There’s one project that 90% of lace knitters can’t live without: the shawl. It’s easy to see why, considering the variety of constructions that allow lace to flow in fascinating directions. Whether thinking about it from the designer or knitter perspective, shawl shape options offer a palette perfect for exploration, experimentation, and inspiration. Let’s review some of the most common constructions to see how they make your lace stand out.
This popular shape, beginning with a garter tab cast-on, grows out from a central point with two increases along the edges and 2 at the center. The lace pattern expands outward with angled lines, providing the perfect amount of drama. Angela Tong’s Ocean Grove is a good example of the classic construction. Anniken Allis’s Alexandra Shawl changes this shape a bit by placing the center increases a little wider apart to accommodate a center lace panel.
WINGED TRIANGULAR SHAWLS
This construction is a modified version of the standard Triangular Shawl in that it adds an additional increase along the edge. You can work that as a double increase on the right-side row or a single increase worked on both the right-side and wrong-side rows. The results are similar, with distinct lines growing outward, but the final result is a curved shape that almost curls, making it more wearable than its triangular counterpart. Two good examples of this are Cottage Red and Winter Dawn.
BIAS OR ASYMMETRICAL TRIANGLES
Another popular shape, this style has several variations depending on where you place the increase/decrease combos, but it shapes the base construction with double increases on one edge and a single decrease, for slope, on the other edge. This bias shape enables the lace patterning to travel in a different direction for a striking effect. Curiosa by Emily Wood and Attu are both nice illustrations of this shape.
This easy shape enables lace to take center stage as it can be worked with little change to the patterning. There are a variety of adjustments you can make to the construction (such as center-out, bias, or top-to-bottom, just to name a few), but the standard is typically from side-to-side. It is utterly wrap- able. Lemon Drop and Betty Fay Wallace’s Sweetleaf are great samples of this shape.
HALF-PI AND SEMI-CIRCULAR
Because it uses increases along a single row, worked twice the distance from the previous increase row, complex lace can shine. You’re able to work large sections without worrying about any shaping issues to mar the effect. You can even go bigger with a circular shape by working double the number of stitches in the round. Felicia’s Rushing Tide and Shattered Sun shawls are fantastic illustrations of the half-pi concept.
Naturally, there are a lot more shapes we aren’t able to cover here (square, crescent, sideways, swirl, hexagon … ), but with a little lace and an aim at discovery, the shawl world is a treasure to uncover.