Leave a Comment

  • Here’s another very nice version of Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjbpwlqp5Qw
    Best! Katja from Ljubljana

    • Nice! Thank you Katja.

    • Our women’s choir did this arrangement of Africa. It was fun! Also love the Kaffe wisdom and Ruth’s calm demo. She almost makes it look easy!

  • Good morning! Looking at the chart…thinking of all those stripes of many yarns….I would think you would have to carry them over the areas of pale green chenille…..because how can you possibly change them on each tiny section between petals? I’d also carry the chenille across….it would help to stabilize the chenille. Of course, this is all just in my head….I don’t knit intarsia normally, but I would knit this as I can visualize knitting it this way 🙂

    It might be too early in the am, and I am dreaming…..but that’s the way I’d do it 🙂

    All this Kaffe talk….the Leaf Tabard, Holly, is taunting me to put my knitting needles to the intarsia test 🙂 (Magazine 50? The one that was issued in hard copy to subscribers?) Not that I wear Tabards or anything 🙂

  • God love you, Kay!! That’s all I good think as I read this post. This will take so much focus to make. I’m in for the ride of watching this flower come to life. xo

  • Lurking from China where I accomplished not one worthwhile thing today… until the link to Toto. All good now!

  • Kay, I so wanted to come along for the ride as you work on this one, and you haven’t disappointed. Especially surprising (don’t know why) is the fact that this project calls for large needles, so this is going more quickly than I would have guessed. I also like the realization that the project is stripes with a large flower “superimposed” on them. I think that Kaffe started out in knitting stripes, so this is organic and true to his beginnings.

    Thanks Kay.


  • Susan Rainey (lv2knit) of the Rainey Sisters blog came up with the ultimate solution for stranding across broad stretches. She calls it Invisible Stranding but it’s unlike any of those techniques found on YouTube. There are directions and videos in her hat pattern It’s Not About the Hat. She got it from macine knitting and developed a way to do it in handknitting. It’s genius and works fabulously in the Norwegian sweater I am knitting now. I gather the official name is “ladderback jacquard”.

    • Thank you, Sandy! I would much prefer stranding to intarsia as well, so I’ll definitely have to check this out. One thing I think you’d have to keep in mind, though, if you chose to apply this technique to a pattern written for intarsia, is that you would likely need more yarn than what was called for. I wonder if there is a formula for calculating how much additional yarn would be necessary?

      • That’s a really good question! My guess is there’d be quite an increase in the amount since you’ll be doing the circumference of the garment, if it is knit in the round. If it’s knit flat probably some increase but not as huge an increase since it could be confined to the area of the intarsia.

  • This makes me want to sit down with a Kaffe book and actually read it rather than just look at the gorgeous pictures. He seems so relaxed – not nit picky, like I expected. I loved his bit about substituting yarns.

    I’ve never done anything intarsia. I find this all very interesting.

    • Kaffe Fassett is the king of relaxed, imo. His motto could be “just go for it”, or even better “want more fun? Add more colors!”

  • Dear Kay,

    I would like to introduce you to a marvelous teacher – Lorilee Beltman, she will quickly help you untangle your intarsia and create a lovely center pull butterfly. She is masterful at this and I think you will find they are not heavy or cumbersome!



  • I learned intarsia the same way you did Kay. I actually felt like a better knitter when people kept asking me how I “learned” it when I just went for it!

    For Anne S., on ravelry last night I saw a post about a yarn substitution website– http://www.yarnsub.com. I have not tried it yet, but what I read sounds useful.

    • What an interesting site! Thanks!

  • So, Kaffe is basically telling us it’s ok to have a ridiculous stash of things that don’t go together?

    • LOL, yes. Somehow he manages to make them work, though. Me? Not so much…

    • Absolutely!

  • So I also thought, hmm, maybe I could try an intarsia warshrag and stumbled onto this beauty: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/grafisk-klud-3

    • Thank you Rev Emily, this is for me. I’m punching well above my knitting skills in reading this blog.

      • I love that someone said this! I feel that way all the time. Just peeking into people’s knitting at this level gives me a rich fantasy life.

  • “…all the ends.” That is the understatement of the day. Who looks at this project and thinks, “What it really needs is a few more ends to work in.”

  • “Tolerance for ambiguity” is what keeps running through my mind as I read this post. Probably necessary but sometimes hard to call up. Bless you, Kay!

  • I remember my first intarsia project – it was a Lion Brand blanket that had intarsia detail at the edges. I couldn’t figure out what the heck they meant by twisting the yarns & I remember sitting on the floor with half a dozen knitting books around me trying to decipher the instructions. I think I finally got it & was so thrilled to know something knittingly new!

    • Love this, especially as I’m currently working with 19 skeins on CaMaRoses beautiful Harlekin blanket. Tangles do not begin to cover it

  • That Kaffe quote in the ps influenced my yarn acquisition pattern for years, thus the tub of random yarn in the attic.

  • This is a “knitting as a metaphor for life” post —

    ” Intarsia is a metaphor for mess. It’s a tangle, no matter how you do it. The front side looks good (if you’re good, and lucky), but the back side is a slough of despond.

    But I want the Big Flower, so I’m facing into the tangle.”

    This is the pattern for so many worthwhile things — we wanted a family . . . “so I’m facing into the tangle.”
    Build a house, have a child, start a business, even clean out a cupboard or wash a window — and there’s mess involved. Sometimes lots. But go for the Big Flower! <3

  • LOVE how it looks do far! And appreciate the laid back attitude presented of intarsia. I’ve yet to try it.

  • Kay, I enthusiastically recommend Lucy Neatby’s DVD, Intarsia Untangled. It’s fantastic! Just like all her DVDs. Her instruction is clear and the camera work superb. Check out that gorgeous coat she wears in the intro! Knitterly Lust!

  • Your PS suggests yet another use for those random bits of handspun that accumulate around here. Yay!

  • “Tangling is not the problem–it’s the process.” = Life lesson!

  • Loved the Toto links! Gave me chills (and flashbacks) this morning when I watched. And then I walked into my middle school building to start my day and the band was practicing…you guessed it…Africa!

  • And then there is the whole ‘smooth the jagged edges of intarsia which I think is sort of brilliant!


  • Behind on blogs so just now fully understanding the scope of the sweater you are creating. I went from the Stopover sprint to the fingering-weight marathon that is Joji’s Boxy — and was feeling all swaggery.

    Never mind. Nothing to see here. Kay’s got her triathlon on.

  • Learning to knit in my native France, I never learned the difference between intarsia and stranded colorwork. They were both called “jacquard” in knitting magazines, and never knowing that “intarsia” was a whole different animal actually made it less intimidating. To me, stranding the motif color in the back only makes sense if the reverse side of the FO will be exposed, i.e. in a blanket or a scarf. In that case I’ll catch my contrast yarn every 2 or 3 sts at the most so it is barely stranded. Otherwise, I believe in short lengths a la Kaffe.

    For a fabulous intarsia project that looks great on the reverse side, check out Knitosophy’s beautiful Noro blanket on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Knitosophy/33-heart-blanket . Her project notes are excellent.

    What I find hard about doing intarsia is that I never develop a rhythm as I can with other techniques. This one is all stop and go. But the visual impact is worth it.

    • Wow! And a helpful knitting cat also!

  • WOW. Just the thing to make me wish my knit-backward skills were better. I just know we will be gasping in awe and admiration soon…. jdu

  • I am in a deep state of awe with a smattering of jaw-drop when I read the WIP posts here these days. I don’t know which project – Ann’s Starmore or your Fassett – is more, well I was going to say “incredible” but that isn’t quite right. It’s totally credible, but in a spectator-sport kind of way. For me, this is like watching people rock-climbing up Half-Dome. Thank goodness you’ll each have a warm sweater when you get to the top; it always looks windy up there.

  • Kaffe’s advice re short lengths and pulling on them is, indeed, the only way to manage one of his sweaters. It’s surprisingly freeing if you’ve been a bobbin girl. Just take a night off every once in a while devoted to the weaving in of ends. 😉

  • My word, it is already magnificent.

  • The stripes are nice, but I still have qualms about the Big Damask Slipcover. All those ends! Handwashing that monster! Aaargh!!! I think I need to knit some dishcloths to recuperate. . .

  • I really appreciated that tutorial. I knit continental, and I can see that it may be easier to overlay the yarms if working from the right in English style.

  • I just uncovered my big flower jacket – made it in the 80s, had it lined (in purple, of all colors!) and everything – doubt that I will EVER wear it again so, great good luck to you … I remember the knitting of it with fondness!

  • Thank you so much for answering my question!! I’ll go back to the Kafe Fassett books & sort through my stash for yarn to make one of those gorgeous sweaters without fear.

  • Greetings I am so delighted I found your blog page, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Digg for something else,
    Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for
    a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I
    also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute
    but I have book-marked it and also included your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more,
    Please do keep up the fantastic job.

  • Really when someone doesn’t know afterward its up to other people that they will assist, so here it occurs.

  • The first thing that comes to mind when I think of a rainbow is my life. It has had many ups and downs. Marriage, children, dogs, house, illness, abandonment, infidelity, divorce. To finding love again and being engaged to a wonderful man, a new house and lots of love, trust and happiness. My world is a rainbow every day now that I have found my soulmate.

  • Rainbow means hope that the US elections don’t end up in the hands of Donald Trump. If so, I will have to move back to Scotland where I was born, I’m sure I can get Noro yarn there too. Sorry for the humor.

    • Reading this in 2017, I am sorrier then I can say that your hope went unfulfilled; it was my hope too. I apologise to the world for the horror we have unleashed on it.

  • Comment

  • In regard to your reader Anne’s question about older patterns – I had a great experience finding new colors at a Rowan “flagship” (the shop owner’s term) store in Minnesota. They were able to research and find new names and numbers for all of the old colors specified in a Kaffe Fassett pattern published years ago in a Rowan magazine. Because of his genius with color I wanted to knit it with the original color scheme. So, it doesn’t hurt to find out which local shop is a flagship for a particular brand and get their help. They also told me about the revitalization of the Rowan company which reassured me in purchasing a sweater amount of that brand.