Alison Crowther-Smith


‘Little Neath’ Shrug

As you may have gathered, I love shrugs.  They are so comforting and also very flattering to all body types, big busts or small all look nice in a shrug. They are small and therefore quick to knit – well fairly quick – and they pack happily into most medium handbags for emergency glamour-plus-warmth-needed situations.

‘Little Neath’ is a very special design.  It has softly ‘gathered’ tucks, very subtle, all over the generously puffed sleeves.  Each tuck is marked with a placing of three beads, all together, while behind the scenes, you have literally lifted the work from the back with a simple stitch device.  The cuffs are quite fitted with a snug twisted rib, the sleeves then billow nicely, creating fantastic posing opportunities as well as great warmth, before narrowing for a more fitted upper-arm feature.

This pattern comes with two options for the back:  plain, with gently ribbed upper-arms;  or a lace rib-back version.  Both are cast off together or grafted at the centre back.

The yarns – Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace – are held together throughout, yielding a fabric that feels more like angora than mohair – really very luxurious and also offering so many colour-blending opportunities.  I knitted two – one in gold tones with bright golden beads, one in dove grey and mauves with dusky subtle beads.

Little Neath is a large river-bank cave in South Wales.  It was the first Welsh cave I ever encountered and I love it.  This design is exactly how I see the best features of Little Neath:  a snug entrance (the twisted rib cuff);  a billowy, gentle meander (the canal feature of the cave);  and some beautiful ‘pretties’ (the beaded clusters and the lacy ribbing).  And that my friends, is why I am a knitter and will never really be a caver.

You will need:

  • 3 (4) 25g balls of KSH (A)
  • 2 (3) 50g balls of Fine Lace (B)
  • Approx 1,000 size 6 beads
  • Set of size 2.75 mm DPNs
  • Set of 4mm DPNs
  • Set of 3.75mm needles
  • A long 3.75 mm needle (plus a spare 3.75mm needle, straight or circ for the cast-off)
  • Stitch marker to mark rounds.

The shrug is knitted in the round for the sleeves and flat for the back.  This probably looks harder than it actually is – I’d rate it as medium.

You can buy this design here – £4: