Thursday, February 26, 2009

The rule of continuous decline

Some things in life start badly and just never improve. I have a grey silk shirt I love, but every time I wear it I manage to spill, splash or smear food on it. When I applied for a new passport at the end of last year, something went wrong at every step. My workplace has a performance pay system that (in my view) is based on flawed principles, so that every application of it leads to distress.

The Jane Austen shrug has been my knitting example of this continuous decline rule (it's the opposite of the continuous improvement much beloved of management advisers). I first knitted the shrug to accompany the Jane Austen dress as a Christmas present for the dotee. Both are from Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. The dress was a great success. The shrug was very much too small. My fault - I'd used a thinner yarn than the one recommended, but thought hopefully that it would fit as the dotee is small for her age. It didn't.

I had enough yarn, so I knitted it again. Now I think of it, probably the first error was that I miscalculated the amount of yarn I needed for the shrug and have enough to make the shrug at least four times over. This second time, the shrug's significantly too large. I can't now remember why I decided to make the 6 year size (when the dotee is a small not-quite-two year old). Clearly, a stupid decision.

Shrug 2

I'm sure this photo is an indication of how possible it is to make garments look good in photographs - though you can see the shrug gaping around the back neckline.

The main problem is that it gives a new meaning to the term shrug - in this case, the smallest shrug of the dotee's shoulders has the garment hanging from her wrists. I think I hadn't quite grasped that shrugs need to be snug to keep them in place. Maybe they should be called snugs to give clues to stupid knitters like me.

Shrug 3

I have no intention of knitting the shrug yet again. I've so far omitted from my litany of disasters with this project all the problems with wrong-sized needles; with slippery metal needles and slippery cotton yarn; with errors in counting for the cabled panels; with cables cabling in the wrong direction and so on and so on. For a tiny project it had a multitude of problems. Anyway, the dotee is growing and the accompanying dress won't fit her much longer. This is it. So, I'm going to try a kind of i-cord loop attached to buttons on each side to prevent the shrug descending from her shoulders. I'll keep you posted.


Rose Red said...

You are right, they should definitely be called a snug! I think a loopy/buttony type of closure would look really sweet, and serve the intended purpose!

Lynne said...

In old baby patterns a shrug is called "hug-me-tight"!

I love the colour and she will grow into it!