Send a hug with a shrug!


    As mentioned in our last post, Mama in a Stitch’s blanket sweater pattern was the inspiration behind our Stay Strong shrugs.  These shrugs knit and crochet up so quickly you’ll find yourself creatively – and rapidly! – using up your yarn stash.  We found that our ideal finished measurements take on more of a rectangular shape than the blanket sweater which when finished hits mid-thigh where our shrugs hang more like a shawl and cover your lower back.

Blanket Sweater measurements:  roughly 40″ (arm to arm) by 34″ (top down)

Stay Strong Shrug measurements:  roughly 46″ by 26″.  The longer width (wrist to wrist) gives more fabric to wrap up in.  Again, comforting more like a shawl.  Each shrug uses a total of about 650 – 700 yards of yarn – about 325-350 per strand.  Crochet uses more yarn.

Here’s an example of a shrug using US15 needles. We casted on 99 stitches which gave us 44″ width and knitted until it was 26″ long. The yarn combo of Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball and Debbie Macomber Rosebud created a lighter weight shrug.  The sparkle and shading from Shawl in a Ball is beautiful.

This is an example using US17 needles and casting on 83 stitches holding a strand of Lion Brand Scarfie together with Debbie Macomber Rosebud.  Finished measurements were 42″ wide by 29″ long.  We will probably cast on 91 stitches next time to make it a little wider.  But the fabric feels awesome.

And heres another fabric knitted up on US19 needles.  Casting on 83 stitches gave us a generous 47″ wide by 26″ long.  We used one strand Lion Brand Scarfie held with Lion Brand Landscape.  The US19 created an open stitch, US17 could be used to create a warmer fabric, but cast on a few more stitches.

These shrugs are worked in rows from wrist to wrist.  Work until you reach desired length.  Due to the cast on being stretchier than the bind off, when planning colors, do your planning from the bottom up.  That way the looser edge is along the bottom.  Leave a rather long tail when casting on and binding off to use for seaming.  In our knitted pieces, we use our Stay Strong knit pattern for the first and last 2 or 3 inches of the fabric. The pattern is a knit 3, purl 1, knit 3 repeat.  The first and last 7 stitches of every row are also K3, P1, K3 repeats making a border around all 4 sides of the stockinette portion of the shrug which makes whip stitch seaming easier later and lays flat.  You’ll be knitting your purls and purling your knits in this border pattern, be careful not to create ribbing.  And when possible, bind off with a needle larger than your working needle. This will help create a looser bind off.  Also, to eliminate yarn for seaming, begin your bind off row on the same side as your cast on tail.  When you finish binding off you’ll end at the opposite end.  Cut a tail long enough to seam with.  Now you created a seaming thread for both sleeves by using your cast on and bind off tails.  Just little tips we discovered along the way.

And finally, here is a fabric worked up in tunisian crochet.   We chained 83 stitches using a 12mm hook and got a finished width of 42″ wide by 27″ long holding two strands of Red Heart’s Unforgettable together throughout.  Tunisian crochet makes a very dense fabric.  We used a rather large hook to allow some drape in the shrug.

Its all about gauge!  Any yarn – or yarn combination, any pattern, needle size, knit or crochet can be used for making shrugs for our Stay Strong totes.  Use up your yarn stash, get creative and support a great cause!  We can really use your help.

Eight more Stay Strong totes were delivered to Ronald McDonald House/New Brunswick, NJ last week!   Each tote is a joint effort combining donated gift items from our wishlist on Amazon and handmade shrugs and shawls.  So thanks everyone – your support and kind wishes go into each and every Stay Strong tote.  We love the community we are building.

Thanks for sitting in!

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