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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Gathering Your Materials and Getting Ready to Cast On!

May 7th, 2009

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Gathering materials for the Textured Circle Shrug

Hello and welcome to the Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along!  This is one of my favorite patterns from my newest book, Glam Knits, and I’m so happy to get to share it with you here.

Before we get started with the knitting, let’s take some time to gather up our materials and all of the information we’ll need.

First, you’ll need the pattern, which can be downloaded here.

Once you have printed out the pattern, start on page 1 (page 83 in Glam Knits,) and read through the information section.

The first thing you need to do is choose a size to knit. The pattern is sized for a range of bust measurements 32-34 (36-38, 40-42, 44-46, 48-50, 52-54).  You can simply choose the size that is closest to your actual bust measurement.  The shrug doesn’t actually cover the bust, so if you want to double-check that the size you choose is the right one for you, you can check out the schematic on the second page of the pattern.

Textured Circle Shrug Schematic

Take a look at the measurements given at the bottom edge of the drawing (for a larger schematic, click the drawing or refer to your pattern): 17.75 (19.5, 21.25, 23, 25, 26.75)” This is the cross-back measurement of the shrug.  (The measurement of the shrug across the back, lying flat.) You can measure across your own back, from under arm to under arm, and compare these numbers to your own measurement, then choose the size that you think will fit you the best.  Because this is a top-down knit, you will be able to adjust the size as you go.  (We’ll talk more about adjusting the size in a later post.)

Now that you have chosen your size, go on to the next section: YARN

You will need aproximately 882(1078, 1176, 1470, 1666, 1862) yards of worsted weight yarn.  I have chosen to knit the shrug in LB Collection Organic Wool in the Toffee color.  You can knit yours in any worsted weight yarn, and will get a great result, as long as your gauge is the same as given in the pattern.

Some alternative Lion Brand Yarns are:

Now that you’ve chosen your yarn, take a look at the next section in the pattern: NEEDLES

The needles that I recommend are given as a guide.  You’ll need to knit a swatch and make sure that the gauge that you come up with is the same that is given in the pattern (18 sts and 26 rows in 4″ of textured stripe pattern using the larger needle.) If you end up with more stitches per inch, you may need to choose a larger (US9) needle, and if you end up with fewer stitches per inch, you’ll choose a smaller (US7) needle.

The larger US 8 (5mm) needle is used to knit the body and sleeves of the shrug, and the smaller US 6 needle is used to knit the trim.  Do not worry too much if you can’t find the exact lengths given in the pattern.  Needles from 24″ to 40″ will work just fine.

Once you have located your needles, gather up your NOTIONS

  • Stitch markers (you will need 4 markers)
  • Scrap yarn (this is used to put the sleeve stitches “on hold” while we work the body of the garment…if that makes no sense to you now, STAY TUNED, we’ll talk more about it later!)
  • Darning needle (for putting the sleeve stitches onto the waste yarn, and later for weaving in ends.)

Now that you’ve got all of your stuff together, start on a GAUGE swatch.

The gauge is given in the pattern as 18 sts and 26 rows in 4″ (10cm) in textured stripe.  SO, when you knit your swatch, you’ll want to knit it in the stitch pattern as written on page 84.

TEXTURED STRIPE:

  • Rows 1-5: work in Rev. St. st
  • Rows 6-13: work in St st.
  • Repeat rows 1 – 13.

I usually try to make a nice generous swatch, so I cast on 25 sts and work in stitch pattern until the piece looks approximately square.

Here’s my swatch hot off the needles (you can click on the images to enlarge):

gauge swatch before blockingAnd here it is after blocking, showing stitch gauge measurement:

stitch gauge measurement…and row gauge measurement.

row gauge measurementYou can see from the photos that I do get about 18 sts and 26 rows in 4″ square. (about 4.5 sts per inch and about 6 rows per inch.)

In the next blog post, we’ll cast on together for our shrugs and work through the yoke!

We’re also happy to annouce the two winners of our random drawing for a copy of Glam Knits, commenters #743 Zora and #1017 Mette. Congratulations and enjoy your book!

Related links:

  • Claire

    Great pictures of how to do the gauge swatch!

    I need to wait for my yarn to arrive (Cotton-Ease) but in the meantime I have one ball on hand in a different color, so I can make my guage swatch!

  • http://www.savvyneedle.com Kelli

    I did my gauge swatch last night and for the first time in my life, I got the right gauge with the recommended needle size! I did my first swatch with a 9, because I’m a tight knitter, but it was too big. So I ended up going down to an 8 and it worked just great!. This has to be a good omen, right? :)

  • Jackie

    Thank you for the details on getting started and gauge especially. My biggest problem has always been not getting proper gauge, with your directions, I believe I will finally do a project I will be proud to say I made. Jackie

  • Leona

    I am so excited! I started it last night and it looks great! I’m using Vanna’s Choice in Rose (really pretty). The stripe pattern is cool…can’t wait to pick it up tonight (my other projects will have to wait. Thanks so much!

  • Summer Knit

    I’m so happy! Got this book in Feb 2009 and this shrug is on my top list.

    Got to go for yarn shopping tomorrow. Think I will go for Cotton East with my tropical climate :P

  • Amy

    This is awesome! I too have problems with getting the right guage and the right size. Maybe this will be the gem! I just found this KAL so I will have to go and find some yarn and start working!

  • Sarah

    Made up the swatch, (size 8 needles on Vanna’s Choice) but the gauge is wrong. My question is this: I am two rows too long on the vertical and two rows too wide on the horizontal, so should I go for a size 7 or size 6 needle to try to make up for the two rows? I guess I mean, how many stitches make up for one needle size difference? Thanks for the help!

    Zontee says: Hi Sarah, when working on gauge, it’s best to only go down a needle size at a time unless you are WAY off. Width is more important than length in most garments, as you can’t change the width once you cast on, but you can always stop early or knit more rows for less/more length. See my answer to comment #903 on the intro post for more info.

  • Mette

    This KAL is fantastic! Love the very basics and the pace. This means I can keep up.
    And I won the book, yyiiiiiiiiiiihhhhaaaaaaaaaaa! Awesome.
    Smiles from Mette

  • Kay

    I’ve been knitting for a long time, but I ususally stick to learning different techniques with afghans since I don’t worry that they’ll go out of style while they wait for my attention. I have a question about blocking a swatch. Since it is the knitter’s attempt to reach gauge and blocking can stretch out certain fibers, how do you block a swatch that may or may not be the desired 4 inch square? I like the look of the textured stripe having depth and I noticed on a few completed shrugs on Ravelry that the texture wasn’t as high relief. Maybe it was the yarn or maybe it was the blocking? So how do I block this swatch which isn’t just stockinette? And when you block the finished piece, how do you make sure that the ribbing retains its stretch so that it fits more closely through the lower back?

    Thanks!

    Kay

    Hi Kay!
    blocking a swatch is different from blocking a finished garment. When you block a swatch, you’re trying to see what gauge you are actually knitting at, and should not stretch the fabric to get a certain end result. When I did mine, I just laid my steam iron over the swatch, and brought it down onto the fabric one time.

    As far as the different looks of the different Ravelry FOs, the depth of the stitch pattern will depend on a lot of factors, like the yarn choice, how dramatically the knitter blocks, and will even change over the course of wearing the garment.

    In order to retain the stretch of ribbing while blocking, don’t pull on the ribbing while it’s wet or being steamed.

    Stefanie.

  • Sarah

    Sarah from comment #7 again. I did up swatches with #7 needles and then #6 needles and the #6′s seem to fit the gauge, but since I have gone down two needle sizes for the largest needle in the project, should I also go down two needle sizes for the smallest (which is #6 to start with)? So I would be using #6′s and #4′s? Thanks for the help! I wonder if anyone else has that big of a difference in the gauge or if I just seem to knit really loose or something!

    Sarah, that’s a tough one! I think what you’ll want to do is just swatch the ribbing when you get to that stage. You’ll want to make sure that the ribbing is nice and firm, but still stretchy and not floppy. We will go over this wen we arrive at that section of the pattern.

    Stefanie

  • DJ

    I purchased Vanna’s Choice today for this project. Haven’t done my swatch(es) yet, but, Sarah, I totally expect to be at least 1 size smaller needle.

  • Jennifer W

    I purchased Vanna’s Choice in Sapphire and believe it or not, I’m right on with my guage swatch which I did last night and also actually started the shrug. It is really going well.

    I need to be a little ahead as a friend gave me some sock yarn the other night at our craft night so I want to knit her a pair of socks from some of the yarn before we meet again next month. I may try to knit them over the weekend as I understand our weather here in Colorado Springs is supposed to be cold and rainy, perfect knitting weather.

    Many thanks Stefanie for your detailed post and the great pictures.

  • Julie Boydell

    Oooh, Keri #747 (previous post) read my mind; I’ve got some Silk Garden in the stash that should fit the bill. Knit ‘n’ Purl group on Sunday, so will do the gauge swatch then. Must now brush up on how to Cable cast on and how to block :P

  • Ann B

    How did I overlook the fact that our illustrious leader designed this pattern? That’s fabulous! I still think I’ll eventually make more than one so I can have one for work and one for home. This is such a cute pattern. Thanks so much for all the guidance!!

  • http://tinyknit.etsy.com Linda Browning

    The explanation about the shrug size was really helpful (across your back and under your arms as compared to the full chest measurement). If you have a small back but large front, you might want to check this one out. I did both measurements, and the full chest measurement actually came out two sizes larger than using the other measurement. I’m compromising and making the size in between.

  • http://www.merrykarma.blogspot.com Mary Kay

    Hi Stefanie,

    I love the “totally redhead color” that you chose for your shrug!

    I need a “totally dark brown with red highlights” color.

    /MerryKarma on Ravelry.

    Stefanie says: Hi Mary Kay!
    I’m always on the lookout for “Redhead” colors!”
    Stefanie

  • Linda

    I was very interested in your photos and description of knitting your swatch and blocking it before measuring. Do you block before measuring on any swatch you do or did you do it for this particular swatch because it had varying 3-dimensions?

    Stefanie says: What I did was just to place my steam iron over the swatch and press lightly one time. I don’t always block my swatches, but since this one wasn’t lying flat, I did.

  • Shelley

    I second the thanks to Stefanie for the great details and photos. I’m a beginning/intermediate knitter and, like others, Ive had problems with choosing the right size as well as swatching. I think this will be a GREAT learning experience and very much fun following each other’s progress. Meanwhile, I can’t decide on a color! I’m torn between an intense, special occasion red and a more low key, grayish green neutral. How are others deciding?

  • Laurie

    I know the problem with color selection, Shelley (msg 18). I wanted something I could get lots of use out of but my wardrobe is split between jewel tones and naturals. Since I’m in the south and looking for something to combat air conditioning, I decided to go with Cotton-Ease and as soon as I saw the Georgia Red Clay color (okay, so Lion Brand calls it Terracotta, but I call it My Backyard), I fell in love.

    So, not much useful advice-I just went with my heart. I figure I can always make another one when I realize what color I really want.

    Since I’ve got the swatch to work out (dropping 1 mm in size), I’m ready to cast on, but I finally learned a second cast-on method without learning when to use it. So, since I really don’t want to wait 6 days, any ideas group?

    Stefanie says: you can use whatever cast on you like! I’m partial to the long tail cast on myself, but yours will no doubt be fine.

  • http://www.glampyre.com Stefanie Japel

    For people who would like some additional input on blocking, swatching, etc., here are some links (Thanks Zontee!):

    Blocking

    A good spray-blocking tutorial from CrochetMe, if you need photos.

    Gauge

  • Pingback: Glampyre Knits » Blog Archive » Tee Gee Eye Eff

  • Jenny

    So a reverse stockinette stitch is the same as stockinette stitch, but starting with a purl row, right? So in the textured stripe pattern, after the 5 rows of Rev St st, which ended on a purl row, do I begin row 6 with another purl row and continue in stockinette stitch through row 13?

    Stefanie says: Just look at the RS of your fabric…the side that faces out when you wear it. You want the first few rows to look knit on the RS, the next few rows to look purled on the RS. Row 1 is a WS row.

    PS: The “Textured Stripe pattern begins in this section:

    NEXT ROW (RS): Begin Textured Stripe…

    Until that point, you are just working in stockinette.

  • Darlene Dietl

    I’m new when it comes to blocking.
    What is the best way to do this?

    Stefanie says: Please see my comment #20 above for more info.

  • Debra

    I am unable to download the free pattern. I would love to participate in this one. The pattern is beautiful and looks like one I could accomplish with my “advanced beginner” capabilities. If someone could email a copy to me I would be very grateful :)

    Zontee says: Hi Debra, to download patterns on LionBrand.com, you need to make sure that you’re logged into your account. You may also want to make sure that you have the latest version of Adobe Reader (available at adobe.com). If you can see the pattern details page, but the “download” button isn’t working for you, you can also just hit the “print” button and print out the pattern directly. Please e-mail support@lionbrand.com with any additional questions about downloading patterns.

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for responding so quickly to questions! This is awesome and is going to be a great knitting experience! WaHoo!

  • Lori

    I knit my swatch today, and was also pleased (and surprised) when I got the correct row gauge with the called for needle size. I’m another one that’s never happened to! I’m working with a powdery blue yarn that’s a blend of merino wool, microfiber and cashmere. Since it’s not a Lion Brand yarn, I won’t mention the name. I’m using it because I bought it this winter for a project that I never started, and this shrug just seemed to call its name. If the rest of the shrug turns out as beautifully as the swatch did, it’s going to be one yummy shrug!

  • aylwin1

    Hi! I’m so excited. I made my swatch this evening while watching “Ghost Whisper” and it came out perfect the first go round!! I’m using wool-ease in a tan color since it will go with anything and is really soft. I’m going to have to hurry up and finish the baby blankets I’ve got going so that I can concentrate soley on the beautiful shrug!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Kat

    I started this pattern, and it seems that the increase rows do not add up correctly. I am probably wrong…..but after the repeat last 2 rows five times = 96 I actually have 102 total. Adding in the rest of the increases (14 rows x 6 inc per row) I get 186 not 180???

    Stefanie says: Yes, you definitely should only have 96 sts after “increasing 5 times more.” You cast on 60, then work 6 increase rows. Each increase row adds 6 stitches. So, 6 x 6 = 36 stitches added at that point. 36 + 60 = 96. It looks like you’ve done one extra increase row.

  • Kathi

    I found really nice shade of wool ease, blue mist. I’ve knitted two swatches and found I need one size smaller needles, so I’m using size 7. My “guys” (husband and two sons) are camping with the scouts this weekend so I’m enjoying some quality time with my knitting! I’ve started the pattern and am really excited to actually follow through with all of you and finish a larger project in a reasonable amount of time!

  • Susan

    I got my yarn today, Vannas Choice in dusty blue. I usually knit in wool but sometimes it is nice to have something that is easy care.

  • http://tales-of-a-knitting-mom.blogspot.com Haley

    Any blocking suggestions for Cotton-Ease?

    Zontee says: See Stefanie’s comment above.

  • dani hartvigsen

    I am really enjoying this, because I am learning so much from lots of people. This is the first item that I’ve made, other than hats and scarves. I am just about to the sleeves and feeling confident and excited that I will now be able to knit many things!

  • Alex

    Okay, so I had a similar question as Jenny (#22). I searched online for reverse stockinette stitch, and found out what that was. However, I neglected to really closely read the directions for doing the swatch, so did st st for rows 1-5, and rev st st for rows 6-13. My first question is, will that throw off my swatch? It’s not a big deal for me to do it again, as I’m a pretty quick knitter, and have no qualms about abandoning housework and the like for knitting. :) Also, if I had done the swatch correctly, I would p rows 1, 3, and 5, and k rows 2 and 4, then start row 6 with p and continue alternating? Unfortunately, I thought it would be a good decision to do my swatch in the dark while on a road trip, so I wasn’t able to look at any directions and really just made it up as I went along to make it look right. I’m only masquerading as an intermediate knitter, so any light you could shed would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks!

    Stefanie says: if you turn your swatch over so that what you considered the ‘back’ is now facing front, it’ll be in the correct stitch pattern.

  • Dorothy L.

    I am working on my gauge swatch and my question is similar to Jenny (#22) and Alex (#33).
    While I understand the difference between stockinette and reverse stockinette, I’m getting confused as to when to start with a Purl row.
    What I have figured out so far is this~
    Row 1 Purl
    Row 2 Knit
    Row 3 Purl
    Row 4 Knit
    Row 5 Purl~Then, in order to make the textured stripe, I need to start again with Purl, as in~
    Row 6 Purl
    Row 7 Knit…Row 13 Knit
    But then, with an odd number of rows, in order to reverse the texture, I need to start the next Row 1 with a Knit row, right?
    Am I really understanding this, or am I totally confused?

    Stefanie says: I think that it would be easier for you to, rather than trying to write each row out in long hand, just read your knitting. The first 5 rows of the textured stripe need to look purled on the RS, and the next 8 rows need to look knit on the RS.

    The “Textured Stripe pattern begins in this section:

    NEXT ROW (RS): Begin Textured Stripe…

    Until that point, you are just working in stockinette.

  • Jennifer W

    Has anyone made to to the step after you knit the sleeves? I’m not understanding where to start picking up the stitches and where to pick up around.

    Many thanks for any help. I may have to continue with another project until Stefanie explaines this step.

    Stefanie Says: yes, we will discuss this when we get to that point in the KAL.

  • Zelda

    Hi! I’m glad to be here. I started this project before the KAL started. Like Jennifer W., I am stalled at the point where the stitches are picked up. I am waiting for a clearer explanation of where the stitches are picked up. When I read the pattern it sounds like the stitches all around the shrug including the sleeves are picked up, but I am not sure how this is possible. I’m sure there is a simple explanation.

    Stefanie Says: yes, we will discuss this when we get to that point in the KAL.

  • Riki

    Glad to join this KAL and thanks so much for all the quick responses! I am fortunate in that I don’t have to swatch because I’m not making it to order, I’m making it for anyone it fits (i.e. niece 1, niece 2, niece 3, sister, or mother!). Living in Thailand, it is not something I need (although I will admit to feeling something like another poster who said she was knitting it against the air-conditioning chill!)

    I especially appreciate the info about what yarn since I will be using (old) stash yarn from the days when there was just “knitting worsted”, “sport weight” and “fingering” or “baby” yarn.
    All these new names for weights has me totally confused!

  • Melissa Rummel

    Hi! I am doing the medium size, & I just got up to the 204 stitch row & worked the even row. Now, the pattern says to break yarn. Am I supposed to leave a little of a tail for later? Then I start on the separate sleeves from body, am I supposed to start this on the size 8 needle? What do I do with the yoke? What does scrap yarn mean? I know I have alot of questions…. I am so excited about this shrug & cant wait to see it completed! Thank you for your help!

  • Dede

    A co-worker who found out my recently renewed interest in knitting introduced me to the KAL and she and I are working this pattern together. This is such a GREAT idea and I am excited to knit my very first garment. I chose Vanna’s choice in a dusty blue thinking it would work as a nice “jacket” for work as well as being able to wear it with casual pants or jeans. I’m looking forward to Knitting A Long with all of you!!

  • Jennifer Wiltrout

    Zelda,

    Response to your #36 post. I’m hoping that Stefanie will provide some pictures with indications where the stitch pick-up are at.

    Jennifer

  • susan

    Hey Dede, we are using the same yarn. I found that I needed to go to a size 7 needle to get the gauge. I have about three inches done so far. I think this color is going to be very versatile.

  • rhonda

    I was so excited to work on this that I started when the KAL was first introduced. I have also completed through the sleeves, and now will be waiting until we pick up stitches, that’s where I think I know what I’m doing, but would like to see exactly where to pick up. I am using Vanna’s Choice in Olive, using 7 needles, making it in a medium, which I’m a little nervous about because I fall between a small and a medium. I guess worst case senario, I give it to a step daughter and make another one for me!

  • Tanya

    Just wondering, are we supposed to be washing the swatch, then blocking it and measuring for gauge? I’m using Cotton-Ease – went down a needle size before it was unwashed – actually haven’t washed it yet, because thought I better ask. Also, hoping for specific info about casting on – what is the best method, in your opinion for this shrug? My first garment here and I’m very excited – thanks!

  • Karen

    Hi!
    I have started the shrug and I showed it to my co-workers and now they are joining me (us!) in this KAL!
    I have moved up to a size 9 needle but gone down to a smaller shrug size, so I assume that my swatch will not match the gauge listed, correct? (ok, I already owned a size 7 circular needle and by going with the size 7 + 9 I only had to buy one more set/s of needles).
    Oh, is it true that you can’t steam an acrylic yarn for gauging purposes?
    So far, so good! I was intimidated by the instructions but found that after a read through and starting, it has gone well.
    Thanks!

  • Miriam

    Two questions–
    1. Will it be possible to add a button-hole? I have a very pretty button that I’d like to highlight.
    2. Will you be explaining how to make the sleeves a bit less tight-fitting?

  • Kitty J

    I am a bit confused on raglan incr. row. It says to KFB, then work to 1 stitch before marker, KFB, twice. Then it says KFB, work to last stitch, KFB. Am I understanding it correctly when I do the first KFB, then do a KFB before each marker? The next KFB has me stumped, I know the last KFB, but when I add the stitches it only comes to 5 stitches. Can someone explain this to me please. I am working on Stephanie’s tubular turtleneck vest, which has been somewhat of a challenge for me but I love it. I also love this shrug, it is so classy. Kitty

  • Granny

    Will each session be on Thursdays?

    Zontee says: Hi Granny, yes, new blog posts (articles by Stefanie) will appear at http://blog.lionbrand.com on Thursdays.

  • Julie Boydell

    OK. I’ve done my gauge swatch and I’m at 18.5st and 28 rows on the 5mm (size US 8), so I think that will do the trick. The back measurement is larger than needed (for me!) and the front (total) measurement isn’t so important. I look forward to more information on making the sleeves wider, as I hate tight sleeves!
    Onto the cast on… \o/

  • Mary O

    Hi Kitty (no. 46) — I’ve been doing the increase rows with a KFB in the first stitch, in the stitches just before and just after each marker (2 increases next to each other), and in the last stitch. That gives you 1+2+2+1 increases per row. When you get to the stripes sometimes the increase row will be purl instead of knit, but do the increases in the same spots. So far so good!

  • http://www.knittylovesvintage.etsy.com Lisa

    I had to wait for my yarn to arrive and I was finally able to start my swatch today. I ordered the LB collection organic wool like the pattern recommended and I think it will look FABULOUS in this pattern – I’m so glad I made the investment!