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Dear Ann:

I’m plumb wore out from all my exertions in aid of Passover.  I like to think that on their way home, my guests exclaimed, “Gosh, she makes it look so easy!” But in truth, I probably make it look hard. I tend to get a little sweaty and out of breath by the time people start to arrive. Briskets don’t braise themselves, you know.


Here I am, in the thick of it on Friday afternoon. My thoughts at that moment: every mixing bowl I own was in use, and I needed another mixing bowl. I was about to knock on my neighbor’s kitchen door and beg a mixing bowl off her.

It was worth it, for moments like this:


We had a new haggadah in our repertoire this year, The Seder by author Liz Kaplan (a knitter and our pal) and illustrator Laura Stillman Carraro. It’s a beauty, with beautifully textural torn-paper illustrations.  The Seder enriched our esthetics, which skew heavily toward the Maxwell House haggadah collection amassed by my mother-in-law at the supermarket over the years.

A Pesach Miracle

The French Mustard is here!


After wandering in the desert (actually back and forth between New York and New Hampshire) for nearly two weeks, Doris M’s generous gift of two precious skeins of Rowan Chunky Chenille, shade French Mustard 363, arrived on Friday. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Doris M. I will long remember your kindness, and I promise to pay it forward.


As soon as the festive doings were over, I got busy cranking on my Kaffe Fassett Big Flower Jacket.


The only difficulty so far –but it is a difficulty–is that every 1, 2 or 3 rows, the stripes change colors. Some rows require a combination of 2 or 3 of the 24 shades of in the kit. The key card contains tiny snippets of each color, and it sometimes takes me a few minutes of squinting and running to the window to make sure I’ve got the right color. So it’s a bit stop-and-go, and the ends create a slightly alarming fringe on the edges. But the elaborate mixing of colors creates a wonderfully dense mix of color and texture. I’m loving it.

I just finished Row 17. The big flower intarsia chart starts at Row 53. That’s when things might get a bit tense. I’ll keep you posted.

Starmore Peeping

Reader Sue T. wrote recently to tell us about Fruity Knitting, a new video podcast in which Andrea, an amazingly skilled knitter, shows and tells about not one but three amazing Alice Starmore sweaters, including Henry VIII, which Andrea sits there wearing the whole time like it’s nothing. Truly amazing. Bring your knitting, so you can settle in for a good long wallow in the Starmores.

Perfect for Lazy Sunday.





  • I don’t think I’ve ever managed to make entertaining look “easy”. Even if I’m just calling out for pizza. Hats off to you for managing a holiday meal with a crowd that size. I’m truly impressed.

    And – I was surprised to see that “french mustard” looks…green. I was expecting something more…mustardy.

    Looking forward to the fruity knitting video (and wondering just a bit about its title).

  • I don’t get a Lazy Sunday but I will get a Lazy Monday. I have five more rows of color work on Temple Cats, and I have at least finally picked up a little speed on the two handed Fair Isle thing. I had Dianna Walla’s Housewarmung dishcloth OTN as my mindless project but finished that last night.

  • Just taking a break from the Fruity Knitting podcast to thank you!!! And if I hadn’t wanted to refresh my coffee I wouldn’t have even thanked you until much later on… What a wonderful way to spend my morning:-)

  • I wish I could enjoy a lazy Sunday, but my hard work and sweat today will be in the service of knitting. I’m helping a friend install a 5′ heavy gauge metal fence around her yard so she can have two goats this summer! What makes this all the more amazing is we live in a city. She will pay me for my efforts with yarn from her goats, eventually. So, no knitting for me, but definitely knitting-related. They don’t call this a slow craft for nothin’!

    • You’re playing the long game.

  • In another lifetime altogether I took a two day workshop with Kaffe and Brandon. They actually tied a lot of those ends in knots and cut them off to about an inch. The insides of those big intarsia coats are all fringe. They also taught what they referred to as “The Technique”, which is essentially knitting in the ends as you go. Still a lot of ends. Susan Rainey on her blog The Rainey Sisters recently illustrated her technique for splicing in all the ends so they are invisible…its probably why she wins so many blue ribbons at the Minnesota Stae fair every year.

  • Is that the French mustard in the middle there? Directly above a single row of brick? Little plastic clip at the end of it?

    • Yes!

  • So, it’s mustard the greens, not mustard the condiment? WHO KNEW?

    • The greens! Of course! When I saw the pic, I was thinking some kind of Wasabi, you got it Annam! Thanks! ????????

  • Color must have been inspired by French Mustard Greens. I kept expecting an antique yellowish color!
    How do you prep for Passover and manage to keep track on intricate colorwork?? Amazing!

  • I have several of Alice Starmore’s & Kafe Fassett’s books, but can’t possibly use the yarns they specifiy, even if they were still available. Is it possible to get respectable results from the patterns substituting other yarns?

    • Yes it is possible–Kaffe is all about exuberant color play; I don’t think he agonizes about the choices. Just the few hours I’ve put in on my jacket so far have me looking at the odds & ends and single balls in my stash and thinking about striping them all together.

  • I was going to mention the video that Ellen described–saw it a few days ago and bookmarked it. An amazing talent.

  • Happy Pesach.
    Thx for the video.I still remember the time about fifteen years ago I was going to work and I saw a She was at that time very well known in NYC knitting circles and lived in Brooklyn, can’t remember her name.
    Your Big Flower jacket looks great, you should have a plexi shadow box made for it after it is done.

  • It looks like you deserve the lazy Sunday, and that a wonderful Passover was enjoyed by many. You have me looking at my stash and my pattern collections, for a new BIG project like your jacket. So glad the French Mustard finally arrived.

  • Do a Kaffe and weave your ends in as you go! It isn’t the neatest of finishes on the inside, but who is going to be looking at the inside? That or add a ribbon facing to the back of the border, ribbed edging join, covering all trimmed ends.

  • One year, living in Germany on sabbatical, my cousin and I (she was visiting) kept washing and re-washing the same mixing bowl, as I only had one. It became comic. I think of her (she is gone, sadly) every Passover. This holiday is SO much work ….I hate the chaos until everything is in place. By the end of the week, I am ready for it all to be put away.

    Will have to check out that Hagaddah …we use the Elie Weisel/Marl Podwal one. Though the Maxwell House ones are somewhere in a box.

    I do believe I am sufficiently rested enough to knit again .. or sew. Looking forward to progress on your sweater … I am impressed by your prowess!

  • I’m loving the video!!! For those who haven’t watched it yet — be prepared for a big laugh at 32 minutes in. Put down your coffee as you approach!

    I’ll finish watching it after church.

  • Love the new Haggadah! Thanks for the link.

  • The Fruity Knitting video is great! Andre and Andrea have been keeping me company through 90 excruciatingly boring minutes spent seaming a Kim Hargreaves cardigan.
    Kay, I hope you have your feet up this evening, good leftovers including (kosher for passover) dessert and some primo knitting time. Happy Pessach.

  • Nice tutorial and the video was good ..Thanks for sharing

  • I’m loving watching you and Ann work on your fantastically difficult sweaters and dreaming of making one myself sometime. When my colorwork skills are much improved, I hope. In the meantime, THANK YOU!! I have been yearning for a podcast in which the knitter is a proclaimed sweater knitter, and the Fruity Knitter fits the bill to a T. I’m in love! And I now want to knit a St. Brigid.

  • I watched Andrea and Andrew’s podcast and it is really fun. Andrea has a lot of tutorials as well on their youtube channel. She is quite a knitter! Thanks for the tip Kay.

  • French Mustard looks much more Olive Tapenade to me! Do the French even make dishes with the mustard greens? It ought to be Southern Mustard Greens instead. Or, possibly, Rowan had a red-green colorblind guy naming its colors in the 1980s….

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