Stony Stream Knit A Long

by Kimber Baldwin January 17, 2024 1 Comment



January 18th (tomorrow) marks the start date for the Stony Stream shawl (designed by Stephen West) knit-a-long.   The main requirement is for everyone to have fun, and in the process, build  some knitting community, add some friends, and, at the end of it, walk away with a stunning accessory!!  What could be better?

I don't particularly care for rules, so we are going to keep them to a minimum:

  • The knit-a-long will officially take place over the course of six weeks, beginning Thursday January 18th and ending six weeks later on Thursday March 1st.
  • You can use whatever yarn you wish to participate (it doesn't need to be Fiber Optic Yarns) - This is a wonderful stash-busting project.  However...
  • IF you do use 100% Fiber Optic Yarns in your shawl and if you email me (email address: a picture of you holding your shawl by midnight  on March 1st, you will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Fiber Optic Yarns gift certificate.  No purchase is necessary; If you would like to enter but didn’t purchase Fiber Optic Yarns, just email me with ‘Stony Stream Drawing - no purchase’ and we would be happy to include you!   Employees and families of employees are not eligible to win the drawing.  If you haven't finished your shawl by March 1st, email me a picture of you holding your partially finished shawl and the yarn cakes remaining to be knit.  We are not judge-y on your knitting speed...this gets back to the me not liking rules thing I mentioned earlier.  If you have already knit a Stony Streams shawl entirely out of Fiber Optic Yarns, or if you began earlier than January 18th, again send me a picture and we will include you in our drawing.  
  • You do not need to be physically present in our brick and mortar shop during knit night to participate - this is a long distance community gathering.  Please feel free to post pictures on social media (I will be posting also) using the hashtag #foystonystreamkal so we can find one another.
  • I will be updating the  'Come Knit With Me' banner on the homepage with knit along updates each Friday.  I imagine the one for January 19th (this Friday) will be rather brief since I'm not enough of a speed demon to show much progress with only 1 day of knitting on this shawl, but I will put up a couple progress photos and some kind of knitterly thoughts.
  • I'm using a six pack set for the contrast colors and (2) skeins of kashmir for the main color but you should do you and if that means using 2 solids or a gradient or whatever calls to your heart, that is totally fine as well.  If you are interested, we put together 8 different kits for this knit-a-long and they are available on the homepage.  Since the knit-a-long is six weeks long and since there isn't any penalty for not finishing by the end date, please feel free to jump in with us any time!  
  •  I will announce the winner here on the website blog and on instagram as well on March 2nd.  I will email the winner.


Several folks have reached out to me asking how to use the six pack set in this shawl pattern.  The Stony Stream shawl design lends itself to many color layouts, and like many of Stephen West's designs, it is an ideal template for color experimentation.  Below are some ideas for how to the layout of the colors in a fade set:

1.  Butterfly Layout:

A butterfly layout is the color organization that David used to knit our shop model.

A man holding a triangular shawl showing the bands of a Fiber Optic Yarns six pack fade set progressing in towards the middle and then back out towards the other edge.

In this layout the colors are first worked in order to the middle of the shawl and then reversed and worked back out again to the other edge.  David knit his model out of (2) skeins of Skye for the main color and (1) Metallica six pack.  Whether you knit the colors Copper to Steel and then back out to Copper (as David did) or Steel to Copper and back out to Steel, is a matter of personal preference.  It works beautifully, either way.  The concept is easily extended to any of our six skein fade sets.  If you number the mini skeins in the fade set 1 through 6, the mini skeins are used as follows:

Pattern Repeats 1 - 2........Mini Skein 1

Pattern Repeats 3 - 4........Mini Skein 2

Pattern Repeats 5 - 6........Mini Skein 3

Pattern Repeats 7 - 8........Mini Skein 4

Pattern Repeat 9 - 10........Mini Skein 5

Pattern Repeat 11 - 12......Mini Skein 6

Pattern Repeat 13 - 14,,,,,,,Mini Skein 5

Pattern Repeat 15 - 16......Mini Skein 4

Pattern Repeat 17 - 18......Mini Skein 3

Pattern Repeat 19 - 20......Mini Skein 2

Pattern Repeat 21 - 22.....Mini Skein 1

The pattern, as written, is for 22 repeats so this works out nicely.  David's shawl was worked at a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch, in the pattern stitch and blocked.  He had yarn leftover in many of the colors so if you wanted to play a bit of 'yarn chicken', you might be able to knit an additional repeat or two, depending on gauge.  Alternatively, a  hat or fingerless mitts knit in leftover coordinating colors would be quite fabulous too!!

2. Stripes Layout

Color stripes are the layout choice of Denise, who works here at Fiber Optic Yarns in materials.  This is, perhaps both the easiest to plan and the most exciting to watch the progression!  Denise is changing her colors whenever the whim strikes and, while all the contrasting colors are from a six skein fade set, the color order is random and the widths of the stripes vary greatly.  Denise said she loves having the freedom of not having to decide the specific colors for each row in the pattern!  Although Stephen West used a single color-changing skein for the contrast color, the effect plays out as a striped shawl (shown in the model photos in the pattern instructions).

 2. Straight Layout

This is  what I will be using for my Stony Stream shawl.  It is perhaps the most obvious.  I am using my six skein fade set in chromatographic order and I am beginning with color 1, knitting a fixed number of repeats and then switching to color 2 for the next set of repeats, and then color 3 and so forth until all 6 colors are used. 


The colors I'm using are shown in the photo above and consist of 2 skeins of 'Misty Mountains' for the main color (larger yarn cakes in photo) and the 'Rhinebeck' six skein fade set (shown as six smaller yarn cakes).  I'm planning on starting with the pale olive 'Eye of Newt' on the left and working through the colors, left to right as shown, all the way to the deep violet 'Nightshade' on the right side. The difficult part of this plan is deciding when to change colors because the colors used earlier in the shawl will be used in repeats having fewer stitches whereas the colors used towards the end of the shawl will have many times the number of stitches as earlier repeats (because each 24 row repeat adds 12 stitches to the total stitch count).  In cases like this, I usually take my best guess at where to change the colors and if I run out of a particular color of yarn, I'm completely ok with switching things up and throwing in an accent color out of sequence.  This can be really fun and almost always when this happens, I'm more happy with the switched-up shawl than I ever could have imagined.  So, with that being said, my tentative plan for my color layout is:

Repeats 1 - 5........Color 1

Repeats 6 - 9...... .Color 2

Repeats 10 - 13.....Color 3

Repeats 14 - 16.....Color 4

Repeats 17 - 19.....Color 5

Repeats 20 - 22......Color 6

The pattern calls for 600 yards of contrast color and a six skein fade set has 840 yards so I know I will have enough yarn.  What I'm not 100% sure of, is whether I have enough of color 6 to knit the 3 longest repeats.  If I run out, my plan is to put in a few accent rows of 'Eye of Newt' (first color) at the bottom edge - I think it will call back to the 'Eye of Newt' repeats at the beginning of the shawl and add a lovely little pop to define that edge.  Who knows?  I may just do that even if I don't run out of 'Nightshade'!


Kimber Baldwin
Kimber Baldwin


1 Response

Martha H
Martha H

February 06, 2024

Thanks for writing up some options for using the gradient set for this shawl. Helpful!

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