Monday, January 9, 2017

The many ways to make a triangular shawl

My daughter in law recently asked me how to make a triangular shawl.  She was hoping for something other than the point up to long long top edge or vice versa.  While washing dishes that night, I pondered her request.  I know that this was started because of the shawl craze that is continuing to be a real thing.  She can wear them to work to keep warm, add a flair of color, add a fashion statement, make coworkers jealous.  The methods below are all the ways I thought of while washing dishes.  There may or may not be shawls designed to match each method.  I might do that some day.

1.  Cast on or chain along the long, long long top edge that matches your wingspan or desired length and work down to the point from there.

There are many patterns on Ravelry that follow this recipe.  Search triangle and top down under the accessories / neck&torso option for fabulous patterns.  A basic pattern is to cast on a wingspan of stitches and decrease each row at the beginning and the end until you make it to a point.

2.  Cast on or chain 1 - 5 stitches at the bottom point.  Increase up from there to the very long top edge.

There are plenty of patterns on Ravelry for this type of simple shawl.  A basic recipe is to make a Grandma's dishcloth that never ends and never gets to the decreases (cast on 3, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, turn, k1, yo, k to last st, yo, k1 turn.  Repeat from turn)  Search for accessories, neck&torso, triangle, bottom up for anything beyond a garter stitch shawl.  Don't bind off tightly.

3.  Cast on or chain a few stitches at the top edge in the center.  Increase at the edge and possibly in the very center and again at the edge.  The center stitch(es) can be a type of spine.  Marlybird had been doing a knit along using this format during the time of this discussion.  Find her pattern here.

4.  Start at the bottom point and work up to the side point.  Work back and forth creating short row wedges, all points meeting at the bottom and the top having all the wide ends.

A cursory glance through Ravelry doesn't reveal any patterns using this format.  This was just a 3 page search of the many pages using accessories, neck&torso, triangle, short rows.

5. For an asymmetrical triangle, start at one side point and widen out to the bottom point.  The third point at the other end of the very long top edge is in line mostly with the point.  This could go the other way as well with the length getting the short rows rather than the height.  There is one perfect example of this type of shawl on Ravelry.  See the pattern here.  It follows the second way the short rows can be formed and has a unique self tie option.

There are a few more options available for this style.

6.  Start at the center of the top edge and make a little triangle.  Work out from there growing the sides and the point all at the same time.  From the different videos I have seen lately, this is a popular method by some designers.  Stephen West explores this option in his Metalouse and boneyard shawls as well as a few others.  This gives you something to hold onto when starting out unlike #3.

7.  Start from the outside 3 edges and work toward the center.  This can involve a few thousand stitches to start, depending on weight of yarn and needle or hook size.  This can be daunting to many people.  I suggest liberal use of stitch markers to keep the count correct and spring type clothes pins and the use of a large table to help keep the outside edge from twisting.

I can't really find a shawl done this way.  It could be the very large number of stitches that have to be started with.  However, this could be an option if you like the looks of this.

8.  Start from the middle and work out.  This will most likely create an equilateral triangle rather than a very wide top with a shallow depth.  Depending on the pattern chosen, Ravelry has many choices.  Some are a panel in the center with triangles on 3 sides.  Some are squares worked from the center out.  There are a few like the multi colored triangle wrap and madrona.

9.  In pieces.  Using either squares, rectangles, hexagons or triangles,  piece them together using any one of a variety of methods.  There's a few that use piecing as the method of construction.   Here's a pretty one using squares and a border.  Mostly I have seen squares, rectangles, trapezoids, and oddly shaped pieces to fill out the final triangle shape.  The piecing method can include seaming, picking up, JAYGo among others.

If you have any other ideas of ways to create a triangle shawl, post the idea in the comments.  Rectangle and square shawls are fairly standard as we have all probably played with blocks as children.  Circular shawls are pretty much concentric circles worked from the outside in or the inside out.  A few might be made of pieced motifs.  Do you have any other shapes for shawls?