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Glory be! I’m 99.9% finished with Amy Christoffers’s Shakerag Top from Modern Daily Knitting Field Guide No. 6: Transparency, and I’m blissing out on the final little detail that takes this design into the realm of 100% fantastique: the edging.

The edging on a neckline is often a project in itself—you get a turtleneck going and you’re basically knitting a cowl stuck onto your sweater. You thought you were done? Not so fast, missy.

The Shakerag Top does not mess with you that way. It’s as minimal an edge as you can get—unless you forgo an edge altogether and run around like a heathen with a bunch of uncontained edgery just flopping around willynilly.

Amy Christoffers would never set us up for such a fate.

Let’s take a look at the neckline.

See that miserable array of decreases along the edge, left of the needle tip? The irregularity? The craptastic curve? Neckline decreases are like that—the geometry of stitch rows means you’re creating stairsteps, not curves. And something needs to make it look better.

(Confession: As simple as those decreases were, I was so distracted by the audiobook of Book 3 of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels that I had to make a breathtakingly literal reminder of what I needed to do at the shoulder and the neckline. There was no way I was going to get it right by “winging it” or “keeping it all in my head”—I had to find out whether Elena and Nino ever get it on!)

Picking up and knitting a stitch is such an act of redemption. Help is on the way.

If you want to hear a simple recipe for an edging, here it is. Round 1: pick up and knit stitches along the edge. Next round: bind off all stitches.

Look at what happens to the previously floppysloppy edge. It’s smooth and tidy.

And the sleeve edge is likewise all better now.

I’ll have photos of me wearing this wonderful thing once my photographer, who is 18 and five days from high school graduation, therefore done with exams, therefore keeping vampire hours, wakes up.

Little Notes

The Shakerag Top Knitalong continues, and if you want to see some beautiful projects crossing the finish line, visit #ShakeragTop on Instagram.

The yarn here: Jade Sapphire Sylph, 52% cashmere/48% linen. Shades Loam and Hush. We have it in the Shop, along with Field Guide No. 6: Transparency.

The pattern is written for one shade of yarn. If you’re craving a marled version like this, here’s my post about how much of each color you’ll need to get your marl on.


  • It’s a beautiful top. And enjoy all the graduation madness to the max. Special memories ahead!

  • I haven’t been sure the boxiness of shakerag was for me but I’m being won over here! Would a bumpy rayon yarn work? Have a stash yarn that I’d love to find a use for.

    • Curious about what yarn you have there–how bumpy is it? I think superbumpy might make the stitches a little too dimensional–the cool thing about this fabric is that it alternates stripes made with one, then two strands of yarn. And the smoother the yarn, the better this effect shows up.

      • The yarn is Blue Heron cotton rayon seed. Mostly a random “seed” shaped bump. Was thinking maybe adding a smooth yarn with it to use in the single strand areas.

  • A tidy neckline and a graduating vampire. What could be better??

  • Beautiful! Congrats on the top & the graduation!!

  • Congratulations on neckline bliss and the graduation. Joy and Kleenex!

  • Congrats on shepherding one through to graduation! We’re at the same point here. There are no final exams, only culminating assessments (a triumph of a thesaurus if ever there was one!).

    • Yes! Nothing is what it used to be. Final exams? Never mind THAT.

  • I cannot wait to try this out! I’ve got to try this pattern…and this edging!
    Now, go out and soak up all the glory of graduation!!! And the memories!!!

  • Such a great little top. If you want a beautiful variation on that neck edging, pick up and instead of knitting one row, purl one row instead and then bind off. It looks like delicate piping. You can see it on my “After the Rain” top on Ravelry.

    • This great comment led me straight to your Ravelry project page (one of my favorite places to visit anyway…). I think you mean to refer to your Hayward sweater instead, no?

      One thought I have about this refined neck edging is that it would also look wonderful in a contrasting color or even just a contrasting fiber (say, a shiny finish on a matte garment).

  • Now that you’re through dissing us heathens…it is a lovely edge. Now, go practice wearing your ginormous platform heels and your towering beehive wig, so you won’t be a total klutz at the vampire’s graduation ;-)!

  • Oh, beauteous neckline! Oh, fabulous graduate! (And sometimes they keep the vampire hours even after graduating.)

    Just back to knitting on my Shakerag Top this morning; I had a little detour to knit and write 2 patterns that had to be done. So I’m just starting the neckline on the back. Keeping careful notes so that both edges will be the same height, and the front and back will be the same height, too. A distracted girl can dream, right?!

  • Pick up and knit? Or just pick up? (In the photo, did you p/up all your stitches then go back and knit before binding off?)

    • I picked up and knit, per the pattern instructions, and I did it the way Kate Atherley explains “pick up and knit” in her recent, superb MDK piece, “Techniques in Depth: How to Pick up Stitches.” “

      She really is a genius at splainin stuff!

      • oh, yes! Thanks for the link. I forgot I knew that. 🙂

  • I’ve never seen a nicer edge! Perfectly suits the overall design, too. Looking forward to pictures 🙂

  • Just went to Instagram. Looks fabulous on Kay. Thanks, Ann, for the beautiful neckline tip.

  • I love this little top and plan to knit it soon (all those WIPs have waited this long, they can wait a bit longer) but I need longer sleeves – I’m not that proud of my upper arms. I’m thinking I just need to cast on more stitches when I get to the sleeve part of the pattern but any tips or tricks would be appreciated!

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