A Rather Rustic Shrug. {pattern}

I posted this picture on my Tumblr blog earlier today, and it has received a lot of attention, including requests for the pattern.


It was a weekend project, cooked up in my head and produced in a frankly slapdash fashion which, to my surprise and delight, paid off. Knitted ‘sideways’, it really is astoundingly simple – basically a long rectangle with slits for arms – and, once you’ve got it, could be tweaked and customised endlessly. Smaller needles, lighter weight yarn and more stitches for something less bulky and more drapey, for example… Or you could make one front section longer, so you can throw it over the opposite shoulder…

I have never written a pattern before, so bear with me, and if you do decide to give this a go and find glaring faults or have any questions, please just holler.

So here goes.

You will need
Super chunky yarn. I used James C Brett Rustic, Mega Chunky, I think around 5 x 100g balls (that may be an overestimate)
12mm, long knitting needles
9mm or 10mm crochet hook
Darning needle
Chopstick or toggle or fastening of choice

Using 12mm needles, cast on 45 stitches. This is the length of your shrug, so if you want it shorter, cast on fewer, or longer, cast on more. I am 5 feet 9 and a size 12, and have given the number of rows mine took. It’s an easy pattern to play with and adjust for your size.

1) Knit in stocking stitch: one row plain, one row purl, until the work covers your front across your chest. (About 35 rows in my case) ending with a wrong side (purl) row.
Next (right side) row: knit 10, cast off 15, knit 15
Next (wrong side) row: purl 15, cast on 15, purl 10.
You have created the first armhole.
2) Continue in stocking stitch until the work after the armhole comfortably covers your back. (About 45 rows on mine)
Create the next armhole in exactly the same way.
3) Continue in stocking stitch until it covers your front again. (About 35 again). Cast off.

Attach yarn to a corner and double crochet UK (sc US) all the way around.
I did an extra line of treble UK (double US) around the bottom of mine, for a more obvious border. But of course your border could be anything you like. Or nothing if you prefer the curling up look of the plain stocking stitch… Weave in tails.

Fasten with chopstick, in whatever style takes your fancy, or leave open and draped, like a large scarf 🙂


29 thoughts on “A Rather Rustic Shrug. {pattern}

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      1. I’m so sorry. Carpal tunnel’s no fun at all… 😔
        I envy your sewing skills. Mine are even more slapdash than my knitting!

      2. 😊 I hope it works for you. If she has any helpful hints or screaming frustrations with my ‘pattern’, do pass them along!

  1. Hello! Thank you so much for this beautiful pattern! I just finished my sc border row and am so excited to finally have it finished! Mine, however, looks a little different than yours…and I am wondering a few things: did you block your piece? Mine curls all around the edges which is warping the shape…any help would be so appreciated! Thank you so much for this pattern – your blog is so user friendly with great inspiration! Catrina

    1. Hi Catrina,
      I’m so thrilled you made it! I didn’t block mine, and it did curl initially. Blocking would be the fix, definitely. I wanted mine to curl around the neck, and because the yarn is so thick and heavy, I found that perseverance with keeping it where I wanted it as I wore it ‘taught’ it where to be. Another row of sc where you don’t want curling may also help, but I found that a bit bulky around the bosom 🙂 Perhaps just along the bottom edge?
      Would love to see your version when you’re ready, if you’d like to share?

      1. You are so wonderful! This is all such great information! I guess with different kinds of yarn you get different results. I am using Lion Brand Thick & Quick, which is thick enough, but with this knit pattern, it has enough room within the stitch to be flexible and not stiff (which would’ve kept it from curling as much as it is). I will block it when I get back (heading overseas for work tomorrow) and will definitely send you a photograph – you deserve to see the inspiration that you shine onto others! Thanks so much for your reply!

  2. Should’ve made that a little clearer: heading overseas for work for 3 weeks (not forever!) and so I’ll block it and send a pic when I get back! 🙂

    1. That’d be great! I can’t wait to see it Catrina. Have a good trip (and thank you for all the lovely things you said) 😊

      1. So nice of you to ask Alice! My trip has turned into a longer one, so I am not home until May. Sheesh! Will definitely post when I get back. Thanks for thinking of me! Happy knitting from Africa! 🙂

  3. Mine also doesn’t look like yours. Very drapy, seems longer than yours and too much fabric around the boobs. But I loved how easy it was to knit and the shape around the shoulders. Considering doing it again, but this time on size 10 needles, maybe only 10 stitch gap for the arm pits and making one of the flaps shorter. What do you think? I used the same yarn as you, just in green. My hubby says I look like a swamp monster in it.

    1. Lol! Swamp monster!
      We may have different tension in our knitting styles, but I like your idea a lot. It’s a very basic idea really, more than a pattern, and open to lots of playing, tweaking, and personal interpretation. I quite fancy making it in a much lighter weight wool some time, too… 😊

  4. Alice- I’m a beginning knitter, and from the States. Is there a different term for stocking stich? I am trying to figure that bit out. Thanks so much for your site and patterns. I am looking forward to trying to get better at my knitting. 🙂

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your lovely comment 😊 I believe the US term is stockinette? One row plain (knit), the next purl. Let me know how you get on? ❤️

  5. I’m a beginner & made this as my first project using Robin Jukebox Mega Chunky in Stones as I saw it & needed to make something with it, it was wool love at first sight! thank you so much for sharing the pattern/instructions, it was so easy! I made mine a little bigger across the back as I’m a size 14 & now just need to weave in the ends & wear it! I’m thrilled with it!

    1. Claire, this comment made me so happy! I’d love to see a pic, if you’re happy to share? 😊

  6. nearly finished making mine, ive done it in garter stitch, just because I like it, and using Cygnet super chunky metallic in Cobalt….cant wait to show you!!

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