Kaffe’s Coins Scarf: The Cristina Variation

By Kay Gardiner
November 14, 2019
The most exhilarating knitting we know: Field Guide No. 13, with designs by master colorist Kaffe Fassett.

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  • Isn’t it interesting how some colour combinations look like a wine glass (the background colour) rather than a coin. Or is this just my migraine. Still a clever new rule to experiment with. This is a lovely book . Thank you.

    • I hadn’t seen the “wine glasses” until I read your comment. Now, I don’t think it’s your migraine, but the particular colors as they are combined, AND I see martini glasses!

    • Not your migraine. It is a secondary design. It happens in quilting, too. I did not even see it until you pointed it out. It makes this design even better, if that is possible! Thanks.

      I hope you will soon feel better.

    • cristina + kaffe = a knit nerd’s favourite reading

  • Eager to get my copy and get started on this!!

  • I must be even thicker than usual due to a cold, but I need more of an explanation. What exactly is a “repeat?” I have my ten colors, I bought my Field Guide #13 yesterday, and am otherwise ready to go.
    I have been a Kaffe Fassett fan since the eighties, love this!

    • Every set of 5 stripes (using all 10 colors) is a repeat. Repeat is a word I use interchangeably with “unit” or “segment.”

  • Knowing me, I would probably write out each of 90 unique combinations and chart out my entire scarf first. Because, well, that’s me.

    • That’s so Mini Meebs!

    • And being me, now that I’ve finished my cowl, I want to fill a piece of watercolor paper with bands of all 90 combinations.

      • Yes.

      • That would be beautiful!

  • I tend to wear my favorite ‘blah’ colors on repeat, and tend to knit that way as well. I throw in a ‘juicy’ item maybe once a year. I love exuberant colors and color combos, but I don’t feel confident in color pairing. The love I’ve always had for KF designs is the way he adds MORE color when there seems to be any question of what to do next. This coin cowl just may be my first project when my Field Guide arrives… the orderliness of the 5s and 10s makes my brain’s math region happy! (But I don’t know, that steeked baby blanket is, like, amazing…)

  • Kay your scarf is absolutely vibrant and bursting with color. That is how mine will be. I must finish some projects for Christmas gifting 1st.
    Christina’s colors are muted (don’t like dusty word). They remind me of an antique rug, Kilim ones. She made nice choices in her stripes
    I go with strong, lively colors on winter accessories especially living in New England.
    So many people in dark winter coats and jackets paired with dark scarves and hats.
    I like to lift my own spirit and other’s with some peppy colors. Try it on a rainy day, it brings some smiles.
    Anyway, I am inclined to label my yarn by number and create a chart. I like the planning ahead, play with the colors process. Ordering my book, NOW

  • How fun is that! I can’t wait to get my bundle of ten and get started!

  • I would make my own bundle folks. If you are color confident. I like to select colors for my scarves that compliment my hair and skin tone.

  • I have to try this tonight! What a great idea!

  • I love this pattern so much! My field guide arrived late yesterday and I can’t wait to pick up some Felted Tweed tomorrow at StitchesSoCal. But first, my class with Cecilia of Sequences fame. Can you tell how excited I am? Thank you Ann and Kay for the endless inspiration!

    • Luckeeee! She’s an incredible teacher. Please give Cecelia a hug for us.

      • Will do, Kay, happily!

  • I love this strategy! I’ll be making cowls until the yarn gets used up – great for stocking stuffers! I also plan to play with adding some checks and stripes in so each one is truly unique. Off to Stitches SoCal today to learn all about sequence knitting! Can’t wait.

    • Your comment about stocking stuffers made a light-bulb go off in my head! What about Christmas STOCKINGS with all these fabulous stripes and colors! That might make one eligible for both Team Sock and Team Kaffe!

      • That’s a brilliant idea! What a great heirloom gift.

  • Could you tell me the exact colors use by Christina? I have lots of old Felted Tweed and would love to recreate her look. It’s gorgeous!

    • I’ll ask her in case she preserved the ball bands.

    • Hi Susan,

      Cristina found 9 of her 10 ballbands. Here are the shade numbers: 139, 142, 148, 150, 152, 154, 157, 158, 162 .

      Tenth color is your wild card!

  • Aren’t there a lot of floats on the back and ends to weave in when this scarf is finished?

    • Good news: it’s a tube, knitted in the round, which makes it easier to work the Fair Isle and also means that all the ends are on the inside and very few (if any) will be woven in.

      • Thank you for this, as I have been most drawn to the coins…wait, no the stripes…OK, coins, in this field guide! Your notes are helpful, and all the projects look beautiful.

  • Are you using a circular needle? Is it a 24 inch length or a 16? Thanks

    • It’s a 16 inch. I wouldn’t have been able to get the 72 stitches on a 24 inch. (I tried.)

      • Thank you! I have loved every guide and made something out of each. I can’t wait to start on this. Thanks for all you do!!

        • That’s wonderful that you’ve knit something from each one! Thank you!

      • The specs say this cowl is 12″ circumference. Just curious how did it fit on a 16″ circular needle if you used the recommended 72 stitches? I was thinking I’d have to use Magic Loop but I can see advantages to just using a 16″ circular. Thanks.

        • Tubular scarf, not cowl, excuse me!

  • I’m not sure I understand that second rule. Does this mean you will never see the five stripes repeated again? Could you use the same five but just line them up differently?

    • It’s more than rearranging or lining up stripes differently. You don’t repeat the exact combination of Color X as the background and Color Y as the coins, in any other individual stripe.

      When you’re using 10 colors in 2-color combinations, there are 90 possible combinations of 2 colors, using 1 for the background and 1 for the coins.

      As with many things in knitting, it made much more sense to me when I got it on the needles!

  • i am so putting this in my “I’m going to knit this soon” list…my own variation–I LOVE color and playing with colors…

  • I’m curious, what if you started with say a blue stripe and a green coin, then used the green for the next stripe and a yellow coin, then use the yellow for the next stripe, and so on and so forth? I might chart it out and see what it looks like.

    • This is where the fun is! Figuring out a little dance that you are going to do with the colors.

      You can just do it randomly (checking to make sure you aren’t repeating), or you can devise a system for making the combinations.

      • I received my yarn yesterday and had lots of fun dancing with the colors and deciding on the first five combinations. After swatching I decided to cast on 171 stitches for the cowl so I could easily pull it up on my head during the cold NH winters. The rib is finished and now the fun begins. The tip on using a marker is brilliant.

    • I like the sound of that.

  • I can’t believe this project won’t involve tiny pompoms somehow!

  • This is my favorite pattern in the book! Thanks for your hint about pairing wild and blah. I instinctively choose wild and wild and then don’t like the result. It’s the blah that pulls it all together! Genius.

  • Totally gorge!!!

  • Hope this question isn’t completely stupid, but… Will you use the entire ball when making any of these awesome designs? My knitting buddy & I just ordered the bright bundle, planning to split the yarns. Can we make a cowl or something small with 25g of 10 different yarns? I looked through the Field Guide ebook (waiting for the hard copy!), but could only find reference to needing entire balls. If I missed something, it would be par for the course! Thanks!!

    • Hi Grayfanatic! I have nearly half a ball left over of my ten colors. So I could have split the 10 balls with someone for two 45-stripe scarves. My leftovers will go to good use as I’m about to embark on a cushion, once I can manage to choose a new pattern. Coins, coins, coins!

  • Love love the coin stripe! Very tempting!

  • Hi Kay,
    I cannot wait to get started on my version of the coin scarf. I will use Cristina’s solid gold tip to make the most combinations of colour that I can. I really am excited about the field guide- thank you.

    Angela 🙂

  • “We’re not decorating a room in a Marriott Courtyard, people! ” Kay, you are a genius.

    I love this pattern so much and can’t wait to get started on a project. What fun!

  • I notice in your instruction booklets that there is no particular cast on method used…For this coin scarf, what would be the best cast on….is there a default cast on you use in general?

    • Hi Bette,

      As long as I have been knitting, the long-tail cast-on has been the default setting, and I expect a pattern to tell me if that is not the way I’m supposed to do it. So that’s how I did my Coins Scarf.

      HOWEVER, now that I have been doing some Deep Thinking about how to finish the ends of this scarf, I realize that using a provisional cast-on would have given me more options for making the two ends of the scarf exactly the same, either by simply binding off the live stitches at each end, or working a Kitchener-stitch graft.

      For my next one, I will do a provisional cast-on, even though the standard long-tail worked out fine for me this time.


  • What size needle did you use

  • This inspires me to do the coins pattern, Kay! Thank you for your explanation of how you used the yarn and colorways!