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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.



Contributing Artists

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Stashbuster Ruana

Well I have added, yet another, project to those I am actively working on. This one will probably take precedence over the others, that is to say there is a functional urgency with this particular one that the other projects don't share....at least on one level. This project is a Ruana that I intend to use to keep warm while worshiping. Most Orthodox Christians spend many hours attending various liturgies, vespers, vigils and other celebrations. During some festal seasons it is not unusual to participate in services every day of the week, some more than one a day, and being cold natured as I have mentioned in previous posts I rarely find it warm enough, especially during the summer when air conditioning is constantly in use, causing great discomfort from the Fibromyalgia that can be very distracting when all I want to do is meditate, pray and worship. A ruana will be something I can easily wrap up in or pull off on that rare occasion that I find it warm enough to do so, and drape more securely than a shawl.

The pattern I chose for this particular Ruana, found in Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, has more than one unique merit. The more obvious of those, for me, was that it is what can be categorized as a "stashbuster". That is to say that this project utilizes all those remaining, single, or less than full skeins of yarn from previous projects that won't contain enough yardage for a project of their own. Also many different colours, textures, gauges can not only be used, but is recommended for this project. I also like the way the back neck is designed. It will offer a better fit and warmth to the neck. Knitted length wise and including a formula to help work out a more customized fit is another great feature for me since I constantly am having to modify patterns to fit my tall, slim frame.

I want to use mostly lace weight yarns to keep it light weight as this is another consideration not only because heavy clothing aggravates fibromyalgia symptoms but also heavy weight outer clothing is not needed here in the south with milder winter temperatures. By starting with lace weight yarn I was thrown off when calculating my cast-on stitches. I was warned before hand to "knit the swatch" by those on
Ravelry who had already completed this same pattern and offered details on the project, another wonderful use for this forum. While I rarely knit swatches for projects that don't need exact fitting, I know...bad knitting practice..., I actually did start one as suggested, unfortunately by only using lace weight yarn on the swatch my measurement was not accurate. I knew that by using thicker yarn occasionally it would change the gauge a bit, but I had no idea how much. While casting on I decided to decrease from my initial calculated 550 sts to 320, and I am glad I did since after knitting several rows it became obvious that the thicker gauge yarns did indeed change things. My advice is to be sure to include all gauge yarns in your swatch for this project.

I am already learning to appreciate the joys of knitting this Ruana. While it is going to be labour intensive, time wise, especially when fitting full length for someone 5'10", it is a project that can be worked on when full attention can't be given as it is knitted garter stitch, but the biggest joy for me is to see the various yarns working in concert to produce a design that is as individual as the person knitting it.



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