In woven fabrics, the lengthwise grain is the direction of the warp threads that run vertically along with the fabric, and the widthwise grain is the direction of the weft threads that run horizontally across the fabric. The bias is measured at 45 degrees to the vertical and horizontal, or diagonally across the fabric. Garments constructed on the bias will have more stretch and hang with more drape than garments constructed on the lengthwise or widthwise grain. Knitted fabrics can also be constructed on the bias to maximize drape. Achieved through the creative use of increases on one side of the work paired with decreases on the other side, a rectangular fabric can be created in which the stitches slant to the left or right. The increases add fabric to one edge while the decreases remove fabric from the other. This produces a fabric that hangs beautifully and is particularly effective for shawls and wraps.
The direction of bias depends on the placement of the increases and decreases. If the increases are worked at the beginning of right-side rows and the decreases are worked at the end these rows, the fabric will slant toward the left. If the increases are worked at the end of right-side rows and the decreases are worked at the beginning of these rows, the fabric will slant toward the right.
The stitch pattern for the first half of this shawl is a simple repetition of ssk decreases followed by yarnover increases.
Row 1: (PS) K1, “ssk, yo; rep from to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 2: (WS) Knit.
As these two rows are repeated, the yarnover increases and ssk decreases align vertically to form pillars. Because the decreases are worked before the increases, the fabric slants to the left.
For the second half of the shawl, the yarnover increases are followed by ssk decreases.
Row 1: (PS) K2, “yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, Row 2: (WS) Knit.
As these two rows are repeated, the fabric slants to the right because the increases are worked before the decreases.
A “V” forms where the stitch pattern changes direction, which is perfectly formed to cradle the nape of your neck.