I loved every stitch of it! From the first one to the last one, this little Maeve shrug has been really refreshing and re-energizing. The finished cardigan/shrug is cosy and so hard to put off once you have it on your back. It’s creating a warm cocoon around your back and arms but if the fit is good as is mine, it’s not getting in your way at every move. And it’s easy to layer with a lot of different cloth styles!
This simple and clever shrug was written by Carrie Bostick Hoge, co-founder of the Making magazine. I had my eyes on it for a couple of months before taking the plunge. I wanted to make sure that it crossed all my requirements before investing my time in knitting it. Being confident it will belong to my handmade capsule wardrobe.
Well, it ticks all the boxes: it’s a cardigan, I found the perfect shade of 100% wool yarn, it’s mostly knitted in 4mm, and it can be paired with either dresses, skirts, or trousers.
The Maeve shrug pattern itself is clear and precise. No room for confusion here. You start by working the body of your shrug sideway, then pick-up and knit the collar. And here you go, you have a new shrug!
What I really liked about it is that it’s highly customizable. I have long arms and was able to accommodate it without having to change anything else in the pattern. If you want to spice it up a bit, adding a little cable or lace motif from cuff to cuff, it is also really easy to do so. And obviously, you can also ditch the garter stitch collar all together or switch it with a patterned one. Love this versatility.
My only minor critic about it is the dreaded “pick up X stitches evenly”. I hate when patterns are let you do your maths. I know it’s a bit paradoxical as I do math knitting for a living, but I also like to unplug this area of my brain when I knit from a pattern (whether it be following mine as a pre-test, or one from another designer). Luckily, I’m not the only one and you can find calculators on the internet:
For this new addition to my wardrobe, I also wanted to try a new yarn. I chose Peer Gynt from Sandnes Garn, in the 3845 Sienna colourway, purchased on Laine et Tricot website. From the picture on the website, I thought it would have a little hint of pink but it’s a true and beautiful brick red. That works for me.
A little side note, it took me ages to be confident enough to actually wear red. I thought that with my really pale skin and dark hairs, it made me look like Snow White. It grew on me these past couple of years and I do like it now.
The yarn itself is 100 % Norvegian wool. The breed itself is a mystery, but according to all the ones presented in The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook (*), I think it’s probably either new Spelsau or Steigar which are the most common Norvegian wools nowadays.
The first thing was to knit a swatch and check my gauge. Well, it’s was a brilliant idea: according to my gauge, I have to knit two sizes under my “official” size in order to get the proper measurements! The yarn relaxed a bit after blocking, giving it a really nice and soft drape and cosiness effect. I could have downsized the needles instead, but I liked the drape and fabric produced by knitting with my 4 mm needles and did not want to stiffen it too much.
My mods and project
I enjoyed knitting it right from the pattern, with only very little mods. The only thing I really changed was the sleeve length as usual. I like my full sleeves to be long, up to the beginning of my hands. As I have long arms, I usually have to add between 5 to 10 cm for sleeve length depending of the designer.
The Maeve shrug pattern calls for sleeve cuffs and collar knitted in garter stitch with 3.75 mm. I found that perfect for sleeve cuffs but a little too stiff for the collar and used 4 mm instead. It’s hard to think that such a small difference in needle diameter can impact the finished item, but it does! Speaking of the collar, it is supposed to be worked in the round but I worked it flat instead, sewing it closed at the end. What’s the point of knitting garter stitch if it’s not flat!
It took me right under a month to knit it, and the two months to get it properly blocked and ready to wear. Go figure!
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