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Dear Kay,

Somewhere in the past weeks I power-knitted a whole entire sweater.

A Shakerag Top.

There was a hard deadline to get ’er done by the start of the MDK Knitting Getaway at Shakerag Workshops. I wanted to join the legions (OK the little mini legion) of folks who would be wearing their Shakerag Tops at Shakerag. If nothing else, I’m a joiner.

Proof of wearing Shakerag Top, at Shakerag, with fellow Shakeragger Stephanie B. who is also wearing Shakerag Top.

I don’t even remember most of this delirious project. It went really fast, and as the clock ticked toward my deadline, I loved the simple construction of this design. You won’t see me stranded on Sleeve Island, because there were no sleeves.

I ended up not weaving in the ends, or finishing the sleeve edgings, but that didn’t stop me from wearing it at the Knitting Getaway fashion show where a group of Shakerag Top Wearers really gave the Rockettes a run for their money.

It is a sweater that looks great on everybody! Makes you want to kick up your heels, or, in my case, kick somebody else’s heels and apologize real quick.

Things to Note

This pattern is a fan fave. (See 388 of them on Ravelry.)

It’s the clever work of Amy Christoffers, the designer featured in MDK Field Guide No. 6: Transparency. A subtle effect comes by working stripes with one strand of yarn, then two strands held together. It’s lovely, almost invisible.

The original yarn specs call for Sylph by Jade Sapphire, a gorgeous and rare combo of cashmere and linen. We love it and carry it in the Shop.

It occurred to us that a cotton version would be a) less costly and b) practical and c) great. So a while back, we started carrying Rowan’s Summerlite 4ply for this pattern.

We’ve got a jillion colors in the Shop. I submit that every single one of these would make a fine Shakerag Top.

How many skeins will you need? If you’re doing the one-color version as the pattern specifies:

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 57½″): 9 skeins.

Size 3XL (finished bust measurement 62½″): 10 skeins

If you decide on a two-color version, like mine, 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.)

Coral Blush and Langoustino here. At night I couldn’t even see the difference in the colors, but you know how it is: I could feel it.

Seriously, I think this Shakerag Top took me about a week. It’s knit in the round. It was big fun to crank it out. This is the first sweater I’ve ever knitted in cotton, incredibly. It won’t be my last, and I encourage you to give it a go if you’re looking for a cool breeze of a project.



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  • LOVE THE KICK LINE PHOTOS!!! Such a great sweater. Question. How do you keep it from stretching out of shape? It IS so affordable this way and I so appreciate that. Thank you!

    • It doesn’t have much shape to begin with so I don’t think it would be a problem.

  • I made a Shakerag in this cotton and LOVE it. I was just thinking I need to make myself another. For some reason mine doesn’t seem to stretch or if it does it’s not a lot. I just love it.

    • What size needles did you use. TIA

  • I’ve been eyeing the Shakerag for quite awhile. Any recommendations on ease? The Rav description doesn’t list any. Obviously it’s a personal choice but in the cotton it would be great to have some guidance. TIA

    • I’ve got a good 6-7” ease in this. The design is so simple and boxy that the sleeves just drop a bit farther down my arm in this size. It’s the third size in the pattern. A true fit for me would be the second size, but I wanted it to be looser.

  • Okay, I have to ask: How is Shakerag pronounced? “Shake-a-Rag?” “Shack-Rag?” Something else? And what does the name signify? Thanks.

    • It’s Shake-Rag. 🙂

      • Thank you!

      • LOL Thank you! Been wondering about that for years!:)

  • Just last night I was looking at my second Shakerag top – knit in summerlite. (It feels so soft). I finished it but needed to make an alteration (the armholes were tight – operator error) and so I ripped it back and have made plans for 2 years to redo. Time to pull it out of timeout and get-er-done.

  • Finished my second cotton Shakerag sweater (in that lovely bright green) last week, and have worn it 3 times already. Great top, even in the super-melty temps of New Orleans.

  • I really LOVE your colors, Ann.

  • So much fun! And my Shakerag is made in this very cotton. Delightfully comfy.
    PS- I’m the gal who instigated this “dance event.” #shakeyourshakerag

  • I love your two color version. How much ease did you allow? I like how yours fits.

    • I’ve got a good 6-7” ease in this. The design is so simple and boxy that the sleeves just drop a bit farther down my arm in this size. It’s the third size in the pattern. A true fit for me would be the second size, but I wanted it to be looser.

  • Summerlite is an excellent idea! I love my Shakerag in Sylph, but when it gets humid, not so much. This cotton would be perfect.

  • Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Anne: It may be acceptable in your circle to say “Get her done” but for some of us it is offensive. It represents sexual activity by men against women/girls. I cringe every time I read or see it. Sayings can evolve as culture evolves, but some us have memories.
    • The coral and orange was stunning! But so would every other color. A great top

  • I love my Shakerag in Rowan Summerlite. It’s one of my favorite summer tops! I think I may need to make another one! I LOVE your colors!

  • I’m totally making one in Summerlite after seeing yours (possibly even in the same colors)!

  • Ann your Shakerag top looks beautiful on you! I love its crisp and bright look; and, the colors are to die for!

  • OMG, it has a touch of pink in it! Next thing you know, Ann will be knitting throws for that B-doll’s dream house! (Despite the pink, it looks great.)

    • Gone rogue! What’s next? Tulle????

  • So cute! How much ease do you have in your top? My first one only has 2”, and I don’t wear it much; I want something looser/drapier. Open to knitting another; it was such a pleasure! Just need to plot and plan for ease.

    • Hi Michele! I made the third size, which is a size larger than the first one I made. I wanted more ease too, and it’s probably a good 6-7” ease on me.

  • Any / all why have made it in Summerlite – did you use the same size needles as the Slyph pattern? I have a Slyph version almost-completed and now want this one!!

    • Hi Dawn! I used the size 6 specified in the pattern to get gauge. You’ll want to swatch to make sure you’re getting gauge.

  • Anyone else want to make EVERYTHING!!!!

    • Yes! Me! I’ve got so many projecks on the go right now!

    • Yep!! I’m trying so hard to resist, but it is useless!

  • juicy colors!

  • So, for the two-color version, if you need 7 skeins do you get 3 off one color and 4 off the other? Or would you need 4 of each?

  • This top is gorgeous!! I’ve been thinking about making myself a cool summer top & there it is! So perfect. I love everyone’s comments, very helpful info. Tyvm ❤️

  • I swatched for this top but found the fabric to be far too stiff in a 4 ply yarn. The original yarn looks to be more like a heavy lace weight than a 4 ply yarn?

    • Sylph is classified as light fingering. I think classifications are sometimes tricky, so that’s why swatching is a good idea when making garments.

  • Also, are there errata in the book re the metreage? 202 metres is surely too short for 309 yards? Is everyone meeting gauge or working it looser?

    • It’s 282 meters. I worked my Summerlite 4ply at the specified gauge, not looser.

      • I would like to buy just the single pattern for Shakerag Top. Please tell me how to do this. I only see option to buy the entire Transparency issue.

  • Just finishing up my first Shakerag top in Sylph and now I’m trying to decide what color Summer Cotton to order for my next one. A fun knit that works up pretty rapidly.

  • WoW!!. ALWAYS fabulous MDK!!! I’m headed to Rav to see my beloved knitfriends’ shakerags. Then, I will be back for some supplies
    ***Could this be ok for a 1st time sweater for a beginner/moving toward intermediate?*** TY!

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