Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shrug for the princess

 Princess Katie modeling her Turtle-back Shrug

When I first saw the book, Easy Turtleback Jackets, I wanted to try the concept out on the knitting looms, so when Princess Katie, my granddaughter, needed a little something extra to go with her "Cinderella" Easter dress this gave me a chance to adapt the basic principles of the turtle-back shrug to the knitting loom. Of course, anytime you adapt patterns to the looms you have to test various yarns with different looms to determine what you think will work best. Since this was a springtime project, I didn't want to use double strands of yarn so I decided on using one strand of Bernat Softee Chucky. I test knitted approximately four different swatches using various looms and stitch patterns before settling on the 62 peg blue Knifty Knitter Long Loom and a modified version of the honeycomb or box stitch.

Shrug, front view

The basic guidelines for knitting a "turtle-back" are to knit a square based on chest measurements using some type of rib knit. Also, the first and last inch or so must be in a looser gauge than the main body of the square. To satisfy the design guidelines, I used the regular e-wrapped version of the box stitch for the beginning and ending inch and a flat knit version of the box stitch for the main body. If you look at the pictures above and below, you can see the larger gauge stitches along the collar and bottom edge. 

 Shrug, back view

I formed the sleeves openings by folding the 20 inch square in half and stitching from the bottom edges about half way up along both sides. Once the side stitches were complete, the shrug magically transformed into it's turtle-back shape. You can't imagine how happy I was at this point, because all the time I was knitting the square I simply couldn't imagine it would turn into a wearable shape. However, Princess Katie proves in the picture above that a square can live happily ever after!