Seven steps to a successful shawl design

Shawls, and stoles, are some of the most versatile and attractive accessories you can make. Shawls can add a subtle color accent to an outfit or protect you from the cold with warmth and insulation.

Imagine hundreds, if not thousands, of shawl designs at hand. Do you want a simple shawl but with a striking border? You can knit it. You can knit it. You have options! You can make the shawl of your dreams by starting with a simple wedge shape. It’s easy to understand the basics and will be fun to use. It’s as easy as plugging and playing. There are so many options! There are many options. You can use one pattern to make the whole shawl or combine multiple patterns to create a masterpiece. These are my 7 Steps to Shawl Success.

Step 1

Make a wedge. Next, knit another! Combining two wedges of mirror-image to make a triangle is the simplest way to construct a triangle. You don’t have to stop there. A three-quarter square shawl will be created by combining three wedges. This will fit nicely on the shoulders. A shawl with a trapezoidal shape will be created by using the same three wedges.

A shawl with full coverage will drape over your shoulders if it is made from four wedges joined by a spine stitch. You can also create a square silhouette using four wedges made in the round. By sewing them together, you can also use four wedges to create a graceful parallelogram.

When six wedges are blocked aggressively, they form a beautiful cape-like silhouette with overlaps at the front.

You can add up to four vertical sections for more complexity and fun.

Step 2

This is the fun part. Choose a pattern or two to fill your wedges. There are 185 in my book. You can be creative. Your imagination is your best tool. You are the designer.

You can fill your wedge with multiple patterns of stitch — one for the main wedge, and one for the border. It is possible to combine patterns with the same stitch multiple. Although it is possible to combine multiple “incompatible” stitches, you will need to do some math.

You can add more interest to your shawl with a horizontal insert (or two), to separate the primary stitches.

Step 3

The way you purl or knit the wrong-side rows of a stitch will affect how it looks. This increases the variety of filling options for your wedges. Try out different textures to see if the look of your stitch pattern changes.

Step 4

You can choose from a texture garter stitch, unobtrusive stocksinette or delicate fagoting to create a lacy look. You can interchange them all — the knitter has the choice! This step is not necessary if your shawl was knit in the round.

Step 5

Except for those knit in the round, all shawl silhouettes start with a small tab of a few stitches. This is a great way to quickly get a few stitches on the needle ready for the first row. It also provides a seamless start. There are three tabs: stockinette (garter), stockinette (fagoted), and which one you choose depends on the side edge you selected in Step 4.

Step 6

There are many border options to choose from, including intricate lace and wavy scallops. Some borders can be worked in the same direction as your work, while others are knit in a parallel fashion to the edge of your shawl.

Step 7

You can choose from a simple stretchy finish to a pretty picot edge to a quick crocheted binding off. You have many options. You are the designer. Your imagination is yours!


Vivian D. Craven

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