Exploring Shawl Shapes- Part 2

This is part 2 of my blog post series on shawl shapes and construction. You can find part 1 here if you missed it.

By understanding the shawl shape you can understand how your increasing and decreasing as you knit can alter the overall design. Let’s continue with the Half Moon Street shawl from Knitting with Rainbows.

Edge Increase Shawl

This shawl construction has all of the increases along the sides. It didn’t really need it’s own diagram as the only difference from the shawl above is that there are no central spine increases, they’re all located along the edge, 2 on each end on the right side and 1 on each end for the wrong side.

Half Moon Shawl is a good example of this, it’s got the wide curling edges of the extended wing triangle but the lace of a central panel means that you have an uninterrupted pattern.

Half Moon Shawl, edge increases only.

Circular or Semi-Circular Shawl Construction

This shawl shape is wonderful for complex lace patterns. The shawl increases happen in concentric circles, each one twice the distance from the previous increase row/round. This allows big wide sections with no increases or decreases where you can work your stitch patterns.

To create a semi-circle shape you just work half of the number of stitches and it’s worked in rows rather than in rounds.

Gaoth is an example of a semi-circular shawl.

Gaoth, semi-circular shawl.

Biased Shawl


Biased shawls are lot of fun to knit, the first time you knit this shape you’re completely surprised by how the shape develops! For standard biased fabric you increase on one side and decrease on the other which creates a sloping parallelogram. If you add increases in as well as the biasing you are sloping the material in one direction at the same time you are increasing. This creates a beautiful shape and means that any stripes and patterns you work travel in a different direction to the shawl.

Shanakiel is worked like this and Mardyke shows a biased fabric without increases.

Shanakiel, biased knit shawl.
Mardyke, biased shawl with no increases.

In my Knitting With Rainbows book, I used a lot of different shawl shapes to show off gradient yarn. You can even pick up the latest Half Moon Street kits here. I’m in the process of releasing the individual patterns from this book which has really focused my mind on shawl shapes right now!

Do you have a favourite shawl shape? Has this series helped you refine one? 

5 thoughts on “Exploring Shawl Shapes- Part 2

  1. Thank you for these very helpful posts on the different shawl shapes. I’m a fan of biased shawls. For me an asymmetrical triangle is very easy to wear plus it’s fun to watch the design reveal itself!

  2. Love these shawl shape posts! I’m working on a biased shawl, using the tips of inc/dec shown and, well, it’s arching to the right not the left, as in your illustration. Wondering if you’ve any insight/s as to what might be going on here.

  3. Ok. So now I’m muddled :) I’m inc by 2 on the right/dec by 1 on left, on right side rows, which I thought would get me shape as per illustration. As noted above, I’m not. Probably six of one, half dozen of the other in the grand scheme, really. Experimenting’s half the fun of discovering new things, right?

  4. You’re totally right – my image is reversed, sorry for confusing you. I’ll need to fix the image! The top edge has the double increase and the bottom edge has the single decrease to create the shape. This means that if you start the row with the double increase you will be working from the right but if you start the row with the single decrease you’ll be working from the left.

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