Knitting Triangluar Shawls

Basilica, from Free-Spirit Shawls

Vogue Knitting Live was held in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to go. I got a triangular shawl kit, which is something I don't usually knit. There's no real reason I don't knit triangular shawls, it's just that I've always been more into scarf knitting and wide, rectangular shawls.

But after seeing Lisa Shroyer's new book Free-Spirit Shawls and learning her tips about wearing shawls, I think I'm a convert. I can't wait to cast on my shawl—I think it'll be the perfect summer knitting project.

Spaythe, from Free-Spirit Shawls
Bryusa, from Free-Spirit Shawls

Here's Lisa to tell you about a triangular shawl knitting technique: from the top down!

The Top-Down Triangle

One of the most popular ways to knit a triangular shawl is from the top down, with increases worked at four lines—one at each outer edge and two in the middle, each flanking the center spine. The standard top-down shawl begins with a garter tab, which is worked such that there is no visible cast-on; the shawl just grows from the top edge downward and outward.

How to Work a Garter Tab
Using the invisible provisional cast-on, cast on 3 stitches. Knit 7 rows. Turn your work and use the right needle to pick up and knit 3 stitches down the side edge of the work. Unzip the provisional cast-on and place 3 live stitches on the left needle, then knit them, for a total of 9 stitches.

You now have a short piece of garter stitch with live stitches emerging from it on three sides. These three sections (of 3 stitches each) represent the three shaping "lanes" to be worked in the shawl body. After the cast-on, a standard shawl would be worked as follows: 3 garter stitches for the edging, yarnover increase, knit 1, yarnover, knit 1 (center spine), yarnover, knit 1, yarnover, 3 garter stitches for the edging.

As the stitches increase, patterning can be worked over the knit stitches. Each right-side row increases the stitch count by four, with the result that two triangles grow outward from the garter tab, with the center-spine knit stitch separating them down the middle. Obviously, the final rows and bind-off will be worked over many stitches.

Top-down triangles can be small or large; just stop knitting when it suits you! Stitch patterns have to be worked in multiples that integrate with the rate of shaping and the stitch counts, but as you can see from Spathe (above), you can achieve beautiful allover patterns.

—Lisa Shroyer, from Free-Spirit Shawls

Intrigued? Me, too. Lisa's book is full of modern, fun shawl patterns. Order your copy of Free-Spirit Shawls today and cast-on a summertime project!


P.S. Are you a shawl knitter? Leave a comment and tell what your favorite shawl shape is!

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