Much has happened in knitting land since my last post. I finally finished Viajante! I'm not sure if my decision to alternate balls of yarn in the middle section was totally worth it, but I can't tell any difference from the beginning to the end so I think at the very least it was not not worth it.
After casting off, the edge was ruffled like crazy so it needed some serious blocking. It took me about an hour to pin the whole thing out properly. But really, after the 100+ hours that it took to knit it (I'm just guessing, I actually have no idea but it was definitely a lot of hours), what's another hour?
I think it was worth every second. It grew like crazy after blocking and the drape and softness of this thing is ridiculous. I've already worn it a lot. It's a perfect wrap for this time of year when it's anyone's guess what the weather is going to be like.
Better pictures might be coming later, if I can muster up a proper photo shoot. This is the best I could do on my own.
With that finished, I got a serious case of needing to start something new, but for a couple of weeks I just kept working on the projects I already had on the go. It was partly a case of wanting to continue my stash down philosophy, partly that I was enjoying the other projects that I have going, and partly that I couldn't figure out what else to knit (so many projects, so little time).
I dug out all of the project bags that had WIPs in them, and found the Dream Stripes shawl that I started early last year and wasn't sure if I should finish or frog. I opted for finish, and I've knit it almost to the point now where I think I can start the lace border section.
Knitting that shawl as well as working on the Starfish Stole was enough for awhile, but several weeks ago I got the itch to start something new. I'm trying really hard lately to knit things that are practical and fill gaps in my wardrobe as opposed to casting on every pretty shawl I see, since I already have several shawls and scarves that I never wear.
I'd been wanting to knit a shrug for a long time, and then I realized that since my oldest friend is getting married next week, I could knit a shrug to wear to the wedding. It's a rooftop wedding, so a shrug is the perfect foil to the possible chilly air, and also not cover up the whole dress.
I picked the Retro Redux shrug because it was cute and didn't look too fussy, and also because I had good yarn for it in my stash already (Berroco Vintage - my favourite all purpose worsted weight yarn). It's knit flat from the cuff of one sleeve to the cuff of the other. After sewing up the sleeve seams, the ribbing around the collar and back is knit by picking up stitches all around the edge.
Usually when picking up stitches for a ribbed edging, I use the BFI method. I learned about the BFI method from my high school math teacher. He used it in relation to solving equations, but I regularly apply it to my knitting. BFI = brute force and ignorance. So essentially it's the guess and check method, which means that I don't plan it out at all. I just roughly guess how many stitches for each edge stitch I should be picking up, and hope like hell that it works out, and usually it does. I tried that this time too since I've had such success in the past, and it didn't work out. So I ripped it all out and tried again. It still didn't work. I tried several more times, and I never even came close to the number of stitches I was supposed to have. No matter what I tried, the stitches refused to come out properly.
I finally gave in and lay the stupid thing on the floor. I took my stitch markers and marked the centre of the bottom edge, then marked the centre points of each of those sections as well, and the centres of those, so the bottom edge was divided into eight roughly equal sections. I say roughly equal, because I was just eyeballing it. There's only so far I'm willing to go with planning things out. Then my calculator told me that I needed 13 stitches in six of the sections and 12 stitches in two of them. I set to it, telling myself that if it didn't work out this time, the whole thing was going to be frogged.
Luckily, that didn't happen. It worked out perfectly and I was able to complete the shrug without further incident.
I really love how it turned out. I think it looks cute with the dress, and I can think of several other outfits that it will look great with.
I just might have to make more of them in more colours. Next time I'll totally just use the BFI method because now I know how many stitches I need to be picking up per edge stitch. Piece o' cake. What could possibly go wrong?