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Fill-in-the-Blanks Shawl Design


£8.00 (approx. $12.50)*
* Paypal will show you the precise currency conversion before you confirm the sale.

It’s here! I’ve never been quite this excited about anything I’ve created, so I apologise in advance if I gush a little too much. :)

What is ‘Fill-in-the-Blanks Shawl Design’?

Well, it’s a method I devised that allows you to create 4 neck-down shawl shapes using a stitch pattern of your choice, without having to chart anything out.

In my post on Easy Shawl Borders, I postulated that it would be possible to devise a formula to allow knitters to use 2 sets of stitch markers to fill a shawl with a stitch pattern “on the fly”. As with many things, in practice it took more thinking than I’d anticipated to make a formula that would work for all stitch patterns. I scrapped one version that required a whole page of numbers to be calculated, and then filled in on the instruction sheet. The final worksheets are 1 page each and only require 2 numbers: the first is the number of stitches in one pattern repeat + selvedge stitches, and the second is the number of stitches in one pattern repeat excluding the selvedge stitches. Write those on your worksheet and you’re ready to knit your custom shawl!

I tried to make this ebook as comprehensive and awesome as I could, which is partly why it’s been so long coming. To the best of my knowledge, this is a unique resource; there is nothing as simple, mindless or convenient in any other knitting book or ebook. It provides both instant gratification, and a great way to learn about shawl design.

fill-in-the-blanks shawl design

Beginning Shawl Design

The Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet has been downloaded over 10,000 times since I released it a little over a year ago! I admit I had no idea it would become so popular, but since then I’ve learnt a lot about the kind of shawl resources that knitters are looking for.

“I want to design my own shawl, where should I begin?”
That’s a question I’m asked very often, and one I see on knitting forums time and time again. Beginners always jump in at the deep end; it’s understandably difficult to know how much you don’t know, and it’s frustrating to keep being told to backtrack and take things slowly. That’s why I’m so excited to finally be able to offer fearless new knitters a solution.

fill-in-the-blanks shawl design

10-Level Shawl Mastery Checklist

Have a look at the list below. Where do you stand?

  1. Understand how to knit shawls from patterns.
  2. Understand how increases and decreases create shawl shapes.
  3. Begin to understand how stitches are manipulated to form stitch patterns.
  4. Understand how stitch patterns fit into the shawl shape.
  5. Understand how stitch patterns can be manipulated to fit better into the shawl shape.
  6. Understand how stitch patterns flow into each other.
  7. Understand how to write out patterns in a way that allows you and others to follow them easily.
  8. Understand how to streamline your design process so you can design faster.
  9. Understand how to alter stitch patterns to better effect.
  10. Conduct stitches like a symphony.

The Free Shawl Cheat Sheet will help you with #2, the Little eBook of Knitting Stitches with #3, and Fill-in-the-Blanks Shawl Design with #4 and #8*. The Blank Shawl Templates included with the latter will help you with #5. Many of these are not levels to be attained, so much as challenges that you are likely to face in different ways in different shawl designs, but it’s still helpful to identify your weaknesses and work on them.

* I used the ebook for a shawl I will be releasing soon, and it made things so much quicker! I was able to simply copy the instructions for the set-up rows, fill in the chart and get knitting. Even just having the blank charts all set out so you don’t have to think about them is a great time-saver, so if you do nothing else, make sure you download them below!

What’s in the Ebook?

  • 1-page fill-in-the-blanks worksheets to create 4 top-down shawl shapes:
    • triangular
    • square
    • circular
    • and semi-circular.
  • 3 stitch patterns to try right away,
    • with both written & charted instructions
    • photographed on both right & wrong sides.
  • Advice for working shawls with stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch or garter stitch backgrounds.
  • Advice for combining and dividing stitch patterns.
  • Advice for troubleshooting.


  • Instructions for creating plain shawls with patterned borders.
  • Instructions for working a bottom-up triangular shawl using the stitch pattern of your choice.
  • Blank charts for advanced knitters.
  • Booklet version – if you have good eyesight, you can print 2 pages per sheet and be the proud owner of a super-cute little paperback version.

What Will This Ebook Allow You to Do?

  • Design your own shawls, in 4 shapes, with your choice of stitch pattern, without the need to chart anything!
  • Mix and match the 4(+1) shawl shapes with the 3 stitch patterns provided to knit up to 15 different shawls + the same number of plain shawls with patterned borders.
  • Make great use of any stitch dictionary you own, to create your own design in minutes. Don’t have a stitch dictionary? How about a Little eBook of Knitting Stitches?
  • Gain a better understanding of shawl construction and patterning. Once you grok the method, it’s also easy to invent (or unvent) your own shawl shapes.
  • Indulge in some mindless design. Once you’ve set up your stitch markers, and understand when to increase, all you need in front of you is your stitch pattern.
  • Ask a loved one to choose a shawl shape and a stitch pattern and quickly create a custom-knit gift. If they’re a knitter, you could even write them up a personal pattern! (How FABULOUS would it be to receive a hand-crafted pattern named after you? I’d love it!)
  • Knit a patterned shawl to any size and for any amount of yarn you like. I recommend at least 200m/220yds for the smallest shawlette, though, unless you’re knitting for a very small person, or a teddy bear. :)

If you’re a more advanced knitter, you can also:

  • Use charts from top-down shawl patterns you already own to change the shape of a shawl. For example, once you understand the process, you could turn your favourite triangular shawl into a square so that it stays on your shoulders better.
  • Make money! There are many designers who’ve used the Crescent Shawl Shaping Worksheet to create and sell their own designs. With a little practice you can do the same.

3 stitch patterns x 4 (+1) shawl shapes = 15 shawl designs

bulky pink shawl
snakes & ladders shawl
little shells

Additional Downloads



  • You’re very welcome to sell patterns designed using this formula, but please make sure you write everything out properly and do not redistribute the worksheets.
  • You’re also welcome to sell items made using this ebook.
  • I’m considering special pricing for teaching licences, for knitters who would like to use this ebook as the basis for a (paid) knitting course. Send me an email if you’re interested.

Birthday Giveaway!

Because it’s my birthday, and I’ve been meaning to hold a giveaway for ages, anyone who purchases the Fill-in-the-Blanks Ebook between now and the end of 8 July 2012 (12pm GMT) will be entered into a draw to win a package of knitting goodies. I haven’t decided exactly what the prize will be yet, but it will include a cabled mug like this one, and a set of Warm Wool Heart postcards. Depending on how many entrants there are (and how much time I have), I may also be able to arrange a couple of runner-up prizes. :)

ETA (9 July): The winners have been announced!


  • Thank you to my wonderful tech editor, Akshata Dhareshwar, for her diligent, meticulous work, for being a lovely person, and for putting up with my slow communication!
  • Thank you to all test knitters. As always I had trouble keeping track, so if you haven’t received a copy of the final ebook, please let me know!

little shells shawl

20th June, 2012  // Downloads, Ebooks, Knitwear Design // tags: , .

The Revised Little eBook of Knitting Stitches

It’s been a couple of years since I created The Little eBook of Knitting Stitches, and it’s been so well received that I thought I’d issue an update. It got me thinking how re-prints won’t be a feasible measure of success in digital publishing anymore. Instead, the advantage of knowing almost exactly how many times digital goods have been downloaded will become invaluable in deciding the popularity or success of a book. As I have nearly 2000 knitters on my newsletter list, I assume that’s about as many copies of The Little eBook of Knitting Stitches as have been downloaded. Not nearly as popular as my Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet which has been downloaded over 5000 times. Wow!

The Little eBook of Knitting Stitches

Plenty of copies, in my opinion, to merit an update. Little eBook v2 now has charts for each of the 6 knitting stitches. I’m not sure why they didn’t occur to me back in 2009, but they’re certainly included now, and will hopefully save knitters lots of time. However, as I mentioned in the latest newsletter, what gave me most pleasure was reformatting the PDF as a booklet, so that it can be printed using half the number of pages (printed back-to-back), and be assembled like a proper little printed book.


Click here to download the ebook.
Click here to download the booklet.

The eBook now contains:

  • 6 stitch patterns
    • 2 texture
    • 2 lace
    • 2 rib stitches
  • photographed on both right & wrong sides
  • charted
  • & laid out with clear instructions & advice on usage.

Once you’ve downloaded your ebook, you might like to queue your favourite stitch patterns on Ravelry!

I do hope you enjoy it! Happy Knitting. :)

1st November, 2011  // Downloads, Ebooks, Inspiration // tags: , , .

Crescent-Shaped Shawls

shoals shawl

Allow me introduce you to two sisters: Shoals & Shore. They’re crescent-shaped shawls worked from the bottom up; Shoals (as her name implies) is shallow, while Shore is deeper and rounder like a sandy beach. They both begin with a lace border, but Shoals‘ body is smooth stockinette, whereas Shore‘s is an undulating garter stitch.

Crescent Shawls

Shoals + Shore
PDF Patterns + Worksheet


Shoals‘ lace looks like waves, and swaying seaweed, and seashells all at once. She’s a dainty little creature who will keep the sun off your shoulders while you relax on the beach with a book. Knit in a vibrant colour like turquoise, she’ll add a flourish to a plain outfit, especially useful if you’re travelling with a limited wardrobe. She could totally pull off white too, though.

shoals shawl

Shore is sand lilies, mermaid’s purses, fishtails, and fins. Being a bit larger, she makes a good cover-up for the beach, tied nonchalantly around your hips or jauntily at your shoulder. She’ll also keep the chill off after your swim.

shore shawl


free short rows knitting class at
But I haven’t even told you the best part yet! The sisters bring with them a CRESCENT SHAWL SHAPING WORKSHEET which shows you the exact formula I used to design them in the first place. All you have to do is decide how rounded you want your shawl to be, fill in the blanks, and follow the pattern.

What does this mean to you?
1. It means that you can design your own crescent-shaped shawls using any stitch pattern you like for the border.
2. It means that you can modify patterns you already own to be shallower or deeper or A DIFFERENT SIZE!
3. It means that you can expand your knitting repertoire to include this intriguing knitting technique.

The worksheet elucidates the technique used in the beautiful Annis Shawl, designed by Susanna IC. I love this technique so much; it’s quite brilliant! If you haven’t tried it before, it works by decreasing at the end of each short row, so essentially the shawl is shaped in two ways. I think this worksheet will be of great value to you, because figuring out how these shawls work is by no means intuitive.

Don’t worry if you’re not good with maths, either. I’ve laid out the worksheet (which is 1 page, with an additional explanatory page) clearly and simply, so all you have to do is fill in the blanks, and perform some basic division. Perhaps you could use an abacus. :)

shoals shawl
See? Life’s a breeze when you have the formula; now I have all this spare time to relax on the beach. :)

shore shawl

many moons

If you’re as fond of visual puns as I am, then you will appreciate how many themes are ripe for a crescent shawl…

How about…
a crescent-shaped shawl for a honeymoon, whether it’s your own, or a friend’s?
a Luna Lovegood shawl to celebrate the final Harry Potter film?
a “cheer up” shawl for a loved one who’s been mooning about?
a shawl inspired by the croissant, for elegant brunches at a café?


Shoals & Shore each have 4 sizes, and both written & charted instructions.

Circumference: 140 [168, 196, 252]cm / 55 [66, 77, 99]in
Width at widest point: 21 [23, 25, 29]cm / 8 [9, 10, 11.5]in
Yarn: Sport-weight cotton or cotton blend, approx. 200 [235, 260, 290]m / 220 [260, 285, 320]yds.
Needles: 5mm.
Gauge: 14sts / 22 rows over 10cm / 4in in stocking stitch.

Circumference: 140 [196, 252, 308]cm / 55 [77, 99, 121] in
Width at widest point: 28 [35, 42, 49]cm / 11 [14, 16.5, 19]in
Yarn: Sport-weight cotton or cotton blend, approx. 240 [310, 350, 370]m / 260 [340, 385, 405]yds.
Needles: 5mm.
Gauge: 14sts / 26 rows over 10cm / 4in in garter stitch.

The sisters are only available as a pair, as they complement each other so well. The best part is that if you don’t like my sizes you can use the worksheet to create your own, so altering any of the shawls to work with other yarn weights and gauges is easy. You can also effortlessly configure Shoals to be more curved, and Shore to be shallower. The possibilities are endless! One thing’s for sure, you’ll be blocking your own shawls in no time…

shore shawl

27th July, 2011  // Balay, Ebooks, Technique // tags: , , , .

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