Crocheted Ballet Shrugs
As a very fortunate grandmother of three delightful girls (plus 2 wonderful teenage boys) I have wonderful models who are my muses for so many creations; Now that all three girls have started dance programs, the front tied At the Barre Shrug designed by Diane Moyer for Yarnspirations is the perfect accessory for these "budding ballerinas." The free pattern is also shown on Ravelry and Pinterest. Although the directions called for Red Heart Sparkle Soft, this yarn is no longer available. Therefore, I substituted Caron Simply Soft which was a good fit for sparkle and weight. I started with a sparkly silver for the oldest girl. Then I made the next shrug from a sparkly white. The youngest child requested a blushing pink. The Simply Soft yarns come at the lighter end of the worsted (#4) spectrum of yarns, but they worked well for these delicate sweaters since I wanted to allow for freer movement. While they would probably not wear the sweaters as they danced, these accessories could easily be slipped on so that they did not get chilled after their lessons.
The size range for the pattern is child 4 through child 10. The sweaters are crocheted with size I (5.5 mm) hooks. The body of the shrug is worked in one piece beginning with the lower back edge. The sleeves are worked directly onto the body. Most of the sweater is crocheted in double crochet. Special stitches include dc2tog (double crochet 2 stitches together), FDC (foundation double crochet), FSC (foundation single crochet), and a Picot edging. Instructions are provided to make special stitches. I found it necessary to go on You Tube to see a video on how to make the foundation stitches, but I got the hang of it with practice. Since the foundation stitch combines the initial chain and the first row, you can just separate the steps if you find it too difficult to execute the foundation stitches.
Since the pattern is reversible, just select the side you prefer before starting the sleeves. By crocheting the sleeves right into the body, the sleeve placement is smooth. With right side facing place markers on both side edges of front and back from 2 to 5 inches depending on size. This will leave from 5 1/2 to 7 inches between the markers. A handy diagram with measurements helps you to visualize sleeve placement and construction. When the sleeves are done crochet a Picot edging to create a finished look.
To construct the garment, fold the piece in half to match the front to the back of the sweater. Pin along the short side seams and along the sleeve. I used a neat blanket stitch to make my seams. With the double crochet stitching I found that crocheting the seams or using the mattress stitch did not provide necessary structure. I prefer blanket stitch to whipped stitch as the seam has a more finished look.
Place the sweater right side facing you to start with a single crochet in the lower right corner to begin the Picot edging. You will be working in the ends of the rows as you go up the right front edge, across the neck and down the left side. Ties are crocheted to each side of the front sections. The pattern calls for FSC (foundation single crochet) followed by 2 additional rows of single crochet.
The free Yarnspiration patterns are wonderful to work with. The patterns are concise and are easily printed over 2-3 pages. Yarn weights, yarn yardages, gauge, and finished measurements are listed. Directions are clear and special stitches are explained. Photos and diagrams help to visualize the finished piece.
My girls were delighted with their new ballet shrugs. If there is a young dancer in your family or friend group, I encourage you to try this project. The sweaters do not take long to finish and are relatively easy to make. As always, I appreciate your feedback and reflections. I invite you to join me on my stitching journey.
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