Shapes of Shawls

This post is part of the Fall Shawl Togethera collaborative project featuring great shawl-related content from designers, bloggers, and podcasters. We’re featuring a new post each week, now – December. You can check out all the posts on the Fall Shawl Together Project Page  and show us what you’re working on by tagging your shawl projects!  #shawltogether

Shapes of ShawlsNot long ago, Cate dropped a little email in my inbox about the Fall Shawl Together, which is a wonderful idea!  From last month until December, the Shawl Together page will be updated with lots of great bloggers posting about different aspects of knitting and shawls.

This week, is the turn of the shape of the shawl.

Which do you prefer?  Why?  And do you prefer to knit one shape, but prefer to wear another?  It’s very interesting to hear how this small decision can divide a group of knitters before even choosing your colours.

The most common shape to crop up when searching for shawls on Ravelry, and the one you probably knit first, is the good ol’ triangle.  The first shawl I knit was the ‘Age of Brass & Steam‘ Kerchief by Orange Flower Yarn.  It was simple, it was a trangle, I figured it wouldn’t make me cry.

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Not that all triangual shawls are simple! For example, Rosemary Hill creates magnificent shawls, through the whole scpectrum of difficulty.  Saying that, my favourites are still Artesian and Knitwitch.  They’re based on a simple idea, but have wonderful touches added.

ArtesianTriangles hang well over the shoulders, lending themselves well to shawl pins or being tied at the corners. _kw-4_medium2 image_medium

Sticking to the simple shapes, you could knit a square.  This shape is definitely easier than the triangle, but that all depends on which stitch patterns you fill it with!  There are some beautiful examples of the square shawl on Rav; this is Quill by Jared Flood.  It just looks so cozy.

Squares are slightly less easy to wear than triangles, and tend to be used as lap blankets or folded back into triangles before wearing.

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Semi-Circles are one of my new favourite shapes to knit.  I love the way it seems to radiate outward around a wee central shape to grow into something wonderful.  My most recent design, Aston Lane, is a semi-circlar shawl which incorporates short rows to allow different distances between the strings of beads.  It’s inspired by a lane filled with fairy lights and cobblestones near my flat in Glasgow.

There are also some wonderful circular shawls, though I’ve yet to bring myself to attempt one of these lovelies, they’re usually massive and made from lots of laceweight.

Semi circles are similar to triangles in that they cover the shoulders nicely but sometimes do need a little help staying on.

ashton lane

Time for my favourites.  Crescent shawls are my favourite to wear (which is confusing because, as I just said, the semi-circles are my favourite to knit!).  Because of this, Bru & Kelvinway are garter & lace crescents.  I find that crescent shawls fit well, and sit snugly around my neck without the need for pins.  They’re also usually made from one skein of yarn which makes for a nice portable project.

Many people love wearing crescents because they stay on much like scarves.  Longer and thinner than your typical shawl, we can wrap them around our necks, no shawl pins required.

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Last but not least on this list, is the asymmetrical shawl.  One of the largest KALs I’ve taken part in was Ysoldas ‘Follow Your Arrow‘, which provided 5 stages with two options for each.  I used Manos Silk blend which was magnificent.   There are too many combinations to describe, so if you’re interested the projects page is amazing.

Now, this isn’t by any means an exhaustive list!  There are heart shaped, pentagonal, hexagonal – you name it, I’m sure you could find it (or make it yourself).  My favourite atypical shape is this beauty – it’s the Maple Leaf shawl by Elfmoda.

maple-leaf-knit-shawl_mediumIf you’re just starting out knitting shawls, last weeks contribution to the shawl together project was about the garter tab cast on by Alex Tinsley.  This is a very common technique which is used to start off a shawl – it ensures your shawl can start with enough stitches in a small space whilst looking very presentable.  And stuck for colours?  Cate’s post on colour theory was very pretty!

What’s your favourite shawl? or shape?


Amanda Collins lives in Glasgow, surrounded by yarn & coffee. With patterns both self-published and featured in several news-stand magazines, Amanda likes to draw inspiration from her surroundings into her knits.  Her love for knitting accessories led to the Stitch Marker Shop, and her patterns can all be found on Ravelry.  

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