Four Easy Pieces: Cuatro Wrap
Greetings! I’m here with a quick report from my first cast-on from MDK Field Guide No. 22: Grace, which is Joji Locatelli’s elegant enveloper, the Cuatro Wrap.
I’ll give a few quick tips/things I’ve noticed, and I invite other knitters who are making the Cuatro for the MDK Joji Knitalong to chime in with theirs in the comments.
A headline for the skimmers: this wrap is super fun to knit.
The construction is elegant: you make 4 triangles that are identical except for color, and join them up when they’re finished. Each triangle uses 2 colors (or more! I always like more!) to create a pattern of stripes of color and texture.
You start with a garter-tab cast-on that takes all of 2 minutes to complete, because it’s only 27 stitches, total. (Here’s a Very Pink Knits video to show you how.)
After that, there’s a simple increase pattern that you repeat on every RS row. The table on page 10 of the Field Guide clearly lays out the stitch pattern (garter or stockinette) and color (A or B) for each and every row of the triangle. Easy—just check them off as you go.
Once you’ve completed the first triangle, you don’t even need the table anymore—the first triangle is your table now, so you are freer to roam with your knitting. The table is still handy for checking your stitch count, if you’re nervous about missing an increase. You won’t miss an increase, though, because they are so consistently in the same, clearly identified places in each RS row—they become habitual very quickly. But if you’re like me, you’ll check the stitch count anyway! I’m fun at parties!
That’s all there is to the Cuatro Wrap, except for the sheer fun of knitting it. These triangles have been my favorite portable knitting, since I cast on in the car on our way home from Rhinebeck.
My one complaint: it’s going too fast! I want to linger! (No I don’t. You know I love the speedy knits.)
In the MDK Shop
I initially started out wanting—real bad—to knit the blue version of the Cuatro Wrap, which we made into a kit and called it Rhapsody.
But that’s not the colors of Woolfolk Tov DK they sent me from Nashville. I had all 4 of the Rhapsody kit colors: 00 (cream), 06 (blue), 11 (near black), and 16 (light gray).
Plus 1 extra skein of 06 (blue).
Plus 3 additional skeins in 04 (gold), 10 (brownish red), and 13 (another light gray).
Since we already have a sample of the Rhapsody colorway, I decided to just barge ahead bravely with these 7 colors. They look terrific together; I just had to organize them.
The pattern’s 4 colors are designated as A, B, C, and D.
So, to be able to follow the pattern, I arranged my colors thus:
A 00 (cream)
AA 04 (gold)
B 16 (light gray the first)
BB 13 (light gray the second)
C 06 (blue—this is the shade I have 2 skeins of)
D 11 (near black)
DD 10 (brownish red)
As I knit along with A and B for the first triangle, I wondered when would be a good time to switch from A to AA. I wanted to make A last as long as it could, but I also wanted to make the change at a spot that would be, well…gracious.
From top to bottom, triangle 1, 2, and the start of 3
As it turned out, I changed from A (cream) to AA (gold) at Row 95, for the final section of 2-row stockinette stripes and the final 12-row garter stripe section.
I think it looks terrific. For triangle 2, which is colors B and C, I changed to color BB at the same spot as I did for Triangle 1, but my B and BB are so close in color (a taupe-ish gray and a bluish gray) that it’s not as noticeable as the difference between A and AA.
I’m excited to see how the colors play out, and making these changes has me thinking about all the other fun ways this simple triangle could serve as a jumping-off point for playing with color. Wide and narrow stripes! Solids! Color blocks! This is the kind of pattern a person who loves simple knitting could bond onto like a baby duck on a passing farm hand.
Note: these photos show my progress after only 6 days of knitting on this thing. Admittedly, I spent the weekend after Rhinebeck in Rhinebeck Recovery—Sedentary Mode, which included a lot of restorative knitting time. I estimate that each of these triangles took something like 8-10 hours to knit.
Hopefully my next update will be about the Exciting! Grafted! Join! of all 4 triangles into one swingy, sumptuous wrap.
Standing by for everyone’s Cuatro Wrap questions and comments, hopes and dreams. Let’s gloat about how much fun we’re having over in the Joji Knitalong topic in the MDK Lounge!
I have few tips, because this project has little need for tips. The Cuatro Wrap is truly beginner-friendly, despite that little old garter tab cast-on at the start.
About that Spine Stitch
The spine stitch is the center stitch of a triangle; it has 1 increase on each side of it on every RS row. When working in garter stitch, the pattern tells you to knit the spine stitch on the WS.
That would be fine, but for the sample, the spine stitch was purled on the WS, whether working in garter stitch or stockinette stitch. And I think that unbroken line of single stockinette stitches looks nice, so that’s how I did it. We went ahead and put this change on the corrections page.
About Those Slipped Stitches
The pattern instructs to slip the first stitch of every row, for an elegant chained edge at the base of the triangle. But if you forget to slip the first stitch, at some point you’ll notice that lonely nub of garter stitch on the edge, and it may bother you. It bothers me, so I always drop the slipped stitches down to the missed one, and hook them all back up properly again—this is easy and intuitive to do, but fiddly.
If I were starting over, I’d consider a plain 2-stitch garter edge, with no slipped stitch. One less thing to worry about! But since I’m committed to the slipped stitch at this point, I check the edge frequently, so that I can make a repair quickly if I need to.
One other thing I have messed up a couple of times is remembering when I’m on a garter stitch row. I get into a Stockinette State of Mind (don’t we all), and only realize at the halfway point of a long WS row that I’m supposed to be knitting, not purling. There is no fix for this except un-knitting and starting over, but it’s keeping me alert, attentive, and humble. Knitting is good at that.