PADD Rears its Head

Okay, so I got distacted.  Who wouldn’t?  The new issue of Interweave Crochet arrived, coinciding with a trip to the Walnut Creek Joann’s, which has the best selection of yarn out of all the Bay Area Joann’s stores.  I couldn’t resist.

Okay, so I could have just gone home after a disappointing yarn search at Joann’s.  (It was really close though–if they’d have had two more skeins of lavender Spa, we’d have been in business.)  I didn’t have to look up local yarn shops on my GPS.  I didn’t have to stop at The Yarn Boutique in Lafayette.  And once there, I could have passed up the perfect yarn that practically jumped off the shelves at me.  Oh, and then I could have come home and stuck with the Spanish Moss coat that I’m in the middle of.

But no, I had to start the Aragon Tunic immediately.  It is really so darling–it was calling my name.

First of all, it really is a great summer garment for the Bay Area, where overnight fog is a common occurance.  Here, it’s all about layering.  Plus, I’ll be able to wear it well into the fall and winter just by changing the shirt I wear under it.  Again, the weather here is key–switch a tank for a turtleneck as the undershirt, and you’re good to go for our mild winters.  I also love the design.  It’s loose, but the belt cinches in above the waist to give some definition, avoiding the sack look.

Now, for my yarn choice.  Like I said, this stuff jumped off the shelf at me.  Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but it spoke to me.  It’s important to me to use natural fibers as often as I can.  It’s not always cost effective, and for some projects I’m willing to bend the rules, but I really want a warm weather garment to be able to breathe.   As a cotton/silk blend, this yarn is perfect; it will breathe, has a nice sheen to it, is super soft, and will have incredible drape, which I think will really step this tunic design up to a whole other level.  Now, the tag on the yarn didn’t say what weight it was, and I’m still not a very good judge of that.  It turns out that it is fingering weight, which is entirely off, as the pattern calls for DK.  I think even that will turn out alright, though, as I really did want my own tunic to be a bit lighter and a looser weave than the tunic pictured in the magazine.

The other issue that comes up with my yarn choice, especially because of the weight, is gauge.  Funny thing is, when I did my gauge swatch, it was pretty close to the correct size, even though I had gone down a hook size.  (On a side note, I almost always start by going down a hook size.  I must crochet very loosely compared to most other people, because I almost always have to go down at least one hook size to get the correct gauge.)  My gauge swatch was the right height, but was off in width by a quarter of an inch.  I compensated by going up one size; it will still end up larger than if I did the correct size in the correct guage, but I think it will be better to go a little larger rather than a little smaller with this tunic, since it is meant to be worn with quite a bit of ease.

At this point, I’m about a quarter of the way through with the back piece.  I’m loving the stitch pattern.  It’s a little bit intricate, so I do have to pay attention, but after a few repeats, I only have to check the pattern occasionally to remind myself of how a row begins or ends.  I love that it is sort of a fresh take on the traditional shell pattern, and that it makes the finished fabric look nice and lacey.

So far, this is shaping up to be one of my favorite crocheted garments.

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