In Thrall to Shawls?

I’m a shawl junkie. Even though I have enough shawls to wrap several mummies from head to toe, I can’t stop knitting them. My approach is a bit loose, though. Rather than follow a single pattern, I want to use the stitch pattern from one project, the edging from another, and change the size or shape a bit to make the finished shawl wrap the way I want.

knitted shawl

Can you guess all the things that are going on in this pattern?

That’s why I love Angela Tong’s workshop The Structure of Shawls. While it comes with a free pattern, it’s not so much “how to knit this shawl,” as “how to knit all the shawls.” Whether you like combining various shawl patterns into something wholly yours or just want to understand the shawl pattern you are currently knitting, Angela’s workshop gives you a deeper knowledge of these perennially popular projects.

Shawls come in a whole range of shapes, from big, foldable squares, to rectangular wraps, to half-circles and crescents. Triangles are perhaps the most popular shape, though, and if you knit shawls, you know there are a lot of different triangles out there. If you want to argue the differences between isosceles, equilateral, and scalene triangles, then shawl-knitting is for you.

knitted shawl

Slip stitch is a great colorwork choice.

All these shapes mean that shawls have a variety of construction methods too: Tip-to-tip, center-out, top-down, bottom-up. And that means you use different cast-ons, whether the traditional long-tail, the fiddly garter-tab, or the elegant and brag-worthy Emily Ocker’s circular cast-on, among others.

Once you’ve cast on, the true knitting fun begins. Shawls use every knitting technique imaginable: short rows, slip-stitch colorwork, intarsia, lace, cables … Angela shows you what all this stuff does when you put it together. For example, garter stitch is a shawl workhorse: it doesn’t curl and looks good on both sides. Slip-stitch colorwork often (but not always) look good on both sides, and the extra horizontal stretch is helpful when you want something to wrap up in.

knitted shawl

A knitted-on edging.

Edges are a big thing in shawl knitting, so it’s helpful to know the mechanics for working them. Learn how to pick up stitches smoothly, work a knitted-on edging, and crochet decorative loops. Finally, block your finished shawl into loveliness.

Finally, did we mention that the workshop includes a free pattern download for the Colfax Shawl?

The Structure of Shawls is a new, streamable course you can watch at your own pace—anywhere, anytime, on any device. Purchase the workshop and you can download the videos to own forever.

Never stop learning,

Want to learn more? Check out these resources: