Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Shawl-Shape Attraction

Once I understood how the typical shawl is made, I pretty much just made up stitches as i went along. To work this way is not everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly is my typical impulsive nature to jump in and has its pros and cons.
I really love open stitches that are not necessarily pretty or lacy, so this was a great way to experiment.
The basic triangle shawl shape is this: there is a "spine" down the center, the ever-expanding piece is increased every-other row + 4 stitches, 2 in the center on each side of the one stitch "spine", and one on each side...which can be before the border, part of the border, or just plain increases. This creates a triangular shape that can be any size, you can stop at any point . I love that this can be so versatile, this could be a carefully planned fancy stitch pattern and complex border, or a very simple stitch to show off a fantastic yarn. The increases create a lot of possibilities, this is a great "blank canvas" for so many variations and a very pretty and practical way to "wear your favorite yarn".
It can become totally addictive: because it is so 'un-fussy' it becomes the go-to project for relaxing knitting. Its also so much fun to watch it grow, and the pay-off comes relatively quickly, especially if you have used sport/dk or worsted weight and open stitches. This is also a fantastic gift and can be worn year-round thanks to air conditioned spaces being sometimes a little too chilly.
There is no shortage of free and affordable patterns on Ravelry, the design talent is staggering as you page through these-and you become aware that the shawl and wrap shape has captured the imagination of many talented designers; in addition there are a lot of fun and inventive shape variations.
note: my 'beginner' shawls: the pale blue/peach shawl is in my new 100% handspun cashmere hand -dyed colorway "endpaper" available in my shop. The green darker and more funky shawl is knitted with less than a full skein of Love Birds Merino singles available here in "Green Agate" please excuse the slightly blurry picture .

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