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Knitting a shrug

Back view, Sarah’s shrug, which is major modifications on the Biston shrug pattern (c) Mercedes Tarasovich, variations (c)SarahAnnSmith2018

So, once again, I can’t quite do things the way the pattern says LOL!  Last summer, I knitted Ashley a gray shrug using the Biston pattern on Ravelry.  It was lovely and knit up very quickly and easily (especially since Ashley is a size 2).  Thought I’d knit up something quick for me this summer.  Right.  Not.  Bought this glorious yarn, Malabrigo Rios in the Indiecita color way, which has blues, greens and some purple (but not an obnoxious amount of purple).  After doing a test swatch in various stitches, I chose a stitch that showcases the yarn but is rather slow (at least for me, I’m not a fast knitter).

Sarah’s test swatch included from top to bottom: 1×1 ribbing, linen stitch in three different gauges, a broken rib, the broken/chevron rib from the Biston pattern, a knit-purl diamond motif, seed stitch, stockinette and a garter stitch at the start/bottom and edge.  So glad I did it because I wan’t wild about the look in stockinette (hence all the other variations), and was able to learn that the linen stitch on smaller needles resulted in a fabric felt stiff.

Detail of the linen stitch I selected and the 1×1 ribbing I decided to use.

Yarn wound into a ball, knitting commences

As of this week DONE! I used the basic measurements from the Biston pattern, but instead of knitting cuff to cuff in stockinette, then seaming and adding the nice chevron rib collar, I wanted the direction of the linen stitch to run horizontally across my back. So I cast on for the lower center back, increased 10 stitches at either end of each row five times, then 15 stitches twice, until I had enough to go almost from wrist to wrist. I alternated skeins/balls every 2 rows to prevent color pooling from the dyeing pattern on the hank.  The cloth ended up being thicker and warmer than I had realized it would be, so it became a winter shrug, not a summer bolero.

From the front. Because the yarn relaxed a lot with blocking, it does seem to slip open a bit–it fit perfectly before washing. I may try again and see if I can wet and block it again and make it not-so-large!

That meant I knit until the whole main part was 16 1/2″ long, then started tapering down to equal the increases. I did a slip stitch at each end. I bound off for the length of the sleeves, but kept the remaining stitches live on the needle. After testing on the swatch, I decided a simple 1×1 rib would look best.

After sewing the sleeves, I knit the cuffs. I calculated how many stitches I wanted to fit my thin wrists (32 I think) and picked up a stitch in every other slipped stitch, which gathered the sleeves in nicely. In a better universe, I would have tapered the sleeve portion more, but I wasn’t about to frog a summer’s worth of knitting and opted for a gather. 1×1 rib for 27 rows which is a bit under 4 inches long.

Collar came next: I picked up some stitches around the seam area, then picked up stitches one to one. Knit 27 rows, bind of in pattern.

Linen Stitch Shrug in Malabrigo Rios Indiecita done! (c)SarahAnnSmith2018

Blocked. I have learned that the super wash yarns apparently have a propensity to GROW and get LONGER. I’m fine with the extra length down my back, but I have about 4-6 more inches in length from wrist-to-wrist than I had before washing. I will try to shorten this with blocking shorter (have asked for foam blocking squares for my birthday), but I am falling out of love with the concept of superwash if it always grows like this. Even washing and blocking your swatch doesn’t really convey how MUCH it will grow when a full size garment.  If anyone has any words of wisdom, please DO share!

Still, I love this and know I will wear it a lot in winter. I love the look of the linen stitch on the hand-dyed wool, so I just need to find a hand-dyed wool that I like the feel that doesn’t grow.

Weighs 491 grams, so that is allegedly just under 5 skeins, but I actually used just a bit over (plus the amount for the swatch). Don’t mind that I have nearly a skein leftover–it will be pretty in something.

I’m on Ravelry — if any of you are over there, you can find me at

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