Welcome to part four of my Shawl Design for Everybody series! Today's topic in our shawl design course is how to turn square shawls and stoles into patterns for adjustable square shawls (and stoles).
What means adjustable in this context? Assume your yarn supply is limited, for example you only got one skein of a specific yarn you plan to use for a shawl. How do you make sure you don't run out of yarn? That's when adjustable shawls come in handy.
The most important tool: your kitchen scale
The most important tool for any adjustable shawl is a scale. Any digital kitchen scale should be sufficient. Why is it so important? To make sure you won't run out of yarn we have to plan yarn usage accordingly. As we cannot measure the wound skein, we use the weight of it instead.
Read the label on your yarn to find out how many yards / meters are in one skein, and to find out how many grams your skein has. An example: lace weight yarn usually comes in hanks of around 880 yards per 4 oz (800m/100g).
So if we don't want to run out of yarn we have to plan. Let's start.
Adjustable square shawls worked diagonally
The most intuitive form for explaining the principles of adjustable shawls is the square shawl worked diagonally (from tip to tip). The point in knitting where you have to make sure you still got the minimum of half the yarn left is the center diagonal - the position where the increases stop and the decreases start.
In the example pattern below, differences between the original pattern template and the adjustable one are marked green.
Weigh your yarn and write down the number (we call this weight W from now on).
Welcome to part four of my Shawl Design for Everybody series! Today's topic in our shawl design course are rectangle shawls, also known as stoles.
Rectangular shawls can be worked
from hem to hem,
from center outwards from a provisional cast on, or
from tip to tip (diagonally) and then blocked either into rhombi or rectangle shapes.
Today, we only talk about rectangles worked from hem to hem and center outwards. Diamond and rhombus shapes as well as triangle-ended rectangles are subject of posts of their own.
Choose working your shawl from hem to hem if you don't plan to achieve mirror symmetry with respect to the center lengthwise. If you plan, for example, a large flower as center element in your stole, working from center outwards might be the more suitable choice.
The probably easiest method to create a rectangular shawl (or stole, as commonly called) is working a rectangle with a small border. This border could be a little thing as three stitches of garter, or it could be a lovely little lace border. Please see Fig. 1 for details.
If you want to start with an easier version, omit the small border edgings in the Alpine Fuchsia Stole and replace it by three to five rows garter or moss stitch at the beginning and the end of the shawl.
Pattern template for rectangle shaped shawls
A simple stole knitting pattern reads as follows:
Decide on charts/patterns for the main panel and the border. (If in doubt, use stockinette for the shawl body and seed stitch for the border.) Write down their stitch count per repeat.
Work swatches for each pattern and block them gently, then measure their width and height.
Divide the desired width of the shawl by the width of one pattern repeat of the main panel. Round to whole numbers. This will give you N, the number of repeats of the main panel.
Divide the desired length of the shawl by the length of one pattern repeat of the main panel. Round to whole numbers. This will give you M, the number of row repeats of the main panel.
Cast on two times the number of border stitches plus the number of repeats of the main panel chart times the number of stitches in your main panel chart:
Work a total of M repeats of your main panel pattern, carrying the border pattern on both sides all up. (If the rows in the main panel pattern are no multiple of the number of rows in the border pattern, consider to add filler sts at the beginning and the end of the shawl.)
Work border on the upper hem of the stole.
Rectangular Shawls With Small Borders and Edgings
Figure 2 shows the second possibility for creating a rectangular shawl composed of main panels, small borders and edgings. You can choose to work from the center outwards or from hem to hem. In this version, we have edgings (large borders) on each end of the shawl and small borders on the longer side of the shawl. The small borders are worked at the same time as the main panel. The edgings are worked after the main panels have been finished.
Welcome to the third episode of my Shawl Design for Everybody series! Today's topic in our shawl design course are square shawls worked diagonally.
Working a square shawl diagonally means starting at one tip, increasing to a certain size and repeating the reverse process for the other half of the shawl.
As an increase angle of 90° is desired, two stitches need to be increased every other row for the increase section of the shawl body. For the decreases the same principle applies.
In this setup is possible (and common) to work the edging at the same time as the shawl body. Either way, we start with casting on three stitches and increasing continually until the shawl is of desired width at the center diagonal (the position of the widest width).
Design Process Outline
The outline of the shawl design process for square shawls tip to tip is as follows.
Work a swatch and measure gauge.
CO 3 sts and purl one row.
Optional (with edging): work increase rows until edging is of desired width (upper edge of the orange triangle shown above).
Work increase rows until shawl is of desired width.
Work decrease rows until 3 sts are left, then bind off.
Knitting Pattern Template
Our example assumes we are working a garter stitch edging together with the shawl body. The width of the edging (upper edge of the orange triangle) shall be two inches (one inch per side).
Work a swatch and measure gauge. Example: 5 sts / 6 rows per square inch.
Decide on the desired width at the widest point (diagonal) of the shawl. Example: 30 inches total width (incl. edging).
Calculate the relevant stitch counts: we need 6 stitches per side for the edging, (5 stitches per inch plus one selvedge stitch on the outer side) and
Starting with the most basic shapes of squares and triangles, my free online course Shawl Design For Everybody helps you navigate through the shawl shape jungle. Want to know when which shawl shape is covered? Here's the course schedule.
Which free shawl pattern do you want to see as this week's Friday Freebie? There are three lovely shawl patterns to choose from this week. Shown from left to right: Orenburg Meets Germany, Hexagon & Alpine Fuchsia Stole.
Welcome to the second part of our article series on shawl design of square shawls. Today you are going to learn how to construct square shawls from hem inwards as well as from hem to hem. Examples for this construction method include Shetland and Orenburg Shawls.
Knitting square shawls: hem to hem versus hem inwards
Knitting square shawls hem to hem or hem in are basically two different construction methods.
Working a shawl hem to hem means working a square of a distinct width from one end to the other and picking up stitches (or use live stitches, respectively) for the edging.
On the other hand, working a shawl hem inwards means to work the edging first, then the shawl body; shaping the shawl into its form by using decreases.
Pattern writing: Shetland style shawls (square shawls hem to hem)
The outline for a pattern for a square shawl worked from hem to hem is as follows:
Work a swatch and check your gauge. (Our example uses 5 sts / 6 rows per inch in garter stitch.)
Decide on the side length (one of the four sides of the square) of your shawl. (Let's make it 80 cm in our example).
Based on your gauge, calculate how many stitches you need to cast on and how many rows you need to reach your desired shawl size.
CO 200 stitches (sts) and work 240 rows (120 ridges) of garter stitch.
Place marker (pm), pick up and knit 200 sts along one side of the shawl body, pm) 3 times, k200.
Increase row: (slip marker (slm), knit into front and back and front of the next stitch (kfbf, 1 stitch increased to 3 sts), knit (k) to next marker) 4 times.
Next row: purl.
Repeat last two rows until edging is of desired size. Bind off all sts loosely and block gently.
Shawls worked from hem inwards
Shawls worked from hem inwards work like a mirror image of the four-panel shawl worked from center out: you start with four times the amount of stitches you need to achieve the desired shawl width (in our example case outlined above we need to either cast on, or pick up from the edging,
4*200 + 4 = 804 stitches
where the four single stitches are the divider stitches used between the panels. Please note that the divider stitches are not mandatory here, as we are not dealing with yarn over increases. But: paired decreases, as used here, tend to leave little holes between them. It's prettier - more even - when panel divider stitches are included.
Pattern example: square shawl worked from hem inwards
CO 804 stitches and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.
Setup round: (k200, pm, knit through back loop (ktbl), pm) 4 times.
Next round: (knit 2 sts together (k2tog), k to 2 sts before next marker, ssk, slm, ktbl, slm) 4 times.
Next round: knit.
Repeat the last two rounds until 8 sts remain. Cut yarn, pull through live stitches and pull tight. Weave in ends and block gently.
This article introduced square shawls Shetland style (worked hem to hem) and square shawls worked from hem inwards. Personally, I don't like to work square shawls from hem in so I tend to either work them from center outwards or hem to hem. An example for the latter is my pattern Orenburg Meets Germany.
During this course, I use light blue color for main shawl bodies and white for edgings.
The anatomy of a square shawl
A square shawl consists of two parts: the main shawl body (shown in gray) which is always present, and eventually an edging (shown in blue). White lines represent increase positions; white dots indicate short row shaping.
As you can see in the pictures above, the main shawl body of a square shawl worked from center out consists of four panels: each panel is a triangle with a 90° angle in the center and two 45° angles on the outside. The first thing we have to deal with now is therefor how to achieve the desired angles in knitting fabric.
How to achieve specific angles in shawl shaping
This topic is going to get its own topic next week, so for now let's just sum up: for an approximately 90° angle you need to increase two stitches every other round (or one stitch per round - same but different). The picture below illustrates two increases every other row in each of the four panels.
The design process outline for square shawls worked from center out
Now that we know that we need to increase two stitches every other row to achieve a desired angle of 90 degree we can continue to the actual design process. The outline is as follows:
Choose yarn and needles. Work gauge swatches until you are satisfied with the knitted fabric texture.
Provisionally cast on 8 stitches (one stitch for each of the four panels, one for each of the four separating rows).
Work first increase round: (YO, k1, YO, k1) 4 times. (8 + 4*2 = 16 stitches)
Work one round stockinette.
Repeat rounds 3-4 until your shawl is of the desired size.
Work edging, eventually.
Bind off all stitches loosely and block your shawl.
The detailed design process
We have talked about gauge a lot already so there isn't much to add concerning the first point in our list above.
Notes on the provisional cast on method used
The reason why I prefer to work a provisional cast on at this point is that normal cast on would cause a little hole here. Of course it could be closed when weaving in the yarn tail of the cast on edge but personally I like the result when provisionally casting on, then putting the sts onto a live needle again in the end and pulling the yarn tail through before weaving in better. It looks neat and clean, and finishing makes all the difference as we all know. But of course this is up to you. You are the designer after all!
Why eight stitches?
If we only cast on four stitches we would run into problems with the very first increase round: we cannot place two yarn overs right beside each other (well we could, but this would result in a large hole instead of neat increases).
Increasing two stitches every other row results in an increase of a 90° angle as desired as we have learned in the article on how to achieve desired angles in increasing and decreasing. We want to achieve a square shape from center out. A square shape has 360° in total, so with a 90° angle we need four panels as illustrated in Fig. 1.
How to calculate the total number of rows needed for a certain size
We talked about gauge aready. (Yes, we did!) The calculation is relatively easy, but never mind if you are just lost after one line of the next paragraph only: I already told you that I'm here to relief that math burden from you. If you don't want to be bothered with calculations, please feel free to use my Shawl Design Calculator (going online tomorrow evening) especially designed for you.
We know how many rows per inch (rpi) our gauge swatch resulted in. Let's call this number rpi. In my example below I choose
rpi = 5
We also know how large we want our shawl to become. Let's assume we want our shawl to become one meter in side length (without edging), which equals to 100 cm or approximately 40 inches. Let's call this side length number s, so in our example,
s = 40
So to reach a height of 40 inches, we need
40 * 5 = 200 rows
to reach a length of 40 inches. But:As we are working in the round, every round adds one row to each side of the square (we got four panels!), therefor we only need half of the rounds (yes, not rows - one round equals two rows, lengthwise!).
This means we need
200 rows = 100 rounds
To achieve the desired side length of 40 inches.
Ad 6.) Edging
If you want to work an edging onto your shawl, you have got two options. You can either work the edging in the same manner as the main shawl body has been worked - in the round and with increases at the very same rate as the shawl body itself.
For an outline of the knitting directions in this case please see Fig. 2 for details.
Alternatively, you can start at a certain point by casting on a certain number of stitches (how many depends on your gauge and the desired width of the edging), working the edging sideways. In this case, for every other row of the edging worked (for an outline of the knitting directions please see Fig. 3) one shawl body stitch is worked together with the edging.
The two pictures below illustrate the difference between the two methods of knitting the edging: the first shows the first method (knitting in the same direction as the shawl itself), the other one shows an edging worked sideways.
Do you spot the difference in the knitting direction with the edging in the two pictures above? The resulting look & feel is very different, actually.
We have learned how to design square shawls from center outwards with two different types of edgings and how to achieve 90° angles with increases.
Coming up next: Square shawls from hem inwards (on 3/23). Be sure to check back and don't miss it!