My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Godey's Winter Shawl (1864)


Collection: Godey's Lady's Book

Publication: Godey's Lady's Book
Date: November, 1864 Title: WINTER SHAWL, IN PLAIN KNITTING Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


SEVERAL of our subscribers having requested that this useful article may be arranged so as to form an easy occupation daring the long evenings, we have made the direction as simple as possible. It can be worked in nearly every kind of wool, and the size varied at pleasure, making it either for a small shawl to wear across the shoulders, or carried out for a large wrapper. If made in strong yarn it is especially suited for charitable gifts at this present season.

Materials.— A pair of knitting pins No. 8 Bell gauge (measured in the circle); for a small shawl they should be about 12 inches, but a larger one will require them longer. The wool may be either double Berlin, 4-ply fleecy, or Scotch fingering yarn. Of the latter, there is a new kind made in two colors, viz., violet and black, scarlet and black, blue and white, etc.; it has a pretty effect for the centre of the shawl, the border being made with two plain colors to contrast with it. The fringe is usually of the same color as the centre. The cheapest yarns or knitting worsteds are only to be had in plain colors— gray, brown, and white, being the least expensive.

The shawl we have engraved is composed of mixed violet and black yarn for the centre and fringe, with plain black and gold-color for the border.


This simple knitted shawl is entirely done in a Garter stitch, once called plain knitting. A Garter stitch is created by knitting each stitch in every row. This shawl may be worked in any color or size to suit the wearer. Heavier wool shawls make wonderful Christmas gifts or charitable gifts during the winter season.


When this shawl is knitted with knitting worsted weight wool, it takes 6 1/2 skeins of the primary color (230 yards per skein or 1495 yards total) and 1 1/2 skeins of the secondary color (230 yards per skein or 345 yards total).

Knitting Worsted Weight Wool, Size 9 Knitting Needle

Sport Weight Wool; Size 7 or 8 Knitting Needle

Fingering Weight Wool, Size 5 or 6 Knitting Needle

One Row Counter

One Stitch Marker (Ring)

Size J Aluminum Crochet Hook


If making this shawl for a young girl, 12" knitting needles may be used. If making this shawl for a woman use longer needles.

By using a blue and a lighter color needle it is easier for the beginner knitter to keep track of how many increases should be made in a row. Cast six stitches on the blue needle, work Row 1 moving the stitches to the light needle. When rows 9 and 10 are being repeated when moving the stitches onto blue be sure to increase more than two. Since blue and two rhyme, it is easy to remember to increase three stitches on the row being placed on the blue needle.


Solid color wools were less expensive than the Ombre wools.

Shawl Design:

Variegated wool is pretty in the center portion of the shawl combined with a border knit in two solid color wools creating a striped effect. Fringe for the shawl is usually done with the same wool used in the center portion of the shawl.


Variegated wools, Black/Purple,Gold/Black, Scarlet/Black or Blue/White wool is recommended. Variegated wools have several colors of wool in a single strand, one color continually blending to a darker color and back again to the lighter color. Optional solid colors to use include Gray, White or Brown. two solid colors can create the striped pattern.

(NOTE - One modern pattern version says to Slip all stitches Purl-wise.)

Top of Shawl:

Begin: Cast on 6 stitches.

Row 1: Knit 6.

Row 2: Slip the first stitch, that is take it off the knitting needle without working it; then to increase one stitch, knit the next stitch but do not take it off the needle. Insert the right knitting needle in the back of the same stitch just worked, and knit it. There will now be 3 loops on the right knitting needle. (Every increase is worked in this same manner). Knit the next 4 stitches to the end of the row.

Row 3: Slip the first stitch, then increase as in the last row, by knitting the second stitch, and before taking it off the knitting needle knit another stitch in the

back of the same loop; Knit 5stitches. There will be 8 stitches on needle.

Row 4: Slip the first stitch, Increase in the second stitch as before, Knit 1, Increase a second time in the nextstitch,

Increase a third time in the next stitch, then Knit 3. There will be 11 stitches on the needle.

Row 5: Slip the first stitch, Increase in the second stitch, knit to end of row.

Row 6: Slip the first stitch,Increase in next stitch, Knit three, Increase a second time in the next stitch; then Increase a third time in the next stitch, Knit 5.

Row 7: Slip the first stitch, Increase in next stitch, Knit rest of row. Mark the center of the next row with your stitch marker (ring). Slip the marker from needle to needle in each row until the center portion of the shawl is entirely knit.

Row 8: Slip the first stitch, Increase in next stitch, knit 5, Increase a second time, put the mark on the right pin, Increase again, Knit the rest of the row


*Row 9: Slip first stitch, Increase in next stitch, Knit to end of row.

*Row 10: Slip the first stitch, Increase in the next stitch, Knit to within one stitch of the center mark, Increase in next stitch, slip the mark to the right pin and Increase again in next stitch, Knit to the end of the row.

Repeat the last two *Rows, until the center portion of your shawl is the size you desire. 

Repeat the last two *Rows, until the center portion of your shawl is the size you desire. Tracking which row you are knitting is much easier when a row counter is used. Attach wool for border of shawl.

Border of Shawl:

Continue knitting, repeating * Rows 9 and 10 but using solid colors as follows.

Rows 1-4: Use Black wool. (4 rows)

Rows 5-10: Use Gold wool. (6 rows)

Rows 11-14: Use Black wool. (4 rows)

Rows 15-20: Use Gold wool. (6 rows)

Rows 21- 30: Use Black wool. This forms the center black stripe of the border. (10 rows) Repeat the gold and black stripes alternately as follows before cast off all stitches.

Rows 31-36: Repeat rows 15-20. Gold wool.

Rows 37- 40: Repeat rows 11-14. Black wool.

Rows 41-46: Repeat rows 5-10. Gold wool.

Rows 47-50: Repeat rows 1-4. Black wool, then, Cast off all stitches.


Cut wool in 6-inch lengths.Use 2 six-inch pieces in each tassel. Insert needle in a cast off stitch,

Fold two strands of wool in half and place over needle. Pull wool part way through the stitch to form a loop.

Draw the end of the wool through the loop and tighten by pulling tassel slightly.

Repeat this procedure around outside edge of shawl.

Knitted winter shawl made with Bernat Caress (looks like mohair).

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Gifts in Forest Green

     Christmas is around the corner and the color green, a deep dark forest green, has captured my attention.  A few weeks ago I got some soft flannel in forest green.  I was so happy I had gone up to Bangor to look at the fabric at Joanns instead of ordering online; the greens were so varied among 7 bolts and this one bolt was perfect.  That's going to be a comfy dress for home and a Christmas dress.  So my green moments started.  To match that dress I started some worsted socks.  Then gifts for family just seemed perfect in different hues of dark green.  Now I seem to have a forest of green projects; thankfully all fairly quick.

     I signed up a few weeks ago for Brome Field's 12 Days of Christmas; emailed links to free knitting patterns.  But several days in she offered her new book plus many other patterns at a reduced rate so I have a huge collection of her wonderful patterns. 

  I love the simplicity of her designs.  I'm doing thick fingerless mitts, 1 hat, and her worsted socks.  Also a hat from another designer.  And knitting my own design for a simple scarf in, yes green, alpaca yarn.