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Lover of knitting, embroidery, crochet, sewing, afternoon tea, fashion, music and film from the 1920's to the 1940's, vintage crockery and the occasional zombie film.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Lace Shrug, or, what I learned from knitting with cotton

Just two balls of Rowan Purelife cotton DK (currently in the sale in John Lewis) and one week of commuting has produced this handy lace shrug. It was a free pattern on Ravelry ("Something Lacy Shrug" by Vera Sanon for Cascade Yarns) and very enjoyable to knit.

Basically this is a rectangle of lacy loveliness with some ribbing on the sleeve edges and around the neck/back part. It is a fantastic project for the novice lace knitter since it's clear to see which part of the pattern you are knitting as you go along. It is easy peasy to memorise the repeats and  therefore safe to knit on the train or anywhere you may be distracted by, say, the strange behaviour of commuters or an exciting event in an episode of Miss Marple. 

I really loved knitting this shrug. I used lifelines to safeguard from having to rip it all back if I made a mistake because unpicking lace knitting is quite tricky. Well, enraging actually. Especially if it's your first lace experience. I am scarred by memories of ripping back hours and hours of lace knitting once. Anyway...

Lacy Shrug and creased dress.
Taking a photograph of your back, while trying to make a shrug look flattering, is tricky. Ignore the creased dress. Thank you. 

Lacy Shrug
Now for the learning points. 

1) Cotton doesn't have much give. I was worried this garment would either be too big and therefore baggy, or too tight and all bunched up in my under-arm area and pulling at my neck.  The shape of the shrug and ribbing does mean that is a risk:

Shrugs. Snug in the under-arm area.
Thankfully it seems to fit perfectly and stretches with wear.  It is a little inelegant when trying to put it on, though. The only issue when knitting with cotton was that it was tricky to pick up stitches because they are not stretchy like wool. But it was fine thanks to the selvedge edge. Phew! I had never used a selvedge edge before but it's genius for sewing up.

2) Binding off loosely. Wow. I thought I had, but cotton is a stubborn fibre and even the baggiest of cast offs leaves you feeling as if you're going to have a really nasty sagging edge to your work, but nope!

Clenching and unclenching the fists helps the blood to circulate...
This sleeve is fine in reality and has stretched since wearing it for a while.

That's probably more than you ever wanted to know about this little project but there we are. I've had a lot of coffee and spent too much time indoors today. 


  1. It is really sweet. Great colour and great dress. x

  2. Its adorable and you knitted it up so quickly I'm really impressed:)

  3. Thank you! I loved the pattern SO much. So simple yet very beautiful.