Shakerag Top Help

I just started my very first sweater and it’s the Shakerag. I am a sock knitter, really, but loved this top and wanted to give it a go.

I have completed the beginning rows but now am switching to single yarn to begin the pattern and don’t understand what to do with the spare yarn. The pattern says "carry it up the wrong side row (if you are knitting in rows)…where? how? and isn’t everyone knitting rows?? Can somebody please explain? Thanks!

I think if you are knitting in rows means if you are knitting it flat as in backwards and forwards in rows rather than 'in the round.
If you knit front and back flat, you’d carry the yarn up the side (which is an outside edge) or on the wrong side, if you are knitting in the round as a tube.

Carrying the yarn just means you’ll have fewer ends to weave in. Just make sure you don’t pull it too tight when it’s back in play, or you’ll get puckering between the stripe sections. If you twist it with the working yarn every row, you’ll manage the tension and avoid a loop!


THanks so much - I will twist it every row as you suggest.

Okay, this is a dumb question for someone who has been knitting as long as I have… but there it is. I’m about to start the Shakerag top, and I’m wondering about the size. The pattern says “Finished Measurements” and it also says that the garment was designed with 4-8" of ease. So is the finished measurement with or without the ease? In another word, I have a 44" bust, and I’d like to make this with some ease (let’s say 4"). So do I go with the 44" finished measurement, or with the 48"? I"m going to start with the 44" finished measurement, but I’m willing to start over again if the wisdom of the group is that I should make the 48" finished measurement.

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I guess it just depends on how much ease you are comfortable with. I don’t like my garments to have that much ease so I always make them the closest size to my actual measurement which usually falls between two given measurements in the pattern. I am almost done with a Shakerag and I made a medium because my bust measures 39”. I tried it on with the shoulders pinned and it seems perfect. I think the amount of ease you are comfortable with is what matters.

This is a question I have had myself and when asked got the same answer which I didn’t think answered the question. Or I just don’t get it. Do you add the amount of ease you want to your measurement and knit that size?

Here is the response I got directly from MDK when I asked the same question via email.

Since the finished measurment is 44", if your bust is 44", then the sweater will fit you EXACTLY - with no “ease”. My bust is 39" and I am knitting the medium because the finished size is 44"…so I’ll have about 5 inches of ease. It made sense to me, hope it helps you, too!!! Sidenote: i’m not finished with the sweater, so I’m hoping it works out! :slight_smile:

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If it helps at all, I am usually a 38"-ish bust and I made the 44" / size M. The fit is great!! If I had gone a size down, it might not be as boxy so I really like the extra ease.


Costume designer here: Finished size is just that—what you get when the garment is done. Suggested bust size is actual body size the designer thinks it fits. That takes into account how much ease they intended to have. It does NOT REFECT the type of fit you prefer. Put briefly, body size + natural fabric stretch or compression (like during blocking or wearing) + design ease = final real dimension.

After making your swatch and doing the wash and block thing, you can tell how much the fabric changed or did not change in dimension. If the change is negligible, just measure an existing garment that hangs the way you like it arounf the body part in question (usually bust or hip). Compare to your own body, and that tells you the design ease YOU like. Add that to your body size and pick the FINISHED size closest to it.

If the knitted swatch stretched or shrank noticeably, then you need to add or subtract the change amount to your BODY size, THEN add the amount of design ease you found you liked.


I’m new here - just started a Shakerag top using the Rowan Summerlite 4ply. First, I had trouble finding the end of the yarn from the middle of the balls, so I rewound 2 balls to start with. Now I’m having trouble when I knit a stripe that uses two strands, they keep twisting horribly, making a big knotted mess if I don’t stop every row or so and untwist them. Do I need to take two balls and wind them together and change to that ball every time I knit a row with 2 strands? Thanks for any suggestions!

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Yarn bowls (or any bowl you drop your yarn in) will help with this I think. I almost always use them when working with two yarns.

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I have used them with these 2 balls, and on another project with 2 yarns, and they still got twisted - maybe it’s my ball winder? Do you ever start with the outer yarn ends of the balls as they come wound - let them bump around in the yarn bowls as you work?

Thanks so much for your help!

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I usually wind by hand, so don’t know about the winder. But if pre-wound I do tend to start at the outside.

I’ll try that with the next 2 balls, which I’ll be starting today or tomorrow. I’m on the fourth stripe of the top. Thanks again for your help!

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Any time… Good luck