Sweet Shawlettes by Jean Moss, The Taunton Press, 2012, 144pp.

I was thrilled when Jean contacted me to be on her blog tour for Sweet Shawlettes!

This book, with 25 different projects, is a treasure trove for a technique junkie like me.  Lace?  Check out Mantilla.  Cables? Drift.   Cables and lace?  Green at Heart and Polperro.  Colorwork?  Oh gosh, so many;  some stranded, some stripes, some intarsia.  Kitty is supercute.  Other techniques are included as well:  entrelac, beading, shadow knitting…Read through to the end to see how you can win your own copy!

Jean was gracious enough to answer a few questions.


Stephannie:  Being a technique junkie, I noticed the wonderful plethora of techniques.  What made you decide to offer so many different techniques?

Jean:  Everyone’s asking this one, but surprisingly when I was writing the book it didn’t occur to me it was going to be such a feature.

Like you, Stephannie, I’m obsessed with different techniques. I’m a bit of a magpie and my curiosity is sometimes less than an asset as I get sidetracked very easily when I see something new.

Knitting is such a versatile craft – there are so many different ways of expressing yourself both as a designer and a knitter. There are such a lot of surprises out there – some things look so complicated and turn out to be a complete doddle, you never know till you’ve tried it.

When I’m starting a book I always try to look at it from a knitter’s point of view – what would I want from a book of shawlettes?

Sweet Shawlettes gave me a unique opportunity to experiment and play with the form.  Many are small projects,  which seemed like an ideal way of featuring various techniques without the commitment of lots of yarn or time.

It’s a longtime habit of mine to try to include a technique or stitch that knitters may not have encountered before in every new pattern.  I’ve been knitting for many years but learn new things all the time – you can never know it all.

Sweet Shawlettes was truly  a dream project, the perfect platform for showcasing techniques, stitches and yarns, all the things I’m crazy about.

I’m always curious about the design process of other designers.  What was your process for this book?  Did you come up with the different sections, then go from there?  or the techniques/designs themselves first?  Did you make mood boards?  Yarn vs color vs technique vs theme….?

I’ve got a holistic approach to bookmaking.  I enjoy it from beginning to end and love the planning stage.

Balance is the most important thing so I make a book plan with the chapters, their inspiration, how many designs in each chapter, then make mood boards which reflect each chapter.

I then sketch as many ideas as come into my head, not exactly brainstorming as it’s the cooking time and can’t be hurried, so I usually try to give myself two weeks of displacement activities, like gardening, playing guitar or cooking, which seem to be good for propagating new ideas.

Next comes the decision making, editing and tweaking the drawings to fit into the framework of the book.

Yarn selection comes next  – I’m very keen on sustainable and ethical fibres and would have liked ideally to include more than eventually made it into the book.  However, the timeframe was so tight, that I knew I had to use yarns I’m familiar with and trust, so in the end the majority of the projects used many different Rowan yarns, including their gorgeous eco-yarns.

Once I’ve decided on the yarn I choose the colours and try to make sure the different projects in each chapter sit well together, making  a coherent whole colour-wise.

The biggest bonus of working this way is that when you’ve made the selections, you can then order the yarn for all the projects at once and it’s like Christmas when it arrives!

What’s next?  Can you share anything about any upcoming projects?

This year we have two upcoming knitters’ tours – Lakes & York in May and Knit Ireland in September.  We put a lot of work into making sure everything goes like clockwork, so we’ll be frantically dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s over the next couple of months. Knit Ireland is full, but there are still a few places on Lakes & York so if you or any of your readers fancy eleven days of total knit immersion with kindred spirits, get in touch or visit the website for a taster.

Knitwise I always have things on the go.  I’m in negotiation with Taunton for a new book.  Can’t say a whole lot about it other than it’s developing one aspect of Sweet Shawlettes and applying it to other small projects.

I’m also on the lookout for other musicians to form a band playing, amongst other things, textile-related music.

Thank you Jean!


To enter to win your very own copy of Sweet Shawlettes, check out Jean’s designs here, and come back & let me know which is your favorite(s) by midnight PST Jan 18 2012.  I’ll use random.org to draw a winner.  Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you!

If you can’t wait, and would like to purchase a copy, you can order one here from Amazon.

Check out all the stops on the Sweet Shawlettes blog tour!

2 Jan 2012       More Yarn Will Do The Trick:  Jean Moss
3 Jan 2012       Wendy Knits:  Wendy Johnson
4 Jan 2012       Knitgrrl:  Shannon Okey
5 Jan 2012       Yarnagogo:  Rachael Herron
6 Jan 2012       The Knitter:  Rosee Woodland
7 Jan 2012       Rhythm of the Needles:  Joanne Conklin
8 Jan 2012       Knit Purl Gurl:  Karrie Steinmetz
9 Jan 2012       CraftSanity:  Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood
10 Jan 2012     Planet Purl:  Beth Moriarty
11 Jan 2012     Sunset Cat:  Stephannie Tallent
12 Jan 2012     A Really Good Yarn:  Julie Schilthuis
13 Jan 2012     knit 1 chicago:  Lynn Coe
14 Jan 2012     Go Knit In Your Hat:  Carol Sulcoski
15 Jan 2012     Redshirt Knitting:  Erika Barcott
16 Jan 2012     In The Loop:  Cheryl & Ellen
17 Jan 2012     WEBS:  Kathy Elkins
18 Jan 2012     Zeneedle:  Margene Smith
19 Jan 2012     Knitspot:  Anne Hanson
20 Jan 2012     Urban Yarns:  Alexa Ludeman
21 Jan 2012     A Friend to knit with:  Leslie Friend
23 Jan 2012     Tentenknits:  Margaux Hufnagel
24 Jan 2012     Fancy Tiger Crafts:  Amber Corcoran
25 Jan 2012     Chic Knits:  Bonne Marie Burns
26 Jan 2012     The Panopticon:  Franklin Habit

One of Britain’s leading knitwear designers, Jean Moss’s innovative combinations of texture, colour and styling have been widely influential over the years. A self-taught knitter, she has been producing her own unique collections of handknits for more than twenty years, as well as designing for Rowan Yarns and many international fashion houses such as Ralph Lauren, Laura Ashley and Benetton. She teaches in the UK and Europe and is a regular visitor to the US.

Her new book Sweet Shawlettes is available at your local independent bookstore or from retailers like Amazon, Chapters, or directly from Taunton Press. The project gallery can be seen here.

I received my review copy from Jean.  All opinions are my own.