Summer of Shawls

Back in February I knit my first shawl, I have never worn shawls – but once I had this one I wore it everywhere. What followed has been an ongoing obsession with shawls. Since then I have knit or crocheted seven shawls. That’s right. Seven. But more than that, I have found the urge to start designing shawls.

Into the deep end with me.

Shawls come in many shapes, sizes and designs. You can do endless things with a shawl and people have. The first thing that I had to get a better grasp on is shaping. I found this fantastic post regarding shawl shaping and I cannot recommend it enough. It helped me understand that with standard, top down, shaping how the shawl is shaped depends on three primary elements:

  • How many increases per row.
  • How many increase rows (every row, every other, every third …)
  • Where the increases are located within the row.

Of course, for my first shawl I decided I needed to make a shape that is not found on this cheat sheet. I decided on a crescent. If you printed out the above cheat sheet you might want to pencil in notes for the crescent shape you might want to pencil in – Crescent = 4 increases on right side row and 2 increases on wrong side row (increasing every row).

But of course I could not leave well enough alone. I had to play with option #3. Where the increases are located. I fussed with that. I fiddled with that. I tried several different things. I ended up with the idea that the distance between the increases on the right side row should increase every row. I know that sounds crazy – and it probably is, but look how it worked out:

Purple Crescent shaped shawl

I was going for the look of outstretched wings, can you see it?

 This pattern is not for beginners, I used some unorthodox stitch marker juggling to achieve this shape. But I think it is worth it. My primary goal was to achieve the look of a bird in flight. With wings outstretched and feathers rippling down the back. Achieving this goal had an unexpected side effect. The curving line of YO increases did some very interesting things to how the shawl fits on the body.

Look Ma, no bunching!

It effectively works as shoulder shaping. The crescent shape curves around the neck and the garter stitch moves in a sorta “grippy” fashion, keeping the shawl in place.

The adventures in writing this pattern will be for a separate post. Needless to say it was a very steep learning curve. But it is now available for sale on Ravelry under the title Atreides (the name is yet another long story)! It comes in two sizes, the above being the small which uses 390 – 410 yards of fingering weight yarn, and the large:

The large version is large!

which did things that I wasn’t expecting. The addition of a single repeat of the lace pattern provided an extra inch of length in the back, but almost 8 additional inches to the tips. It is amazing how much bigger the large is. And it makes the tips fall in this beautiful swirly cascade that I love.

For those that a curious, the small sample was knit in Wollmeise Twin, colorway Igor (hehehehe) and the large is in Dream in Color Smooshy, Cloud Jungle. Samples were also knit in Malabrigo Sock, Cascade Heritage Sock and Knit Picks Stroll. I am pretty sure just about any sock/fingering weight yarn is going to fare just fine in this pattern.

I couldn’t be more excited about this pattern, and I have two more in the works utilizing this same shaping technique. What  would you like to see next?

3 thoughts on “Summer of Shawls

  1. Pingback: How To Shape Your Shawls! · Knitting |
  2. Ok…you made me do it. I don’t often buy shawl patterns because there are so many nice free ones, and so many of the patterns to purchase just use a pattern stitch that is traditional and turn it into a triangle–booriing. But this!! Oh so very lovely and original. Fabulous shape, a very clever use of increases. I might have been able to figure out what you did, but such creativity deserves some reward. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much! You are right, there are many lovely free shawl patterns, which is one of the reasons I worked really hard to try and cook up something a bit different. I would be very curious to find out if the technique surprises you, it is a bit unorthodox.

      I would love to see your finished version of this shawl – have you any thoughts on what color/yarn you might use?

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