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. This book sounds like it is just the thing I need, I really need more books. I have knitted myself a fantastic shawlette and I am in danger of knitting it in all the colours of the rainbow, to match with anything so a change in design might be a good thing. Thanks and happy new year wishes from NZ to you.

  2. I would love a copy! Sounds like a great book! Happy New Year to you!

  3. The book looks great. Winning it would spice up my Jan. knitting no end.

  4. I love shawlettes and this book has some real nice looking ones, along with fun designs for cowls. Thanks for the opportunity to learn some new things and happy new year.

  5. Happy New Year and happy knitting to all in 2012.

  6. Kristen Machowski says:

    Just from the pictures you have posted I can just tell the rest will be equally as stunning. Please be kind and enter me in the drawing. This book would defiantly be put to good use in my house. Best of luck to everyone.

  7. Oh, first new knitting book of the year?

  8. Great idea for a book and I would love to be chosen.

  9. Thanks for the interview and the review. I hadn’t seen mention of this and from the title I wouldn’t have picked it up. But I see now it has items that I would wear. It’s also always nice to hear from the author. I feel like it’s a more personal purchase that way.

  10. It looks like a really good book.

  11. Would love to make myself a cape. We should all start wearing more capes in my opinion.
    Little Miss S.´s last blog post ..An extra proof

  12. Kathleen Ball says:

    Love the Entrelac cape on cover”

  13. I love making shawls/shawletts for people when their going through a hard time. The small cowls etc. make for a fast but beautiful gift. Please add me to your drawing!

  14. What a fabulous interview. I love her admission to a brief “fallow” period with her knitting. I experienced the same and reserve hope for my daughter who has just rekindled her interest in crochet. I’d love to win the book. Thanks for the opportunity!

  15. Would love to win this!

  16. This sounds like a great book – I love the one on the cover!

  17. Happy New year! Hope I win the book.

  18. This would be a beautiful book to start the new year with. I would love to knit something out of this book.

  19. What a sweet book! I too love the Kitty capelet. Hope I win!

  20. Happy New Year! I’m a fan of shawletes and the book looks like it’s a good one!

  21. That looks like a great book 🙂 I’d love to grab a copy
    Helen´s last blog post ..Yikes! It’s been a while

  22. My daughter and I would love to win this book! She’s 14, an avid knitter, and loves anything shawl/cowl/poncho/capelet related.
    Joanna´s last blog post ..In with the new.

  23. Beth Gray says:

    I love the Polperro! I’d love to have the book

  24. Nice book, and thanks for doing the give-away. Happy New Year!!

  25. Seems like a great book, one I’d love to add to my collection. I agree with Lucy, more yarn will do the trick.
    Thanks for the chance to win the book.

  26. Ruth Porter says:

    This book looks like something that should be in my collection. And, BTW, what a photo of the Lovely Lucy!

  27. Carolyn Resnick says:

    Looks like a great book. I would love to win a copy! Thanks for having the giveaway!

  28. I had the privilege of taking a couple classes from Jean a few years ago. What a lovely woman and wonderful teacher! Thanks for giving us a chance to win her new book!

  29. I’d love to win this book.

  30. That looks great- thanks so much for offering the contest!
    Michelle´s last blog post ..Give-Aways Galore!

  31. Looks wonderful! Would love to have a copy.

  32. I would like to own a copy of this book. In fact, it might make my life complete.

  33. Happy new year, and thank you for the give-away!
    The patterns are gorgeous, and I loved the presentation on the designer’s page. Please enter me in the drawing.
    Greetings from France
    Daniela´s last blog post ..Merry Christmas!

  34. Happy New Year Wendy and once again 🙂 thanks so much for an opportunity to win!
    Michelle Martino´s last blog post ..Self-Imposed Sock Club 2011

  35. One way or the other, I think I really have to have that book! Enter me in the drawing!

  36. Happy New Year!

    I have several of her books and would love to have a chance to win this one.
    Beverly´s last blog post ..Out with the Old and in with the New

  37. Loony Nuna says:

    What lovely patterns! I so appreciate you bringing new and exciting books like this one to our attention. Happy New Year, Wendy! Keep up the good work.

  38. What a great interview. I learned a lot about Jean. Thank you.

  39. Lucy has such wisdom! I’d love to win a copy of the book. Thank you for sharing!

  40. Jo morgan says:

    I have just discovered the “joy of shawlettes” and would love a copy of the book. Blog tour–what a fun idea.

  41. Happy New Year to both you and Lucy. I want you to know what an inspiration you have been to me; in 2011 I knit my daughters wedding veil in white based on the KAL for the EZ pi shawl, I knit socks for every one of my family members for birthdays and for Christmas I made 5 shawlettes, one lace scarf, one baby hat and scarf set, 4 boyfriend hats and matching fingerless mitts. You have inspired me to challenge my skills and to produce things I never thought possible. Althought we live a about as far apart as two people can, I want you to know how grateful I am I stumbled across your blog. Thank you !

  42. Carol Perecman says:

    Looks like a great book! Thanks for the chance to win one–


  43. I would love this book.

  44. Thank you for sharing Jean’s knitting life in brief. This is a wonderful book which I will add to my wish list if I do not win it! In fact, I have been looking for small projects, besides scarves, that go around the neck.
    Cathy E´s last blog post ..It’s Been a Long Time!

  45. What a wonderful giveaway! Thank you! Any of these designs would be the perfect layer to my work wardrobe.

  46. Seems like I haven’t seen anything from Jean Moss in quite a while – this looks wonderful and I’m glad she’s still designing beautiful things.

  47. How sweet it would be to win this book.

  48. Always need a new book for a New Year!

  49. Would love to win. Fun to read the interview.

  50. Beautiful patterns! Would love to have a copy of the book for my very own!

  51. Shirley Ryan says:

    wow….what a fantastic book….there are some very intriguing knitables in there!

  52. Loving shawlettes!

  53. Happy New Year to you and Lucy! I loved your review/interview of the book/author! I now will put this book on my wish list for my birthday in April!!!

  54. Happy New Year and what a way to start – with a wonderful book for a giveaway!

  55. That book looks great! I’d love a copy.

  56. I would absolutely love to have this book to add to my knitting library. I love to make shawls, cowls, and scarves! Thank you for all the opportunities to win fabulous books! I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one!

  57. Celestine says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Wendy and Lucy….Thanks for a chance to win a new book….

  58. I’ve always loved all things neck related so this book would be perfect. Count me in!

  59. What a nice treat!

  60. I need another knitting book. Every day. This one looks especially nice.
    Carol Durusau´s last blog post ..Dark Days Challenge

  61. An interesting book – I would love a copy!

  62. Looks like it would be a lovely addition to every knitters library. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    Gina M´s last blog post ..A New Generation

  63. I am really interested in the “Green Hearts” button cowl. I hope I win.

  64. Although it looks like my chances of winning are slim, this book looks like it is worth a try. I LOVE shawlettes and have made and given away a few. It must be time for me to make one for myself. Could be that the perfect pattern is in that book. :o)

  65. Thanks for the book rec. I love the patchwork on the cover shawl! I’ll have to check it out if I don’t win the drawing.

  66. Happy New Year, Wendy! This is by far my most favorite of your give-a-ways…I am spinning my cats fur to knit into a shawlette! Those patterns are sooo great!

  67. What a lovely book and I’d love to have a copy.

  68. Kris Peters says:

    Loved the blog-view with Jean! Would love to add this to my burgeoning collection…..

  69. Looks like fun – I think everyone will find something neat to knit – happy knitting 2012.

  70. A girl can’t have too many shawl/shawlette patterns! It looks very interesting!!

  71. Happy New Year! I would love to win a copy of this book! Thank you for the giveaway!

  72. I love Jean’s designs. This book has so many pretty, tempting items. Would love to win!

  73. What a lovely way to shawlette into the new year! Yes, please sign me up!

    And Happy New Year! Maybe you could design something with a Mayan pattern, to celebrate 2012? I’m sure the Mayans knitted, they were pretty handy…

  74. I too am a fan of Jean Moss. You designers amaze me. Thank goodness all of you talented artists write books so someone like me can knit beautiful items. Thanks!

  75. kathleen in wisconsin says:

    Polperro looks very Jackie O, to me, back in the White House yrs.

  76. The book looks lovely, Happy New Year, and for once in my lifetime I hope I win 🙂 hugs, rose

  77. Anne Marie says:

    Gorgeous patterns! Thanks for a great give-away!

  78. My resolution is to win a book this year – and this one would be perfect!

  79. paula henderson says:

    First giveaway of the year! Thanks for the opportunity to enter. Hope you have a Happy & Prosperous New Year!!!

  80. Chris Reeske says:

    Fun book, Happy New YeaR.

  81. count me in too!

    Happy new year and happy birthday!

  82. I love the shawls in this book, should be a great success.

  83. Lucy Portland says:

    The book of shawls looks very interesting, I would love to win a copy.

  84. I would be thrilled to win this book of lovely patterns.

  85. The book looks awesome! Shawls are my thing and I’d love to win the book.

  86. this blog tour sounds wonderful…i’m going to follow each blogger’s interview!! please enter me into the contest…i made mobius neckwarmers for gifts this Christmas!!

  87. peggy connolly says:

    wow; what a clever idea for a book. I bet I’d find some goodies to make for my 20-something daughters.

  88. First lace project I did was the summer mystery Shawlette and I am amazed at how often I wear it as a scarf with my jacket! I would definitely knit these projects. Happy New Year!

  89. Those look particularly warm as I sit here trying to keep warm as I do all winter long! think I must be part reptilian, coolmtemps, cool body!

  90. I would so enjoy that book!!! Sure hope you draw me this time:-)
    Thanks Wendy
    Ellen Griffin´s last blog post ..DONE!

  91. I would love a copy. Looks like a great book. Debbie H

  92. I love shawlettes! I need this book! Pick me, Please!

  93. happy birthday and yes I would love to win the book!

  94. I like the idea of a full volume of shawlettes & cowls. The kitty one is purrrfectly nice!

  95. What a cool idea for a book!!

  96. Thank you for bringing us this interview with Jean Moss and for the opportunity to win a copy of Sweet Shawlettes. Jean certainly packed many wonderful patterns into this book. Some of my favorites are Evergreen (Country category), Purple Patch (Folk category), and Vamp (Vintage category). I love the range of styles, textures, and techniques. Splendid!
    Linda´s last blog post ..Thursday Thoughts – Ready, set, knit!

  97. bionickristie says:

    Looks like a wonderful book, I’d be more than happy to make a good home for it!

  98. Beverly S says:

    I love the idea of the shawlettes. This looks like it is a well rounded book and would love to have it in my knitting library.

  99. Another knitting book would also do the trick! It’d be great to win that lovely book.

  100. I heard Jean Moss speak, very entertainingly, at a yarn shop in Richmond Hill a number of years ago. Would love a chance to knit some of the beauties in this book.