There are a few basic shapes that you should know and be familiar with. We’ll show them here and give you some things to think about with each shape.
These shapes are identical for both knitting and crochet, and I’ve tried to avoid using words that lean toward one craft or the other.
When you think of making a shawl, the image of a triangular shawl will often come to mind.
There are several ways to make this basic shape though – and each one has different things to factor in when considering it.
We’ll just talk about the shape itself, but the stitch pattern will also be a factor. For example, you will likely want to avoid leaves that are growing DOWN. Given this type of factor, you may just need the direction to be one way or the other
You’ll start with a large amount of stitches and work DECREASES to get the shape.
Conversely, this one starts with just a few stitches. You’ll work INCREASES this time.
Where are the increases/decreases?
You have options for places for the increases/decreases (incs/decs) in a triangular shawl.
Just on the edges
Creates a shape that’s most-like a true triangle. This is shown in either of the illustrations above.
On the Edges and In the Center
The center incs/decs will create a shape that will bow up a bit in the center. If you want to make it more like a true triangle, this can be minimized when blocking it. Schematics don’t often show the bowing at all. We’ll show it here to give you a good idea of what it truly will be like.
We’ll illustrate the shawl being worked top-down but if you did it bottom-up, just swap out the decs for incs, flip the direction so it’s pointing up and swap out the start and the end. The overall shape is the same.
Single Incs/Decs on the Edges
Double Incs/Decs on the Edges
This shape can often stay on the shoulders more easily because the shawl is wider. The natural depth of this shape is shallower. This is often OK, but it’s good for you to know.
This is the shape that people will often think of as a “stole”. There are 2 basic ways to make this shape. In either case, you won’t need to work any increases or decreases unless the stitch pattern has them.
Start at a Short Side
You only need to count a short number of stitches, but you have to work A LOT more rows to create the full shawl.
Start at a Long Side
You’ll have a large number of stitches to count at the start, but you’re able to work a significantly shorter height.
This allows you to start with just a few stitches and then increase it so it grows from there. This can allow you to use all of your yarn.
You will need to start with A LOT of stitches – several hundred stitches is quite common here. The nice thing is that you decrease stitches as you go in, so rows get shorter as you go.
There are lots of other ways to create these shapes, as well as lots of other shapes. If you’re curious, our ShawlStar eBook goes into a lot more detail on these other Shawl Shapes.
About the Instructor: Jody Richards
Jody is the founder and lead editor of Knotions. She loves poring over stitch dictionaries and trying out new stitches. And while she likes all things crafting (well ok, except that one thing), yarn crafts are her true love (and she has the stash to prove it).
She’s a serial starter-of-projects and has a serious problem with finishing things without a deadline.
And don’t get her talking about hand-dyed yarns. You’ve been warned.