each dc then finish them all together. As for the "dtr" it is a double treble crochet, which I didn't even know was a thing that existed. Thank goodness they have a link and as far as I can tell its is more like a quadruple crochet, in that you wrap once more than a triple and work it off like you would.
Left is the "dtr" On the right is my fudged dc/tc work around stitch.
Those dtr stitches came back to give me trouble then in Row 4. You have to work a dc into the top of them. The ones I made certainly did not have the nice neat top like a single or double crochet does, so I had no idea how to work into them... instead I did a kind of wonky double crochet that went around both sides of it. I guess it is more of a treble since I pulled a loop up around each side of the dtr, then did a dc like normal. (see pic above)

Thank goodness it is easy to count the rows, because I only used the large open holes to see if I was getting close to done. It says repeat 5 times which means you should have 6 of the set of two open rows when done with the body width. Then it was time to switch back to the smaller hook and do the second sleeve like the first.
Full set of the rows 2-5 that repeat across the body.
I finished the full body piece in I would say about 25 hours. When it was seamed up the sleeves, I tried it on and realized two things. First, it really is one size, and I can't see how adding the finish around the opening is going to make it bigger for larger sizes. Second, the model in the picture must be very petite because it is not remotely that large or loose on me or my mom. To make the opening larger and a little less awkward on the shoulders I opened the sleeve seam back up about an inch so that it was wider of an opening. Also I was sure when sewing it up to the all the joined yarn tails on the inside of the piece.

To do the edging it told you to do 145 sc around evenly for the 1x size. Of course it did not say how. So I just started at one end of the opening at a sleeve and did 2 sc in each dc row height and 3 sc in each chain space opening. All they way across the front I ended up with 89 stitches. Doing the same across the back gave me a total of 178 sc around. I decided that was ok since my opening was larger than theirs and I wanted it to be loose fitting. I also did front loops not back loops so that the ribbing would be a detail on the outside of the edging, not the inside.
Sleeve, body opening edging, and back details.
I do really love this yarn after working with it for so long. It is the perfect weight and did not start unravelling at all during the working. The finished product folds down and will fit in a drawer unlike that last tunic sweater I did, and it has a great hang to it. I can't help but feel like I made a mistake somewhere though since I have almost two full skeins of yarn left, and I know I did my math right.
Difficulty: Easy for the stitches, maybe a plus since it has some different methods.
Time to complete: 30 hours