Ok I'll ask....

Whats up with all the shawls?!? I'm regularly surprised that so many guys here are posting pictures of the lace shawls they make. It seems like every other post is a new shawl. I've never made a shawl, never thought to make a shawl (or wear one for that matter), and lace.... well it just doesn't do anything for me. Maybe I'm just selfish, but I tend to know things I would wear... sweaters, gloves, hats....
So what do you guys do with all of these shawls you're making? Are lace shawls for men coming in fashion? Do you all have multiple grandmothers demanding shawls? Charity Shawls? Shawl-aholics anonymous?? Help me understand!


Asplund's picture

Ha! I'm probably one of the shawl-aholics... You see, I'd say I knit shawls primarily because I'm selfish: I only knit things I enjoy knitting and lace is one of them.

I wouldn't wear one myself, but I'm lucky enough to have a mother who doesn't knit but likes wearing lace shawls. A win-win situtation if ever there was one!


TomH's picture

I agree with Asplund. I knit shawls because I knit what I love to knit -- and right now, that's lace. I love the challenge of knitting lace and think shawls are a beautiful way to present lace. Plus, I love to knit in the round. So circular shawls are a perfect match. When I give a shawl as a gift, the recipient is in total awe which is rewarding in itself. I really don't knit anything that I'd wear. I used to knit sweaters (and knit quite a few of them) but I'm really over knitting sweaters. For me, sweaters don't give me the same sense of satisfaction. Tons of people knit sweaters. (Not that many people knit shawls except perhaps all the MWK guys, LOL.) Two years ago, I knit about 40 hats, so I'm over hats for the moment. I went through a phase where I knit a lot of mittens (not a single pair for me). Over it. And then there was the scarf phase (again not a single one for me.) I'm really not a clothes person. So wanting to knit something for me to wear just doesn't ring my bell. That doesn't mean I'm any less selfish. I'd just rather have people enjoy and be amazed at what I knit rather than wear what I knit.

MMario's picture

me three! or as Miss Piggy would say, moi, trois!

I have about a gazillion friends and relatives who would like a shawl, or a baby blanket, or and afghan (read lace shawls in heavier yarns for the second and third) and I like knitting lace. Beside the fact that it is fun to KNIT, there is also the WOW factor when you block it. And the WOW factor when you give it to someone. And the WOW factor when someone sees them wear it.

Then when you add in my Demon Enablers ....

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

TomH's picture

I don't even want to admit to the fact that it was Mario who got me hooked on knitting shawls (or lap blankets or whatever you want to call them.)

(By the way, I'm deeply indebted to you, Mario!)

MMario's picture

So says the guy who's knitting (photos of Tom's QAL are probably the one most people see) has rocketed the pattern to the top 50 in popularity on Ravelry.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

TomH's picture


mountainrunner's picture

I can't say for certain, but I think probably most knitters who enjoy knitting lace do so because of the pattern complexity (or apparent complexity, depending on the pattern), the challenge involved, and beauty of the end product. I'm pretty sure most of the shawls end up as gifts. There is a great deal of pleasure in making something for someone else. As for knitting lace generally, there are many things I'd like to knit for my home, such as curtains, table cloths, counterpanes, etc. I personally would probably not wear lace, but that's just because I prefer a more rustic feel to my clothing. I have seen some interesting lace scarves that I think would appeal to many men.

RickMartin's picture

I knit lace shawls because my wife loves them...and therefore loves me. Well...at least she tolerates me!


KilgoreTrout's picture

Wow well seeing the responses after just a few hours shows how popular shawls really are here! I can totally understand the fascination with knitting something so beautiful.... and it is great to impress the recipient! The ladies in your lives are much happier I'm sure! Who knows, one day maybe I'll wander in to lace....

If wishes and buts were clusters and nutes we'd all have a bowl of granola.

potterdc's picture

It hasn't been said yet so I'll say it: I love knitting shawls because for me it's hours and hours of MINDLESS KNITTING: my favorite kind. "What?" you ask, "are you so good at delicate, complicated lace knitting that you don't have to pay attention?" No, no, no. Okay, I'm going to say it: I hate lace knitting. I like how it looks, but I think I'm too ADHD to thoroughly enjoy it ("Knit 4, yo, k2tog, sl 1, ssk....oh look! A Bright Shiny Object! Oh wait, where was I? Dammit - and I just promised myself not to do that again.")

When I knit shawls, I use a delicate yarn on bigger than recommended needles for an open look. I knit a fancy border just to show I can, then it's knit knit knit knit knit: garter stitch all the way, decreasing in the middle so that it closes up nicely. Every once in a while, I throw in a row of yarn overs and knitting two together to create an even more open look. It's amazing how lace like and delicate small yarn on big needles looks.

And when I'm done, I look for a pregnant friend and give it to her.

Jonathan in DC

Think less, enjoy it more.

Think less, enjoy it more.

Actually, I am like you. I thought "what is all this shawl business?" Then I made one for my mom. She loved it. I decided to make another for my neighbor and she loved it. It has turned out to be an easy, mindless knit for me and a nice thing to do for those many chics in our lives.

Banjo Lee Jones

mwkbloom's picture

And then there are prayer shawls. There are tons of these being created these days through groups meeting at churches and at other places. I think this is a case where most men would gladly wear shawls (even if just at home) that come with tons of prayers when they are ill, distressed, or, for that matter, celebrating. (One of my groups knits shawls for the brides at that church, but I think the grooms should get them, too!) I certainly treasure the shawl I received last year when I was hospitalized (they were careful to make sure it wasn't one that I had made and donated!). I had it with me both times I was in and it was a great comfort! Both my prayer shawl groups have been in existence for several years and we've yet to run out of recipients.

vtknitboy's picture

i knit them because the first one was a challenge (well, for about 4 inches). then i got hooked! i have 'springtime' and 'sunray' shawls from marianne kinzel's knitting lace book I going, and a couple others in the works.

i'm spinning laceweight for future projects (heavy laceweight, not cobweb), and have almost 800 yards of silk/lincoln done, and going to do some shetland. (some pics are up on my blog).

Vtknitboy (Chris)

Vtknitboy (Chris)
handspun at vtknitboy.etsy.com

Tallguy's picture

I've been knitting lace for quite a few years, and still quite enjoy it. I go through periods, like the rest of you, when you want to do something different, but lace is still a lot of fun to do.

Why? It knits up fast. It's not complicated -- but we tell people it is, so that not everybody starts doing them! It is mostly a lot of plain ordinary knitting, which you can do while watching TV or reading or anything else.

I've recently knit a lace shawl (pics posted previously) and gave it away to an auction last week. I have a pic of the recipient wearing it, and will post that as soon as I get a chance to do it. I've since then had a lot of very disappointed people coming up asking if I take orders ("not very well"), and now feel badly that I didn't make a few more. I now think I will be doing quite a few of them in the next year or so.

There are always people, mostly female, that would love to have a knitted lace shawl from you. What better way to win a special place in their hearts?!! And besides, as TomH has said, there is nothing better than making something that another person really appreciates.

Aaronknits's picture

I blame Mario for me knitting lace now. Not that it's his fault. I'm just blaming him.

Doesn't matter if it's a scarf or a shawl, lace is just fun to knit!

stillday's picture

Oh yes. It is Mario's fault! I blame him entirely for my journey into the dark side of lace. If it wasn't for his fabulous and absolutely breathtaking works of functional lace knitting art, I might have never given lace knitting a second thought. So, THANK-YOU VERY MUCH MARIO....and yes I'm loving every minute of it.

dannvictoria's picture

I have a neighbour who makes beautiful quilts and often gifts me beautiful hand made cards. Like you I tend to make things I can wear, or my partner can wear, and have decided that a shawl would offer an opportunity to try something new and gives me an opportunity to give a lovely lady a hand made gift.