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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Casting On and Working the Yoke

May 14th, 2009

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In this week’s post, we will cast on and work through the YOKE of the shrug.  The yoke of the sweater is the part that contains the cast on edge, the beginnings of the sleeves, and the top part of the body.

Now that you’ve found the perfect yarn, the correctly-sized needles, made your swatch, checked your gauge, and breathed a sigh of relief…LET’S CAST ON!

Gather up your yarn, needles, two stitch markers, and cast on 60 (60, 60, 68, 68, 68) stitches.  (I’m making the 3rd size.)

  • Tip: Even though I’ve been knitting for a number of years, I went through my copy of the pattern and circled the direction numbers and all stitch counts for my size.  This really makes the pattern a lot easier for my eye to follow, especially on a black and white print out.

Do not join to work in the round. Even though we are using circular needles, because the shrug is left open at the front, we work back and forth.

  • We use circular needles because we shape the sleeves and shoulders as we go, so we have to navigate some curves.  It might be possible to knit this shrug on straight needles, but I haven’t tried!

RAGLAN SET-UP ROW (WS):This is the portion of the pattern in which we place our markers and set up the placement of the raglan increases.

The instructions say to begin working in stocking stitch or stockinette (which looks knit on the RS of the fabric.) Because row 1 is a WS row, we need to purl.  So, purl along, placing markers as indicated in the instructions. (pm = “place marker”)

RAGLAN INC ROW (RS): [KFB, work to 1 st before marker, KFB] twice, work to last st, KFB — 66 (66, 66, 74, 74, 74) sts.

Written in this shorthand notation, these instructions may confuse the beginner knitter.  Written in longhand, they would look like this:

  • Knit into the front and back of the first stitch on the needle, work to one stitch before the marker, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, pass marker from left hand needle to right hand needle, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, work to one stitch stitch before the marker, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, pass marker from left hand needle to right hand needle, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, knit to the last stitch, knit into the front and back of the last stitch.

In other words (because even written out longhand, it’s a lot!): Increase in the first stitch, increase one stitch on each side of every marker, and increase in the last stitch. (Increases 6 sts.)

NOTE: KFB = knit into both the front leg and the back leg of the next stitch on the needle.  This increases one stitch.  Here’s a video at showing how to KFB (continental) (English).

Work this whole section (13 rows) in stocking stitch, so that all of the RS rows are knit, and all of the WS rows are purled.

  • Each increase row adds 6 stitches.
  • At the end of this section, you should have 96(96, 96, 104, 104, 104) sts.

Here’s what my knitting looks like after finishing this section:

Here’s a closeup of how the raglan increases look:

NEXT ROW (RS): Begin textured stripe stitch pattern, and at the same time, continue working your raglan increases until you have 180(204, 228, 242, 266, 290) sts.

  • THIS is the point at which you begin working in the textured stripe pattern.  The first 5 rows will look purled on the RS, and the next 8 rows will look knit on the RS.  Then, just repeat this pattern.
  • NOTE: While working in reverse stocking stitch, work your raglan increases as PFB (purl into the front and back of stitch) so that they look purled on the RS (this just adds continuity to the look of the purl sections.) Here’s a video on showing how to PFB (continental) (English).

Here’s what my shrug looks like (on the needles) at the end of this section:

When you break the yarn at the end of the last row, be sure to leave a tail.  Any time in knitting when you cut or break a working yarn, you MUST leave a tail so that that end can either be tied off and woven in, or attached to a new length of yarn and worked later.

TIP: At this point, I suggest that you thread a darning needle with a long length of waste yarn and place the whole shrug onto the waste yarn.  You can now try on your shrug and make sure it fits you properly.

  • If it’s too small, work a few extra rows, continuing your raglan increases every-other row.
  • If it’s too big, just rip back a few rows until it fits.

This may sound like a lot of extra work, but it’s so much better to take the time to check fit now than it is to find it doesn’t fit later!

Here’s what my shrug looks like on a length of waste yarn:

You an see that we’ve formed (from L to R) the cap of the left sleeve, the back of the shrug, and the cap of the right sleeve.

To see if your shrug fits, try it on, matching the points indicated with arrows in the photo above at the under arm.

Next week, we will separate the sleeves and continue to form the back of the shrug.

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  • Kathy P

    Post 46, Summer Knit, I’d like a spread sheet too. I’m confused.

  • Ann B

    Oh, Pamela (Post #29), you can most definitely do the sleeves in the round! I just finished the first sleeve, and I love not having to seam it!

  • Elin S

    This is my first KAL and I am enjoying it. A general question concerning most or all knitting patterns– When the pattern tells how much yarn is needed for the project, Does this include enough to complete one or two swatches? Thanks!!

  • Summer Knit

    This chart is based on the Medium size (36 – 38″).
    This chart is split into the first 13 rows and then the textured stripe.
    You can see the row, right or wrong side, increase or even, stockinette or reverse, knit or purl.
    When I finish a row, I put an “tick” into the blank cell and from time to time I might check the stitch number (shown in last column)

    RowSide CO 60
    1 WS R setup St p 60
    2 RS Raglan inc k 66
    3 WS ev p 66
    4 RS inc k 72
    5 WS ev p 72
    6 RS inc k 78
    7 WS ev p 78
    8 RS inc k 84
    9 WS ev p 84
    10 RS inc k 90
    11 WS ev p 90
    12 RS inc k 96
    13 WS ev p 96
    14 RS inc Rev St p102
    15 WS ev k 102
    16 RS inc p 108
    17 WS ev k 108
    18 RS inc p 114
    19 WS ev St p 114
    20 RS inc k 120
    21 WS ev p 120
    22 RS inc k 126
    23 WS ev p 126
    24 RS inc k 132
    25 WS ev p 132
    26 RS inc k 138
    27 WS ev Rev St k 138
    28 RS inc p 144
    29 WS ev k 144
    30 RS inc p 150
    31 WS ev k 150
    32 RS inc St k 156
    33 WS ev p 156
    34 RS inc k 162
    35 WS ev p 162
    36 RS inc k 168
    37 WS ev p 168
    38 RS inc k 174
    39 WS ev p 174
    40 RS inc Rev St p 180
    41 WS ev k 180
    42 RS inc p 186
    43 WS ev k 186
    44 RS inc p 192
    45 WS ev St p 192
    46 RS inc k 198
    47 WS ev p 198
    48 RS inc k 204
    49 WS ev p 204
    Break Yarn

  • Summer Knit

    Oh im so sorry, i didn’t meant to post it as a raw format! I was trying to see if i can cut and paste the table here and somehow i hit the wrong button. My apologies!

    Ruby(#50) and Kathy(#51), and anyone else who are interested, pls email me ( and I will send you the excel sheet.

    If anyone of you are with Ravelry, this thread is being discusseed by Julia401 (the original creator of this useful chart). Just search under “Lion Brand textured circle shrug KAL group” and you will find a lot more info there.

    I hope this helps.

  • Kathy P

    Thanks so much, Summer Knit. I get it now.

  • Lisa Hemphill

    Thanks so much, Stefanie for the indepth instructions. I am following along but not actually making the shrug right now. I am making the tube top from your ‘Fitted knits’ book currently. Hopefully, I can start this one next.

  • Kat


    How do you “break yarn” and keep your yarn from becoming unraveled??????

  • Ruth

    In the instructions it says to repeat increase row 22 times. Do I disregard that # and just increase to the end of 13 row textured stripe even if that means more than 22 times?

  • Karyn

    Re: Post #58
    Kat, your stitches won’t unravel. When you get to the point where you are finished with the yoke simply cut your working yarn, leaving a 6 – 10″ tail. The live stitches can then either be placed on a stitch holder or waste yarn for later use.

  • Ann B

    Ruth (#59), you will complete the two-row set of increase (RS) and even (WS) keeping with the textured stripe pattern. You will pick up the textured stripe pattern as you continue the sleeves and body, so make note of where you are within that 13-row pattern.

    Before you break the yarn, though, Stefanie has recommended that you transfer the working stitches to waste yarn so you can check the fit.

  • Kim

    I have almost finished the yoke and I only have 2 textured stripes where the picture has 3. Is this because you are doing a larger size? Also, I only did 12 rows before I started the textured stripe pattern, is this going to be a problem? Thanks

  • Phoenix

    I am so bummed! I was going to knit my sleeves in the round too, but was too nervous. Guess I should have checked here for a little encouragement.

    Starting the ribbing… hope I don’t regret going ahead.

  • dani hartvigsen

    I am to the ribbing, but I am a beginner. How do I pick up and knit a stitch or section of stitches (whichever question is applicable)?

  • dani hartvigsen

    I just found this how to on Lionbrand., so her I go on the ribbing!

  • Ruth

    Thanks Ann B #61
    That clarifies my dilemma. Any suggestions on how to begin knitting the sleeves in the round?

  • Ann B

    Ruth (#66) – I started the first round flat, then joined the last stitch to the first stitch when I got to the end. I think I was stitching from front to back.

    Can y’all believe I left the house today for a two-day business trip and completely forgot my knitting bag at home? Fortunately I did have a “spare project” in the car, so my fingers won’t be idle this evening, but I’m feeling withdrawal for my Cotton-Ease!

  • Shelley

    Well they said “work at your own pace,” so here I go, a bit behind some of you. I finally got my greenish yarn (very happy with the color choice) and did my swatch: the yarn said it would be 4.5 to the inch/18 sts in 4 inch (with size 7) but I came out with 20, so I moved to the size 8 needle and that came out better – why do I feel like I’ve failed when my gauge doesn’t match the yarn specs? I’m working on the yoke and raglan increases, haven’t switched to the stripe pattern yet. It’s going pretty well; my raglan increases look a bit messy and open to me so I’m going to check just to make sure I’m good with the kfb. I love BTW, it’s been a real help to me as I’ve been learning and every new project has new techniques.

  • Sue Dole

    This is my first KAL and I am really enjoying the unique design. I charted both the back and sleeve on graph paper which makes it very easy to follow the striping pattern. I have started the ribbing portion of the shrug and have a couple of suggestions: short rows rather than binding off at the beginning of each row would make a smoother edge. The next time I make the shrug I will do that. I knitted the sleeves in the round which is quite easy with #16 circular needles and saves sewing the sleeve seams. Just purl 5 rounds and knit 8 rounds for the striping pattern.

  • Ann B

    Shelley, (#68) you are in NO WAY a failure because your gauge doesn’t match the yarn specs! Every person has a different style in their knitting process, and some knit more tightly than others. As for me, I am a loose knitter, so I had to drop to a size 6 needle to match the gauge for the pattern. And definitely work at your own pace. One of the advantages to lagging behind the KAL timeline is you can learn from everyone else’s experiences. Just keep it up! 😉

  • Pamela Kirschman

    I went ahead and started a sleeve in the round. I just put it on double-point needles like I would for socks. I’m also not a fan of 3/4 length sleeves so I am making them longer, and decreasing a little past the elbow so they still fit relatively snug. So much for following the pattern :) I have a hard time with that. So far I’m loving this project though! Hoping I won’t run out of yarn…

  • Granny

    Thanks for all of the help. Everytime I go to ask a question, it is already answered here. But now I have another one: I have always been taught to leave a tail and that is also taught here, but my skein of yarn has a knot where the yarn has been joined by the manufacturer without a tail. Do I just knit it as I go along or do I break the yarn and rejoin it with a tail? I don’t want it to come apart obviously. Hope you can understand what I am asking and thanks again for the great instructions

  • Sharon

    I am doing the knit along and as a new knitter I would say I have a HUGE learning curve, but this KAL is GREAT!! To get my gauge correct I needed to use size 4 1/2mm needles (I am using Cotton Ease). Could you please tell me what size needles I should use for the ribbing? The pattern calls for 5mm and 4mm needles -I am using 4.5mm so should I use 3 3/4 mm for the smaller needles?
    Also, I must have counted wrong as I have 14 rows before starting the textured stripe, so I just changed the WS for the RS in the directions Summer Knit graciously put up (thank you) rather than ripping it all out for the third time (sigh). As Ann said she needed to add rows, I assume this won’t be a big problem (I hope)and it will all become clear in the end. Please tell me ASAP if I need to rip it out so I don’t go any further -it’s addicting!

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  • Surinder

    Summer Knit (#54), thanks for putting up the sequence of rows… I was kinda stuck and remembered seeing the rows. It was a great help to come back and refer to it!

    Thanks Again :)

  • Riki

    I’m loving this pattern – am not going ahead – instead, I decided to do two, in completely different (stash and ancient) yarns. One is a fisherman’s type – cream with flecks of green and brown and the other is green with tones of gold. Will be interesting to see how they turn out! The cream one is very dense fabric, the green is very light. Will post pic in Ravelry at some point!

  • Sandi

    I just finished the sleeves and I am anxious to start the ribbing. It looks great so far!!

  • Shanda

    I just to tell you how much I appreciate this KAL! I am working on my shrug months later but these tips are invaluable. And I completely agree with trying it on – it is much quicker than ripping out the whole thing when you finish and it doesn’t fit – like I have done twice now. I think I am finally on the right track. When is the next knit-a-long?

    Zontee says: Hi Shanda, the next KAL will be later this fall.

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