How to Design Your Own Color Explosion Throw

By Kay Gardiner
October 28, 2021

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  • Good Morning, Kay! I might have a potato chip omelet for lunch, and go for a dive through my stash for dessert, thanks to your lovely inspirational letter today! Many hugs and warm thank yous!

  • Oh, I like Kay’s Bag Method – I confess the chart in the FG is a little intimidating for me, especially since I don’t have enough Felted Tweed in my stash so I’m substituting another DK wool with different colors. Trying to assign letters to each color looked somewhat overwhelming to me. I have plenty of bags, and I love the randomness of it. Thank you, Kay!

    • Hi Ginny! I hear you about the challenge of working with so many colors. have really loved the color card I made, using Cecelia’s suggestion to cut a piece of each color and tie or tape it to a card with the letter name for it. It makes it really easy to use the chart in the book.

    • I made a shade card myself after I had chosen all the colors. Quickly realized that with my on-the-fly knitting of this project, it would be fun to wing it with the random color pulls. But if I were working with a kit I’d definitely use the chart and the shade card to automate the process.

  • I did a version of this randomness for my little blanket. I like the 2-bagger plan as a great way to proceed. The only thing I was very careful with way making sure on the second and third strip that the same color combo was not in the same spot as on the first strip.
    On the other hand, that would be another interesting way to go – making each strip the same.
    This is such a fun go with the flow project and a great way to use all those little leftovers……

  • We have a potato chip omelette almost every Sunday, with a bottle of bubbly and a movie. In Madrid a few weeks ago, I noticed the real tortillas were moister and had some finely diced sweet onions. So undercook and add onions we did.

    • I got the craving from you two! Resistance was futile!

  • Amazing! I was inspired to do the Kites Throw last winter with colours I chose to match a carpet. It turned out beautifully, and gave me a lovely bag of leftovers! I spent all last evening….way too late….figuring out how to do the Colour Explosion throw with these colours that I already have! I plan to do just as Kay suggested….match my extra colours from the Kites Throw with colours of a similar hue to use as a single colour. So now i have 11 “colours”. I was going to mini swatch it all, but I decided to live on the wild side and just go for it! I cast on and here I go! Stay turned!

  • I’m confused. The pattern actually calls for 2 balls of all 11 colors…which is what I bought. I notice that you sell a kit with 3 balls of 3 colors. Can you explain?

    Also, a bit of math. Combining 11 colors with one other color will yield 55 combos. The throw has 4 strips of 18 color changes…so 72. Some are repeated in pattern as written.

    • Hi there Sue,

      The kit is correct; the pattern has an unfortunate error in the ball quantities, which we corrected on our corrections page here:

      Having said that, you may not need the third ball for all three colors. Our tech editor adds in a yardage buffer of 10 percent, and that’s what put these 3 colors over the 2-ball threshold.

      And thank you for the math lesson, I will allow some repeats in my marls!

      • Thanks for pointing me to the erratum. I have the field guide and I’m just beginning to plan how to use my stash. Does anyone know how to convert from US shades to UK ones – Barbara for example?

  • I love your style Kay! I can definitely get into the bag method especially since I would work with stash sock yarn…We’ll see. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s progress and tips.

  • Very nice! I am also using my Felted Tweed stash, in the blue, teal, green, and light neutral shades. So far I am very pleased with the outcome and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  • I am a person that has difficulty making choices so I really like the idea of using the 2 bags! It increases enjoyment of the process, and also exercises the “go with the flow” muscles. Two great benefits.

  • I am not sure this is correct place to leave my remark about pickling and jars but here goes . . .
    I, like many others, do tons of canning – jam, marmalade, tomato sauce, salsa, pickles of all sorts. I am always asking friends for their canning jars (the ones I gave them full of goodies, or ones they got from SOMEone else!?) I am somewhat terrified of running out of jars of all sizes and I might even admit to being a hoarder of jars! This supply chain thing keeps me awake at night!!! So far, so good now that I’m nearly done with canning for this season. Now beings the collecting/hoarding season!!
    With hopeful regards, Pat

  • Good ideas! I’m doing a Marling workshop using the field guide at The Yarnery next month. Bookmarking these!

  • I love this idea of the bags. If I close my eyes when I pick, that is even better for true random choosing.

  • A very helpful post. I have a ton of Felted Tweed from a Kaffe sweater I haven’t knitted (and probably never will) that I want to employ. I have two balls of many colours, but not so many threes. Thanks for the ideas.

  • I bought the kit for the color explosion throw and haven’t started yet, as I am currently working on the striped marled hat from the field guide. I have, however, given the color explosion throw lots of thought. I plan on using the color card example, but I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the colors that have three balls. How do you know where to use these three sets of three? Maybe it becomes obvious, but right now I’m stymied.

    • Hi Carmen,

      You don’t need to think about the colors with third balls. If you are following the pattern using the marl chart, you may will likely need a third ball of those three colors to complete the blanket, as those colors come up more often in the chart than others. It’s all been figured out by the designer and tech editor.

      Hope you have a blast with it!


  • I love this. And I have tons (not literally but I wish) of Rowan felted tweed to play with. I got very carried away and my kids jumped on the band wagon for gifting as well. That’s my next project all planned out for me. Brilliant!!!

  • Thanks for this. A good read. Reminds me of many other “pick it from the bag” projects (Denise Schmidt comes to mind). I think I might do a series of hats rather than a throw, and I do have a long round-trip car ride this weekend… I might have to scrap my plan to buy the book in person at my LYS and just get the digital!

  • Hi! I just completed panel #1 of the Color Explosion Throw. It’s so beautiful! I’ve read through the pattern and I really don’t understand how to put it together. I know how to do the 3 needle bind off but it’s not clear how to do it with 2 large panels. Will you have a video in the “how to” section? Thanks so much.

  • So I haven’t had that “save the article” icon for a long while now. What should I do? I have printed up one or two articles I really wanted to keep, but lost a few because I no have the little icon. HELP. Please.

    • Jane…you will have to refresh your account sign in. My save icon disappears every few weeks, so by signing into my MDK acct again it is refreshed and I get the save icon again. Hope that helps. Caron

  • I love this idea of the bags and not repeating a pair, but I have a different issue. Due to what else is in the room I have to do a throw using a limited palette of analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel) and lighter values and saturation. I’ve tried to find as many yarns as I can within this range and really only can come up with 4, but can stretch to 6 or 7. I can’t figure how to translate from 11 to 6 colors and get the benefit of this pattern, so will probably have to use log cabin instead.

  • Is there any way to get the colors chosen for the picture at the very top of this page, right side? I love this combination.

  • I would like to use the throw pattern to make a scarf. Has anyone done this, using Rowan Felted Tweed? If so, any recommendations for quantities of balls if yarn in different colors?

  • Pick my yarns, set up my color card using the color chart to guide me in my pairings and am excited about getting started. This will be a blanket for my bedroom. Not wild about one of the colors I picked but hopefully it will not stand out like a sore thumb.

  • So excited to begin my color explosion. As I begin, I’m wondering if I choose a 2 ball color for Color A, will I have enough yarn? Looks like A is the color used more than any other. TIA for advice!!