Another Shrug for the Wedding

My next knitting project after the white shrug was another shrug. Normally I would not make two shrugs in a row, but the second one was to wear with my mother-of-the-groom dress. Our son got married over Labor Day weekend in Chicago, so we went on a week long road trip. The first leg of the trip was driving from our home near Fergus Falls, MN, to Wausau, WI. The next day we continued on to Chicago after picking our daughter up near Green Bay where she was working at Full Circle Community Farm helping with the harvest. She informed us that this farm provides food for the Green Bay Packers football team. After hearing this, my husband, Wayne, was scheming how to sabotage the produce since he is a Minnesota Vikings fan. Haha not really.

I tend to be a very low maintenance person, but I made some exceptions in preparation for the wedding. I have never colored my hair, and had never gotten a manicure or pedicure before. I don’t normally wear nail polish. I have never worn very much makeup, and have used practically none during the pandemic. My toenails were in very bad shape, as I am always whacking my toe on something. I looked at fake nails at the store that are glued on, but in the end decided to do a professional pedicure for the wedding. And then I figured that my fingernails should match, so I did a manicure too. They applied some gel polish that is super long lasting, but I was still paranoid that it would chip before the wedding. Several times I had to stop myself from picking corn-on-the-cob out of my teeth or scraping gunk off the kitchen floor with a fingernail. It was a good decision, as my nails STILL look perfect almost two weeks later.

I was invited to participate in the hair and makeup session with the bridal party, including the mother of the bride. My first thoughts were that I don’t have enough hair to do anything with, and I don’t want to look like a clown with too much makeup. In the end I decided that it would be a good opportunity to spend a whole morning hanging out with this group and getting to know them better. It was a special time, and I ended up looking good and not overdone. I was very glad I said yes.

My children are very different. My son is an actuary with a condo in Chicago, and my daughter is a free spirit who has held a number of outdoor jobs and been on cool adventures in exotic places for three years since graduating from college. Their different life styles were apparent at this event. My son had some VERY expensive custom made shoes for his wedding outfit. My daughter wore a beautiful vintage silk skirt she bought at a thrift shop, with an inexpensive top and shoes borrowed from me. She is also very au natural, and she did NOT do her nails for the wedding. They both looked fabulous. I am so proud of them both for their unique accomplishments and for being who they are!

My daughter doing a reading at the wedding

I was a little nervous about travelling right now, and specifically to Chicago. Masks were required inside the hotel and in public buildings and restaurants, so of course we complied with that. I am directionally challenged. Navigating in a big downtown is stressful for me, but as long as someone else knows where we are going I am fine. The hotel was walking distance from many tourist sights including the amazing river walk. It all felt safe and fun once we were there.

Our son and his Chicago friends do not own cars. Many of the wedding guests travelling to Chicago flew in and then used the train or Uber for transportation after that. We had decided to drive for various reasons. Having the car was a hassle but it came in handy a couple of times. There was literally no parking at the hotel in the middle of downtown. We had heard it was $80 per day to park at a nearby ramp, and that if you took the car out and put it back, you had to pay again. We went back and forth with various options of what to do with the car, including parking it on the street near our son’s condo miles away, or parking it somewhere far from the hotel but cheaper. As we were arriving in Chicago, Wayne was clued in to a phone app where you could find parking and pay online. It turned out to be about $25 per day at the ramp near the hotel, and we were able to take the car out and put it back without extra charges. One time Wayne used the car to transport a 55 inch TV from the bride’s brother’s apartment to the venue where the Friday Welcome Dinner was being held, and then back again. We also used it to bring some gifts and the rest of the wedding cake to our son’s condo the day after the wedding. A party bus was provided to transport guests from the hotel and back for the Friday dinner and the Saturday wedding. We used Uber a couple of times, and the rest of the time we walked. See a photo below of me, my sister, my daughter, and some other guests in front of the party bus on Friday. Notice I am wearing the Sea and Sky Shrug I made and wrote about earlier.

Getting on the bus to the Friday Welcome Dinner

You cannot do any kind of trip without a couple of glitches. This time was no exception. The first mistake was no big deal. I have a pair of small garnet stud earrings that I wear most of the time. They go with everything and I don’t have to think about it. As I was getting dressed on the day we left home, I put those earrings on. Two days later I noticed that I had on two different earrings!! One was the garnet earring, the other was from a different pair with a slightly bigger stone and different color. Oh well, I don’t think anyone else noticed and it made a good story for later. Fortunately, I had other earrings for the Friday dinner and the wedding.

The second problem was potentially more serious. The first stop after leaving our house at the beginning of the trip was to drop the dog off at a boarding place. After getting her checked in I got back in the car and we were ready to hit the road. Except that the car was dead. WHAT!! We had jumper cables in the car, and a person who happened to be standing nearby was willing to use his truck to get our car going. We went from there into Fergus Falls to an auto service place to have the battery checked out. An employee there said the battery was good and we did not need a new one, so we went on our way. Three days later at the end of the hair and makeup session at my son’s condo, there was a short window of time to go back to the hotel, put my outfit on, and get over to the wedding venue for family photos. Wayne came to pick me up and had to wait 30 minutes with the car radio on before I came outside. When I got in the car and we were ready to leave, the car was dead again. Very bad timing. Again, someone standing around nearby was willing to use his car to get our car jump started and we headed back to the hotel. We made it through the rest of the trip without any more dead battery incidents, but we will be buying a new one sooner rather than later.

I had to buy yarn for the wedding outfit shrug as there was not anything right in my large yarn shop inventory. The Sirdar yarn I picked out has a similar fiber content to the other shrug, with Merino wool, cashmere and also a little silk.

Sirdar Cashmere Merino Silk yarn for shrug

This is a center pull ball of yarn. You are supposed to be able to find one end of the ball tucked in the middle, and it is supposed to pull out easily so the ball is not rolling all over while you are knitting. When I tried to find the end of the yarn from the middle, I ended up with a mess. Check out the next photo, which a new knitting friend called a “yarn barf”.

Yarn barf

I used a pattern called Summer Party Shrug by Ruth Roland. It is constructed with no seaming, starting with a rectangle about 15″ wide and two inches tall, with some shoulders knitted on each side a couple of inches wide and a couple of inches tall. I forgot to take a photo after this step was complete, so I made a drawing instead.

Drawing of the beginning part of the shrug pattern

At the end of that part, I knitted across one shoulder, picked up stitches down the side, knitted across the bottom of the rectangle, picked up stitches up the other side, and knitted across the other shoulder. The neck stitches were on a holder. You can see the project below, after the knitting and picking up stitches all the way around. The flat part at the bottom is going to be the back. The side parts will be the sleeves and side fronts, after many rows knitting with increases at the edges of the sleeves and decreases along the side fronts. The neck section was waiting on the holder until needed later.

Beginning of shrug

Many rows were knitted, increasing at each side of each sleeve, and decreasing along the front. Finally, voila, the project reached the stage as seen below which looks more like a shrug.

Looking like a shrug now

The following photo shows the progress with stitches picked up on the sides, and about an inch of ribbing knitted around the back, sides and neck. The ball of yarn I was using ran out, so I decided to work on the sleeves instead. Starting on one sleeve, I replaced the waste yarn that was holding the stitches with double pointed needles and picked up some stitches under the arm, according to the instructions. The sleeves will be knit in the round, so no seam will be needed. Yay.

Border around sides, neck and back in progress, and sleeve started

This pattern included a very ribbony ruffly edge around the sides and back. Since I had just completed the other shrug with a ruffle border, I decided to do some other kind of edge. After considering various options, I decided to go with this Stretchy Picot Rib Bindoff that I found online, to give it a little interest without being too similar to the other one. In the next photos I am working on the picot bind off edge on the end of one sleeve.

Ribbing on hold around the back, front and sides while knitting the sleeve
Close up of sleeve picot border

I neglected to take more photos of the knitting in progress, but I finished the other sleeve and the picot edge all the way around the front, back and sides. One reason I liked this pattern was the lack of seaming. However there were an awful lot of ends to weave in, which I do not like either. The following photo shows the shrug with knitting complete and inside out, and a mess of loose ends. The color is not accurate, it looks too washed out.

So many ends to weave in

I had liked this pattern due to the lack of seaming and having real sleeves. However in the end it did not fit as well as the other one at the sides and underarm. I think it was partly a function of the pattern, and also it was a little too wide across the back. In any case, no one was paying attention to the underarms of my shrug during the wedding, but it fulfilled it’s purpose of keeping me from getting cold that evening.

The wedding was beautiful and it was nice to see family members from my side of the family, Wayne’s side of the family, and the bride’s family all having a good time and enjoying each other’s company. Some of our son’s friends from elementary school and high school were there. I loved seeing how they have grown up into successful adults.

Following are photos of me wearing the shrug at the wedding, from the front and back, and also me with my son, wearing his fancy shoes.

Front of the shrug
The back of the shrug
My son with me at the wedding, with his custom shoes

I am still wrapping my head around the fact that my son is married, and that I have a daughter-in-law! Now summer is over, the wedding is behind us, and I look forward to more adventures ahead.

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

9 thoughts on “Another Shrug for the Wedding

  1. The wedding sounds like a wonderful event. And, of course, the shrug looks beautiful. Interesting how the two children are so different, but it happens! I admire your daughter for her convictions of living simply. I have visited Chicago many times throughout my life. At this point, I have no desire to visit again – mostly because of the congestion and traffic. You look very elegant! Here’s to great adventures ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter has inspired me to live more simply, and to transition to a more vegetarian diet. Our son and his now wife have been lucky to go on some exotic vacations (before covid). It has been fun to live vicariously through both of them. Yes, there are many adventures ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fun post this was, Meg! Loved hearing about your wedding adventures and seeing James and Britta all grown up. You looked lovely as mother of the groom — hair, nails, shrug and all 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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