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Help knitting a shrug

shannonmgarvey | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

Hello. I am knitting a shrug for a dancer friend’s birthday. I found this pattern on the Lion Yarn website where you basically just knit a rectangle and then stitch the long sides together (but not the middle of it) to create the sleeves.

Now I’m new to knitting garments (I usually knit scarves and afghans) therefore I’m not really familiar on how much it will stretch. My friend measured from wrist to wrist along the outside of her arms and across her upper back and came to 51″.

Does anyone know how long I should knit the rectangle? It’s 100% acrylic and I’m knitting it across the width of the rectangle, not the length.



  1. katina | | #1

    Are you able to measure it on your friend as you work? If so, I would knit until it's about the right length from sleeve edge to sleeve edge. Then I'd sew one of the sleeve seams and let her slip an arm into it. Then you drape the knitting across her back and along the other arm until she's happy with the fit.

    Hope this helps.

    1. shannonmgarvey | | #2

      Unfortunately I won't be able to measure it on her. I tour with a show plus she lives in a different state than I. Thanks for the suggestion tho.

      1. katina | | #3

        Your pattern should give you the finished length. This will be based on the measurement for an average size. Is this measurement very different from the length your friend measured?

      2. dotty | | #4

        Are shrugs really that fitted?

  2. From my Stash.... | | #5

    What a great idea for a gift for a dancer.

    Your pattern should have included a tension or gauge swatch which allows you to test your specific wool and size needles to the size recommended for the pattern (x number of stitches times y number of rows equals a certain size square). Knowing how your swatch compares to theirs, this allows you to increase or decrease the size of needles, change the tension, or find another wool to get to the right size. If you haven't done that yet, you definitely should. For example, knowing that your swatch needs 25 stitches and 16 rows to create a square measuring 3 inches by 4 inches, this would tell you how many stitches or rows you needed to cover that 51", depending on which direction you are knitting it. 

    I learned to do a tension test the hard way when learning - a wonderful little cable pullover for a friend's daughter ended up looking great, but only fit for her doll. She laughed when I explained by the gift was matching sweaters for her daughter and the doll.

    If the pattern didn't give you a gauge swatch, then you should try to create one for yourself. Since the degree of stretch will depend greatly on how large the needles are and the type of wool, you're going to have to experiment with it.

    Good luck with this, and your friend will love it, even if the sleeves end up being too short.


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