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Dear Ann,

The Daytripper Cardigan has been in my dreams since Mary Jane first mentioned it as we planned the designs for Field Guide No. 17: Lopi.

But I was stuck on colors. The Daytripper Cardigan, what with its Icelandic-style patterned yoke and its contrasting cuffs and bands, calls for seven colors of Léttlopi, which we carry in 38 colors. Too much choice! And it really seems important to nail it on the color choices, so that the yoke pops. The placement of the individual colors matters, too. Too little contrast, and some of the magic dissipates.

Beloved MDK contributor, designer Jen Geigley, rescued me. Jen is knitting a Daytripper Cardigan for herself, and made a sketch to help choose and place her colors.

Here’s Jen’s colored-in Daytripper, shown with contrasting bands and edgings:

. . . and with slight placement change, and matching bands and edgings.

What a difference! And how cool to be able to see that difference so clearly, instead of trying to imagine it.

Note: Jen stripped down the Léttlopi colors for her Daytripper to four instead of seven: Black Heather as the main color, and Oatmeal, Ash and Rust for the colorwork motifs.

The Crayolas Come Out

I love coloring!

I got out my trusty circa-2005 colored pencils, which somehow survived the great culling of my kids’ childhood art supplies a couple of years ago. I then stared at the Léttlopi palette on my phone, and got to it.

Bliss! My inner child was filled with joy, and my outer adult was chuffed to be getting these decisions made so I can get my yarn ordered in time to start my Daytripper Cardigan.

Drawings from Jen

Scrounge up some colored pencils and join me!

Jen Geigley graciously granted permission to share her drawings. Just click on the PDF links below to print out the two versions:

Two Big Daytripper Cardigans.

Six Small Daytripper Cardigans. 

Jen advises that the PDF can be downloaded onto an iPad and colored digitally in ProCreate, or printed out and colored in with colored pencils as I did.

Thank you, Jen!

Other Strategies for Coloring Your Daytripper

If you’re flummoxed about picking colors, here are four more strategies to stop waffling and start knitting.

  1. Knit the sample. Mary Jane Mucklestone is a fantastic colorist, and the photography sample sings. If by chance we are out of a color you need, the broad Léttlopi palette provides lots of close shades to substitute. You can find the original colors and quantities in the Field Guide, and also in the Ravelry listing here.
  2. Be a copycat. The Daytripper Cardigan is such a fast knit that there are beautiful examples on Ravelry, on Instagram, and in the MDK Lounge.
  3. Check out our suggested Daytripper colorways here. Like them, but you’re not sure? Color them into Jen’s drawing, and see how they look.
  4. Phone a friend—ask the friendly knitters in the MDK Lounge.

What did I finally decide? I’m not sure—but I’m getting there.




  • Coloring is such fun, too!
    If you’re not sure if there is enough contrast between two colors, an easy way to check is to take a pic, and then look at it in black and white- or grayscale- and you’ll clearly see the contrasts. It’s amazing how some colors disappear!

  • what a marvellous idea ! It is simple but so intelligent … thank you of me and my old coloured pencils …
    Moreover I love the Lettlopi !!!

  • I love your bright color palette! Colored pencils really are fun. Thanks for sharing my little sweater drawing. I can’t wait to see everyone’s Daytrippers.

  • Omigosh this is so much FUN! I will never not do this now. Thank you!

  • Wow! Even though I’m not knitting this sweater, the process is awesome. I always struggle with color selection, but now I can use this for any mult-colored project!

  • Maybe these would make adorable Christmas ornaments! Wow.

  • I’ve done this with other knitting projects – heck, I’ve done this with wall and sofa colors – and it’s fun, useful, and really helps the creative process.

  • Thank you so much for these! I was doing some very rustic drawings but this helps so much better! I am not prepared to do the daytripper KAL just now…am hoping that another daytripper KAL will come along again soon!!

  • makes me wish color-planning sketches were as routine with colorwork patterns as, say, extra large sizes are.

  • Thanks! Have had an Apple pencil for a while. This was the final push to getting me to download Procrete and put it to fuller use! I could just envision all the photocopies that would have been involved.

  • my go-to formula for color choice is first divide your colors into light-medium-dark; for this cardi two of each maybe? PoLove the little sweater drawings! Water colour pencils are fun, can get tones closer to the yarn colors.

  • Which of her versions did Jen choose? (I know which one I’d pick)!

  • Thank you for the templates! I recently asked a designer to provide that for a colorwork cowl… alas. MDK ROCKS!

  • I am the odd woman out, I’m planning a Destination pullover. Not as much coloring, but still, I do have some colored pencils!

  • Thank you so so much for these blanks. I tried to print out the picture when I first got the pattern, and it just wasn’t terrific! These are perfect, and I have coloring pencils from my scrapbooking and card making days!

  • Thanks for the template! I used the eye dropper tool to get color samples from the lopi page and used those to color in the palette I ordered. Decided to drop the grey and add more straw.

  • On the matter of choosing colors, Is it just me or does anyone else still consult the 1980’s Color Me Beautiful palette for choosing colors? I know a lot of people felt too confined by following their “palette” which may be why it fell out of favor. But for something as time-consuming as knitting I want to be sure the garment is flattering as well as beautifully designed and expertly knitted. It seems to me a pattern like Daytripper gives you the opportunity to keep things simple by following your palette with the main color and going all rebellious with the supporting colors. As long as they are all look good together. Just a thought for one simple way to go if your mind starts reeling (in a delightful way) like mine usually does when considering color.

    • That’s so funny, Chloe. I used to be one of their consultants back in the day. So I DO use what they taught me along with a color wheel.

  • Sorry, I do tend to sound rather didactic sometimes. It annoys my friends, too, Also I love Jen’s version. Lucky my old eyes can’t deal with really dark shades because I don’t look good in black. Looks like it’s Instagram for me! Chloe

  • Me again. Looking at the examples on Ravelry I think I got it upside down on the Daytripper. Put most flattering colors near your face. Aw, heck. Use your instinct. (Wouldn’t keep revising, just knitting takes so much time, would hate to throw people off.)

  • Brilliant. thanks so much for sharing this diagram. There is another way to choose your palette. Use what you have got! I am having to resort to this as there is a nationwide shortage of lopi in the UK at the moment. Now I understand why!
    Fortunately I had 5 balls of lagoon that I bought for a different project and I miraculously managed to top up with the same dye lot from a very small yarn shop in Orkney, Scotland (after trying several other sources). Using the diagram, I can now play with the restricted palette I have in my stash It does focus the mind.

  • I’m curious about how much more of the main color I should be purchasing if I want to have the bands the same color as the sweater body.

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  • If you scale down the colors to 4, how much do you need to change the amounts for each?

  • This is awesome. Such a help to plan colors. Love Lettlopi yarn.

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