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Review: Shawl Design in Plain English by Julia Riede

shawldesign-gr_small_best_fitShawl Design in Plain English by Julia Riede, 2012, 122pp.

I’m always on the lookout for good self published books. Julia’s book contains a ton of good info, as well as nine different patterns, lovely in their own right, that illustrate the design concepts.  (The patterns are all available individually as well.)

She walks you through the initial number crunching (swatching, blocking, measuring gauge, repeat dimensions, and so on).  Subsequent chapters apply these principles to specific shawl shapes.

What are the shapes covered?

  • Rectanglular shawls
  • Triangular
  • Circular and semicircular (including crescent)
  • Faroese

Within each shape chapter she covers the specific ways of constructing each shape.  For rectangular shawls, for example, she covers from hem to hem, each half worked from center out with a provisional cast on, and diagonally from one corner.  She also discusses borders and edgings.

Her book is one of the most complete I’ve seen for teaching how to design different shapes.  It’s a wonderful complement to Anna Dalvi’s Shaping Shawls, which I also love.

callieThe patterns are all charted.  I think Callie, shown left, is one of my favorites.

There’s also a small stitch dictionary with a very nice collection of stitches;  each page has a photo of the stitch pattern and its chart.

Julia has a Ravelry group.  She has a website, too.

Note: My review copy was given to me by the author.  All opinions are my own.

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