Shawl Shaping 101: Basic Top-Down Triangle

Basic Top-Down Triangle

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!

A Basic Triangular shawl is the simplest of the triangular shapes. It starts in the center with a garter stitch tab and is worked out with two right triangles. This is an isosceles triangle made of two isosceles right triangles. (An isosceles triangle has two sides of the same length).

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

Shawl Shaping Rule

4 stitches increased: 2 for each triangle on every other row.


  1. Determine the desired depth of your triangle.
  2. Measure the row gauge of your blocked gauge swatch.
  3. Determine the number of rows to work: Multiply desired depth by row gauge.
  4. Then determine the final number of stitches: Multiply the number of rows by 2 and add the number of stitches cast on in the garter stitch tab (typically 9).
  5. Determine the wingspan of your triangle: Multiply the desired depth by 2.


  1. I desire a triangle that is 24″ / 61 cm deep
  2. My blocked Gauge: 4 rows in 1″ / 2.5 cm
  3. Number of rows to work: 24″ x 4 (row gauge) = 96 rows
  4. Number of stitches on needle after working all rows: 96 (rows) x 2 (increases per triangle) + 9 (cast on stitches) = 201 stitches
  5. Wingspan: 24″ x 2 = 48” / 122 cm

The pattern for a Basic Top-Down Triangle

Inc: Increase.
K: Knit.
PM: Place marker.
RS: Right side.
SM: Slip marker.
St/Sts: Stitch/Stitches.
WS: Wrong side.

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

Work a garter tab. (9 stitches on needle)
Row 1 (RS): K2, inc, k1, inc, pm, k3, pm, inc, k1, inc, k2. (4 sts inc)
Row 2 (WS): Work across row.
Row 3: K2, inc, work to marker, inc, sm k3, sm, inc, work to last 2 stitches, inc, k2. (4 sts inc)
Row 4: Work across row.

Repeat rows 3-4 to the desired depth has been obtained. Work a stretchy bind-off so you can block any lace into 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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