It took a wardrobe malfunction for me to fully
appreciate the power, the beauty, and the sheer usefulness of the
humble garment called a shrug.
Prior to the unfortunate malfunction, I had scorned shrugs as being
something devised by an evil waif queen to make the rest of us mortals
look silly in our efforts to be stylin’. I never felt the urge to knit
or crochet a shrug, not even once—not until my clothing chose the ten
minutes prior to a meeting with my publisher to misbehave.
I was wearing this chic, fitted cotton dress, my best black dress
sandals, and sparkly jewelry to match. I had the meeting with the
publisher all lined up, and was checking my teeth in the bathroom
mirror for traces of lunch when I happened to look down.
There was a rip in my chic dress that was not part of its
fashionable appeal, if you know what I mean. The rip was about two
inches long. The rip was strategically located. The publisher was
waiting to see me.
I was doomed.
I made an emergency run through my colleagues’ offices, begging for
a sweater, a jacket, a miracle. In the end, Kerry saved me by lending
me a wonderful lacy shrug that not only covered The Malfunction, but
covered it with beautifully done crochet. Hoping that the beautifully
done crochet was one of our own designs, I asked where she’d gotten the
She said, “At Big Box Store Name.”
I was flabbergasted. (Well, OK, maybe “flabbergasted” is a bit too
melodramatic for what my reaction was, but I just love that word:
“flabbergasted.”) This lovely little crocheted shrug had taken some
woman in China or Thailand hours to make, and she was probably paid a
few dollars for all that work. (I know it was handmade, because there
isn’t a machine on earth that can do a pineapple crochet lace motif.) I
thought about that woman, so far away, as I gratefully slipped on the
shrug and hurried off to my meeting, wardrobe malfunction under wraps.
I thought about her hours later, when I had a chance to sit and pore
over the stitches in the shrug and admire their evenness.
You can find tiny bits of artistic mastery everywhere, even at a Big Box store.
Of course, I wanted a shrug just like that one for my very own.
There weren’t any left at the Big Box anymore, but I found a few free
shrug patterns to share with you.
Which one is your favorite shrug? Next time, we’ll chat about how to
design your own, just in case none of the free knitted accessories captures your