Can I say that I'm really surprised? Those geniuses over at Vogue Knitting had the perfect method for knitting a shawl collar. Perfect and ingenious.
You are knitting short-rows, in a sense. You start by picking up stitches just along the straight part of the back of the neck. Knit back across these stitches and pick up a few more at the end of the row. Since I was working in a 2x2 rib, I picked up 8 stitches (I think their recommendation was 6, but I had to accommodate my pattern). Turn, work across stitches, pick up 8 more at the end of that row. You continue to do this until you've picked up stitches for the entire neckline!
(At the same time, when you've knit about 3/4 of an inch you add a few decreases just to the back of the neck.)
It's brilliant I tell you! Brilliant! I love it and I'm half-way home on the collar. Perhaps. I will finish. Tonight!! Bwahhahahaha!
(Oh, and can you believe that this is even a picture of the same sweater? The difference between night and day, if you will.)