Shawl Shaping 101: Basic Top-Down Crescent Shawl

Use these formulas to plug and play your desired stitch patterns into any shawl shape with ease! These are also an awesome jump-off point for budding designers who wish to take the plunge into shawl design. Knowing how to shape it will make it that much easier to achieve your goals!

This fun and straightforward top-down crescent shawl is started at the top and worked down.

Aggressive blocking with a stretchy bind-off makes this shape come to life. That’s what gives crescent-shaped shawls that classic curve.

An applied lace bind-off looks fantastic with this shawl shape and adds additional elegance to a beautifully shaped shawl!

Shawl Shaping Rule

2 increases per every row, 1 at each end after/before your edging.


  1. Determine the wingspan you’d like to achieve.
  2. Measure the stitch gauge of your blocked gauge swatch.
  3. Determine how many rows you’ll work to achieve the desired wingspan, multiply the desired wingspan by your stitch gauge.
  4. Take the resulting number, subtract your cast-on stitches, divide that number by 2 (the number of increases per row). Round this number to an even whole number. This is how many rows we will have to work to get our desired wingspan.
  5. Determine the total number of stitches: Multiply the number of rows to work by 2 (increases per row); then add your cast-on stitches and any setup stitches.


  1. I desire a crescent-shaped shawl has a wingspan of 72″ / 178 cm
  2. My blocked swatch gauge is 5.5 stitches and 8 rows = 1″ / 2.5 cm
  3. Total number of stitches: 72″ wingspan x 5.5 stitch gauge = 396 stitches
  4. 396 stitches – 7 cast-on stitches – 2 setup stitches = 387
  5. 387 ÷ 2 increases per row = 193.5 rows. 193.5 rows round up to 194 rows. I’ll need to knit 194 rows to achieve my desired wingspan.
  6. Total number of stitches: 194 rows x 2 increase per row + 7 cast-on stitches + 2 setup stitches = 397 stitches

The pattern for a basic top-down crescent

Inc: Increase.
K: Knit.
RS: Right side.
St/Sts: Stitch/Stitches.
WS: Wrong side.

Cast on 7 stitches.
My sample uses a yarn over for the increase, but you may choose to use whichever one stitch increase you prefer for this shawl.

Setup Row (WS): K2, inc, work to last 2 stitches, inc, k2. (2 sts inc)
Row 1 (RS): K2, inc, work to last 2 stitches, inc, k2. (2 sts inc)
Row 2 (WS): K2, inc, work to last 2 stitches, inc, k2. (2 sts inc)

Repeat rows 1-2 until the desired stitch count has been obtained. Work a stretchy bind-off so you can block the shawl into a crescent shape.

TIP:  If you’re a tight knitter, going up a needle size or two can help a lot with binding off.

Have you made a shawl using one of these formulas? I’d love to see it! Tag @rhyflowerknits on Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtag #rhyflowershawls

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