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Dear fellow knitter in search of a refreshing new project,

We’re just back from our Knitting Getaway at Shakerag Workshops outside Nashville, and we spotted many folks wearing one of our favorite designs, the Shakerag Top by Amy Christoffers.

It’s our most-knitted sweater.

So we’re delighted to announce this month’s superspecial deal, our MDK Gem.

We’ve brought in a beautiful palette of Rowan Summerlite 4ply, the fingering weight cotton that makes for a perfect Shakerag Top.

Here’s the Special Deal

Order any quantity of Summerlite 4ply, and we’ll email you a free PDF ebook of Field Guide No. 6: Transparency, featuring the Shakerag Top plus three additional designs. (A $9.95 value!)

And, of course, clever Field Guide subscribers save 10% on their order when using the monthly coupon code that went out via email on June 3.

Our MDK Gem will be available through Monday, June 17, while supplies last.

The Shakerag Top is beloved by knitters because it’s fun to knit and a breeze to wear. It looks good on everyone, and that’s a fact.

(By the way, in real life, the Shakerag Top is not transparent, as it appears in the artfully backlit photo above.)

Amy Christoffers deployed a neat trick to create its subtle tone-on-tone stripes: you alternate between holding the yarn double and holding it single.

The pattern specifies a yarn we’re currently not stocking, but Summerlite 4ply is an exact gauge match. You’ll be ordering the skein quantities shown below.

How Many Skeins Will You Need?

Here’s how many skeins of Summerlite 4ply you’ll need for each size.

Size S (finished bust measurement 39″): 6 skeins.

Sizes M, L (finished bust measurement 44″, 48″): 7 skeins.

Size XL (finished bust measurement 53″): 8 skeins.

Size 2XL (finished bust measurement 57.5″): 9 skeins.

Size 3XL (finished bust measurement 62.5″): 10 skeins.

The Marled Version

There’s fun to be had in using two colors of Summerlite 4ply. The stripes using doubled yarn suddenly become marled. I wrote about my marled Shakerag Top a while back. It was wildly compelling to watch how the random marled texture emerges.

This is Coral Blush and Langoustino. I just loved making this so much.

Two close colors make for a subtle color story. I did a high-contrast marl version as well, which looked cool.

How much yarn do you need to do a marled Shakerag Top?

Order half the quantity in one color, half in the second color, and add an extra skein for the color that will be used throughout the single/double stripe pattern. (One of the colors is used only when holding two strands of yarn.)

(Early risers who asked about the quantities needed for this version, thank you! Please note: this quantity is the way to go, not the quantities that I listed in an earlier draft of this post. Apologies for my previous low-caffeine efforts!)

(And if you shopped early with us today, using those earlier quantities, you’ll need to order additional skeins. Again, my apologies!)

To Recap

This MDK Gems offer runs through Monday, June 17. Order any quantity of Rowan Summerlite 4ply and we’ll email you a free ebook of Field Guide No. 6: Transparency. And Field Guide subscribers save 10% on their order!

We know folks who have made three or four of these Shakerag Tops. Maybe now is the time to get your Shakerag wardrobe started!

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  • How come the marled version needs fewer skeins than the plain – or have I missed something?

    • Thank you KatyB for catching my mistake! Please see the updated post for the correct quantities you’ll need for the marled Shakerag. My apologies for sending you down the wrong path, hope you’ll dive in because this thing is a ton of fun.

    • I wondered this as well and am holding out for the answer before ordering;)

  • Currently working on my second Shakerag Top using the wonderful Summerlite 4ply and the Summerlite DK (Handknit would be wonderful, too) so I’m alternating carrying the different weights rather than knitting with 2. Just to give it a try.
    I love the hand feel of the Rowan cottons. Perfect for summer, early fall and looks great over another shirt when it gets cooler.

    Tip o’ the Day – While I knit both in the smallest size the beauty of this pattern is that you can Go Bigger and have a lovely drapier top.

  • Recently bought the eVersion of Transparency precisely for this Top. Love yours and Kay’s outcome best (not trying to kiss up) both for the colors (you) and the fit (Kay). Hope I can match the outcome (depending on yarn (mostly) as I can be kind of a squirrelly knitter (gauge!).

  • I am currently knitting my first Shakerag top with Rowan summerlite. Yes this knitter is super slow to the shakerag craze – mostly because I thought it would be too sheer. Was lucky enough to see several in person last year at MDK HQ. Cannot wait to wear mine and the idea of a marked version is highly appealing!!

  • Thank you Ann! Now to choose colors 🙂

  • Thank you for providing the information for knitting the marled version! I’m glad that I got 4 and 4 skeins in complementary colors of the Rowan Summerlite at the MDK open house. My biggest issue was which colors to choose! Too many wonderful choices!

    • PHEW! Thank you for coming to the open house. Curious what colors you chose!

  • This may be a dumb questtion but can one make this with 3/4” sleeves? As an older person with super crepey upper arms, i never wear short or, heaven forbid, sleeveless tops. No need to expose people to that view. Also, I’m wondering how this cotton rates with stretching out as cotton usually does?

    • Hi Theresa! Re the yarn, Summerlite 4ply is fingering weight, and it doesn’t get all superdroopy the way heavier weight cottons sometimes do. It responds well to handwashing–cold water!!!! I haven’t machine washed a handknit, ever, so I can’t speak to how it would behave in a washing machine.

      As for sleeves, I bet somebody of the 500 versions on Ravelry has tried a sleeve modification, so it’s worth a scroll through the Shakerag Top pattern page to see what other knitters have tried.

      • Thank you, Ann. I’ll take a look at Ravelry and, hopefully, start picking colors for a 3/4 sleeve version.

  • How many skeins are needed?
    And the original is just one color Correct?

    • Hi, Cindy! Skein quantities are dependent on size; scroll down a bit in the article and you’ll see it all spelled out.

  • I would love to knit this top but is there a version with sleeves? At my age, I am hiding my upper arms from public view! I think a sleeved version would look great, too.

    • It’s worth a scroll through the Ravelry listings to see if there are modifications with sleeves, but for me the easier way to add sleeves would be to wear the Shakerag Top over a t-shirt; I’ve seen many people style it that way, to great effect. It’s perfect as a slipover.

  • How many skeins for size small ( marled?? 3/3 or 3/4 skeins??

    • Per the article: “Size S (finished bust measurement 39″): 6 skeins.”


      “How much yarn do you need to do a marled Shakerag Top?”

      “Order half the quantity in one color, half in the second color, and add an extra skein for the color that will be used throughout the single/double stripe pattern.”

      So 3/4.

  • I want to make the Shakerag top in size L, which you say takes 7 skeins. You suggest 1/2 the quantity in one color and half in the other color, with one extra skein for the dominant color used throughout. Does that mean I should order 3 skeins in one color and 4 skeins in the other color? Or 3.5 skeins in each color, i.e. 4 skeins in each color plus one extra so actually 4 skeins in one color and 5 skeins in the other.

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