Knitted Shawls and How to Wear Them

Basilica, draped in front
Euclid, side wrapped

I've worked lots of scarf knitting patterns and several large wraps, but I've only knit a couple of shawls. As much as I like them, I just haven't been able to incorporate them into my everyday wardrobe. I have a friend who knits amazingly intricate lace shawls. I asked her where she wore them and she said, "Oh, wherever. Albertson's, mostly." I love this attitude, though I don't have the chutzpah to pull it off.

In her new book, Free-Spirit Shawls, Lisa Shroyer shared some advice about actually wearing the knitted shawls, which really opened my eyes to the possibilities!

Wearing Your Shawl

Let's talk about style. Many knitters enjoy knitting shawls but aren't quite sure how best to show them off. There are so many possible ways to wear your shawl, and it can be fun to experiment.

Lindsay, side knotted
Mineral, front knotted

For smaller shawls: A shawl about 26" (66 cm) across the top edge makes a great kerchief. Simply hang the point in front and wrap the ends around the neck, knotting them in place—or bring the ends forward after wrapping them around the neck. Small and medium-sized shawls can also be wrapped around the shoulders off-center, so that the opening hits near the front of the shoulder. Knot the ends there or pin with a brooch.

For delicate lace or larger-sized shawls: Think about ensemble. A large "traditional" looking shawl doesn't have to look frumpy if you pair it with fresh styles and remember that it's an accessory. Use these shawls as part of your look—go Boho with torn denim, big jewelry, and flowy fabrics, or go dress-up with a slinky dress and dramatic earrings. A lace shawl can always be bundled and looped around the neck like a scarf. Though you won't see all the detail, the effect can still be striking.

Of course, almost all shawls can be worn traditionally, with the deepest part of the center straight down the back and the ends draped in front. You can wear sweet little semicircles and crescents this way and look very stylish today. Top a strapless dress with one and you have instant romance.

Some shawl designs lend themselves to a tougher, more urban aesthetic. Tuck a bold little shawl into the collar of a coat or leather jacket, bundle it like a cowl, grab your sunglasses, and you're ready for the city. Long, narrow shawls can be worn like scarves, slung around the neck, or wrapped and tied.

—Lisa Shroyer, Free-Spirit Shawls

Knitted shawls are so beautiful. And, as you can see, they come in all shapes, sizes, and patterns, and you can use any yarn you like. Pre-order Free-Spirit Shawls today so you can start knitting up some wonderful accessories as soon as the book comes out in April!


P.S. How do you wear your knit shawls? Leave a comment and let us know!

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