My current work in progress:

Rona, by Alice Starmore, knit from Alice Starmore Hebridean 2-Ply, using 3.25mm needles.

Sweet Shawlettes

Happy New Year! What better way to welcome a new year than with a lovely new book?

This is Sweet Shawlettes by Jean Moss, a collection of 25 patterns for shawlettes, cowls, and other related types of knits. I received a review copy of this book a couple of weeks ago and pronounce it delightful!

The book is divided into 4 sections: Country, Couture, Folk, and Vintage. There is a lovely variety of both types of garments and knitting techniques used. This is not all lace shawls — there is also colorwork, entrelac, texture, and cables. A little something for everyone.

My faves:

From the Country section, I love “Green at Heart,” a button-up cowl.

From Couture, here is “Enigma,” a poncho-type garment with an intriguing shape and a cozy turtleneck.

From Folk, “Polperro” combines lace and texture.

And from Vintage, what I think is my favorite design in the book: “Kitty,” an adorable capelet.

You can preview all the designs in the book’s Design Gallery.

I have long been a fan of Jean Moss’ designs and was delighted to have the opportunity to conduct a brief interview with her.

Wendy: How long have you been knitting and who taught you?

Jean: 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. The business quickly mushroomed and I developed my own line alongside the design and production I was doing for US stores and designers. We ultimately had two thousand knitters in the UK – all stemming from my need to express myself creatively.

Wendy: Sweet Shawlettes is such a unique collection because there are so many different techniques covered in the patterns — lace, texture, colorwork. Do you have a favorite, or do you enjoy all more or less equally?

Jean: I was asked to write Sweet Shawlettes out of the blue by Erica Sanders-Foege, a senior editor at The Taunton Press. I immediately loved the idea as previously most of my books have concentrated 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 excited to explore as many ways of interpreting it as I could.

My mind spun with the millions of options, so I knew I would have to edit, edit, edit. I started the task of narrowing them down with a book plan: the skeleton of the four chapters – Country, Couture, Folk and Vintage – what would inspire them and also the yarns, colours, techniques which would be showcased in each. I reasoned that small projects could be fantastic tasters for new skills, without the commitment of a larger piece, either in time or yarn.  So when I started to flesh out the chapters, I had the intention of including various techniques I particularly enjoy. However, the realisation quickly dawned that I’m an absolute technique junkie, as I found it hard to exclude anything, so I decided I’d go for it and include as many as I could, which hopefully would also give the book another dimension.

Not sure whether you’re asking about my favourite technique or project, but these days my knitting is usually restricted to swatches for new designs and no-brainers for winding down, although I do love working with colour, so the odd bit of fair isle often slips in as well as various modular knits.  I have to admit that I’m just as much a product as a process knitter so I always ask myself whether or not I’d like to wear a piece I’m designing and if the answer is no then I lose interest. I’ve loved each project in turn as I’ve designed them. However, the project I chose to knit for friends this Xmas was Drift from the Couture chapter.  I love big cables and this easy cowl has the bonus that it’s quick to knit and fabulously wearable – I’ve rarely had such  positive feedback from everyone who received it!

Wendy: Do you still sing with the Purly Kings? 🙂

Jean: The Purly Kings was an impromptu band, put together to make the CD More Yarn Will Do The Trick, a trio of yarn related songs.  It came about as my friend, Paul Darby, was already in a band called the Dubious Brothers, a man-band with definitely no women, so I asked them to do a one-off recording as session musicians.  Paul and I go back a long way and our musical tastes are fairly similar, so I was confident it would be doable.  Sadly I’m bandless as the moment, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get out and play more music, so if you know anyone who wants to join me, do let me know.


Would you like to win a copy of this lovely book? Leave a comment on this blog post by Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 11:00am eastern time. A winner will be chosen at random at that time.

This review is only one stop on the Sweet Shawlettes blog tour. The full tour schedule is below:


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
Thurs 26 Jan The Panopticon – Franklin Habit
Tbc Chic Knits – Bonne Marie Burns

Lucy sez:

I’ve always felt that more yarn will do the trick.


  1. Suzie Picciano says:

    Never enough yarn! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

  2. what a cool book! I would love to add it to my library. And Happy Birthday, didn’t know it was yesterday!

  3. Happy New Year! What great patterns. How does the Kitty capelet get the animal print?? Hmmm if I win that may be the first one to make. Tell Lucy hi.

  4. Yes, I’d love a copy, please.

  5. Beautiful Book and beautiful looks. Right down my alley. Too warm for a coat here in the deep south, so wraps of these type are what we wear most of the time.

  6. Corinne in CA says:

    The book seems lovely, and I’d really enjoy having it in my library. I especially like that Jean wrote patterns that are short and sweet to learn new techniques.

    Today’s photo of Lucy is absolutely beautiful. Daisy and Rocky say meow-pretty.

  7. Pam Huang says:

    Cute Designs!! Put my name in the hat!

  8. I love the designs in this book! Pick me! Pick me!

  9. Always appreciate an opportunity to win a knitting book-especially one as great looking as this! Thanks for the opportunity and best wishes for a great New Year to you and Lucy!

  10. Carol brennan says:

    Love the book. Would love to add it to my library

  11. It looks wonderful! Can’t wait to see it in person. Woo hoo! Happy New Year and Happy Knitting!

  12. I would love to win a copy of this book! Happy New Year, Wendy!

  13. I really love the cover!! The shawl could not suit that girl more. Thats what I want to look like…hahahhah sigh…….
    elayne´s last blog post ..Scott Pilgrim vs The World Original Hat from the movie

  14. What a great giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win.
    Ruth´s last blog post ..random photos

  15. As a some new to knitting – I am always looking for new projects, techniques and books!

  16. looks like a lot of fun with some great variety!
    turtle´s last blog post ..still alive… really!

  17. Betty Eliassen says:

    Great interview – it gave a new dimension to a most creative designer. Thanks for including that. The book is on one of my favorite knitting subjects.

  18. Carol LeFebvre says:

    This book is right up my alley. Of course more yarn will do the trick. That’s why I work in a yarn shop. Will work for yarn!

  19. I would be so delighted to play with patterns in this book. Great Review! I have a Widdle Cat that is almost as cute as Lucy in Black!

  20. I love the cover of the book and all thats inside sounds even better. Thanks for the change to win this book.
    nannyjean´s last blog post ..Sammy Jo

  21. Belatedly, Happy Birthday! Maybe we should have a giveaway for you?

    The shawls/wraps look interesting. Count me in!

  22. oooh! i want to win. thanks for the opportunity, Wendy.
    Leigh´s last blog post ..happy chocolaty new year

  23. marilyn Goodenberger says:

    Would love to have a copy of this book. Winning it would be even better.
    Happy New Year!

  24. RustyBird says:

    Sounds like a great book!

  25. Thanks for the book giveaway . The book sounds neet and all the ideas.
    nannyjean´s last blog post ..Sammy Jo

  26. Cat Samalea says:

    What a beautiful collection of patterns!

  27. Fizz, Grace and Mantilla: they’re my faves. Guess I’m a vintage girl at heart.

  28. Beautiful pattern!

  29. This sounds fun. Thanks for the chance.
    Lori´s last blog post ..Brrr….

  30. Kathy in Alaska says:

    Oh, sweeeeeet shawlettes! Thanks, Wendy, for the chance to win! Happy New Year to you and all of your readers!

  31. What a great range of patterns. My daughter and I love these pieces.

  32. Thank you for sharing your interview with Jean Moss, I have admired Jean for many years.

  33. This looks to be a great book. I like the smaller lighter projects as it is just (usually) to warm to wear heavy knitted items. Please add my name to the drawing. Thanks. Happy New Year!!

  34. love,love,love Enigma…must make it. thanks, Mary in Cincinnati

  35. The book looks wonderful. Thanks for the chance.

  36. More yarn, yes! New book, I would love it! Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  37. Gail Rector says:

    Oh Good another designer blog to follow and another book to lust after…. PICK ME!!!

  38. Amanda Hume says:

    What a lovely book! Please enter me into the giveaway. Thank you for giving us the chance to win it.

  39. Please enter me in the drawing!


  40. “Kitty” is so darling! Such a nice alternative to fur!

  41. I would luv the book! It sounds awesome! This pic of Lucy is gorgeous!!!

  42. I would love,a copy of your book… Love the way you include Lucy…

  43. Just what I need to start off the new year — another knitting book! It looks like a fun one! I’ve already broken my resolution not to acquire more yarn, so why not another book?

    Happy New Year to Wendy and Lucy.

  44. Interesting new book. And Lucy is right, more yarn is always better.

  45. I love to knit shawls and this book would be a great addition to my others. I’ll buy it if I don’t win it.

    Happy New Year fellow knitters!

  46. Would love to win, looks like a nice mix of styles.

  47. Those shawlettes are sweet indeed! Would love to knit one. Or two. Or…
    pdxknitterati/MicheleLB´s last blog post ..Out with the old, in with the new…knitting

  48. This book looks like it would be fun to knit a few projects from.

  49. I would love to win that book. I knit shawls and shawlettes all the time and I’m always looking for new patterns!

    XX from a human Lucy!!

  50. Jo Derouin says:

    I would love to win this book

  51. Carolyn (cawshirley) says:

    I have never considered knitting these types of garments until I saw your faves. Now I must try it! Love the concept of a blog tour!

  52. Looks interesting. I’d love to have the book

  53. I love shawlettes…would love a chance to win.

  54. Kathie Mayo says:

    If I don’t win the book, it looks like one I will purchase. Thanks for sharing.

  55. I have just started making shawls and this looks great!

  56. This looks like a really great book! It is going into my Amazon favs in case I don’t win this copy! LOL

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Lee Cockrum´s last blog post ..Something fun and exciting! (To me at least!)

  57. I love the Kitty and Polpero shawls right away! Purple patch, Frost, Treasure and Madame Alfred would also be on my list. I like being able to see what patterns are in the book before buying it. (But, you could always make me the winner!) I hope 2012 is starting out well for you and yours.

  58. Cool! I am feeling lucky!

  59. Emma Murphy says:

    Happy New Year Wendy – and Lucy of course!

    what a fab book! the photos in the gallery are gorgeous – can’t believe i’ll have to wait til March for UK publication!!! which of course leads me to beg …. please pick me so i don’t burst with impatience!!!!

  60. I didn’t realise that a book could do a blog tour. How interesting…Thanks for your opinion of the book. I’ll need to get a copy of it.

  61. Kristine M. says:

    The shawlettes in the book look great.

  62. Would love to win a copy, looks like a beautiful book. Thank you

  63. Book looks great! Sign me up, please!
    Michele Ross´s last blog post ..Working on ‘The Bucket List’

  64. Great designs. Love the Kitty capelet.

  65. Reilly in Tucson says:

    Wow! Great book! And what a cool way to do a book tour… a blog tour! Shawlettes in the book remind me of a class we had here recently with Cat Bordgi. She had us come up with multiple different aspects of a small cape… shape, fabric, edge and closure. Then we had to randomly choose 1 from each catagory and design something. it was so much fun! Happy New Year to you and Lucy!

  66. Happy 2012, what a lovely book to start off the year.

  67. What a lovely offer. I have been thinking about shawlettes lately. Well…considering knitting one….not sure what i want in a shawlette….opps I’m rambling
    Brandi´s last blog post ..January 3, 2012 New Year

  68. What a lovely book! Wonderful 🙂

  69. Judy Smith says:

    I have been wanting to try shawlettes and this looks like the perfect place to find some great patterns.

  70. Susan D. Smith says:

    Love the designs! It would make a wonderful dent in my yarn stash to make some of the designs in this book! 🙂

  71. Thanks for the give away Wendy! I’d love for you to draw my name!

  72. You are right yarn (and knitting it) makes everything better.

    I would love to be entered in the drawing for this book. It sounds like I could use a lot of yarn making some of these garments. Thanks for all the entertainment (from Lucy) and information I have learned from you. I have several of your books in my library and find them to be very inspirational.

  73. Happy New Year and Happy Birthday as I have just seen Jean Moss’s comment, wishing you all the very best.

    Lovely pic of Lucy, her head is normally hidden so lovely to see her cute little face.

    Jean Moss’s book is lovely, please count me in for the draw.

    Lisa 😉

  74. Enigma looks intriguing…
    Sandra´s last blog post ..teacher gift

  75. Wish I had this book when I was doing my Christmas gift knitting. But, there’s always next year. Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  76. Happy New Year all…

    Great book… would love to win

  77. Ooooh, love to knit shawls and cowls so this looks like a great book for me! Thanks for the opportunity to win it — please enter me in your drawing.
    Happy New Year and happy knitting to all!
    And happy napping to Lucy from Shaq, your lookalike in Florida!

  78. Mmmmm, LOVE the Enigma! (And would especially LOVE receiving a copy of the book!)

    Happy New Year!

  79. Kathy Rodgers says:

    intriguing patterns.

  80. I love knitting shawlettes, so this is the book for me.
    Hugs to Lucy, and a Happy New Year to Wendy.

  81. I would love a copy of Sweet Shawlettes by Jean Moss.
    One of my favourite knits was the Eriskay Cardigan by Ms. Moss.
    Happy New Year and Happy Birthday.

  82. Jenny Murphy says:

    What a wonderful interview. Jean’s story is inspiring. I would love to own this book.

  83. LOVE! Happy New Year and do sign me up for the drawing. What a beautiful book and a great interview.

  84. Happy New Year! I recently fell in love with knitting shawlettes. This book looks right up my alley!
    mesha´s last blog post ..Happy New Year!!!

  85. I would love to win that book! I love shawls and shawlettes!
    Maria´s last blog post ..Första inlägget

  86. Sharen Warren says:

    What a wonderful way to start the new year— a chance to win a neat new book. Thanks, and please count me in!

  87. Even if I don’t win a copy of that book, I think I will still buy it. I just learned how to knit recently and am currently knitting a scarf as practice. I can’t believe how many cute pieces of clothing you can do just by knitting!!
    Finding a skinnier me´s last blog post ..12 goals for 2012…

  88. Oh pick me please!

  89. I have other books by Jean Moss. Would love this one to add to my collection.

  90. Wendy, thank you for the lovely article and interview with Jean Moss. Her designs are wonderful and I can’t wait to knit the FolK: Miss Garricks cowl. There is definitely a mix of styles in the book, one for almost everyone’s taste. I appreciate you for taking the time to introduce us all to this wonderful designer and her new book. I would love to add this to my collection… please add me to the contest.

  91. suncatcher says:

    What a wonderful book! Exactly the type of projects I like to work on. Thanks for the chance to win a copy, Wendy.

  92. Looks like a book I could use. Plenty of potential Christmas presents in there.

  93. I am so ready for this book.

  94. Donna from Muskegon,MI says:

    This book looks like another winner. Thank you for the opportunity to own it.

  95. What cute designs. I really liked the Kitty capelet, too cute.

  96. An awesome book! I would be so happy to win one!!!!

  97. I love lots of these patterns. My only question. Is what to knit first…

    My name is Wendy, I do knit, but am not Wendyknits LOL.

  98. I also really like the “Green at Heart” pattern. I would love to win this book.

  99. Please enter me to win this lovely book. Thank you.

  100. I love the buttoned cowl!