Lion Brand Notebook ®

Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves from the Body

Home/CommunityTextured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves from the Body

Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves from the Body

Just to recap: last week we cast on for the shrug, knit the yoke, and tried on the shrug to make sure it fits.

In today’s post, we will go through some of the possible fit problems that you may have run into while trying on your shrug after last week’s installment.

Once we do that, we will make fit adjustments, place our sleeves on scrap yarn to be worked later, and finish the body of the shrug.

Next week we will finish the sleeves, and in the following post we will begin the neckline trim.

By this time, you’ve completed the yoke portion of the shrug, and are ready to move on to finishing the body (the pink-filled area in the schematic above.)

This is the point at which you have an opportunity to try on your shrug (if you have not done so already) and make any adjustments in the size before continuing with the project.

In my last post, I transferred my whole shrug to a long piece of yarn so that I could show you how the project looks at this stage, and also to show how you could make sure that your shrug fits.  (See last post for photos.)

There are several possible fit issues that might come up at this stage, and we will discuss possible solutions to them in today’s post.

Some possible fit problems:

  1. My shrug fits fine across the back, but the armholes feel too tight.
  2. My shrug is tight across the back and the armholes feel too tight.
  3. My shrug is too big across the back, but the armholes feel fine
  4. My shrug is too big across the back and the armholes feel too big.

Fit issue #1 will be handled next week when we get to the section of the pattern marked “SLEEVES.”  Since we are simply finishing up the body for right now, and your body section fits properly, we don’t do anything different at this point.

Fit issue #2 is corrected by just working a few more rows of the shrug, continuing on in both Textured Stripe AND increasing every RS row.  You can simply knit a few rows, try the shrug back on, see if it fits, and repeat that process until you get your custom fit…

OR you can figure out figure out exactly how many more rows you need to complete by doing the following:

  • Figure out how much wider you need to make the back in inches.
  • Figure out how many stitches you need to make up that measurement.
  • Work enough raglan increase rows to bring you to that width. (At the same time that you are adding width to the back, you are also increasing the sleeves, so this *should* also help the fit of your sleeve.)


  • Say I need to make my shrug bigger across the back by about an inch.
  • Using my gauge, I know that I have about 4.5 stitches in one inch, so I need to add about 4.5 stitches to the back of my shrug to make it one inch wider. (To make the math easier, I’m going to round down to 4 sts.)
  • I increase 2 stitches in the back of the shrug every RS row, so I need to work 2 additional increase rounds in order to increase ~1 inch of width.

Working these extra rounds will also increase the width of my sleeve by one inch.  If that isn’t quite enough extra width at the sleeve for your fit issue, you can add more stitches next week when we get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern.

Fit issue # 3: For this fit issue, you will need to rip back a few rows, until the fit across the back feels good to you, and then add more stitches to the sleeve next week when we get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern.  You can use the steps in the example above to determine exactly how many rows to rip back in order to get your exact fit.

Fit issue # 4: For this fit issue, you will just rip back a few rows until the back fits you the way you like it, and should not need to add stitches next week when you get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern. (Since both your back and sleeves were too big) …but you can if you do need to!

The arrow on the left in the photo below shows how ripping back a few rows will make both the back and sleeves smaller, while the right arrow shows that adding a few rows will make both sections larger:

Now that you’ve solved your fit issues (if you had any) let’s move on to finishing up the body of the shrug.

At this point, the pattern reads:


NEXT ROW(RS): Place next 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts for first sleeve on scrap yarn to be worked later, rejoin yarn and work to marker, place last 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts for first sleeve on scrap yarn to be worked later.

So, what you do is just thread a darning needle or tapestry needle with a length of yarn (abot a foot long or so) and use the darning / tapestry needle to remove the 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts from your circular needle.  Then, you knit or purl (whatever you should do according to the Textured Stripe pattern) across the back, then just place the last 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) stitches onto another length of yarn.

It will look like this:

Skip ahead in the post to: NEXT ROW (RS)

  • NOTE: If you already have your whole shrug on a long length of yarn, you can just run your circular needle back through the stitches for the back and leave the sleeves on the scrap yarn. (You’ll have to work one extra row of the back in stitch pattern in order to be caught up with the pattern):

Step 1:

The entire shrug is on a length of waste yarn.  Run your circular needle through ONLY the back section (section between the 2 markers.)

Step 2:

Cut the scrap yarn at center back, pull the cut end out of the back stitches, tie.

Now just tie the ends of the scrap yarn.

Now, the pattern says to “work one row even.”  This just means to work one row in Textured Stripe pattern without doing any increases or decreases.  From this point in the pattern until we begin the next section, you will only be working with the stitches used for the body.

So, work your one row, then go on to:

NEXT ROW (RS): Continue in textured stripe, bind off 3 sts at beg of next 10(8, 0, 16, 0 0) rows.  Then, 4 sts at beg of next 6(8, 14, 4, 16, 16) rows.

  • If you have a zero in the first set of instructions (3rd, 5th, and 6th sizes) you start right away decreasing 4 sts at the beginning of the next 6(8, 14, 4, 16, 16) rows.

Stitches are decreased here in order to give a curved shape to the back of the sweater, so that it slopes inward and will help the ribbing to hug the wearer’s lower back, rather than hanging loosely around the body.

  • Fit tip: If you would like to extend the length of your shrug, I suggest that you do it by lengthening the ribbing, rather than extending this section.  When you add the ribbing, it will pull the lower edges of the shrug, and you will get a “bubble-back” look to the sweater!

Here is what my shrug looks like at this point:

(See my flickr set for more photos)

Here’s how to transfer the stitches onto scrap yarn.  You can do this same process to save the sleeve stitches:

Thread a darning needle loaded with waste yarn through the stitches on the needle.

Remove the sts from the knitting needle onto the darning needle.

Transfer sts from darning needle to yarn.

I’d like to invite everyone to post your progress shots to the flickr pool for this KAL.  And, if you’re still having any “so…what am I doing wrong here?” questions, this would be a great place for you to post photos of what your knitting looks like, so that your fellow “KALers” (including me) can help out.

Related links:

Share this post


  • I added six extra rows to make the sleeves fit per the instructions in the last post, so I now have 56 stitches from first st to first marker and from second marker to last st. So, wouldn’t I place 56 stitches on scrap yarn for the sleeve? In current post, it says to place 50 sts on scrap yarn, then work sts across back (between markers), then place last 50 sts on scrap yarn. But, I now have 56 sts from marker to end. The last post said that adding the rows would handle the too-tight sleeves; now this post says too-tight sleeves will be handled next post. Confused. What do I do next?

    Stefanie says: Hi Judy, you would just put your 56 sts for each sleeve on scrap yarn instead of the 50 listed. (Use your new number)

  • Great photos and explanations once again! Thanks for guiding us through this – I think this is finally going to be the first garment I complete – wow!

  • To Judy (#1)I did the something similar… Try it on with the scrap yarn if you haven’t already. I didn’t like the back, it felt like it was going to be too big (fit issue #1 I guess). I really didn’t want that to happen at all, so after reading this blog this morning I ripped my rows back down to 50/80/50 across once again (slashes are my place markers), and will continue to work the back in the original first size because the body will be correct. I’m going to wait for the “sleeves” blog next week to see how to get a better fitting sleeve. I hope yours goes well! (While I wait, I actually started a second one:)

  • To Lisa (#3): Thanks. I was thinking of doing that, although I don’t really want to. I’ll put my piece back on the waste yarn, try it on again, and then decide. If the back fits OK, I have probably answered my own question–i.e., do 56/86/56. If not, darn! it’s ripping out before I can continue, but I really do want this to fit right. Guess it’s better to be industrious now than to be disappointed later.

  • I’m now picking up the neckline stitches and actually went ahead and seamed the sleeves together beforehand, so I could see how it’s going to fit. I normally have problems with sleeves being too tight, but am not having that problem now. If anything, the sleeves might be a bit looser than shown on the model, but it gives me a bit of room to move, so that’s fine!

    Raglan style sweaters make it so much easier to fit as you go, instead of making a sweater with sewn-in sleeves. Those require a lot of optimism! 🙂

  • Great KAL! Question from last blog post that did not get answered. I had to decrease the needle size to 4.5mm from 5mm, so what size needles do I need to get for the trim -do I get 3 3/4mm or 4mm?
    What to do if one DOESN’T want a ‘bubble back’????

    Stefanie says: Sharon, this will depend on your gauge. The pattern doesn’t list a gauge for the ribbing, so when we get to the ribbing I’ll test the gauge of the sample and let you know what that is…then you can swatch and see for sure which size to use. And, if you want to lengthen your shrug without a bubble back, follow my suggestion and lengthen the ribbing rather than lengthening the back at this point in the pattern.

  • To clarify my last question, you state: “If you would like to extend the length of your shrug, I suggest that you do it by lengthening the ribbing, rather than extending this section. When you add the ribbing, it will pull the lower edges of the shrug, and you will get a “bubble-back” look to the sweater!” Does this mean that if you do the lengthening to the textured rib rows THEN the bubble-back will happen, or if you lengthen the ribbing? Hope this makes sense, I don’t want a bubble back!

  • Thanks to prior comments I think I’ve worked out what to do with the back and sleeve “caps” of shrug (solution #2) for my sister….. When I rejoin yarn to work on the back, would it be a good idea to double the yarn so that I’m stitching in the loose end now, or should I wait and use needle at the end of project? Maybe other needle crafts are confusing me or I’m overthinking.
    Thanx for the great photos and tips, a big help!

    Stefanie says: Ann, you would be better off darning in your ends after the project is complete. Doubling the yarn to hide the ends will make those stitches puffier than the others.

  • I must be missing something here. Last week we broke the yarn, so I cut my yarn. Now we are to rejoin the yarn. Okay, so where and how do I do that. The original pattern says to “put the first sleeve on scrap yarn, rejoin yarn and work to marker…..” but since I already had put my whole piece on scrap yarn to try on I did as your suggestion, putting the back on my circulars, cutting the waste yarn in the middele and tied them off. Thanks.

    Stefanie says: You’d rejoin the yarn at the spot where you need to continue your knitting. So, with your needle (with the “back” stitches on it) in your left hand, looking at your knitting as you are about to start a row, rejoin your yarn at the beginning of this row.

  • To Anne (#8). I’ve used that little trick to save having to weave in loose ends when a project is done. I find that the project looks more professional when you use a needle at the end. Doubling the yarn adds bulk and can distort the project, making it look “homemade.” The trick is useful on projects such as toys or pillow tops where that bulkiness will be hidden behind a seam, but not on projects where it might distract from the finished product.

  • Hi,

    I haven’t cast on yet, but am planning to over the weekend, however I’m following the KAL with interest! My dilemma is which size to knit in view of the adjustment advice given in this weeks post. Using the advice from the first blog I’ve measured across my back from mid-armpit to mid-armpit (I assume this is the right place), and this come exactly half way between 2 sizes of the pattern. Am I better to knit the bigger or smaller size. I know I can adjust to get this to fit properly, but dow these adjustments then have a bearing on other proportions of the finished garment.Any thoughts gratefully received!!

  • Sharon (6 and 7),
    I read that as follows: You should try to make the shrug longer by lengthening the ribbing. The ribbing, in general, will cause a tighter fit at the bottom (which is what we want), and if you lengthen the circle pattern, the ribbing will start at a weird place on your back and you’ll get a bulge, which would obviously detract from the lovely look of this shrug. 🙂 Hope that helped!

  • I’m hoping to make my sleeves longer but not necessarily using the textured stripe. I’m thinking I would like the “look” of the sleeve being ribbed (matching) like the ribbing on the shrug but I’m concerned about using a ribbing on a sleeve (how it would wear with elbows bending all the time)… would this work?

  • To Karen (#13)

    I would use the seed stitch on the bottoms of the sleeves which would match the last 1″ of seed stitch that will be knitted after the ribbing on the sweater.
    I lengthened my sleeves continuing in the stripe pattern and decreased 8 stitches on the last 5 row stripe before binding off so the sleeve bottom would hug my lower arm.
    Hope this helps.

  • Hope you all are having as much fun as I am knitting this shrug!
    I haven’t had any major problems yet, although I’m not quite experienced enough to give advice to those of you who have questions, sorry.
    I am a few rows into the ribbing and boy am I SLOW! 1×1 ribbing has got to be one of the slowest stitches ever and there is so much of it to do. I feel like I am never going to get past this part. I even started knitted continental style (which I haven’t done much of) because it is a little quicker for ribbing. Hopefully, I will get faster with so much practice ahead of me, lol.

  • Would someone please tell me how they are rejoining the yarn. (#9). I am at a standstill.

  • (#16) Re-joining the yarn here is like starting a new ball. Since it is in the middle of a row, I leave a long tail to weave in later because there is not another end to tie it onto. I hold the tail with the hand holding the needle and use the ball to knit from.

    Hope this may help get you unstuck.

  • Hi Stefanie

    I have fit issue one and need to make the upper arms about 1 1/2 ” to 2″ larger in width. My back is smaller so I have finished the whole back about 2 weeks ago. I would love to start on the sleeves so would you tell me how I make the increases as I knit the sleeves.

    I am so afraid that I will start on another project this week-end because i also have Monday and Tuesday off next week. I know that this will be posted next week but I would love to start my sleeves this week-end.



  • I am trying on the shrug at the point of separating the sleeves from the body (58,88,58 stitches). Laying it flat it gives 20″ over the back and 13″ at the sleeves. The sleeves are too tight though my upper arms are skinny. I understand that you will give us a way to adjust the sleeves next week. The back with 20″ is too large. You don’t have a fit solution for “my shrug is too big across the back, but the armholes are too tight”.

    I realize that the rapid decrease to come over the next 16 rows (2d size) will get rid of the over ample back section. Will that create that bubble back that everybody is blogging about?

  • Because so many people want to jump ahead, I thought I’d post a note about how to add width to the armhole. This is a quick explanation, and we will go over it in more detail and with photos next week.

    The way that the sleeves are knit is just to transfer the sleeve sts from the scrap yarn back onto your circular needle and work them back and forth to desired length. (You can use Magic Loop or DPN, too, of course.)

    If you’d like to make the sleeves / armholes larger, you just cast on a few extra stitches at the under arm, which is the beginning of the first row of knitting.

    Figure out how much larger you need to make the armhole, use your gauge to determine the number of sts you’ll need to make up that measurement (4.5 sts = 1″ in our gauge) and add that many sts at the beginning of the first row.

  • Arghh!! I feel like I’m falling behind! Everybody’s ahead of the game, what with sleeves done and ribbing started.
    I had to do extra gauge swatches before I got one the right size. I’m using a boucle yarn and needed to go down to a size 5 needle. And I opted to just do it in garter stitch because the textured stripe gets lost.
    I’m still only half way through the raglan increase rows. And I have to work all weekend (retail job, gotta love it). On a positive note, I do know what I’m doing (so far).
    Is anyone else lagging behind a bit?

  • Thanks Stefanie

    Have a great week-end

  • Hi All,
    I love the shrug but I’m a real rookie. I am learning as I go. I am intimidated by all the different stitches. I am unsure of the meaning of the term, “work 1 row even”. Do I knit that row or purl? I assume knit. Right?
    Thanks for the assist.

  • i am loving this, thank you! i finished this part in like 30 minutes. i am knitting 2 of these right now, so i don’t have to wait so long for the next post! your instructions are awesome & easy to understand. THANK YOU!!!

  • Hi Sue,

    Just work that one row even in the textured rib stitch pattern. This row will have no decreases and it depends where you were in the stitch pattern. So it could be a knit or a purl row.

    Good Luck,


  • I wish I was fast enough to knit two at once! Even though I am at the ribbing already I think I will get behind now, this ribbing is gonna take a looooooonnnnnnggggg time…..

  • This may be a really dumb question, but can you explain which decrease you use at the beginning of each designated row. Is it a bind off?

  • Ruth,

    The direction explain which decrease to use for each section. If you are working the body then you bind off per the directions. All other decrease are either ssk, k2tog, p2tog which are used in the sleeve section.

    Hope this helps

  • Thanks Beth,
    I did re-read the instructions and realized that it was clear what I had to do. Sorry for the carelessness.

  • Oooh Woe is me!! I was so excited to get the graph so I took the graph and my own detailed little chart and started to count to see if I was on track. Trouble is is that I started my chart from the reverse pattern and the graph was from the beginning. I kept counting and I had 150 stitches and the graph said I should have 104 or something like that. I decided that I must have been too rambunctious during 24 and increased on every row or something so I took the whole thing out. Then as I was casting on again I realized that the graph was from the beginning and I was exactly right. I should have trusted myself more. Now I am back at square one and starting over. I am almost to where I was when I ripped it out but I am going to be so behind. Maybe when I am done I will be able to laugh about it. I do love that chart tho, and it makes it a lot faster. Thanks for all of your comments and for the detailed instructions. I just want it to be so perfect I guess I was looking beyond the mark and being too careful. LOL

  • Thanks, Beth.(#25) This is a complicated pattern for me and I wouldn’t attempt it if not for the support of this group. I do appreciate the help.

  • I’m finally finished with the ribbing. I knit the continental style so I’m ready to start on the second increase row (INC RND 2:)before starting the seed stitch border.
    After completing the first increase after the first marker, I noticed that a purl stitch followed the last knit stitch but was not printed in the instructions. So the increase should read: (k1, P1, K1, M1P, k1, p1). This lands the increase stitch between the side by side knit stitches on the ribbing and keeps the stitch count correct. I hope this helps those of you who are working ahead.
    Love the pattern! Thank you, Stephanie.

  • Phoenix (#16), it’s not YOU…the 1×1 rib is very slow. And with so many rows, it does seem to take forever! I finally got to the first increase row on Saturday, and I’m still working through it. I know it will be worth it though!

  • I’ve just signed up for flickr so I can put photo on page for comment but am not able to past intro page. Is anyone else having this problem or is it just me since yahoo is not my home page……..

    Zontee says: Hi Anne, I’m not sure specifically where you’re having a problem; you may want to click on “Help” in the top-right corner of the site and see if you can get an answer to your problem. Also, Flickr has a great guide to adding your pictures to the KAL group when you’re ready. Just click here to view.

  • Thank you,Shirley (#32)for the correction to the INC RND 2. I am just before INC RND 1 and wanted to see whether this circular thing on my needles would ever fit. I transferred all the hundreds of stitches onto scrap yarn and tried it on: the fit is great — the shrug is awesome! Thank you, Stephanie! Are you stef54 on the flickr site with the beautiful blue shrug?

  • Hello all,

    Just wanted to say hello. I’ve just separated the sleeves from the back and I’m beginning the bind-off rows on the back. The KAL is really helping me with some things that would’ve been new and confusing for me otherwise. Thanks, Stefanie! Thanks, also, Ann B for your moral support last week. I’m still having a bit of a love-hate with my yarn choice – which I won’t mention since it’s not Lion Brand (and I so much appreciate them for hosting this KAL!!!!!). I hope I won’t be disappointed when I’m done; as a beginner, it’s still hard for me to previsualize what my choices are going to look like when finished. I’ll try to get some photos posted to Flickr or Ravelry. Keep knitting!

  • I’m to round 26 on the ribbing! Luckily I am in bed after having my wisdom teeth out yesterday so I may get to the 1st inc. round by tomorrow. LMAO!

  • Phoenix: Lol! Sorry about your wisdom teeth, but hooray for uninterrupted knitting time! I need to start my ribbing ASAP so that I can be ready for next week’s blog post!

  • […] Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves and Working the Body […]

  • I am so behind compared to everyone else! I was away for a few days, and even if I took the shrug with me, I am such a rookie I need this blog, Stephanie’s great photos and descriptions and all your comments to make sure I am doing everything the right way. I just separated my sleeves from the back and starting on the decreases! I hope to be able to catch up this next week.
    Thanks everyone for the help, I am learning so much. This will be my first garment ever and it is looking like it will be a great fit! I am so excited to keep working on it together :).

  • please keep all the info as i am slightly behind and am scared the explanations and photo’s will be removed before i am finished! regards to all helene from south africa.

    Zontee says: Hi Helene, all blog posts stay up continuously, so don’t worry.

  • Thank you for posting a photo with this installment. As I look at the shrug in progress pinned to the dress form I hope that mine will turn out well. I see some drape in the back neck where the stitches for the collar will be picked up. My own project seemed large in this area and I debated whether or not to rip back for a tighter back. I’m going forward with it holding to the idea that it will be worn as a second layer garment and that the collar may pull in the soft yarn stitches a bit. Thanks! ~Christine.

  • Stephanie,
    In the photo of the shrug from the book, it appears like the textured pattern was NOT continued on back during the decreases.
    This looks better to me. Can you comment?

    Zontee says: Hi Valerie, I’m looking at the photo of the back and I see the textured rows continuing during the decreases. You can see it more clearly in the right side of the photo, as the light washes out the details in the left side of the photo a bit. However, the pattern is a matter of preference at that point, and if you prefer to have it be stockinette during the decreases, go for it. No pattern is written in stone, so feel free to make it your own.

  • I realize the KAL is over, but I have a question regarding the body of the shrug. How exactly would I go about making just the back longer? The front fits perfectly, but I could use a couple more inches of length for the back. (I’m really long-waisted)
    Fabulous pattern, I will definately be making this again!

    Zontee says: Hi Bethany, because this pattern is knit in the round around the back and up the collar, keep in mind that extending the back will also mean extending your collar and making it “taller”. If you don’t mind that, then simply knit more rounds of the ribbed section (maybe go up to the number in the next size), before your increase sections. Hope that helps.

  • As you can see, I am way behind, but working to the end…lol…I have a problem, though. Unless, I’m overlooking it, where are the instructions to finish the body by ribbing? I’ve read and read and just can’t figure it out! Someone please help me with this!


    Zontee says: Hi Rita, the “Neck Trim” section includes the body, as the collar and body are worked continuously together in the round. It’s an interesting construction that you might find surprising. Just follow the blog posts and you’ll get through it. Hope that helps!

  • […] Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves and Working the Body […]

  • I thought I posted this question earlier today, but not sure it got through. Can someone PLEASE answer this question for me? Obviously, I’m ‘way behind everyone else, cuz I’m just at the part where I’m starting the sleeves. It says, “Next ro (RS) transfer 50, 58, 66, etc. sts of one sleeve to larger needle.” Did that. Then it goes to DEC row (RS) and tells you to decrease two stitches. But the part I don’t understand is that it then says you should end up with 64, 67, 75, etc. sts remaining. How can you decrease from 58 sts and and end up with more (67 sts) remaining?

    Zontee says: Hi Linda, you did post your comment on the intro post and it did come through here. The directions you are referring to start with “SIZES 40–42 (44–46, 48–50, 52–54)” meaning that they are for the Large, 1X, 2X, and 3X sizes — since you are making a medium, you SKIP those directions and go directly to:
    Work even until piece measures 6 3/4 (7 1/2, 6 1/4, 8, 6 3/4, 7 1/2)” (17 [19, 16, 20, 17, 19]cm) from beg, ending with first 5 rows of textured stripe. Bind off.

    Hope that helps.

  • I am very grateful to Lion brand yarn for the shrug. I could make in yellow and brown; my little granddaughter liked it and I just started one in white for her (she wants to wear it at school and only let them garments in dark blue or white)
    But I am eager to start a new project “knit-along” please…..I would like something similar, I mean for women/men (a sweater or coat will be marvelous)

    Zontee says: Hi Lilita, look for the next knit-along in the fall!

  • Thank you for straightening that out for me!

  • uniqe anime pillow covers…

    […]Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves from the Body | Lion Brand Notebook[…]…

  • Leave A Comment