So you're looking for the perfect shrug?

In an effort to sane-ify things somewhat, I've attempted to consolidate my craft patterns. I've moved them all to my crafting blog, Shknitzel. Ruth, also known as the Perfect Shrug pattern can be found here or you can download this pdf.

Some background on Ruth and Ruthie:

I was inspired to make this jacket by a photo from a Norwegian knitting magazine I saw on Craftster. The version you see here was sent to my Oma, who was wheelchair-bound due to advanced MS, and often got chilly arms in the nursing home. Sweaters were usually either too bulky and got bunched in the chair behind her or were too light as to make no difference to the chill. Sadly, Oma passed away two days after Christmas in 2007. The original red wool shrug was not found among her things, but my Knitting Olympics version in blues and greens was returned tome. Wearing it is like getting a hug from Oma. In her honor, I've named the bolero jacket Ruth. The modification for a shrug is Ruthie

Sizing Notes:

This pattern is in a size medium. It measures 15.5" across the shoulders and will fit a 36" bust over another layer. Rather than write the pattern in several sizes (which seemed beyond my grasp for my first pattern) I'm leaving the math up to you. I'm not being spiteful, though, I promise. Because this is a large-gauge knit that keeps the math to a minimum, adjusting the pattern to fit you perfectly rather than relying on imperfect averages is the best solution.

I recommend starting with the sleeves, making sure they fit the way you like. I like my sleeves with plenty of room and length. Start with a swatch of 36 stitches and see how close that comes to fitting around your arm at the widest point. If you can increase or decrease by a multiple of four, that's your best bet. Simply cast on that number more or less and follow the increase patterns as written. If you can't, I would recommend rounding down to the nearest multiple of four for your cast on, then increasing by the difference evenly across the first stockinette row. Then you can continue to work the increases as written. In other words, if you think you want to decrease 5 stitches, cast on 8 fewer than the pattern calls for and increase 3 stitches in the first stockinette row. This is neccessary to keep the 2x2 ribbing at the cuff consistent. I doubt you'll find the sleeve to short, but if it is either too long or two short, adjust the length after the last increase row.

You don't need to follow the rule of four for body adjustments. If you have a 40 inch bust, 4" more than the pattern as written, increase 2" worth of stitches in gauge for the body caston number (the other 2" will be made up for in the ribbing), then follow the instructions as written. I recommend taking it off the needles 2-4 rows after attaching the sleeves and trying it on to be sure of the fit across the back and under the arms. If you're increasing a large number of stitches, you may have to adjust the under-arm portion as well. This will require binding off more stitches on the sleeves as well as the body. If the back fits, your set. You may have to adjust the point at which you are ready for the ribbing, but probably not too much. Adjustments in the length of the ribbed section will be all that is needed to get a good fit across the chest.