The Structure of Shawls

I am old enough to remember when shawl knitting blazed back into vogue. It was in the mid-2000s, and we were inundated with sock yarns, but getting tired of knitting socks. Then someone had the brilliant idea of translating traditional lace designs into quicker fingering-weight versions, and knitting experienced a paradigm shift of epic proportions. Suddenly, small shawls (as they were then called) were EVERYWHERE.

knitted shawl

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

This trend shows no signs of going away, and shawls patterns are usually among the most popular on Ravelry at any given moment. If you are a shawl junkie, you’ll love Angela Tong’s The Structure of Shawls, now available in streaming workshop format. The workshop is not so much “how to knit a shawl,” as it is “how to knit all the shawls.”

knitted shawls

Slip stitch is a great colorwork choice.

Shawls come in a variety of shapes: rectangles, crescents, half-circles, and a whole lotta triangular versions. They can be knit in different ways: tip-to-tip, center-out, top-down, bottom-up. They can use short rows and modular knitting techniques, and they employ every type of stitch pattern you can imagine. Angela’s workshop gives you a better understanding of 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.

Shawl knitting uses a bunch of different cast-ons. Angela demonstrates the ones you are most likely to come across, including the garter-stitch tab, provisional, and Emily Ocker’s circular cast-on. Binding off usually requires a stretchy edge, and she’s got you covered there, too—including some decorative versions. And all those increases and decreases? Angela shows how they can be paired for symmetry or used as a design element in and of themselves.

knitted shawls

A knitted-on edging.

And then there are edges. Edges are a big thing in knitted shawls. Learn how to pick up stitches smoothly, work a knitted-on edging, and crochet decorative loops. Finally, block your finished shawl into loveliness. And 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. Want more bang for your buck? Subscribe to Interweave’s online workshops and tackle new techniques without leaving the house. For $9.99 a month, you can binge-watch to your heart’s content. Knit, crochet, spin, weave—hone a craft or learn a new one. Watch videos from great instructors and access and download plenty of supporting materials such as charts, photos, and worksheets. Interact with other students via our chat boards, and post your finished assignments to a shared gallery so others can see your work. We’re adding new workshops every month, so why not sign up today?

Never stop learning,

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