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It’s a brand-new day, and we are overjoyed—finally!—to share Dee Hardwicke’s designs for MDK Field Guide No. 25: Botanica with the world. Over the next few days, we’ll share each of the projects, like new babies—pointing out the parts we love particularly and don’t want you to miss.

The botanical theme of this Field Guide will come as no surprise to lovers of Dee’s art. Flowers and plants, woodlands, parks, and wide-open, wild nature—are always at the heart of a Dee project.

In our first conversations, Dee was bursting with curiosity about the nature that surrounds Ann and me, in Nashville and New York, far from Dee’s home in the Welsh countryside. Those conversations ranged over everything from beach huts, to the sanctuary of elm trees in Central Park, to one of Dee’s favorite books, Italo Calvino’s Marcovaldo: Or the Seasons in the City. We had no idea where this exuberant conversation was going to take us, but it was a joyous ride, a pleasure in itself. Eventually these ideas and others worked themselves out, deep in Dee’s imagination and in the works of art she casually calls her notebooks.

Months later, when Dee presented us with her vision for this Field Guide, we gasped. It was all there, for all of us to explore, to enjoy, and to knit.

Blossom Stripe Shawl

I’m especially fond of today’s featured design because it’s not only a beautiful piece of knitting—it’s a dashing accessory to wear every day, with anything.

The Blossom Stripe Shawl starts with a favorite shawl shape, a wide deep triangle shaped with clean edges. It has bold, irregular stripes that beg to be wrapped around the neck in a jumble, and then: an unexpected burst of stylized colorwork.

Here’s a surprise: the Blossom Stripe Shawl is knit flat, back and forth in rows.

You know what that means, don’t you?—it means working the even-numbered rows of the Blossom Stripe chart in purl. Remain calm: it’s just one stripe—just 21 rows of the chart.

And also: it’s not hard. Think of this as a new addition to your stranded colorwork skill set.

I love the woven look on the back:

Have we got bundles? You betcha

My mind is whirling with color possibilities for the Blossom Stripe shawl. The choice of palette can put this accessory in different spots on the spectrum from understated to rich to downright jaunty.  Which colors, though?

To give you a one-click option, we’ve made two colorways of the Blossom Stripe Shawl bundle. The first is Dee’s beautiful original colorway, which unexpectedly mixes warm pink and red with cool blues:

Crape Myrtle

And for something completely different, MDK’s premier palette picker (Allison Volek Shelton) got to work, and she came up with a bright, mellow alternative in tones of blue and yellow:


Each bundle contains  seven skeins of MDK Atlas in the colors shown. Just pick one—you really can’t go wrong.

For me and the Blossom Stripe Shawl, it was love at first sight, and it will be one of my first projects from this Field Guide.

Can I get it done in time for swanning around in Rhinebeck in October? Don’t bet against me!

Subscribers Get 10 Percent ofF

If you’re a subscriber to the 2023 MDK Field Guides, you’re in luck, because subscribers get 10 percent off all full-price items in the MDK Shop, including Atlas and Atlas bundles. Check your email for your monthly subscriber coupon code, and pop it the coupon field at checkout.

Not a subscriber? Sign up here, and you’ll enjoy discounted shopping and our everlasting gratitude for your vital support of the free daily fun at MDK. We can do what we do, because of you—thanks!


  • I would like to see this in fall colors – shades of orange, red, yellow, green and such.

    • Love your colorways but I’m thinking maybe some lavenders. Just curious what that would look like

  • Do you have any tips for the purl rows in stranded colorwork knit flat? I can knit colorwork in the round after learning the English, throwing style, since I’m a continental knitter. But purling with each hand boggles my mind!

    • For this pattern, with 21 rows of colorwork purling, there’s always the risk of making a mistake. But I make plenty of those on the knit side as well, and I know they’re fixable, so no big thing.

      When I purl colorwork, I hold only one color at a time. I don’t feel ashamed. Marie Wallin knits that way, and she knows a thing or two about colorwork purling.

    • Turn it into a steeked cone?

      • You could definitely do that! There’s a tradeoff, which may suit you fine: if you steek it, you’ll need to work out the edging differently, either picking it up from the edges before or after cutting the steek, or working it as you go and then dealing with how to finish the cut edges of the steek.

    • So far, I’ve been doing the purl rows without using both hands. I’m a thrower, and I just throw both colors, dropping and picking up the strands as needed, always bringing the new color under the old without crossing the strands. It goes pretty fast and looks great. I’m looking forward to Lorilee’s workshop and learning some tips!

  • Will you help put other colors together?

    • Of course! Real live color pickers are standing by at I have a few autumnal palettes in mind myself….

  • You can do it Kay! I love the Bosc color combination.

  • That is a very beautiful pattern. Looking forward to seeing yours Kay!

  • I am so happy the Zoom will be recorded! And that Bosc colorway!!!!

    • Ditto on the zoom recording. I was sad to miss the original viewing. Thank you.

  • I’m going to swap out the colors just a tad …
    Do wish there was a photo of the piece flat to see it whole. Grateful the Field Guide has a schematic.
    Artistic photos are pretty but we also need a photo of just the object as it is.

    • You’ll find a flat lay shot of the Shawl on the bundle page here:

      • Great – and thanks.
        It’s very helpful – and important – to see a piece flat, especially a shawl. Combined w a schematic it gives one a good picture of the completed object… shape and design.

  • Arne and Carlos have a tutorial on knitting backwards so that’s an alternative to stranded purl.

  • If you’re trying to come up with a different colorway for this lovely design, and are a subscriber with the booklet in hand – photocopy the shawl in black & white, then get out your colored pencils.

  • I loooove this design, but triangular shawls don’t really work on me—do you think it would look okay as a rectangular stole? (I mostly do crescent shawls, but that might be a more complicated conversion.)

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