Crochet a Triangle Shawl

Learn to crochet an old-fashioned shawl, perfect for those chilly mornings or evenings.

| December/January 1993

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    Author and mountain woman Ella Jean Earl wears her self-made shawl outside during cooler weather.
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    Basic instructions for crocheting.

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Click on the article Image Gallery for Basic Crochet Instructions, with step-by-step diagrams.

Crochet, pronounced " kro-shay," is the art of using thread or yarn to interlock looped stitches with a hooked needle. For generations, this skill was commonplace, passed on from mother to daughter. However, as time passed, crocheting became less essential as modern conveniences began to make our lives easier. Although it has made a big comeback, you probably haven't had a chance to master the art, unless you were fortunate enough to have an experienced teacher

Maybe you bought an instruction booklet that promised "easy to make" patterns, only to find your definition of "easy" varied considerably from theirs. After tearing out row after row, you laid your yarn and crochet hook to rest in total frustration. Some writers take it for granted that a new crocheter knows what she herself knows, leaving out vital basics. Here, the emphasis is on the basics, so you can accomplish this project and be enthusiastic about your next one. Making a shawl that will keep you warm or that you can give as a holiday gift is a perfect way to begin.

Wearing and Using a Shawl

In the fall, I'd often work late in the wood lot, since time went faster than I did. During these days, I'd bundle my baby in a shawl while I finished splitting the wood, and there she'd sleep sweetly. That was 14 years ago and I still wear the same shawl on each, trip to the wood pile to gather wood for the evening fire.

Wearing a shawl when you go out in the evening says, in a quiet way, that you take pride in working with your hands. On a cool June evening, a shawl is all you'll need to keep you warm. My favorite time to wear mine is when the chores are done. With the kids tucked in, I settle in my rocking chair, take up my crocheting, and listen to the fire crackling inside.

I taught my daughters to crochet at the age of two. Most people would say that's young, but the girls enjoyed it and their little hands weren't left idle for mischief. Now, at ages 13 and 14, they are accomplished crocheters. My sons aren't strangers to it either. Contrary to popular belief, crocheting is not just for women. As did the girls, the boys learned to crochet by fashioning a basic chain. Then, by weaving in flowers (or other small treasures) and adding a piece of fringe, they had them-selves a bookmark. They feel proud to use it in favorite books or give to friends. I have plenty of them myself, marking recipes in my cookbook.

Learn How to Crochet

I refer to leftover yarn as scraps. Always wind your scraps into small balls and set them aside for other projects. I'm a frugal "scrapper," as are the kids, so we organize our scraps. The tiny balls go into empty cookie tins; medium-size in a wooden cheese wheel; and larger ones (grapefruit-size) in a tall version of a snake charmer's basket. Remember: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Melissa Jackson
2/4/2013 5:43:12 PM

The floral motif shawl featured in the print magazine is gorgeous! Do you have any information about this shawl?

7/18/2008 2:17:33 PM

Thank you for the Crocheted Shawl pattern. I was given two shawls several years ago, that must be like this pattern. One was red and the other an ivory color. They had been in a cedar chest about 30 years, and were given to me to pass to my Mother-in-law, who had gone to live in an Assisted Living environment. She loved them and when I saw she was wearing one even through the summer months, I decided I would start crocheting again and make her some different colors. I made four shawls in different colors and patterns because I'd been unable to find a pattern with shell double crochets in it. She still chose to wear the old ones! I believe with her now being "91 years young", those are her "security blanket" shawls!


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