Tag Archives: circular shrug pattern

Crocheting the Vintage Circular Shrug – Part 1

An Intriguing Crochet Shrug Pattern

I’ve been working on the vintage Circular Crochet Shrug that I talked about in a previous post. I mentioned how intrigued I was by the way in which it is constructed and figured it would be fairly simple to make.

The shrug consists of two halves and is crocheted in the round, from the bottom of the sleeve up to the beginning of the shoulder, At this point the rounds are gradually increased to create a shoulder and then more increases are added to create one half of the shrug from and back.

I’ve finished crocheting the first half of the vintage circular shrug

Hopefully the above photo of the first half of the shrug I’ve crocheted conveys how this it  is worked.

Crochet Pattern Peculiarities

The pattern has interesting “peculiarities” that you should be aware of if you decide to make one for yourself.

Pattern Error

The most important thing to mention is that the pattern has an error. Right after Round 2, the instruction given is:

Repeat Round 1 17 times (32 dc)

Since Round 1 is crocheted on the foundation  chain, you can’t repeat it, so it should read “Repeat Round 2” which increases the number of stitches in the round by one. That’s the only way you’re going to get 32 dc at the end of the 17th repeat.

The error also means that the numbering of rounds for the remainder of the pattern is off (e.g., Round 19 is actually Round 20); but I simply pretend that Round 2 is Round 1 and continue following the pattern as is.

Discontinued Yarn

The pattern calls for a yarn that was probably discontinued ages ago, namely Bucilla Meringue. It is 80% mohair, 15% acrylic, and 5% wool, and a one-ounce ball contains 95 yards. And because the gauge is 5 stitches per inch on size 5 knitting needles, I’m think it is probably a DK weight yarn, But the nap in the mohair could very well make it a light, worsted-weight yarn.

What puzzles me is that the shrug only requires six one-ounce balls to complete. I tried crocheting the shrug with two strands of Cascade Pima Tensel, thinking the Bucilla was a worsted weight yarn.  I thought surely eight 3.5-ounce, 109-yard skeins of yarn would be more than enough to complete the shrug. But by the time I was done crocheting the first half, it was clear I didn’t have enough yarn to do the second half.

There’s a photo of the Bucilla Meringue on Flickr  that leads me to believe this is around a DK weight yarn, so my initial attempts at trying to create a worsted weight yarn from the Cascade Pima Tensel because the pattern calls for a K hook were misguided. I’m using some Red Heart Super Saver from my stash to work up this shrug, but I’m pretty sure I’ll use most of the 14 ounces (two skeins = 728 yards) I have available.

So, if you’re going to crochet this shrug, substitute a yarn that comes as close as possible to the Bucilla Meringue. But honestly, six ounces of a Bucilla-like yarn (570 yards) still doesn’t seem like enough, so you may want to buy a skein or two more just to be safe.

Fits Sizes 8 to 14

I’m not sure sizes 8 to 14 back when this pattern was originally published (and I don’t know when that was) are the same as today’s sizes 8 to 14. Perhaps you can tell from the photo when this pattern was published. I’d say at least the 70s, maybe even earlier. I’m thinking women back then were smaller than they are today, and the sizing for this shrug may be smaller than one would expect.

The fit of the first half that I’ve crocheted is snug, but perhaps that’s how it’s supposed to fit. The only finished measurement the pattern gives is from the beginning of the sleeve to the nect (24”); it would be nice to have had a bust measurement, but I guess I’ll have to finish it to determine how snug the fit is going to be for my size 14-16 frame.

Double Crochet (dc) Pattern Stitch

Based on the photo, I thought for sure this shrug used a filet crochet stitch (1 dc, ch 1), but instead, it’s straight double crochet, except the double crochets are made in between the stitches of the previous round instead of at the top of the stitch Crocheting between the stitches is what creates the filet-crochet effect. The pattern also tells you to make your stitches ¾” long. This somewhat elongated double crochet stitch is a must if you’re going to match the gauge of six rows per 4”.

Marking the Underarm and Shoulder

Another thing that threw me when I started following the pattern instructions was the need to place a yarn marker at the underarm and shoulder seams (well, where seams would be if the shrug wasn’t being crocheted in the round). I’m used to using stitch markers, a little convenience that probably hadn’t been invented when this pattern was first published, so I had to figure how to “place” these yarn markers.

Yarn marking sleeve underarm

Weaving yarn in and out of “ch-3, dc” at the beginning of each round

Green yarn marker for shoulder “seam”

I decided to cut a long piece of yarn and weave it in and out of the rows as I crocheted them. For the underarm yarn marker, I weaved it in and out of the first “ch-3, dc” that begins the round. For the shoulder, half way around, I weaved it in out of the dc increase that is worked at this point in the round.

You can always use stitch markers (the ones that close like a safety pin) and simply move them up as you work on a new round.

You can find Part 2 here.

Circular Shrug: A Vintage Crochet Pattern

I have been taking a second look at crocheted (and knitted) shrugs since making a few several of years ago.

I don’t know about you, but I like shrugs that cover my entire back and arms, and if I can find a pattern for one that closes over my chest like a cardigan, then this, in my opinion, is the perfect shrug pattern.

Perhaps some would call that a bolero, but I view a bolero as a mini-mini cardigan, constructed with a back, right and left fronts, and set in sleeves. So I guess what I want is the ease of shrug construction with the benefits of the “bolero” look. Am I asking for too much? I don’t think so.

Basic Shrug Construction

All it takes is three easy steps to construct a shrug.

The most basic shrug pattern consists of a rectangle that stretches from wrist to wrist (or however long you want your sleeves to be) (1) that is folded in half (2). Seams are sewn at either end to form the sleeves (3), and a space between the sleeves is left open so that you can put your arms through the sleeves and have fabric covering your back.

If you want sleeves that fit your arms, the shrug body is going to hit the middle of your back. This is great for some folk, but I want my back covered!

On the other hand, if you make the rectangle long enough so that your back is covered, you end up with these humongous sleeves that hang off your arms and wrists like a monk’s robe. Well, I guess you would call these “kimono” sleeves, and that’s a great look, but not the one I want.

You can taper the sleeves, but it would involve some shaping (i.e., increasing/decreasing or some other method) that I really don’t want to be bothered with right now (maybe later).  I’m going for “quick and dirty” shrug construction.

Circular Shrug Pattern

"Circular" Shrug Source: JollyPlum.blogspot.com

So I went searching around the web for a pattern that meets my specifications for the perfect shrug, and found one on Ravelry.

Jess Hampton, who published the pattern, calls it the “Easy-Peasy” Shrug. The pattern itself is available on her blog, but I believe it comes from a  vintage (i.e., public domain) crochet magazine.

She doesn’t provide the name of the magazine, but I do appreciate the pattern instructions because they reveal a unique way of constructing a shrug that has tapered sleeves, covers the entire back, and closes like a cardigan – exactly what I was looking for!I haven’t crocheted the shrug yet, but from reading the pattern instructions, it looks like it is crocheted in two identical halves.

  • Each half begins at the sleeve edge which is crocheted in the round, up to the shoulder.
  • From there, you continue crocheting in the round, increasing the size of the circle to create the shrug front and back.
  • Once you have these two pieces made, you sew them together in the back, and, voila!, a shrug that fits like a cardigan.

I love it and can’t wait to make one. I’ll keep you updated on how this pattern works up in future blog posts.

More Shrugs Coming

I’m also working on another shrug project, but I can’t talk about it now because I might be submitting it for publication to an online crochet mag, more of a “how to” piece  (which I love to write) than an actual pattern. But if it doesn’t end up in the magazine, you’ll be the first to hear about it.