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Dear Ann,

It’s so fun to revisit a favorite pattern. I’m still waiting on yarns for my official Kiki Mariko Rug (2021 edition), but I wanted to start our Bang It Out knitalong on the first day with everybody else, so I improvised.

I went down to the basement craft lair and faced into the intersection of two passions: Kon Mari and Kiki Mariko. I was fairly sure that my circa 2008 leftovers of Lamb’s Pride Bulky and various fun bits of Manos and other bulky-ish hand-dyes had survived various decluttering fevers, when I had asked myself  “Does this spark joy?”  I loved making my first Kiki Mariko Rug, so each leftover nubbin and full skein definitely sparks joy.

I rambled through the cubbies and bins, and there it was, neatly organized into two boxes: the vintage Lamb’s Pride Bulky. One box was dedicated to leftovers from my first rug; the other box was full skeins of dark neutrals of Lamb’s Pride Bulky that I bought with a gift certificate my mom gave me to yarn shop in Omaha (String of Purls, of blessed memory).  I definitely had the makings of a Kiki Mariko Rug in those boxes.

Here’s my Kiki Mariko in progress, enjoying a light snow-block after an evening’s worth of knitting and watching All Creatures Great and Small.

Things you will notice:

It’s narrower than the pattern. There’s a reason for that. I’m making a runner for Olive’s new ramp. At 11½ years old, Olive is still quite the athlete, so I thought she’d go racing up and down it as soon as it arrived, but: That was a big nope from Olive.

She acts like the surface—a thin layer of man-made AstroTurfish stuff—hurts her toenails, if not her very soul. So the ramp has not yet served its purpose of being a safer way for her to get down from the bed than leaping and skidding (good for the soul, bad for the ligaments). I’m hoping that a handknit ramp cozy, made of the natural fibers of sheep and goats, will entice her into using it. I cast on 70 stitches, and when it’s done, I will trim it to fit the ramp. (If I get a few felt coasters out of the deal, that will be a bonus.)

The color scheme is improvised. I’m working with the leftovers I’ve got, and not worrying about the order of the colors or running out of a color.

Reminder: It’s for Olive. We don’t even know if she sees color.

I used a provisional cast-on. At our Bang Out a Kiki Mariko Rug kickoff on Zoom the other night, a clever knitter suggested working a provisional cast-on. Why? So that both ends of the rug could be bound off at the end, before felting, and those two edges would match perfectly.  If you’d like to do this, Jen Arnall-Culliford’s Provisional Cast-On video is super helpful.  I’m looking forward to being smug about my matching cast-on and bind-off edges, even if this refinement is not very visible after the rug is felted.

Where to Find the Tips and Also the Tricks

Several knitters have written in asking for tips on how to work stranded knitting. In another video, Jen Arnall-Culliford shows the technique that you and I both use, in which we hold one color in each hand. You’ll see Jen holding the yarns this way at the 1:50 point in this video.

Looking for more Kiki Mariko tips and tricks? Your best bet for finding them is in the MDK Lounge. We’ve got helpful links, and there is a jolly group of banger-outers sharing photos and their own questions and answers. Join us! It’s wonderful to hang out with knitters, a daily treat.

And now back to my ramp—it’s a romp. I’ll be firing up the washing machine to felt it before you know it.




  • Today is my granddaughter’s 5th birthday and I believe she is getting a dollhouse. This post has me wondering if a miniaturized Kiki Mariko knit out of fingering weight yarn might hit be just the accoutrement it needs. Hmmm. Stay tuned!

    • I think that is a great idea. One of my professors once started to crochet an oval area rug for her daughter’s dollhouse as a Christmas gift. The thought of doing that always fascinated me. Wish you a lot of fun making your miniature Kiki Mariko!

    • I don’t need a rug but a new cover for a foot stool. .. . . .

      • It would be excellent for a foot stool.

  • Can’t wait to see Olive try it out!

    • Casey B. Is this you? Sue Carney 🙂

  • Olive’s ramp rug is gonna be beautiful! But until it’s done, you might try camouflaging the ramp with a blanket to hide the ramp surface and the blank space underneath. Just tuck the rest of the blanket under the ramp on the floor. Makes it look more solid and trustworthy to a smart terrier!

  • Definitely one to bookmark for when Roux gets a little older…

  • Dogs are red/green colorblind, as are horses. It has something to do with increased visual contrast for those stalking, or being stalked. So those yellow and blue bits will show up to her, the rest will be shades of gray.

  • Olive is one lucky dog! Of course, we who share her age bracket, are much fussier now about comfort and safety. Wise, wise creature, that Olive!

    • I like her approach to aging–she kind of goes all out and then just naps more to make up for it.

  • Of course “a thin layer of man-made AstroTurfish stuff” would not be acceptable to Olive. After all, she wears haute couture! (She might find the stuff is irritating to walk on. Would you want to walk on it barefoot?)

    • Nope, and I don’t even have her toenails to contend with.

  • Please post an update when you finish. I have the same ramp for my dachshund and he won’t use it either. My fault, as I failed to secure it correctly in the slots below and it collapsed on him. So for now this expensive ramp is under the bed in the hopes he will forget and use it again some day. Love the idea of adding a handmade rug for Olive!

    • Olive quite likes hers when it’s in the flat position. She might just like that this annoys me! But I think she likes the bit of elevation, and she does use it as a sort of stepstool if not ramp to the bed.

      • It’s possible the angle of the ramp from floor up to the bed is too steep to feel safe for Olive. Perhaps put a foot stool or something as a first step up under the front end of the ramp to lesson the angle.

      • And you might have looked at them but my olds all happily used a set of dog steps next to the bed. Even have the young one trained to go up the steps rather than jump.

  • I love your read today. We are always trying to improve our companions lives, if they could just be reasoned with. Love the colors too, looking forward to seeing the finished runner and how it works.

  • Please say more about this ‘snow-blocking’? I would love a blocking technique that gives me the entire yard as a blocking surface!

  • Olive is so knit worthy!❤️

  • Such a great idea! Olive is one lucky gal! ❤

  • Handknit ramp cozy… that gave me a good laugh! Aaaahhh, we knitters have made cozies for many household items.

  • So would love to see a video of Olive in action on the finished runner.

  • Is there some kind of substitute yarn for Rowan Felted Tweed? A rustic fingering?
    It is very expensive, (so what I bought like ten skeins) but mainly it and other DK weights
    like Mohonk are still too heavy for sweaters in South Carolina. I love sweaters. I don’t love
    cotton or linen ones. Whatever shall I do? Faint? Call Rhett Butler?

  • I got first got Bailey to use steps to the bed by making it a game. I used his big memory foam bed as a crash pad (he has never ever used it’s a bed) and with a very high value treat would have him run up and down about 20x for indoor winter exercise.

    Eventually he started using it on his own some of the time. Then more of the time when he is sleepy. Getting a taller bed also increased his steps use.

    Good luck!

  • re: Olive & the bed – Have you tried steps? Another idea I was successful with for my Cavalier (who are known to have hip problems) I had a bench at the end of my bed and I was able to teach her to get on and ofrf the bed with 2 hops. I held her and just repeated !-2-3 up to the bench (I don’t know how many times!) and actually lifted her onto bench or small hassock while saying it. Then repeated from bench to bed. and by the time she got that, she knew to repeat it getting down. Once we visited family and we had bizarrely high beds so I just pulled over a chair, repeated our “game” once or twice and she got it. (She was quick – as in smart as a whip, but just wanted to do it when SHE decided to. No question she was the boss and she had me trained quite well.

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