Knitting Crescent Shawls the Austrian Way

The increase crescent shawl construction method is one I came up with during a recent knitting summit, Austrian Yarn Club’s Wollness Weekend. It starts with a handful of stitches and is shaped by increases on every row.

An outline of this construction method for crescent shawls can be found below. (Yes, I know it looks counter intuitive but give it a try – it really works this way. Promise!)

austrian crescent shawls

The benefits of knitting crescent shawls this way are that they are both

  • Adjustable in size, as well as
  • Adjustable in shape.

Resizing is easy: Just knit more rows for a bigger shawls.

Re-shaping is easy, too: You only have to adjust your increase rate (in this case, the number of stitches to be cast on using the backward loop method at the end of each row). Use more increases for a wider shawl, and less stitches (for instance, one instead of two as shown in the pattern template below) to get a wider, but not so wide crescent shawl.

Twenty or thirty stitches are a good start to avoid the prominent center bump in similar constructions. The number of increases to work depends on your target size and increase rate.

Knitting Crescent Shawls: Pattern Template

A pattern template for an Austrian crescent shawl using two increases every row is given below. It’s a very easy method of creating crescent shawls indeed!

  • CO 23 stitches and knit one row.
  • Next Row: Knit to end of row, CO 2 using backwards loop cast on.
  • Repeat the last row until shawl is of desired size.
  • Bind off all stitches and block gently into crescent shape.

An example chart for an increase crescent with two stitches increased every row can be found in my recent article about adapting stitch patterns for crescent shawls, Crescent Shawl Lace Patterns.

12 thoughts on “Knitting Crescent Shawls the Austrian Way

  • I’m confused regarding the Austrian shawl template. You initially say it uses 2 increases every other row. Instruction say cast on 23 st and knit one row. Instructions then say to knit to end and cast on with backwards loop. Got that – here’s the confusion. The next sentence in the instructions says to repeat the last row until desired size. That looks like an increase in EVERY row, not every other.
    Please help clarify for me . Thanks!

    • Lyric, thanks for your comment! Indeed it’s an increase every row, not every other row. The article has been updated.

  • Wow is all I can say. I just found your web site and love it. I have designed a few shawls on have them up for free on ravelry, but your articles have helped me tremendously in figuring out all the ways to design and shape a crescent shawl. I am always torn as to what method to use for increasing, and you have made it so clear in all your tutorials. I especially love this Austrian one which is so simple.
    Thanks for taking the time to make these wonderful tutorials.

  • Mrs. Kathryn Nissen

    Thank you for sharing your pattern. For those who love crescent shawls and hate short rows many patterns have been available for years and years with simple increases to achieve the shape. Here is where to find a lot of them. For those who have not yet discovered the wonderful site for knitters let me tell you about “ravelry”. It is absolutely free to join. There you will find hundreds of patterns (many free) for any garment, toy or more. Tools to keep track of your photos and records of your stash, and projects. Also project notes with photos that have been shared by those who have knitted the patterns. Also you can look up hundreds of yarns and then hop to projects knitted with those yarns. It is an invaluable aid and enormous fun. There are hundreds of members all using, contributing and sharing so much knowledge and experience. Forums and so much more than I can tell you about here. Type Ravelry into google. When in the site enter “crescent shawls” in the search and you will have access to hundreds of crescent shawl patterns , with and without patterns and many without the need for short rows and many free of charge. I have been knitting for somewhere in the region of 50 years and had not realized that people do not know how to knit crescent shawls without using short rows but simply by increasing. Lots of us oldies have been knitting them this way for generations of babies and for glam nights out and so much more. Do try Ravelry.. it really is amazing. Also for those who crochet.

  • My pet peeve has been garter tab cast on and the swoop in the wrong direction bump on crescents.
    I really like the idea of dispersing the stress point along 20+ stitches instead of that never-fits-with-the-overall-design-garter-tab. I’m excited to try the Austrian Crescent!

  • Gilles Caron

    No short rows? Yeah, I like that 😉
    My wife needs a new shape for her shawls but I may be the one to knit it for her as she is already working on 2 “long to knit” shawls… and I just finished one in tunisian crochet for her too.
    I have your book(s) but not sure if it is in one of them.


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