Stitch Patterns in Crescent Shawls: Yes, We Can

Crescents have been very popular shawl shapes for a few years and don’t seem to lose any popularity among knitters all over the world so far. Guess it’s time to devote some time to explain crescent shawls in detail: how do they look like, and how can they be constructed?

Please note: this is the third part of the Complete Guide to Crescent Shawls. You can find the first one (and links to all the other parts) here:

>> The Complete Guide to Crescent Shawls <<

Introducing Stitch Patterns in Crescent Shawls

At first glance, it seems to be much easier to implement stitch patterns into square or triangle shawls than into crescents but in fact it’s easier as it looks. Every construction methods has its special needs, though.

Stitch Patterns in Short Row Crescents

The section shaped by short rows is either a triangle or a trapezoid, depending on how many stitches you left over at the top of the short row section (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read my earlier post Short Row Calculations Made Easy before you continue).

In any case, we need to adapt our desired stitch pattern to our short row decrease rate. In the first example below, our decrease rate is 2 (short row decrease every second stitch). The little double loops are your turning points, dark gray means no stitch. white are stitches in pattern (like, knitted stitches). The green stitches represent the area available for stitch patterns.

Stitch Patterns in Short Row Crescent Shawls
Stitch Patterns in Short Row Crescent Shawls: Available area for stitch patterns with turning points every second stitch.

The image looks similar for turning points every third stitch.

Stitch Patterns in Short Row Crescent Shawls
Stitch Patterns in Short Row Crescent Shawls: Available area for stitch patterns with turning points every third stitch.

Stitch Patterns in Crescents Worked Sideways

Introducing stitch patterns into crescents worked sideways is relatively easy. One important detail is to be considered though: all stitch patterns follow the knitting direction which is left to right (or right to left).

When increasing every second stitch as in the pattern template the white area in the picture below is available for stitch patterns. The picture shows the increase section, in this case increases are worked on the right edge of the shawl. For the decrease section this image has to be mirrored.

Stitch Patterns in Crescent Shawls

Stitch Patterns in Winged Crescent Shawls

Stitch patterns in winged crescents are determined by their basic shape: the half circle. In this case, everything is a little more complicated as there are increase rows being worked regularly, changing our stitch count: it doubles every time.

And the shape distorts, too. Keep that in mind.

If we look at only the rows we knit, it looks similar to the picture below: we start with 6 stitches, and after 4 rows we work our first increase row (doubling our stitches), then work 7 rows plain.

Winged Crescent Shawls: Distortion
Winged Crescent Shawls: Theoretical stitches

But in reality, its shape forms a half circle as intended. The stitches become distorted!

Winged Crescent Shawls: Distortion
Winged Crescent Shawls: That’s how it looks in reality (approximation)

The effect decreases with increasing circumference, distortion becomes less prominent.

So to introduce stitch patterns in winged triangles you need to take the non-distorted, theoretical stitches as a template.

A similar issue arises as soon as you start the wings: they are shaped by increasing one stitch every other row on each side, forming one-sided triangles on each side. Make sure to adjust the stitch pattern accordingly as soon as you start the wings, you have more space than before then.

More Information on Fitting Stitch Patterns

Introducing stitch patterns is certainly an advanced topic in shawl design for every single shawl shape. If you want to learn all the details about fitting stitch patterns into specific shawl shapes I strongly recommend taking my online course Successful Shawl Design – it’s currently closed, but spots might be available in late May again – where advanced topics like fitting stitch patterns are taught in detail.

Are stitch pattern fittings clearer for you now? Let me know by leaving a comment below – thanks!

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