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Wool into Stone Afghan

Inspired by wool’s natural colors, Amy Tyler interpreted the fossilized coral Petoskey stones as a modular throw.

Amy Tyler Sep 14, 2023 - 4 min read

Wool into Stone Afghan Primary Image

Amy Tyler’s Wool into Stone Afghan transforms knitted circles of natural colored wool into a flexible, organic throw that evokes Michigan’s Petoskey stones. Photo by Joe Coca

When a friend offered me ten raw Shetland wool fleeces of various colors, my exact words were, “Heck, yes!” Although the fiber was a nice quality—soft, with an even crimp—the fleeces had vegetable matter, dirty bits, and second cuts. After two days picking over the fleeces, I took them to Stonehedge Fiber Mill. Gathered all together, the fleeces looked remarkably similar to the colors of Petoskey stones.

The Petoskey stone, Hexagonaria percarinata, is the official state stone of Michigan. It derives its name from the Odawa word petosegay, which translates to “sunbeams of promise.” Although Petoskey stones can be found outside of Michigan, the finest examples are most plentiful in northwestern lower Michigan. This stone is a type of fossilized coral with a distinctive design of roughly hexagonal elements, round centers, and radiating lines that go out to a light-colored edge. The colors vary, but they are all in the black/gray/white direction.

I used the ten rovings to create my first Petoskey project, a wall hanging. After finishing the wall hanging, I created afghans for my sisters, Meg and Jo.

The important elements of a knitted Petoskey stone include a nonuniform shape, allowing four- to nine-sided polygons; a circular center that is usually darker than the outer edge; lines that start outside the circular center and radiate outward to the border; and a light-colored border.

Each of the medallions that make up these afghans is knitted in a circle from two to three colors. The rough hexagonal shapes that result are due to the way the medallions are crocheted together and some strong blocking of the final piece. The center portion of each circle is worked in garter stitch to accentuate the shape, and on the outer portion, a two-stitch twist on a background of reverse stockinette mimics the radiating lines in Petoskey stones. The white yarn is reserved for the border of each medallion and for crocheting the medallions together.

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