One of the most asked questions in my shawl design teaching courses are about shawl geometry and shawl shape construction methods.
Although every shawl shape you can possibly think of is covered in my book Shawl Design in Plain English, what’s still missing sometimes is a basic understanding of how specific shawl shapes are constructed – and that they’re all based on only three basic shapes.
You can find more information about shawl shapes and how specific shawl shapes are constructed in my post series Shawl Design for Everybody here on knitting.today.
So let’s dig a little deeper and have a look at the underlying principles of shawl geometry and shawl shape construction.
Shawl Geometry Explained
All shawl shapes are combinations of basic geometric shapes: circles, triangles and rectangles.
Let’s look at some examples.
Shawl Shape Construction Examples
Polygons are triangle combinations.
If you intend to work an eight corner polygon for instance, as shown in the picture below, you have to work eight triangles in the round and make sure your triangle increase angles sum up to 360° – your shawl won’t lay flat otherwise.
Rhomboids are triangle combinations.
Parallelograms are combinations of triangles and rectangles.
Trapezoids are combinations of triangles and rectangles.
Vortex Shawls are triangle combinations.
Stars are triangle combinations, too!
Some Shawl Shapes Need More Blocking
There are certain shapes that do not show before a shawl has been blocked. Examples include, but are not limited to, crescent and Faroese shawls.
Crescent shawls can be constructed using various methods. One of them is by short row shaping: in the picture below, the inner triangle is shaped by short rows. The full crescent shape unveils finally after blocking.
Another example are Faroese shawls as mentioned above. The basic idea of Faroese shawls is to work a triangle shawl with center panels and add additional increases, either during knitting of the main shawl body or by implementing some Raglan shaping.
Exercise: Construct Your Own
As an exercise, think about how you would implement the following shawl shapes.
Any ideas? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
By the way: Shawl Design in Plain English is in revision currently and will be published in its third edition by the end of 2016. Changes include information about shawls design found all across my blog published after the second edition of SDIPE went live last year. So much new information is to be included, thanks for all your suggestions!