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Folk Shawls: 25 knitting patterns and tales from around the world (Folk Knitting series) Paperback – April 1, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Oberle is a freelance knitwear designer and knitting instructor whose teaching emphasis has been on shawls and lace. Folk Shawls, her first book, features designs for 25 beautiful shawls derived from folk traditions around the world, including Ireland, Scotland, Japan, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Victorian England, Russia, Mexico, South America, Norway, the Himalayas, Spain, Native America, and the American heartland. Oberle introduces each shawl with a brief description of its cultural background, and her instructions include a full-color photo of the shawl, a materials list, and both written and charted instructions. This outstanding contribution to the literature of knitting is generally recommended for public libraries and textile collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"If I had to have just one shawl book, this would likely be it." —KnitNet

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Interweave; Third Printing edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883010594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883010591
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 8.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This has been quite a year for great knitting books. And Cheryl Oberle's book on shawls is not to be missed.
The photography is really outstanding. Cheryl models her shawls in such a way to show the beauty of the shawl and at the same time make an artistic statement.
The shawls represented are quite varied; most are done, however, in sport weight yarn. This is convenient for those who don't want to attempt a project in cobweb-fine laceweight yarn. However, directions are given if you do want to change the yarn weight to suit your tastes.
The schematics include a layout of the shawl shape (oblong, diamond, triangle, etc) and the lace patterns are charted in many cases. There is a nice section on techniques.
All together, a really fine volume in the folk series from Interweave Press.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be excelent. Not only do they have some of the best patterns I have seen in a while. But it also gives you the history of the shawls. The patterns are easy to follow. With clear instructions. It also contains line by line and charts for the patterns. Which make them great to follow. With shawls from The Faroe Islands, Ireland, Japan, America, Iceland, Victorian England, Russia, Scotland, Mexico, South America, Norway, Native America, The Himalayas and Spain. Also three others that are called variations. This book has somthing for everyones tastes. And in the back of the book it gives the yarn sources used in the patterns. Containing addresses, telephone numbers and web sites. All of the shawls are pictured with the aurther. They are done with a clear picture of the shawl. You can truly see the work on them and their is also a drawing of all of the shawls. So you can see the shape of the finished product. I truly like this book. I think the story that comes with each one is truly inspiring.
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Format: Paperback
Shawls are a great thing to knit. Even for beginners, the lack of shaping (armholes, etc.) allows for a project that can be elegant when finished and is often deceptively easy to make. Shawls are in the fashion news and Cheryl Oberle's book couldn't be timed better.
This is primarily a pattern book. Cheryl's designed 25 terrific rectangles, squares and triangles drawing upon international traditions (and her own imagination). She includes a brief history of the tradition as an introduction to each shawl. The photography is wonderful. As for Cheryl being the model, the story (straight from Cheryl's mouth) is that Cheryl was demonstrating how to wear the shawls to the model. The photographer said that there was no way the model would ever wear the shawls as gracefully as Cheryl -- hence Cheryl the model.
My only reservation on this book is that it's light on technique. There's a small opening segment with everything one needs to know for the book. But, if you aren't looking to make one of the shawls, this isn't the sort of book you're likely to use as a reference or source of inspiration for your own designs.
Skill range -- advanced beginner to expert.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I resisted buying this book for quite a while because I had been disappointed by an earlier purchase of a book about knitted shawls. I'm SO glad I gave in and ordered it! This book had what I missed in the other book - descriptive histories of the particular style or origin of shawl traditions from many countries (mentioned in other reviews). The historical perspective is fascinating and inspires thought about the day-to-day reality of the women who knitted them and the role that shawls and knitting played in women's lives. The shawl is perhaps one of the oldest of garments, worn by women in all kinds of rites of passage: as christening blankets, wedding veils, winding sheets, in celebration, in work, in prayer and in mourning. Surprisingly, while the shawls pictured are faithfully drawn from the traditional style of each country, none of them look dated or dowdy - all are superbly wearable today. The photographic presentation of the shawls is excellent - modeled by the author in a manner to focus on the shawl itself, its drape, its pattern, its construction. The shawls range in knitting challenge from beginner to advanced; from simple garter stitch to intricate lace pattern. The construction variations are fascinating - rectangular, triangular, square, butterfly-shaped, pieced. Each shawl pattern is presented in photograph and line drawing with both line-by-line and charted knitting directions. It is clear that much research, thought and love went into this book. Even if you don't wear shawls ("you just haven't met the right shawl", says the author), this book is a must-have for every true knitter's library.
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Format: Paperback
This book is by far my favorite knitting pattern book. I've had it for nearly five years and it's a standby for me when I need a tried and true lace pattern or an edging for a project, or when I need to make an extra special gift. The designs are stunning and the stitch patterns are transferrable to other projects like sweaters, scarves, ponchos, socks, etc. Since gauge isn't as important in shawl knitting as it is in a fitted garment, substituting yarns is a breeze and I have the freedom to experiment and carry my results over to a project that requires more precision.

There is a small amount of time spent in teaching new techniques and the reader is forced to read charts on some of the designs, although most have the long hand directions as well. There are beginner patterns as well as some very challenging patterns and everything in between. My 12-year-old daughter knit the Garter Stitch Prairie Shawl in a rayon yarn from Interlacements and it turned out unbelievably beautiful. After working well over half of these shawls, some more than once or twice, my favorite so far is the Feather and Fan Triangle, but the Highland Triangle Shawl is, so far, the most durable and practical for everyday use. I've learned so much about knitting and garment construction from doing these patterns. They offer so many variations that even after you've done every one, you could start all over and do them again in a different yarn at a different gauge and add your own little touches to give you a brand new design.

A nice bonus is the folklore that is included about each shawl--charming reading and great little tidbits to pass on.
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