The Cathedral Window Crochet-along

Update: Annie's Attic has released this pattern on its own, so the days of hunting for an affordable copy of the publication are gone. Hurray!

Annie's Attic - Cathedral Rose Window Afghan

Also, Crochet Today magazine (November 2007 issue) has released a similar, less intricate pattern, created completely in single crochet:

Stained Glass Afghan

In 1994, Annie's Attic released a pattern book called Award-Winning Afghans. The cover project is a spectacular afghan based on the Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, created by Julene Watson.

In July 2005, Crochetville members diamond and Chatty started a crochet-along for this amazing pattern.

A crochet-along happens when a group of folks decide to tackle a new project as a group. If you're lucky enough to have a local group to work with, you may have done these in person. But for those of us who don't, Crochetville hosts crochet-alongs. They're especially wonderful when you're working on a challenging or time-consuming pattern, like this afghan.

The rose windows of Notre Dame de Paris

The north rose window - Earthlore Gothic's closeup photograph

The south rose window

Britannica online article - points out that unlike the majority of churches in Europe, the glass in the three great rose windows of Notre Dame are the original glass installed some time before 1260AD. During WWII they were removed from the building and stored for safekeeping.

Wikipedia article

Notre Dame de Paris - the cathedral's website (in its English translation) - most impressive if you use Internet Explorer to visit the site, although I'm having trouble viewing the photographs in its gallery.

And if you're really smitten with this window, you can buy a 10 1/2" replica at Amazon. Or at least you could if it was still available. Sorry for getting your hopes up.

Forums and Support Groups

Cathedral Crochet-a-Long thread at Crochetville - where it all started...

CathedralCAL group at Yahoo

List of Ingredients

The original pattern calls for worsted weight yarn in these quantities: 33 ounces light varigated, 11 ounces dark varigated, 38 ounces black, and 3 ounces white. Assuming that Red Heart's yards per ounce are relatively consistent, at 53 yards per ounce, this works out to:

  Black White Light Varigated Dark Varigated
Length required (yards) 2014 160 1749 583
Worsted weight (ounces) 38 3 33 11
Lace weight (grams) 200 16 175 60
Lace weight (ounces) 7+ 1/2 6+ 2+
Fingering weight (ounces) 19 1.5 17 5.5
Fingering weight (grams) 480 38 416 140

I used 10 yards per gram, or 285 yards per ounce as the conversion factor for the laceweight; 105 yards per ounce (4-and-a-bit yards per gram) for fingering weight.

Julene Watson left this note as guidance for picking current yarns:

You can still get the principle colors I used. They are made by Red Heart. Get the Black and White in the Super Saver size, but not the "sport weight." But, be SURE you get the "Wedgewoods" in the 3 oz. "Classic" size and worsted weight. Even though it *does* come in the slightly-cheaper super saver size, the colors are NOT the same, and you will be more dissappointed with the results of using the super saver size than you will be pleased by the few dollars you will save. It's the other "variegated" yarn for the smaller, purplish window panes that always proves problematic. I've had my yarn of choice discontinued on me 4 times now! At the moment, if I were making the afghan today, I think I would use one strand each of Moda Dea "Gleam" yarn, tweeded, in Amethyst (#3552), Blue Topaz (#3517) and Rubelite (3903). I think this would give the closest result to the original, with the added "bonus" of a bit of sparkle as the sun shines through the "window." I know that's a bit on the pricey side, so for those watching their pocketbooks, I would consider using either Moda Dea "Swirl" yarn #3945 - Carnival OR Moda Dea "Metro" yarn #9446 - Sante Fe as possible substitutes, depending on which one the individual felt looked the best with the Red Heart yarns. Good luck, and let me know how they turn out!

(reported by Drew the Crochet Dude on page 48 of the CathedralCAL thread on Crochetville, 23 Mar 2006).

Various and sundry corrections, changes, etc

I've organized these in the order in which they occur in the pattern. I've tried to include the original references in the Crochetville thread. Please let me know if I've missed a suggestion, or if I haven't given credit where it was due!

If you're interested in how folks made decisions about the kind of yarn to use, hook sizes, color schemes, or general "design issues," check the Crochetville thread. It's too much to try to summarize. The original pattern uses worsted weight yarn in one strand for the majority of the work, but uses a small amount of double-stranding as well as popcorn stitches to create three dimensional effects. Some of us use those. Some of us prefer a flatter final product. And don't get me started on the gauge.

Cheryl's notes provide a lot of insight into how she modified the pattern to do a more single dimensional version.

Section 1

Post #243 from Bellisima includes this suggestion for Rounds 4 and 5 of the octagon:

Also, on rounds 4-5 of the octagon, I think it should say

(Sl st, ch4, dc) in first ch, skip next st, *dc in each st around to next ch-1 sp, (dc, ch1, dc) in next ch-1 sp; skip next dc; repeat from *

(the instructions in red are my suggestions). The only way I could make the stitch count correct for each round was to skip the dc directly after the dc, ch1, dc corner. (I hope that made

For some reason, folks didn't react strongly to this suggestion, but I used it and it did make my counts come out correctly.

Everyone agrees that Round 3 of the pentagons in the First Section contains a mistake:

The pattern reads Ch 3, 2 dc in next, *dc in next 4, etc.... It just wasn't working for me has I was missing the 5th ch-1 spacing so I did: Ch 3, (dc,ch1, dc)in next space then continued with the rest of the row as stated. Did anyone else notice this?

[As far as I can tell, this was first noted by diamond in post #139 of the Crochetville thread, and confirmed by many subsequent members, including myself.]

My note on this section: " The central octagon ends up being 64 stitches around - that's 8 stitches per side. I think of the black edging as "1 sc in the ch1-space, 6 sc across to the next corner, 1 sc in the ch1-space" across each of the sides.

This matters because each of the pentagons should *also* end up with 8 stitches on each side. Round 3 of the pentagons leaves you with 30 stitches, or 6 per side. Then you do the same "1 sc in the ch1-space, 6 sc across to the next corner, 1 sc in the ch1-space" trick to make the edging, and sewing them all together comes down to "just" lining up the stitches.

Diamond's post #139 offers this comment on the black edging around the pentagons:

Also, in regards to everyone's pentagons curving. My first two were curving and I knew something wasn't right. So on my 3rd pentagon when it came to attaching the black and sc around here's how I got my pentagons to be 5-sided and laying flat without curving. At each ch1 space where you put 2 sc in, I then sc into that first ch after it. This stitch is usually overlapped by the 2 sc but I found it makes a big difference in how the pentagon ends up looking. I then frogged the black on the first 2 pentagons and redid them as the other 6 and they are now flat and perfect pentagons.

The pattern calls for the black edging to be made with a single strand, using the H hook, unlike the body of the pentagons themselves which are double-stranded and made using the G hook.

That 3-D effect worries a lot of folks when they're working on Section 1. If you follow the pattern as written, correcting the pattern for the pentagons, and then sew things together, you'll find that the afghan does not lay flat. That seems to be intentional. If you do not want to create that 3-D effect, follow Cheryl's notes below, or make your own modifications to create the effect you want.

I followed rddugan's recommendation in Post #428:

Did anyone try crocheting around the first section with black rather than making and sewing all those triangles? I don't like to sew and tried this by following the pattern for the triangles backwards - crocheting right on to section one. I slip stitched in the extra stitch and did 2 sc instead of 2 dc on tips of the hexagons. It looks fine to me. Maybe my pentagons aren't as pointy as they should be. I'll have to post a picture to see what you think.

Here's how I did it. The "meat" of the triangles occurs in the second row, as it's written in the pattern: "sl st in first 3 ch, sc in next 2 ch, hdc in next 2 ch, dc in next 4 ch, hdc in next 2 ch, sc in next 2 ch, sl st in last 3 ch." This is the row that gets stitched to the outer edge of the pentagons. Once I had my pentagons sewn on, I attached my black yarn so that I could start following the pattern directions at the tip of the pentagon. Then the pattern instructions become:

Starting at the tip of one of the pentagons, sl st in first three stitches of edging; sc in next 2 stitches; hdc in next 2 stitches; dc in next 4 stitches; hdc in next 2 stitches; sc in next 2 stitches; 3 sl st to get to next pentagon tip. Repeat 7 times, join back with sl st in original tip of pentagon.

To verify that you're doing it right, you should have made the first 2 double crochets "in front of" the join between the two pentagons, and the second 2 double crochets after the join.

Once you've finished this round, do another round of single crochet all the way around. You should have 18 single crochets in every "segment" between the tip of one pentagon and the next.

Notes and finished afghans

Getting the rounds to lie flat

In the hopes that others will benefit from my frogging 4 rows, here's how to get the rounds flat.

There are two issues that can create or prevent ruffling when you're crocheting in a circle. I've never
seen it explained quite this way, so I'm hoping it will be helpful to other folks.

Most of the time when you're crocheting in a circle, your goal is to end up with something flat. Problems can show up in two different ways: your outermost row may curl up, or it may ruffle and otherwise refuse to lie flat. Assuming you're not trying to create that kind of effect for artistic reasons, here's how to fix the problem.

If the edge curls up, it means that your outermost row isn't "big enough" to fit all the way around the circle you're making. You can fix this by changing to a slightly larger gauge crochet hook, or by adding increase stitches a little more frequently than you have been.

If the edge ruffles, it means that your outmost row is "too big" to fit on the circle you're making. Drop down a hook size or two. If that doesn't work, reduce the number of increase stitches you're making.

I prefer to start by changing hook sizes because that won't affect the number of stitches. Also because I know I generally crochet larger than gauge, so this usually fixes things for me.

However I am becoming a big fan of making lovely floppy ruffles on my circles by deliberately increasing too quickly -- just not on this afghan!

I have not managed to create a comprehensive list of works in progress -- the thread's at over 600 posts as of late August 2006. But here are some of the finished ones, highly drool-worthy and motivational.

Cheryl's posted a summary of her notes on her blog. Very helpful! And the pictures are lovely.

Crochet Dude's Cathedral Window Afghan - Aside from inspiring us all with his gorgeous creation, Drew's contributions to the CAL include lots and lots of moral support, vital bits of advice and previous experience, and info from Julene the pattern designer about picking yarns.

Darlene's inspirational photo album

Shaylen's Cathedral in Reds (in progress)

It's My Page, I Can Post My Own Progress Pictures!

As much as I adore old churches (like St. Bartholomew the Great) and their fabulous artwork, I've had colors and shapes from my grandparents' yard in my head for the last month or so. Their home is in a lightly forested neighborhood in South Bend, Indiana. In the springtime, the grass is emerald green, and the yard is covered with crocuses and violets. Daffodils surround the house, where once upon a time my grandmother managed to grow pussywillows, too.

So my cathedral window is a cathedral of trees. I'm using dark brown for the tree trunks, instead of black; yellow and sky blue; greens; and purples and violets.

I want to be able to use my completed window as a lightweight blanket or a really whomping huge circular shawl, so I'm using fingerweight yarn -- the violet/blue and the green medley in the octagon are from Cherry Tree Hill, the others are from E-Bay seller Jojo Online.


The central octagon and a few pentagons (22 Aug 2006). You can see in this picture that the geometric shapes are not very sharply defined at this stage in the production.


Section 1 finished, and I finally got the first round of Section Two right!


The popcorn round took much longer than expected, but I love how it looks.


Another attempt to show the colors more accurately. Hmm, it needs more purple.


As the piece grows, it's getting harder to photograph! This is after completing Section 3, Round 8.


I'm giving up on accurately capturing the colors, even with the daylight lamp. Hopefully sunlight will be more true to color.

Third section, Round 20.


Showing the outer section alongside the large heptagons. My peaks and valleys are a little funky, but hopefully that will sort itself out when it's blocked.



A closeup showing the final round of popcorn, with the royal blue and lavender rows preceding and "Violets in the Woods" after.


Where am I now? I'm on the last solid round of Section 3, getting ready to do the shaping for the small heptagons. I've also been making heptagons and other shapes to replace the dark border in the original pattern - leaves and flowers and other organic looking motifs.

Last modified: tbird 10 December 2007