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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: , , , .

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: , , , .

Easy Shawl Borders

shawl with lace border

As I continue to receive the sweetest “thank you” notes for the Shawl Shaping Cheat Sheet (which has now been downloaded over 3000 times), I’ve been considering easy ways to add borders to the shawls. Unless you want to push mindless knitting to the edge, that is… ;)

I tried my idea on this grey triangular shawl that’s been languishing for a while. All I did was work a stitch pattern which divided nicely into my stitch count (253). I stopped the regular shawl increases, so the border has straight sides, and a rounded tip (fig.1). Usually the 4 increases every 2 rows would be maintained into the border, so the shape of the shawl wouldn’t change (fig.2).


It’s difficult to predict how this method would look with different stitch patterns, but I really like the way it looks on this shawl. The tip definitely needs to be blocked to look good though, and I don’t know whether some of the larger shawl shapes would stretch the border out too much at the corners. What do you think? Do you like the effect?

shawl with lace border

If you’d like to try adding a border like this, the various shawl shapes will allow the following stitch pattern multiples:

TRIANGULAR: mult. of 4+1
SQUARE & CIRCULAR: mult. of 8+1
SEMI-CIRCULAR: mult. of 6+1
HEART-SHAPED: mult. of 6+3

Any variations on these are also good. For example, stitch patterns that are multiples of 2+1, 4+5, 8+1, 8+9, 12+1, 12+5, etc. will all work for the triangular shawl. Any stitch patterns worked over an odd number of sts will work for all the shawls, such as the lace stitch I used:

ROW 1: K1, *yo, k2tog, rep. from * to end.
ROW 2: Purl across.
ROW 3: *Ssk, yo, rep. from * to last st, k1.
ROW 4: Purl across.

shawl with lace border

shawl with lace border

shawl with lace border

An alternative would be to place stitch markers at the beginning and end of “blocks” of pattern repeats, to keep them separate from the shawl increases. Each time a pattern repeat was completed, if there were enough stitches for another repeat, the stitch markers would be moved along. In fact, if I wrote up a “cheat” like this, it could be used to fill in any shawl shape with a stitch pattern. Of course, there would be zig-zags of white space around the stitch pattern, but that isn’t unusual, though I do find the square border above rather more pleasing.

Please let me know what you think, shawl knitters!

shawl with lace border

P.S. This is my 7th shawl this year, so I’m sort-of on target for 11 shawls in 2011! :)

4th July, 2011  // Technique // tags: , .
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