it's still a simple shrug

Well after a couple of crazed months we've landed in Los Angeles and while I would love to have something new to share with you from my new locale (virtual & real) I'm afraid it's still a simple shrug.
Meanwhile back in Chicago Knit 1 lives on! My dear friend and unofficial partner of 4 years Lynn Coe has taken the reins and is currently revamping to really take the store to the next level. Knit 1 Chicago Keep on supporting a great local small business!

This was a shrug I did for the store window a couple years back. I had forgotten about it but was going through things to pack up and thought I would resurrect it.

It's a simple shrug with a couple more advanced techniques thrown in to make it challenging. A provisional or invisible cast on is used to create seamless sleeves by grafting (kitchener) the 1st & last row together; while short rows are used to create a slight shawl collar.

Hope you all enjoy!

A Simple Shrug

2 skeins Misti Alpaca Super Chunky or @100-120yds of the equivalent yarn
#19 (24" or 29") needles
darning needle for finishing
stitch markers
gauge: @1.5sts = 1" in stockinette stitch
note: always slip the 1st stitch of each row purlwise
Size: one size; the finished width 36" slightly stretched, if you want longer sleeves cast on extra stitches. This piece is worked until it can circle your upper arms.

Using a provisional cast on, cast on 48sts (Theresa Vinson Stenersen has a good tutorial on provisional/invisible cast on

Knit 1 row marking 11 sts on each side for the sleeves (k11, pm, k26, pm, k11).

Begin short rows: short rows assistance if you need it.

Purl 24, pm (to mark the center; I find this helpful to have a visual to divide the work as I'm making short rows.), p2, wrap & turn (from now on referred to as w/t).
K4, w/t
P4, pu wrap & ptog with stitch it's wrapped around, p2, w/t
K7, pu wrap ktog, k2, w/t
P10, pu wrap ptog, p2, w/t
K13, pu wrap ktog, k2, w/t
P16, pu wrap ptog, p3, w/t
K20, pu wrap ktog, k3, w/t
P24, pu wrap ptog, p to end
K36, pu wrap ktog, k to end

Work in stockinette stitch for as many rows needed to circle your upper arms. Graft/kitchener (again Theresa has a great tutorial on grafting) as many stitches needed to have the sleeves reach your armpits; 11 is average @ 8.5". Starting at the outer sleeve edge work towards the center. Bind off loosely or Julie from knittedbliss turned me onto this great video tutorial with Cat Bordhi for a springy bind off.


  1. This looks amazing! Am a relative beginner, but can't wait to try it! Quick question: is it ok to use circular #19 needles? I can't find straight #19 needles that are long enough...


  2. Love to start this but being a beginner I just have a couple of questions: Why do you use a provisional cast on? Also in row 1 you are marking after the first 11 stitches on both ends and then in row 2 you are marking again to mark the center of the row. Why? You say that you are marking the first row for each side of the sleeves but I assume you are starting the garment at the bottom/back - correct? Sorry I should just start it and I am sure it will make more sense as I proceed. Beginner issues!

  3. Hi Denise, the shrug is worked from the top down and the provisional cast on is so you can graft the 2 edges together to form the sleeves, though you could always cast on and bind off then sew the edges together. I mark the center of the row to guide me as I make the short rows to form the shawl collar. Hope this helps! Karen

  4. One final question - so when you use the provisional cast on to graft a sleeve what happens to the neck edge if it is in the form of the provisional cast on and doesn't get grafted with the sleeve? Thanks - this will be my weekend project!

    1. You'll want to bind off those stitches. Hope this helps! Karen

  5. I have a question about the 'pu' stitches. Is a new stitch made here, so each row gets longer? Or do I pu a stitch, wrap that one, and then put it back on my left needle to knit it together with the following stitch? The rest makes sense, but that part had me lost. Thanks!

    1. Hi Marly, you're increasing the height of the rows but not increasing the stitches or stitch count so the stitch that is wrapped will be knit together with the yarn that is wrapped around it. You want to maintain the same stitch count so no increasing or decreasing. Simply knit the wrap together with the stitch it's wrapped around. Hope this helps! Karen

  6. I was wondering how to modify this to fit a much larger woman. Perhaps knit it in a very loose garter stitch? Or add stitches to the middle and the sleeves? I can do a dry run on stash yarn but the person I'd like to knit this for has a body circumference of at least 46". . . .what to do?

    1. Hi Brian, for this pattern you are knitting for the circumference of the upper arms. Measure around her upper arms and you will knit the shrug to the length of that measurement (measured at the short edge of the shrug). Does that make sense? The shrug doesn't go around her body so you don't have to worry about that measurement. If you do a test with stash yarn you'll see how the pattern is structured and see how easy it is to make one for your friend :) Hope that helps! Karen

    2. Could I just knit it on US 36 needles? That would work for a larger person, yes?

    3. You could but it might look too loose depending on the yarn. If you start knitting with the gauge of yarn the pattern calls for on US19's and knit until the short edges of the piece can go around her upper arms I really think you won't have a size issue. Does that make sense? Let me know :)

  7. Novice - what do PU and pm stand for? Thanks a lot - ANY

    1. Hi Allegra, PU means to 'pick up'. If you look on youtube for the 'wrap & turn' method of working short rows it will make sense. And pm stands for 'place marker' you'll want to put a stitch marker between two stitches.
      Hope this helps! Karen


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