Silver Threads

a knitting blog with occasional side trips

When simplicity fails


Last year, I made a Simple Crochet Shrug. “Simple” is the key point here: this project is a large rectangle with armholes. Mine gets used a lot at work in winter, so I thought I’d make another one for home. It would give me the chance to use a different colorway, plus I’d be able to experiment with tightening up the gauge. The loose gauge is deliberate on the part of the designer: “Large hook is used to create an open fabric that will easily stretch to fit a range of sizes.” Hey, I get it. The pattern is marketed as an easy project, and making it one-size-fits-many is a surefire way to simplify matters. It’s just that the fabric is so stretchy that I’m constantly readjusting the shrug because it sags.  But since I’m probably not the largest or tallest person this pattern is intended to fit, I figured I could go down one hook size, tighten up the fabric and get a smaller, but better-fitting shrug.

Why, yes, it looks like it fits. Bear in mind I'm standing still.

Why, yes, it looks like it fits. Bear in mind I’m standing still.

Or not, as it turned out. I have finished my second simple shrug, and I am here to tell you there is an essential design flaw here. When I describe my body shape, I call it a rectangle. Looking at my body straight on, my shoulders are about the same width as my hips, nothing in between those two points is wider, and I haven’t got the markedly narrower waist that would give me an hourglass figure. But that’s just an approximation for convenience’s sake. The human body isn’t naturally rectangular, any more than it’s a triangle or an hourglass or a diamond or whatever. The problem is, this shrug is naturally rectangular, almost two-dimensionally so. It wants to lie flat. However, my body requires it to wrap around my chest, flow over my shoulders and back, flip back over my neck, none of which are perfectly flat. Because of that “open fabric that will stretch to fit a range of sizes,” I think the first shrug fit better, sagginess and all, because it could also stretch to go around a range of body contours as well. This one, being firmer, puts up more of a fight when I try to wear it. It will work fine for just sitting at my computer, typing, but it may be more of an annoyance if I wear it while doing anything active. (A sudden return to warmer weather has made it unnecessary for the moment.)

From the back. At least in this tighter gauge, it's no longer wrapping itself around my derriere.

From the back. At least in this tighter gauge, it’s no longer wrapping itself around my derriere.

If it hadn’t been for the whole fitting around my body (or not) problem, the tighter gauge would’ve been an improvement. I think this tighter fabric is nicer to work with. The yarn is Lion Brand Homespun, same as for the last shrug, and the color is Mixed Berries. I like how it came out, with the little bursts of gold brightening it up.

One thing that had annoyed me when I made my first shrug was that the yarn felt sticky against the plastic hook I was using. When I started this version, I thought this problem would only get worse, what with the smaller hook and tighter stitches. Instead, the yarn slid along the hook just fine. I don’t know any specifics about my first hook, but the hook I used for this shrug was one of the Susan Bates’ Crystalites, made out of acrylic. Homespun is 98% acrylic. Do acrylic yarn and acrylic hooks recognize each other as family or something?

2 thoughts on “When simplicity fails

  1. Looks great … I’m a big fan of vertical stripes plus you know I love the colors 🙂


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