How to start knitting a top-down shawl

different shawl types

This is a tutorial for all who have been wondering how to start knitting a top-down shawl. First things first: What is the difference between a scarf and a shawl? Easy answer: If it’s not rectangular, it’s a shawl. Usually a shawl will take some shape that is more or less a triangle or a half circle. This form is either achieved by 1. working up from the bottom or edge of the shawl and decreasing along the way (the Candy Stripe Shawl is a good example) or 2. starting at the center of the top border and increasing towards the edge (like the Feathers Shawlette). Then there are also for example short rows to shape a shawl (like Elinor), but that’s an endless field on its own.

To prevent the border of the shawl from rolling, you will usually work a 3 to 5 stitch wide band in garter stitch or any other no-rolling stitch pattern. The center of this band is where we start to knit a top-down shawl.

1. Cast on 3 stitches and work 6 rows in garter stitch. (Knit 6 rows.)

Top Down Seitenmaschen

2. After you finished the last (6th) row, start picking up and knitting 3 stitches from the long edge of the rectangle you just knitted without turning your work.

Top Down 9 sts Maschen

3. After that pick up and knit 3 stitches from the cast on edge in the same way. You should have now 9 stitches on your needle that are looking a bit frumpy. That’s ok and will ease out after a couple of rows.

All this in a nutshell (aka infographic):

How to start a top-down shawl.

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