5 Basic Shawl Shapes

A little over a year ago I joined the Aroha Knits 5 shawls in 5 days challenge. The goal of the challenge was to teach the basics of 5 simple shawl shapes. At that time I was primarily a sweater knitter so I welcomed the opportunity to learn some new skills and try something new.

The challenge itself was simple - each day you would receive an email with instructions for a new shawl shape. Knit a few rows and you quickly learn the construction and have a mini swatch to showcase what you’ve learned.

Day 1 + The Triangle Shawl

Day One Triangle Shawl

This was the easiest and simplest of all the shawl shapes of the series. Increase 4 stitches every RS row and watch the pretty triangle grow. Within this simple triangle shape the customization opportunities are endless - increase method, stitch pattern, etc. Worked in stockinette stitch it becomes soothing, mindless knitting. Add complexity but incorporating lace stitches, add a lace edging, what ever you desire!

My biggest takeaway here was the garter tab start for the shawl, I had never worked it before and it creates such an elegant start to the shawl! I will definitely be using this for future shawl designs.

An amazing example of what you can accomplish with this technique is the Rock Island shawl. Knit in Brooklyn Tweed’s Vale this pattern is a pure stunner.

Day Two + The Crescent Shawl


The crescent shawl was a new shape to me, I had never knit a shawl with this construction before. To create the shape 4 sts are increased on the RS row through a (K1, yo, K1) in one stitch and 2 sts increased on teh WS row with a yo. The increases become pretty rhythmic and shape highlights variegated and tonal yarns well (as you can see in the Gorgette Shawl).

For a more advanced knitter, Joji Locatelli’s Hipster Shawl adds in a fun lace texture and since it’s worked in a worsted weight yarn, it will fly off your needles!

Day Three + The Asymmetrical Triangle


I’ve made side to side triangle shawls before, but I had never created this asymmetrical shape. On the RS rows you increase 1 st and on the WS rows you both increase and decrease (so 1 st inc’d every 2 rows). The combination & placement of the increase and decrease is what create the interesting bias in the fabric. This would be a unique to showcase a lace or textured stitch pattern, just make sure to choose one that would allow you to “read” your knitting to maintain the stitch pattern. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the slipped stitch edging, but I took it as an opportunity to learn a new approach.

Day Four + The Square Shawl


The square shape is an extension of the technique learned in the triangle shawl - there are just two additional triangles, and it is worked in the round from the center out. You can either work it in the round to create a solid square, or work back & forth in rows to leave one of the spines as an opening for a quick poncho style look. One day I’ll make an open square shawl for long plane trips.

If you want to give this shape a try, another favorite Brooklyn Tweed pattern is Tilt, which enhances the square shape with geometric lace detailing.

Day Five + The Pi Shawl

So…I admit that I did not knit the 5th swatch and I’m sorry I don’t have a fun photo to share. One day I’ll get to it! Even though I didn’t complete the 5th day of the challenge I have always been intrigued by the pi shawl. Pi shawls often feature lace patterns as they allow the knitting to be blocked into that perfect circular shape.

The Lucca Shawl from Brooklyn Tweed is a great example:


Which shawl shape is your favorite?