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  • A cliffhanger!

    • Exactly! On tenterhooks over here–or tenterneedles since we’re not crocheting. (Note the WE. We’re in this with you Kay–from a safe distance.)

  • Definitely we are in this with you! We can do it! And I bet we will have it done for Rhinebeck, which is only a few months away. Go Kay!

    • I bet several of us will fit into it!

  • Wow Kay! This is Big! I have never done anything like this before, just dreamed about it. I’m sure others have; maybe they’ll send pictures. Maybe some of them will read your post and send any Rowan Chunky Chenille 363 French Mustard that they have lounging around in their stash, thus ensuring their 15 minutes of fame.

    Clara Parkes rocks! (Unless, like that Mayzie bird in “Horton Hatches the Egg”, she’ll want the sweater back once it’s hatched—uh—knit). ????

    Have a ball, Kay! We will be cheering you on from the bleachers.


    • It did not occur to me that I am a pawn in Clara’s subtle game! She’ll have to fight me for it.

      • The mental image this conjures up has made my day.

  • Oooh, so exciting. Thank you for the great reveal! I had never seen this kaffe design before.

  • This is so exciting!

  • My aunt knit Kaffe’s Romeo and Juliet coat with all of it’s brightness and different yarns. It’s a beauty! She wears it every year to the opera.

    • That’s amazing! I’m going to wear mine to the orchid show!

      • Oh, let us know when you and the coat go to the orchid show – I’ll bet that lots of us will be eager to attend as your entourage!

        • Pencil it in for next February!

        • New York, here I come!

  • Marvelous! 25 years ago I knitted a Kaffe sweater with tons of colors – interlocking leaves pattern. It was and is magnificent even though I don’t wear it very often – similar shape to yours. It truly was glorious knitting – as you are going to have!

    • Let’s have a Kaffe party!

  • Wow! I am so looking forward to hearing more about this sweater and to see it all knitted up.

  • I think that the possibility of seeing this sweater “live” will make it a necessity to make the trek to Rhinebeck annually. I have my fingers crossed that the errant skein is on it’s way to you post haste!

    • One thing that inspired me was that I did see this exact sweater at Rhinebeck last October. I think it sparked my competitive nature. Keeping up with the Kaffes!

  • I knit this at least 30 years ago and even added a few sparkly threads into the flower. I loved it but put it away some years after, then about 10 years ago I reached an age when I decided to ignore fashion and wear what I loved. Mine is in a different colour way, pink to dark rose flower. Added bonus heavier yarn combination knits quickly and it is lovely and warm to wear.

    • Congrats, Bev! Lifetime Achievement Award! Glad you are wearing it again. Such a regal garment.

  • Kaffe’s “Glorious Knits” inspired me to take up knitting again back in the eighties. However I never had the courage to knit any of his designs, deeming them too finicky. Good luck and thank you for sharing your journey! You will have a masterpiece.

    PS-thank you for the Lorna’s Laces mini skeins-they arrived yesterday. Will send a photo soon.

  • Lucky you!!! I started and abandoned one of his fussier patterns; it was all circles and dots, as I recall (I donated my books to the Textile Center library, where I can visit them). Interesting note: I volunteered to help set up at the MN Textile Center Garage Sale, and I lost count of the number of Kaffe Fassett books that had been donated for sale. Miles of Glorious Knitting.

  • You have my complete admiration!!!!!!
    Go forth and create!!!!!

  • I wear my 25+ year old Kaffe steps jacket all the time and I still get compliments on it. Caffe is timeless.

  • “Dedicated Reticule” – I love that.

    Clara Parkes is a sweetheart. A realistic sweetheart, who knows damn well she’ll never knit the thing.

    I suggest we have a Kaffe Fassett reunion at Rhinebeck this year, where we all wear our Kaffe Fassett designs and glory in their heavy, over-sized, excessive glory. I’ll be wearing my Zigzag Jacket – not from a kit, but cobbled together from dozens and dozens of skeins picked up here and there. It’s gorgeous and waaaay too big for me; I knit it only a year or two after I started knitting and I didn’t quite understand how a jacket that is over-sized on a skinny, 6-foot-tall model will look … odd on plump, 5′ 3″ me. It’s like wearing a queen-sized blanket. A gorgeous, queen-sized blanket with arms.

    • Another Lifetime Achievement Award winner! We definitely need to plan some sort of Kaffe party. I think the man himself would love it. We have to do it on Skype or something….

  • Also? You are a brave person.

  • You’ve inspired me to star knitting Kaffe Fassetts, Celtic coat. I ve had the kit for 5 years and was intimidated by it. Now I’m ready!

    • Wendy. WENDY. Do not tell me *you* were intimidated. Can’t wait to see you knit it.

  • This is insane and I love it.

  • Iremember this one well. A friend of mine made it and it was/is gorgeous. I made several others from that book, which I still have, autographed by Kaffe. The problem with that over the shoulder in one piece thing is that when the very heavy sweater coat gets worn, it grows longer and longer and the shoulders, having no stability, droop, so the sleeves grow too. After my first one, I reengineered , and gave myself a shoulder seam. In keeping with the times, my original Kaffes had shoulder pads, big assertive ones.

    I wore the first Kaffe sweater till it was threadbare (chenille does not last as long as wool, and I had to swiss darn some of those spots to keep it going). Eventually, it became a very fancy bathrobe.

    • I love that the great Kaffe knitters are chiming in!

  • You are fearless!

  • I humbly bow to your talent.

    you (and others) will be creating a work of art. An heirloom in the making.

  • This is truly the Mt. Everest of knitting. I could never attempt it. The Jewish Mother in me wants to ask: have you checked for more recent errata than that lovely antique letter? I’m betting there has to be more with such a complicated pattern. Good luck!

  • Curious about why it wouldn’t work to make this in one piece from the bottom, rather than in three pieces? It would save you a billion ends to weave at the side seams. And you could get a long groove going on each row, which in the case of this 30-shader, would be sort of blissful.

    • I second Ann with the caveat that re-engineering is a rabbit hole. But recall that in the 80’s knitting all in the round still “Wasnt Done” despite EZ’s tireless advocacy.

      If the yarn ends all ended up at the button bands anyway, I’d go for it. Knit all around up to somewhere simple just shy of the sleeves, divide, knit according to exact directions, then when you’re one plain single color zone from descending Everest, graft the fronts.

      The man himself said to get on with it. Have no fear. Taking the weight of the side seams out of it is worth the bother even if you liked tucking in ends. Double and triple yarn ends….

      • Also remember to leave 4 stitches out, two for each side seam and then add them back when you divide again. That will be a significant yarn and knit savings giving you a bigger margin of safety against the vagaries of gauge, somewhat prudent in cases of extreme time travel.

        At least as much knitting will be saved up the sides of whole sweater as what you have already made, so add that to your to rip or not to rip math.

    • Great minds think alike! The very suggestion I had in mind. Just knit back-and-forth on a super-long circular needle to accommodate the circumference of this grand coat.

      • PS: Also, one could steek the armholes, if one were so inclined, to avoid any angst about matching the stripes.

        • PPS: Remember, it’s not a pullover but a cardigan with A GIANT INTARSIA FLOWER, so you’ll be knitting the body back-and-forth, not as a big tube. We’re not seeking efficiency in stranded colorwork here.

          Whew. Too excited to explain my ideas coherently.

  • How exciting to be gifted a whole kit, ready to be knit up.

    I have knitted several Kaffe designs, way back when, preferring the waistcoats and vests for their smaller size. It’s funny to hear people talk about how difficult a Kaffe Fassett pattern is. I just jumped in and knit it and it wasn’t hard at all. It was great fun!

    I can’t wait to watch your Big Flower bloom!

  • Oh my – that thing is HUUUUUUUGE! You and your entire entourage can wear it to Rhinebeck. Of course you’ll have an entourage. Anyone going to Rhinebeck in a massive Kaffe Fassett jacket will need an entourage to keep control of the hordes who will want to touch it.

    Gorgeous. I am so jealous, and yet, at the same time, relieved it’s not me.

    • My sentiments exactly.

  • My very favorite quote from hearing Kaffe speak: “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” Words to knit by! Be wild, over the top, knit anything you crave! You can do it, one stitch at a time.

  • Oh no! Does this mean it it time for me to knit my well aged Foolish Virgins cardigan kit? I have been holding off for the KF apocalypse.

    Are all the Lynn’s chiming in on this one?

    • I love the Foolish Virgins design! I wish I had the kit in my stash.

    • I have the yarn and pattern for the Foolish Virgins and have been waiting for years to start this! I would love to see your work on this if/when you start. What is your Ravelry name? This is such a great post from Kay, I am looking forward to how this works out for her.

    • I’m another one that has a well-aged Foolish Virgins kit in my stash circa 1992.

      I have, however, completed the Mosaic waistcoat ~1993 – and still wear it. His design is perfect – even across the side seams.

    • I also have this kit, hidden away in a trunk. A couple times I have thought to make part of it (a fellow on Rav has some lovely Foolish Virgin mittens!) but thought I might regret breaking it up. Perhaps this is a sign?

  • You and Ann provide daily inspiration! Anytime I fall into the trap of thinking that a pattern will be too complicated or too frustrating, you ladies give me hope and courage. Now, I only pick projects that will teach me something new. (It doesn’t hurt that you always leave me smiling either.) Thank You!

  • You are the bravest knitter I know, Kay..bar none in the universe! What a fabulous gift to receive!!! I always thought I would love to knit a Kaffe sweater to have and enjoy forever, rather than a collection of cowls, mittens, socks, etc. that could easily be here today and gone tomorrow. I’m not sure I can commit to one project for such an extended amount of time…maybe some day, but not ready just yet. However, I’ve jumped down many rabbit holes with you, so stay tuned! Good luck…I’ll be cheering you on!

  • I don’t think you will need a sign when you wear that sweater. It will be a beauty.

  • Oh God , I love this so much! I adore that coat and everything else in Glorious Knitting and I would never in a million years attempt to make it. I know myself too well–I screw up the simplest of patterns unless I am fiercely concentrating and I’m not sure I have that much fierceness in me. I’m going to so enjoy watching this jacket come to life!

  • I’m speechless. The idea of a Rhinebeck garment for life is….mindblowing. My siggestion is skip the sleeves, but sew the rom and back togerthe for a few insches mid side, and make this into an amazing Kaffe Noncho.

  • oh darn: suggestion , front , together , inches. I hit send before I corrected. Noncho stands as is. It looks like I was hitting the brunch cocktails too hard. (I wish).

    • I second this notion. We know you are a sleeveknitter, yet going modern/timeless has its benefits. It would be Rhinebeck and Carnegie Hall-worthy.

      Love that reticule – did you make it?

  • My heart did a tiny flipover when I saw the photo of the Kaffe Fassett shiny white label. That made me a bit envious. Not all the knitting, but the sewing in of the shiny white label.

  • This is epic, awe-inspiring stuff, Kay! I can’t think how many times I’ve looked at a truly glorious, complicated pattern and thought “Ooh!” before baulking at the thought of the actual knitting. What I really love is that this kit found you, and now you’re going to make it! Enjoy the ride!

  • Wow! My beloved (now departed) grandma knit me a Kaffe Chinese Rose jacket back in the day as my HS grad present. I wear it whenever I can. But gramma didn’t use a kit or even a pattern. She reverse engineered it from a photo in an ad in a knitting magazine before the kit was available in the US. At my request. I share this as a memorial to her: she could do anything. So I know you’re up to this and that it will be entirely worthwhile!

    • Your grandma sounds like an amazing woman and a real do-er! Your jacket must be a treasure.

  • Rowan kits–a time machine in a bag! Enjoy the trip!

  • Wow, a bit trippy. Fun time warp post. That looks like so much fun. Lucky skunk. All that flat knitted intarsia (often 3 colours in a row), stripey, zillion colours is crazy.

    I dug out my copy of Glorious Knitting (my late mom’s copy, she worked in a yarn shop called Threadbenders owned by a very large, very German lady named Helga). I know every cent she earned was spent on yarn, books, gear, etc. I’ve always admired the Stars Waistcoat (especially the blue one) and would totally wear it. I wonder if I could assemble the yarn to make one – backyard summer lawn knitting?

    I’ve now dug out my copies of Glorious Knitting and Kaffe’s Classics (Goodwill score) as a bit of a Sunday morning diversion. Chores, schmores. Off to fire up the Aero press for a second cup of coffee.

    Thnx Kay, the spading of the veg patch will need to wait.


  • It’s the COMMITMENT I admire. the posting of said commitment is a bit intimidating! Be mighty with this!

  • It is beautiful but just give a little more thought to making changes so it will fit better. 80’s clothing is just too big!

  • I agree that the sweater is gorgeous just as written, but for me, the best part of this entry is this line, “He said he does not understand why people dither and hesitate about making things. Just get on with it.” That’s great advice not just for knitting, but for living.

  • Herculean task. Epic journey. You are up to the challenge….and we are holding your hands!!

  • Debbie Downer here. I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable that a big heavy wool knit coat in the hot humid air at the NYBG Orchid Show. One false move and your coat hem has knocked over a prize phalenopsis. Maybe you could wear it to sit outside at the cafe and have a coffee, then leave it somewhere safe while you go look at the orchids?

    • Ain’t no stopping me now! But maybe I’ll wear it to the Christmas train? Or the cherry blossoms?

      • I’m only hoping to stop you from wearing it into the Conservatory! Happy knitting.

  • Kaffe designs are awesome to knit in a mass of various weights and shades of yarn creating a blissful nest of colour and ends to sew in. Kaffe knitting is for when you can knit ensconced in a favourite chair or sofa corner, undisturbed. These projects are not u-bahn/underground/subway knitting!
    I’ve lived my kaffe projects but gave them away in a fit of de-stashing before the Big Move from Cornwall to DE. Now I’m wishing I kept my shaded diamonds coatigan (a gazillion shades of blended knobbly Rowan Summer Tweed) as it would have been perfect for Stuttgart’s current weather.

    • I remember that one! I was in love with Summer Tweed and disappointed at how heavy the garments were. Never regret destashing! Makes room for more good stuff. Keeps the chi flowing.

  • It is indeed a lovely gift and a beautiful textile,-to-be and I look forward to the journey and the end garment! I agree with Connie that there is also much knitting and life wisdom in this post, from Kaffe, (“Just get on with it”) you, and also Bev Longford, (“I reached an age when I decided to ignore fashion and wear what I loved.”) I think it’s also time to reflect on another piece of Kaffe knitting wisdom that you have shared with us, “Just pull from the tangle!”

  • Go big (flower) or go home! Love your enthusiasm and bravery! Knit on.

  • Whoa! Down to the basement I go to dig out my partially-complete Kaffe Fassett sweater that resides in its own Rubbermaid bin. Who knew I might return to it? This would be the Rhinebeck Sweater of all Rhinebeck Sweaters, for sure!!!!!

    • New rule for Rhinebeck: them as gots Kaffe, wear Kaffe. #RubbermaidRescue

  • Pretty much the opposite of #bangoutasweater.

  • Wow! You are going to have so much fun. I made Kaffe’s leopard waistcoat, but because my gauge was off, it became a coat. Fair isle with three colors in every row, every row different, knit flat. It took me a year to finish but I still wear it. I still swear that if it hadn’t been for that chart, I would have never needed reading glasses.

  • This post is great! I have most of the KF books and the yarn and pattern for The Foolish Virgins sweater (pullover and cardigan) which I still consider to be the best KF/Rowan sweater ever! I will be cheering you on and maybe this will get me to dig out the Foolish Virgins and start this!

  • Back in the 90s I was in a knitting group with someone who knit a Kaffee Fassett kit, a sweater of small triangles, I think. It was gorgeous. It took her forever to knit.

    Are you going to make yours so long?

  • How wonderful to be given this kit for the Big Flower jacket and to be able to be immersed in Kaffe for a few months.
    I was lucky enough to be given Glorious Knitting in 1987 and have been hooked on Kaffe ever since. Took two weeks off work to sit in front of the fire and knit the Pineapple Coat, and knitted a few jumpers and vests since.
    I’m a big fan of working with bobbins, rather than dangling lengths of yarn, and my one ‘vintage’ pattern adjustment suggestion would be to consider a ‘looser’ type of finishing for the bottom band, especially for jumpers, as ribbing can pull in quite tight. I’ve snipped my bottom bands at the sides, and at the back of my mind is to remove the bands all together and hem them instead.

    • This is excellent advice! I hate that pulled-in look. Maybe I will cast on more stitches to begin with for a straighter shape.

  • Wowza! For me, this is knitting as spectator sport. I’m predicting a modification on the seamless shoulder, if only an added line of stabilizing crochet or something. I mean, all that weight just hanging and hanging and stretching and stretching…but what do I know? Just being an armchair knitter. (That expression doesn’t really travel well, does it? I mean, unlike quarterbacks, most knitters ARE armchair knitters.)
    Hope your 363 French Mustard arrives soon. In the (also 1985) words of Tom Petty, “The wai-ai-ting is the hardest part.”

    • I’m going with the chorus saying I should knit it all in one piec up to the armholes and then seam the shoulders. I revere Kaffe’s artistry and get what he was concerned about in terms of avoiding an ugly seam at the shoulder but I think it will be better seamed.

      • Sigh of relief. You’re not going to regret it. Also 2×2 rib doesn’t pull in for the 80’s belly flop band effect.

  • OMG…it is so stunning..like something Princess Di might have worn on a Balmoral holiday!

  • Kaffee usually comes up with inventive, colorful, elegant design, and I cannot predict with any certainty how you will look in it. . .but. , . .you may wish to choose a different pattern or modifying this one almost beyond recognition (like turning it into a picnic blanket). Why?? Because it makes the model’s a** look enormous!

  • Inspiring and amazing.
    I look forward to the photos.
    You can do it!

  • My aunt knit a long Kaffe Fassett jacket in the 80s while I was going to law school. I remember visiting her in Westchester and thinking I’d rather go to class than knit that tiny intarsia. I’d love to have that jacket now!

  • I used to knit Kaffe Fasset designs as samples for a local yarn shop in the 1980s and they were fabulous, even if supremely fiddly with the multiple yarns. You have brought back lots of happy memories (I still have one of the jackets in the attic!) and you’re going to love yours – both knitting and wearing it! xx

  • Oh my ! this is a BIG project. And we are all here watching for progress, cheering you on! No pressure at all. Just kidding, look forward to watching this knit up.

  • YAHOOOO! This will be fun. 😉

  • Wow! I don’t think I’ve seen this sweater before. It’s going to be amazing. Perfect for Rhinebeck, and I think you’re going to love it.

    Congratulations to you winners of the giveaway! Very lucky pups.

  • This is going to be awesome!

  • Years ago, maybe 31 years ago, Kaffe Fassett gave a weekend class in how to knit with many colors. He had travel bags full of his knitted garments and it was amazing holding them, trying them on, etc. But learning to knit with at least 25 colors in a row overwhelmed me! I will look forward to seeing your sweater at Rhinebeck. Enjoy, don’t let the multiple colors in one row kill your mojo!


  • i’m thrilled to watch, follow along as you knit this. have the book and still lovingly go through it and have always wanted to do something! just always a bit intimidating. the best i did was use your pattern from your book for the self-striping blanket and turned the dots into Kaffe’s small poppies. 🙂

  • my dear camel ,came in last.

  • I have this original kit, which I purchased in Stratford-upon-Avon in about 1991. I was so excited. I have completed the entire back, and am going down the front halves. I also cast on and began the sleeves (together). Then … life interfered. Our family moved, so I didn’t touch it for 10+ years. With assistance from a knit shop, I was back on track …. BUT … again LIFE got in the way! My husband passed away, I began downsizing and eventually moved. I kept the project, with high hopes. 15 years later … and with dimmed vision of 73, I am giving up. I showed it to a Rowan rep who said I should get it onto ebay. Everything is there! What would you suggest?

  • I was trying to decrease the number of books on my shelves. The books from the 1980’s, I almost put in the toss pile, almost. I’ve decided to never throw-out any knitting book. Who cares if the style isn’t up to date. I have never been a style-icon so why start now.
    Perfect timing on your part to post that Beautiful coat of Kaffes.
    Love this site on Saturdays, love the sense of humor ❤️

  • When my mother received a similar Kaffe Fassett kit from a well-meaning, down-sizing friend she knit it carefully and then ran out of one yarn. The kit is at least 30 years old. My niece living in London and I went to the source of all wisdom, Liberties, and asked. A former assistant of Kaffe said, oh, that yarn is discontinued. But here is the closest we have. Of course, she said, Kaffe would say, “well, then just bung in whatever color you like there.” I hope that made the substitution acceptable for her. It was good advice.

  • I’m going to knit Chinese Rose in the round with steeks. No way am I going to purl every other row in that pattern

  • My mum started making one of these when I was a child. It was in a different colourway, though – pinks and browns (gorgeous!). Did you ever finish it? My mum never did, sadly.