As you probably know, I am leading the Layering Shrug knitalong for the iMake podcast. Martine will be posting a new podcast on Wednesday 9 May and there’s a piece of audio in the show staring me! I’m giving handy tips on knitting the layering shrug. Or, at least, I hope that you’ll find them useful. To listen to the podcast (Martine’s podcasts are brilliant, so I recommend it), you can either go to the blog at www.imake.gg or you can go to iTunes and search for the iMake podcast in the podcast section. You can download it to your phone for FREE!
Firstly, if anyone would like to join us on the knitalong, then please do so. We would love to have you knitting with us. There are several of us who have only just cast on and some who are yet to do so, so you won’t be behind! The pattern is Juju Vail’s Layering Shrug which is available to download for FREE from the LoopKnitlounge blog page, the blog for the wonderful Loop in Islington.
The Layering Shrug (Picture from LoopKnitlounge blog)
Keeping in touch
The best thing about participating in a knitalong is the various ways you can communicate with people across the world who are knitting the same project. You can share ideas and pictures, discuss yarn choices and techniques and share when it all goes horribly wrong. In return you’ll get support and encouragement and lots of handy little tips. Plus seeing all the different variations of yarns and colours is great! Beware though, seeing other people’s colour choices can give you colour envy!!
The best way to keep in touch is the Layering Shrug Knitalong thread on the iMake group on Ravelry, but we are also using Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #shrugkal. It you like, you can post comments here on my blog and, if you write your own blog, why not post about it yourself and share the post for the rest of the Kalers on the Layering shrug Knitalong thread.
The pattern suggests BC Garn’s Allino which is a DK cotton and linen mix, or BC Garn’s Jaipur which is 100% mulberry silk in laceweight. Both give a different texture. The Silk is very lightweight and ideal for over evening wear or on a very hot day, the linen on the other hand creates a heavier fabric, which is much more day wear and practical for British summers! Of course, you don’t have to use either of these yarns. I’d recommend that you use a yarn with at least 50% of either cotton, linen or silk in it though. This is because the weight of the yarn is important to the drape of the fabric and finished garment. If you’re not sure that the yarn you are thinking of will work, then do a swatch of Chart D and take a look at it, not just the size of the piece but also how it hangs. I recommend Chart D because this is knitted in the flat and includes the whole lace repeat. A plain knit swatch will not give you the same type of fabric.
My Layering shrug, using Allino
Martine also chose to use Allino, but she has chosen not to add a stripe. You don’t need to, but you still need to pay attention to the pattern where it indicates a stripe because the yarn is held double on the cast off edges. This is to add weight to the ends of the sleeves, so even if you are not striping you need to still use your yarn held double. You can do this by pulling yarn from the other end of your ball, or by using a second ball at the same time.
Martine’s Shrugkal from her Flickr Feed
In general the pattern is quite simple, however, there are a few tricky little techniques to master and we’ve spotted a confusing bit in the pattern when it comes to Chart D too.
The pattern calls for a provisional cast on. This is because you start by knitting the cuff of one of the sleeves, down to the bottom of where you cast off. You then pick up the cast on stitches from the other side and knit up the sleeve. This will make more sense when you come to do it. Don’t be afraid!! Here is a link to a YouTube video showing you how to do a provisional cast on using the crochet method: Provisional cast on
You can also do a provisional cast on using the wire from a set of circular interchangeable needles. Ceci (Acanthus on Ravelry), one of our Kalers posted this video on the Ravelry thread for us: Provisional cast on with a cable. Thank you Ceci, I’m sure this will be a great help to a lot of people. The benefit of this method is that you don’t have to pick up the provisional stitches again when you come to knit in the other direction, because they are already on your cable.
For help with any knitting stitch or technique, simply go to YouTube and search using “knitting” followed by the term used in the pattern; eg “knitting SSK” or “knitting elastic cast off”. Both of these terms are used in the Layering shrug. This will bring up several video tutorials for you to choose from.
The pattern is started by knitting in the round. Which means that once you have cast on, instead of turning your work and knitting the last cast on stitch first, you “join” the work by knitting the first cast on stitch first. When joining you work, be very careful that each of your stitches is the right way up before you knit it. If you twist any on the needle, you will end up with a twisted hoop and will have no option but to start again! You also need to put a stitch marker at this point so that you know when you have finished a complete round. Each “row” on Charts A, B & C represent one round.
SSK is used a lot in the pattern. You need it to create a left slanting decrease to correspond with the right slanting decrease created when knitting 2 stitches together. SSK is done my slipping 2 stitches from left to right needle, individually, as though you were going to knit them (so they twist a little). You then put the left hand needle through both of the slipped stitches on the right hand needle, through the front of those stitches, from left to right. You then knit those 2 stitches together. Personally I find this a very faffy way of achieving a left slanted decrease. I’ve experimented with several different ways and I prefer to simply knit 2 stitches together in the back of the stitch i.e. put the righthand needle through the back loop of the next 2 stitches on the left hand needle and knit them together. It creates exactly the same stitch as the SSK, as far as I can tell!
You may find it easier to keep track of the lace repeats if you use stitch markers. I have placed them every 10 stitches, which is the number of stitches in each pattern repeat of all charts. This way, you know if you have gone wrong in any section and not just when you don’t have the correct number of stitches at the end of the row. You can then correct the error in the section where it needs to be corrected and not mess up how the repeats line up in the finished garment.
So far, Chart D seems to have caused the most confusion. On the very first row (and only the first ever row) of Chart D you have to cast on 4 stitches at the beginning and 3 stitches at the end of the row. This is not done at the beginning and end of every row 1 on Chart D , just the very first one. At Chart D, you also need to start knitting flat instead of in the round, which means you turn your work and knit back over the stitches you’ve just knitted instead of continuing and go back and forth until you finish Chart D. One more thing to say about Chart D and that is that the stitches that you repeat are the 10 stitches between the 2 dark lines on the chart. The stitches outside of those lines are only knitted once in each row.
My layering shrug so far
Gorgeous Mabel asleep on my knitting!
And finally…. the Moonwalk
I’m afraid I’m not above a bit of shameless begging. During the night of 12 May 12, I am participating in Moonwalk London which is a 26.2 mile walk (yes folks, that’s a full MARATHON) to raise money to help in the fight against breast cancer. There are 17000 of us. Mainly women, but some men and we have to (including the men) do it in our bras!! We all decorate our bras and this year’s theme was patriotism. I have, therefore, knitted myself a bra in red, white and blue chenille! PLEASE, Please, please sponsor me at http://www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/kate_ellis