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Dear Kay,

At the moment, I’m a goner, lost in my version of the Stranded Stripe Throw that appears in Field Guide No. 13: Master Class. (See the start of this project here.)

With so many possibilities of color and pattern, figuring out the rules of the game—the constraints—is crucial. And fun.

What kind of constraints do we have to consider when it comes to knitting? Materials, design, and color. And, sometimes, time.

Here are the constraints I’ve been working with.

Materials. Rowan Felted Tweed. That was easy.

The Diamonds motif turns into a cool interplay of positive and negative pattern when you repeat the motif.

Color. I wanted to have a ton of color at play—and I didn’t want to chart it out ahead of time. I decided to let the color selection flow until I get halfway through the blanket, at which point I’ll stop adding new colors and work with the palette that emerged as I made the first half. I’m approaching the halfway mark, and I’m glad that the second half is going to require me to find new combinations of these colors.

Green is my favorite color, so it’s no surprise that I beelined straight for greens.

I’m sort of following the rule of Juicy and Blah, though not rigidly. (See last week’s post on Juicy and Blah if you’re trying to get a handle on a lot of colors.) Felted Tweed is rich with both saturated and soft colors. It’s hard to really screw it up.

Design. I decided the motifs must have a certain heft to them—not the tiny two-row motifs, or single-row stripes of solid color. Repeat a motif in order to create wider sections. Each section is separated by a single row of dark color. Each motif can be used more than once, but not in the same colors. No repeats of color combinations. OK to repeat motifs, though in differing widths when repeated.

This box motif is edited down from the chart featured in Field Guide No. 13. I took out the dots in the center of the boxes.

Other constraints:

Human endurance. How much blanket can I crank out? Will I finish this before I expire? So far, I seem to be following that MDK Rule: No project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough. I crave! I crave! I am strong for this.

Dereliction of duty. How long will it be before people notice that I’m not around anymore? That I’ve stopped doing anything except this blanket? So far, so good. I’m doing an excellent job of procrastinating many other tasks.

The Coins motif here differs from the chart in the field guide—I blew it by putting two stitches between coins, not one. So I went for symmetrically spaced coins.

Time available to stare at knitting. This constraint is possibly the hardest of all. I could sit here and ponder this project all day long.

It truly is irresistible.

Portability. I’m about to head out of town tomorrow, as I write. At some point, this blanket is going to be too big to carry on. I think I’m about to redefine the word “portable.” Let my seatmate deal with the constraint of my giant knitting project!



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  • Ann, your blanket is mesmerizing me. I cant wait to receive my MDK 13. I am a lover of green, too.
    Keep at it. It will become a work of Art within a blanket. Thanks for sharing.

    • #TeamGreen unite! I could look at green all day. Keep us posted on your green adventures . . .

  • Ann, your blanket is stunning! I look forward to seeing it grow. (And could you maybe share how to do that thing where you ignore all the other stuff so you can knit?)

    • Home maintenance is seriously overrated, I’ll say that.

      • Amen amen
        Amen to that, my sister

  • Two stitches instead of one between the coins and it becomes a pattern, as if it was meant to be that way all along. Cool. Love it! The blanket is looking beautiful.

    • I was in such a fever that I couldn’t bear to rip it out. And it was looking sort of like a Twister board, which is never a bad thing.

  • I made up my colors as I went along with my Toothed Stripe Waistcoat. It was fun to do but took so much time as I weeded through the wonderful Rowan yarns of the 1990s. But, I still think it is one of the projects for which I have the most pride. Although, it would have been helpful to have the juicy/blah thing. Your blanket is stunning.

    • Hi Helen. Wow. Took a look at your waistcoat and that lizard thingy is pretty cool, too, as is your fussy cuts blanket. I’ve started one (just love the one Ann & Kay did) but other exciting projects come up. And who doesn’t love knitting a baby blanket? All good work.Please add more of your projects. I’d love to see them.

    • Tons of confidence + patience = your Toothed Stripe Waistcoat. Beautiful!

    • Toothed Stripe! What a magnificent piece of knitting. Wow!

    • Wow! I took a peek and that is beautiful! Well done, you!

  • Mesmerizing is certainly the word as I follow your blanket adventures Ann. Please keep us dazzled as you progress toward that final colorful row. And HelenL, wow, what a piece of knitting. How did either of you summon up the fortitude for these projects?? My idea of complexity is to marl together two yarns from my stash, throw a little ribbing or simple eyelet row in there here or there and call it a personal masterpiece. Chloe

    • It’s like being a young golfer. You’re enjoying the game too much to fear the difficult putt.

    • A masterpiece nonetheless, Chloe. I tried to “marl” for a hat just recently…disaster!

  • There are some blogs where you have to write your name in or else you are listed as Anonymous, so sorry if I get mixed up occasionally and my name is written twice. I’m not really that egotistical, mainly just sleep-deprived. (Which is probably also why I write in the benumbed wee hours of the morning, then fail to do some much called for editing in the cold light of day:)).

  • I await the headlines: “Woman Thrown Off Plane for Refusing to Contain her Sewing”

    (“IT’S KNITTING, oh you just WAIT till Ravelry hears about THIS,” shouts Nashville suspect)


    • My seatmate ended up being this guy who kept to himself despite the unbelievably close quarters, and at the end of the flight, he said, “I’ve been admiring your knitting. My grandma was a big knitter. That’s amazing.” And it totally made my day.

      • Awww!!

      • I love that! <3

      • Aw, that’s lovely!

    • Bingo!

  • It’s a gorgeous blanket! I admire you for taking it on!

    Do you have a rule for catching floats? Do you not need to with this yarn? I appreciate all thoughts and ideas!

    • i never go above 3 sts for a float, especially for an item where the back side will be exposed. for this yarn it may full into place and not present a risk of catching on things after a bit, so maybe it will be ok. for a baby blanket you’d want to be even more careful to avoid fingers and toes getting caught.

    • My rule for this one is to catch a float when I have six stitches in a row. The Kaffe charts in Field Guide No. 13 only rarely go beyond six stitches in one color.

      For a sweater I might let that go, but for this blanket, where the back side will get used, I’m trying to secure the floats as I go.

  • Your floats are so even Ann!! Do you hold the yarns in 2 different hands? Obsessed with the color combo you chose for the diamonds pattern – is it Pine and Electric Green?

  • Ah, Ann, you are a knitter after my own heart.

  • Southwest says this blanket is not a Personal Item.

    Also: I’m calling your unvented variation of the Coins motif Coin Columns. I really like it. Dominos! Yahtzee!

  • Beautiful job, Ann – your plan to repeat all colors in the second half is excellent. I commuted by train between Princeton and New York City for close to a year with an ever growing Foolish Virgins sweater. Make friends with your seat mate. It will help!

  • I ordered Field Guide #13, but I now think I might not be ready for a MASTER CLASS. Still my sense of order would be disturbed if there was a field guide published and I did not add it to my collection. If you had named the field guides after various National Parks (for a random example), I would not feel so inclined, so great marketing there!! If I use it for noting else, it will add color to my bookshelf.

    • That’s exactly how I felt about Revolution. I don’t knit many sweaters, and felt like Revolution might be a field guide I’d never use, but – gotta catch ’em all, as the young Pokemon Masters say. And once the Beatlemaniac in me realized it was Revolution #9 … well. Do I even need to tell you I bought it. 🙂

  • It’s obvious — you’re addicted. So, here’s the clue as to when you’ve knit enough: You can’t find any more Felted Tweed and grab some metallic eyelash yarn just so you can keep knitting more of Kasse’s motifs! (P.S.: Has Kermit, the mascot of Team Socks, napped on it yet?)



  • I get lost in the staring stage. I picked a muted palette of the Rowan colors for a wrap/scarf size. It is next in the queue.

    • My next adventure is going to be in muted colors, too. I just love a dim palette. Can’t wait to see what you’re up to!

  • LOVE IT!! Love seeing updates on this. Cant wait to start on my own blanket (yarn shipped yesterday, woohoo!)

  • Ann — I LOVE your blanket.I ordered both palettes and now I’m out of town, so I must wait to see them until December 1 when I return home. TORTURE!!!! Field Guide 13 is my first venture in knitting with two colors (other than a simple stripe), so of course I did a washcloth to test my skill. My floats are four stitches long. I see that you allow 6 before securing. Once you block the blanket it will kinda felt itself, right? But with a cotton washcloth maybe not, right? Such an interesting learning curve. And P.S. Reading the intro to Melanie Falick’s book (and that first interview) helps me make peace with my knitting love. I just could not understand what has taken over me with this knitting thing. Now I know it’s genetically instilled.

  • Gorgeous! I think I’ll dig through my stash of 4 plys from ancient Rowan days. What are you doing for the rows that have 3 colors? Carrying 2 in one hand and the third in the other hand? I’m pretty clumsy with 3 shades.

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