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We’ve been waiting for this: a go-to yarn for summery tops and tanks. Rowan’s Summerlite 4ply, in 100 percent cotton, is just the ticket.

We’ve got plans for it: we’ll be using Summerlite 4ply to make a new version of one of the most popular patterns we’ve ever published, Amy Christoffers’s Shakerag Top from MDK Field Guide No. 6: Transparency. Summerlite 4ply is a perfect gauge match for the Shakerag Top, and its smoothy cottony hand is just what we need in climes too warm for cashmere. Summerlite 4ply has another sterling quality: it’s gentle on the ol’ yarn budget.

Wondering how many skeins you’ll need to make your size? We’ve done the math. You can find the number of skeins required for all the sizes on the Summerlite 4ply product page.

What’s This Shakerag Top?

The Shakerag Top, designed by Amy Christoffers for MDK Field Guide No. 6: Transparency, is beloved by knitters. It’s fun to knit and a breeze to wear. It looks good on everyone, and that’s a fact.

Sometimes when I’m feeling a little wobbly, I go look at the finished Shakerag Tops on Ravelry and get a galvanizing blast of joy. Knitters of all shapes and sizes have made the Shakerag Top in a variety of colors and fibers, and it’s a star every time. It’s a good thing.

Amy Christoffers deployed a neat trick to create the Shakerag Top’s tonal stripes: you alternate between holding the yarn double and holding it single. Stripes without ends to weave in—it’s a miracle!

Here’s Kay’s own original Shakerag Top.

And here’s Ann’s exciting marled version. She used two colors for the double-stranded stripes and then dropped one of them for the single-stranded stripes.

The Quest for Cotton

A knitted tee is a great everyday piece in warm weather, and the fit of the Shakerag Top makes it a perfect t-shirt upgrade. But in its original, cashmere-enriched blend, the Shakerag Top could be a little too fancy, and a little too warm, for the daily summer uniform.

We’ve been casting around for a cotton yarn that would make our Shakerag t-shirt dreams come true. It was tricky: The yarn had to be thin enough to make a nice fabric when held double, but not so thin that the single-strand stripes would be transparent. It also had to come in a fresh, wearable range of colors.

We swatched, and Summerlite is THE ONE.

It hits gauge, and every other box we wanted to check.

We can’t wait to make Summerlite 4ply versions of our beloved Shakerag Tops.

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  • Oh I love a shiny new yarn! What’s the suggested ease on the Shakerag. I could see one of those in my future.

  • Hurray! Hurray! HURRAY!!!!! I really want to make a Shakerag top — but cashmere in a New Orleans summer? No thank you. Cotton? Yes, PLEASE! Thanks for making my day!!

  • This is a gorgeous yarn – one of my favorites. Any excuse to knit with it is fine with me!

    • Just ordered some to start a Shakerag Tee, now that I’ve just finished my Carol Feller Trellis Top. Can’t wait to get started!

  • Wait a minute. There are two knitalongs going, she’s beading a table runner, and now plans for a new Shakerag? Either Kay’s grown some additional arms, or maybe she should cut back on the coffee…;-)!

    • Never!

  • YES!!!!! All hail new yarn!

  • I’m excited to make this top in this yarn. I’d love to try to make it like Ann did with the marled stripes. Will that work in this yarn as well? Thank you!!

    • That was my first thought, too! Channeling my inner Cecilia Campochiaro!

    • It should work the same way. Somebody has to be the first one in the pool!

      • Exactly what I want to do, just trying to decide colors. This is great,

  • I’ve been jonesing for a Shakerag Top for ages! This might be the time. (I’ve just organized my stash, taking pictures and weighing the leftover yarns, so I am feeling VERY virtuous and deserving of a reward!) It would be REALLY helpful to know how many of each color if we’re planning on making a marled version — any chance that could be added to the page giving quantities for the various sizes?

    • We will put our heads together to see if we can give a more precise methodology, but it seems like you would need 1 skein of the contrast color for the marled stripes for 2 skeins of the color you are using for the plain stripes (and as half of the double strand for the marled stripes). So if your size calls for 6 skeins of all one color, I’d get 4 of the “main” color and 2 of the “marl” color.

    • I was wondering the same.

    • “Taking pictures and weighing the leftover yarns.” Bless you, virtuous child!

  • Yay! I bought 8 skeins of this yarn In February because I HAD to have the pink color and have been trying to figure out what pattern to use. This is PERFECT!!!

    • Destiny!

  • Maybe this will finally get me to make the Shakerag I bought the yarn for over a year ago, ha! I remain utterly incapable of realistically estimating how many knitting projects I can do in a year.

    If only *some people* would quit publishing beautiful patterns and hosting fun knitalongs and stocking exciting new yarns in their shop, I could catch up 😉

  • I LOVE the Summerlite yarn. I used it in a poncho mixed with other yarns and have since picked up some skeins in some other colors. I’ve admired the Shakerrag top for awhile…looks like I need to get the pattern, pronto.

  • This is what happens when you wait… so many colors already out of stock! Obviously you have started something! I’ll wait for the restock; it’s not as though I have nothing to knit in the meanwhile.

  • I can’t believe how fast these sold out! When I’ll you have more in stock?

  • What is the ease on the Shakerag top? I love this top, and the Rowan cottom does seem perfect for it, but I don’t know the ease so I can’t figure out my finished measurement to know how many skeins to get. Thanks!!!!

  • Please, please let me know when you have more colors in stock, especially the lightest color blue. Dying to knit a Shakerag. Many thanks!

  • Can you pull the yarn out of the center to start knitting? I usually put my yarn in a baggie and cut a corner so my dogs hair (which is on everything! ) is kept at a minimum while I am knitting.

  • Dumb Question about the Shakerag top in the Rowan Cotton: what size needles? Doesn’t seem like an even swap for 4/6 as suggested by the pattern. The yarn seems to suggest size 2/3. Please help!!

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