Knit Shawls: Techniques you should know

Triangular knit shawls are beautiful and really useful, even this time of year. We have cousins visiting this week, and the weather has been abnormally cool. They’re from Southern California, and they are a little chilly! Luckily, I have a shawl wardrobe to share. All of us had knit shawls on when we went on a lakeside walk, and we were so glad that we had thrown them in the car.

One of my favorite shawl kits is the Aristida, by Alexandra Beck. It’s knit from Valley Yarns Semi-Solid Hand Dyed Sock Yarn by the Kangaroo Dyer, a soft 100-percent merino wool yarn that you’ll love working with. This shawl is rated easy, as in “I’m ready to move past scarves.” And what a wonderful first shawl pattern—it’s easily memorized because you can clearly see the pattern emerge as you knit.
Lace Shawls: The Aristida Shawl is gorgeous and easy to knit!

To knit Aristida, you’ll need a good pair of lace-knitting needles. I suggest needles with a long cable, to accommodate the stitches on this larger shawl, which ends up being 56 inches wide. And pointy tips also help a lot with lace knitting, allowing you to easily knit multiple stitches together, and also when knitting bobbles, which are a technique you’ll use on Aristida. I recommend our Addi Turbo Rockets Sock & Lace Needles. You’ll love them!

But back to the bobbles. Here’s a video to show you how to work them.

Did you notice that Eunny talked about knitting backwards in the video? That’s a great skill to have under your belt when you’re knitting bobbles. Here’s a little more about it:

Knitting Backward

Knitting backwards is a great skill to know when knitting bobbles for lace shawls, or for anything!

This useful technique allows you to work stockinette stitch with the right side of the work always facing you. It is especially handy when you’re working on just a few stitches, as in making a bobble. Step 1: Insert the left needle into the back of the first stitch on the right needle and wrap the working yarn counterclockwise around the left needle. Step 2: Pull the new stitch on the left needle through to the front of the work and let the old stitch slip off the right needle. Repeat steps 1-2. (From The Knitter’s Companion by Vicki Square)

Another technique you’ll need is the crochet provisional cast-on. This is how you do it:

Lace shawls often call for provisional cast-ons and the crochet method is a good one.

With waste yarn and crochet hook, make a loose chain of about four stitches more than you need to cast on. With needle, working yarn, and beginning two stitches from end of chain, pick up and knit one stitch through the back loop of each crochet chain (1) for desired number of stitches. Work the piece as desired, and when you’re ready to work in the opposite direction, pull out the crochet chain to expose live stitches (2).

Now that you’re armed with know-how, get your Aristida Kit today and cast on!


P.S. Do you have any tips for making knit shawls? Leave a comment below and share them with us!


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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

30 thoughts on “Knit Shawls: Techniques you should know

  1. I’m going to have to recommend this pattern to all my friends who are afraid to move beyond scarves. Of course, I’ll have to do a bit of hand-holding, help recommend suitable yarns. Encourage them to make the investment in a good yarn, as in “Ooh, that’s pretty, it’s soft…and I can totally see that in me.” $$$ investment encourages knitters to finish projects, IMO. Just speaking from experience…

  2. i enjoyed this video very much, look forward in seeing more techniques. It would be nice is you can make a seminar in Miami with different ideas and techniques.
    If you do,, please let me know

  3. I believe that the drawing showing the yarn wrapping of the yarn around the needle when knitting backwards not the same as Eunny demonstrated. She wrapped the yarn OVER the needle (“from the back towards you” as she said). The illustration shows the yarn coming under the needle. “Clockwise” is confusing unless you indicate the orientation of the viewer. If your looking at the working end of the needle, Eunny is wrapping counterclockwise.

  4. I usually leave bobbles out of a garment. I dislike the look of them, they are uncomfortable if you lean on one against your boney back or shoulder, and no one has ever convinced me that they have any benefit to a garment.

  5. A few months ago I was looking for a project to use up 3 skeins of “Malabrigo Chunky” in a rich brown (“marron oscuro”) from my stash. The “Aristida Shawl” fit the bill. However, I left off the bobbles and the fringe to stretch the yardage. It turned out very well despite the lack of “embellishments.

  6. For a few years I have been looking for a pattern for a sweater that has front panels that can be thrown over the shoulder like a shawl. Have you any idea where I can find this?

  7. I love watching Eunny knit. It’s so efficient! Any chance that Knitting Daily would give us a video lesson from her about how she knits? I’d love to hear her explain and slowly demonstrate.

  8. I am upset that by the time you e-mail an offer (ie. The Aristida shawl), the kits are already sold out! It’s very annoying, and discouraging. Maybe you should plan your availability to accommodate your audience a little better! I would have loved the kit in blueberry, but not only isn’t it available in blueberry, when I got the e)mail, it wasn’t available in ANY COLOR!!!!!!!!

  9. The Aristide Shawl is sold out. Why isn’t the pattern available to buy and we could down load it???? I’m not the only one wanting the pattern. Really disappointing when you want to knit the pattern up. Thanks for considering this and if you decide to open it up for order, do let us know.

  10. I love to watch Eunny knit also. But her fingers fly, so it’s impossible to follow her. I wish Interweave would do a video with Eunny for beginners, in slow motion, I downloaded her Basic video and it was totally useless to me. I couldn’t even duplicate how she loads her yarn in her left hand, Does it on the video in 1/10th of a second!

  11. I downloaded the pattern through ravelry, and am planning on using some of my stash. Here in Santa Barbara County, I often need a light weight wrap, and I love the details. Triangle shawls have been a long time favorite. Thanks
    Kathleen, “Cougs”as in WSU Cougars? Husky alum here!

  12. Thanks for the offer of the Aristida Shawl complete wit helpful instructions. Since all are sold out in every color, any chance of compensation with just offering us the pattern?

  13. HI, thanks for the hints… I know how to do the provisional cast-on, and the knitting backwards, too, but I don’t understand the beginning of the Aristida… the center point of the scarf is a littly bitty three by six stitch garter panel?

  14. WIth reference to my previous post, I just can’t see how you get to nine stitches after knitting the first six rows of the three CO stitches. Seems to me you have three picked up stitches after rotating, and then you knit the three stitches released from the provisional cast on. That makes six, not nine?

  15. ALF840 (and anyone who’s having problems with the beginning): I think I started the shawl about 7 times (or even more) before I finally got it right, although I modified a little the initial instruction. What worked for me was: cast on 3 sts with provisional method, then knit 8 (not 6) rows, with the stitches now on the right needle turn the work 90 degrees clockwise and pick up (much like in the provisional cast on) three stitches along the edge that’s now on top, one stitch after every vertical ridge. That makes 6 sts on right needle. Finally, remove the waste yarn, place 3 live stitches on left needle, knit them and you’ll have 9 stitches.

  16. No tips on knitting bobbles but for quite a while I have been unable to see the this type of informational videos from Interweave. Very disappointing. 🙁 They sound fine. Any suggestions to fix this problem? Anyone else have this problem? I can hear each video from start to finish? Thanks for your help.
    Marilyn in CA

  17. Bobble video: super! Had no trouble seeing or hearing. Very well articulated…and simplified for those of us new to bobble-ing!. She made it really seem easy. Am also really enjoying this blog. Lots of really useful information and techniques presented in a quick easy format! Thanks.

  18. Here’s the link to YouTube for Eunny’s bobble demonstration.

    If you’re having difficulty with Interweave’s videos, you might be able to view them all on YouTube. Interweave has an account you can subscribe to, or just visit and scroll through their videos. They have categories in the form of playlists that makes it easier to find what you’re interested in.

  19. Hi, wondering if anyone has knitted this pattern with the same outcome as the photos show for this pattern. I’m not getting bobbles near the beginning point as the cover photo indicates. What am I missing???