Leafy Inspiration: Shawls to Share

Autumn is the perfect time to spin for a cozy shawl project to knit now or well into the winter season. These two beautiful fall-themed shawls will give you just the nudge you need.

Debbie Blair Oct 18, 2023 - 5 min read

Leafy Inspiration: Shawls to Share Primary Image

Left to right: The Fall Leaves Shawl and the Maple Leaf Shawl showcase autumn’s glorious colors. (Photo at left by Joe Coca; at right by Gina Geaudry)

So many talented readers participated in the Spin Off Lace-Along during the early months of 2023. Check out some of their gorgeous creations in Part 1 and Part 2 of our online gallery. And just in time for fall, we’ve decided to share two of our favorite autumn-themed shawls—one of which was created specifically for the Lace-Along—in hopes of inspiring you to do some botanical knitting of your own this season.

Maple Leaf Shawl, Gina Geaudry

Gina’s daughter models the stunning Maple Leaf Shawl during a cold Wisconsin winter. Photos courtesy of Gina Geaudry

We love the vibrant colors of Merino, silk, and angora that Gina blended and spun to create this stunning shawl, which is worked from the center out.

According to Gina, “I made my shawl by first dyeing merino top, silk top, and plucked angora (from my English Angora, Opal) a variety of purples, oranges, and reds. I then blended them on the drumcarder, resulting in a blend of 50% merino, 25% silk, and 25% angora.

“Using my Electric Eel Wheel 6, I spun and plied a two-ply fingering- to sport-weight yarn. I selected the Maple Leaf Shawl pattern by Natalia@Elmoda on Ravelry to knit. My daughter modeled the shawl for me in the photos.


“I absolutely love the Spin Off spin-alongs. They are such a welcome relief from the winter doldrums.”

Fall Leaves Shawl, Sara Lamb

Sara’s spinning notes: (Left) Angora/Merino, 2-ply, 18 wpi, 7.5 tpi. (Center) Polwarth, 2-ply, 23 wpi, 1,750 ypp, 6.5 tpi. (Right) Wool, 2-ply, 15 wpi, 1,375 ypp, 5 tpi. Photos by Joe Coca

Sara Lamb set out to knit a warm shawl that incorporates a fall leaf motif using various leftover bits of wool yarns spun from different breeds. She ended up embarking on a color experiment and, together with a group of friends, spun and knit a total of 11 versions of her Fall Leaves Shawl to experiment with subtle color changes and contrast in values.
(Read all about Sara’s experiments and see the resulting shawls in Spin Off Fall 2009.)

Sara’s shawl on the left is a 50/50 angora/Merino blend, spun white, and dyed after the shawl was knit. Sara placed the shawl in a golden-yellow dyebath and poured scarlet and magenta dyes in the areas that would be the center of the shawl. The colors look like sun filtered through leaves.

The center shawl started with roving in yellow, orange, and red that was then overdyed using reds and violets before being spun. Using the violet toned down the yellows to more of a copper color.

For the shawl on the right, Sara dyed the wool as top in short color repeats before spinning. She split the top lengthwise, spun the singles, and plied them each with another section of top that was dyed differently. This ensured the maximum color variation, with less color striping or matching. The small color areas allowed her to have all of the colors she wanted.

Find the pattern for Sara’s beautiful Fall Leaves Shawl in the 7 Handspun Shawls to Knit, Crochet, and Weave eBook or in the Fall 2009 issue of Spin Off. (Note: A corrected chart pattern for the edging can be found on the website here).

And enjoy more fall projects to make with these inspiring patterns found in the Spin Off Library (shown below, clockwise from top left):

Debbie Blair is the associate editor of Spin Off magazine. A lifelong crafter and avid reader, she finds her happy place reading and relaxing next to a mountain stream.