Cascading Leaves Shawl Recipe


MIx one 8 ounce, 560 yard cake of Michigan Indie dyer Karen Bradley’s Petite Rayure using needles that get you to about 5 stitches per inch in stockinette. A size 8 worked for me.

Follow the directions supplied in Bradley’s Cascading Leaves Shawl, available (unfortunately) in not-too-many places. But you can still read the clues Bradley posted for it in her mystery knit-a-long on Ravelry. If you can’t find the right ingredients, give her LYS Cynthia’s Too a call in Petoskey, Michigan. Cynthia carries all Bradley’s Kaloula Yarns and also has a paper copy of the pattern for sale.

Your shawl is done when you are beginning to fear that you will run out of yarn. But with 15 yards left in the cake, your creation will be complete.



cascading_frontThese gradient yarns really produce some show-stoppers.


Evolution of a pony


I had 1/3 of a skein of this great hand-dyed Grande Merino worsted, from Karen Bradley of Kaloula Yarn, left over from my Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl. It would likely have been enough for a hat. Probably. But the long runs of color could have made selection of a pattern tricky. I thought of Wurm, but slouchy Quaker Rib Wurm is a yarn hog.

I decided to return to a pattern I’ve knit something like 200 times since first being introduced to it in 1990 when my son attended a Waldorf preschool: Acorn Hill Pony.

First stage, some flat garter stitch skins slightly resembling ponies.


Next step, sewing and stuffing. The ponies begin to take shape.


I sewed them up on the drive to the lake this past weekend. For awhile, they perched on the dashboard.

Once stuffed, they need to get their braided tails and manes. That’s a modification I made to the pattern. Noro Kureyon is a big favorite for that.


The braiding takes about as long as the knitting.






makes a herd.


You can check out more Acorn Ponies here, and here. Such a fun nostalgic knit. Thanks, Waldorf!

In May of 2017 I confirmed that the Acorn Hill kindergarten and nursery, now in SIiver Spring, Maryland is the original source of this pattern. They generously allowed me to repair a few errors in their one-page mimeographed pattern, add my not-so-Waldorfian manes, and update the directions to suit a modern knitter’s sensibilities. They even provided written permission allowing me to post the updated pattern as a Ravelry freebie, here. So, the knit goes on!


Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl

pfs copy

I am drawn to shawls that stay put. Apparently I don’t have whatever it takes to keep a shawl in place. And I don’t like to deal with shawl pins. This is Vermont Designs by Shelagh’s re-creation of a traditional Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl from Nazare, Portugal. The pattern is available on Ravelry or direct from Vermont Yarn Company‘s shop. I knit mine to include the garter stitch tie band. The band crosses in the front and ties in the back. It also stabilizes the construction.

It’s cool from the front and from the back:

pfs2 copy

You can knit it without the band and it will make an excellent shawl that stays on the shoulders without shawl pin help. You’d lose it out in a boat fishing, though.


Mine is knit in worsted weight Kaloula Yarn “Grande Merino.” It’s a wonderful hand painted “100% organic merino wool,” dyed by Karen Bradley of Harbor Springs, Michigan. Cynthia’s Too, in Petoskey, sells the yarn, along with others from Bradley. Here’s Grand Merino all caked up and ready to go.


I haven’t done any fishing in my shawl yet, and don’t expect to, but it’s already kept me warm and cozy in the last few weeks since I finished it.


On me, it doesn’t make much of a style statement. But that’s one of the things I like about it.