Archive for April, 2014


It is very easy to design a bolero or shrug with either crochet or knitting.  The drawing below shows you just two ways a shrug or bolero can be made.  As shown in the top drawing, you can work across the body, starting at the end of one sleeve, increasing to make the body a little bigger, then decreasing to do the other sleeve.  Then seam the sleeves where the stars show.  And of course you can also work upwards instead, adding increases to add the sleeves, or downward, using decreases to remove sleeves.  Your choice.

Or as the bottom drawing shows, you can just make a rectangle, working upwards (or sideways), and seam the sleeves where the stars show.  You can decorate it by adding ribbing or a crochet trim to the top and bottom edges.  (My drawings are always a little crooked, but you get the idea.)

ShrugHowToBoleroHow to measure yourself (for knitting):  You need to measure across the back of your shoulders, then add to that measurement about 4 inches (10 cm.) to each end for short sleeves (or whatever number inches you want for any other length of sleeves, just add it twice for 2 arms.)  For long sleeves, measure your arms.   For the bottom drawing – example, 18″ body + 4″ sleeve + 4″ sleeve = 26″, so make it 26″ wide for a short sleeve shrug.  (You will need to know your gauge if you are knitting so you will know how many stitches to an inch.  See this post for gauge, inches and knitting calculations)

For the height, measure around your upper arms.  This is the height you want to make the sleeve part (or the whole thing if you’re making a rectangle).   You can add a couple of inches if you want a looser sleeve.

For crochet getting measurements is easy, you just chain until it’s wide enough, holding it up to yourself (no stretching).


The shrug above is the shape of the top drawing, made with arms and a body.  I started at the bottom / back with the star pattern (in blue), but since it is one of those that is alternate, I didn’t use stars the whole way.  (By alternate I mean not one motif above the other so it makes an even edge, but each motif over the space between the motifs so the edge is uneven.)   Since I wanted short sleeves, I did the second row with two end motifs that stuck out farther than the body.  I then did some arch mesh type stitches (just chains connected with single crochets here and there) across the top to even out the edge.  Then I switched to triangle mesh stitch (in purple, references below).

When you don’t have a pattern, and you switch from doing one thing to doing a very different thing, you never really know how many stitches to pick up as you go. So, I just added triangle mesh stitch from one end to the other. I knew it would be wide enough that way, but chances were also good that it would be too wide to exactly match the blue part.

It was, and this picture shows what I did about it. I had two choices, 1. I could have seen how it went, counted how many triangle mesh repeats would have made it perfect, then ripped back and done it right.  Or 2., (what I usually do), I made it work out as I went.  I had too much fabric forming after the change to the new stitch, so I pulled it together in a bunch – pulling a loop through, connecting several places on the row I was working, and pulling them tight. I did this once, then again on the next row in the same spot when I decided it was still ruffling out too much.  If you do this in the middle, it looks like you meant to do that!  Often button-down-the-front-shirts have that gathered place in the back to give you moving room, it just resembles something like that.  here you can see that pulling the purple top row stitches inward makes it into a butterfly shape. CrochetShrug1ChangingPattern

I then worked up until it was the height I needed, and ready to fold over and seam.  Here’s what it looks like at that point.  I also added the purple shell trim for the bottom edge at the back.  I waited to do the shells at the neckline, I did this as I seamed so that I wouldn’t have to cut the yarn and have more ends.


Below shows you how to fold to make it a shrug.  I made a seam across under one arm, then I crocheted the shell border across the top for the neckline, then seamed under the other arm.  CrochetShrug1Seaming


Above, the finished shrug looks like this.



This one is done in zigzag crochet, and used up lots of leftover yarn from other projects (yay!).  My cousins taught me this stitch, but something similar is in one of my books too so I can give it a reference below (they call it chevron stitch).  The zigzag made a nice shape for the neckline, so I didn’t bother with a border on this one.   It is very simple, almost just a rectangle.  I left a little bit of a “body” area for the bottom back, the two shorter rows you see at the bottom.


Then I rolled it over and seamed for under the arms as shown above.  This one had very short sleeves, so that is only 2 inches or so at the edges.


I’m not sure I like how the shorter body rows came out, I feel it makes the back a bit baggy.  I may just do shrugs as rectangles without them from now on.   I will see for sure soon though.  I’m working on a knitted shrug with Lionbrand Homespun, and that one will be just a rectangle.  I will come back later when that is done and add a photo of it as an update to this post, (to try to keep most of the shrugs together).


The knit shrug, simply a rectangle, which used up all the rest of my Lionbrand Homespun yarn.  This one came out with more of a casual look, like a fuzzy t-shirt.

I did ribbing (1k, 1p) for the bottom 3 or 4 rows in brown, then switched to stockinette with 4 rows of garter on each edge to help the sleeves to not curl.  I did this half and half colors as an experiment to see how that would come out -if it would make it so I could wear it one way or the other and have it look different on the front.  Then ended with the same, 3-4 rows of brown in k1, p1 ribbing, and seamed the sleeves as shown in the shrug drawing above.

KnittingShrugRectanglePreSeamMore detail on calculations:  I measured shoulder seam to shoulder seam across my back, then added 6″ for each sleeve, and did a small swatch in this yarn and needles to calculate how many to cast on.  I found something unexpected, the seaming caused the sleeves to pull inward (not sure why, I think I did it evenly, so I wound up with 5.5″ of each seamed area instead of 6″ for each sleeve.  (The swatch gauge was size 10 1/2 needles and 2 inches =5 st. with this yarn (so call it 2.5 st. =1 inch).  I made the body 15 inches, +6 inches for each sleeve = 27 inches wide.   To figure out how many cast on stitches I needed,  I wanted 27 inches x 2.5 (stitches per inch) =67.5 st.   So I cast on 68.

The top 2 pictures show it with the beige side facing front, the bottom 2 show it with the purple side facing front.  You can see that it got wider sleeves by doing a rectangle shape than you do if you made it like the top 2 shrugs.  It has more of a t-shirt look with short sleeves.  I was unhappy with the baggy back flap on the shrugs above.  This one doesn’t have a baggy back, but seaming a rectangle does give you bagginess under the arms.  (I haven’t decided yet which I prefer.)

It does keep you warm, I can see myself bringing this around with me in the summer, where many places have the air conditioning way too cold for comfort in sleeveless shirts.




Good news!  You can get pieces of the book I’m citing for free on google!  Link here, (or search for the book on google and you’ll find it).  Unfortunately you can only see the shell edging of the stuff I’m citing.

Chart for the triangle mesh stitch: The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. pg. 92 (not online).

Chart for the stars in blue:  Continuous Crochet Motif 60. Nihon Vogue-Sha. 2009.  ISBN-10: 9866817466.  Design No. 17, pg. 24.  (This book is in Chinese, I only follow the drawings.) (Often available on amazon in both Chinese or Japanese)

Arch mesh stitch: The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. Pg. 87. (not online)

Shell EdgingThe Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. Pg. 126. (online)

Zigzag stitch:  Mine was taught to me by my cousins, and is repeats of 7 double crochet, chain 2, 7 dc, 3 dc in one spot, repeat.  To see a chart that is similar for more details, this book has one called “chevron stripes” that is about the same thing: The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. 71, pg. 185. (not online)

Yarn: Top crochet shrug, purple is Red Heart Shimmer in “Purple”, blue is Red Heart Shimmer in Turquoise; bottom crochet shrug, sorry I don’t know!  These were all odd balls of yarn left over from other projects with no labels.  They are all the width of “sock yarn”, some of which had written on it “fingering weight”.  Knit shrug, all lionbrand Homespun.  I lost a couple of the labels, not sure about the brown but it might be “Prairie”.  The purple is “Gothic” and the beige is probably “Rococo”.

Hooks: Both done on size G (6, 41/4mm.).  Needles:  size 10 1/2


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Make a purse on the Knifty Knitter:


What you’ll need:  After you make this purse on the Knifty Knitter, you will probably also want a zipper bag to sew into the inside.  For that you’ll need some cloth, thread, needle, and a zipper of the appropriate length.  And if you’re impatient like me, a sewing machine to at least knock out a large part of the sewing.  (Though, you may need to hand sew the zipper bag in at least partially, it’s difficult to get it sewn in real close on the machine.)   Knifty Knitter stitches tend to have lots of space between them, so you may lose items out of your purse if you don’t make a cloth inner bag.   Your zipper bag may show through, depending on yarn and loom choice, so you may have to be careful with color choice for the cloth.  I have written some instructions for how to make a zipper bag in this post: Tunisian Crochet Entrelac Bag.  You can also do a search for something like”how to make a zipper case school supplies”.  (An inner zipper bag on a purse is much like cloth zipper cases that children use to carry school supplies.)  You will also need the Knifty Knitter red loom, (the second smallest in the set of 4 round, with 31 pegs.)  It doesn’t matter what loom you use, but the smaller looms have pegs that are closer together, so you will have less space between your stitches if you use the smallest one you can.   Make your pieces whatever size you like. The yarn I used is one strand of Caron One Pounder, color deep violet; and one strand of Lionbrand Homespun, color Gothic.


How to make a purse.  You can really make a purse any old way you want, you don’t have to do it like the photo above.  You can just make a front and back and forget about the sides, and seam it around the edges on the inside.  Make your own handle, or use a store bought one.   Connecting in the round: If you make a tube instead of a front, back and sides – this would be another way. Make a round tube, then you only need to knit a flat rectangle for the bottom and sew the bottom on.  (This may come out looking different, I haven’t tried that way.)  You will find that seams on the edges on the drawing above help define the purse shape, that’s why I started with doing it that way – but as long as you make a sack, it’s not wrong.  You will have a purse.

KniftyKnitterPurseHere’s how I made the purse above:    I did what I said above, but instead of one long piece for sides and bottom, I included the handle too and made a ring, out of one long i-cord.   To start the purse:  I made the front piece first, using 24 pegs and working back and forth, all e-wrap,  (e-wrap is the stitch the Knifty Knitter teaches you how to do in the instructions it comes with for making the hat, which is a “twisted knit” stitch).   I used 1 strand of each of the above yarns, this made a rectangle ~9 1/4 inches wide (~23.5 cm.).  I made the front 6 1/4 inches (~16cm.) high, but I decided this was too tall because I wanted a pretty small purse, so I wound up folding the top of the front piece over later and sewing it down.  I really didn’t feel like doing any ripping out!   I liked the Homespun for this because it’s thick and fills in the holes, and its curly texture helps hide any stitch mistakes.  Mixing it with the Caron regular yarn just adds more of a tweed texture.

You can see below – the front piece and attaching the i-cord side at the bottom corner so I can make it exactly the right length. (The purse is upside down in this photo.)  After I knit a ways, I start attaching it while I’m still making it.  I did 4 pegs, all e-wrap to make the i-cord as shown.  I make my purse handles on the short side, the weight of the purse will stretch them a good bit longer.


I seamed along the bottom, up the side and over (the handle), then attached to the other side at the top edge and worked down the side to the bottom.  (In the photo below, the purse is right side up.)


The back piece and binding off:  If you would like a more rounded flap instead of a square, decrease a few stitches on the corners of the top of the back piece.  (Flip the loop on the end peg over the peg next to it and knit off to decrease one.)  You can gauge the amount of curl you’re going to get by making the front piece first.  (It will be a shorter piece and attached on all sides and to a zipper bag, so its curl won’t show.  You can mix knit and purl stitches on the back piece to reduce curling if necessary.  For my purse, I did 3 pegs of purl stitch on each end every other row once I got to the part of the back flap that would lay over the front so I wouldn’t get curl.  I also did garter at the end of the flap for 4 rows (purl row, e-wrap row, purl row, e-wrap row).  You will want to do the last row before the bind off loosely.

How to bind off with a crochet hook:  Take off the last 2 loops on the end away from the working yarn and put them in the same order as before on a crochet hook.  Pull the one loop through the other.  Pick up another loop from the next peg, put it on the hook, then pull that loop through the other.  Keep going until the end.  Cut the working yarn and pull it through the last loop.  I usually run it under the backside a little, then knot it, but however you end it is your choice.


Seam as shown below, (and make and attach a handle if you didn’t already).  To finish, sew a button onto the front piece for closure.  You don’t really need a button hole, since there is so much space between the stitches on Knifty Knitter knitting.   Before attaching a button, just push it through your knitting and make sure it fits through, but isn’t too loose to fall out.  Sew it onto the front piece in a place that will look nice when you close the back flap.

KniftyKnitterPurseHowToFrontButtonPhoto bomb!  She was quick!  One must always check what’s inside things.  Attach the button before the zipper bag.  Here you can sort of see where I sewed the front flap down inside because I decided later it was too tall, and the button sewn onto the front piece.  I used the Caron yarn for this.  The Caron is made up of 4 strands plyed together, I pulled the 2 and 2 apart to get a skinnier yarn that I could pull through a needle threader and regular sewing needle that fit through the button holes.

KniftyKnitterPurseHowToZipperBagThis is with the zipper bag sewn in, which should be done after the button is on.  I made a smaller zipper bag and left a hole on one side where I could stick a larger item.  My white zipper bag does show a little through the knitting on the outside, but not too much.  I thought about putting white cloth on the inside so I’d have more light for seeing the purse contents, and putting black cloth on the outside of it so it wouldn’t show through, but by the time I got to that step I had forgotten all about it.

A tip for doing garter stitch on a Knifty Knitter – tie a piece of other color yarn to one end of the right side.  You work back and forth, always on the right side –  when the working yarn is on the end with the scrap yarn, you know you do purls that row.  When it ends up on the other end, do an e-wrap row.

KniftyKnitterHowToPurl1How to purl on a knifty knitter:  In the photo above, you see you haven’t wrapped the yarn yet.  Put the hook downward through the loop that is on the peg.   In the photo below, wrap the yarn by just laying it below the loop on the peg and below the hook.


Below:  Use the hook to catch the working yarn and scrape it under the loop  and up the groove in the peg upwards to pull a loop upwards.


Below:  The loop I pulled up is on my finger.  Use the hook to pull the old loop off of the peg while holding the new loop.


Below, put the new loop on the peg.  You have made a purl stitch.  It’s not as quick as e-wrapping, so I usually limit my purls in a loom project.


Hope you enjoy making a purse!  If you are looking for more on the Knifty Knitter, or for items you can make on a peg loom, please visit my links page:  https://ilovesocks.wordpress.com/links-to-my-posts-by-title-category/




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