If you own the original Shawl Geometry series (or any of them) published by Holly Chayes in 2013, you will find this to be quite an expansion. The entire original series was 95 pages. The new version is 92, 159, and 162 pages for a total of 413 pages! There is a bit of repetition in the beginning and ending of each book so they work as stand alones too, but it is still a very sizable expansion. I think the new version is visually easier to use for exploring a specific shape.
Why Buy a Book On Designing Shawls?
Designing a shawl is really fun—just look at all the shawls on social media. I used to be (before 2013) constrained by what I could figure out without good geometry skills and Shawl Geometry presented a clear path to figuring out shaping for me. The shapes and concepts that Holly Chayes presents are easy to use as a jumping-off point to other shapes and to non-shawl shapes. I want to design, not figure out shawl geometry, so I was sold on the original series. There is always a place to start to conquer a shape, and I know that I can get what I need, whenever I need it.
I have used other shawl design books, but it is easy to get in the weeds. Shawl Geometry shapes are all presented in Stockinette, so the challenges of imposing stitch pattern, gauge, and shaping methods remain open to the knitter or designer. The geometry is explained in layman’s terms so it is easy to follow.
Why This Book On Shawls?
Obviously there are shorter books. But this is a text you can return to again and again. Each shawl shape is explained in written form along with a graphic road map to make it immediately apparent what will happen. Often there are both top-down and bottom-up instructions. All directions are presented in a way that makes it possible to make a small sample to watch the shape unfold. Where needed, instructions are given for doing calculations, along with helpful notes and tips set out in boxes. There are even wearing suggestions.
Try this in real life and How to apply this to your knitting appear where comparisons are being made, and provide wonderful swatching and designing opportunities. It is possible to find just the kind of shape you want to create, or if you like, to find a shape to explore.
Shawl Geometry is filled with possibilities. It is where to go for a kick-start or to find a way to create a specific shape. Shawl Geometry is perfect for those asking “what if”, “how do I”, or “what will happen if . . . “. Regardless of where you are as a shawl knitter, take Shawl Geometry along on your journey.
These revisions make it easier to focus on a shape, although there are some connections (mostly in graphics) that are not presented in the revised version. Wherever there was too much or confusing options in the original series, this revision opens the topic of Shawl Geometry up into a usable text.
What Else About Shawl Geometry?
There are a lot of opportunities to do calculations to make your shapes work. These are not difficult, and it is quite clear how to figure them out. However, I suggest that you have some gauge numbers (you need them) and some dimensions to work with. I was able to do some of the samples I made by using arbitrary numbers, but the shapes will be more pleasing if you have real numbers to work from.
Whenever I review a book that I’m really enthusiastic about I feel I should also point out possible short comings too. These are all irrelevant to the usefulness of the contents, but here they are:
- The information can seem dense (when it isn’t) due how fonts, headings, and spacing are used.
- The formatting of the boxes (which contain tips, notes, etc.) made me a little crazy.
These are things anyone publishing work grapples with. The choices made are valid, even if they don’t always make me happy!
On the other hand, each page is numbered in the footer and has the volume it is from in the header. That means you can pull out pages, or whatever you like, and still make your way back to a complete original (I’ve done it!). This is huge. I printed my copy of 28 lb paper because it will last and double-sided doesn’t bleed through.
Go to the website for Shawl Geometry for pictures of the shawl shapes and more information!
More Shawl Geometry?
I started knitting samples, working randomly. I picked up a pair of size 5 needles and some Civility Worsted from Elemental Affects, and next thing I knew, I had a 100g of small samples, of which a couple need redoing. I’m ready for my second 100g. I’ve now gone to the beginning. Shawl Geometry 1, and I am picking shapes to make samples of. I realized I needed a plan of sorts. So you probably want to be on my newsletter list for May 17. I think there will be something in there for anyone who wants some guidance getting through Shawl Geometry.
As a final note, Holly Chayes does VA (virtual assistant) work for me regularly. I purchased my original Shawl Geometry long before we entered into a working relationship. I have the utmost respect for the body of work Holly has put together as Shawl Geometry, and the review is done because of my appreciation for the work she has created.