A Project for My Knitting Retreat

Cocoon Shrug by Nancy Ricci. You can see
how pretty the spot stitch is.

I'm packing for my fall knitting retreat this weekend, and I've already got three sweaters in my bag. It's supposed to be rainy and cold here in Spokane, and our retreat is 45 minutes east, on the shores of Coeur d' Alene Lake in northern Idaho. It's always a little more brisk on the lake, and I've got to pack accordingly. So sweaters, a windbreaker, and comfy long pants it is.

But what about my knitting projects? I'm going to be in the mood to knit on projects that are warm and cozy while I enjoy weather that's cool and rainy.

I have a spring sweater to finish—my Kayleen Pullover—and a lovely vest to work on, too. The vest fits the warm and cozy bill, but I have a big problem: I'm going to run out of yarn. I have the back done and one of the fronts; I bought three new balls, but the dye lot is too different. I tried knitting with the new yarn every two rows to ease it in, but it's making very subtle stripes. Boo. So I've got to decide what to do on that one. Maybe I'll frog the front that's done and then stripe both fronts. I've need to think about it.

In the meantime, what should I take to my retreat? I've already planned to take Col. Fitzwilliam's Huswife with me, but I can't work exclusively on that because I'll finish it, and it's my knit-along project for the upcoming Masterpiece Mystery.

I've been thinking about the Cocoon Shrug from knit.purl a lot. I imagine myself wearing it to the market, the movies, and the basketball games that we have season tickets to. And of course, to my knitting group every week!

Cocoon Shrug by Nancy Ricci

This is the type of project I can really dig into in the fall. Designer Nancy Ricci used a really neat stitch pattern—the spot stitch, which is lovely paired with earth-tone colored yarn.

The Cocoon Shrug is made up of three rectangles, knit separately and sewn together. One large rectangle forms the main body and two smaller rectangles form the collar. Nancy figured out an ingenious way to fold and sew the rectangles into the finished shrug.

Nancy used Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride Bulky a wool/mohair blend, knit with needles larger than the yarn calls for. This creates a substantial, yet supple and flowy fabric.

I'm going to need to make this shrug a little larger, but it'll be easy to do so—I'll just cast on a few more stitches to each of the rectangles, using my gauge swatch to figure out how many extra stitches I'll need. The sizes are 40-, 44-, 48-inches wide from cuff-to-cuff, and 28-, 32-, and 36-inches high. The shrug shown measures 40 inches, so you can see that you want the shrug to be several inches larger than your bust size in order to fit the way Nancy intended.

I can't wait to arrive at my retreat and show my friends the Cocoon Shrug. I happen to have several balls of Lamb's Pride Bulky in a very similar color.

Knitting retreats are so much fun. I always get so inspired by all of the different projects, and it's fun to catch up with everyone.

Get your copy of knit.purl Winter 2014, and cast on the Cocoon Shrug!


P.S. Do you go to any knitting retreats? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite thing about them!

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