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Dear Ann,

I love it when knitting and life rhyme. So I’m tickled to be casting on my very own Shakerag Top, with a realistic probability of finishing it in time to wear at our Knitting Getaway at Shakerag Workshops in June. I will be taking the Shakerag to Shakerag!

I’ve got traveling to do in the next two weeks, and the simple textural stripes of the Shakerag Top are perfect for knitting on the go: it’s stockinette in the round, all the way to the armholes. I will barely have to work any shaping, the whole trip, and at the end I’ll have a lovely new garment.

Here are all the details on the Shakerag Top over at Ravelry.

I’m on the first doubled-yarn stripe, but it’s too early too see the effect.

Included among the many things that do not get in the way of my rich and rewarding knitting fantasy life, ever: the temperature and humidity that are likely to prevail in Sewanee, Tennessee, in early June. The Shakerag Top is indeed a lightweight top. It calls for Sylph, a crispy-soft blend of linen and cashmere. It’s a perfect summer top if you live by the sea, or in a climate-controlled abode that you never leave. But that cashmere in the Sylph mix? It’s not likely to do well outdoors, in Tennessee, in June. I can see that, Ann. I’m not a dummy.

Solution: I’m going to wear it only in the air-conditioned climes of the Auditorium and my dorm room. I think that’s a sound plan. It will allow me to flaunt my Shakerag Top, while not melting or getting cashmere permanently stuck to my skin.

There will be plenty of sticks at Shakerag. I am confident of being able to recreate this image.

If you see any flaw in my plan, please keep it to yourself.

La la la la la la la [knitting away happily].



P.S. The details: I’m knitting size XL, for Xtra Ease, in Sylph shade Rustle, a pale, oyster-shell greige.


  • I am knitting me be n some vintage raw silk I had in my stash. I love the ease of this pattern!

  • Been over and over this, and I think your plan is flawless. Can’t wait to see the FO!

  • That’s perfect travel knitting to be sure, and a great plan – you can do it.

  • It’s a good plan! I’m hoping to have mine finished too!

  • I’ve been keeping my phone display on grayscale. I flipped it to color for this post and … couldn’t see a difference!

  • Waiting for my book to arrive so I can cast on my own Shakerag.
    Your plan seems to be flawless….

  • It certainly is well named!

  • I have to say I love the sweater. I just signed up for one of the Shakerag week-long craft workshops; my second year to go. (Pathetic that I’ve only been twice…since I grew up in Sewanee and have housing up there!) I’m sorry I can’t be at the knitting weekend, however. I know it’ll be a lot of fun!

  • Beautiful! It’s in my Q, even tho I don’t wear that kind of top! OT: Have you seen Unforhotten on PBS? It’s fantastic! Only 3 epis per season. You know how those Brits do TV. Apologies if you’ve already told us about it, but I lack a memory.

  • We knitters are all too familiar with imaginary wear-ability. The Fair Isle twin set, long sleeved pullover subset -and you don’t live in the arctic. The worsted weight halter top – it’s cotton, isn’t it? The cashmere baby blanket, because babies never ever spit up. La la la la, indeed.

    • Oh thank God you mentioned the cashmere baby blanket thing. I was afraid I was being unfashionably practical by sticking with machine wash n dry acrylic for these. Not afraid enough to actually USE cashmere, you see, but considered it my guilty little secret. No more!

      • Given the cash required to knit a baby blanket from cashmere you’d be better off writing a check for the baby’s college fund.

  • What do you plan to wear when moving between the auditorium and your dorm room? I recommend the Big Floral Damask Thing, so Ann can get pictures of you actually wearing it! (With this year’s weather, it should be perfect for Tennessee in early June — there may be snow on the ground!)

  • Sounds perfectly wonderful to me. La-la-la-la-la. . .

  • Been looking for something basic to make for a friend who lives at the beach here on the left coast and this will be perfect. We had lunch yesterday and while it was high 80’s here in the valleys, it was 15-20 degrees cooler just an hour away at her place (not that anyone was complaining, hello lives at the beach!).

  • Since you’ll be able to whip up a Shakerag in no time, the easy (cough!) solution is to knit a second one in a linen/silk or linen/hemp blend for outdoors. Presto change-o and you’re ready for any weather. (Might want to toss your Carbeth or a shawly-wrap in your luggage for any weird polar climate shifts just in case.)

  • You’ve inspired me to knit something to wear at Shakerag. I just ordered the yarn! It’s like our own version of the Rhinebeck sweater. Only mine is sleeveless so there’s a chance it will be done. I’m so excited for the weekend, but I’ve thought far too much about what I’ll be wearing. Which knits? A little something Alabama Chanin? How many things can I make before June?

    • It’s gonna be all about comfort! My rule is: can I wear this over my bathing suit?

  • I had thoughts of knitting one for the weekend too. Just started a gift for a friend. Not sure if I have tome for both(and shoot, still need to book flights).

  • It will be beautiful!

  • As I’m trying to be on a yarn diet, I’m wondering if I could make this work in a gradient. Would be marled—and would have to figure out the top so they match, hmmm. Or maybe one color in DK, just not as light???

  • What would be a good substitute in a linen/cotton? Can’t wear cashmere in summer.

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