A blog post from me after almost 6 months! Hope you’ve picked yourself up from the floor and haven’t hurt anything seriously. Things just got away from me, I’m afraid, and I just settled for recording my crochet/knitting progress on Ravelry, not that there was much to record, in any case. A combination of a growing baby and trying to do as many work assignments as possible (first, to replace my poor old iBook, and next to try and make enough for a trip to Malta next summer) meant I had little enthusiasm left for updating my blog.

What you see here is one of the few crochet projects I did complete, though I took a bit longer than I should have. It’s a test project for the designer, with yarn I bought in a destash from a friend.

The stitch pattern is fairly easy and you could memorise it in two repeats. What makes the (Rav link) Ashley Sweater (I wouldn’t call it a sweater, but then I’m not American – it’s a top) interesting is the neck detail of the folded back flap in a contrast colour.
Ashley top

Points of interest:
1. If I were to do it over, I’d choose to make it in the round and then split for the yoke, to save on the seaming of the sides. Even with the pattern repeat clearly marking the way, I wasn’t sure the seams wouldn’t pucker when I’d finished. Thankfully it didn’t but I don’t think that’s a reflection on my seaming skills, only a mad fluke.

2. Despite what the design says, I don’t think there is a “right side” and a “wrong side” to this pattern. Both look equally presentable, so doing it in the round wouldn’t make a difference to the appearance.

3. Trying to get the gauge specified in the pattern almost killed me, and where the original recommends a 4 mm hook, I used a 2.5 mm Clover. Only to have the actual garment gauge shrink compared to the swatch (doesn’t it always?). So I used the stitch counts for the 38″ finished bust size to suit my width (34″), and added one extra pattern repeat on the front before starting the sleeves, one extra repeat in the sleeves, one in the neck region and one more on the back after ending the sleeve section.

Even with all that, it shouldn’t have taken me so long, except I was demoralised by the gauge problem and couldn’t bear to take it up to finish. I have very little staying power or determination. In anything. Outside of staying up far too long to finish reading a pulpy novel.

4. The yarn (Rowan Linen Drape, now discontinued), came on those huge cardboard cones which lull you into thinking you have a mountain of yarn, when it’s mostly air. Good for my stashbusting, since using 9.5 skeins meant there’s a nice large hole in the stash. No knots in all those skeins. A trifle splitty, but not annoyingly so. A subtle shade, too. The only problem is the top weighs almost half a kilo. Perhaps wool would be lighter for the yardage, but then a holey woollen top would be impractical for all sorts of reasons. Acrylic might be a better bet (Indian acrylic, though, not the stiff and rough and thick foreign kind).

As always with crochet, I find it to give me a dense heavy fabric (though to be fair even my Crest of the Wave knit top is heavy – I never blogged that one!). So (a) I should rethink my instinct to use cotton or related heavy yarns (b) go down to no more than sportweight for crochet projects. Acrylic fingering weight, here I come!

I’d have loved to see how this yarn would work in a knit project, though.

5. I smartly bought a grey slip to wear under this, since I don’t want to be accused of obscenity again or prevented from wearing it in public (which both happened to me thanks to the husband and his mother for the abovementioned Crest of the Wave despite teaming it with a slip).

Which brings me to the other grievance, that having to wear so many layers makes this a difficult top to wear in the Cochin weather, where the temptation is to take as much off as possible, for as long through the year as possible. The same for the other top, making the whole rationale of choosing cotton (or linen-blend in this case) irrelevant.

So perhaps my next crochet wearable for me or Chandra will be acrylic. We shall see.