Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fuzzy Shrug!

So my sister is throwing me a meet-the-baby-bbq baby shower next Saturday.  Or, as she calls it, a "baby-q".  Yes, I'm not the only wordsmith in the family.  Now, I'm not too big on huge social gatherings, especially those that put me at the center of attention, but this will be my first time seeing most of my friends -- especially the girls from work -- in a couple of months.  Also, free food, and maybe a couple of beers.  I'm hesitant to admit it, but I'm almost looking forward to this.  Almost...

Anyways, I need to find something to wear.  Despite the fact that it's July, this is Canada, and the temperature can change faster than you can say "Hey, the temperature's changing, eh?"  Full sleeves would get too hot during the day, no sleeves might leave me too cold in the evening.  The solution: *shrug*.  No really, a shrug!  I've been kicking this idea around for a while, since my company's dress code did not allow sleeveless garments, and I have a bunch of otherwise adorable dresses, alas, with no sleeves. Perfect solution!

Since I'm short on time, this will be a fairly quick, simple piece.  I've picked out an eyelash yarn with a bit of metallic shimmer to it (you'll find I'm a sucker for anything sparkly).  The fuzzy finish will hide any mistakes or imperfections, and you can afford to be a little looser with your stitches so it has a bit of give.  I'm using slightly bigger needles than my norm, too, US10.

I knit this piece sideways, from one sleeve to the other.  Simply cast on 50 stitches, and knit every row until the piece reaches from one shoulder to the other (for me, I knit 100 rows).  After binding off, simply sew the two long edges together roughly three inches on either end to form the sleeves, and presto!  You've got a shrug!  (Mine only took a single ball of yarn, and a few episodes of Supernatural -- it is a really quick piece!)  The only problem I encountered was that the eyelashes make it a little more difficult to see the stitch you're working with, so you need to rely on your fingertips to tell you exactly where it is.  Once you get used to it, though, it's pretty smooth sailing.  Also, the yarn I used tends to shed the little metallic fibers, so my work area (read: the couch) tends to end up looking a little...festive.
This pattern is easily adaptable, too: for wider, looser sleeves, increase the number of stitches you cast on.  for longer sleeves, knit more rows, and stitch further in on either side.  You can even knit some for the kids, by using fewer stitches and rows.  Basically, the only measurement you need to know is the distance from shoulder to shoulder, so you can make sure the sleeves start in the right place.  Below, you can see (or not, since the yarn is so fuzzy) the seam for my sleeve.

If you want to get really creative, you can even mix up the colors, like I did for this piece below.  Simply knit 20 rows or so for the first sleeve in one color, switch to your second color for the body, and finish off with the last 20 rows of your other sleeve.  I have a feeling I'm about to see a sudden influx of shrugs in my wardrobe...
Simplified pattern:

CO 50 stitches
Knit 100 rows (or length required for size)
Sew long sides together 2-3" on either side for sleeves

Feel free to share any questions, comments, or ideas you may have!

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