How Humphrey came to be

All this week and next we will be introducing the five shawls that make up The Shawl Project: Book Two on The Crochet Project blog.

(scroll to the bottom for details of how to buy the book)

Today is the turn of Humphrey and there is a little story behind this design. It is the story of how I did battle with a yarn and lost but don’t worry, it is a fairy tale and the ending is happy. Read on.

chester wool co camel

Once upon a time a woman  bought a skein of yarn from her favourite local yarn shop, the skein was lustrous and beautiful and the woman didn’t quite know what to do with it, so afraid was she of not doing the yarn justice. (A common tale in the world of stashing – maybe you have such a skein?)

After some time, she returned and bought a second skein as she had made a special plan for the yarn that involved a fairytale ending. Yes, she planned an elaborate cabled panel, snaking down the spine of a shawl that would look like Rapunzel’s plaits. If she could dream it, she could do it!

But each swatch the woman made did not satisfy her; the cable was too bulky, or it didn’t sit quite right or the design melted away without enough definition, the drape wasn’t right. Almost half the first ball had been used up by now. The skein clearly did not want to be cabled.

So the woman listened to the skein and let it be lace. The first swatch afterwards came out perfectly, the design flowed out of the woman’s fingers easily and they all lived happily ever after.


And that is pretty much how it went folks. I just went looking for the failed swatches in my studio but they have mysteriously disappeared so I can’t even show you how not right they were. I do think the Rapunzel pattern might still happen in a different yarn one day. It will take me a little bit of time to come back around to the idea though I should imagine.

humphrey small 1


But Humphrey, despite not being what I thought it would be at all, is a design I am so happy with and proud of. I love the delicate lace and the beautiful way it sits on your shoulders without slipping – this is all down to the shaping! I’m proud that I worked out the maths of the unusual Faroese construction and that I managed to distill it into something you can follow in the design notes if you’d like to design your own. I love how easy the pattern is to follow once established with very little counting and intuitive decreasing and the way you race to the finish with ever decreasing rows.


humphrey small 2

And I know that this is the shawl I will be popping over my shoulders when I go to my husband’s black tie work Christmas dinner (I just need to find a suitable little black dress to offset it) or anytime I want to feel rather special.

So why Humphrey? I was going to pretend it was about the glamour of the Hollywood heydays and named for Bogart. Actually it was a silly joke that stuck in my head while I was making it:

What do you call a camel with three humps?


You see the yarn is a baby camel blend and the shawl has three sections. I do not claim my humour is as sophisticated as the design!

For all the technical and construction details of the design, pop on over to this post on The Crochet Project blog.

To be able to make your own Humphrey here are the purchasing details you need:

The Shawl Project: Book Two is available to download immediately as an e-book (pdf) for £10 or pre-order in print for £12 +p&p.

Print copies will be dispatched within two weeks in the order they were bought.
The link for the ebook takes you directly to paypal to complete the transaction.


  1. Sally says

    Its gorgeous! I love how you came about the name- my kind of humour!! Ha. Looking forward to seeing more designs from the book :-)