Sweet Shawlettes: Book Review, Q&A, and Giveaway!

I am so pleased to be the next stop on the blog tour for Jean Moss's new book Sweet Shawlettes!


Jean Moss is a British knit designer that has worked with fashion houses of the likes of Ralph Lauren! Her newest book Sweet Shawlettes is filled with designs that are sure to please every knitter's neck and shoulders.

Here are a few of my favorites!


I am especially excited to try the Penumbra Cowl. It uses the simple Japanese shadow knitting technique – one that I have yet to try!

The patterns are well written and I like that she offers a bit of the traditional and non traditional style patterns. The pieces are divided into 4 sections Country, Couture, Folk and Vintage.

Jean was amazing enough to take time to answer some questions!

When did you learn how to knit?
Originally I learned to knit before I went to school because I wanted to be like my beloved grandmother who spent hours teaching me.  A fallow period ensued but my interest was rekindled in my teens when I started to make my own clothes.  It was the swinging sixties and I loved what I was seeing on the street and in magazines, but had no way of achieving anything similar other than to pick up my needles again.  From then on I was hooked. It never occurred to me that I'd ever be able to make a living out of it, especially as I had no formal training in design, but after getting requests for sweaters I'd made for the kids, I decided that it might be a way of making some extra cash from home.  No-one was more surprised than I was to find that very quickly I was presenting my designs to luminaries such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein and they were placing orders! It was a meteoric learning curve!

What made you decide to make the book Sweet Shawlettes?
The book came to me out of the blue when Erica Sanders-Foege, then a senior editor at The Taunton Press, rang to ask if I would consider doing it. The working title was Sweet Shawlettes, but Erica  assured me I could change it if I didn't like it.  However, for me the title had a certain broad brush appeal – whimsical, feminine,  could even be ironic – or it might have been that I'm just addicted to alliteration, but knowing how difficult it is to come up with decent book titles, I quickly applied the if it's not broken, don't fix it principle.  

I agreed to submit a synopsis and by the time I'd finished it I was completely hooked on the idea.  Previously most of my books have concentrated mainly on sweaters, and this gave me the opportunity to explore a totally different form.  Shawls, capes, cowls, furbelows or anything that can be worn around the neck was the brief and I was thrilled to explore as many ways of interpreting it as I could.  It took me on an interesting journey exploring the construction, techniques, yarns and the history of neck wraps and I'll always be grateful to Taunton for offering me this opportunity. 
Can you describe your design process? 
In  all my design work I travel an identical road. Every design has its own cooking time – some simmer slowly like a casserole for months, while others are immediately on a fast boil and just tumble out. At the start of a book,  I usually try to give myself two weeks of displacement activities, like gardening, playing guitar or cooking, which seem to be good for propagating new ideas.  I do a rough drawing, then choose yarns and colours I'd like to use, then I swatch, swatch, swatch until I get a combination of yarn and stitch which seems to reflect the look of the design.  I always sketch the design on a person (I'm no great artist, but I find even if I draw a  stick woman it's invaluable for focusing on the proportions) and from there I'll try out different versions of it on a mannequin using any fabric I have around.  This gives me a very good idea of whether or not the design will work. When I have the version I like, I complete a specification sheet, then make the chart and schematic and finally crunch the numbers.  

 Thank you so much Jean for creating such a wonderful book! Buy your own copy here!

Lucky for you all, I'm giving one copy of Sweet Shawlettes away to one of my fabulous readers! Leave me a comment by Wednesday 1/25 (midnight EST!)


For more stops on the Sweet Shawlettes blog tour visit these fabulous blogs!

Mon 2 Jan  more yarn will do the trick Jean Moss 
Tues 3 Jan wendy knits Wendy Johnson
Wed 4 Jan  knitgrrl Shannon Okey
Thurs 5 Jan  yarnagogo Rachael Herron
Fri 6 Jan  the knitter Rosee Woodland
Sat 7 Jan   rhythm of the needles Joanne Conklin
Sun 8 Jan knit purl gurl Karrie Steinmetz
Mon 9 Jan  craftsanity Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood
Tues 10 Jan   planet purl Beth Moriarty
Wed 11 Jan  sunset cat Stephannie Tallent
Thurs 12 Jan a really good yarn Julie Schilthuis
Fri 13 Jan  knit 1 chicago Lynn Coe
Sat 14 Jan    go knit in your hat Carol Sulcoski
Sun 15 Jan  redshirt knitting Erika Barcott
Mon 16 Jan  in the loop Cheryl & Ellen
Tues 17 Jan webs Kathy Elkins
Wed 18 Jan   zeneedle Margene Smith
Thurs 19 Jan knitspot Anne Hanson
Fri 20 Jan  urban yarns Alexa Ludeman
Sat 21 Jan   a friend to knit with Leslie Friend
Mon 23 Jan tentenknits Margaux Hufnagel
Tues 24 Jan fancy tiger crafts Amber Corcoran
Wed 25 Jan chic knits Bonne Marie Burns
Thurs 26 Jan the panopticon Franklin Habit


48 thoughts on “Sweet Shawlettes: Book Review, Q&A, and Giveaway!

  1. Robin F. says:

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been following the blog trail for this book and hope I win a copy since I love all the patterns I’ve seen so far.


  2. Katie Lynn says:

    I have been thinking about knitting more shawlettes lately and this book keeps popping up on blogs I read. Maybe a copy would be a good thing to own!


  3. Aelith says:

    Thanks for doing yet another super cool giveaway, something that only makes your great blog better. I’d love a copy of this one.


  4. Barbara Taylor says:

    What a wonderful book. I love to knit shawls and this book has wonderful new designs. I
    hope I win. Thank you for the giveaway.


  5. Savannagal says:

    I’d love to knit Harlequin. I’ve always wants to learn entrelac and this is the perfect opportunity. Thanks for the giveaway.


  6. Evelyn says:

    Thanks for the great interview. There really is something special about small shawls – they add a great dimension to an outfit. I’m intrigued to try the Penumbra shawl, too. Would love to win this book.


  7. Helen says:

    Geez. I really love this book. So many chances to win it! It definitely passes my at least five patterns that I would knit!


  8. Leticia Burn Condon says:

    amazing book…. brit designers are simply brilliant :) hope hope i win:)
    thanks for the interview, the author is very inspiring in her telling of how knitting transformed her life!


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