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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Neckline Trim

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Neckline Trim

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been on the road teaching a workshop for the last few days, so I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos in today’s post.  Since I was teaching all day, most of these were taken at night in the hotel.

Thank you to everyone who stepped up to answer questions since the last post! I was traveling and didn’t have my laptop, so I really appreciate it.

Today’s post will focus on picking up stitches and knitting the ribbing along the neckline of the shrug.

I tried to get some good photos of where / how I picked up my stitches, but this is actually a very individual process. (Here is a video from that shows how to pick up stitches.)

I tend to use the stitches along the outermost edge of the knitted fabric, while some teachers will tell you to pick up a little farther into the fabric. Wherever you choose to pick your stitches up, you’ll be fine, as long as you pick up the number of stitches recommended by the pattern. The two kinds of stitches that you will find at the edge of the fabric are what look like bumps (first arrow) and lines (second arrow.)  You can pick up into either of these.

You just insert the needle into the fabric and draw the working yarn through the loop that you’ve created.

  • HINT: It may take a few attempts to end up with the right distribution of picked up stitches along the front of the sleeves.  Something that helps is to divide up the fabric into smaller sections and make sure to pick up the appropriate number in each section.  For example, I had to pick up 70 stitches along the right and left fronts.  I had 10 stitches at the top of that section from the cast on, so I had to pick up 60 stitches along the diagonal.  I could have (just by eyeball, and using markers) divided the length of the fabric into 6 sections and made sure to pick up 10 sts in each section.

Begin picking up stitches at the right back section, and continue around the right front.

  • HINT: Fold the sleeve in half to bring the points together.  You may even want to seam your sleeves now, to make it easier to see where to pick up next.

At the cast-on edge, you just pick up one stitch for every cast on stitch, and then continue down the left front, and end at the left back right at the spot that your stitches are waiting for you on the scrap yarn.

Transfer these stitches to the needle.  Now you’re ready to work your ribbing in the round.

  • NOTE: Some people have asked me why I decided not to do a provisional cast on at the neck, so that the stitches could be seamlessly worked into the ribbing.  This is a possible alternative, but I like having the structure of that back neck cast on edge.  It really helps the garment to keep its shape.

For people who have added stitches at the under arm, you will fold the little flap of extra stitches up, and pick up sts along that top/cast on edge.

Place markers like I have in the photo below, so that you remember which sts are added, and which are part of the original pattern.  This way, you can still follow the original pattern instructions for your size when you are ready to do your increases.

  • NOTE: Several people have commented on the Ravelry page for this pattern that they think there is an errata in the next (increase) section.  I want to comment on that for those of us who are itching to go on ahead.

The pattern instructions themselves are fine, but the way that RLI is described in the pattern notes makes the increase section not quite work out.

  • RLI is defined by the pattern editor as knit into the right leg of the stitch below the next stitch on the left hand needle.
  • BUT, in order for the instructions to work, you also need to knit into the next stitch on the needle.  When I do this, it is one fluid motion, and I consider it one operation.
  • So to ME, RLI means to knit into the right leg of the stitch below the next stitch on the needle, and then into the next stitch on the needle…and that is how the pattern is intended to be worked.
  • Here is a video for RLI (the instructions are just the way I describe above, to do the increase and then knit the next stitch in one operation…except that the abbreviation on the site is KRL)

My next post will describe the increase section in detail.

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  • Stefanie~~
    At this point, we are supposed to be using the smaller needle size, correct?
    I know this has been asked several times, and you said you’d get to it here~~If I needed to start with a smaller size needle (in my case size 5), what size needle should I be using for the rib trim?
    I don’t want to get behind again, and today would be the only chance I have to go buy needles and devote an entire day to knitting. Otherwise, I have to wait until next Tuesday to continue work on my shrug.

  • Ah ha! Thank you for the video link for the RLI – now it all makes sense! Just in time – I have two more rounds of k1p1, then that increase row. Your pics are so helpful, too 🙂

  • Dorothy,

    The smaller needle size gives the trim of the shrug its fitted look. You’ll probably want a 4 or 3, depending on how you knit.

  • I’m so glad to have this knit along. I would not be able to tackle this project without the detailed instructions and pictures. I REALLY helps.

    Keep up the awesome job!!

  • thanks for the great instructions it answers a lot of questions

  • Dorothy,

    I agree with Jess. The most important aspect of the needle size isn’t the needle’s actual size, 5 or 6 or whatever, but the size of the stitch you get. So if you already had to go down a size or three for the main body of the garment, you’ll want to stay in ratio with the needle size you ended up with. That way your stitches will be in approximately the same ratio as the pattern needle sizes. So you may end up going down to a 3 or possibly a 4. Hope that makes sense!


  • great pattern wonderful way to teach knitting I learned bye trial and error I’m on my second shrug enjoyed making first one, second goes so much faster nancy british columbia

  • Stefanie, your posts are wonderful! I am, though, confused abut the treatment of added stitches at the sleeve when picking up the neck trim. If the 10 stitches that you added are considered part of the original count of 70 needed (you wrote: “For example, I had to pick up 70 stitches along the right and left fronts. I had 10 stitches at the top of that section from the cast on, so I had to pick up 60 stitches along the diagonal.”), why do you later write “Place markers like I have in the photo below, so that you remember which sts are added, and which are part of the original pattern. This way, you can still follow the original pattern instructions for your size when you are ready to do your increases.”?

    If you intend to keep the added stitches separate, then wouldn’t you need to pick up the full 70 stitches on the sleeve front to keep with the original directions?

    I, too, would appreciate help on the ribbing stitch gauge so I can determine which needle size to use. I don’t have a feel for what the ribbing tension should be in comparison with the rest of the knitting.

    Thanks again for such detailed instructions and all your help!


  • Kay,

    If you read the directions in the pattern, you see that the 70 (or however many for your size) stitches that you need to pick up are for the whole sleeve section, not just along the diagonal.

    Since you have 10 cast on stitches in the sleeve section AT THE NECK EDGE, (I’m talking about the ORIGINAL CAST ON, not the extra stitches that you added at the under arm) you need to pick up 60 along the diagonal, plus whatever you added at the under arm, plus 10 at the neck edge.

    Dorothy, everyone is right in suggesting that you go proportionally smaller with your needle size. You’ll want to choose a needle that is approx. 2 US sizes smaller than the one you used for the body. If you try that and the ribbing seems too tight or too loose for your taste, you may want to switch…but it *should* work out fine.

  • Help! I tried to flatten out the body and sleeves a little before picking up stitches for the ribbing, but I used a little too much steam (I used a steamer instead of an iron) and now one sleeve is too flat! Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get some of the original shape (and poofing) back? I tried wetting it all down and drying it with a hair dryer, but it’s not working.

  • Jenny,

    You’ll need to dampen the sleeve (try misting with a squirt bottle like for plants) and bunch it up a little bit…if you let it air dry, rather than trying to speed-dry it with the dryer, it should bounce back on its own.

  • Thanks, Stefanie! My confusion evidently was thinking about the “wrong” 10 stitches since it was 10 that you added to the sleeve and I was stuck on that.

    So the added stitches at the underarm DO increase the total # of stitches picked up, but are worked even during the increase rows and that’s why you recommended the markers. Have I got it right now?

  • Jess & Kelli & Stefani~~
    Thanks for the input on needle size. It does make perfect sense, so I’m starting out with the size 3 needles.

  • Stefanie, Thanks for your instructions and pictures, they have made this a do-able project. And the video for the RL1/KRL – made that much clearer. I am almost there, the ribbing takes more time then the entire shrug…..almost ready to start increasing.
    I have basic question regarding hiding my yarn ends when joining a new ball. Usually I start new ball at the seam which makes it easy to the weave in later, does anyone have a technique that works in the round with the ribbing?

  • Are you supposed to knit the scrap yarn loops onto your needle or simply transfer them on?

  • I have picked up all of my stitches and have done l row of the K1P1 and am having difficulty with the circular kneedles twisting all up. Does anyone have any suggestions to make this easier? Stefanie’s photo looks like the needles are lying in a nice circle, but mine sure aren’t. Are you working with the sleeves inside or outside? I did run the plastic wire under the hot water to try to get the kinks out before I began, but they seem to be back with a vengence. Thanks in advance -your suggestions might just prevent me from tearing my hair out!

  • Reply to Kat (#15): I transfer the live loops from the scrap yarn to the needle first, making sure not to twist or drop any. This allows them to even out again as they stretch to fill the needle. I may gently tug the fabric down from the needle also, further smoothing out the last row. This works especially well with a 14″ needle in the same size as your circ., just for this first new row. Hope this helps you achieve a neat transfer!

  • Reply to Sharon (#16), you probably need to soak the plastic cable in hot water longer than you would just running it under the hot water, or if you can work with it twisting for a while, it should gradually relax. My circular needle holder hangs from a hanger, and allows the needles to hang free, no forming them into small circles for storage, and that helps keep them “straight”. It is called “Circular Solultion”, and I bought mine through the Patternworks catalog several years ago.

  • I have interchangeable cable needles. I put the sleeve stitches on two extra cables and screwed the end caps on, so that way when I’m ready for the sleeves, I can just screw on the needles and get to work.


  • I do not have enough wool to complete the ‘collar’ section and have managed to get a wool to blend in. nOW WHEN DO I ADD THE NEW WOOL COLOUR SO THAT IT FORMS PART OF THE FOLDED BACK COLLAR?

  • On vacation with 10 rows of seed stitch left to go and I have run out of yarn! I cannot believe I left my last ball at home. I am so bummed, I would be done by now.

  • Thank you Pat (#18) for the hint of using hot water to relax the circular needles! What a difference.
    Now that I’ve finally finished the sleeves (my sister wanted longer sleeves to hide the elbow) I’m a bit behind but thanks to all of the previous posts I might be able to figure out what I’m supposed to do. If not, I’ll be back with queries.

  • I’m really confused on picking up the stitches. It seems like if I start on the right side of the existing stitches (which are the last to be picked up for the neck – no problem there) then I would be going to the right when picking up the stitches, but I think I need to pick them up to the left. I’ve watched the video, and she picks up to the left too. Do I really start on the left side? Help please. Thanks.

  • Slogging along on the 33 rows of K1P1 (on row 26 now) and slightly discouraged to see that someone is on their 2nd one! I’m glad to see the video of the increase and wonder “why” this increase was chosen vs a knit front and back or a MI increase.
    (I always like to know “why”)
    I’m only on my 2nd ball of Vanna’s Choice at this point, so it’s been pretty economical.
    Can’t wait to see other people’s photos’s of theirs on the LB gallery. Hope to get mine up soon

  • Now that I’ve started the k1p1 section (on row 2), when or how or where can we increase the length of the shrug? My sister (who will be told in the future “no changes in a pattern”) wants it to be longer in back……… Any suggestions?

  • Vivette – I feel your pain! I feel like I’ve been on the K1P1 section forever and am still not done. It’s almost enough to make me want to learn to knit continental-style, since it’s supposed to be much faster. 🙂

  • to Katie (#23) Please see the photos in this post, they show you where to start picking up stitches. It doesn’t really matter where you start, just so you have the RS facing you. If you pick up with the WS facing, you will end up with a bump of stitches, like a purl ridge, on the RS of the fabric. This is better hidden inside.

    to Vivette (#24) I chose to use this increase in the design of the shrug because it creates a knit-looking stitch, rather than a hole (like a m1) or a twisted-looking stitch. You can, of course, do whatever increase you prefer.

  • I’m on row 8 of the ribbing section. What is continental-style knitting? I’ve heard that phrase several times and am curious about it. Does anyone have a link to a good video or instruction? I love learning new techniques and styles, like the video on RLI that Stephanie posted. The videos are awesome!

  • I have knitted about 15 rounds of the K1P1 ribbing and I’m almost ready for a new ball of yarn. I’ve never knitted in the round before and I’m not sure what is the best method for attaching a new ball of yarn when you don’t have rows. I’ve watched some of the videos on other sights and see that there are several methods. Which one would be best to use where I am now? Thanks in advance for the help.

  • I went back and read the comments for the back section and found that increasing length should be done while ribbing. Is it this section of ribbing I would lengthen or at the very end – don’t we end with ribbing? I’m at the computer and the can’t get to the instructions….. When Chezzie (dog) blocks a path and goes to sleep it’s easier not to try and climb over her!

  • Hey Jenny! In Continental knitting, you hold the working yarn in your left hand instead of your right, and it’s supposedly faster than the English method (working yarn in right hand). You can learn more about it at (They even have videos!).

    I’m so tempted to switch, but am afraid my gauge might suffer if I change over now!

  • I made the yoke and sleeves on straight needles rest of the body on circular needles. worked well also did sleeves together same time wish I knew how to post pic on site I can knit but computer skills are a bust happy knitting nancy

  • […] talked a little bit about the RLI at the end of last week’s post, if you’re just joining us, be sure to check it […]

  • hi i’m a little confused am i supposed to pick up stitches where the pink string is? i did it that way & it looks like its making another sleeve?

  • Kelli, thanks for your reply to my question on continental style knitting. Also, for getting me hooked on to What a great resource! I can see how this style is faster. I’m going to practice and see if I can get proficient enough to switch over. I totally understand your concerns on having a different gauge!

  • Finished my 12 rows after the increase rows last night! Yay! only the increase round and 22 rounds of seed stitch to go. I’m having shoulder surgery monday,(this is Sat) and I NEED to have it finished or it will linger in UFO limboland for quite a while. I’m knitting at a Festival for the next 3 days where I am interrupted a lot so to simplify the counting, I’ve strung the appropriate number of beads on a piece of yarn that is pinned to the shrug, every round finished I untie the bow, slip off a bead, and keep knitting.

  • Ok I just got started as had to order one of the needles as no one in town had them in stock. I’m starting the row of the textured stripe and the blog pages for that I’m getting an error for every page except the June 4th and and June 11th.

  • to Iona (#37)

    The adresses that you are using for the entries have probably changed due to archiving. The previous posts are archived in their appropriate months and you are only seeing June now unless you look at another month. You can most easily access all the posts from the Knit-Along category on the right side of the blog.

  • Finally got to them thanks the pictures are a great help. This is moving along at a fast pace. Thanks for your help

  • I have a question about picking up the stitches along the bottom right: I’m working a medium, and I can pickup 36 across, but then there seems to be a small space between the end of the picked up stitches and where the sleeve would seam (it looks like I can pick up 3 extra stitches here). Has anyone else had this? What did you do?



  • Finally bought yarn and started knitting. Almost to the point of seeing if the back and sleeves fit. I’m thinking, based on the back widths listed in the directions, that I’ll have to add a few rows at this point to make the back (and, therefore, the sleeves)a bit bigger as Stefanie showed in the section on solving fit problems. So I’ll probabaly end up between the small and medium sizes.

    Which directions do I then follow for finishing the back with the decreases and picking up the neckline trim? Do I just figure out something in-between the small and medium directions?


  • Once I get all my stitches picked up (again, as I broke a needle and everything fell off – or at least so much it was just easier to start fresh!), my question is do I do my ribbing in the opposite direction of the way I pick up my stitchs (knitting from back right to back left to left sleeve to neck to right sleeve)?

  • I picked up stitches for neck trim. I’m confused. What does “Join for working in the md” mean?

    Zontee says: Hi Marion, join for working in the round, simply means instead of turning your work, continue working in the same direction around and around. Don’t forget to “pm” (place a marker) first though, or you’ll have trouble finding the beginning/end of each round!

  • […] Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Neckline Trim […]

  • Is it o.k. to put the stitches on stitch holders instead of scrap yarn. I’ve never used scrap yarn before and don’t know how to do it. Thanks in advance for your answer. Joan Yanez

  • I’m up to the neck trim. The instructions say to pick up 36 sts along right back edge, then 62 sts along right sleeve. Isn’t the right sleeve the right back edge one you tell us to pick up first. Confused, please help.

    Zontee says: Hi Doris, see the photos above — Stefanie is telling you to pick up stitches along the right-bottom diagonal of the back of the piece (“southwest” of the sleeve), then, folding your sleeve over (and optionally seaming the sleeve up) and pick up stitches (the 62 sts) along the sleeve opening heading back towards the neckline. Hope that helps.

    Also, since this KAL is no longer active, you can e-mail us at if you need further help with this or any other pattern.

  • ok this is where I am…

    neck trim
    INC RND 1: Work to first marker, *[k1, p1, RLI, p1] 13 (15, 17, 18, 20, 22) times, [k1, p1] 1 (1, 1, 1, 0, 1) time, sl marker, work to next marker; rep from * once—268 (298, 324, 350, 376, 406) sts.
    NEXT RND: Work to first marker, [k1, p1, k2, p1] 13 (15, 17, 18, 20, 22) times, [k1, p1] 1 (1, 1, 1, 0, 1) time, sl marker, work to next marker; rep from * once.
    Work 12 (16, 20, 23, 27, 29) rnds even.
    What does it mean to work even. continue in k1 p1 ribbing? This doesn’t work for the introduction of new stiches. or does it mean to continue in k1 p1 k2 p1?

    Zontee says: Hi Beth, sorry, since the Textured Circle Shrug knit-along took place last fall, we’re no longer providing support for questions here on the blog. However, you can always e-mail our pattern support team at for help with your question.

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