Sempervivum shawl – project diary

If you want to know how a pattern is created, from start to finish, follow along with this Sempervivum shawl project diary and see the entire process. Updates to come.

It’s the end of the year and I have a single resolution. To write up this project diary as the project progresses.

If you watch any of my vlogs, you will know that I like talking about and showing you WIPs (Works In Progress), FOs (Finished Objects) and finished projects.

What distinguishes a project from an object is the fact that the project is much larger.

It’s not just the making of the sample, but it includes everything, from yarn choice, design sketch, pattern drawing and writing, testing and publishing.

This is what I want to document in this blog post. It will not be a teaching tool or anything like that, just a documentation of the entire process, if I can keep up with it.

This process usually takes a few months. Now the plan is for it to be ready around March 2024.

I will write updates with anything that’s been happening and I’ll use timestamps (international standard: YYYY.MM.DD) so you can follow along with the entire process, from almost start (I have already done some work on this project) to finish.

The blog post will remain public and I will add updates as time goes by and progress is being made. This should help me focus on one thing at a time and actually get it finished.

I will create other diaries for other projects, so keep an eye out for those if you are curious.

This is the first entry and I will tell you everything that is already done and some plans for the near future.

2023.12.24 First Sempervivum shawl update

The pattern already has a name because I already made a sample in the summer.

Sempervivum shawl beginnings
Beginnings of the shawl, photographed in a train station.

I drew up the chart, so we also have schematics for it and I can start writing up the instructions to get the pattern ready for testing.

This pattern will be published and promoted in collaboration with a yarn shop in Berlin, here in Germany, called SparWolle.

They will create kits in various color combinations that I have designed using the colors of yarn they have available and they will sell these kits together with the pattern translated to German and the original English version.

Two schematics of the Sempervivum shawl with the gradient going from dark to light in one version and from light to dark in the second version.
Two possible ways of using the same gradient cake to make the shawl, starting from the middle or the outside of the cake.

Once we have the photos of the kits I will add them below in a later update.

For now, I’ve just received my own cake made in one of the colorways I designed, so I can make a second “official” sample of Sempervivum that will be on the cover and used to promote the pattern.

Large gradient yarn cake made of 4 colors, from a light teal blue to a dark petrol blue.
The yarn cake made in 4 colors of similar hue, for a smooth transition.

I’m excited and ready to start, but first I want to write up the instructions, so I can test them at the same time as the testers, who will start early in January if I can write up the instructions next week, between the holidays.

I made the first sample with a 3 mm hook in one cake of Rosegarden by Yarnart, colorway 319, then overdyed that with orange because I wanted less contrast between the center and edges of the shawl.

Dark green to orange gradient shawl with leaf-like shapes delimited by eyelets
The first Sempervivum shawl sample made in summer 2023

I think it came out pretty, but with this custom gradient I think it will be much better.

That’s it for now. Next up is writing up the instructions and starting the testing, including my sample.

It’s not often that I get to make the same thing that my testers are doing, at the same time, so this should be fun.

I’ll see you soon. If you want to be notified when I make updates here, make sure to subscribe to my emails that I send out every Friday (except next week) and who knows, maybe you’ll even get to test this pattern if you’re quick enough.

2024.01.03 Second Sempervivum shawl update

The pattern is written and ready for testing.

I took some days last week to concentrate on the pattern.

I had to fix up the chart somewhat and transformed it into two charts, one for the first and intermediate pattern repeats and one for the last repeat.

I keep saying that I’ll make patterns where all the repeats are the same and only a few stitches before and after the repeats are different, but if you want any sort of shaping within the pattern repeat, things will change.

In this case, there are a few increases and decreases that happen right on the edge of a repeat and those need to be taken into account when writing.

All that is done, however, and it even worked easier than when I was writing up the Daisy shawl (coming very soon), which was nice.

All we need now is for me to write up the tester call and signup form, get some testers and get cranking. I’m thinking I should be a little ahead of the testers, so I’ll start now, after I finish a couple more small projects that cover my work surfaces.

Too many WIPs. Now I wonder if I shouldn’t make some project diaries for them as well. You’ll see them on the blog if I do.

Next update should come after testing starts.

2024.01.08 Testing started update

As the heading suggests, the testing has started today with a total of 8 seasoned testers.

I hope we’ll all make it to the finish line with satisfactory results (meaning that I hope they love their shawls).

I also printed the pattern (3 sheets of paper, only text) so I can work on the shawl anywhere in the house (and on the train in the near future).

Sempervivum shawl progress 1

I finished the first page. Looks good so far.

More updates to come soon when there’s something new to share.

2024.01.16 One week into testing

I’m so proud of the testers who’ve taken on the challenge of this pattern!

We already have great progress made in the pattern, with a few issues found (some stitches I forgot to add and some stitches I had to change for clarity).

Here’s my progress so far. OK, I’m a bit further on right now as I’m writing this, having completed the first color entirely and started the third color.

Andrea Cretu Sempervivum shawl WIP 2

What I love about this yarn cake is that each color gets its opportunity to fully shine, so all 4 strands are the same color.

Normally in gradient cakes they change the 4th strand to the next color and that, in my opinion, messes up the gradient, as you never see the intermediate color in its entirety.

Now I have an idea on how to modify this design to get a sunflower-like texture. I’m no longer afraid of long chain spaces either.

Here are some of the tester WIP photos, with attribution in each photo’s caption and title.

I’ll share more progress shots as the shawls grow and we can truly enjoy the beautiful yarn choices the testers have made.

Later on I’ll add a list of yarns that testers have chosen to make their shawls.

That’s all for this update. More pretty photos coming soon.

21.02.2024 – Blocking

I ran out of yarn! Oh no, the 1000 meters was not enough for all the rows for the second sample.

That’s not exactly a problem, since the last few rows in the pattern were extra, not entirely part of the leaf pattern, so that you can use up more or less of the yarn that you do have.

Testers have also confirmed that they needed more than 1000 meters of yarn to finish the pattern, so I’ll update it to reflect that.

I had to stop on row 62. The edge is a simple slip stitch that makes everything smooth, since chains by themselves tend to be a bit loopy.

Sempervivum shawl blocking

I washed and pinned out the shawl into shape to dry.

I also went over it with steam from my iron, to help the acrylic component relax a bit, so hopefully the finished shawl will be soft and flowy, instead of stiff, which tends to happen to cotton shawls that are stretched out like this.

Finished photos from testers coming soon.

Also from me, once this dries and I can make a little photoshoot, hopefully not during a storm, like the one that’s incoming over the next few days.

Stay safe and happy beginning of spring (or autumn)!

07.03.2024 – Published

Whoo, it’s out, published, done. Now the marketing begins, but that process can take its time.

You can find the pattern in the Yarnandy shop, on Etsy, on Payhip or on Ravelry.

Sempervivum shawl 1

There are also now custom yarn cakes available, in a kit with the pattern in German and English. These are a few of the options.

Sempervivum gradient colors from Sparwolle

You can work inside-out or outside-in and I provided visuals for both options for each colorway. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting.

Honestly, I’d get one of these to work up with other patterns, too.

Now let’s see some tester finished projects.

I think they had fun with this one.

Dara even started a second shawl while we were testing this. Talk about productivity!

Now, because of the testers, I’ve been able to take some decisions in the making of the final pattern and I’m very happy and lucky to have such wonderful testers.

If you too want to test a future pattern for me, just sign up to my email updates and you’ll always be notified of a testing call. Everyone has equal chances of testing, so there’s nothing to lose.

If you like this pattern and make something from it, please be sure to tag me on Instagram @yarnandy or anywhere else you post. You can usually find me by name or by searching for Yarnandy.

I’m always happy to see and share your beautiful projects.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey and I’ll see you around, in other project diaries.

Lots of hugs,


Sign up to Yarnandy email updates and get the Kizilkaya shawl pattern. Click here to sign up. Image of bias shawl with rows of eyelets, draped on a vintage coat hanger.

2 thoughts on “Sempervivum shawl – project diary”

  1. Hi
    Do you have enough test Crocheters for this beautiful shawl? I don’t always finish everything I start but this shawl would be worth trying.


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