by Gayle Roehm, July 31, 2014

SONY DSCSONY DSCI’m thrilled! I recently finished a shrug from a pattern by Hitomi Shida in Couture Knit Spring/Summer 6, and it’s beautiful. Here’s my version.

The design is on Ravelry.

Shida’s designs are elegant and detailed. This shrug, although it was a relatively quick knit. incorporated some really nice touches. It’s essentially a rectangle (with some shaping for the sleeves) and an edging.

SONY DSCThe shrug starts at the center back with a provisional cast-on, which is later removed to make the second side. Look at how nicely the mirror-image is created.

The lace edging is mostly garter-stitch based, so it looks nice whether it’s flat to the body or turned back. Another nice touch is that the edging on the cuffs is slightly narrower than the edging around the body. SONY DSC

The pattern told me to knit the edgings separately and sew them on, but that sounded annoying. Instead, I closed the sleeve seams, then picked up stitches all the way around the body opening, more or less one stitch in every other row. I calculated how many times I’d need to attach the edging to the shrug, and decreased to that many stitches. Without cutting the yarn, I used a provisional cast-on for the short edge of the edging pattern, and joined it to the body with k2tog on every other row. This worked out perfectly (phew) and gave me a nice, flexible edge. At the very end, I grafted the last row to the first row. For the cuffs, I knitted the edging on as I finished the sleeve, and before sewing the sleeve seams.

Now, a knitter who doesn’t read Japanese wouldn’t realize that the designer wanted her to sew on the edging. She’d have to draw on her own knitting experience to decide the best way to accomplish the job. An experienced knitter would probably consider both sewing and knitting on the edging, and choose one based on her personal preferences and the result she wanted.

When you use Japanese patterns, you’ll probably encounter a lot of these situations: what cast-on to use, for instance. The information is probably in the text block, but since you can’t read it, you can choose the cast-on that will best suit the item you’re making.