Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for May, 2009

Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Sleeves

May 28th, 2009

Pin It

Time to move on to to the SLEEVES section.  This week’s installment is pretty easy, technique-wise, but there’s a lot of knitting to do (both sleeves).

The last time we talked about the sleeves, we had placed them on a length of scrap yarn to be worked later:

Now transfer the sleeve stitches back onto your US8 needle.

When all of the stitches are back on the circ, the sleeve will look like this:

If you are happy with the width of the sleeve, you’ll just attach your yarn here at the beginning of a RS row. Continue with the pattern, just following the directions as indicated.  You’ll begin working in Textured Stripe wherever you left off in the stitch pattern.  On my sleeve, before I put the sts on the scrap yarn, I had completed 5 rows of reverse stockinette and so now I’ll start right in on 8 rows of stockinette stitch.

The instructions say to work 2 rows even, this just means to work two rows straight (no increases or decreases) whether you should knit or purl according to the stitch pattern.

Sizes 40-42 (44-46, 48-50, 52-54) begin working decreases to narrow the sleeve as it goes down the arm.  If you don’t want to narrow the sleeve, just work straight (no increases or decreases) in textured stripe until the sleeve is the length indicated in the pattern, or to desired length.

Other sizes just work straight (no increases or decreases) in textured stripe until the sleeve is the length indicated in the pattern, or to desired length.

The length indicated in the pattern is FROM THE UNDERARM…so measure from where you are starting TODAY, not from the very top of the sleeve.


You simply cast on a few stitches at the underarm.

I’ve cast on about 10 st (using the “knitting on” method) at the under arm, to show those who want to modify the sleeve width how this would look.

To see how to cast on sts, check out the “Cast on” videos

Here’s what the sleeve with extra stitches looks like as you knit it:

You can cast your stitches on where I did, at the beginning of the first RS row, or you can cast half on at the beginning of the row and half at the end, or all at the end. It depends, really, on how many extra stitches you need. The more you cast on, the more the seam will move around the arm. If you’re casting on more than about 10 sts, I’d cast on half at the beginning of this first row, and half at the end, so that the seam stays in the center of the sleeve.

Here is what my shrug looks like with the sleeves finished.  (I’ve lightly steamed mine, just so that you can see how it looks; you do not need to steam your knitting at this point.)

You can see that I’ve done two different sleeves.  The one on the left is done “normally” without increasing at the under arm.  For the sleeve on the right, I’ve added extra stitches at the under arm.  I’ve done this so that I can work the next step of the pattern as an example for everyone.  Your sleeves will (hopefully) be the same.  Your sleeves may also be longer or shorter than mine, depending on how you prefer them to look.

Next week, we’ll pick up stitches and start working on the ribbing.

Related links:

Knitting with FDR

May 27th, 2009

Pin It

My friend Daia stumbled across this photo and thought that I would find it of great interest since I am in the yarn business. The photo features the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his wife Eleanor as newlyweds. I always find it exhilarating to see famous people knitting, so you can imagine my excitement to see one of our former presidents engaged in one of our favorite pastimes. I hope you all will enjoy this photo as much as I do.

5 Tips on Crafting for Men from YarnCraft Episode #41

May 26th, 2009

Pin It

On YarnCraft’s latest episode (Crafting Confessional: Stories, Tips, and Projects from Men Who YarnCraft), we ask the guys what they make, what they’d like others to make for them, and to share their funny and interesting stories (from where they yarncraft to how they got started to their secret yarncrafting behaviors). It’s a great episode that’s sure to make you smile.

With Father’s Day coming up, here are 5 great tips for making gifts for men from the episode:

  1. Look to his wardrobe. If he doesn’t wear red, chances are a red scarf is not the way to go. If in doubt about color, go with neutrals like blacks, grays, and browns.
  2. Think texture. Instead of opting for items with a lot of colors, look to interesting stitch patterns and cables to give your project interest. Go to the episode guide from this episode for a list of great patterns including some wonderfully textured scarves and sweaters.
  3. Get cozy. When it comes to non-clothing items, think comfort and relaxation. Blankets are a great item for men, especially big, comfortable ones like our 5 1/2 hour and 6 hour throws. Other great items include drink cozies and remote caddies — all great items to get comfy on the couch or in the den.
  4. Check the size. Many of the sweaters (especially our classic aran sweaters) on are unisex — when in doubt, check the chest size. If the sweater’s small size is a 38″ (or larger) chest size, it’s most likely man-friendly.
  5. Ask him! See what things your guy needs. He may give you some great ideas from shoe bags to golf-club holders to desk organizers to slippers. There are so many ways to incorporate your yarncrafting into your gift-making!

For even more ideas, great stories from our male listeners, and so much more, click here to listen to this episode [MP3].

Related links:

A Knitted Village

May 25th, 2009

Pin It

A group of women have been working for 23 years to knit their small town of Mersham, England. The wooly Mersham is a highly accurate scale model, including houses, a cricket match, a red phone booth, chickens, townspeople, and more. Read more about the remarkable knitted village here.

Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves from the Body

May 21st, 2009

Pin It

Just to recap: last week we cast on for the shrug, knit the yoke, and tried on the shrug to make sure it fits.

In today’s post, we will go through some of the possible fit problems that you may have run into while trying on your shrug after last week’s installment.

Once we do that, we will make fit adjustments, place our sleeves on scrap yarn to be worked later, and finish the body of the shrug.

Next week we will finish the sleeves, and in the following post we will begin the neckline trim.

By this time, you’ve completed the yoke portion of the shrug, and are ready to move on to finishing the body (the pink-filled area in the schematic above.)

This is the point at which you have an opportunity to try on your shrug (if you have not done so already) and make any adjustments in the size before continuing with the project.

In my last post, I transferred my whole shrug to a long piece of yarn so that I could show you how the project looks at this stage, and also to show how you could make sure that your shrug fits.  (See last post for photos.)

There are several possible fit issues that might come up at this stage, and we will discuss possible solutions to them in today’s post.

Some possible fit problems:

  1. My shrug fits fine across the back, but the armholes feel too tight.
  2. My shrug is tight across the back and the armholes feel too tight.
  3. My shrug is too big across the back, but the armholes feel fine
  4. My shrug is too big across the back and the armholes feel too big.

Fit issue #1 will be handled next week when we get to the section of the pattern marked “SLEEVES.”  Since we are simply finishing up the body for right now, and your body section fits properly, we don’t do anything different at this point.

Fit issue #2 is corrected by just working a few more rows of the shrug, continuing on in both Textured Stripe AND increasing every RS row.  You can simply knit a few rows, try the shrug back on, see if it fits, and repeat that process until you get your custom fit…

OR you can figure out figure out exactly how many more rows you need to complete by doing the following:

  • Figure out how much wider you need to make the back in inches.
  • Figure out how many stitches you need to make up that measurement.
  • Work enough raglan increase rows to bring you to that width. (At the same time that you are adding width to the back, you are also increasing the sleeves, so this *should* also help the fit of your sleeve.)


  • Say I need to make my shrug bigger across the back by about an inch.
  • Using my gauge, I know that I have about 4.5 stitches in one inch, so I need to add about 4.5 stitches to the back of my shrug to make it one inch wider. (To make the math easier, I’m going to round down to 4 sts.)
  • I increase 2 stitches in the back of the shrug every RS row, so I need to work 2 additional increase rounds in order to increase ~1 inch of width.

Working these extra rounds will also increase the width of my sleeve by one inch.  If that isn’t quite enough extra width at the sleeve for your fit issue, you can add more stitches next week when we get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern.

Fit issue # 3: For this fit issue, you will need to rip back a few rows, until the fit across the back feels good to you, and then add more stitches to the sleeve next week when we get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern.  You can use the steps in the example above to determine exactly how many rows to rip back in order to get your exact fit.

Fit issue # 4: For this fit issue, you will just rip back a few rows until the back fits you the way you like it, and should not need to add stitches next week when you get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern. (Since both your back and sleeves were too big) …but you can if you do need to!

The arrow on the left in the photo below shows how ripping back a few rows will make both the back and sleeves smaller, while the right arrow shows that adding a few rows will make both sections larger:

Now that you’ve solved your fit issues (if you had any) let’s move on to finishing up the body of the shrug.

At this point, the pattern reads:


NEXT ROW(RS): Place next 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts for first sleeve on scrap yarn to be worked later, rejoin yarn and work to marker, place last 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts for first sleeve on scrap yarn to be worked later.

So, what you do is just thread a darning needle or tapestry needle with a length of yarn (abot a foot long or so) and use the darning / tapestry needle to remove the 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts from your circular needle.  Then, you knit or purl (whatever you should do according to the Textured Stripe pattern) across the back, then just place the last 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) stitches onto another length of yarn.

It will look like this:

Skip ahead in the post to: NEXT ROW (RS)

  • NOTE: If you already have your whole shrug on a long length of yarn, you can just run your circular needle back through the stitches for the back and leave the sleeves on the scrap yarn. (You’ll have to work one extra row of the back in stitch pattern in order to be caught up with the pattern):

Step 1:

The entire shrug is on a length of waste yarn.  Run your circular needle through ONLY the back section (section between the 2 markers.)

Step 2:

Cut the scrap yarn at center back, pull the cut end out of the back stitches, tie.

Now just tie the ends of the scrap yarn.

Now, the pattern says to “work one row even.”  This just means to work one row in Textured Stripe pattern without doing any increases or decreases.  From this point in the pattern until we begin the next section, you will only be working with the stitches used for the body.

So, work your one row, then go on to:

NEXT ROW (RS): Continue in textured stripe, bind off 3 sts at beg of next 10(8, 0, 16, 0 0) rows.  Then, 4 sts at beg of next 6(8, 14, 4, 16, 16) rows.

  • If you have a zero in the first set of instructions (3rd, 5th, and 6th sizes) you start right away decreasing 4 sts at the beginning of the next 6(8, 14, 4, 16, 16) rows.

Stitches are decreased here in order to give a curved shape to the back of the sweater, so that it slopes inward and will help the ribbing to hug the wearer’s lower back, rather than hanging loosely around the body.

  • Fit tip: If you would like to extend the length of your shrug, I suggest that you do it by lengthening the ribbing, rather than extending this section.  When you add the ribbing, it will pull the lower edges of the shrug, and you will get a “bubble-back” look to the sweater!

Here is what my shrug looks like at this point:

(See my flickr set for more photos)

Here’s how to transfer the stitches onto scrap yarn.  You can do this same process to save the sleeve stitches:

Thread a darning needle loaded with waste yarn through the stitches on the needle.

Remove the sts from the knitting needle onto the darning needle.

Transfer sts from darning needle to yarn.

I’d like to invite everyone to post your progress shots to the flickr pool for this KAL.  And, if you’re still having any “so…what am I doing wrong here?” questions, this would be a great place for you to post photos of what your knitting looks like, so that your fellow “KALers” (including me) can help out.

Related links: