Shawl Geometry: About Shawl Shape Construction Methods

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.

Shawl Design: Basic Shapes in Shawl Construction

Let’s look at some examples.

Shawl Shape Construction Examples

Polygons are triangle combinations.

Shawl Design: Basic Shapes in Shawl Construction

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.

Shawl Design: Basic Shapes in Shawl Construction

Parallelograms are combinations of triangles and rectangles.

Shawl Design: Basic Shapes in Shawl Construction

Trapezoids are combinations of triangles and rectangles.

Trapezoids are combinations of triangles and rectangles.

Vortex Shawls are triangle combinations.

sdd-shapes-vortex

Stars are triangle combinations, too!

sdd-shapes-star

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.

sdd-shapes-crescblocked

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.

sdd-shapes-faroese-blocked

Exercise: Construct Your Own

As an exercise, think about how you would implement the following shawl shapes.

exercise-shapes-1-462x169

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!

Shawl Geometry


Don't miss your free surprise shawl knitting pattern!

Hi, I'm Julia!

Here on knitting.today I share decades of knitting experience and knowledge with you - for free, and updated at least three times per week.

Subscribe to our mailing list and get weekly knitting updates, free online courses and your free surprise shawl knitting pattern today!




2 thoughts on “Shawl Geometry: About Shawl Shape Construction Methods

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *