It seems this year spring did not decide to skip us. We’ve had some really cool and even gray days this time around. But, before you know it we’ll be finding ourselves getting chilled in over air conditioned restaurants, theaters and shops in no time. Last summer, under the instructions of a wholistic bodywork practitioner I was instructed to carry a lightweight scarf with me at all times. She was convinced a lot of my upper back/shoulder/neck pain was actually caused by cool draft on my neck and upper back. I thought she was nuts. At the time my hair was quite long and covered my neck. I decided to give it a fair go and was pleasantly surprised to find that keeping my neck covered in air conditioned environments even if I did not feel chilled really started to show some improvement in my trouble areas.
Last summer I went the route of store bought scarves. It was the quickest solution. Over the winter I’ve increased my store bought scarf wardrobe a bit. But it kept bugging me that as a knitter I was buying all these scarves. This shrug came about because I wanted something versatile to wear, lightweight to carry with me, and easy to tuck into my bag so it is at hand. While the shrug when worn as a shrug does not provide a lot of neck coverage, it does add some extra warmth to the upper arms and upper back – surprisingly more coverage that you think it will when you are knitting it. As a bonus, if it is your neck that really needs the coverage, you can easily wear it around your neck as a tube scarf due to its simple construction – especially the larger sizes that are a bit longer from cuff-to-cuff.
Cirrus uses a small repeat, easily memorized and non-directional lace pattern to keep the knitting straight forward and easy to knit. Choose your size based on your upper arm circumference (1″ of positive ease is recommended), then you can follow the given instructions to customize the back width as directed. The options for customizing the shrug are nearly endless – make longer or fuller sleeves! You could even substitute in a different lace pattern if you are adventurous.
The pattern is available in this month’s Stitches Newsletter (PDF). The model shown here is the smallest, sized for a 14″ across back width and 11″ upper arm circumference. It is knit in the wonderfully gorgeous Madelinetosh tosh sock yarn in the Nostalgia colorway. The two smallest sizes can be knit from a single 4 oz skein of fingering weight yarn.
Now, which yarn and color do I want to use for my own shrug? Hmmm…