Before I went to work yesterday I went onto Ravelry (the Internet knitting community) and emailed a couple of people who had already made the Aran shrug. When I got home from work I had replies from around the world. Isn't the Internet brilliant?
The people who had most liked the shrug were those who didn't bother much with tension (gauge). The shrug had turned out too small or the neck hadn't worked for a couple of people, which suggests to me that there are problems in the pattern. Experienced knitters were able to jump over the hurdles, others smacked into the barriers caused by a less than perfect pattern.
Me? With my history of failure, shouldn't I quit now? But I like this shrug!! Decided to carry on, bearing in mind all the kind words and shared experiences sent by the other knitters, I'm going to try to apply common sense to the garment and see if I can make it work.
Above is the swatch that I'm keeping. (I've used a ball and half just swatching!). It's knit on 5.5 mm needles and the yarn is Pingoun Aran - I have 11 balls (Or I did have!) and another ball that I started to knit some fair isle mittens with and got bored. I can rescue that if I need to. I also have some green mohair which I can use as a contrasting trim if I run out of yarn.
The row gauge is slightly too small, and my favourite jacket measures one inch more than the given size for the smaller version, so I'm going to knit the larger size. A jolly Californian knitter suggested changing needle size for the collar to get the larger gauge. A light bulb went off in my head. Do I not own a DVD with Lucy Neatby demonstrating how to make a rib roll-neck sit beautifully by changing needle size as you work? If you knit an inch, then change to a larger needle, knit another inch and change up again, the rib expands slightly and wants to lie flat. It's a nice theory, isn't it?
Well, I'm committed now. Here we go...