Easy ShrugThe joy of this garment is in the simplicity. It can be modified with lace patterns, or made unique with unusual materials. It can also be used to use up scraps, doing a "coat of many colors".
Materials: Needles to suit your desired tension, and at least a pound of yarn. This shrug is a good way to use up scraps. I like to use size 10 1/2 [USA], so that it works fast, but a fine lace pattern might need smaller needles. Bear in mind that due to the folding to shape the garment what is horizontal on the back of the shrug is vertical on the front. This works lovely with a striped color scheme, but would hang funny in a ripple pattern such as Old Shale, Razor Shell, etc.
Knit a 28 inch by 60 inch rectangle, preferably in a stretchy stitch. That will work for almost any female size. If you want it larger, say for a tall lady, here is a working formula. Measure the length from one end of the fingertips straight across the back to the end of the other fingertips. This should be in the vicinity of 60 inches. If it is larger, round up to an even number. This is the long side of your rectangle. Half that number and subtract 2. This is the short side of your rectangle.
Fold c to a and d to b, tacking in place, leaving an 8 inch opening between a and b for the neck.
Leaving an 8 inch space at the point for the wrist [four inches of the back and four inches of the side], starting at one wrist and working towards the neck opening, sew the flattest seam that you can. The bottom of the rectangle [front of shrug] that you folded up is going to be about 2 inches longer than the top [back of shrug] side. in the last 4 inches of the front, which is the last 2 inches of the back, gather the front to fit the back as you sew. Start the other shoulder seam at the wrist [minus the 8 inches] also, as you want the gathers to be at the neck. Placing the gathers at the neck helps to create a shaping for a woman's form, and this is a woman's garment.
The last thing to do is to fold back the extra triangles of material at the wrists and tack in some manner [great place for a big goofy button].
Optional: If you wish, on some shrugs it might be attractive to add an edge to the body opening formed by the neck opening and the long edge of the rectangle that was folded up. Some suggestions would be a crocheted edge in a flexible stitch, or to pick up stitches and do a k1-p1 rib for an inch.