Talk to me about shawls

This is my first post in awhile - I went out of town for 10 days and while I was gone dh ended up in the hospital and life has been nuts pretty much ever since. Not so nuts that I haven’t been able to knit :XX: . But too nuts to post.

Anyway. I want to talk about shawls. I’m actually obsessed with shawls. I’m making all kinds of plans for knitting different wraps and shawls. But before I just go crazy buying yarn, I want to hear from other shawl-knitters.

In November, I’m going to spend 11 days in Italy. I’m trying to be a minimalist packer for once in my life. I’ve decided to bring only a few basic outfits (mix-and-match, of course) that I can then spruce up with various accessories, esp. scarves and shawls. I figure with 6 months before the trip, I should be able to get 2 or 3 done in addition to my other knitting.

I’ve only ever knit one shawl before, a simple long rectangular prayer shawl that I gave to my SIL. I’ve never actually worn a shawl myself.

So here are my questions for those of you who knit shawls:
1 - Do you actually wear the ones you knit?

2 - How do you wear them? (any pictures or links of how to wear them would be appreciated)

3 - What is your favorite style to knit - triangle, rectangle, circle?

4 - How do you wear a circle shawl? Do you have to fold it over somehow?

5 - I want at least one of the shawls I do to be a true lace pattern. Any advice for a beginner lace knitter? Any book recs?

6 - What’s your favorite yarn for a lace shawl?

I think that’s all my questions for now. Would love to have any other tips or pics as well. :thumbsup:

OK–honey I hope your dh is doing ok! What a nightmare!!

I’m trying to do the Trellis scarf which is in Interweave Knits, I believe–the last issue. It’s also the Estonian or something like that pattern , and I saw where KellyK was working on that last year. I never heard whether she finished it or not, but I imagine she did. Anyway, I guess my mind has turned to turtle soup, because this pattern is kicking my butt!! I’m using stitch markers, a row counter, and I STILL have to Un-knit a row every once in awhile!!

This is just a practice one that I’m trying to do a few repeats on to see how it looks, and it’s really lovely. I have about 700 yds. of Mohair and I think I’ll use that for the “real one”. it’s for my mom, but I definitely would wear one in the evenings, and I think I’d prefer the “stole” type, but it would just depend on the pattern and yarn I guess. I’m on a budget as far as yarns so I’ll just have to wait and see if I knit anymore, but I’ll let you know how this one turns out!!

I’m uploading just what I’ve done so far on the Trellis, and it’s in a worsted acrylic, but I love the pattern–it’s the first lace I’ve ever done in knit–I used to do croheted lace all the time, but it was in lace trim for pillowcases, etc.

Hope your dh is home and better now!!

earthchick…that was so many questions it made my head hurt! LOL! Here’s what I can add…I’ve only done rectanglar shawls although I looked through the “A Knitter’s Dozen: Shawls” book tonight at the local book store and found that it had a few that were awesome. None of them were extremely difficult…I was kind of surprised at how many books on shawls that my bookstore had–I don’t consider their knitting book section to be stellar but there were quite a few shawl pattern books or books with various patterns that included several nice shawls. I don’t wear the ones I’ve made–they’ve all been gifts but the recipients all wear them when the weather permits and my grandmother wears one of hers in church quite a bit. I don’t have a favorite yarn for shawls…I’ve used many different weights…I find that the patterns vary from dk to worsted mostly though. Ponchos are nice too…I’ve seen several patterns around for ponchos that I like as well. For a true lace pattern…look at KPC…there are quite a few and I LOVE Cozy, a pattern on knitty. I can’t answer all of your questions, but hopefully this will help a little!

I sure hope your hubby is okay!!
Now, as for shawls, I have several on my to do list, with yarn in tow…I just took a break from large projects. I love, love Fibertrends’ shawls I have the Leaf Lace & Flower Basket patterns. I’m also going to knit the lovely 15 ruffles wrap in Lamb’s Pride. Oh, and the newest on my list would be Lady Eleanor stole in Noro Silk Garden (I think). Now, I have my list of shawls & yarn, but I’ve not yet knit them. Will I wear them, oh yes, & love it :wink:

Oh yeah, I just heard today that the things knitters seem to be knitting most are shawls & socks :thumbsup:

I too hope your dh is ok now.

I’ve knitted a bunch of shawls-rectangular, triangular and one circular though that one is still not finished(the border is missing!).
Truth is I only wore the triangular one once at christmas. I love to knit them, but when it comes to wearing them there’s always a reason not to. I can’t really wear the lace ones to campus when I have a big bag with me and have to go by public transportation. I mean, do I wear the shawl over the bag straps or under? neither seems convenient. And if I go shopping, I have to change clothes and well…
But I plan on knitting some more plain rectangular shawls for fall and adjust my wardrobe.

See, that’s what I’m afraid of - that I’ll spend all this time making shawls only to have them end up folded in a drawer somewhere for the rest of my life. I have been admiring Cozy forever and think it is the one I want to do first; it looks so beautiful in the pictures. But will I really wear it? I don’t know. And the really intricate ones, the ones that are really lacy (like the Fiber Trends ones, which are gorgeous, thanks for the link Rebecca!) - will I wear one of those? Not sure… I also really like some of Sivia Harding’s shawls. I don’t know if I have it in me to do such complicated lace, but if I do, I dang sure better end up wearing it! :lol:

javede, did you like making the circular shawl? Did you knit it from the middle? And how would you wear a circular shawl? Doubled over into more of a wedge?

Sorry all the questions. :shock: I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and kind of saved up a bunch of questions. Thanks for the kind words about my dh. He is home now but still recuperating and will be for awhile. It’s a tad stressful, so I’m really glad I have knitting to help me unwind! :thumbsup:

Have you seen this one? I don’t see myself as a big shawl person, but I’ve already got my yarn for this.

I also find shawls difficult to wear. I think they can look nice with certain outfits, but they fall off my shoulders and I am constantly readjusting. Carrying a shoulder bag while wearing a shawl is hard and I think it kind of looks bad. I do keep a pashmina-type shawl in my carry-on bag, because I can use it as a blanket on the plane. It is a thin cashmere and takes up very little space. I think airplane blankets are just too icky.


I hadn’t even thought about the issue of trying to wear one with a shoulder bag. I could see how that would be tricky and wouldn’t look particularly good.

I saw a picture of someone wearing one tied around the waist, over a black dress - I think I could see myself doing that (with a triangle one or a circle folded over).

One thing about the rectangular ones is that it seems like they would be a pain to keep on, unless you somehow pinned it. I’ve seen a few women wearing them wrapped around back and then draped over each arms. I can see doing that for a dressy event but not for just rambling around town…

kimono, I know that Clapotis is wildly popular, and it does look fun to make and beautiful, but I have yet to catch the Clapotis love. Something about it makes me think I’d be even less likely to wear it than the other wraps I’ve looked at. Not sure why. :thinking:

I didn’t like the clappie, either, then I saw them everywhere, I went back & forth to Knitty countless times looking it over & finally decided to knit one in Karaoke, I then did the hat & fingerless gloves & I LOVE it! Wore it all winter, too :wink:
I thouight the same thing about shawls falling off because the ones I have no fall off & that’s bc the ones that I have are a bit slick & thin, so I’m knitting my shawls on sport - worsted wt yarns & wide so that they won’t have such a tendency to fall off. I love, love the look of the very lightwt. & beautiful lacy shawls, but I would never wear them, myself. Oh, there are also very lovely shawl pins around, too, these will hold a shawl in place nicely on a lovely evening out, in church, on the way to work, etc :wink:
I have a friend, Mari, that knits beautiful shawls, u can have a look @ them on her blog.

I love the look of a shawl and I have seen some wonderful patterns right here on line. But I would never wear one. Just is not in my dressing style. Actually no one I know wears them. But I think some of them are just beautiful. :inlove:

I have recently become addicted to knitting a shawl from the Noro book Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton “Hand Knitting Collection Book Number Two”.
I ended up making five of them within the past couple of months. It uses Noro Silk Garden and another Noro yarn for the trim, but I used Silky Wook because it was a bit cheaper. I also went up to size 17 needles because it was too small on the size it calls for. I was able to find the yarn cheaper on ebay than the LYS.

I was in a yarn shop a few months ago, perusing through the bargain bins, when I struck up a conversation with a woman doing the same. The conversation starter was me commenting on the beautiful and unique looking shawl she was wearing. She was a very attractive, and elegant looking, black woman. She was wearing a pair of nice slacks and a silky looking blouse (both solid colors), but topped it off with the most “EYE-POPPING” shawl.

It was not terribly long (not near to the waist), and it was tied just below one shoulder. When I asked her about the pattern and yarns, she said she didn’t really use a pattern (just v-shaped, I guess), but she used all manner of yarns that she’d bought in past trips to the bargain bin. There were several colors, but they were all of a similar color ‘group’. They were all different weights and types of yarns, from fuzzy eyelash, to ribbon, to slick and fine. I think she said she knit it on large needles. It really made the outfit, and would have “made” a number of outfits. I SO wish I’d had a camera phone, that I could’ve taken a picture of it on her.

i am not a shawl person, but i do like wraps and stoles

my clapotis is my fave, because it curls up on itself and can be worn like a scarf


Thanks so much for the link to your friend’s blog. I really enjoyed looking at all of her beautiful items. She’s got to be a saint to knit those work’s of art and then donate them. The cancer survivors must feel wonderful wrapped in such lovely shawls.

:smiley: U r certainly welcome. She is a sweetie, she joyously gives away 90% of her knitting to cancer patients, and, as u can see…it’s beautiful, beautiful. She has a heart of gold :smiley: As a matter of fact, she sent me one of the fibertrend patterns that I have; she knew I was looking for it & my lys didn’t have it, so she went to her lys & got it & sent it to me…she’s a doll :wink:

Yes, it was really nice knitting once I got passed the the first 6 rows on the DPNS. I had made a test circular shawl from some cotton yarn to see if I liked circular ones and to see how I would wear one. here’s my post about it
The real shawl is knitted out of black Kidsilk Haze and is definately evening wear/special occasion. I thought it would fit greate with a black dress and I would double only a bit on the top and close it infront with a pin. I saw a pic of someone wearing a shawl like this(of course I can’t find it now!).
In the posts below are some pics of the black shawl. It’s the Shetland Tea shawl from “A gathering of lace”, though I have changed the lace pattern and number of row repeats(I was afraid I would run out of yarn which I did anyway :rollseyes: ).

I have this really beautiful woven shawl that I wear by putting around my shoulders, wrapping one end around and putting it over the other shoulder so it’s hanging down in back, and then putting the other over that end so it’s hanging down in front from the same shoulder. So it’s around my shoulders and upper arms and hanging in front and in back from the same side. It works well for this particular shawl because it’s very long and rectangular and the middle is plain but there’s a really pretty pattern at the ends.

I find doing this, it doesn’t fall off and I don’t have to futz with it too much.

I thought I was the only “shawlaholic” out there! :wink: Like you, I myself have made the simple prayer shawls too, just the simple garter stitch or the “trinity stitch” (knit 3, purl 3), just a simple rectangle. But I also made a triangular shawl that was done in garter stitch that gave me an opportunity to learn and master yarnovers since I didn’t know how to do them. I’ve also made simple rectangular shawls that I stitched up part of the way to make sleeves in as kind of a little shrug which works really nicely! I haven’t done any circular shawls…they look too hard for me right now! :crying: But if you want to try lace and are looking for an easier lace pattern, I would try the “Feather and Fan” pattern. It’s VERY easy–even I figured it out!–and the pattern was easy to memorize, and I liked it because it’s only a four row pattern. I did a little swatch using some crochet cotton (because it was cheap if I didn’t figure out how to do this and tossed the yarn in frustration!) and used a size 7 needle I think, and it came out pretty nice. Here’s the pattern:

Cast on number of stitches (NOTE: lace repeat is 18 stitches)
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: K1, *(k2tog) 3 times, (yo1) 6 times, (k2tog) 3 times, repeat from * to last stitch, K1
Row 4: knit

What I liked about this pattern (besides the fact that it’s easy!) is that it gives you a nice scalloped edge too. Knit Picks has three items on their site that uses this pattern (the pattern is free on their site)–their Andean Treasure Shawl, Suri Dream throw, and their Shadow Scarf. There’s also a circular shawl on their site that requires you to purchase the book, Meg Swansen’s “A Gathering of Lace” and the shawl is called “Feather and Fan Shawl”.

Yes, I wear the shawls I knit–I love knitting them and wearing them! For myself, I just wear the shawls draped over my shoulders and tie them a little bit in the front or secure them with a nice big brooch or pin…no big fancy process for me (I know there are fancier ways to tie and wear them but I don’t know them). I personally think my favorite shawl to wear would probably be a rectangular, although I think a circular or triangular might be nice for an evening out. I tend to wear my shawls all the time, and for me, the rectangular is the easiest to wear out all the time. So I guess that would mean it’s probably my favorite to knit, too (although knitting the triangular one was cool, watching the shawl get knitted quickly when the cast ons are small is pretty fun). I don’t have a favorite yarn (yet!) for lace because I haven’t done any yet, but I really want to try using some of Knit Picks’ Alpaca Cloud…it looks so yummy!!!Trying a lace would give me a good excuse to buy this yarn, don’t you think? :rofling:

I hope you have a GREAT time on your trip…Italy seems like it would be a beautiful place to wear a beautiful, drapey, feminine shawl!!! Good luck on your lace shawl too…please post pix when you finish. You may inspire some of us scaredy cats to try it! :smiley:

If you’re worried about the shawl you make falling off, you could always try making a faroese shawl. Supposedly the shaping keeps it on one’s shoulders. Here’s one link about them:

I haven’t made one yet, because I still have concerns that I would never wear it. I barely wear the scarves I have… I have a cone of laceweight that calls to me tho.