Friday, June 1, 2018

Shawl Geometry by Holly Chayes

Holly Chayes has sent me her three book bundle on Shawl Geometry to review. It's a pretty amazing package of basic instructions for an astounding number of shawl shapes and construction methods.  If you are someone who likes to experiment, these books will be a welcome addition to your library. They definitely got my design juices flowing. This is the ultimate handbook for all shawl knitters.

Holly says "The Shawl Geometry Series of books is a master class in shawl shaping, with enough shawl shaping recipes to keep you knitting for a lifetime (or two). Shaping shawls isn’t hard, but it’s sometime confusing to know exactly what to do next. Over the course of these three books you’ll learn everything you could possibly need to know about how to shape knitted shawls using increases and decreases. Book one begins with common shapes that we all know and love, book two covers more uncommon shapes, and book three dives into the principles & theory of shaping (and transforming) knitted shawls." 

Holly has done an update from the original versions so I asked her to fill me in on what the changes incorporated?

She explained "The update basically expands on everything (more shapes, more technical explanation, etc) and brings more cohesion to the series. While the first version was more of a loosely organized collection of recipes and theory, the update brings focus to each of the books - so the first book is specifically common shapes, the second book is specifically more intermediate shapes, and the third book is focused on principles and theory about how to shape and transform shawl shapes. 

To give you a sense of the size of the update. In the old version book one was 35 pages, book two 40 pages, and book three 20 pages. In the updated version book one is 92 pages, book two 159 pages, and book three 163 pages. 

Just the change in length alone meant I could include far more shapes and also more explanation and tips about the shapes that needed them. 

I hope that helps give you a sense of what the update involved." 

Each of the first two books give you a swatch size photo sample, a schematic and instructions on how to knit the shape in more than one direction. They are presented in recipe formats which you can use as a swatch to practice on and then apply what you've learned to create your own project. The math of each recipe is laid out for you. Once you pop your own numbers into each recipe you can start knitting.

Book 1 covers the more common shapes. Squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. Each of these has many variations of construction. Take a look at the photo below and you'll get a much better idea of the real variety this book covers. 

Book 2 has 45 shawl shapes, some are a little less common with 89 additional recipes. They include variations on the shapes from Book 1, crescents and doughnuts. 

Book 3 is the advanced theory on shaping which will help you to understand how increase and decrease variations impact the knitting fabric. You'll get extra tips on the principles of how to shape curves and straight edges as well as a chapter on short row shaping. For a better photo of this book check Holly's page here at the bottom of the page.

You can find all the details here:

Check out her Ravelry designs here to see some of the recipes executed in full size versions.

The only limitation I found is when I loaded the books on my ereader. (I use a KOBO) The font size of the PDF was a little small. I could still read it, and I'm aware my vision isn't great when it comes to smaller font sizes, so this might not be of concern to most other people. It was not an issue on my laptop at all. It just meant I read most of the books on my laptop instead of my KOBO. 

I did an interview with Holly back in 2015 which you can read here

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