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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 www.knittinghelp.com 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 www.knittinghelp.com 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.

Related links:

  • Robin Hatlestad

    Thank you so much for your excellent step-by-step instructions and all the pictures!

  • Sarah

    The photos of how the shrug should fit over your arms was a huge help in understanding! Thanks so much!

  • Ann B

    Wow. Stefanie, you have done a fabulous job of explaining the elements in creating the yoke. I’m an experienced knitter with a good grasp of the abbreviations, but you’ve helped me a lot by describing the details. And the photos are a big help, too. I like the idea of putting the project on a strand of waste yarn to test out the fit. If someone is using a long-cabled circular needle, they may not need to remove the work from the needle. Thanks so much for the detailed assistance!

  • Julie

    I am really enjoying your blogs with the pictures of how the shrug should look at each stage. I have never done a shrug before and reading through this one has given me the confidence to get started and know I will be able to tell if it fits.

  • http://quandoavistei.blogspot.com Silvia McFarland

    Man, I love that color! I may have to make 2…. :-)

  • http://www.glampyre.com Stefanie

    Thank you all for your kind comments! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying working on your shrugs!!

  • Dvora

    The video links are great even for those of us more experienced. I like to see how others do these things. :)

  • Miriam

    I had asked this question last week, but did not receive an answer. I need the answers before I can commit to the KAL:

    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?

  • http://www.glampyre.com Stefanie

    Miriam,

    Yes, in order to add a button hole, you will have to extend the ribbing around the neckline so that it meets in front. I didn’t design the pattern to do so, but it would be very easy. You’ll need to keep that in mind when we get to the ribbing portion of the pattern.

    And, yes, several people have already asked about sleeve measurement (which is probably why you didn’t receive an individual reply) and I do plan to discuss how to modify this.

    If you are wavering as to whether to participate, you can just wait until we cover that and see if the discussion meets your needs.

  • http://figuringonknitting.blogspot.com Karyn

    Stefanie, Thanks for the detailed instructions. I am really enjoying this KAL. I began working on the shrug last night after making sure that my gauge was right. I am just about to start the textured striping area and will be looking at the instructions you gave for pfb. I have done kfb many many times (in your designs :))but not pfb. I can’t wait to finish this and work with all the other knitters out there.

  • Anne

    Even though I am an experienced knitter (not expert)the video was a good addition – it helps knowing that I was doing something right for the kfb. I look forward to the pfb since that one causes me more problems. I agree with Karyn, the detailed instructions are a huge help. Much easier than the given instructions for remembering what you need to do. My sister is going to be getting the shrug and can hardly wait!
    Thanks.

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  • http://www.savvyneedle.com Kelli

    Thanks Stefanie, for sharing this pattern! It’s coming along very quickly (I actually am already past the point of splitting off the sleeves, and am almost finished with the back) and it’s so pretty!

    I just wanted to offer one piece of advice as others get to the textured stripe – make sure to keep a good tally of where you are in the pattern, because you’ll be increasing on every other row, but the textured stripe is an odd number, so they don’t correlate! I had to figure out a little shorthand to do for myself as I marked each completed row on my pattern, so I’d know where in the textured stripe pattern I was (I got too into CSI once and had to rip back a row because I did too many reverse stockinette rows!) Hope that make sense!

    Stefanie says: This is very true (you will sometimes start Textured Strip on a RS row, and sometimes on a WS row) which is why it’s easier to read your knitting and work 5 purl-looking rows, then 8 knit-looking rows on the RS than it is to try to write it out row by row.

    You’d actually end up with a 26-row repeat, rather than the 13-row repeat as it’s written.

    Good advice, Kelli.

  • Ali

    Kudos to linking to knittinghelp.com. I had gotten to the PFB last night, and wasn’t sure how to do it. I automatically go to knittinghelp.com whenever I have that kind of technical question. They are the best resource!

    So excited to keep going!

  • Tanya

    What sort of cast-on do you recommend? Any video link for a cast-on? Thanks!

    Stefanie says: lots of cast-ons would work…I always do the long tail cast on. You can either do a google search for cast on videos, or just go back to http://www.knittinghelp.com. They have videos for almost every knitting technique.

  • Lynn Zwerling

    I’ve got the yarn and am just now doing a swatch for guage and then I’m off and running. Thanks for doing this Stephanie. It isn’t often thst I get to lesarn from the best!

  • Kitty J

    I agree with some of the earlier statements, you are wonderful at explaining the pattern so everyone can understand it. I love this pattern and am also working on your Perwinkle Turtleneck, it would have been nice to have your help on that too but I have managed to figure it out. I love it. I have told anyone that likes to knit about your patterns nd books, unfortunely I had misspelled your name, sorry. Won’t happen again. K.J.

  • Holly Kubick

    Thank you! This is top-notch guidance.
    Holly

  • Sheri

    Stephanie,

    I am an intermediate+ knitter. I love your patterns and have knitted a few of them. I just couldn’t wait and have already finished the back portion. I am always a little intimidated by picking up stitches, so I will wait until the KAL is there, to see what tips and tricks you have for picking up stitches evenly. Thank you so much for doing this KAL! I already love it.

    My yarn is Conjoined Creations Dancing in color Mashed Potato! (Soy silk) Lovely drape!

  • Anne

    Thanks Kelli (#15) for your hint. I am still having a bit of a problem…. Now that I’m on the textured pattern area, do I start increasing right away (on row 1 of texture) or do I wait and start on row 2 (every other row)? I don’t want to make a mistake this early in the project!

    The posting of the notebook page to my inbox is a big help as well.

    Stefanie Says: The increases actually should be started on the second row of the shrug. They are worked every single RS row throughout the yoke.

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  • Surinder

    I have taken up this project after probably 15 year, since I last knitted. I actually went ahead and started the shrug even before you posted the hints. Biggest mistake. I was too eager and made all the mistakes that you mentioned could happen, for e.g. the textured pattern changes… I read it wrong and was just confused. Anyways, now i am waiting each Thursday to read detailed instructions, which are a great help.

    This may be a simple question, but I do need to clarify. Twice in the pattern it stated ‘work one row even’. Am I supposed to work a knit row even or a purl row?

    Stefanie says: you work one row in whatever stitch pattern you are supposed to do. If you are within the first 13 rows, you need to keep your knitting in stocking stitch, so that it looks knit on the RS of the fabric. If you are in the later part of the yoke and should be working in Textured Stripe, you need to work a row according to the stitch pattern.

  • Ann B

    In response to Anne (#20), you will work the increase stitches on the right side of the piece, so yes, you would start with the first row of the textured stripe.

    And to Surinder (#22), working one row even means you will not increase any stitches, but you’ll knit or purl depending on which section your in. When you’re knitting stockinette stitch (so knit side is on right side), you will purl the “work even” row. If you’re knitting reverse stockinette (so purl side is on right side), you will knit the “work even” row.

    Hope that helps!

    Stefanie says: Thank you Ann B, for stepping up and answering questions! This is just what I love about KALs…the more experienced helping the novice! :)

  • http://sheilasstitches.blogspot.com/ Faded Lily

    All I can say is: Thank you, Stefanie! Your blog post has been so helpful. In fact, I now plan to pace my shrug with your blog posts, I have a feeling you will probably answer any questions I have before I even ask them. Thanks again!

    Stefanie says: You are welcome! I’m glad that things are making sense and that the photos are helpful to you. I’ve also added them to the flickr group for this blog, so that they can be enlarged and examined more closely.

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

    I am an intermediate knitter, but never had to make a raglan before. I tried it on my own first and thankfully it looks just like the photos! I hope that you continue to use as many photos as possible like you did with this one – it’s such a stress buster – Thank you! I look forward to next week!

  • Stacy

    Thanks so much for sharing this pattern and the hints! I’ve been addicted to knitting this since I got it on my needles. This will be my first venture into non-rectangular knitting, but with the posting and going to my local yarn store for help, I think it’s coming along well. I’ll have to check it for fit like you recommended. It’s working so quickly, I’ll have to make one in a different color! I wound up going with the Kelly Green in Vanna’s Choice and have had lots of compliments on the color choice.

    Thanks again!

  • Susan

    I”m having fun with this project, and it’s also enjoyable to be able to come here and hear about others who are knitting it. The pictures really help and I printed them out so I can have them in my knitting basket.

  • Anne

    Thank you Ann B! Now I’ll get back to work for a little while (actually I have to get ready to go to my real job, library director for historical society, darn).

  • Pamela Kirschman

    This is my first KAL and the first time I’ve used one of your patterns, but so far I am loving it! It is also the first time that my gauge actually matches the gauge given(I usually have to go with smaller needles). I chose Caron Country, a microdenier acrylic/merino wool blend in Deep Purple and it is gorgeous! I will probably try this project again with a different yarn. I’ve so wanted to try a top-down pattern for ages. I think this is the perfect way to do it.

    I also appreciate the pictures, they are very helpful.

    Question: Can I do the sleeves in the round from the armpit down? I hate seaming! If so do I just start that when it says to separate for sleeves?

    Thank you for such a great pattern and all the help on the blog.

  • kathy

    I am new and I am not sure how to “break the yarn”. How do you keep your knitting from becoming unraveled?

  • Phoenix

    I am so excited!!! I have almost finished the yoke and am very glad I read the tip about trying it on before separating the sleeves! I couldn’t afford the organic cotton so I am making mine in Vanna’s Choice eggplant. So far it is great!

  • Rosemary

    I am having so much fun with this – KAL is a great idea and motivator. Thanks.

  • Leona

    I am really enjoying this project. Dropped the baby blanket in progress and jumped on this. I, too, am ready for the arms so can’t wait until next week. I was so happy to see the pics to reassure I was knitting correctly! Thanks so much for taking the time for us!

  • Ruth

    I am on the second textured stripe and it seems to be 2 garter ridges instead of the three of the first stripe. I started this stripe on the wrong side with a purl stitch. Row 6 wants to be a knit stitch on the right side. The picture seems to want it to be a purl row. What am I doing wrong??

    Stefanie says: I think that it would be very helpful for you to try to “read” your knitting as you are working, instead of trying to follow the pattern line by line. You fabric should look like:

    13 stockinette rows
    5 reverse stockinette rows
    8 stockinette rows
    5 reverse stockinette rows
    8 stockinette rows
    5 reverse stockinette rows
    8 stockinette rows
    5 reverse stockinette rows
    8 stockinette rows
    5 reverse stockinette rows
    etc. etc. to the end of the yoke

    (I may have cut and pasted too many repeats here, but you get the picture.)

    If you just work so that your fabric takes on this look, you’ll be in good shape.

  • love2knit

    thanks so much for such a great posting! i have one question, could i possibly knit the shrug all in stocking stitch?(except for the ribbing of course)

    Stefanie says: absolutely! You could knit it in any stitch pattern that you like! Stockinette would be very easy to do, and would look great.

  • Ulli Willis

    I have no problems with anything but the reversed stockinette, I come out with only 3 stripes, and the exact number of stitches, is it every other row on the riht side. I already frogged it twice. Please help

    Stefanie says: I’m having trouble visualizing what exactly the issue is? Do you mean that you only have 3 rows in reverse stockinette? Do you mean that you have fewer stripes as compared to the sample in the photos? If that’s the case, you may just be making a smaller size than I am, in which case, you’d have fewer total rows and possibly fewer stripes. If you can upload a photo to the Flickr Group for this KAL, I can better visualize what is going on with your knitting.

  • amster

    i have the book and i have been doing this over and over. but do i increase every other row during the textured stripe and repeat the pattern for textured stripe 14x (14x multilied by 13 row repeat)? Or am i supposed to do an increase row every 14th row? i’ve been doing the math over and over and trying to match it to the pictures in the book and it didn’t seem right. help!!

    Stefanie says: every other row from the start of the yoke to the end of the yoke is an increase row.

  • Jenny

    Stephanie, your instructions are so clear and terrific! I also like the pictures and all your tips and hints. This is my first KAL and loving it. Being too eager, I also made the mistake of going ahead. I’m stuck on the increase round of the body, so I’ll just have to patiently wait until you get to that part. In the meantime, I think I’ll start another one in a different color! For those of you that are having trouble keeping count of the textured stripe and increase rows, I wrote out each row from 1-29 on the back of the pattern and indicated K(knit) or P(purl)and circled the rows that needed the increase. Then I checked off each row as I finished, this way, I never got confused. Can’t wait for next week’s post.

  • Ann B

    Amster (post #37) the increases are worked every other row, and always on the right side, so the wrong side rows are stitched even.

    I finished the yoke per the directions, but the arms aren’t quite wide enough. So I’ve added two more sets of increases. I am so glad Stefanie gave the info about removing the project from the needle to check for size! It would have been so annoying to finish the project only to find it was too tight under the arms!!

  • Anne

    Another plea for guidance please. My sister wants the entire shrug a little longer (2-4″ I’m guessing) than the photo. Do I make it longer in this section so that the “arm hole” area is looser or do I wait for next week? Logic tells me to do it now by adding in extra increases while we are doing the yoke section but I’m not sure.
    Appreciate any ideas, comments, etc. Anne

  • Ann B

    Anne, if your sister wants the shrug itself to be longer, you could make the back section (worked after separating sleeves) longer by binding off less dramatically or making the whole ribbing edge longer…

  • Anne

    Ann, I like your idea of making the ribbed edge longer…….although I will look again at binding off at slower rate. Thanks much.

  • Ruby

    I just started my yoke after i did the 1 row even then rep last 2 rows 5 times more- you should have 96 stitches. I can’t figure how you get 96 sts.

  • Summer Knit

    hi Stephanie, i measured mine according to your instruction and it seems way too small. So i suppose i have to continue doing the 6 sts increase at every alternate rows, which means i will end up having more sts than what the original pattern called for…am i right? Will it gives me any problem at the later stage?

    please help, i am stuck now. thanks so much!

  • Ann B

    Ruby (post #43), you started with 60 stitches when you cast on, then you add six stitches on every right side row for a total of six times, giving you 36 additional 36 stitches (that’s the first increase plus the five repeats). Your first three rows are the setup (placing your markers), your first raglan increase row (RS), and then your first even row (WS). Does that help?

    Summer Knit (#44), be sure to check your gauge to be sure you’re knitting consistently through the textured stripe. I knit tighter on my purl rows than my knit rows, so I did have to add a few increases at the end. Yes, that would give you more stitches when you get to the next step, but this shouldn’t be an issue because you’re adding an even number of stitches. Don’t panic! ;)

  • Summer Knit

    i see that there are a lot of confusion here with regards to the raglan increase.

    if it can helps anyone, i have a spreadsheet (courtesy of julia401 who so kindly started the spreadsheet) detailing what to do at every row. It is such a breeze without having to worry or count any more. Just PM me if you would like to have a copy.

  • Summer Knit

    thanks, Ann B!

    the additional increase on sts would it means that i have to pick up more sts on the sleeve?

  • Ann B

    Summer Knit, you would likely end up with more stitches at the center back and yes, you could pick up more stitches along the front of the sleeve – based on the number of rows you have added. Looking at the medium size, there are 49 rows at the end of the pattern as written (before separating the sleeves), and from those 49 rows, there are 62 stitches to pick up from the sleeve for the ribbing. If you add four more rows (increasing 12 stitches), the math works out to picking up 66 or 68 stitches. Hopefully Stefanie will share more on this topic when we get to that section…

  • Summer Knit

    that’s very helpful, thanks Ann B!

  • Ruby

    Post 46
    Summer knits, I would like to have the spread sheet. Thanks