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Mutant Shawls

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I wanted to throw out a few more ideas on how you can use the Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet, in addition to making tiny teddy bear shawls, and adding easy borders. These are some “mutant” shawl shapes that can be created by altering or mashing the 5 basic shapes.

The first shawl began as a triangle, and ended as a (garter stitch) square shawl. In essence, all you’re doing is altering the rate and placement of the increases, but the results can be quite interesting.

Other variations are possible by eliminating certain increases, while continuing others. You can create a shallow triangle shawl by stopping increasing in the centre, but continuing at the sides. You could also reverse this, and begin by increasing only at the sides, and add the central increases later. I think this would create more of a point.

If you start off with the circular shawl and switch to the triangular shape, you’ll end up with a shawl bearing some similarity to a Faroese shawl. For the shawl below I actually didn’t continue the increases down the middle, so it’s not quite a triangle.

The diagrams showing the increase paths will help you in visualising your shawl mutations, but experimentation’s the ticket. I hope this brief post has given you some ideas. I’ll continue to post about shawl design and knitting, and hope that you aren’t yet resilient to the new strains! ;)

If you’d like to listen to me ramble at the lovely Lara Neel (a.k.a. Math4Knitters) while you knit, do please listen to the interview here. I’d never done an interview over Skype before, so I was very excited! You can also grab a discount code to get 20% off any Laylock pattern until the end of August. Just enter it in the Ravelry cart. Hurrah!

* Please forgive the wonky blocking & hurried photos! So many things going on chez Laylock at the moment: autumn designs, novel writing, travel, interviews, plans for world domination, the lot!

7th August, 2011  // Knitwear Design, Laylock, Technique // tags: , , , .

Free Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet

5 basic shawl shapes

Shawls that you can knit until you run out of yarn are the bread-and-butter of knitting, to me. I know there are knitters who can’t stand the tedium of plain knitting, but I love the opportunity to think, listen to the radio, watch a film, or even read, while my hands are busy and productive.

This 1-page cheat sheet provides the shaping formulas, and row-by-row instructions for knitting 5 such shawls: square, circular, triangular, semi-circular, and heart-shaped. All you need is some yarn, a pair of needles, and some stitch markers. If you’re stuck on a desert island, you can improvise with plant filaments, some smooth sticks (sharpened to a point), and a few seashells with holes in them. You’ll need the instructions though, so click here & print them out now, and tuck them away safely in your pocket!

These shawls grow outwards from the neck, and are bound off around their circumference. This means that you can start knitting without any plan, and decide at the end whether or not you want to add a border in a different stitch pattern. Or you can just add a fringe. Once you get the basic idea, other modifications are very easy to make too: coloured stripes, textured stripes, different stitches, m1s instead of yos, etc. You can knit the shawls with any yarn from lace-weight to bulky. If you’re working in garter stitch, I recommend going up a needle size or two, to get a fabric that drapes nicely. The most important thing is that you like the way it feels.

I should note that the square, circle and semi-circle shawls will not be perfect in shape, but they can be blocked to be this way. For a (pretty much) perfect square or circle, it would be best to work in the round. And for a less semi-hexagonal semi-circle, distribute your increases across the row in a less linear fashion (like Citron, for example). Nevertheless, the former two shapes provide nice shawls that will stay on your shoulders, unlike the variations knit in the round, which need to be folded.

Need I mention that these make great summer knitting projects, when it’s too hot to think? Please knit them in the brightest, most brilliant & beautiful colours of yarn you can find. Thank you.

If you like this cheatsheet, you might also like the CRESCENT SHAWL SHAPING WORKSHEET & FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS SHAWL DESIGN.


  • Please DO NOT redistribute this PDF file.
  • Please DO NOT link directly to the PDF file. Link to this page, or use this short link:
  • You are welcome to use this PDF for educational purposes.


– Edna of Tricô Sem Costura has kindly translated the PDF into Portugese.


CARR. 9: 1M, laç ✽meia
até o marcador, laç,
passe o marcador, 1M,
laç, rep. a partir de ✽
mais duas vezes, meia até o último
ponto, laç, 1M.

– Ravelry user Nylwenn has very kindly translated the cheat sheet into French. Cliquez ici pour télécharger “5 formes de base pour châles”.

13th May, 2011  // Downloads, Knitwear Design // tags: , , , .

Variation on a Theme

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parasol shawlette


Variations are surely one of the most entertaining & educational artistic practices of all time. When you’re familiar with your piece, and have already done the hard graft of choosing your theme, you’re free to play & tinker, and indulge. My attempts are humble, but here is what a master composer can do with a simple tune (perhaps the simplest tune?). Listen while you read on…

Have you noticed that shallow shawls* seem to be all the rage in the knitting world recently? I simply couldn’t resist. The Parasol Shawlette is a variation of the Parasol Stole: narrower, and with a single border for the ribbing section. The central section, instead of being straight, makes a gentle curve, with the ribbing flowing easily in & out of the decrease “bells”. I have to admit, there are several aspects of this variation that I find particularly satisfying:

  • The asymmetry is a natural result of the repetition. What I mean is, though the exact same lace pattern is repeated at either end, it looks asymmetrical, but not unattractively so.
  • I find the shawl shaping method particularly elegant (though I do say so myself). As the decreases grow, the shawl narrows. In fact, this is the only tweak you need to make to shape the shawl. The decrease method (which I showed you in this video), remains exactly the same.
  • It’s a nice balance of mindless knitting & lace.
  • It knits up in a weekend. Who is above the lure of instant gratification? Not me!

parasol shawlette

The lace sections at either end look pretty when you use the shawlette as a scarf, but they also function as ties if you’d rather wear it around your shoulders.

spring steal

Knitting Pattern Ebook

I would like to say that spring has stolen up on me, but I can’t remember a more dull, drizzly or dreary April! These slightly blurry shots were the best I could get, and it’s chilly enough right now that I’m wearing the shawlette around my neck as I type. Still, I’m all excitement for my first pattern bundle! Buying the Stole & Shawlette together will save you £1, which you can will spend on yarn. :)

let’s do it!

parasol shawlette

“Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.” – Annie Dillard

That might be the tagline of my spring collection. I know some people think sitting & knitting as far from “living” as you can get (that Edvard Munch quotation comes to mind), but where spending days are concerned – and spend them we must – knitting in the afternoon, quietly, contentedly, must come close to bliss. I would be honoured if you were to spend your afternoon with me & my patterns. Which is why…

Stole & Shawlette KAL

Please invite your friends/readers also! Here’s the code to place on your blog:

<a href=""><img src=""/></a>

(You can also link directly to the Ravelry Laylock Designs Group, if you’d prefer.)

Are you also participating in 11 shawls in 2011? I am! You will be glad to know that both the Parasol Stole & Shawlette qualify (in terms of yardage & style) for the challenge. So that puts my current count at 5 and a half.

parasol shawlette

I hope it’s sunny where you are, lovely knitters & that your yarns are colourful enough to put the spring blossoms to shame. Have a gorgeous weekend! xx

parasol shawlette

* Every time I say “shallow shawls”, I get that Cole Porter song stuck in my head: “In shallow shoals English soles do it / Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it / Let’s do it, let’s fall in love”.

Some pattern specs…

‣ Knit flat in one piece,
‣ in DK or lace-weight yarn,
‣ with lace at either end,
‣ and a central section of
‣ bordered by lace edging.
‣ 2 balls Nako Nakolen
[100gr; 50/50 wool/acrylic;
210m / 230yds; 5090 Lilac
or approx. 400m /
437yds of DK-weight
‣ OR approx.
350m / 383yds of lace-
weight yarn.
‣ Gauge isn’t critical, but It’s
important that the fabric
isn’t too tight, so that the
lace looks open and clear
when blocked.
DK-weight stole:
‣ 12sts / 20 rows
‣ over 10cm / 4in
‣ in blocked ribbing.
1 lace repeat is 17cm x
9.5cm / 6.7in x 3.7in at
widest points after
Lace-weight stole:
‣ 20sts / 23 rows
‣ over 10cm / 4in
‣ in blocked ribbing.
1 lace repeat is 13cm x
6.5cm / 5.1in x 2.6in at
widest points after blocking.
‣ 4.5mm (US 7) straight needles for both versions,
‣ or size suitable to yarn.
‣ Finished size will depend
on blocking.
‣ The DK
sample was approx:
28cm x 180cm / 11in x
‣The lace-weight
sample was approx: 25cm x
136cm / 10in x 54in.
1 2 3 4 6

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