Road Maps – A Review & Giveaway for Mystic Shawls by Anna Dalvi

Since I normally record the podcast in the car, I do not have the convenience of having a copy of the book I am reviewing or extensive notes in front of me for reference.  Therefore, I have decided to take a different approach with my review process by moving to written posts here on the blog to give you additional information, and to ensure that I have covered all that I want to mention.  I will still give an overview of the titles, products, or other review items within the podcast episodes, but I want to be sure to give these items proper attention as they are often provided to me from the companies free of charge.  As always, all opinions are my own.  I hope you find this new review format useful.

© Cooperative Press

Today I will be reviewing Mystic Shawls by Anna Dalvi.  This title is available from Cooperative Press for $26.95 for the print and eBook or $16.95 for the eBook.  Thank you to Cooperative Press for providing an eBook copy for my review.

This book contains 14 different lace shawl patterns that all started as mystery knit-alongs (KALs), beginning with Anna’s first shawl design, Mystic Waters.  Anna was drawn to the mystery KAL after joining one in 2007.  While waiting for another one to come along, Anna decided that she could just host one of her own and as she writes, “Really, how hard could it be?”  Hoping to find a couple dozen or so people to join her KAL, Anna was quite surprised that over 1400 knitters had signed up!  And the rest is history.

© Cooperative Press

First, a few words about the format of the book itself.  As with most (all?) Cooperative Press titles that I have seen, this eBook contains a visual table of contents with links directly to the patterns.  Each pattern contains a brief introduction describing the construction, offering tips and hints, and detailing Anna’s inspiration for the particular shawl, along with some tidbits behind-the-scenes (for instance, Anna writes how she came to purchase her first yarn winder after hand-winding 2400+ yards of lace weight – eek!).  The start of the pattern page also provides a materials list, gauge, and finished (blocked) size.  The pattern pages are clean, with plenty of white space, which is helpful to take notes as needed.  

There are a variety of shapes among the fourteen patterns in the book, including six triangles, four rectangles, two square, a circular, and a crescent shape.  Something for everyone.  One of the square shawls, Mystic Ice, can be worked either as a square or as a triangle.  There is even a multi-colored triangular shawl, aptly named Mystic Delight. (pictured below)


© Cooperative Press

All of the patterns in this book are charted.  And the charts… well the charts are HUGE, and often divided among a number of pages.  However, if you keep in mind that these patterns were originally released in mystery KAL format one section at a time, then the charts do not seem as daunting if you take them one piece at a time.  One critique I have is that I would have liked to see the special stitch key appear with the particular shawl pattern in which the special stitches appear instead of all the way at the back of the book forcing you to flip back and forth.   

That said, these designs are delicate, intricate, and stunning.  Many of the patterns have lace work on both sides, bringing to mind the difference between lace knitting (rest rows between patterned rows) and knitted lace (patterning every row).  Anna even cautions that you will want to keep careful track of where you are in some of the patterns due to their complex nature.  These pieces are truly a labor of love and will give you heirloom quality shawls worthy of a special occasion (i.e. wedding, baby christening, etc.)


While lace is not necessarily my go-to knitting style, I will say that this book is worth a peek for those of you who love to dive into these complex designs.  If you would like a chance to win a copy of this book for yourself, please leave a comment on this post with your favorite part about knitting lace and I will draw a random winner in four weeks (September 17th, 2014) using a random number generator.  Please include your Ravelry ID in the comment so I know how to reach you.  Good luck!


  1. I love complex lace. Or I love it when it's finished. I might not love it so much while knitting it sometimes. It leaves me feeling so proud and accomplished when it's done.

  2. My favorite part I must admit is wearing the shawl. I find that complex shawls take a long time for me because I often don't have the brain space to do complicated patterns. I do enjoy beading, though it is fussy.

  3. I love how it looks like a huge mess while you're knitting, but then you block it and you can see all the intricate details. (pokdej on Rav)

  4. I've attempted to post twice, but it doesn't seem to be coming through on my end. I apologize if I am spamming the board. Not my intention. Knitting lace makes me feel like a capital \”K\” Knitter. and blocking is magical. Rav id Palelesown

  5. Lace to me is knitting magic – it's so lumpy and blobby on the needles and nothing at all like the finished product. It's amazingly beautiful and impressive. Lindaran on Rav

  6. I love the process of knitting, taking it one stitch and a time and winding up with something so very beautiful at the end. I'm slothlovechunk on ravelry

  7. My favorite part is learning the charts and attempting to knit the pattern! I am learning to knit lace and am thrilled with my shawls. Thanks for the chance. Knitsensei on Ravelry.

  8. I love the rhythm you can get into when you get the flow of the pattern when knitting lace. And there is nothing like the absolute magic of blocking – sometimes I just can't believe I created that beautiful lace!

  9. For me, the best part about lace is learning something new every time. The engineer in me loves the symmetry and logic. paqknitter

  10. I've just stayed knitting lacework. So far, my favorite part is watching the pattern slowly reveal itself, from a jumble of stitches to a lovely repeating design. My Ravelry ID is seattleknitterguy.

  11. I enjoy knitting lace shawls, especially when there is a rhythm to the pattern. My favourite part is blocking as that is when your shawl really comes alove and feels a bit like magic. Thank you Quiltercaroline

  12. I've knit a little bit of lace and I like that you have to pay so much attention to it and all your other worries go away. Dnice515 on ravelry

  13. Hi Jen,thanks for the review. I love following the charts and watching the sections of the pattern build from the needles on down. 2nd favorite is seeing the results of blocking at the end. MimiD on Ravelry

  14. Congrats Anita! You are the winner for the Mystic Shawls book! I will give your Ravelry name to Cooperative Press so they can give you the book. Happy knitting!

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