I had the opportunity to review something I was really excited about: an 85-page ebook called ShawlStar. ShawlStar is written by Elizabeth Felgate and published by Knotions, an online knitting and crochet magazine. I only heard about Knotions a few months ago. If you are not familiar with them, you should subscribe to their newsletter because they have stunning patterns. A few weeks ago, Knotions announced that ShawlStar, which was originally published in April 2018, is being updated and re-released in March 2019. I am always eager to learn more about knitting construction, and I had been wishing for a resource that would walk me through different shawl shapes. I jumped at the opportunity to review ShawlStar in exchange for a free copy.
ShawlStar is an excellent resource for designers, tech editors, and knitters. When I am following a shawl pattern for a shape I have not made before, I like the pattern introduction to explain how the construction works so I know what to expect. In the case of a pattern that doesn’t do this, ShawlStar would be a very helpful reference to have on the side. As a tech editor, it is important to be able to visualize the construction of the pattern you are editing. More and more, designers are experimenting with creative shapes. If you encounter something that is not familiar to you, consult ShawlStar.
If you want to design shawls, this ebook is invaluable. The lengthy introductory material covers basic shawl anatomy; sizing; yarn, needle, and gauge choice; and different methods of shawl shaping. There are around ten different cast-ons discussed, with either photo tutorials or links to online tutorials. The shawl shapes are divided into seven categories: triangles, rectangles and squares, polygons, circles and half-circles, crescents, hybrids, and special shapes. The special shapes are completely original and very creative. The new version of ShawlStar adds three new shapes to the section on special shapes (“Flourish,” “Harpoon,” and “Rainbow”). The ebook concludes with many border choices (including charts); spine and gusset variations; several bind-offs; blocking guidance; and a list of other shawl books to consult.
Throughout ShawlStar, there are pictures of mini shawls in various shapes, pictures of actual finished projects, schematics, and links to online tutorials. I do wish there were more pictures. I think mini shawls are very helpful for visualizing how a shape would work with stitch patterns, and I wish that every single shape in the book had a picture of a mini shawl.
The typical chapter for each shape includes a basic recipe followed by variation options. It gives guidance on stitch count, explains how the increases/decreases work, and lays out the pros and cons of each shape. A few of the more complicated shapes even include links to online spreadsheets that will help you with the math. Even though I wish it had more pictures, there are a lot of schematics. I definitely feel like I could use this ebook to confidently design my own shawl in a shape I have never knit before.
The updated version launches on March 23rd. If you buy before then, you will automatically receive the updated version later. If you found my review helpful, you can use my affiliate link here to purchase ShawlStar for yourself. Enjoy!