My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 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. “I’ve always felt that more yarn will do the trick.”

    Of course it will, and please enter me in the giveaway. Happy New Year, and Happy Belated Birthday, too!
    otherdeb´s last blog post ..It’s been a busy knitting month

  2. sounds like a wonderful book to add to my collection, please enter me in your drawing.
    best wishes from Iceland
    Fríða´s last blog post ..2011 – the year in knitting (in english)

  3. The book sounds great… but the blog tour will get me fired! I read your blog early in the am EST here from Baltimore… but I must go back to work before I get in too much trouble. Lunch time surfing is all set up for today!

  4. I would love to win a copy of this book! It has some great stuff in it! Thanks for doing this!
    Pat´s last blog post ..Happy New Year!

  5. This looks like a great book, I’d love to win a copy.

  6. Such a nice book! Would love to win a copy!
    Have a nice day and please give Lucy a pat from me 🙂
    BodilE´s last blog post ..Nytt år, nye muligheter.

  7. The book sounds lovely, and Lucy is looking splendid. Please enter me in the giveaway!

  8. It’s very unusual for me to like more than one or two patterns in any given book. So imagine my surprise when I found myself oohing and aching over so many. Yes, Please. I’d love to win a copy of this book. Thank you for offering it, and thank you Jean Moss for writing it!

  9. The book looks lovely! So many pretty patterns, it’s so nice of you to do a give away!

  10. Oh yes, I’d love a copy.
    Kristen´s last blog post ..Final post of year

  11. Looks like book I would love to have.

  12. Pick me please! I would love to have the book!

  13. Lots of yarn that would love to become shawlettes. Please enter me in the contest. Happy New Year!!

  14. Hmmm – usually cross off shawlettes as something I don’t need to even look at, but you’ve piqued my interest me with the photos. “Something for everyone” means something for me! Oh no, more yarn p0rn to tempt me!

  15. Jennifer Meyers says:

    I love to knit shawlettes, and cowls, etc. as gifts. I have the chance to use some beautiful yarn, interesting techniques, and I know the finished work will fit the recipient. It’s a great idea for a book (the designs look lovely) and I think the idea of a blog tour is brilliant!

  16. This book sounds like great fun and I’d love to have it.

    And however did you get Lucy to pose for that photo? That is a great shot.

  17. Such an interesting book – I would love a copy!

  18. looks lovely, would love to win! thanks for the opportunity.
    best wishes for the new year. the blog tour sounds fascinating. looking forward!

  19. Jane Tuttle says:

    Congrats on the new book, Jean! Looks wonderful. Count me in on the drawing for the book.

  20. this is nice to start a new year ! happy thoughts for you and your family and to all of your visitors here. This book looks indeed very nice with lovely patterns with some lovely patterns. Thinking on some gifts to make …
    have a nice day

  21. Love the kitty one.

  22. I would love to win a copy of her book. Love all the patterns

  23. Such a great book! Would love a copy — thank you for the opportunity!

  24. It looks like a lovely book! I’d love to win it.

  25. OMG – this is just what i’m into currently and would love love love a copy of this gorgeous book!!

  26. Wish I’d had this in November. I bet I could have knocked out a few gifts for people that deserved something handmade. It looks like a great book!

  27. Felicia Bokel says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve never made a shawlette but would love an excuse!

  28. shawlettes are my new thing – would love to win this

  29. There are some interesting designs in the book. Would love to have a copy!

  30. I would love the chance to win a copy.

  31. Susan (LotusHips) says:

    I have a niece who is a budding fashionista (she’s 10!) and would love everything from that book 🙂 The bonus is that they look like most are smaller projects that can be finished quickly!

  32. Happy New Year Wendy! Looks like a lovely book. Thanks (again) for holding a giveaway.

  33. Hi Wendy,
    I love several designs in this book, Purple patch, Frost and Fizz to start with. Thanks for featuring it. If I don’t win I am going to have to go buy a copy.

  34. I’d love to win!
    garret´s last blog post ..What a Year!

  35. I love that poncho!

  36. Thank you SO much for offering this new book. There are so many being published that it’s not possible to keep track of them all, but when you call our attention to one we can be sure it’s worth a 2nd look. and then a 3rd. and oh, my, yes!! I knew the vintage chapter would probably be my favorite, but every chapter has something just so perfect for someone and really worth my knitting time.

    As to dearest Lucy, she’s a real pro when it comes to posing. The camera comes out and she automatically strikes a pose.

    Happy New Year to you all.

  37. Janet B from Cape Cod says:

    I’d love to win a copy of the book. A blog tour, how interesting. Clever idea.

  38. I’d love to win a copy of the book – it looks like there are some beautiful patterns. I like the idea of using the shawlettes to practice with new techniques!
    Amber´s last blog post ..I’d pay good money for an elf.

  39. My first reaction was that shawlettes might be hard to wear, but it looks like some of them are an advance in making scarves easy to wear.
    Laura Conrad´s last blog post ..News of the week of December 27, 2011

  40. I love that entrelac project….I’m hoping to learn that this year. Also, the button up cowl…please pick me!!!

  41. This book sounds wonderful. Would love to win it!

  42. Me, me, me! I have so much yarn in my stash that needs to be a shawlette! Thanks for sharing!

  43. This book looks great! Off to see all the designs.

  44. I’d love to win the book for my knitting book collection.

  45. What a lovely book. I would love to win! Please enter me in your drawing. mimsfam at gmail dot com

  46. I’m in.

  47. I love Jean Moss! I am stunned to find out that she has no design training, as I think of her as one of the most meticulous designers. The book is gorgeous! I would love to win it.

  48. Looks like a fabulous book to add to my collection. Thanks for the chance to own one.

  49. Looks like a great book – would love to win it!
    Happy New Year!

  50. looks like a good book. count me in! Thanks!!!!!

  51. I love the look of the book – quite a few I would love to knit

  52. Wow! The book looks great, and the blog tour is a great idea!

  53. Barbara Rude says:

    Happy New Year, place my name in the hat for the book.

  54. I’ve already seen two designs I’d like to knit! Please enter me in the giveaway, and have a terrific New Year!
    Anna´s last blog post ..Fine film

  55. I am a huge Jean Moss fan and would love this book. Your cromarty looks like it is going to be really nice.

  56. linda-kay says:

    Happy New Year Wendy! Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity!

  57. Happy New Year! I would love this book.

  58. Happy New Year, Wendy!!! I hope this year is the best ever for you, Lucy, KOARK, and all of your family and friends!!
    The book looks very interesting and I found that I like shawlettes this past year!!
    Shama D´s last blog post ..My Changing Life

  59. Kamilla Mazanec says:

    Great giveaway. I especially love the cowls with buttons.

  60. The book looks like it has lots of quick fun knits. I would love to own it.

  61. Peggy Rauhut says:

    How I’d love to try a shawlette- a change from my usual large shawls.

  62. That looks like a fabulous book… Thanks so much for doing a giveaway!

  63. Roseanne Nichols says:

    Great looking patterns, would love to win a copy.

  64. Ooh, neat book, please enter me in your giveaway too. And I enjoyed the interview as well. Thanks!

  65. Great giveaway! And I love Lucy’s comment at the end…

  66. Wow. I want to knit the entrelac, the what appears to be felted leopard-look, and …

    So much for my notion of knitting socks not shawls this year?
    Channon´s last blog post ..Happy Knit Year?

  67. This would be great for the next round of Christmas knitting – sign me up!
    BTW, Lucy is in particularly fine looks in this photo; what a glamour puss.

  68. I love lace shawlettes. They go very fast! My favorite here is the entrelac on the cover. Gorgeous! Thanks for counting me in, Wendy.

  69. The pictures looks lovely! Thank for the chance to take part in the giveaway!
    Maud´s last blog post ..Vinterblomster, almost finished

  70. This book has been sitting in my shopping cart anxiously awaiting the payday that doesn’t have to pay the mortgage. But if I was to win the book…. I could buy more yarn.

    Thanks for the opportunity,
    Jeannie´s last blog post ..Happy New Year!

  71. Happy New Year – looks like a great book – would love to win it

  72. Jeannette in St. Louis says:

    Ooooo. Me.Me. I love shawlettes! Happy Knittin’ New Year!

  73. My wonderful aunt NEEDS the “kitty” capelet.

  74. Count me in! Shawlettes of any type are my favorite project!!

  75. maggie wingett says:

    This book is so like everything you do Jean, just delightful! Please place me in the draw as I would love to add the book to my knitting library.

  76. Shirley. in PA says:

    I love shawlettes, and the designs in this book look great. Please enter me into the drawing. Shirley

  77. I would love to win this! Living in FL we have little need for a lot of sweaters, but something to throw around the shoulders is ALWAYS nice!

  78. Diane in Chico says:

    I have been a fan of Moss’s for years!

  79. This looks like an interesting book to add to my collection of your sock and lace books.

    Happy New Year, too.

  80. I really like the caplet. Can’t wait to see other patten, And win copy of the book.

  81. That looks like a great book to try some new techniques!

  82. What an interesting looking book, I’d love to win it but will check it out for purchase if not!

  83. I love Jean Moss designs and would love to try a few of these!

  84. It looks like a really nice collection of patterns! Please enter me.

  85. I sooo love Lucy! Beautiful kitty!! What a wonderful giveaway!! Thank you for sharing!!!
    Cindy´s last blog post ..Our Christmas,

  86. Hi Wendy! Hope your Christmas went well. I would love a chance at this book. I think some of these patterns would be very nice for the ladies at the rehab and nursing home I spent time in last year. I would like to do something for them, just to cover their shoulders, and shawlettes are perfect and hadn’t occurred to me yet. :S As always thanks for sharing. You are a very generous person!

  87. Seeing as how I am wearing a shawlette right now, I think that I need to enter my name to win this book. It looks like so much fun.
    Kelli´s last blog post ..Happy New Year

  88. This is THE best idea! I always like a nice light layer to have on hand and this looks like a great collection of ideas. 🙂

  89. savannagal says:

    Lovely idea for a book. I can’t wait to see the rest of the patterns. Thanks for the giveaway.

  90. Please include me in the book give a way. Thank you. Patti D.

  91. Happy New Year Wendy & Lucy! Such unique designs I would love a copy of the book.

  92. Looks great. Love the variety.

  93. Book looks great, LOVE the interview. As always, thank you!

  94. This book sounds great. Please enter me in your contest.

  95. I think “Green at Heart” is my favorite – but “Bronte” is beautiful as well.

    Enjoyed the interview – would love a copy of the book! 🙂
    Robin V´s last blog post ..Knitting into the New Year

  96. this book looks amazing. Thank you to Jean and you for giving us an opportunity to win one.

  97. Lucy is absolutely right! Whatever is the situation, more yarn, more yarn, more yarn…..

  98. I love the look of the cover shawlette. It looks like an entrelac design. I would love to be the lucky winner of this book!
    Laura Nixon´s last blog post ..Itunes app: Yarn U a database for yarn shoppers on the go

  99. Happy birthday for yesterday Wendy – wishing you a year full of love and laughter! x
    Jean Moss´s last blog post ..Birthdays and blog tours!

  100. Happy New Year! Sounds like a good book.