A Stay Strong Shrug can be made with any yarn, needle size or stitch pattern. Your goal is to knit or crochet a finished fabric that measures approximately between 50-55″ wide by 28-32″ from top to bottom. Some stitch patterns are stretchier than others.
It’s important to look at what you’re making as a “fabric”, whether knitted or crocheted, different elements will produce different results. Yarn choice, needle or hook size, stitch pattern and your own tension all affect the “fabric” YOU create.
Things to consider when examining your “fabric”: how heavy is it?, how stretchy is it?, will it drape nicely when worn? Most of the time you can adjust your outcome by going up or down in needle size. Trust me, you’ll want to keep notes. When completed, measure your shrug and try it on. Write down your yarn, needles used, finished measurements and how it feels on. Then you can make adjustments next time.
I make a lot of tunisian crocheted shrugs. This stitch pattern really retains its true size so I lean toward a finished measurement 55″ whereas when making the PDF knitted version which is done in stockinette stitch with a garter stitch border, I’ll shoot for 50-52″ because its drapes/stretches when worn.
After your “fabric” is finished, you’ll lace it into a shrug. Your laces can be a crocheted chain, i-cord or a pretty ribbon. These laces can be removed if the mom receiving it would like to use it as a throw. To lace into a shrug, with wrong side up, fold the four corners of your “fabric” toward the center, and “seam” the sleeves closed as pictured below. We do accept rectangular shaped shawls that fall into our dimension range. You can ship or deliver rectangular shaped shawls to us and, if you’d prefer, we will add laces to convert them into shrugs. At this point in our mission we are streamlining and looking for uniformity. Our unique shrugs help us stand out from other prayer shawl ministries.
You can lace your seams closed with an i-cord, a long crocheted chain or even a thin ribbon. A nice long crocheted chain made with matching or coordinating yarn gives a pretty finishing touch.
I recently taught myself how to crochet so I could understand and create a pattern for crocheters. An important thing to consider when making a shrug – whether its knitted or crocheted, is how heavy different yarns and stitch patterns work up. By making this super simple crocheted shrug, I’ve eliminated some of the finished weight by using a more open stitch pattern. After your initial chain, the entire piece is just half double crocheted stitches which work up quickly leaving a nice balance of yarn and open stitch work but still feels warm and cozy when worn. Remember to adjust your hook size to the yarn you choose.
If you’re a sock knitter or have made one of the beautiful fingering weight shawls that are so popular now (we are talking to all of you “Find Your Fade” shawl knitters!), you might be interested in using some of your leftover yarn to make a Stay Strong Bear Buddy for a child entering RMD House. These are easy and work up quickly in the round with very little finishing work required. Just stuff his legs and lower body, slip the single I-cord “arm” through the holes you create when knitting in the round, finish stuffing, seam the top of his head closed, sew a few diagonal stitches across top corners to form ears then embroider on a cute little face. We would love to collect enough Stay Strong Bear Buddies to go in every tote we ship to RMD Houses. Not all RMD Houses accept stuffed animals so please ship all Bear Buddies to us at: Mary Langdon, 1 Redwood Road, Martinsville, NJ 08836.
We are creating a community of support –together, and you deserve to be recognized for your effort. Please remember to add your own note or print out one of our cards to write your message on.
Printing on cardstock is best. Your note doesn’t have to be lengthy. You can add a simple message like: “Handmade for you with love in every stitch. Stay Strong!” – then add your name and hometown. It can be really difficult to find comforting words for a mom fighting alongside her seriously ill child. Hopefully each mom will feel our love and support when she wraps up in our shrugs and shawls.
Shrugs and rectangular shawls can either be shipped/delivered to Mary Langdon, 1 Redwood Road, Martinsville, NJ 08836 or dropped at the Washington Valley Library, 1961 Washington Valley Road in Martinsville. We also meet at the Martinsville Community Center (located behind the Washington Valley Library) on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 12:30-2:30. Stop in and knit/crochet with us or to drop off shrugs.