Counterpane Knitting Shell Pattern – Fan Freebie Friday

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterPrint this pageShare on Google+

Welcome to today’s VTNS Fan Freebie Friday! As Vintage Textile and Needlework Sellers we love to share all kinds of vintage craft patterns with our Facebook Fans.

We asked the question, “What is similar to a quilt but made of yarn?”

This is the answer, a Counterpane. The dictionary defines it as a quilt or coverlet for a bed; bedspread.

Counterpane Knitted Bedspread

This image is a Fan Design knitted bedspread.

This technique takes separately knitted blocks that are sewn together to form panels. The pattern ends up looking similar to a patchwork quilt.

These patterns are popular, because you can work on each block by itself. They are easy to take with you on the go and after you’ve finished the amount of blocks you need, just sew them together to finish your project.

The nice thing about counterpane knitting is, depending on how much time you have, you can decide to make a dishcloth with one, a pillow with four,  knit a dozen for a lap afghan or knit a lot and make a bedspread. Totally versatile and up to you.

Counterpane Knitting pattern Dahlia Design


Some of the vintage designs are so intricate and beautiful they look like a Matelasse bed cover. This Dahlia Design uses triangles sewn together to make a beautiful floral design.



*** I’ve made an addition to this blog post ———-

I’ve added the pattern for the Dahlia Design counterpane knitted bedspread.  It was originally meant to be just an example, but I noticed that there was quite a bit of interest in it. After some digging, I found the actual pattern for it in my files, so I’ve scanned it and added it below.

Vintage Crafts and More - Counterpane Knitting Pattern Dahlia Design Instructions 1

Vintage Crafts and More - Counterpane Knitting Pattern Dahlia Design 2


It’s also in a PDF file you can download for later below.

Counterpane Knitting Pattern Dahlia Design PDF


If you get stumped on how to sew them together, check out Knit Simple magazine’s Beginner Basics on Seaming.

This particular shell counterpane pattern is popular. I found this site on the internet where the knitter has graciously interpreted the original 1860 instructions into an easier to follow format.

I have rewritten the original pattern in pdf format. You’ll need the Adobe Reader software on your computer.  Most computers come with it, but it is free and can be found here.

Knitted Counterpane Shell Pattern

Knitted Counterpane Pattern Illustration





I almost forgot the great poem by Robert Louis Stevenson:

The Land of Counterpane
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.


Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterPrint this pageShare on Google+