Thank you for visiting my blog. If you have a question about a pattern or any other query, please e-mail me on I'm not able to answer patterns questions via blog comments.

You may also find my tutorials helpful.

Monday, September 12, 2011

'Shaping Shawls' by Anna Dalvi

A few weeks ago I was asked to take part in Anna Dalvi's blog tour for her brand new book, Shaping Shawls. I've really enjoyed looking through this book for the last couple of weeks. The designs are amazing and the colours are truly stunning.

Anna is a very talented lace designer and has run some very popular mystery kals in the past. Like me, she's from Scandinavia, Sweden to be exact, but lives in Canada.

Let's get straight to the book and then afterwards I'll ask Anna some questions. Shaping Shawls is a collection of 10 stunning shawls but there is so much more to this book. Anna takes us on a detailed journey through different shawl shapes starting with a basic rectangular shape, moving on to several different ways to shape a triangular shawl and square shawls. Anna explains in detail how all these different shapes are achieved. This is a book I really wished I'd had when I first started designing shawls. I remember spending weeks, it may even have been months, working out how the basic tow down triangular shawls with the centre spine was achieved. I kept seeing all these beautiful shawls consisting of 2 triangles next to each other and could't work out how to do it. Obviously I got it eventually but this book would have saved me a lot of time.

Anna takes a mathematical approach to achieving various shapes. Now, I'm not very keen on maths. I hated maths at school and it was my weakest subject. My daughter is doing A-level maths and it's WAY beyond me. The mere mention of maths makes me panic. So it's kind of ironic that I do what I do as knit wear design is basically maths. Anna makes the maths easy as she explains how to use maths to check that your pattern is correct and to achieve the shape you want.

If you're a budding designer or a knitter who'd like to understand a bit more about how to achieve various shapes or you want to try to design a shawl for yourself or a friend, then this book is for you. If you're a knitter who likes to knit beautiful shawls then you'll love this book too.

Like me, Anna is a fan of charts and this book contains clear charts and schematics.

Shaping Shawls is available as an e-book and print book and is published by Cooperative Press.

All the photos in this post are copyright Kristin Caldwell Photography.

Let's ask Anna some questions.

1. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs from?

Design inspiration comes from everywhere, and it's hard to pinpoint the source for a particular design.  I do tend to draw a lot of my inspiration from nature and my natural surroundings, but then again, I've also designed patterns based on fairy tales, mythology, music, and even gates and fences.  

3. Why did you want to do a book offering a instructional aspect and not just a pattern collection?

I really wanted to share my fascination with construction and the logic inherent in shawl design.  In my experience, knitters are a creative bunch and love to experiment and knit something unique.  This can take many different forms, from the simple changes like picking colours and colour combinations that appeal to us, to more complex changing, like substituting a certain lace pattern for another.  I wanted to give people a base on which to build upon, if they would like to design their own shawls.  Or more mathematical tools for designers to build new shapes and shawls.  I wanted to include a number of patterns as examples of the various shapes.  But I also hope that the instructional part of the book will be used to create some new designs.

4. For how long have you been a designer? Where have your designs been published?

I've been designing as long as I've been knitting, I think.  But I didn't actually start writing up any of the patterns until 2007 when I decided to submit the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan pattern to (now defunct) MagKnits, and was accepted almost immediately.  Shortly after that, I launched the Mystic Waters knitalong, and the rest is history.
Despite the fact that I started with a publication for an online magazine, I have mainly focused on self-publishing my designs.  I like the flexibility of self-publishing, and I love the mystery KAL format, and the direct interaction with the knitters.  I have a couple of designs that have been published by others, like the Sanguine Gryphon, and the Knitting Icelander, and I have a few more in the pipeline, but the book and my self-published patterns take most of my time.
5. Have you got any plans for more books? Any other exciting plans you'd like to share?
Yes.  There is a second book in the works with Cooperative Press, and it should be out sometime during the summer of 2012.  I also have a couple of designs that are part of the Fresh Design series.

We've got a give away too. Leave a comment on this blog post by Friday midday (UK time) and you have the chance to win a copy of the Shaping Shawls e-book and a skein of yarn of your choice from my website. Tell me which design in this book you like the best and why. You can see all the shawls on Ravelry. Please also leave your Ravelry ID or e-mail if you're not a Ravelry member so Anna can send you your e-book. I'll contact the winner re the yarn. I'll announce the winner on Friday evening.

You can find Anna at Knit & Knag or on Ravelry.  Take a look at Anna's other designs too. They're gorgeous.

Thank you Anna, for answering my questions and choosing me to be part of your blog tour. See all the tops on the tour here and the next stop is Sweet Georgia.


redleaflife in new zealand said...

I love the Margarita leaves, but its difficult to choose just one.

old lady said...

All the shawls are stunning. The colors really catch your eye. I'd have to pick BLUEBERRY PATCH as my absolute favorite. Love the border design. What a nice collection. I'd be honored to win. Thanks for the opportunity.

Laal Bear said...

Really inspiring post Anni. I just love Blackberry Patch it's stunning. My Ravelry name is Laalbear :0)

Alyssa said...

My favorite shawl? Changing directions. I just like the name, but, the info on Ravelry got me interested :)

I'm Alyoops on Rav.

Sarah Knits said...

It is hard to choose just one! I love mystic waters because of the shape but Blueberry patch just 'pips' it to the post with the knupps and lattice edging. Thank you for pointing us the direction of this lovely book.

Sarah35 on Rav

Elizabeth said...

Ooh, hard to choose but I like Margarita Leaves best, because of the waves.

Bigfootknits on Rav

cazj said...

I like the changing directions shawl - it could be worn as a scarf and would get more day to day use. I think the book looks really interesting as I have always been tempted to design a shawl for myself but felt daunted by the shaping.

cazj on rav

Annie said...

I think it is impossible to have to choose only one out of all the shawls but I too think that Blueberry Patch just takes it over Mystic Waters. I have become addicted to knuups and I love the edging on this one too.
Anniearch on Rav

Dori said...

Mystic Air is my favourite I think. It love it because it's so different than so many other shawls I've seen. They're all gorgeous though!

writerdahling on Ravelry. :)

Daisy said...

I think I like Blueberry Patch the best as I've never seen anything like it before.

marymaryquitecontrary said...

Thankyou;Anni for introducing me to this designer. I really love all of the shawls;the colours are amazing. Finding it difficult to decide which was my favourite I began to think if I could only knit one which would it be. Blueberry Patch was the winner. It just looks as if it would keep me warm in the cold winter weather we have in Ireland. I love the texture of the fabric that the pattern creates. It just looks "chunky" for a lace shawl.

Nanny Jean said...

All the shawls are beautiful and hard to choose one but I think my pick is Changing Directions. But i am sure I will do more than one.

Lindr said...

Probably past midday UK time, but I just wanted to say I love the Changing Directions shawl - both the design and the idea behind it. Knitting as maths AND spiritual well being!