Knit & Crochet Shawls: Construction and Crafting Inspiration

Don't put down your needles and hooks when the temperature rises! Shawls are the perfect project for summer because they are lightweight and many can be made using that single special skein of yarn you've been saving in your stash. Today we’ll explore some of the different shapes shawls can take and include lots of free patterns as inspiration for your summer crafting adventures!

Triangular Shawls

When you think of shawls, you probably think about the standard triangle shawl. This shawl is constructed starting with a few stitches at the top center, and worked using increases at the center and outer edges which grow to form a triangle, as you work back and forth. The resulting shawl can be worn over the shoulders to keep you warm (with the point at the back) or can be wound around your neck bandana-style (with the point at the front) as a fabulous accessory.

Recently, Vickie Howell shared a great video tutorial on a Basic Top Center Out Shawl Recipe that she designed. Vickie completed two versions of this project, one worked in a single color and one incorporating some fun stripes (what do you have in stash?) using our Knit and Purr Interchangeable Needle set and a simple recipe for increases. If this is your first time working a triangular shawl, check out her video here, then check out the free knitting pattern here on Vickie's blog.

Basic Top Center Out Shawl Recipe by Vickie Howell

If you have a single skein of yarn that you’re dying to work with, no matter the weight or length, we can recommend the Age of Brass and Steam by Orange Flower Yarn. This customizable shawl pattern is a simple mix of stockinette stitch with a few eyelet ridges thrown in for good measure. If it’s lace you’re after, we love Reyna by Noora Backlund. If you love squishy garter stitch, but want a light lace accent, you can’t beat Multnomah by Kate Ray. And if you’re a crocheter, we love Johanna Lindahl’s crochet patterns (many of which are free), but especially Secret Paths.

Asymmetrical Triangle Shawls

This shawl shape is similar to the triangular shawl above, except that the increases only happen on one side, creating an asymmetrical shape. These triangles can be long and skinny, or very wide, but no two sides are the same length. This type of shawl can be worn over the shoulders to keep you warm (with the point at the back), around your neck bandana-style (with the point at the front) leaving the fun edges as tails, or to one side (asymmetrically) with or without a shawl pin to hold it in place!

The Asymmetrical Triangle shape can be built modularly with a jagged lacy edge, as in Close to You by Justyna Lorkowska or with a smoother edge, as in Boom by Playing with Fibre. You can incorporate different stitches (like eyelets) based on features of your yarn like in Prism Break by Alison Bjornson. Or you can crochet up leftovers in your stash to create fun chunky color stripes like in The Skye Wrap by Sara Larrieu.

Rectangular Shawls

Rectangular shawls are another common shape, and may also be called a wrap or a stole. A rectangular shawl is normally created by starting with a certain number of stitches and continuing to work until the end of the piece without increases or decreases, creating a rectangular shape. More complex patterns can include increases and decreases while working on the bias, or lace patterns that change stitch counts on different rows, but overall result in a rectangular piece. Rectangular shawls can be draped over your shoulders, or wrapped around your neck like a scarf.

If you’re interested in a simple rectangular shawl with just a touch of lace, we love the delicate Granny Smith Wrap by Maanel. If you want more lace, the Seascape Stole by Kieran Foley is light and delicate and perfect for summer. If you’re in the mood to use up leftovers from your stash we love the color block Spring Fever by Amy Miller. And if you’re in the mood to crochet, the Stashbuster Blarf (Blanket+Scarf) by Esther Sandroff is delightful!

Crescent Shawls

Closely related to triangular shawls, crescent shawls are typically start from a few stitches at the center and then are worked with increases at the outer edges, resulting in a shape that is usually wide with a shallow depth and rounded at the edges. These shawls can be worn over your shoulders, wrapped around your neck more like a scarf, or worn bandana-style. The key is that they aren’t very deep, so they function more like a scarf.

If you’re looking for something simple with just a touch of lace for spring and summer, we love the Ginkgo Crescent by Jade Keaney with its stockinette center and delicate leaf edging. If you’re after something with a geometric design, check out the Lattice Crescent Shawl by Jennifer Weissman. If you want to make a dramatic statement, Cameo Flower by Mia Rinde is perfect! And for our crocheters, we love the Chic & Strong Crescent Shawl by Rohn Strong which includes a simple double crochet and half double crochet pattern, with a lacy scalloped edging.

Circular Shawls

Circular shawls often start with a few stitches in the center of the circle, and are worked in the round expanding outwards with the use of increases at regular intervals. They are often called Pi shawls, as coined by Elizabeth Zimmerman, because circular measurements (diameter, circumference, etc.) include the use of the numerical ratio of Pi (𝝅). Circular shawls are beautiful as a full circle, but practically speaking are often worn folded in half and draped over the shoulders, or folded at some point (perhaps not half) and worn in a layered fashion.

If you want to start with the original, then there are any number of circular shawls inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl in The Knitter’s Almanac. We particularly love this variation: Elizabeth Zimmerman 100th Anniversary PI Shawl: Camping by Mwaa Knit, but she has several that are lovely. Other popular circular shawls are the Vortex Shawl by Kristina McCurley and the famous Shipwreck Shawl by Knitting Harpy that appeared in Knitty many years ago. If you’re a crocheter, we love the Circular Crochet Shawl by PJ Crafts in Austin.

Semicircular Shawls

If you prefer not to fold our circular shawl in half to wear, consider making a semicircular shawl! These shawls often start with a few stitches at the center of the top, and are worked back and forth expanding outwards with the use of increases at regular intervals. Semicircular shawls are a bit easier to wear than circular shawls because they can be wrapped over the shoulders or around the neck bandana-style.

Perhaps the most popular semicircular shawl is Citron by Hilary Smith Callis, a simple ruched shawl that appeared in Knitty some years ago. Other variations with more complex lace patterns include Wavedeck by Kate Atherley and Vernal Equinox Shawl by Lankakomero. Crocheters will love the Pineapple Peacock Shawl by Amy Gunderson!

To explore shawl construction in depth, we recommend exploring the 5 Shawls, 5 Days Challenge hashtag on Instagram or Aroha Knits’ ebook Demystify Shawl Construction. We can't wait to see what shawls you make this summer!

Like this post? Pin it!

No comments:

Post a Comment