Shawl Geometry: Circle-Concentric Circles of Increases

This is the fifth post (out of 16) in a series about different shawl shapes and how to knit them. The introduction post, which lays out the game plan can be found… thisaway.


This is kind-of-sort-of post 3.5 of the shawl geometry series, because when I was planning this series I completely forgot about this way to create a circular shawl, though it is, arguably a more “perfect” circle then either the wedge circle or pi circle.

I forgot about it because I don’t generally use it. I prefer pi, because it has large swaths where the stitch count doesn’t change which means you have an amazing range of options when designing, or I prefer the wedges, because that has an inherent sense of swirling movement that I find very appealing to work with.
Everyone has their own preferences. Either way here we are.

Circle with Concentric Circles of Increases Center Out

This way of creating a circle is similar to working a square shawl from the center out. However instead of working 4 pairs of increases every other row, you work 8 pairs of increases every 4th or 6th row.

Circle Concentric

For a shawl that increases 16sts (8 pairs of increases) every 4th round:
CO 8sts.
R1: [k1, yo] around.
R2, 3, 4: K around.
R5: [pm, k1, yo, k1, yo] 8x.
R6, 7, 8: K around.
R9: [sm, k1, yo, k to next marker, yo] 8x.
Rep R6-9.

For a shawl that increases 16sts (8 pairs of increases) every 6th round:
CO 8sts.
R1: [k1, yo] around.
R2, 3, 4, 5, 6: K around.
R7: [pm, k1, yo, k1, yo] 8x.
R8, 9, 10, 11, 12: K around.
R13: [sm, k1, yo, k to next marker, yo] 8x.
Rep R8-13.

Whether you increase every 4th round or every 6th round depends on a lot of factors, including, but not limited to, your gauge, your stitch pattern, your yarn, your personal preference, etc.
This swatch shows increases every 6th round. It was knit on US 5 (3.75mm) needles, with a sock weight yarn.


Circle with Concentric Circles of Increases Hem In

To knit hem in decreasing every 4th round.
Determine your final gauge and the desired radius of your shawl. The radius is half the width of your final shawl, or the length from the center of your shawl to the edge.
1. [number of rounds per inch] x [desired radius] = [number of rounds total]
2. [number of rounds total] / [4 rounds in a decrease repeat] = [number of decrease repeats]
[number of decrease repeats] x [16 sts decreased per decrease repeat] = [number of stitches decreased] Make this number a whole number that is divisible by 16.
[number of stitches decreased] + [8 bind off stitches] = [number of stitches to cast on]

Circle Concentric-Hem In

CO this number and work 16 evenly spaced single decreases every 4th round until you have 16 sts on the needles. K2tog around, once more, so you have 8 sts on the needles. Break yarn, leaving a tail, and thread the tail through all live stitches, pull tight and weave in your end. (The same way you would finish off the crown of a hat.)

So if you cast on 168 sts. Join in the round, being careful not to twist.
R1: [k21, pm] 8x.
R2: [k2tog, k17, ssk, sm] 8x.
R3, 4, 5: K around.
R6: [k2tog, k to 2 sts before marker, ssk, sm] 8x.
Rep R3-6, until you have 16sts on the needles.
R7: [k2tog] 8x.


The books this series spawned:
Shawl Geometry I: the math of shaping shawls for non mathy people
Shawl Geometry II: 16 more shawl shapes to design and play with
Shawl Geometry III: the relationships behind the numbers


The previous post: Pi Circles
The next post: Right Triangles

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