Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pattern: Quick and Cute Shrug


Anyway, a while ago I made a nice shrug on my Bond USM, and like an idiot I gave it a pattern page on Ravelry . . . without actually writing up a pattern. My apologies for that, to the one person who seemed to be interested! Without further delay, here is the pattern. Right now it only comes in plus sizes - in other words, me-sized - but I'll at least work out a recipe to resize it.

Quick and Cute Shrug

This is knit mostly like the bond shrug, but it incorporates shaping so that it is a better fit! I noticed a lot of pictures of the finished object on Ravelry looked a little baggy around the armpits, so this version starts out narrow at the elbow, widens to the widest part of the arm, and then shrinks again so that the back is a good fit (and does the reverse for the other arm). It is knit sideways, so it starts at the end of one sleeve, knits along the arm and across the back, then down the other sleeve.

The Simply Soft makes a silky and not too elastic shrug. The one I'm wearing in the picture has perhaps one inch of negative ease, so it clings a little, but the ribbing remains stretched out and flexible. If you want something more elastic and clingy, you might try a wool yarn of similar gauge. Just check your tension first.

Now resized for S, M, L, or XL! I wrote it for me, which means size XL, so the measurements for S,M,L can be found in parentheses before the measurement for XL.
Arm just above the elbow, (7", 8", 10") 12" around. Arm at largest point before armpit: (11", 12", 14") 16" around. Cross-back measurement: (14",16", 17") 18". Height of back panel, collar and ribbing included: about 20". All sizes have sleeve length of 12".

Machine knitting techniques you should know before trying this:
Simple decreases and increases
Making ribbing
Picking up stitches along the side of a piece
Binding off
On-machine seaming (optional)

Estimated Yardage: (450, 475, 500) 530 yards
Skeins of yarn needed: 2, no matter what size. While these yardages are estimated based on the yardage of a sample knit in size XL, they still range between 1 and 2 skeins of Simply Soft. I also doubted that yardage, to be honest; but I weighed the finished XL that I made and found it weighed 286 grams, which is equivalent to 1.68 skeins, and I KNOW that it's knitted to the specifications below.

Materials needed: 2 skeins of Caron Simply Soft, waste yarn, yarn needle, USM Row counter or a piece of paper to tally rows on

Tension: 18 stitches and 24 rows = 4", UNSTRETCHED, using keyplate # 2.5

CO (32, 36, 44,) 56 stitches using waste yarn.
Knit 4 rows using waste yarn.
Change to main color.
Reset counter to 1. Knit 54 rows, increasing one stitch on both sides every 6 rows.
Reset counter to 1. Knit 18 rows, decreasing one stitch on both sides every ( 0,0,2) 1 row. (Note: this means for size small and medium, do not decrease. For large, decrease every second row. For xl, decrease every row.)
Reset counter to 1. Knit (84, 92, 96) 108 rows.
Reset counter to 1. Knit 18 rows, increasing one stitch on both sides every ( 0,0,2) 1 row.
Reset counter to 1. Knit 54 rows, decreasing one stitch on both sides every 6 rows.
Change to waste yarn - knit 4 more rows.
Remove work from machine, do not bind off.

Your choice here: add ribbing using the machine to either cuff flat, so it will have to be seamed, or pick it up later and hand knit it with DPNs or a circular needle.
I did it by hand because I was so eager to seam it up I forgot to do the ribbing first! Upon reflection I like it better that way because there is no visible seam in the ribbing. If you do it by hand, then wait until you have finished the rest of the garment. Then, pick up all (32, 36, 44,) 56 stitches using DPNs or a circular needle. Knit 8 rounds of k2p2 ribbing, then bind off - not too tight, but not too loose.
If you want to use the machine:
Rehang the beginning edge by putting needles through the first loops of the main color - one needle per original stitch, 54 total. Place the small weighted hem on the same way you normally would, using ravel cord or elastic, after you have rehung the beginning edge.
Knit 8 rows; convert to k2p2 ribbing. Bind off in whatever manner you prefer, but make sure it's not too tight.
Remove elastic or ravel cord to remove hem; pull out waste yarn.
Repeat for the other arm.

Time to seam up the sleeves of your work! You can do this by hand or on the machine. Fold the piece in half lengthwise and seam the first 10" from the sleeve beginning towards the back, on either side. If you are unsure of fit, you can use safety pins or bobby pins to pin this hem and try it on.
To seam by hand: use your yarn needle and sew the seam together.
To seam by machine: fold the shrug with right sides together and wrong side (purl side) showing. Use your latch tool to put the needles through both layers. Knit a single row through both of them - use keyplate 3 or 4, and you will have to have one hand on the carriage and the other hand gently putting tension below (since no weight will be attached at this point). Then bind off.
Make sure you seam up both sleeves.

Now it is time to add the bottom ribbing. Hang one edge of the shrug (it doesn't matter which as it is symmetrical at this point) from one sleeve seam to the other, by inserting needles through the ribbing; hang it so the purl side faces you. You should pick up about (18", 20", 21") 22" worth of stitches, or (80, 88, 92) 96 stitches, total. The easiest way to hang a long piece like this is to start with the two very edge stitches - hang the edges of the section you want to pick up on the edge needles. Then pick out the middle and hang that stitch. Now do the same thing again - for each long area, hang a stitch in the middle. Keep subdividing your work like this and you will get a nice even hang.

Knit 24 rows, and convert to k2p2 ribbing - on the side facing you, you should start and end with purl ribs. Bind off these stitches at a medium tightness - the edge needs to be able to stretch a bit.

Now, hang the other edge, the same way you hung the first one. This edge will be the top; the collar starts out the same length as the back ribbing, but gradually grows to twice its length, so you can fold it over nicely. If you don't want a folding collar then you can do it the same way you did the bottom edge.

Get two yarn needles with a nice long piece of waste yarn on each, ready to hold stitches as you transfer them off the needles (or use long circular needles as stitch holders).
Start by knitting 24 rows. Take the two outermost stitches on either side, and transfer them to waste yarn, taking them off the needles. Convert the next two stitches on either side into a k2 rib, using your latch tool, and transfer them to waste yarn too.
Reset the counter to 1. Repeat the following 4 rows six times for a total of 24 more rows:
1. Knit a row. Transfer one stitch on each side to the waste yarn.
2. Knit a row. Transfer one stitch on each side to the waste yarn.
3. Knit a row.
4. Knit a row; convert the outermost two stitches into a k2 rib. Transfer both of these stitches to waste yarn.
When you have done all 24 rows, then bind off the whole section loosely - this edge must be stretchy. If you prefer, you can rehang the side stitches to bind off; I like to use the chain bind off, which does not require you to rehang stitches.

Lastly, sew the ends of the two bands of ribbing together. Weave in ends. Block, if desired - it's not necessary if you used Simply Soft, since acrylic doesn't really block. I generally throw Simply Soft items through the wash and dryer on low heat to even out the stitches, but you can't really do more shaping than that.